MONDAY     February 14, 2000    vol. 11, no. 31    SECTION ONE

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW - How they're secularizing the sacred part one: Music
  • Michael Vincent Boyer's MOVIES & MORALS column on the corruption and manipulation of Hollywood's powerbrokers and their influence on TV ratings
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 109 - Three Persons in One God part two

  • Whatever happened to the rich and reverent tones of Gregorian Chant?

       In his column today, Pat Ludwa begins a series on the decline of Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the new liturgy and how we have lost the essense of what it was always intended to be. He traces the decline of Gregorian Chant as one of the progressives' great ploys in denuding the Church of Latin for no melody was more closely associated with reverence and the Latin liturgy than the beautiful, melodious, even haunting tones of Gregorian Chant echoing throughout a cathedral. He illustrates where Saint Augustine's words referred to Chant, not some guitar or instrument with little semblance of sacredness. He shows where much of the "music" that has replaced Chant leans toward either a Protestant influence or new ageism and is stamped by the liberal factions that seek to tear Holy Mother Church apart. For his column today, Secularizing the Sacred part one: Music, see VIEW FROM THE PEW

    Secularizing the Sacred part one: Music

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    Pope recollects on the blessings of his administering to the sick on Friday, looks ahead to this coming Friday for special Jubilee celebration for artists

       Today, we bring you the words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II's Angelus Message yesterday at St. Peter's Square in which the Holy Father remembered the sick who he administered to on Friday, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day for the Sick. The Pope also used the occasion to extend a special warm invitation to artists the world over to come to Rome to participate in a special Jubilee Year celebration for artists to be celebrated this coming Friday on the Feast of Blessed Father Angelico, considered the patron of artists. See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    The Holy Father's Angelus address from yesterday, Sunday February 13, 2000

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

          1. Still vivid is the memory of the extraordinary celebration of the Jubilee of the sick in St. Peter's Square this past Friday, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

          Sickness helps us to understand the mystery of man. Like the leper spoken of in the Gospel this Sunday, when we are sick we experience the fragility of being human and strongly feel the desire to be cured. In Jesus, who is moved to compassion for us, we find support and the answer to our most profound expectations. In his Cross, all suffering acquires the possibility of meaning; sickness does not cease to be a trial, but it is illuminated by hope.

          Indeed, God does not desire sickness; he did not create evil and death. But, from the moment in which these, through sin, entered the world, his love extended itself totally to make mankind well, to cure it from sin and from every evil, and to fill it with life, peace, and joy. This then is the consoling proclamation of the Jubilee, and, in particular, of this Great Jubilee that calls to mind two thousand years since the Incarnation of Christ.

      2. Following the Jubilee itinerary, which becomes ever more full of spiritual opportunities, this Friday, February 18, on the liturgical commemoration of their patron, Blessed Fra Angelico, the Jubilee of Artists will be celebrated. Under these circumstances I will have the joy of meeting these brothers and sisters of ours who, gifted by God with special intuitive and expressive capabilities, present themselves as privileged interpreters of the human mystery. They will come to Rome to manifest their faith in Jesus Christ, Word of God incarnate, epiphany of divine beauty in a human form. Christ is the supreme source of universal art's inspiration, and the contemporary age, even though marked by atheism, confirms it: the greatest artists of each continent have felt the need to measure themselves by Christ and his inexhaustible mystery. For this reason, the Church applies herself in a special way to a dialogue with art.

      3. We entrust to the Virgin all Beautiful this singular Jubilee celebration. In her, immune from the contagiousness of original sin, shines the splendor of Christ, Beauty who has redeemed the world. May Mary help us to love this Beauty, and make it shine forth constantly in our existence.

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    The deadly cancer festering beneath the surface of the new TV ratings

        Today we continue a new series begun Friday by Michael Vincent Boyer, a well-respected Catholic insider on what's happening in the entertainment industry. Since this is "sweeps month" when millions of dollars are at stake from the results of the industry's canonized standards: the Nielsen Ratings, we bring his take on the ratings system and how it has lowered moral standards. For part two of his column, see MOVIES & MORALS-VIDEOS & VIRTUES-TELEVISION & TEMPERANCE

    What Hollywood doesn't want you to know

    part two

    Behind the Scenes of the Ratings Debate

        Hollywood's claim to Bill Clinton:
        "He may be a liar and cheat, but he's our liar and cheat."

          Reminiscent of the secret 1966 meeting with Jack Warner and director Mike Nichols over the content of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", Jack Valenti met with sixty members of the Hollywood TV community in the Spring of 1996 to discuss the inevitability of TV ratings - with the stiuplation that no reporters or members of the public attend. According to Steven Bochco, "...there was not a person at that meeting that was in favor of a ratings system." It was an odd statement coming from TV's most vocal proponent of "pushing the envelope". Ratings would actually allow him to push further since he subscribes to the belief that teen viewers are drawn to anything labeled "Forbidden Fruit." The private closed-door meeting was held at the Peninsual Hotel in Beverly Hills.

          One attendee of the meeting, who asked not to be identified, said there was very frank discussions about this time being an election year and Clinton needed to be re-elected. In fact, most of those in attendance were Clinton supporters and contributors such as Clinton golf partner Leslie Moonves of CBS, perpetuator of the "value manipulation" marketing strategy known as "cradle to grave." which I spoke of in my first column this past Friday. There was also discussion by some in attendance of long range plans to change the public attitudes about entertainment; speculating that the increased vulgarity would be something the audience "would have to get used to" and that ratings may actually help producers make shows without much interference from the network's Standards and Practices division and even allow them to compete on the "same level" with the soft-core porn programming of HBO and Showtime.

          Representatives at the meeting also liked the idea that each network or cable channel could set their own standards for self-imposed ratings instead of a broader code of ethics that once guided TV before the National Association of Broadcasters abolished their code in the early 1980's. (The concept of manipulating the audience to suit the industry's tastes was discussed in the last issue of "Goodbye, Hollywood" with coverage of the CBS-Viacom merger.)

          Even if the contrived statements delivered outside the Peninsula Hotel sounded defiant, it was mainly a show for their fellow industry "professionals" in order to maintain a certain acceptable level of political correctness. The meeting was mainly about re-electing Bill Clinton, and as supporters they would have to steal the "right" side of the Culture War to win against Bob Dole, who first brought up the decline of values perpetuated by the entertainment industry. And as we know now, Clinton's support of ratings didn't bring him any enemies in Hollywood since he has made dozens of fundraising trips to Los Angeles hosted by entertainment leaders. As one of the attendees at the meeting said, "He may be a liar and cheat, but he's our liar and cheat."

          Regardless of what was said at Valenti's secret meeting, it is clear that Hollywood is at war with America. During the House Telecommunications Sub-Committee hearings in May of 1997, members traveled to Peoria, Illinois and asked 300 randomly selected families to watch a wide variety of TV programming. According to Broadcast & Cable Magazine, one mother was roundly applauded when she said "I am horrified at what I watched last week on television…I could not believe some of the things I saw." Valenti responded to many parent's complaints by saying, "We're trying only to rate what's on the screen so you have advance information. " That's like saying, "Look lady, it's gonna be bad, take it or leave it." Instead of telling the industry to clean up its act, Valenti tells Americans that all they can hope for is "advance information."

          Some leading congressional critics of television still find themselves less than satisfied with the ratings. As Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut said, "If you put a rating on garbage, it doesn't make it quality television. It's still garbage."

          In 1998, just one year after TV ratings implementation, the Parents Television Council (PTC) released a study titled "TV More Offensive Than Ever." Just one year after the ratings began, the evidence concluded a harsh reality reflecting a sharp rise in the per-hour combined average of sexual content, foul language, and violent content. Sexual content, profanity, and violence increased by almost 42%. According to Media Research Center Chairman Brent Bozell, "Plainly put, television is the raunchiest it has ever been in spite of, or perhaps because of, the rating system."

    Michael Vincent Boyer

    Tommorow: A brief history of the TV Ratings disaster

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    Appreciation of One God in Three Persons

        Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present a the second part of this brief catechesis on the essence of the Holy Trinity with One God in Three Persons. For the 109th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    Installment 109: ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS part two

        The three Divine Persons are really distinct from one another. "So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity nothing is afore or after, nothing is greater or less; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and copequal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in unity is to be worshipped." (From the Athanasian Creed).

        This is the simplest way by which the distinct origin of each Divine Person has been explained: God is a spirit, and the first act of a Spirit is to know and understand. God, knowing Himself from all eternity, brings forth the knowledge of Himself, His own image. This was not a mere thought, as our knowledge of ourselves would be, but a Living Person, of the same substance and one with the Father. This is God the Son. Thus the Father "begets" the Son, the Divine Word, the Wisdom of the Father. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God" (John 1:1).

        God the Father, seeing His own Image in the Son, loves the Son; and God the Son loves the Father from all eternity. Each loves the other, because each sees in the other the Infinity of the Godhead, the beauty of Divinity, the Supreme Truth of God. The two Persons loving each other do not just have a thought, as human beings would have, but from Their mutual love is breathed forth, as it were, a Living Person, one with Them, and of Their own substance. This is God the Holy Ghost. Thus the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Love, "proceeds" from the Father and the Son. "But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me" (John 15:26).

        But we are not to suppose that once God the Father begot the Son and now no longer does so, nor that once the love of the Father and the Son for each other breathed forth the Holy Ghost, but now no longer does. These truths are eternal, everlasting.

        God the Father eternally knows Himself, and continues to know Himself, and thus continues to bring forth the Son. God the Father and God the Son continues to love each other, and their delight in each other continues to bring forth the Spirit of Love, God the Holy Ghost. In a similar way, fire has light and color. As long as there is fire, it continues to produce light. As long as there is fire with light, there is produced color. But all three exist at one and the same time.

        In this imperfect way we vaguely see that God must necessarily be three Divine Persons, because only in that way can God with His Divine Knowledge and Will be complete in Himself.

        Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to us of the Blessed Trinity when before the Ascension He said to His Apostles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).

    Tomorrow: Unity of the Blessed Trinity part one

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    February 14, 2000     volume 11, no. 31
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