Speaking of time, that's what we've spent lots of over the holidays in revamping the on-line layout of the DailyCATHOLIC for 2000. Through feedback from our readers, research and various other reasons we've eliminated all borders and phased out the black-background on the front-page of each issue. For the new century we wanted a cleaner, more colorful look and we think we're getting there. The first week or so there will still be a few glitches as we experiment or try to reformat several pages. Because computers are so much faster today and few dinosaurs still exist out there, and because almost all printers will print in color today including the inexpensive ink jet or bubble jet ones we've done away with the text-only front page. In other words: the Dot Matrix is dead! In place of the text-only front page we give you the same equivalent with our SECTIONS pages just as a newspaper offers. This allows one to read the entire issue without having to link to the articles. It's also fast to print out. To preserve paper, we recommend adjusting your font on your printer or setting your font size smaller on your browser before printing. Monitors are also larger so we've expanded the page wider. We're also trying to make the graphics, photos and images smaller but still dynamic so the page will load faster. Because of the columns and tables, sometimes it can get hung up in the browser and a simple refresh or reload will bring it up quickly. At the onset of yesterday's issue you might not notice much change in content but that will come in time. You'll note we've expanded our news coverage to bring you more news stories with shorter intros. Around Lent you'll see more changes, including a return of our weekly feature series THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH and WHERE HOLY MOTHER CHURCH IS HEADING IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM. The latter has naturally changed titles for the previous title was "Where is Holy Mother Church heading as we near the new millennium?" Well, folks, we're no longer near it, we're in it!
We're in it and no Y2K meltdown which we never took seriously anyway. We could write volumes on the reasons for the hype and the underlying motive behind the scare. So much for the prognosticators. Let's hope we've heard the last of that awful moniker "Y2K!" Think about it! The only places there have been problems are where computer "experts" reworked the computers to be Y2K compliant and messed them up. It's pure poetic justice. In the third-world countries where they can ill-afford to upgrade their computers, when a piece of bread is more important...they had no problems whatsoever. Here in America, millions upon millions, yea - billions - were spent to "be sure." Didn't anyone tell them the only "Sure Thing" is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Think of how that money could have been used for the poor of the world. For that matter, as impressive as the New Year's Eve celebrations were globally, it would have been more impressive had they announced the funds - in the millions - for the fireworks would be diverted to the needy and downtrodden. Once again the only one heralding the plight of the poor and the less fortunate was the Holy Father. Throughout his addresses he has stressed the need to examine our consciences, to forgive and seek forgiveness, imploring all to consider God's less fortunate ones in living the Gospel as Christ commands us. Using reconciliation as the theme of this Great Jubilee Year, the Sovereign Pontiff has set the standard for other leaders of the world to pursue. But we can't depend on our leaders to go through the motions. We have to also be willing to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work for it begins at home - not afar. If we are charitable and loving toward our fellow man in our homes, our families and our communities, then it will catch on with others and someday, cities, regions, countries, nations and continents will be united in fighting poverty and looking out for their fellow man. This is what the Blessed Virgin Mary keeps imparting in almost every one of her appearances or messages. We need to respond to her call and that begins with a conscience search straight from the heart!
Speaking of search and heart, back to our explanation of changes in the DailyCATHOLIC for 2000: We've finally been able to add a search-engine we can assure you will work. This will allow you to search for material or articles in any of the over 500 issues in archives. We're also soon going to add listings of columns and series so you can go directly to any back columns or articles on a daily basis if you like. We've added the scroll bars for features in each current issue which can be found below the new 2000 masthead for the DailyCATHOLIC. Scroll bars for other areas of the site can be accessed at the bottom of the current issue. Still on the search issue, we've totally reworked the layout of our PORTS O' CALL LINKS pages adding a sixth deck to the mix. We now have the ADVOCATE, COREDEMPTRIX, MEDIATRIX, QUEEN OF PEACE, MYSTICAL ROSE and MORNING STAR Decks for the reader to navigate in searching for other ports to sail. All those listed are loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. It was a major project in reformatting but we finished it all finally on New Year's Eve. That in itself was worth celebrating.
And this year will be worth celebrating because the Pope, who will turn 80 this May, is ever more ambitious in his plans to walk in the footsteps of Our Lord in the Holy Land and, through the grace of the Holy Spirit doors are opening that were previously closed. That's why we think the Iraq trip to Ur in the Chaldean land where Abraham was born will also take place once politics and clearance can be set aside. That goes for both Saddam Hussein and the United States who send veiled threats to His Holiness in trying to dissuade him from making the pilgrimage there. They claim it's for his safety, but we suspect there's another reason lurking in the shadows: the tremendous damage American bombers have done to the innocent civilians of Iraq over the past one and a half years of constant, mostly unannounced bombing that the media covers up on orders from Washington. We can only pray that our prayers will help preserve John Paul II for several more years because, folks, we're not ready for a new Pope yet. The one we have is just fine, thank you. After all, the longer his pontificate, the better the chances the next Pontiff will be of the same mindset and spirituality for John Paul II would have indirectly picked his own successor through his choosing so many traditional cardinals over his twenty-one year plus pontificate.
Someone else who will turn 80 a week from this Saturday is Cardinal John J. O'Connor. The announcement of his retirement is inevitable due to both his age and his recent health problems and when he steps down, he will be sorely missed. Few sees are as fortunate to have back-to-back holy men such as Cardinal Terence Cooke and Cardinal O'Connor. He will be a hard man to replace, but if anyone can the former Archbishop of Krakow Cardinal Karol Wojtyla is up to the task. He has been very intuitive in his selections of many dioceses and archdioceses. His selection of Archbishop Justin Rigali in St. Louis, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. in Denver, and Cardinal Francis George, OMI in Chicago have truly been inspirational. He has continued that track record by appointing another man who will make a difference in a major see - Dallas. That man is Bishop Joseph A. Galante, formerly Bishop of Beaumont and a man with extensive curial experience. As the new Coadjutor Bishop of Dallas, Bishop Galante comes from the same roots as Cardinal O'Connor - Philadelphia - and should bring an orthodox approach and a special affinity for religious life to the troubled Dallas see that has been under seige by the media spotlight over the Rudy Kos scandal. Bishop Galante was assistant Vicar and then Vicar for Religious in Philadelphia for 15 years from 1972 to 1987. He served in Rome as Undersecretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life from 1987 to December 11, 1992 when he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio. He had been Bishop of Beaumont, Texas since 1994. There are other bishops who have caught the eye of the Holy Father who has his finger on the pulse of the Church much more than many give him credit for. The Holy Father has recently been criticized by British Catholics for not appointing a successor to the late Cardinal Basil Hume who was more in the mold of Cardinal Joseph Bernadin than Cardinal O'Connor. For this reason the Vicar of Christ has wisely waited for the right man to be appointed. The fact he has waited makes it unlikely the liberals' choice will be selected. And this is why so many liberals hate him because slowly but surely he has been weeding the garden and purging the choking vines from the fruitful stocks.
In the same vein we're constantly hoeing and tilling the gardens of the DailyCATHOLIC. There's so much more we'd love to bring you but there are only 24 hours in a day and a fella has to sleep and pray sometime! With the new century we've churned up the old turf, discarded most of it and planted the seeds of a bright, white background with color bar highlights to complement the articles which make a natural separation of the columns more pleasing to the human eye. We know there are many of those eyes tuning in daily for our final count for 1999 was 5,345,880! For the digitally impaired that's five million, three-hundred and forty-five thousand, eight-hundred and eighty hits! That nearly tripled the number of visits in 1999 over 1998! Our Lord says in Matthew 7: 20 and elsewhere in Sacred Scripture, "...by their fruits you will know them." The fruits of 1999 are being replanted with the excess pruned and sheared so that ever more fruits can be manifested in this Great Jubilee Year we have just entered into. While the Vicar of Christ is doing it with souls and the hierarchy, we are doing it with the internet medium for souls by cleaning up our look, making it faster to download and easier to access. Both the Pope and the DailyCATHOLIC are busy separating the wheat from the chaff!
His Gospel was written to fill a sorely felt want for his fellow-countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the Person of Jesus, Our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the messianic kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual rather than in a carnal way: "My kingdom is not of this world." His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of Saint John the Baptist, "Art thou He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramic, the "hebrew tongue" mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterwards, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 A.D., he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 A.D. and 50 A.D., or even later. Definitely, however, the Gospel itself, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord's prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans (70 A.D.), and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.
The Gospel was soon translated into Greek-possibly dring the lifetime of St. Matthew or a little later; certainly before the close of the first century. The original has been lost in the course of time. The Greek text, however, is in substantial conformity with the original. St. Matthew's Gospel, then, was the only book of the New Testament written in a language other than the Greek common to the people of the Empire.
Tomorrow: The Gospel of Saint Mark
Christopher Columbus embarks on his return trip to Spain from the New World.
Death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious foundress of the American Daughters of Charity. She became the first North American-born saint when Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1975. For more on her, see DAILY LITURGY.