Monsignor José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça was replaced by His Excellency Angelo Vincenzo Zani. They have behind them a gallery of illustrious predecessors: the French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, (2003-2007; His Eminence died on July 5), the venerable Italian Cardinal Raffaele Farina (2007-2012) and the French Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès (2012- 31 July 2018).
Even Benedict XVI, when he did not think that he would become Pope, let alone Pope Emeritus, dreamed of becoming a Librarian, after completing his mission as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In the world’s oldest library, things are much nicer and darker than in Dan Brown’s semi-inept novels.
The librarian and archivist of the Holy Roman Church – this is the official title of the post – is surrounded by four assistants (all prelates): the prefect and vice-prefect of the Apostolic Library, the prefect and sub-prefect of the Secret Archives (those sealed with seven seals, which give the aura of mystery of the institution).
Eighty experts, silent and of a refined elegance, move discreetly between departments – manuscripts and collections, books, coins, restoration, museums and catalog.
The penultimate Bibliothecarius, XLVIII (Forty-Eighth), José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, outlined a disturbing theology of thirst: the thirst for nothing and the thirst for God, tears as a metaphor for thirst, quenching your thirst with your own thirst, the happiness of to be thirsty
The power without a scepter, but a huge one, of the Bibliothecarius belongs today to the XLIV (Forty-Ninth), Angelo Vincenzo Zani.
Every Bibliothecarius believes in the multiple lives of books. Everyone knows, like Pope Paul VI, that “the library is the place where we hear the footsteps of Christ resounding in the history of humanity”, as in the history of our lives we hear the footsteps of those we love.
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