I remember Raimondo Manzini thirty years after his death
Twenty years ago Raimondo Manzini died. With him he disappeared a great journalist, passionate Christian and leading exponent of the Catholic world. For eighteen years – from April 16, 1960 to January 5, 1978 – he directed “The Osservatore Romano” in an important season of his history and more generally than that of the contemporary Church, a season that has delivered him to the historical memory of the Vatican newspaper as the director of the time of John XXIII and Paul VI. Born in Lodi on February 18, 1901, a very young student was soon enthusiastic about journalism to the point that with other comrades, at the end of the Great War, he had founded a newspaper, school, but printed, entitled “L’Avvenire”. As always, reality overcomes fantasy. “I did not foresee,” Manzini recalled, “that ten years later I would be called to direct a” big “newspaper called” The Avvenire d’Italia “and I would write for thirty years.”
In fact, in the Society of Saint Paul – the secular institute founded in Milan in 1920 by the inspiration of the secretary of Cardinal Archbishop Andrea Ferrari, Fr. Giovanni Rossi – just twenty-two began directing the weekly “Il Carroccio” and at twenty-seven years he was still director of the Catholic historian of Bologna, who drove passionately and energetically by the end of 1927. The new director straightforwardly adjusted the philosophical line suddenly taken from the newspaper and also succeeded in recovering the collapse of the copies due to the flattering choice for the regime, increasing the diffusion of the head, moderate return and enriched with prestigious signatures.
Contemplating the gloomy and uncommonly frantic commitment required by the direction of a daily newspaper with long moments of prayer, as recalled by a happy and slightly baroque journalist, Fr. Francesco Fuschini: “It was kneeling on the knees before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, to which the litany was furious with the rotators. I fluttered the stairs for visiting my friend Jesus and my director. Tall, thinly pulled, blue eyes like those of the statues of the saints, and blond hair in free release. He was lifted from the desk with the slightest gesture and apologized for the absence from the director’s table: “I’m sorry, Fr Francesco, but I got up right now.” I liked a world that dialogue between Director and Property, Christ Jesus Director of the Directors. ”
Although in Fuschini, who had described it in similar terms, Manzini declared, in a letter of 11 March 1931, “shameful: today your readers see me as an angel always kneeling in front of the Tabernacle. So it was. Not that I am not Christian, I try to be; but the active activism of this age makes me less contemplative, even though I try to pray in the barracks. ” Political engagement during the political tragedy during and after the war tragedy was underway in the newspaper “baraonda”: among the founders of the Emilian Christian Democracy in 1943, Manzini – who in 1939 had obtained permission to live outside the Pauline institute to marry Maria Crocco – was elected deputy to the constituent while remaining in Parliament for the first three legislatures and from February 1954 to July 1955 he was deputy secretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for Press and Information. Until the last decisive turning point in his life, when John XXIII called him to succeed Giuseppe Dalla Torre, who for forty years, since 1920, had directed the Vatican sheet.
Manzini signed our paper from April 16, 1960, when the preparation for Vatican II was under way for more than a year, and he directed “The Roman Observer” almost to the end of Paul VI’s pontificate, deepening the daily newspaper and favoring the international projection of the weekly editions. And, under his direction, the newspaper, as he wrote in his “leave”, remained “the faithful and textual voice” of the Pope, “in the context of information on the universal life of the Church.” Authorized by the “grateful greeting” published under the last article of the director. Because Manzini really meant “The Roman Observer” not so much with the authority of the role but “with the fineness of his Christian style and with the overabundance of cordiality that teach and lead fraternally.” That is why his lesson should not be forgotten.