- 1. THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY
- 2. MERCY: THE KEY WORD OF THE PONTIFICATE OF POPE FRANCIS
Continue reading “Juan Edmundo Vecchi – Letter to the Don Bosco Volunteers, to the Salesians and all groups of the Salesian Family. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Institute”
Fr. Michael Mendl, in his research has discovered “a long missing letter” that states Don Bosco’s refusal to send Salesians to New York in 1848. This letter completes Michael Mendl ‘s article in the Journal on founding Salesian work in New York. (Vol. XI, No. I, Spring 2000).
Fr. Arthur Lenti, in a second article, invites us to enter the political and ecclesiastical world of Don Bosco through his letters never published before in English. The letters add insight to the always intriguing question of Don Bosco’s involvement in the naming of bishops.
Michael Rua (1837-1910) was a pupil, then the lifetime collaborator and finally, the first successor of St. John Bosco as Rector Major of the Salesian Society (1888-1910). During his Rectorate the Salesians grew from 1030 members in 64 houses to 4420 confreres scattered across the globe. Don Rua’s letters to England offer the reader a glimpse of the character of their writer and of the pastoral care he took of a small group of relatively insignificant Salesians in what was very often the inhospitable atmosphere of the British empire at the height of its power.
The ten brief documents that follow—some perhaps less known than the previous ones in Salesian history—are also interesting from the point of view of the maturing and practice of Don Bosco’s educational system. We have a necessarily limited selection here of personal letters to people responsible for public education, or to young people and teachers, and circulars on pedagogical and didactic issues.
The Law of Guarantees on 13 May 1871 and decrees applying to this required that for newly appointed bishops to enter into possession – the so-called temporalities – they had to present the Minister with the original decree of appointment and formally ask for the exequatur to be granted. This act, in the Holy See’s judgement, implied recognising the Kingdom of Italy which came into being in 1861, and included part of the Papal States ‘illegally’ taken from the Pontiff.
One of the most difficult conflicts to resolve in relationships between the Holy
See and the new Kingdom of Italy was that of the dozens of Episcopal sees left vacant
for political reasons. Both parties were aware of the seriousness of the situation, but
attempts to exit from the situation were shipwrecked by the persistent serious friction
brought about by proclaiming a Kingdom which comprised territories taken from
the Papal States (1861). Only in 1865-1867 did a process of détente coming
into place, where, having overcome mutual resistance, the Holy See succeeded in
appointing many bishops with the agreement of authorities of the Kingdom.
In the years immediately preceding and following Italian Unity (1858-1866), Don Bosco kept constantly in touch with Pius IX by letter. He did this not only for interests directly relating to his work, but also in reference to the worrying situation the Church was going through in Piedmont, to encourage him in his defence of the faith against the enemies of religion, and to pass on to him any likely reserved information in his possession. As already indicated, Don Bosco was with Pius IX and his Secretary of State, Card. Antonelli, on the Roman question. Slowly however, he became convinced that a too vigorous resistance to the “revolution” was becoming ever more pointless, even risked worsening the situation, so after the capture of Rome he chose, also politically, the principle of doing whatever good could be done.