Together for the Magnificat, a miracle

Like “Bomb of Peace”, “Insieme per Magnificat”, or “Together for the Magnificat” is the latest buzz phrase to rally attention and money in Italy, mainly so their alleged peaceful students  can move out of the perennially flooding basement and to the “nuova sede” (new seat) that only requires a few more million Euro. This could have happened at any time by a simple act of the Custody of the Holy Land that runs the school and in fact has a posh hall with a new grand piano for the use of their about 100 students.

People are funny though.  Or maybe Italians are plain stupid.  Or maybe they believe ANYTHING coming from a person wearing a cassock. Or maybe they this is their chance to be attached to something ”holy” — and what could have more prestige than a music school making “peace”  in the Terra Sancta through music?

Yeah, and I’m Napoleon. If we all say that “insieme” then I can be anyone, Mother Teresa, and be in line for beatification after I get the Nobel Prize.

If they are stupid enough to give peace prizes to a monk who SAYS he is making peace though, with ONLY a handful of Jews and Moslems that EVER passed through the place, and there is NO evidence that the school was/is especially kind to them, let alone “making peace”, then they are stupid enough to blank out ANY of the facts, not to demand an account of ALL incoming and outgoing funds.

But PLEASE be informed, Anconians, Senigallians, or whatever you call yourselves, the peace initiatives are ONLY for your personal consumption, for YOU to believe that your little farm boy made it good in the Holy Land, WHEN IN FACT NO ONE ELSE THERE WOULD EVEN RECOGNIZE IT, and would probably even spit at the very idea, except of course, if they have something to gain like free trips, multiple scholarships and maybe a blessing from the Franciscans.

The so-called “miracle” being packaged and sold to you is a horse-trader’s miracle of food going into the horse’s mouth and coming out the other end as fertilizer.  Besides being unintelligent and naive, you must all have parmeggiano stuffed in your ears as well, not to be bothered by bad music-making, out of tune singing with poor diction.

Just to inform you farmers, music schools like Juilliard, Santa Cecilia, the Royal School promote themselves indirectly, that is, by the QUALITY of their products. This is a normal consequence of free-market activity. Instead, the representatives of the Franciscan propaganda and self-promotion machine  sell you a bad egg and say how great it is. 

Rai Uno, Italian TV Channel One, had this interesting clip on March 7, 2009.

Paolo Notari:  “Questo frate francescano in questa terra, gerusalemme, ha FATTO UN MIRACOLO…proveniento di varie etnie…senza preclusione per cosa?”

Peace Monk: “per fare musica insieme…vengono di tutto mondo…il megliore parte d’europa”

Paolo Notari “tante donne suonano insieme, cantano insieme e se divertono insieme senza pensare di proprie origine…”

Peace Monk: “stanno nella gioia e nella serenità

Usually journalists are supposed to check their facts (at least in the civilized world) and even TV announcers. Paolo Notari said that “this Franciscan father has made a MIRACLE…they come from various ethinic backgrounds without precondition (or prejudice) to do what?

Peace Monk: : to make music together

Paolo Notari: So many women come together, play together, sing together and enjoy together without thinking of their respective origins

Peace Monk:  standing in joy and serenity.

The above is pure garbage. The only miracle here is one of self-promotion. How does one get “so many women” out of only a handful of teachers, most of them not from Europe, unless the farmers in that part of Italy haven’t learned to count their sheep beyond single digits.

Or it can be an allusion to the miracle of  “loaves and fishes” (many from a few) that some ethnic groups (but who really cares, anyway, these days?) are “singing together”.  But I would not carry this analogy any further, since  it is indecent to use  the credibility of religion in order to support one’s conceits.**

First of all, teachers get PAID to teach.  Take the money out of the equation and see how much joy and serenity will remain. As for the latter,  there is no such thing anywhere in this world, but if you are stupid enough to believe it, continue to shell out your money to improve Vatican property, and don’t expect any transparency or accountability.

I only have one question to ask those full of joy and serenity, are they the students that remain after others leave because of shouting and undue pressure? In other words, those who stand to benefit from multiple scholarships and trips abroad and would be SO HAPPY to corroborate anything that is said about the place?

Quite frankly, the behavior of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land is despicable.* They have more than enough money to make a music school without cheap and misleading propaganda.  One doesn’t need a magnifying glass to recognize their blatant contradictions.  Israeli Jewish students were NOT admitted to the Tavasani Competition 2009, yet they sanctimoniously participate in an evening of “Memoria”. What utter nerve!!!

The bottom line though is WHY all this hysteria and propaganda about ONLY a few non-Christian students or teachers who happened to pass through there? Why do they need a basketball team to support them? Why all of this PR, that incidentally costs GOOD MONEY and could be very well put to better use for those who are actually in need and not well to do Jerusalemites, who incidentally didn’t give a damn during the abovenamed competition that their brothers and sisters could not cross over the wall due to added restrictions in January because of the Gaza conflict ?

Oh, just by chance, their own students grabbed most of the prizes.  No conflict of interest here. The biggest joke was the daughter of one of the administrators getting a “Premio di Roma” when there were only a handful of competitors for all of 12 places.

And did I forget the punch line, the peace monk was the HEAD of the jury!!!

“Insieme” for spreading around euphoria–now chant together:

“The Emperor’s clothes are SO beautiful and his GREAT INITIATIVE  is making PEACE in the HOLY LAND .” ***

*To be fair, there are still intelligent and responsible voices in Italy:         

My hopes are that such people will prevail and not those used to taking as Bible truth anything that the clergy says or does.  Being subject to scrutiny is a consequence of the free market. So let the sunlight in!!!

** One of the more disgraceful, outrageous trends by them these days is to invoke Divine help for the school–“prega per noi”, “un catene di preghiera” (“pray for us”, “a prayer chain”).  Scripture itself gives the remedy for misusing religion:  “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

***More miracles of self-promotion over nothing:

L’Istituto di musica Magnificat, luogo di educazione all’arte della Pace

Nel clima generale di tensione della Terra Santa, l’Istituto Magnificat nasce nel 1995 con l’idea di costituire un luogo di educazione al rispetto reciproco ed alla pacifica convivenza, nell’imparare l’arte della musica, tra allievi e professori di diverse origini sociali e confessionali: cristiani di varie confessioni, ebrei, musulmani. Dice Padre Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custode di Terra Santa : “Ciò che la Custodia persegue con il Magnificat è che giovani ragazzi siano educati al Bello, invece che rimanere nelle strade ad imparare forse a lanciare sassi”.

 L’Istituto Magnificat offre infatti un insegnamento accademico di alto livello, che, tramite la convenzione firmata tra la Custodia ed il Conservatorio di Musica di Vicenza, permette di accedere a cursus e diplomi universitari europei. Crea così grandi opportunità per ai ragazzi della città vecchia di Gerusalemme. L’Istituto Magnificat assicura infine, con e per la Custodia di Terra Santa, il servizio liturgico dei Luoghi Santi – quali la Basilica del Santo Sepolcro a Gerusalemme e la Basilica della Natività a Betlemme. La scuola costituisce di per sé un piccolo miracolo, poiché le iniziative di Pace e di convivenza sono molto difficili da portare avanti in una terra il cui clima generale incita alla divisione. La scuola ospita oramai oltre 200 giovani allievi e circa 18 professori, con un successo crescente. Lo spazio scarseggiando, la Custodia sta studiando la realizzazione di una nuova sede, sempre all’interno delle mura della vecchia città di Gerusalemme. Per questa bella realizzazione, sarà necessario ricorrere a generosi donatori. Ma attorno ai Luoghi Santi più che altrove ancora, è necessario avere tanto volontà e perseveranza, affinché le parole diventino fatti, affinché l’agire vinca; al fine di richiamare Gerusalemme alla sua vocazione di città della Pace.

Véronique Nebel

The jist of the above article is that peace is being made with a handful of teachers with Jewish names, but not necessarily so, giving music lessons (not all of them particularly pleasant either) to about 80 Christian Arabs.  Of course on the website of the Custody there is no English translation, nor one in Hebrew. Naive Italians are the target audience who believe their clergy can also perform magic –turning misty unsubstantiated claims of peace into hard cash.

It’s a real miracle to get 200 students out of about 100.  

It’s a real miracle to extract “peace” from a particularly poisonous atmosphere, shouting and undue pressure being routine.

Padre Pizzaballa should be informed that instead of “throwing stones”, the kids are going to expensive private schools, driving around in late model cars and happily enjoying vacations abroad. The incentive to stay in such a low level place is mainly being PAID to stay there, in other words, overlapping scholarships (quite a bit of money for one’s pocket and one’s family) and promotional trips abroad where you testify how ‘great’ it is.

This is about the ONLY music school that constantly praises itself, instead of reporting activities and concerts and letting others be the judges.

The Custody Choir on youtube is about the worst on the internet:

The so-called “arrangements” don’t help either, childish and unmusical harmonizations of Arabic music.


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