THURSDAY     February 3, 2000    vol. 11, no. 24    SECTION ONE

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW
  • Events this day in Church History
  • Medjugorje Message

  • It's time to stop monkeying around with dissidents who are blind, deaf and mute to the Truths of the Church

       In his column today, Pat Ludwa questions the rationale of those who would put more weight in modern dissident theologians than in Sacred Scripture and the teachings and doctrines of Holy Mother Church. He shows where their desire to follow their own will over the wisdom of God's Will leads to self-affirmation which leads to self-destruction through their own self-empowerment for they have not empowered themselves but greatly weakened their souls, leaving them vulnerable to actually believe the lies and half-truths spread so insidiously by satan and eagerly championed by those who think they have a better idea through destruction of the Church. They say misery loves company and this was never more evident than through the dissidents who prowl about the world, seeking the disintegration of what Christ established. For his column today, Self-affirmation = loss of faith, see VIEW FROM THE PEW

    Self-affirmation = loss of faith

          "It is not the tendency of human beings to bear the cross and love it, to chastise the body and subdue it, to flee honors and to put up with reproaches, to despise themselves and wish others to despise them, to bear all opposition and losses and not desire any prosperity in this world. If you trust in yourself, you will never accomplish this; but if you put your trust in God, you will be given strength from heaven, and the world and the flesh will be made subject to your command. If you are armed with faith and marked with the cross of Christ, you will not fear your enemy, the devil; for he will have no power over you." (Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis; Royal Road of the Cross, Chap. 12)

          It's in our nature as human beings to avoid conflict, pain, suffering, etc. It's in our nature to seek self-affirmation and self-empowerment. And we seek those who confirm that belief for us and attack those who don't.

          One of the saddest e-mail's I received was by a person who 'elevated' theologians over the 'political' institution of the Church and the Magisterium. And not just any theologians, by the way, but the dissident theologians who affirm this notion of self-affirmation and empowerment. This cannot come from a true faith and devotion to God, but only in a trust of self. A refusal to carry one's cross, to die to oneself, to humbly follow in the path Christ set for us.

          "Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in Heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven'" (Matthew 16: 16-19).

          Here we see clearly that Christ intended to build a church. A visible Church, a Church that would be seen on earth, which were to be given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. "Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation (9*) through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with Heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element.(10*) For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, Chap 1, The Mystery of the Church, #8).

          "Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshipped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age'" (Matthew 28: 16-20).

          Here, Christ establishes the 'Hierarchy' of that Church, the teaching authority of that Church, to 'teach the faithful'. "For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body. For those ministers, who are endowed with sacred power, serve their brethren, so that all who are of the People of God, and therefore enjoy a true Christian dignity, working toward a common goal freely and in an orderly way, may arrive at salvation.

          "This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father; and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world. And in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion. And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful. Continuing in that same undertaking, this Council is resolved to declare and proclaim before all men the doctrine concerning bishops, the successors of the apostles, who together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the visible Head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium; Chap. 3: The Church is Hierarchal, #1).

          So we see, both in Scripture and Church teaching, that trust in the Church IS trust in God. "He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me" (Luke 10:16). But to mistrust the Church, the Magisterium, as nothing more than a patriarchal, political institution, is to say one doesn't trust God, Who promised to be with and guide His Church throughout time.

          They find "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" a hard saying. Deny myself? Self denial instead of self affirmation? Humble submission to God and His Church rather than self-empowerment? But better we follow that teaching than risk one day hearing; "Then He will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;" (Matthew 25: 41).

          So, who are these who would deny Christ and His Church. Who are these 'catholics' who would say God has not, or cannot, guide and protect His Church?

      • "we need people with chisels inside (the church) chiseling away at that institution or it is never going to fall." (Sister Maureen Fiedler; (head of the "We Are Church" Referendum and an active head of Call To Action and other dissident groups)
      • Dignity, which says: "We work for the development of sexual theology leading to the reform of its teachings and practices regarding human sexuality, and for the acceptance of gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgendered peoples as full and equal members of the one Christ." (Dignity's Statement of Position and Purpose)
      This 'reform', of course, is the changing of the Church's teachings on human sexuality. Along with Call To Action, FutureChurch, catholics for a Free Choice, and others, they hope to destroy the Church and supplant it with a 'political institution' of their own making.

          IF the Church was not founded by Christ, but is nothing more than a patriarchal, political institution, then we can move to change it to suit what we want. Such is the role of politics. Through petition, revolt, vote, etc. But if the Church IS founded by Christ, and NOT merely a patriarchal, political institution, then the Church cannot be coerced into exchanging the truth for a lie.

          "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths" (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

          So, desiring what they want, self-affirmation instead of self-denial, etc, they gather around themselves, teachers (theologians) who tell them what they want to hear. All the while putting on the 'airs' of religion and faith.

          "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith;" (2 Timothy 3:1-8).

          They can never arrive at the truth since they deny, essentially, the author of all truth, Christ. And attack the visible instument of His salvation, the Church.

          Donna Steichen, author of "Ungodly Rage; the Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism" writes about their hidden agenda, "...that the vast majority of WOC members 'receive their regular paychecks from the Catholic Church or related institutions, working as pastoral assistants or as teachers at seminaries or Catholic universities or high schools,'...These people are working within the Church to destroy the Church...working as Catholic teachers or theologians, slowly chiseling away from the inside. That's what's shocking. Otherwise, they would just be pathetic and ridiculous."

          Thomas Sheehan, in his book "Revolution in the Church" speaks of the 'liberal consensus' (of which he admits to be a part of) of theologians who, deny Mary was a virgin at Jesus' birth, deny that Jesus was or even claimed to be Divine; the Son of God, deny that He founded or even meant to found, a Church, that He established a priesthood or even a hierarchy; a teaching authority. Since, as Stiechen reports and Sheehan admits, these 'theologians' receive their paychecks from Catholic Diocese's, Universities and schools, since they are the ones who "hold the chairs, get the grants, publish the books and define the limits of scientific exegesis and theology", since they are the darlings of the media, is it any wonder that many are deluded into thinking they are right and the Church is wrong?

          For all the letters following their names. For all their Ph.D's and media exposure, they cannot get around one simple fact: "No doubt the others (Apostles) were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter and it is thus made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair…..If a man does not fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church?" (St. Cyprian, 250 AD, "On the Unity of the Catholic Church")

          If they reject the Pope and Magisterium and see it as nothing more than a political institution, then they have lost their faith. If they desert the Chair of Peter, it isn't the Church which has left them, or thrown them out. Rather, it is they who have left the Church.

          Who do you follow? Kung, Curran, Ruether, et al? Or Christ?

      Pax Christi, Pat

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    Holy Father dedicates February to those who are dedicated to the Consecrated Life

       Today, we bring you the words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II's Angelus message from this past Sunday who chose as his topic Consecrated Life for that is what his prayer intention is for February - Prayer for Vocations to Religious Life and a preface to his special Jubilee Mass for the Consecrated yesterday at St. Peter's. In his address, the Pope invited all, not just religious, to join him and the religious of the world in a special three-day preparation for the Presentation of Our Lord in reconsecrating themselves to God just as those who are vowed to the Consecrated Life throughout the world will also do. See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    Angelus Address from Sunday, January 30, 2000 - "A GIFT FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH"

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      1. Next Wednesday, February 2, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, the Jubilee of consecrated life will be celebrated, that is, of the persons who have consecrated their life to Christ, committing themselves with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

          I wish to send a special greeting to these brothers and sisters of ours: to those who have come to Rome for this occasion, and to all in every part of the world who celebrate their Jubilee in their respective dioceses. I encourage all to cross the Holy Door with confidence and hope, renewing their full disposition to make of their own life a song of praise to the Most Holy Trinity. Here in Rome we are preparing for this event with a triduum that begins today. Today is dedicated to giving thanks for vocations and consecrations, which are inestimable gifts of God, to participate in the person of Jesus Christ, the "Anointed One" of the Father. Tomorrow the topic will be that of fraternal communion, and in the afternoon in the Paul VI Auditorium in the Vatican, there will be a joyful celebration of consecrated persons, which can be followed on radio and television. On February 1, then, the day that will highlight mission and witness, Eucharistic adoration is scheduled in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The climax of the Jubilee of the consecrated life will be the Holy Mass that, God willing, I will have the joy to preside in St. Peter's Square, surrounded by a large crowd of consecrated persons.

      2. I invite you all to spiritually join the brothers and sisters who express the different forms of consecrated life, because their vocation is a gift for the whole Church! The Bride of Christ, the Church herself, owes much of her beauty to the innumerable charisms of consecration that the Holy Spirit has inspired in the faithful over the centuries, beginning with the apostolic community until today. By their very presence, consecrated persons are a sign of Christ and of his lifestyle, and while they invite us to put nothing before God or his Kingdom, they are an example to all of generosity in prayer and dedication to their neighbor.

      3. This is what we see realized perfectly in Mary of Nazareth: her most singular union with the incarnate Word makes her a model of the evangelical life, obedient, poor, and chaste like that of Jesus.

          Consecrated persons, men and women, have always recognized in the Blessed Virgin the mother of their vocation, experiencing her kindly help in favorable times and in difficulties. Today, let us entrust to Mary all her consecrated daughters and sons. Let us pray that humanity will be able to find in their evangelical witness effective help to walk in the new millennium according to God's plan.

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    Appreciation of the Epistle of Saint Jude

       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, concentrating on the Books of the New Testament with today introducing the Epistle of Saint Jude. For the 102nd installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


          By designating himself "the brother of James" (v. 1), the writer of this Epistle evidently wished to reveal himself to his readers. At the time the Epistle was written, there was no one of prominence in the Church having the name of James except the Apostle James the Less, Bishop of Jerusalem and author of the Epistle that bears his name. St. James the Less was one of the "brethren of the Lord" (Galatians 1, 19), and had a brother named Jude (Matthew 13, 55; Mark 6, 3). In the two lists of the Apostles given by Saint Luke (Luke 6, 16; Acts 1, 15), one is named "Jude of James." He is called Thaddeus by the other evangelists (Matthew 10, 3; Mark 3, 18). It is clear that Luke refers to Jude the brother of James. Little more is known of the life of this Apostle. According to tradition he preached the gospel in Syria and suffered martyrdom at Beirut. The Church celebrates the feast of Saints Simon and Jude on October 28.

          The author of this Epistle presupposes that his readers are familiar with the Old Testament and with Jewish traditions. It is likely, therefore, that it was addressed to converts from Judaism who also knew the Apostle James.

          The Epistle is both brief and practical. It was occasined by the teachings and practices of certain heretics within the Church. By their evil lives they were denying that Jesus is the only Lord and Master. They were opposed to all law and authority, and changed Christian liberty into unrestrained license. The Epistle is a warning to them.

          The Epistle was written between the years 62 and 67 A.D., as may be concluded from the following indications. The warnings from the past (vv. 5-7) contain no mention of the fall of Jerusalem. It was written before the death of Saint Peter. It was written after the death of St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, for on the authority of Hegesippus we know that the church in Palestine was free from heresies during his administration.

          The Fathers, and Catholic tradition in general, ascribe the Epistle to the Apostle St. Jude. St. Peter made use of it in the Second Epistle. The Muratorian canon enumerates it among the sacred books.

      Tomorrow: The Book of the Apocalypse/Revelation

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    Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

       On this day 96 days ago the Vatican released to the world the second encyclical written by Pope Saint Pius X that had been published the day before but not released to the universal church until the next day. Having been Sovereign Pontiff for less than six months, this encyclical Ad diem illum laetissimum was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pius would go on to write fourteen more encyclicals after that one. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 3:

    • 250 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Celerinus, a Carthaginian from Africa who was tortured during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius while in Rome, but he escaped death and returned to Carthage where he was ordained a deacon of the Church by Saint Cyprian and there lived out his life ministering to the catechumens.

    • 316 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Blaze, Bishop and Martyr. For more on this saint, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 576 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Laurence of Spoleto, Bishop and Healer. Known as "the Illuminator" for his special gift of healing the blind spiritually and physically as well. He was born in Syria but the Monophysitist heretics drove him out of his homeland. He ended up in Spoleto Italy where he not only was ordained a priest but founded a monastery as well before being chosen Bishop of that see.

    • 619 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Laurence of Canterbury, a devotee of Saint Augustine of Canterbury who followed the latter as head of the Archbishopric there. He was responsible for converting the English King to Christianity.

    • 865 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Ansgar, Bishop and "Apostle of the North." For details of this saint, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 1904 A.D.
    • Published the day before, the Holy See releases to the world the second encyclical of Saint Pius X entitled Ad diem illum laetissimum with the subject matter being the Immaculate Conception fifty years after Pope Pius IX proclaimed this a Dogma of the Church in 1854.

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    Nurturing with encouragement, not discouragement!

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

    "Parents hold the place of God in the home. If they act as tyrants they will develop unconsciously anti-religious sentiments in their children. Children love approbation and can be easily cast down into despair when blamed excessively for trivial faults. With great difficulty can children ever be taught the Love and Mercy of God if His vice-regents in the home act without it and are so difficult to please. When good intentions are rated low, and children are put under the ban of dishonor, they are likely to show they are no better than their parents think they are."

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    January 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

      "Dear children! I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    February 3, 2000     volume 11, no. 24
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