From the Herald Tribune Bureau. ROME, August 19 – A gun duel between two Romans over a lady’s honor over the past two weeks has led to a lengthy and somewhat disturbed article in the Vatican newspaper “Osservatore Romano”.
All it takes to get a “clinical” picture of post-war social problems is dueling to regain favor, the Vatican body says. Virtually every other physical and mental illness, from tuberculosis to alcoholism and immorality, is already thriving in the aftermath of the conflict, the paper said.
An encouraging aspect of the duel in Rome, which should be noted, however, states the Osservatore Romano, is that dueling as a danger to human life did not manifest itself very seriously. The only person who went to the hospital was the man who rented the guns, and what he noticed was a car on the way home. The gals missed each other.
‘The ridiculous’ is probably the best method of fighting such duels, the Vatican newspaper notes wryly.
Dueling flourished in Italy two generations ago, the “Osservatore Romano” recalls. At that time, there were about 250 to 300 such fights per year. June to August was the busiest season, with military personnel, journalists, lawyers and students most often in the plot. Mass warfare diminished the duel instinct in the intervening decades so that there appears to be no real chance of a revival, the Vatican newspaper says.
Sports competitions, according to the newspaper, are the best form of dueling. One sport, which should be noted as an exception to this rule, however, is the “macabre American-style boxing sport,” it adds. The Vatican has long fought against dueling. Catholics are automatically expelled from the church for participating in duels.
—The International Herald Tribune, Aug. 20, 1946.