addendum and clarification

Due to the increased activity of on this site recently, cabbagejuice would like to make it easier for readers not to have to wade through other articles and information to get to the heart of the matter regarding the Custody of the Holy Land and its Magnificat School of Music.

It’s a massive, almost impossible, task to bring down to earth any and every fantastic claim by the Church and its supporters. When their old superlatives are exhausted, new ones spring up like the “therapuetic, opening the heart and mind” qualities that of course, are in special abundance at the  music school in the heart of the “martyred Holy Land” .  The latest is a laboratory for peace and sharing all united by music to build up a new Jerusalem of peace. Yeah, right!!! *

The website of the school is an incredible display of the audience falling to the knees, tears barely being held back, always to be remembered, everything done not in a normal, human manner but fantastic, marvelous, wonderful, accompanied by plentiful, exuberant rounds of applause. Liberally sprinkling around names of saints, in particular St. Francis (who would no doubt be horrified by the gratuitous self-promotion), imparts a quasi religious quality that could only be associated with its many splendoured founder, regaled by now with many prizes, medals and  limitless publicity with his pictures all over the place.**

To shorten the argument considerably is simply to ask the question WHY?

A clip below of a recent article is just typical of the advertising hype that by now  is repeated like catechism.  I just want to pull out the phrase “recognized by all“, which to any thinking person should cast suspicion on the rest of the bombastic claims.*** 

The answer to the WHY is actually simple, why to inflate the qualities of a product in order to promote it — to get people to buy  — basic advertising!

What is terribly wrong here as compared to usual marketing, people who are seduced into this project and dole out money do not get the product. Peacemaking doesn’t benefit either. The money goes to an organization that cleverly is hidden behind the scenes. 

If the public were shown the Statute of the Magnificat School of Music that says upon dissolution of the school, EVERYTHING reverts to the Custody, they might hesitate. Instead there is a constant publicity campaign to glorify and promote the founder under a smokescreen that has presented it on more than one occasion as the School of Father Armando Pierucci (scuola di Padre Armando), rather than a simple school, like many other schools, and immobile property like many other properties of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

  1. The Franciscans are not only custodians and administrators of the Vatican properties in the Holy Land (probably worth billions of dollars) but also a monastical order owning sizable property. Is such a religious organization entitled to public money?  How transparent is the channelling of public money into a rich ecclesiastical organism? Is this legal, in a secular state like Italy ?  
  2. Furthermore, one could question:  what will happen to the donated money? Will the public retain control over it or its fruition? The answer is right  here, in the Statuto of the  Magnificat Institute  

 CONVENZIONE fra la Custodia di Terra Santa (CTS) e l’Istituto “Magnificat” (IM)

 1. All CTS spetta la scelta della sede accademica dell’IM nell’ambito di Gerusalemme. In caso di cessazione o estinzione dell’IM, la CTS dispone a suo piacimento dei locali e del materiale didattico.

Translation: ( The CTS will select the academic home of IM in Jerusalem. In the event of termination or extinction of IM, the CTS disposes of the premises at will and teaching materials.)

Could anyone pretend not to understand the meaning of this?  All money donated to such a project turns ultimately into a gift to the Franciscan Custodia di Terra Santa – de jure and de facto.  Or. put blatantly: a donation to the aggrandizement of Franciscan property in the Holy Land.  And surely, after the renovation of the new premises, the “nuova sede” of the school, its property value will be magnified.

The above should be plastered on ANY fundraising initiative, on ANY article rather than the hyped-up claims below. Please note that everything must be taken on faith and not proof, no independent critiques or any opinions outside a circle that may have a vested interest in promoting the product or benefit by sucking up to the Church.****

…Si parte sabato 28 agosto alle ore 18.30 con l’inaugurazione del Festival nella suggestiva sede del Segretariato Iniziativa Adriatico Ionico (Rocca della Cittadella) alla presenza delle autorità e degli enti promotori che consegneranno a Padre Armando Pierucci, direttore del conservatorio di musica Magnificat, il Premio Adriatico Mediterraneo 2010.

Musicista virtuoso e compositore di grande talento, padre Armando Pierucci è nato a Moie nel 1935. Dal 1988 risiede ed opera a Gerusalemme, in seno alla Custodia di Terra Santa, dove si prodiga per il superamento delle barriere fra ebrei e palestinesi. Nel 1995 fonda l’Istituto Magnificat a Gerusalemme, una scuola di musica che, oltre ad essere un luogo di preparazione professionale di alta qualificazione in campo concertistico e didattico, è anche un luogo di dialogo, di pacifica convivenza e di promozione umana e sociale. L’Istituto Magnificat è infatti aperto ad insegnanti, studenti, personale ausiliare e fruitori musicali senza discriminazione di lingua, paese, razza o religione. L’opera di convivenza, tolleranza, rispetto e condivisione portata avanti da padre Armando è riconosciuta da tutti, tanto più in una terra martoriata dall’odio e dalle divisioni etniche e religiose.

Translation …It begins Saturday, August 28 at 18.30 with the inauguration of the Festival in the picturesque seat of the Secretariat of the Adriatic Ionian Initiative (Fortress of the Citadel) in the presence of the authorities and promoters bestowing on Father Armando Pierucci, director of the Magnificat Conservatory of Music, the Adriatic Mediterranean Prize 2010.

Virtuoso musician and composer of great talent (says WHO?), Father Armando Pierucci Moie was born in 1935. Since 1988 he lives and works in Jerusalem, within the Custody of the Holy Land, where he devotes himself to overcome barriers between Jews and Palestinians. In 1995 he founded the Magnificat Institute in Jerusalem, a school of music, besides being a place of professional preparation of high qualification in the field of concertizing and teaching, is also a place for dialogue, peaceful coexistence and human and social promotion. The Magnificat Institute is therefore open to teachers, students, auxiliary staff and users without discrimination of musical language, country, race or religion. The work of coexistence, tolerance, respect and sharing carried out by his father Armando is recognized by all, especially in a land torn by hatred and ethnic and religious divisions.

By back calculation the sequence of events is not difficult to extract.

1) The incredible opportunity of being in the midst of the most flammable political and religious trouble spot in the world and the virtual freedom to exploit it.

2) Patient accumulation of contacts and sympathizers over about 15 years from mainly outside the country who can’t very well check the facts but would believe anything coming from a cassock. Add to that those who crave publicity themselves and holiness by association.

3) The advertising advantage of having a more than willing mascot who can serve as the spokesperson and also the beneficiary of limitless publicity and honorariums, with every medal and peace prize making it even more credible to the public. So why not add to that, “GENIUS composer” and “one of the world’s GREATEST organists”?

4) To have a tight home group that supports and benefits financially at the same time by the megalomania. Therefore, the enrollment would never go higher than a certain number. Too many people would dilute the mythology and heaven forbid, some accountibility or truthfulness might be demanded.

5) The parent organization will protect ANYTHING that goes on in the place as LONG AS IT IS MAKING MONEY AND GETTING ATTENTION FOR ITSELF. They will even join in inflating the number of students, for instance, with the excuse that they didn’t have the possibility of checking or that they trust their subordinates. But they KNOW that NO PEACE ( the reason that everyone has been asked to donate money for including the annual worldwide Vatican Lenten donation to the Holy Land) is being made, in fact, the opposite! But, repeat, as LONG AS IT IS MAKING MONEY AND GETTING ATTENTION, pile on the propaganda and glory!

6) Conclusion: the Church in the Holy Land is despicable.

* Please note that normal institutions do not write their own reviews. Only independent critics without a vested interest can be credible.  Comparisons with other child performers, say the little geniuses on youtube who play Mozart Concertos and Chopin Etudes,  would put such outlandish claims in perspective.  But pour on the sauce, baby!!!  And they STILL insist on 200  students!!!

“Great success for the students of the Magnificat at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies

On Sunday 14th November, the best students of the Magnificat, the School of Music run by the Custody of the Holy Land, performed in the auditorium of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies …fifteen students of the Magnificat, aged between 9 and 14 performed with bravura and panache classic pieces…Applause from the audience confirmed the successful performance…The reputation of the Magnificat is continually growing thanks to the great professionalism of the teachers….The characteristic of the school of music run by the Custody of the Holy Land, however, is also that of effectively being a laboratory for peace and sharing, with teachers and pupils who are Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians of all confessions, all united by music to build up a new Jerusalem of peace. This is why the Custody of the Holy Land considers the Magnificat a very important activity for its mission…The Magnificat Institute has more than 200 pupils, over 20 teachers and three choirs. FRC”

This shameless tripe was repeated on the videocustodia channel (news of 19/11/10 ) on youtube by Fr. Riccardo Ceriani.

Telling fairy stories about “great success” with a half empty auditorium in the background, showing clips of baby pieces that normal conservatories keep for internal consumption is patently ridiculous. But more than that, an institution that wants to retain any kind of credibility CANNOT slip up and say they have one student more than the actual number of regular students  because indulging in exaggerations is 1) BAD EXAMPLE  and also 2) people will question what other fibs and half truths they may be telling.

But really, the purpose of such lavish, sanctimonious self-praise is transparent and has been described above – disgusting!


At the citidella of Ancona, Fr. Armando Pierucci received the ‘Adriatic Mediterranean Prize for Peace among Peoples, 2010’, an honour bestowed on him between rounds of applause. “The honour goes to St. Francis“, he said, “who understood what we had to do by going to the Holy Land and leaving us there. And to all of you who have the same aims, “Do not leave us alone!”.  Finally…the organ recital to take place on 5th September at the Cathedral of St. Ciriaco in Ancona.

At this concert, Fr. Armando performed music composed by Frescobaldi, Vivaldi and himself. The audience…became especially enthusiastic over his final improvisation.

Note: Even Horowitz and Rubinstein didn’t write their own reviews.

*** The local press after the reception of the “Prize for Peace among the Peoples” (big laugh) was a smorgasbord of new fantastic claims worth translating and repeating here:

From Resto del Carlino, August 28, 2010: “with his sympathy, his humanity, his modesty…Father Armando is a demonstration of…one who wants, can obtain unimaginable results.” (unimaginable self-promotion over nothing or less than)

From Messaggero August 28  (translation)”For example, when a Moslem student becomes enamoured of his Jewish teacher, the barriers come automatically down”.  Ha, you forgot to mention that personal attachments are not necessarily a pedagogical advantage, better to keep a respectful distance. But really, what happens when a student despises his teacher, if he or she shouts or forces a kid to be a little robot doing the teacher’s will?

Where is there proof that so many students love their so many teachers? Instead, there is a scant number of non-Christians interacting with one another. Proportionally there are many more in other institutions so the notion of a “flagship” of peace known to the local Israeli population is an outright falsehood.

It’s really difficult to keep the lid on the actual pathology of the whole scheme but such clues manage to come out into the open revealing  its true mentality.  The title of the article is “Music and Ringworm – this is how the religions live together in Jerusalem”. Quote:  “Questa è tigna” Eh, si, È  tigna. In senso buona, per fortuna.” (This is a ringworm. Eh, yes, a ringworm. In a good sense, luckily.)

If the  farmers in the home country can be convinced that peace is being made in the Middle East by a monk sprinkling fairy dust on the heads of a few non-Christians (“pace, pace miei 250 bambini”), surely they would accept “ringworm” making peace as well.  “It is a ringworm” however is about one of the truest statements coming out of the peace monk.

A ringworm is a parasite –gorging off the earnings and work  of others, cherry-picking intellectual property while turning it into useless fungus, feasting itself on undeserved publicity and glory, diverting nutrients to its miserable organism which instead should go to real needs in the world (Africa, North Korea, etc.) to actual starving children and not spoiled rich brats touring Europe every few months.  

**** The latest shameless bombast is a smorgasbord of self-bestowed compliments “Huge success for the Magnificat Christmas Concert” from the ATS, terrasanctablog.

In fact, no one really noticed the singing and playing at the Midnight Mass as it was overshadowed by the political figures who strut themselves in the annual photo-op at the Church, plus the usual noise. According to tradition, no outside critique can really check if these exclusive concerts were so marvelous except there were some privately filmed parts that showed nothing special.  The orchestra “created to to share the experience of the most beautiful music of all time” – are they talking about the senile scribblings of their resident composer?

Self-praise is bad enough, the abject lack of humility coming from an ecclesiastical organization is enough to make one vomit but the DEGREE of magnification surely is pathological, evidencing not only obsession but desperation as well. It’s as though piling on the compliments will create a smokescreen so people will suspend their reason, fall on their knees and horse droppings will turn into gold BECAUSE THEY SAID SO.

SORRY, in the free market, you can’t change lousy compositions into masterpieces, you can’t change screechy singing into the heavenly choirs. In fact you lay yourselves open to doubt because if you lie about one thing, the question will be inevitably asked, what else are you lying about?

This is sheer chicanery: “she turned the heads of the 120 celebrants who were looking for the source of this incredible sound, and immediately rendered listeners into a state of devout meditation.”

Sainthood by association, that is, invoking the name of the Saints and the Deity to attract glory and raise money might not be such a good idea. If you do actually believe in the Bible, take heed:

Galati 6:7

Non vi ingannate; non ci si può beffare di Dio; perché quello che l’uomo avrà seminato, quello pure mieterà.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.


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