A growing wave is swelling in America to not only reaffirm, but legalize the right to life for all - born and preborn. In today's column, Frank Joseph, MD, a committed retired Catholic physician from Southern California, publishes the proposal called The Constitutional Right to Life Act of 2000 which goes to great lengths to reinforce what our Constitution protects and which the pro-aborts have been violating for years as we continue this special pro-life column for the DailyCATHOLIC throughout this Respect Life Week 2000. For his column today, see Pro-Life Prescriptions: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!
This is the LEAST we can do for God, Who sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins. Sadly, there are NO pro-life Presidential candidates in the Democratic Party.
It is this Party, as a whole, that has allowed satan to infest it. It is this Party, that makes up all kinds of excuses to allow babies to be killed, three inches from being born -- the barbaric partial-birth abortion, even over the views of the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who said it "could identify no circumstances under which this procedure ... would save the life or preserve the health of the woman."
It is this Party that calls you and I religious fanatics. A few people -- very few, say that I interject politics too much. Well, my friends, IT IS politics that's killing God's most precious creation. Clinton, with one stroke of the pen condemned to death thousands of babies yearly, when he vetoed the ban on partial-birth abortions. These deaths will continue with Gore or Bradley as president. It's inconceivable to think, there are people in our country who would condone this barbaric act, let alone the President of the USA.
It's not whether you vote for a Republican or a Democrat -- It's the issue that's important -- whether you vote for a pro-lifer or a pro-aborter. It just so happens that most of the pro-life candidates are in the Republican party, and most of those, with no respect for human life, are in the Democratic party.
It's the most important issue of public principle that America faces today. Are we to be a nation under GOD with compassion, love and decency, or a barbaric nation of degeneracy, which embraces the ideology that one of our freedoms should be TO KILL, if we so choose?
To kick off the new millennium, how about all of us responding to the request of The Eagle Cross Alliance. If you have not received the following mail -- please read it and become involved. We can only blame ourselves if we elect another President or Senators and Congressmen who have no respect for the sanctity of life.
The following is the post I received from the EagleCross Alliance.
To add your name to the list, you can simply reply to this email visit our Constitutional Right To Life page at www.eaglecross.net/CRTL.htm and complete the form on that page.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE ACT OF 2000
January 1, 2000
The EagleCross Alliance and other individuals, churches and organizations (Attachment 1) propose the following bill to be introduced in the Congress:
A BILL To protect the right to life of each born and preborn human person in existence at fertilization.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
SEC. 3. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE.
SEC. 4. DEFINITION OF STATE.
Read this carefully. While it is not religious in tone, it strikes at the very heart of Catholic belief as the inalienable right to life as God intended and that is endorsed by the United States Bishops. We can read it and say "that's too bad, abortion is wrong, hope they do something about it" and I can guarantee nothing will get done. Or we can get down on our knees and pray and then take advantage of these opportunities to be heard through pro-life organizations on the net, in your parish and community. We have to take action or it will be too late. Think about it and pray!
We continue our on-going series of this abridged History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church over a 2000 year span called 2000 YEAR VOYAGE ON THE BARQUE OF PETER. Today we cover the later part of the second half of the Eleventh Century from Pope Saint Gregory VII to the edge of the twelfth century with Blessed Pope Urban II who initiated the First Crusade. For Installment thirty-five The New Millennium: The new Gregorian influence from a man named Hildebrand, see BARQUE OF PETER
There was naturally strong opposition from the German sector for they had been the strongest and felt Gregory's reforms and restrengthening of the Church would weaken them. Add to this Alexander's condemnation of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV's lay investiture policies and sparks were ready to fly. Henry retaliated by condemning the "evil deeds of the monk Hildebrand" and deposed Gregory. Gregory followed by excommunication the German king at the Lenten Synod in 1076. He also threatened excommunication of any bishop who remained loyal to one who hadbeen handed the bell, book and candle. The bishops, fearful of this, abandoned Henry in droves and this played right into Henry's rivals' hands. To make it tougher on Henry they threw their support behind Pope Gregory and called for a council at Augsburg in February 1077. Henry knew what was up and fearing he would be deposed as king, he intercepted Gregory on the way to Augsburg in the Alps and there humbled himself before the Pope, seeking reconciliation. After making the king sweat for three days, Gregory readmitted him into the Church. Gregory was still leary however for he knew the ulterior motive for Henry was not the sacraments but survival of his kingdom. Because of this Gregory remained neutral at the council, but when Henry renegged on his promises, Gregory had no choice but to excommunicate him again.
The German king was furious and convened his own council where he conned the convening bishops in Brixen, Germany to depose Gregory and elect their own pontiff - the antipope Clement III. In 1084 Henry marched on Rome and Gregory was forced to take refuge in Castel Sant'Angelo above the Tiber. Supporters of Gregory sent word to the Norman Robert Guiscard for help and the latter rounded up every available soldier he could including the Saracens and marched on Rome defeating Henry. But Rome was now in the hands of the Saracens and things went from bad to worse as they sacked and pillaged everything in the eternal city. Gregory fled to the Benedictine monastery Monte Cassino and when the Saracens threatened to attack the famed abbey, Gregory wanted to preserve the inhabitants there and took off for Salerno where he would have the Normans' protection. There he became physically ill and died on May 25, 1085. Just before expiring, he was quoted as saying "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exhile." He accepted death in the manner befitting a saint, pardoning all his enemies and absolving all he had excommunicated except for Henry and the antipope Clement III who falsely sat on the chair Gregory VII had represented so well. Though he had wanted to return his beloved Church to its glory and mission as Christ intended, he realized satan was still running amok. Despite all his troubles with Henry and the German imperial house, he strengthened the Church in Poland, Russia and Hungary as well as England, Denmark, France and Spain.
Early in his pontificate he had wanted to organize a military crusade to retake the holy territory in the mid-east where the Seljuk Turks had flaunted the Eastern Schism and greatly curtailed the Roman Catholic traditions there. But because of his problems with Henry, he had to delay those plans. While many do not realize that it was this holy monk who conceived of the Crusades, it would be left to his successors to carry out this chapter in Church history that carried with it both good and terribly bad decisions that would cost the lives of millions but also bring to Europe a new economy previously unheard of as the history of the Church continued to be intertwined with world history.
His two successors were both holy men as well. Because of the chaos in Rome it took exactly a year before the conclave chose the French born abbot of Monte Cassino Desiderius who at first turned down the opportunity but then realized it was God's will. On May 24, 1086 he took the name Pope Victor III who would become Blessed Pope Victor III. He had been elected as a compromise choice because of his rapport with the Normans. This was important because Henry had reentrenched himself in Rome and the Normans' help to rid the city of the German king was needed now more than ever. But at the outset Henry and Clement's troops sought to hold the upper hand and Victor was also forced to flee to Monte Cassino where he resigned himself to resuming as abbot there and giving up the papacy. But in July 1087, convinced that the Normans had the numbers to defeat Clement, he returned to Rome after Clement had been deposed in March of the same year. But his stay in the eternal city was shortlived for rumors abounded that Henry IV was on his way to retake Rome and once again Victor retreated to Monte Cassino where he died in his beloved abbey three days later on September 16, 1087.
Six months after Blessed Victor's death, the cardinals met in Terracina south of Rome where they elected a French cardinal who took the name Pope Urban II on March 12, 1088. Blessed Urban's pontificate lasted eleven years, taking the Church right up to the end of the century but not beyond. While he was a great admirer of Gregory VII, he realized to enforce the reforms St. Gregory had introduced would be akin to all-out rebellion and he did not have the reinforcements to fend off such an insurrection. Therefore he relaxed them to a degree, turning his attention to the assault by Henry who in 1090 reconquered Rome and placed again on the throne Clement III, forcing Urban to flee to southern Italy. In late 1093 Urban was able to return to Rome and, through the coffers of wealthy Roman families, was able to buy off the Lateran in 1094 where he took up residence and four years later the Castel Sant'Angelo fortress. With help from Sicilian forces he was able to regain control of Rome and in debt to them, conceded what many feel was too much to the Normans. It would come back to haunt the Holy See in the next few centuries.
In the next installment we will delve into the beginning of the Crusades, a campaign that would last over two and a half centuries as we continue with Blessed Urban II, the instigator of the First Crusade.
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 James. For the ninty-sixth installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
St. James the Less, the author of the first Catholic Epistle, was the son of Alpheus of Cleophas (Matt. 10, 3). His mother Mary was a sister, or a close relative, of the Blessed Virgin, and for that reason, according to Jewish custom, he was sometimes called the brother of the Lord (Gal. 1, 19; cf. Also Matt. 13, 55; Mark 6, 3). The Apostle held a distinguished position in the early Christian community at Jerusalem. St. Paul tells us he was a witness of the Resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15, 7); he is also called a "pillar" of the Church, whom St. Paul consulted about the gospel (Gal. 2, 2, 9). According to tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, and was at the Council of Jerusalem about the year 50 (Acts 1, 13; 14, 4ff; 21, 18; Gal. 1, 19). The historians Eusebius and Hegesippus relate that St. James was martyred for the faith by the Jews in the spring of the year 62, although they greatly esteemed his person and had given him the surname of "James the Just."
Catholic tradition has always recognized St. James as the author of this Epistle. Internal evidence based on the language, style and teaching of the Epistle reveals its author as a Jew familiar with the Old Testament, and a Christian thoroughly grounded in the teachings of the gospel. External evidence from the early fathers and councils of the Church confirms its authenticity and canonicity.
The date of its writing cannot be determined exactly. According to some scholars it was written about the year 49. Others, however, claim it was written after St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (composed during the winter of 57-58). It was probably written between the years 60 and 62.
St. James addresses himself to the "twelve tribes that are in the Dispersion" (1, 1), that is, to Christians outside Palestine; but nothing in the Epistle indicates that he is thinking only of Jewish Christians. St. James realizes full well the temptations and difficulties they encounter in the midst of paganism, and as a spiritual father, he endeavors to guide and direct them in the faith. Therefore the burden of his discourse is an exhortation to practical Christian living."
Tomorrow: The First Epistle of St. Peter the Apostle
We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our one-hundred-fiftieth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is 67 year-old Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the Archbishop of Prague in the Czech Republic since 1991 who suffered under communist persecution for twenty years. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II during his Consistory of November 26, 1994.
For more on Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, see COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION
This continued for eleven years when political parties were legalized in 1989 and many civil liberties restored as the iron curtain began to tumble in what was called the "velvet revolution." Once again he was allowed to practice his priestly work openly and the people rejoiced. A year later they were ecstatic when Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of Ceske Budejovice on March 31, 1990. No one knew better than this Polish Pontiff what Bishop Vlk had gone through for he too experienced the persecutions of both the Nazis and communists in his homeland. Almost exactly a year later he was elevated to Archbishop of Prague, the Czech Republic's capital and largest city, replacing Cardinal Tomasek on March 27, 1991. In 1992 Czechoslovakia split with Slovakia becoming an independant state as well as the Czech Republic becoming the same as well as joining the United Nations. Prague continued as the capital.
The Holy Father rewarded Archbishop Vlk for his loyalty with the cardinalate in his Consistory of November 26, 1994 as well as appointing him President of the European Bishops' Conference Council, a tremendous honor. He received the titular church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, another great honor. At 68, he remains today the Archbishop of Prague and should continue there for the next seven years or so, bring stability to this see that suffered so much persecution during the 20th Century. In addition to those duties he is still President of the European Episcopal Conference as well as having curial membership in the Congregation of Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.