"Inside the Vatican" Rates Top 10 Catholics for 2002

Communion and Liberation Founder Heads the List

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The list of the top 10 people of 2002 in the Catholic Church, according to Inside the Vatican magazine, includes a late cardinal and a murdered journalist.

Topping the list is Monsignor Luigi Giussani, 80, founder of the Communion and Liberation movement. According to the January issue of the magazine, he “has inspired thousands with a desire to seek Jesus Christ as the ‘ultimate meaning’ of their lives.”

Byelorussian Catholic journalist Viktor Taresevich is in the second place, brutally killed in Poland last February by unknown assailants, after having purchased a car together with his brother (also killed) in Germany. He founded the Russian ecumenical news agency Blagovest Info.

According to Inside the Vatican, Taresevich was much appreciated by Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants in Russia. At 39, he left his widow, Lyudmila, and three children.

In third place is the new Genoa Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, 69. The magazine mentions the importance of the documents Monsignor Bertone signed over the past seven years as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It surmises that his formation and experience will help him in his new pastoral role.

Sister Callista Cozzi, Comboni missionary in Sudan, is listed in fourth place. Last October she received an honorary doctorate from the country’s president. At 81, Sister Callista works tirelessly in a maternity hospital that she founded, the magazine said.

In the fifth place is Antonia Willemsen, born in 1940 in Holland. She is secretary-general of Aid to the Church in Need and for decades the right hand of Father Werenfried van Straaten, its founder, who died last Friday. The magazine summarizes her contribution thus: “Forty years of bringing aid to suffering, poor and persecuted Catholics around the world.”

Sister Margherita Marchione, 81, is in sixth place. A “leading scholar on the life of Pope Pius XII,” the magazine said, “this Italian-American nun has led the fight to defend Pius against charges that he did little for Jews during World War II.”

The list continues with Cardinal François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who died Sept. 16 at age 74. “He spent 13 years in prison in Communist Vietnam, becoming one of the great witnesses to the faith of our time,” the monthly states.

Eighth in the list is British Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, new president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, “the chief proponent in the Church of dialogue between Catholicism and Islam — an area of critical and ever-growing importance.”

Ninth is American Thomas Monaghan, a “Catholic millionaire who is giving his fortune away to serve the faith. Founder of Domino’s Pizza, Monaghan is building the first new Catholic university in the U.S. in 40 years.”

The list ends with Polish Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, personal secretary of John Paul II. Inside the Vatican describes Bishop Dziwisz as “John Paul’s most important day-to-day assistant.”

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