Vatican Notes & Quotes

America Magazine Sends Double Message

AMERICA, Oct. 23-An editorial in the Oct. 23 issue of the national Jesuit magazine America contends that the recent biography of Pope Pius XII by Peter Cornwell “fails as a work of historical scholarship.” This opinion is an unpopular one in the secular press, which has, for the most part, accepted Cornwell's claims uncritically.

But America's editors backpedaled after airing what some might have viewed as strong support for Pius, recommending, for instance, that in the wake of suspicions raised by the book about Pius’ actions during the Holocaust, the Vatican should establish an international commission of Catholic and Jewish historians to review them. The editors also recommended that Pius's beatification process be stalled until Pius is cleared by the court of popular opinion.

Meanwhile, Inside the Vatican in its October issue provides several articles delineating the great help Pope Pius XII was to Jewish friends from his boyhood and then throughout his pontificate.

Relics of St. Luke Found in Padua

CIVILITA CATTOLICA, Oct. 15-Scientific research recently carried out on a sarcophagus in the Basilica of St. Justina in Padua seem to confirm the long-held belief among Christians that the relics it contains are, in fact, those of St. Luke the Evangelist, the Jesuit magazine reported.

Research on the sarcophagus was directed by anatomy pathologist Vito Terribile Wiel Marin, a professor of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Padua. After removing the heavy marble slab that covered the sarcophagus, researchers discovered a large lead box which was held shut by two red wax seals. The box rested on a wooden board, the magazine reported.

One of the researchers, Father Daniel Libanor, wrote that the skeleton inside the box was missing a cranium, a right elbow and a right anklebone. According to the study, the bones are those of a man who died in old age, somewhere between 70 and 85 years old.

This data confirms what Christian tradition teaches us about the evangelist, and it adds to the record that the Evangelist suffered from acute, diffused osteoporosis, grave arthrosis of the spinal cord, and pulmonary emphysema.

The bones were arranged with great care, reflecting the honor in which the Evangelist was held in antiquity. Vessels were also found in the sarcophagus attesting to the authenticity of the relics, the magazine said.