The Anchoress is quite correct. The headline is deplorable: "Atheist gifts pontifical school in will". The "atheist" has a name, it is Oriana Fallaci. Before she died she sent 20 boxes of books to a pontifical university in Rome. She did so because she admired Pope Benedict XVI, despite her self-proclaimed atheism.
Oriana Fallaci had described the pontiff as an ally in her campaign to rally Christians in Europe against what she saw as a Muslim crusade against the West. As she battled breast cancer last year, she had a private audience with Benedict, who was elected only a few months earlier, at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
In one of her final interviews, Fallaci told The Wall Street Journal: "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true."
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.
Benedict greeted Fallaci's nephew and his family during the ceremony, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. He then spoke briefly about the search for truth in science and academia.
"God is the ultimate truth to which all reason naturally gravitates," the pontiff 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."
Oriana Fallaci believed passionately that the West is in trouble. She is a better student of history than the vast majority of what passes for journalists these days. She had a vastly better understanding of the world as it is than the vast majority of what passes for the intellectuals of the post-modern West.
The Anchoress (guest blogging at Captain's Quarters) writes:
That the fierce, passionate and relentlessly cerebral Fallaci, a former resistance fighter against true fascists, is shunted aside and called a "fascist" by know-it-all collegiate bookstore clerks while feminist clowns rule the day is a sad reflection of our dumbed-down era and the devolution of genuine, "classically liberal" thought.
It's alright. In 20 years, we'll still be talking about Oriana Fallaci. I doubt we'll be able to name her detractors. Her most recent books translated to English were The Rage and the Pride and The Force of Reason. Both are brilliant, thoughtful, passionate, maddening and moving and whether you agree with her or not, she will challenge you to think. When or if the third book in that trilogy will be translated to English is anyone's guess, given the times. I'm not even sure of its title.
While Fallaci was dying of cancer, she couldn't eat, so she drank champagne, instead. I love that. She lived a life.
She did that, didn't she? Biographical notes on Oriana Fallaci here.