Francis X. Rocca

Francis X. Rocca ia an American writer in Rome, Italy.

The Pope, Politics, and Christmas

 

From our December 2000 issue. Prospects for a Merry Christmas in St. Peter’s Square dimmed a bit at news that Jörg Haider would be bringing the tree. A visit by the Austrian politician infamous for his praise of the Third Reich is bound to recall the Pope’s meetings in the late 80s with Austrian President Kurt […]

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A Holiday of One’s Own (December 1999)

 

Editor’s Note: A classic from our December 1999 issue. My favorite Thanksgiving is one I spent in London a few years back. The weather was gray, of course, though warmer than what I was used to from Connecticut. I spent the day at the National Gallery, which I found mercifully uncrowded, followed by half a […]

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Immigration Sensation

 

“ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS OUT,” reads the headline of a poster recently plastered on walls all over Rome. Another bit of demagoguery from Europe’s far right? Sure enough, at the bottom appear the name and logo of the National Alliance, largest of several Italian parties tracing their lineage to Mussolini’s Fascists. But now read between the lines: […]

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The European Religion

 

Among the many good deeds for which the Pope’s admirers praised him yesterday, on the 25th anniversary of his election, the strangest to American ears must have been his support for the European Union. Surely this titanic crusader for peace and freedom hasn’t had the time to waste on a bunch of politicians in Brussels? […]

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Infernal France

 

Euroskeptics on both sides of the Atlantic will be watching with apprehension tomorrow as the leaders of 25 nations meet in Rome to open a conference on the European constitution. Nationalists within Europe worry that the constitution will advance the European Union’s centralization, giving more power to Brussels at the expense of member states. The […]

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Infernal France

 

Euroskeptics on both sides of the Atlantic will be watching with apprehension tomorrow as the leaders of 25 nations meet in Rome to open a conference on the European constitution. Nationalists within Europe worry that the constitution will advance the European Union’s centralization, giving more power to Brussels at the expense of member states. The […]

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Download Freeloaders

 

What are people thinking when they download music or movies illegally, or buy bootleg discs from sidewalk vendors? The answer is, they’re not thinking. The New York Times says 60 million have used file-sharing programs like KaZaA to rip off other people’s intellectual property — a practice that the recording industry this month filed 261 […]

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Worthy Opposition

 

The other day an Italian asked me, flatteringly, what the world makes of Silvio Berlusconi. He clearly wanted to hear that foreigners see his country’s prime minister as a buffoon. Instead I replied that despite Berlusconi’s notorious gaffes, like his comparison of a German politician to a concentration camp guard, or his claim that “Mussolini […]

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Not in Front of the Children

 

My career in television was brief — the length of a single conference call — but instructive. A few years back, producers of a show designed to introduce children to classic works of literature wanted some advice about Don Quixote. (Since I was then on my own quixotic quest for a doctorate in Spanish Renaissance […]

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Nous Sommes Tous Antiaméricains

 

Yet another poll shows that Europeans increasingly disapprove of U.S. foreign policy. Released yesterday by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo (in Turin, Italy), the survey says that 70 percent of Frenchmen consider American global leadership “undesirable.” That may not be news, but it turns out that […]

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