Italian firebrand journalist Oriana Fallaci ordered that her books and notes be given to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome following her death, which occurred last month. Despite being a self-avowed atheist, Fallaci had an admiration for Popes John Paul and Benedict and for the role of Christianity in Western Civilization. She was an outspoken voice warning of a clash of civilizations with Islam. In fact, she had a quiet private audience with Pope Benedict after his election last year.
Benedict was surprised by the gift of the books, which dated back as far as the 17th century and included volumes about the formation of modern-day Italy, American history, philosophy and theology, said Monsignor Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateranense University in Rome.
“The veneration that she had for you, Holy Father, persuaded her to make this donation, which will be known as the Oriana Fallaci Archives,” Fisichella said during a ceremony at the university Saturday to announce the gift of the books, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Benedict greeted Fallaci’s nephew and his family during the ceremony, then spoke briefly about the search for truth in science and academia. “God is the ultimate truth to which all reason naturally gravitates,” he told an audience of students and faculty.
A few weeks before her death, Fallaci had some 20 boxes of books sent to the university, Fisichella later told The Associated Press. Books are still awaiting shipment from her homes in New York and Tuscany, he said, as well as her notes as a journalist. Fisichella said “the pope has said we must live in the world as if God existed and she (Fallaci) took up the challenge.”
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