by Alan McElwain
I CONGRATULATE Mr.
Charles Forte on becoming Honorary Consul General in Great Britain for the Republic of San Marino, and also San Marino on getting the services of such an able and distinguished businessman. For a start, no San Marino oitinn in London is ever likely to he without a square meal.
San Marino, sitting like a fairy tale kingdom atop e giant peak in North Italy. may be the world's tiniest republic, but big things happen there. In 1961. I was privileged to participate in one of the biggest.
I refer to what future historians (whoever they may be) will describe as "The Revolution". A Communist government got control of San Marino and its 15,000 citizens, and entrenched itself on the peak. An anti-Communist government bet itself up against it and entrenched itself in a disused steel foundry down in the foothills. Everything was on a war footing. Both sides armed themselve,s with wartime rifles Tommy-guns and whatevei other weapons lay about the place.
Accredited war correspondents like myself, urgently deployed from our Rome base, were challenged by armed sentries at the bottom of the peak. challenged again by armed Communists at the top, and challenged on neutral territory by armed Italian government forces who had been moved into the area in case shooting began.
It was the real thing, I tell you. Down in the anti-Communist headquarters, to which I was admitted when 1 produced an Australian passport, proving I came from a friendly democracy, 1 asked the commandant a few questions about the deployment of the opposing armies and he said. quite solemnly. "You must speak to our Intelligence Chief about that".
The Intelligence Chief was absent and I imagined him. heavily disguised as a shrub, creeping at intervals up the side of the most precipitous crag ever bedevilled by espionage or counter-espionage.
What really endeared me to San Marino, however, was a perfectly unwarranted prestige accorded me by a group of Communist militia patrolling tip top. Somehow, they got hold of the idea that I was not merely representing Australian newspapers, hut that the "great Republic of Australia" was so determined to give its citizens the honest (Red. of course) facts that I had been flown direct from Australia to cover the word-shattering revolt.
the recurring rumour that the great French philosopher and writer, Jacques Maritain. may be given a sort of civilian Red Hat has cropped up again in a Rome newspaper.
When Pope John was alive, it was whispered every now and again that he. too, proposed to make M. Maritain a "lay cardinal", along with Count Giuseppe Dalla Torre, editor emeritus of the Vatican newspaper. 0.sservatore Romano. Now it is Pope Paul who is credited with the intention of reviving a custom that was prevalent among popes ages ago.
Vatican officials point out that, not only is it doubtful whether any good purpose could be served by reintroducing "lay cardinals", but the Church's Code of Canon Law, article 232, now lays it down that a man must be "at least an ordained priest" before he can become a cardinal. I understand there is no evidence that, at 81. M. Maritain proposes to take Holy Orders as a preliminary to rapid promotion to the Sacred College.
In the old days, when popes ruled temporally as well as spiritually, they created as lay cardinals civilians they wished to reward for giving them outstanding service—a papal variation on the Queen's conferring of knighthoods. The sons of some of the old royal houses were also made cardinals— while they were still boys.
To emphasise the sacred nature of the Sacred College of Cardinals, Pope John had all its members consecrated bishops. It is difficult to imagine that Pope Paul would wish to return to an 'ancient custom that would weaken this sacred nature of the College by using it to honour laymen. After all. the Pope has a variety of honours at his disposal by which he can —and does—reward outstanding laymen.
This. as you will have gathered from your daily newspapers, has been -mummy" week in Rome. the city is not unused to flamboyant homage being paid to actresses and other "glamour girls". but right now the most publicised woman is a black-haired beauty. aged about 1,800 years. and temporarily lodged in a refrigerated chamber in the municipal morgue.
The girl. as already reported
seseesessseememso was found in a tomb during excavations on the site of a new apartment building on the ancient Cassian Way. Archeeologists and other authoritites are trying to determine whether she was Roman or Oriental and to just what period she belonged.
But the most whimsical touch of all. I think, comes from the morgue where, under Italian law, any unclaimed body must automatically go. There officials, sticklers for formality. have solemnly recorded that the I.N00-year-old girl died "from causes unknown'',
II ignore the unconfirmed report that a doll found near the tomb on the Cassia proved to be of the talking variety and. when laid on its back, cried "Mummy!") The vagaries of the Italian postal service are well known. One day this week, a colleague of mine received in one hatch copies of six issue of his newspaper, posted on six successive days. and each copy in an envelope hearing Is 10d worth of stamps--the full letter rate.
Fourteen years ago Don e Guido Galli went to see a movie in Bologna. He wondered how Bing Crosby was making out as a priest in "Going My • Way". "Father" Bing had Don By the time the film Guido going his way, too.
The episode which most impressed Don Guido— and changed his life—showed a priest founding a club for young people who, having no decent place in which to enjoy themselves in their spare time. got into bad company and worse trouble, Later, Don Guido came to 5 Rome, found it lamentably short of youth centres and started one of his own in a delapidated, cheerless basement near the Colosseum. He had no sooner got going, than the place was ruined by flood water ; during a storms Later the % Vicariate of Rome, hearing of e Don Guido's, good efforts. g offered him what remained of e an old youth centre, built in 1 1907.
Today. Don Guido guides the recreation of more than 500
young people. In the last year 5 or so. on the most .meagre re5 sources. they have done their e best to make the old youth Ce centre habitable, but they still have a long way to go. At one stage lag year. Don Guido had almost to close down for lack of funds, but that magnificent giver, Cardinal Richard Cushing. of Boston, read about him ft
e and gave him sufficient to keep him at least afloat.
Don Guido is now appealing on behalf of his "children". know him well and guarantee e that anyone who reads this and feels like giving him an ecumenical hand will be aiding ife a grand man doing a grand job
in most difficult conditions. 5 Don Guido Galli's address is 5 Via Sette Sale, 30, Rome.