1. The Pontifical Roman Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas
This year too, the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and of Catholic Religion, offered a series of Readings of St. Thomas.
On March 6, 1998, Prof. Fr. Robert Busa S.J., the author of the Index Thomisticus – to which he has dedicated his entire life –, spoke on "The perspective of information technology on the methodology required for a hermeneutical approach to the works of Aquinas".
On March 13, Prof. José-Antonio Izquierdo, of the Pontifical Athenaeum "Regina Apostolorum" of the Legionaries of Christ, delivered a conference on "St. Thomas in the Information Age".
On March 20, Prof. Horst Seidel, of the Pontifical Lateran University, held a discourse on "The Subject-Object Relationship in St. Thomas Aquinas".
On March 27, Prof. Luigi Iammarrone O.F.M. Conv., of the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, spoke on "Intellect and Will in John Duns Scotus". At this session Fr. Antonio Livi of Opus Dei presented to the gathering his new volume on St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Academy continued publishing the quarterly review Doctor Communis. Some volumes of the collection "Studi Tomistici" are being printed.
Fr. Luigi Bogliolo, S.D.B.
2. The Pontifical Roman Theological Academy
Soon after the allotment of the interacademy award, the solemn academic session was celebrated on 20 November, 1997, with a conference by Rev. Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli O.P. on "Merciful Love. In the centenary of St. Therese of the Child Jesus". Already suitable arrangements have been made for this year's session (25 November, 1998) with a lecture by Prof. Renzo Lavatori on: "The Holy Spirit, gift of the Father and the Son".
During the month of March 1998 the Academy participated in the cycle of meetings on the thought of the Angelic Doctor, organised by its sister-academy, the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Academy continued publishing the review Divinitas. Among some of the themes dealt with this year are: Christian humanism and St. Thomas, the "Filioque", and freedom and grace in the problem of salvation.
In the series "Studi Tomistici" this year the Academy published vol. 62: Mario Pangallo, The Law of God, Synderesis and Conscience in the "Questions" of St. Albert the Great.
Mons. Brunero Gherardini
3. Pontifical Academy of the Immacolata
Complying with the task given to the Academy together with the Marian Academy, cultural Institutions were invited to propose candidates for the award of the Pontifical Academies of this year. Fr. A. Pompei, Vice-Secretary of the Academy, participated for this purpose in the joint panel of the two Marian Academies on June 8, 1998.
Eight members of the Academy have already completed the studies necessary for the priesthood. As regards the women's group, the Cardinal President received the final vows of three girls, who join another ten in the "Order of Virgins" of Rome. These groups extend the activity of the Academy through prayer, catechesis and charity, in order to foster among young people a renewal and consolidation of the Christian faith in a climate of marianness.
Other than in Rome, they animated Marian feasts in the sanctuaries in which they are present, Lourdes, Fatima, Częstochowa, and Loreto. At Lourdes (11 February, 1998) and at Fatima (September) they were led by the Cardinal President. Moreover, they had been with the Holy Father to Sarajevo, Prague, in various cities in Poland, in Paris and in Bologna. They are always present at the Piazza of St. Peter for the papal audiences, particularly that on December 8. On the occasion of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, as has been done since 1938 on behalf of the Vicariate of Rome, the Secretary of the Academy organized the traditional popular event at Piazza di Spagna, which culminated with the intervention of the Holy Father.
On 1 November, 1998, Mons. Angelo Comastri was nominated first Vice-President of the Academy and on 11 February, the Delegate Fr. Giacomo Martinelli was nominated Chaplain to the Holy Father.
Fr. Alfonso Pompei, O.F.M. Conv.
4. The Pontifical International Marian Academy
From the year 2000 there will be a new series of Congresses, uniting the Mariological and the Marian Congresses into one Congress which will retain both aspects.
For the preparation of the Mariological-Marian Congress of the Year 2000, already the first contacts have been made, and meetings have been held to nominate the Diocesan Commission that will have to look after its preparation. Various Mariological Societies in different countries have been kept informed, and with the Council of the Academy, the preparation of the theme of the Congress has been studied. Together with the diocesan representative and the Central Committee for the Jubilee, a basic plan has been drawn up from which the final programme will be developed. Through the publication of an internal Newsletter, all the members of the Academy have been kept in touch.
The correction of the proofs of the talks given at the Congresses of Huelva (1992) and Częstochowa (1996) has been yet another task during this period; hopefully, some volumes of Proceedings will be published before the end of the year.
Jointly with the Academy of the Immacolata the Academy proceeded to the organisation and convocation of the award of the Pontifical Academies, which this year dealt with Mariology. The "Notice of a Competitive Examination" was despatched to Italian theological faculties and, via the Mariological Societies, to those of other countries. The interest aroused was seen in the appreciable number of competitors. The quality of the works presented has prompted us to seek to extend the award with a medal of the Pontificate of His Holiness for the second and third candidates.
In the progressive renewal of the Academy, the exisiting convention with the Pontifical Athenaeum Antonianum has been revised, and, in agreement with the Order, the "Blessed John Duns Scotus Chair for Mariological Studies" has been created.
The fraternal collaboration with the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum has also increased, both in its Review and in its study-meetings at which the Academy was present, particularly in the last convention dealing with the question of the definition of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.
The Academy participated in the 33rd. national convention of the Sanctuaries of Italy, presenting the forthcoming Congress and inviting the participation of the sanctuaries, with the proposal of creating an international network of Marian sanctuaries.
Finally, the Accademy is supporting the creation of new Mariological societies in different countries, in Asia, Africa and America. In particular, we trust that we shall soon have a new Mariological society in Argentina.
Fr. Gaspar Calvo Moralejo, O.F.M.
5. The Illustrious Pontifical Academy of "Belle Arti e Lettere dei Virtuosi" at the Pantheon
The Academy continued the programme of restoration of its artistic patrimony located at its historic premises at the Pantheon. Measures to conserve the marble and plaster busts of the 18th.–19th. century were carried out. Particularly outstanding among these works of art are the bust in plaster of Raphael sculpted by Giuseppe De Fabris and that in marble, by Oscar Sosnowski, depicting Antonio Sangallo, a work that is conspicuous by its stern solemnity. Other interventions concerned some most valuable pieces of furniture and wooden sculptures of the 17th.–18th. and 19th. centuries which were disinfected and cleaned. An important retrieval for the history of art was represented by the restoration of a big painting depicting the dream of Joseph, the work of Giacinto Brandi which had been completely covered by a blanket of mildew, caused by infiltrations of water.
After the 2nd. public session of the Pontifical Academies which was held on November 3, 1997, the Academy granted its patronage to the 1st. Festival of Spiritual Cinema that was held in December in Rome.
Being reopened after about ten years, the historic seat of the Pantheon offered free guided tours for scholars and students of Italian and foreign Institutions. The collection of publications of art was also continued. These publications are periodically deposited in the Vatican library, in the special academic fund named after baron Aldo Odasso.
Finally, for the Jubilee of 2000, there are worthy celebrations in progress, for the staging of exhibitions of living artists of the Academy, in order to offer a pedagogical service to young seminarians through the medium of works of contemporary art.
Prof. Dr. Vitaliano Tiberia
6. The Pontifical Roman Academy of Archaeology
7 During the academic year 1997-98 there were public meetings every month from November to June, plus three meetings of the Academic Council and two assemblies of the current members.
The public meetings began on 27 November, 1997, with a report by correspondent member Emilio Marin, Director of the Archaeological Museum of Split, who spoke of the recent excavations at Vid (near Metkovic in south Croatia), which brought to light the ancient city of Narona. From these, the speaker went on to develop the theme "Augustus and the Augustan city of Narona", extant elements of which are the temple, and sixteen statues, including a colossal one of Augustus.
On 18 December, 1997, the permanent associate Eugenia Salza Prina Ricotti presented a paper entitled: "Details of the edifices of sport of Villa Adriana" at Tivoli, of which two theatres and one arena remain. There followed a presentation by Prof. Carla Maria Amici, entitled: "A proposal for the Lobby of Liberty" which was in the area of the Church of Sts. Luke and Martina near the Mamertine prison.
On 29 January Prof. Federico Guidobaldi spoke on "The cut-stone flooring of Rome from the origins to the Julian Claudian age", whose beginnings are traced to around 100 B.C.
On 26 February, 1998, the permanent associate Fulvio Cairolo Giuliani presented a paper on "The Sanctuary of Hercules at Tivoli" linked to the exploitation of hydraulic energy supplied by the local waterfalls. Then followed a presentation by Dr. Mauro della Valle on "The Mosaic Christ of the Cathedral of Narni" which was discovered in 1953 in the little chapel of St. Cassius or St. Juvenal, which could date, in some parts, to the 5th. or 6th. century.
The public meeting of 26 March, 1998, started with a presentation by the permanent associate Emilio Rodríguez Almeida on "New hypotheses on the Aemilian edifices", commercial establishments located by him in the port zone along the Tiber beneath the Aventine hill. Another presentation followed of the corresponding associate Prof. Gian Luca Gregori on "The Collection of the Municipal Antiquary of the Celian Hill".
On 30 April, 1998, the meeting was dedicated to the discovery of the sanctuary of the goddess Feronia at Loreto Aprutino. Dr. Andrea Staffa described the archaeological excavation and Dr. Maria Rita Sanzi Di Medea presented the devotional side. It seems that the cult of this goddess flourished from the social war to the Augustan age.
The meetings of the Council were held on 29 January, 26 March and 28 May, 1998. At the first meeting the President informed the councillors of the works considered in advance by the Secretariat of State for a better organisation of the Academy's premises. As regards publications, a saving has been assured by publishing the Annuario 1997-98 as an updated version of the previous volume. It has been decided to fix the sale price of volume 46 at Lire 300,000.
At the sessions of the active associates on 29 January, the associate Letizia Pani Ermini was confirmed as curator of publications and the associates Ivan Di Stefano Manzella and Vincenzo Fiocchi Nicolai, were confirmed as auditors of the accounts, and the estimated budget for 1998 was passed. The President told the house that the Council had decided to postpone the elections of new correspondent associates and invited the active associates to present new candidates.
Mons. Victor Saxer
7. The Pontifical Academy of "Cultorum Martyrum"
All ordinary commitments of the Academy have been honoured during this academic year. The Holy Stations of Lent and Easter have been completed with satisfying results, because of the continued qualitative improvement, already begun in past years: the participation, specially of men, was more sincere, serious and interior.
We were able to fulfil all the traditional "Commemorations" of the principal Roman martyr saints. The possibility of increasing the number of "Commemorations" is being examined, adding some commemorations of ancient or modern martyrs who do not yet have a local role, perhaps by alternating them with the traditional ones.
For two years now, we have doubled – twice a year instead of once – the "External Commemorations" at some sanctuary of martyrs outside Rome. At the invitation of the Bishop of Termoli, we went to venerate Saint Timothy, the disciple of St. Paul, a Bishop and, according to tradition, also a martyr, even though not by persecution. The remains of his body were rediscovered, after more than 700 years of remaining concealed beneath a slab signed and dated, in the cathedral of Termoli and put together with the relics which that church possessed before the 13th. century. Fr. Ferrua has in due course made a long historical study of it, which, together with the anatomical examinations, offers fairly certain proof of authenticity.
The annual solemn procession in honour of the Roman Protomartyrs was held in the evening of the vigil of Sts. Peter and Paul, winding its way through the Vatican Gardens, above that spot where one still finds the site of their martyrdom, the circus of Gaius and Nero.
This year we organised a Convention that concerned the theme of martyrdom, "Optabilis Humanitas". We relied on the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, where the Convention was held on March 21. The President of the Republic gave his patronage. His Eminence, Cardinal Poupard, honoured the Academy by presiding.
In the morning there were reports by Prof. Kaczynski, Rector of the Angelicum ("John Paul II: an inclusive martyrology"), by Prof. Mgr. Saxer, President of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences ("Martyrdom: tradition and history"), by Prof. De Santis, on the teaching faculty of the Angelicum ("The words of martyrdom in the Bible"). Our Academy intervened with two tele-interviews: one with Curator Prof. Bisconti, Secretary of the Sacred Archaeological Commission, and the other with Prof. Fr. Favero. In the afternoon, a "round table" sought to throw light on the limits of the concept of "martyrdom" with reference to other forms of heroism. Prof. Fr. Agius, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Angelicum, brought the Convention to a close.
Prof. Fr. Luigi Favero S.M.