WEDNESDAY     February 9, 2000    vol. 11, no. 28    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: The Church and Divine Revelation part one
  • COLLEGE OF CARDINALS collection: Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung
  • Events that happened this day in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • SIMPLY SHEEN
  • SPECIAL LOURDES NOVENA - Day Eight
  • Be an angel! Help keep the DailyCATHOLIC on line through your love offering


  • Appreciation of the The Church and Divine Revelation

       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 today on the first part of the Church and Divine Tradition as outlined in My Catholic Faith. For the 106th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    106th installment:THE CHURCH AND DIVINE REVELATION part one

          Before printing was invented about 1450, books could be reproduced only by making manuscript copies on parchment or sheepskin. A complete Bible cost a fortune, because of the time and expense necessary for copying. Copyists made mistakes, or abbreviations which others misunderstood.

          Our Lord said: "Go, make disciples of all nations." "Preach the Gospel to every creature." "He that heareth you heareth me." Christ did not say: "Go and make all nations read the Bible."

      1. The Apostles never circulated a single volume of the Bible, but "they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them" (Mark 16:20). The New Testament was not written till Christianity was already established.

          Christ bade His Apostles teach all men "to observe all commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). He commanded them to preach, not necessarily to write.

      2. God did not intend Holy Scripture to be our rule of faith independently of a Living Voice. Even under the Old Law, the Jews, in spite of their great veneration for Holy Scripture, never dreamed of a private appeal to the Word of God.

          When a religious dispute arose, it was decided by the high-priest and the Council. Their decision was to be obeyed under penalty of death. Thus the Jews did not appeal to the dead letter of the law, but to the living voice of the tribunal that God had established.

      3. When Christ came on earth, He did not change this order of things. On the contrary He commanded the Jews to obey their constituted teachers, however disedifying their private lives might be.

          Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, "The Scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses. All things, therefore, that they command you, observe and do" (Matthew 23: 2-3).

      4. Until the Protestant outbreak in the sixteenth century (1517), no attempt had ever been made to have any people governed by the dead letter of the law in either civil or religious affairs. No one certainly pretends to live ina society according to hiw own private interpretation of the civil laws. When cases come up, they are always decided by a competent tribunal.

      5. It is not within the reach of every one. If it were the only guide, it should be within the reach of every inquirer, for God wishes all men to be saved.

          If the Bible were the only guide to eternal salvation the primitive Christians would havbe been at a disadvantage, for the books that make up the Bible were gathered together only after the Church was established. Even when the parts were put together, for centuries there were very few manuscripts copies. Copies remained few till the invention of printing in the fifteenth century.

          If the Bible were the only g uide to salvation it would be of little help to those unable to read, as well as to the great mass of mankind today, who have neither the knowledge nor the capacity to penetrate the meaning of the written world.

      6. The Bible is difficult to understand, frequently full of obscurities and difficulties, even for the learned. St. Peter himself said of the Epistles of St. Paul, that they have "certain things difficult to understand, which the unlearned and unstable distort, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures also, to their own destruction" ( 2 Peter 3:16). The Fathers of the Church, who spent their whole lives in the study of the Bible, all pronounce it full of difficulties, needing careful interpretation.

      7. The Bible does not contain all the truths necessary for salvation. For example, every Christian is obliged to sanctify Sunday. But nowhere in the whole Bible, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, is there one word authorizing the sanctification of Sunday.

      Tomorrow: The Church and Divine Revelation part two

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    Born in mainland China, Hong Kong's Bishop Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung would like nothing better than to see his people free to worship in Red China

        We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our one-hundred-fifty-sixth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is 74 year-old Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung, the Bishop of Hong Kong for a quarter of a century who has had to deal with the sensitive cultural changes of his See from British control to Red China's jurisdiction. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II during his Consistory of June 28, 1988. For more on Cardinal Wu Cheng-chung, see COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

    156.   Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung
          On March 26, 1925 Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung was born on mainland China in the village of Shui-Tsai. Realizing a vocation to the priesthood, finishing up his studies in southern China at the Theological Academy before moving to Taiwan where he studied for the priesthood and was ordained on July 6, 1952 in the Diocese of Hsinchu in Taiwan, southwest of the capital city of Taipei. Because of Communist China's intensified threats against Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek he was exiled in Taiwan where he carried out various pastoral duties until he was sent to Rome to receive his degree in Canon Law before touring the United States drumming up support for Taiwan's cause against mainline China's aggression.

          In 1957 he returned to Taiwan where he was appointed parish priest in Hsin Miaoli followed by a series of other pastoral assignments including several pastorships. On April 5, 1975 Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Hong Kong, then under British rule. He was ordained and installed on July 25, 1975. Ten years after becoming Hong Kong's shepherd, he headed a contingent to Peking and then Shanghai which was the first expedition by a Hong Kong prelate since 1949 when the communists took control of mainland China. Any hope of reconciling however was dimmed, but not all was lost for he had the opportunity a year later to be reunited with his own mother during a few days' window when he also visited relatives in Shui-Tsai. It was the first time in forty years mother and son had seen each other and it was a touching moment. Though she passed away shortly after that, she would have been even prouder of her son in 1988 when Pope John Paul II included Cardinal Wu Cheng-chung in his Consistory of June 28, 1988. He received his red-hat and the titular church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Moutn Carmel a Mostacciano as well as curial membership in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples as well as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.. Because of the strong Buddhist, Hindu and Tao influence, there is less than 4% Catholic population in Hong Kong and it could dwindle more because since July 1, 1997 the British have relinquished control of this mighty port metropolis to mainland China which is trying to implement a hardline in Hong Kong as they have throughout the rest of mainland China, promoting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church, not in union with Rome and persecuting the true Roman Catholic Church.

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    Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

      On this date 379 years ago Cardinal Alessandro Ludovisi, Archbishop of Bologna, was chosen by his colleagues in the Sacred Conclave as the 234th successor of Peter choosing the name Pope Gregory XV. His short two and a half year papacy was marked by his institution of the Congregation of "Propaganda Fide" to assist the missions, something very dear to his heart. He also was influential in restoring the faith in France and strengthening it in Ireland. 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 9:

    • 249 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Apollonia, an aging deaconess in Alexandria who was stoned and dragged through the streets by an angry mob of anti-Christians who had been stirred into a frenzy by a false poet. Though she was severely hurt and all her teeth knocked out, she did not die and the mob, infuriated, threw her into a bonfire where, professing her undying love for Christ, she was burned to death. She is the Patron Saint of Dentists.

    • 566 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Sabinus, Bishop of Canosa in the Apulian region of Italy who was a close friend of Saint Benedict, founder of the Benedictines. He was sent as papal legate to the Eastern Emperor Justinian by Pope Saint Agapitus I. He is considered the Patron Saint of Bari in Italy.

    • 580 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Theilian, Irish bishop of Cardiff in Wales where he ministered to the people of Wales and founded numerous monasteries and churches there. It is said that after his death three different groups claimed ownership of his relics and the next morning when they went to claim the body, there were three bodies of St. Thelian, also known as Saint Teillo.

    • 760 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Alto, an Irish monk who was sent to Germany as a missionary and began a hermitage in the Bavarian forest near Augsburg. Because of his holiness, King Pepin bestowed on him land to found a monastery in Altomunster and it was dedicated in 750 by Saint Boniface himself. When the monastery fell into disrepair, the story goes that he appeared to a Bavarian king in 1000 requesting the monarch restore the monastery. The king complied and, to this day, the monastery is still in existence.

    • 1225 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Raynald of Nocera, a Benedictine monk who became a Bishop and a close friend of Saint Francis of Assisi. Like the gentle founder of the Friars Minor, Raynald cared greatly for the sick, poor and downtrodden and would spend his entire day hearing confessions. He is considered the Patron Saint of Nocera in the Umbria region of Italy.

    • 1621 A.D.
    • Cardinal Alessandro Ludovisi is elected the 234th successor of Peter and chooses the name Pope Gregory XV. His pontificate would last only two years and he would dedicate it to the missions and assisting the Catholic restoration of France as well as instituting the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith to assist missionaries, especially in Ireland.

    • 1910 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Miguel Febres Cordero, a deformed child who overcame his handicap by dedicating himself to his studies and became a great De la Salle Christian Brother. He was Ecuador's first saint, canonized in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

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    DAILY LITURGY

       Today is the Fifth Wednesday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Scholastica, virgin. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on these feasts, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Kings 10: 1-10
        Responsorial: Psalm 37: 5-6, 30-31, 39-40
        Gospel Reading: Mark 7: 14-23

    Thursday, February 10, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Kings 11: 4-13
        Responsorial: Psalm 106: 3-4, 35-37, 40
        Gospel Reading: Mark 7: 24-30

    Feast of Saint Scholastica, Virgin

          The foundress of the Benedictine Nuns - Saint Scholastica, whose feast has always been celebrated on February 10th, was Saint Benedict's twin sister. Both were born in 480 near Umbria and Sabina in Norcia, Italy. Close from birth, both dedicated themselves to God from an early age. When Benedict went off to become a monk, Scholastica became a nun. When Benedict built Subiaco, Scholastica was at a monastery nearby also establishing convents for Benedictine nuns. She later followed her brother to Montecassino where she entered a monastery at Piumarola, Italy. It was there she died in 547 at the age of 67 with Benedict by her side. After a short visit with his sister, Benedict had intended to leave, but the weather was so fierce he had to stay. It was then he realized she was dying and that God had prevented him from going back to his monastery for this reason. He prayed with her by her bedside for three straight days. On the third day she succumbed and Benedict writes that he saw her soul rise to Heaven in the form of a pure, white dove.

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    The DAILY WORD

    "Hear Me, all of you, and understand. There is nothing outside a man that, entering into him, can defile him; but the things that come out of a man, these are what defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

    Mark 7: 14-16

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    Our Education system must be on the right target

       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".

    "Someday our educators will awaken to several basic facts about youth: (1) Youth has an intellect and a will. The intellect is the source of his knowledge; the will, the source of his decisions. If his choices are wrong, the youth will be wrong regardless of how much he knows. (2) Education through the communication of knowledge does not necessarily make a good man; it can conceivably make learned devils instead of stupid devils. (3) Education is successful when it trains the mind to see the right targets, and disciplines the will to choose them rather than the wrong targets."

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    SPECIAL NOVENA

      In preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes next Friday, we present a special Nine Day Novena from the Treasurey of Novenas that begins today. See NOVENA

    Nine Day Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette

    MEDITATION

        Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary came down from Heaven eighteen times and showed herself at Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous a little girl of fourteen years of age. On February 11, while gathering wood, Bernadette heard a whistle of wind. With astonished eyes she saw a niche in the upper part of a rock filled with golden light, and there in the midst of it stood a Lady of great beauty.

        Her robe glowed with the whiteness of snow in the sunshine and swept in majestic folds to the ground. Her head and shoulders were framed by a white veil, which feel the full length of her robe. A blue sash encircled her waist, and its two ends, wide and unornamented, reached down in front almost to her feet. Each of her feet bore a rose of purest gold. A rosary, whose beads were white and whose cross and chain were of gold, hung from her right arm. Her hands were open, and her arms outstretched slightly in front.

        In her apparitions our Lady appealed for penance and prayers for sinners. On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, the Blessed Mother declared her name to Bernadette and to the world. On that day Bernadette made this request: "My Lady, would you be so kind as to tell me who you are?"

        This is how Bernadette describes what happened in that last apparition: "Three times I asked the Apparition her name. At the third instance, she stretched out her hands, which until then she held joined, raised them, and she said: 'I am the Immaculate Conception.'" Then having completed her great message to the world, the Lady smiled on Bernadette and withdrew without further word of farewell.

        Less than four years before these apparitions, on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed that Mary in the first instant of her conception was preserved free from all stain of original sin through the merits of her Divine Son. At Lourdes the Virgin Mary had come to confirm the infallible utterance of God's Vicar on earth and declared herself not only immaculately conceived, but "the Immaculate Conception."

        On October 30, 1867, Bernadette made her religious profession in the Convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers, France. In January, 1873, Bernadette became ill. On April 16, about three in the afternoon, Bernadette prayed: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, a poor sinner!" She made a Sign of the Cross, took the glass that was handed to her, twice swallowed a few drops of water, and then bending her head gently gave up her soul to her Creator.

        Bernadette died, worn out with physical suffering, on April 16, 1879, at the age of thirty-six. Now her incorrupt body can be seen as she lay in death in the side chapel of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, where she lived and died as Sister Marie Bernard. Thirty years after her death her body was found in a perfect state of preservation, undoubtedly a token of love of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. She was beatified in 1925, and on December 8, 1933, she was canonized by Pope Pius XI.

    SCRIPTURAL PASSAGES TO MEDITATE ON

    • "You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it." (Psalm 65:10)
    • "I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever; My eyes and My heart also shall be there always." (2 Chronicles 7:16)
    • "I found delight in the children of men." (Proverbs 8:31)

        NOVENA PRAYERS

            Mary, Mother of God, I firmly believe in the doctrine of Holy Mother Church concerning your Immaculate Conception: namely, that you were, in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

            Alone of all the children of Adam, you were gifted with the fullness of sanctifying grace that made you the object of a very special love on the part of God. How wonderful were the workings of Divine power to make you a fitting dwelling for the Redeemer of the world! With no tendency to evil, but with a deep yearning for the highest virtue, you glorified God more than all His other creatures. At the very instant of your conception your mind was filled with the light of God, and your will was entirely conformed to the Divine Will. You were always intimately united with God.

            I thank God with you for these wonderful blessings. Help me to imitate your holiness to some degree. Your holiness was not the result of the privilege of your Immaculate Conception and sanctifying grace alone, but followed from your gift of yourself to God and your constant cooperation with His graces. Help me to be generous with God by turning to good account the graces that He ever bestows on me, and by rising promptly when I fall, with renewed confidence in His Mercy.

            Ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy.

            By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, from which you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession.

            Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for your favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory.

            Through your loving compassion shown to thousands of pilgrims who come to your shrine at Lourdes, and through your special love for your devoted client Bernadette, I ask for this grace if it be the Will of God:

        (Mention your request).

            Our Lady of Lourdes, aid me through your prayer with your Divine Son, to be a true child of yours, as Bernadette was, and to grow daily into your likeness.

        PRAYER TO SAINT BERNADETTE

            Saint Bernadette, little shepherdess of Lourdes, favored with eighteen apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with the privilege of lovingly conversing with her, now that you are eternally enjoying the entrancing beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God, do not forsake me, your devoted client, who am still in this valley of tears.

            Intercede for me that I, too, may walk the simple path of faith. Help me to imitate your example, at our heavenly Queen's request, by saying the Rosary daily and by doing penance for sinners.

            Teach me to imitate your wonderful devotedness to God and our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, so that, like you, I may be blessed with the grace of lasting faithfulness and enjoy the happiness in heaven of the eternal vision of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

        CONCLUDING NOVENA PRAYER

            God of infinite mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, the sinless Mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.

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    February 9, 2000     volume 11, no. 28
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