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US/ Albacete: Sin and Faith

LORENZO ALBACETE reviews the last week news in the US media. The death of James Gandolfini highlights how his character, Tony Soprano, is a demonstration of the mix between sin and faith

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Last week we began this column with an observation attributed to Msgr. Luigi Giussani to the effect that the violence of Christians is just as cruel as that of non-Christians, with the difference that most Christians went to confession afterwards, where many non-Christians saw the struggle as the proclamation and defense of the sovereign will of God.

This week I couldn't stop thinking about this observation in spite of the many interesting and dramatic events that captured the attention of the news media.

Beyond doubt the biggest news have been the adventures of Edward Snowden, patriot, Political dissident, or traitor spy whose robbery and distribution of America's greatest secrets and methods of obtaining them has stunned many citizens who value privacy at all costs, even when it becomes an obstacle to national security.

(We are dealing with an issue of maximum importance to Americans, one of the issues - the relation between individual liberty and rights vs. the enforcement of laws that really keep this country together -)

The Snowden Affair will be a classic in American literature for many years, provided of course that it is written, and written well.

Then there are the arrests, trials, and sentencing of some of the weirdest criminals imaginable, from almost infancy to old age. Then the derailment of trains and trucks, the crashing of a vehicle into your living room almost killing you as you were peacefully watching a TV show in which the same thing was happening.

There were also the fires that threatened to destroy the beautiful trees of the west of the country, not to mention the devastating floods in areas where not that long ago the earth was barren and dry. Then national attention was also given to the sexagenarian who dared to use a politically forbidden, racially demeaning word and whose very popular cooking program on TV was cancelled, leading her to a public apology that in the end did not convince her accusers.

But of all the news, the one that fascinated me most was the reaction of the people to the death of James Gandolfini and therefore Tony Soprano.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, even if you know to perfection any or all the news items mentioned above, you haven't been really interested in what is happening in that United States these days.

That was my situation last week. I had no idea who James Gandolfini was. I knew that Soprano was the name of a mafia family in New Jersey, but not the name of the Boss of the family.