jeudi 30 avril 2020

Bienheureux DEDË PLANI, prêtre et martyr


Dom Dedë Plani : Prêtre. Mort le 30 avril 1949 dans un hôpital des suites des traitements inhumains qu’il avait reçus. Il rejeta vigoureusement toutes les fausses accusations formulées par les communistes.



Bienheureux Dedë Plani

Prêtre et martyr en Albanie

(*Shiroka, 21 janvier 1891 † Shkodër, 30 avril 1948)

Dedë Plani, inséré dans le groupe de 38 martyrs tués en Albanie sous le régime communiste, a été béatifiée à Shkodër (Albanie) le 5 novembre 2016 (>>> BBx Vinçens (Kolë) Prennushi et 37 compagnons, martyrs), sur la place St Etienne de la cathédrale.

Le card. Angelo Amato s.d.b., Préfet de la Congrégation pour les Causes des Saints, représentant le Pape François, a présidé la Messe de béatification en présence de dix mille fidèles, beaucoup arrivés de l’étranger. Parmi les participants figuraient le Chef de l’État, Bujar Nichani, le Président du Parlement, plusieurs ministres et représentants d’autres religions.



Saints Martyrs d’Albanie, Cathédrale de Sainte Mère Teresa, Prishtina

Martyrs de l’Église d’Albanie (Les 40)

XXe siècle

40 Martyrs du Christ de l’Église en Albanie

† en Albanie de 1913 à 1974

Groupe : « Vinçenc Prendushi et 37 compagnons avec Luigj Paliq et Gjon Gazulli »
Le procès canonique pour les Martyrs Albanais a été ouvert fin 2002, victimes de la persécution religieuse en Albanie durant les années de dictature communiste (1943-1989). Le procès concerne le père Luigj Paliq, Franciscain, assassiné au Kosovo en 1913, et du P. Gjon Gazulli, pendu sur une place de Shkodrë en 1927, ainsi que 38 autres martyrs de la période de la dictature communiste 1945-1990, dont des Franciscains et des Jésuites. Cela concerne sept évêques, de nombreux prêtres diocésains (Mark Gjani), trois jésuites, treize franciscains, un séminariste. Outre le Frère Gjon Pantalia, les autres martyrs jésuites sont les Pères Giovanni Fausti et Daniel Dajani.

Les 40 témoins de la foi tués en Albanie durant la persécution communiste :

Vinçenc Prendushi, O.F.M., Frano Gjini (1948), Jul Bonati, Dom Alfons Tracki, Dom Anton Muzaj, Dom Anton Zogaj, Dom Dedë Maçaj, Dom Dedë Malaj, Dom Dedë Plani, Dom Ejell Deda, Dom Jak Bushati, Josif Mihali, dom Josef Marksen, Dom Lazër Shantoja, Dom Lekë Sirdani, Dom Luigj Prendushi, Dom Marin Shkurti, Dom Mark Xhani, Dom Mikel Beltoja, Dom Ndoc Suma, Dom Ndre Zadeja (Tirana, Albanie), Dom Pjetër Çuni, Dom Shtjefën Kurti, Bernardin Palaj, O.F.M., Çiprian Nika, O.F.M., Gaspër Suma, O.F.M., Gjon Sllaku (Shllaku), O.F.M., Karl Sarreqi, O.F.M., Mati Prenushi, O.F.M., Serafin Koda, O.F.M., Daniel Dajani, S.J., Giovanni Fausti, S.J., Gjon Pantalia, S.J., Fran Miraku, Mark Çuni, Gjelosh Lulashi, Qerim Sadiku, Maria Tuci, Luigj Paliq (assassiné au Kosovo en 1913), O.F.M. et Dom Gjon Gazulli (Scutari en 1927).



Autel latéral de la cathédrale de Shkodër dédié aux Saints Martyrs d'Albanie

BBx Martyrs d’Albanie 

Vinçens (Kolë) Prennushi et 37 compagnons

(† Albanie, 1945/1974)

 Mémoire commune le 5 novembre : jour de la béatification.

Mémoire individuelle : jour du martyre (‘dies natalis’).

Le 5 novembre 2016, le cardinal Angelo Amato s.d.b., préfet de la Congrégation pour les Causes des Saints, à présidé, à la cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Shköder, en Albanie, la messe de béatification de 38 martyrs de la dictature communiste d'Enver Hoxha, président de l'Albanie durant 40 ans, de 1945 à 1985 .

Cette béatification des Serviteurs de Dieu, Vinçens Prennushi, archevêque franciscain de Durrës et primat d'Albanie, mort sous la torture le 19 mars 1949, et de ses 37 compagnons, tués entre 1945 et 1974, marque une étape importante dans la reconstruction spirituelle de ce pays des Balkans, qui a longtemps souffert d'un isolement extrême, et d'une dictature bien plus sévère encore à l'égard des religions que celles des autres nations d'Europe centrale et orientale, où les Églises parvinrent parfois à jouer, dans la mesure du faible espace de liberté qui leur restait, un rôle de contre-pouvoir.

Outre Mgr Prennushi, un autre évêque, Mgr Frano Gjini, des prêtres diocésains, des religieux franciscains et jésuites, un séminariste, une aspirante de 22 ans et trois laïcs figurent parmi les martyrs reconnus.

À la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, un régime communiste fermé au monde s'est implanté en Albanie, proclamée en 1967 par Enver Hoxha « premier État athée du monde ». En tant que Primat d'Albanie, Mgr Prennushi avait refusé à Hoxha de créer une Église albanaise distincte de Rome. Torturé, il est mort en prison le 19 mars 1949. Au total, sept évêques, 111 prêtres, 10 séminaristes et 8 religieuses sont morts en détention ou ont été exécutés entre 1945 et 1985. Dans le même temps, 1820 lieux de culte catholiques, orthodoxes et musulmans ont été détruits. Les lieux de culte qui restaient ont été affectés à d'autres usages.

Lors de sa visite en Albanie, le 21 septembre 2014, le Pape François (Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 2013-) avait rendu hommage à la résistance catholique, visiblement ému par le témoignage d'une religieuse et d'un prêtre octogénaires ayant survécu à des décennies de persécutions. Pour l'occasion, il avait délaissé le texte préparé pour confier sa consternation devant l'ampleur des persécutions antireligieuses sous le régime de Enver Hoxha. « Comment ont-ils pu résister ? », s'était-il interrogé à propos des martyrs.

Ce prêtre qui avait témoigné devant le Pape, le père Ernest Simoni (né le 18 octobre 1928 à Troshan – municipalité de Blinisht, en Albanie –), est un prêtre franciscain albanais. Emprisonné et réduit aux travaux forcés par les autorités communistes entre 1963 et 1981, il a été créé cardinal lors du consistoire, convoqué par le Pape François en clôture de l'Année sainte de la Miséricorde, le 19 novembre 2016.

Après les premières élections présidentielles démocratiques d'Albanie en 1992, une nouvelle constitution paraît en 1998, garantissant les libertés individuelles, dont la liberté religieuse. L'archidiocèse de Tirana-Durrës retrouve un archevêque, le siège ayant été vacant depuis la mort de Mgr Prennushi. Dans le même temps, les lieux de cultes rouvrent et les mouvements religieux sont autorisés à se développer.

Le 10 novembre 2002, l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult introduit la cause en béatification et canonisation des trente-huit victimes de la persécution religieuse. Représentative de la reconstruction religieuse en Albanie, cette cause est soutenue par le pape François, notamment lors de sa visite apostolique du 21 septembre 2014. Pour l'occasion, les portraits des trente-huit serviteurs de Dieu sont exposés tout le long d'un boulevard qui leur est consacré, à Tirana. Le Saint-Père ne manqua pas de leur rendre hommage tout au long de ce voyage.

Le 26 avril 2016, après trois ans d'étude auprès de la Congrégation pour la cause des saints, le pape François reconnaît qu'ils sont morts en haine de la foi, leur attribuant le titre de martyrs. La cérémonie de béatification s'est tenue le 5 novembre 2016 à Shkodër, en Albanie, et a été célébrée par le cardinal Angelo Amato, représentant du pape pour cette occasion.

Liste des 38 Bienheureux en ordre croissant des dates du martyre :

Lazër Shantoja (*Shkodër, 2 septembre 1892 - † Tirana, 5 mars 1945), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Ndre Zadeja (*Shkodër, 3 novembre 1891 - † 25 mars 1945), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Giovanni Fausti (* Marcheno, Brescia, 9 octobre 1899 † Shkodër, 4 mars 1946), prêtre de la Compagnie de Jésus.

Gjon (Kolë) Shllaku (*Shkodër, 27 juillet 1907 † 4 mars 1946), prêtre o.f.m.

Daniel Dajani (*Blinisht, 2 décembre 1906 † Shkodër, 4 mars 1946)), prêtre de la Compagnie de Jésus.

Qerim Sadiku (*18 novembre 1919 † 4 mars 1946), laïc de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Mark Çuni (*Bushati, 30 septembre 1919 † Shkodër, 4 mars 1946), séminariste. 

Gjelosh Lulashi (*2 septembre 1925 † 4 mars 1946), laïc de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër.

Alfons Tracki (*Bliszczyce, Pologne, 2 décembre 1896 † Shkodër, 18 juillet 1946), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Fran Mirakaj (*1917 † septembre 1946), laïc de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Josef Marxen (*Worrigen, Allemagne, 5 août 1906 † Tirana, 16 novembre 1946), prêtre du diocèse de Lezhë.

Luigj Prendushi (*Shkodër, 24 janvier 1896 † Shelqet, 24 janvier 1947), prêtre du diocèse de Sapë.

Dedë Maçaj (*Mat i Jushi, 5 février 1920 † Përmet, 28 mars 1947), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Mark Gjani (*Pulaj, 10 juillet 1914 † Shën Pal, 1947), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër. 

-
 Serafin (Gjon) Koda (Janjevo, Serbie, 25 avril 1893 † Lezhë, Albanie, 11 mai 1947), prêtre o.f.m.

Gjon Pantalia (*Prizren, Kosovo, 2 juin 1887 † Shkodër, 31 octobre 1947), religieux de la Compagnie de Jésus.

Bernardin (Zef) Palaj (*Shllak, 2 octobre 1894 † Shkodër, 2 décembre 1947), prêtre o.f.m.

Anton Zogaj (*Kthellë, Albanie, 26 juillet 1908 † Durrës, 9 mars 1948), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Tirana. 

Frano Gjini (*Shkodër, 20 février 1886 † 11 mars 1948), évêque du diocèse de Rrëshen.

Mati (Pal) Prennushi (*Shkodër, 2 octobre 1881 † 11 mars 1948), prêtre o.f.m.

Cyprian (Dedë) Nika (*Shkodër, 19 juillet 1900 † 11 mars 1948), prêtre o.f.m.

Dedë Plani (*Shiroka, 21 janvier 1891 † Shkodër, 30 avril 1948), prêtre à Shkodër.

Ejëll Deda (*Shkodër, 22 février 1917 † 12 mai 1948), prêtre à Shkodër. 

Anton Muzaj (*12 mai 1921 † Shkodër, printemps 1948), prêtre à Shkodër. 

Pjetër Çuni (*9 juillet 1914 - 31 juillet 1948), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Lekë Sirdani (1er mars 1891 - 29 juillet 1948), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Josif Papamihali (*Elbasan, 23 septembre 1912 † Maliq, 26 octobre 1948), prêtre de l'Église grecque-catholique albanaise.

Vinçens (Kolë) Prennushi (*Shkodër, 4 septembre 1885 † Durrës, 19 mars 1949), prêtre o.f.m., archevêque de Durrës et primat d'Albanie.

Jak Bushati (*Shkodër, 7 juillet 1890 † 12 septembre 1949), prêtre à Shkodër.

Gaspër(Mikel) Suma (*Shkodër, 23 mars 1897 † 16 avril 1950), prêtre o.f.m.

Marije Tuci (*Ndërfushaz, 12 avril 1928 † Shkodër, 24 octobre 1950), laïque de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult

Jul Bonati (*Shkodër, 24 mai 1874 † Durrës, 15 novembre 1951), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Tirana-Durrës.

Karl (Ndue) Serreqi (*Shkodër, 26 février 1911 † 4 avril 1954), prêtre o.f.m.

Ndoc Suma (*Nenshat, 31 juillet 1887 † Pistull, 22 avril 1958), prêtre à Shkodër.

Dedë Malaj (*Dushkul, 16 novembre 1917 † Shkodër 12 mai 1959), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Shkodër-Pult.

Marin Shkurti (*Samrish, 1er octobre 1933 † avril 1969), prêtre à Shkodër.

Shtjefën Kurti (*Ferizaj, Kosovo, 24 décembre 1898 † 20 octobre 1971), prêtre de l'Archidiocèse de Tirana-Durrës.

Mikel Beltoja (*Beltoje, 9 mai 1935 † 10 février 1974), prêtre à Shkodër.


Sources principales : fr.radiovaticana.va/news/ ; wikipédia.org (« Rév. x gpm »).  


©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

Blessed Dedë Plani



Studied at the Shkodrë Pontifical Seminary, and in Innsbruck, AustriaOrdained in Primiz, Austria on 3 August 1919 as a priest of the archdiocese of Shkodrë-PultAlbaniaImprisoned in 1947 during the Communist government’s antiChristian persecutions, he survived months of tortureMartyr.

Born

The meaning of the beatification of 38 martyrs for the moral crisis in Albania

17 November 2016

Almost unbelievable: how such a small nation can be raised to the altar of the Lord through such a huge sacrifice: 38 blessed martyrs! Among one billion and three hundred thousand Catholics who live today on this planet, a community of nearly 500 thousand Catholics brought forth from its bosom 38 martyrs. Considering the worlds assembly of martyrs, who are officially proclaimed blessed, about 1038 individuals in two thousand years history of the Catholic Church, we can whole-heartedly affirm that the Church in Albania is a martyrs’ Church.

Every single Christian is called to be a martyr, according to every one’s own spiritual strength. And really, did not Christ himself acknowledge that persecution will be part of the life of the Christian because of the choice He made?  If the world hates you, you should know that she hated me before you.  If you were of this world, the world would love what is hers, but since you are not of this world – because I chose you from the world – for this reason the world hates you (John 15, 18-19). This prophecy of Christ has already been fulfilled in all her dimensions with the violence against the Catholic clergy and by forcing the Church to her very knees under the regime of ‘hammer and sickle’.
By the Catholic Church I understand the whole community of baptised individuals, as the persecution did not make a halt at the clergy only, but the fanatic destroyers aimed diabolically at the total submission of all the Catholics, their culture, their history, their reminiscence and especially their heritage.

The persistence of bishops, priests and lay people, who were persecuted in ways and methods most abject and despicable just to get them to surrender, has been really heroic. The word “heroic” has been so often misused in the debates after communism in Albania that this word today sounds rather trivial, but the persistence here far exceeded the bounds of the usual. At the dawn of a period that was meant to be Albania’s liberation, there came at the same time this dark hour of cruel violence against the Catholic clergy and elite in Albania.

The Catholic elite on the threshold of 1945 was prominent in all cultural, social and political respects and the communists had quickly understood that she would be an enormous obstacle for a regime that was going to be based on ignorance and blind faith. Therefore Fr Zef Pllumbi rightly stated: That’s why Tito and Stalin told Enver Hoxha:  in case you want to rule in Albania, you have to get rid of the Catholic clergy. This is the real story, the real history, which was never written.

Considering the extraordinary spiritual and cultural and as an indirect consequence also political strength of the clergy and the Catholic elite, the regime used not only the whip, but also nice promises. The idea to create a National Catholic Church of Albania was rejected. The prelate Mons. V.Prenushi was punished and tortured to death for refusing this ominous idea. The inner calling of the Catholic Christian does not allow such a thing; the Church cannot be separated from the Pope, to whom Christ has given the obligatory task to lead His flock. Also in this case the clergy’s reply was profoundly according to the Gospel, making its choice: not to comply with dictatorship. The Church followed strictly Saint Paul’s advice:  Don’t be yoked with those who are unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar (the devil)? Or what partnership is there between a believer and an unbeliever? (2 Cor 6,14-15)

And indeed, the testimonies of the martyrs confirm truly and fully the attitude that springs from the principles of the Gospel. It is impossible to present here all the testimonies of the martyrs, but two of them – I believe – summarise quite well their grandeur and spiritual force. Dom Dedë Malaj:  I am a Catholic priest. A patriot.  I am creeping here in the dust, without any guilt towards my people, towards my flock or even towards God, who had put His trust in me. Only one thing I can be accused of.  I am against communism ever since I came to reason and to my senses. […] …we and all of you are in God’s hand. He judges. But there’s no force in the world that can judge Him!

Dom Anton Muzaj:  Please tell my family , the Church and my house, that I am totally innocent. The only crime for which I am here, is that I love very much Christ, and that I did not accept to betray Him for whatever occasion!  (From Vatican Radio. Section Albanian Language).

The moral victory of the martyrs through their death is written in the Sacred Scriptures. In the Book of Revelation it says:  For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. (Rev.12,10-11) The victory of Christ, which is present in our days through the martyrs, has a price. This victory resists the times through the sacrifice of the martyrs.  The testimony for Christ reaches its fullness, when the experience of love drives one to do the utmost: Whoever loves his life, will lose it. He who hates his life in this world, will save it for eternal life. (John 12, 25).

In the persecuted Church of small Albania the paradox of Christian victory was made possible: through the conscientious death, sacrificing oneself, imitating Christ, not by killing others. So, martyrdom for the sake of faith in God and for the sake of the truth. From the publications on persecution, under the auspices of Dr. Pjeter Pepa, we get a very short synthesis of the holocaust:  from 6 bishops and 220 priests on November 28, 1944, 65 died as martyrs, 30 have been executed, 35  succumbed to torture, 64 died later as a result of torture and/or sufferings in prisons and concentration camps. Except priests a considerable part of the Catholic laity elite was executed.

This testimony contains a lesson and a great spiritual and moreover hopeful message for Catholic Christians, for Christians of other churches and for all the Albanians of good will against an ominous axiom, which we use too often:  Albania won’t make it!  In times when an enormous moral post-communist crisis flies at the Albanian society’s throat, such testimonies make us recognise that there is always the possibility of converting. We need a strong sway to come out of evil and sloth, and this attestation of the martyrs provides us with a powerful motivation. It is not an appeal to heroism. Everybody, according to how much grace God has given, can make certain steps towards truth and goodness, even with the weaknesses of each and every one’s character.  Their example must be like spiritual must, like a little seed to overcome the crisis, in which we find ourselves in.

In these weather conditions, where clouds are not lacking, the heaviest task is on the shoulders of the lay people: to remain united around the pastors of the Church and especially to voice their support of the younger clergy, who is in great need for direction towards the full gift of their lives for Christ. The priests, and especially the young among them, are to face two no small responsibilities, besides the enormous responsibility of following Christ: the responsibility that flows from the sense of height, naturally welling up out of martyrdom and the responsibility, that comes with the unequalled honor for the clergy and the Catholic elite not to give in to destruction and persecution. Young priests and seminarians are like material and spiritual seals, where the youngest shoots get prepared for the future of the church and we have to have daily committed lay people in order to witness their presence and the benevolence, keeping in mind the complicated Albanian reality, where the spiritual dimension is lukewarm and the “matter” is stubborn, tempting and occupying. I confess, that the one who writes down these lines, is the first one to admit that he is far from fulfilling these duties, but that he writes these lines with the firm belief that it is the right way, we need to follow.

It is a meaningful fact that among the 38 martyrs were 5 lay persons. Proof of a pastoral activity with first of all spiritual leaders and shepherds of the Church. Lay people, unless they are tempted to clan around certain priests whom they like, are a swaying force in the Church. The division among lay missionaries or Albanians, citizens or provincials, traditionals or converts, anticipates a great role for lay people in the Church

Besides the fact that among the martyrs who will be beatified on November 5th are also several missionaries, we should know that in the transition period of the Catholic Church in Albania, immediately after the fall of communism, we cannot leave untold the contribution of these missionaries. The Church is a missionary Church. It suffices to read the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of Saint Paul to understand that evangelisation depends strongly on the missionary nature of the Church.  A big Thank You we must say for the missionaries. With all the big difficulties to understand our complicated culture, they gave the testimony, that the Christian does not have a homeland and is immediately a citizen with full rights in the foreign country! (See the letter to Diognetus the 2nd century!) The need for missionaries was crucial. This in the meantime caused missionaries to come without the necessary preparation of the knowledge  of the Albanian language and the culture. But, whatever is the case, keeping in mind the fact, that since more than three centuries ago missionaries, who came to Albania, were obliged to follow a one year course to study the Albanian language and culture, it goes without saying that the criticism is right, today 25 years after the fall of communism, we still have missionaries who celebrate Mass with a translator! The mission of evangelisation cannot be accomplished with a translator, it is simply impossible!

Besides words of unrestrained praise for the missionaries, still another critical comment might be relevant: perhaps they, but not only they, did have the opportunity to develop new vocations with greater awareness. And when Albanian families become aware in their households of the beginning of a vocation, they also should be more present, more supportive and more encouraging.

As for the political aspect, in the broadest sense of that word, I am convinced that the testimony of the martyrs is the highest example of non-corruption. Most of the accusations against the martyrs were political, right or crooked, that’s why their tragedy could not mean something else than political for the whole of the Albanian society and especially for politics. Catholics got a heavy yoke to bear to willingly pronounce this testimony of the martyrs in order to stipulate the dignity of the Catholic community wherever it is necessary. Today the Catholic community filled with hope is on its way towards a difficult redress, a recovery from this wicked destruction. The journey is strewn with obstacles because of the heavy shaking of minds and because of the lack of the political will to be grateful for the historical role the Catholic community has played in the fermentation of the nation and the state.

Half-heartedness and the tendency to wrap the testimony of the martyrs in mystery is the unambiguous expression of an irritation by politicians in order to keep them going in the sight of this difficulty. At least, the political class of today should take a symbolic political decision on the acknowledgment of and gratitude for the martyrdom of the clergy and the Catholic elite, by demonstrating also initial stages of repentance for the crimes committed during communism. Certainly a big part of today’s politicians has no direct responsibility for what happened under communist rule, but from the moral and institutional perspective, such a step must be made, since this would contribute to an eventual process of moral cleansing of politics. Also Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have asked forgiveness for mistakes the Church made in the past, even though they were personally not guilty of them. The law of a country speaks the moral conscience of the nation, as a consequence the repentance for crimes already committed, is a premise that fratricide laws by the parliament of that country are not accepted and that the moral crisis will last very short. Martyrdom is a good link where the politics can be urged to look sincerely for repentance that is still lacking.

Repentance is not an easy process, since the lack of will to acknowledge the martyrdom, even to the point of irritation, is noticeable in all the corners of the political reality. In case of the Pope’s visit, – I was involved in the organisation of the event – I heard often, even in the highest political ranks: Those Catholics annoy us with their persecution, they always want to play the victims’ role!

The excitements of sinning in the minds of the persecutors are disturbed by the beatification of the martyrs. This manifestation brings them unease, and irritation. The testimonies of the son of Mehmet Shehu don’t give us much hope here, since he insisted: communists never regret. But in the Christian perspective nothing is impossible, goodwill suffices, because the possibility of conversion exists until our last breath.

Why is it that the testimony irritates? From the martyrdom flow several excellent lessons for a worthier coexistence and for a more dignified and more virtuous Albanian state. But these lessons can be uncomfortable, as they touch upon some hooks and eyes, which politicians are not so very willing to like.

First. The conscious choice of death in case of a real possibility to save your life with a compromise is the most sublime example of not being corrupted. When we contemplate on the ethical physionomy, the biggest scandal is not only the corruption of your very self, but the moral justification thereof by a part of the politics and of the society. Today we are not asked to give ourselves up, when we see the possibility of being corrupted, but at least let us begin to turn around, which the Christian faith never fails to offer to everyone.

Second. The martyrs teach us that it’s not us, nor politics who speak the final word on real justice in a society. Every politician and citizen is asked to act with justice, but the realisation of the accomplishment of what is right in the most extended meaning of the word, belongs to Divine Providence.

Third. The martyrs with their testimony tell us there are some values which are not negotiable in politics. When the martyrs were asked to deny God, they answered their executioners in the following words: We cannot deny God, o brothers! God exists! God exists! Believe us! In modern societies, where Albania is found unexpectedly in great haste, people think that everything that activates human relationships in the society depends from social and cultural beliefs, whereas the role of the Creator is denied. In this way we have gone in the direction of what Z.Bauman calls “The fluid society”, where the person feels spiritually lonely, although he is physically among human beings. (Z.Bauman, C.Bordoni Stato di crisi).

Fourth. Martyrdom is the perfect guide of freedom. Their testimony teaches us what it means to be really free: unconditional respect for the truth. The martyr is killed because he does not accept to kneel before a power, which asks him to act against the moral judgment of his conscience. The martyr is really free, because he is freely true!

The direct involvement in politics, every now and then, has created some misunderstandings at a part of the Catholic community, causing the political representation to leave much to be desired. Immediately after the fall of communism spread the fashion of “demo-christian parties”. Even today we have 5 or 6 so called demo-christian parties. Not even one of them has but the slightest  notion of what it means to have political ideas be inspired by Christian thought be it also from far away, intricacies of political theology, of which they don’t know anything nor even heard of! Totally flat and misty, without head or tail, their political movement has the form of an amoeba.

When someone appears in public in the name of the Church and of the demo-christian principals, without any understanding of those, he makes several mistakes at once:

First:   Because the name of the Church is used for political purposes with absolute ignorance, while the Church does not whatsoever directly engage in politics. Pope Bendict XVI is very clear on this obligation of the Church of not mingling in politics: The Church must absolutely stay away from the political battlefield. (Benedetto XVI, Deus Caritas est, 28).

Second:   Because when you take upon yourself the yoke of representing the principals of the Church, you need to be first of all united with the community without difficulties and accepted by the Church as representative. How can somebody represent a community, which does not know him as its representative!?

Third:  A part of the persons, who are engaged in this sort of parties, are known for their diabolical determination to get at their own specific goals. In this behavior nobody notices the humility, which should characterise a Christian politician.

In the Albanian situation I have serious doubts about the utility of a political formation named demo-christian even in the case of those who put their shoulder to the wheel know very well the demo-christian principals. Albania is not Italy, is not Germany! Those who know the anthropo-logical physionomy and do not have a deformed conscience cannot engage in gaudy political adventures. Albanian politics of today have a tribal flicker and this flicker hinders if not prohibits strongly the implementation of demo-christian politics. Christianity refuses to think tribal, it goes beyond that. In the Christian perspective there is not even place for family kinfolk, neither for different ethnic groups, nor for villagers nor for citizens, nor for Gegs, nor for Tosks, nor for Greek, nor for Turks, because: There are no more Hebrews-Greek! No more slaves-free!….You all are ONE in Christ Jesus! (Saint Paul. Gal.3.28).

The same thing, if not worse, can be said also for a part of those politicians who have a Catholic background and are active members of the bigger political parties in our country. The religious harmony is maintained and reinforced only when each of the politicians, who are believers, expresses his/her faith freely and this harmony is spoiled when someone hides his/her real stand on religion for political reasons.

A gloomy paradox often accompanies their political activity: they are the first to raise their voice against pastoral letters with a critical nature that the Catholic Church publishes on socially important matters! The more diligent adversary, not to give the Catholic Church the land to build the Cathedral, was a Catholic politician, who held one of the three more important positions in the government! When the Archbishop of Tirana asked why this anger and bitterness against the Church, he answered: The land should be used for sports and not for churches. For this politician the elasticity of the body was more important than the gymnastics of the spirit!

Besides these two kinds of Catholic politicians, we have a third kind: the converts, those who converted to Christ! I have no authority whatsoever, and nobody has except God, to verify the authenticity of a conversion. The Church is conversion. No Church without conversion! Conversion is the most radical transformation spiritually and morally, the upsetting of your very existence, which can happen to any person after meeting with Christ. Among the more spectacular examples of conversion we can mention Zachee from the Gospel of Luke, Saint Paul, Saint Augustine. What I and many others can judge is the public and political activity of converts. The biggest drama of the convert is when he lives for political interest, for the fashion of the day or for the former praise of the Catholics.

Besides these categories exists also the one of the crypto-converts or those who admit they are baptised, but don’t make this fact public and they don’t live the faith in its public dimension.  Practicing the Catholic faith cannot exclusively be personal; it has a functional public dimension. Baptism is a public proclamation of the belonging to Christ in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The practice of the faith asks sternly to participate in the celebration of the Holy Mass every Sunday.

Besides the plague of extinction, the Catholic community needs to confront a culture, which is in an almost hidden way anti-catholic, a consequence left behind by the persecution like the trace of a creeping snail. The testimony of the excellent intellectual Sami Repishti clarifies this crippling cultural aspect of the Church. The criminal Pandi Kristo told me that we have killed Prengas and Lleshes, guilty or not guilty, only because they were Catholics. Certainly today anti-catholicism cannot be expressed with murder and butcheries, but with different forms, which at first glance escape the eye.

After the death of the dictator Enver Hoxha, the party decided to publish a book with memories of the most important personalities of the country, intellectuals and politicians. Impressive was a part of that book. It was a testimony by Prokop Murres. During a visit of Enver Hoxha, when he was the major of Shkoder, Murra recalls, among other things, that they arrived at the schools in a village and he speaks about the good work of a teacher, who had realised a laboratory in a school. Comrade Enver was very glad about the good words. But when Murra mentioned the name of the teacher , comrade Enver frowned unexpectedly! Murra initially did not understand why. Only later, when Enver Hoxha told him: Be careful, from his name I realised he is a catholic, Murra understood why Enver frowned.

The anti-catholic culture can be noticed also when there is a promotion, repeatedly from the two sides of the political specter, of a sarcastic representation of some Catholic politician in the parliament.

What I wrote above does not deny the fact that the spiritual feeding fountain of the martyrs doesn’t stop the water from flowing to quench the spiritual thirst  of the Catholic community to be where it belongs.

The communist harm could affect only the bodies of the martyrs; it could not touch the marrow of the spirit, which is kept like the seed in the Gospel: unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (Jn 12:24).

Tertullian, one of the Fathers of the Church, said that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Christians”. Without any doubt this seed has produced her fruits continuously, even when the violence, that hit her, was dreadful and thought through until most diabolical details in her own evil. Their testimony asks for moral compensation. They cried out in a loud voice: “How long will it be, holy and true master, before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” (Rev.6:10)

“More light” said Mons. Vincent Prendushi when he gave up his spirit. And truly, unending light is their testimony. And finally, with the words of Kolici: without the light-shining works of unanimous intellectuals, a nation is like a blind man on a road full of pits and dangerous barriers.

Beato Domenico Plani Sacerdote e martire



Shiroka, Albania, 21 gennaio 1891 – Scutari, Albania, 30 aprile 1948

Don Dedë Plani, sacerdote della diocesi di Scutari-Pult, esercitò il ministero sacerdotale in vari villaggi. Devoto e religioso, aiutava molto i poveri e si dedicava completamente ai suoi fedeli. Come altri sacerdoti religiosi e diocesani albanesi, venne processato e torturato a lungo. Morì nel carcere di Scutari il 30 aprile 1948, per le conseguenze delle torture subite. Insieme ad altri diciannove sacerdoti diocesani, è stato inserito nell’elenco dei 38 martiri capeggiati da monsignor Vincenç Prennushi, beatificati il 5 novembre 2016 a Scutari.

Dedë Plani nacque a Shiroka, un villaggio vicino a Scutari, il 21 gennaio 1891. Compì i primi studi e il Liceo a Scutari, nel Pontificio Seminario e nel Collegio Saveriano dei Gesuiti, mentre frequentò gli studi universitari di filosofia e teologia a Innsbruck in Austria.


Dopo essere stato ordinato sacerdote, tornò in patria. Fu parroco in diverse parrocchie della diocesi di Pult, nei villaggi di Gimaj e Pog, e nella diocesi di Scutari, a Rrogam e a Shiroka. Dai resoconti dei suoi fedeli è possibile delineare un suo ritratto: «Era un uomo sapiente, svelto, forte e robusto», ha sottolineato un testimone.

Un altro suo parrocchiano di Shiroka, oramai anziano, così ha narrato le sue qualità e il suo martirio: «Io sottoscritto, Balto Kola, depongo per don Dedë Plani. Ho 81 anni, sono nato e cresciuto a Shiroka. Don Dedë Plani l’ho conosciuto non solo dalla liturgia domenicale in chiesa, ma anche da vicino. Era dedito all’attività religiosa, con gran devozione, ma la sua attività di ministro di Dio non si limitava all’altare. Allo stesso modo aiutava i molto i poveri, e non negava mai il servizio a tutti, ed era radicato fortemente nella fede cristiana. Ma la sua dedizione completa a Cristo la testimoniò soprattutto all’istruttoria a Scutari. I comunisti hanno usato varie torture con lo scopo di piegarlo ad ammettere le accuse, ma lui non si arrese e non accettò nessuna delle accuse e nessuna calunnia».

Degli ultimi giorni e della morte, continua a raccontare una sua cugina: «Dalle torture che subiva, anche quel poco cibo che poteva ricevere dai famigliari nei giorni stabiliti, cominciò a restituirlo indietro. La sua situazione di salute peggiorava di giorno in giorno, ma lui era deciso a non ammettere nulla».

«Quando sua madre», dice un’altra testimone, «ormai anziana, andava a prendere il recipiente del cibo, dopo averlo svuotato, trovò scritto in fondo: “Mi torturano in modo disumano; sono così massacrato che presto morirò”». Infatti così accadde: morì il 30 aprile 1948 nel carcere di Scutari, durante le torture.

Insieme ad altri diciannove sacerdoti diocesani, don Dedë Plani è stato inserito nell’elenco dei 38 martiri capeggiati da monsignor Vincenç Prennushi, beatificati il 5 novembre 2016 a Scutari.



Autore: Emilia Flocchini