WEDNESDAY    January 5, 2000   vol. 11, no. 3   SECTION ONE

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Investiture raises its ugly head as Popes of the late tenth century force the issue, giving way to increased power of the Holy Roman Emperor and the beginning of temporal/religious clashes that would last for many centuries

    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 feature the ten Sovereign Pontiffs from the second half of the tenth century when the bickering of Roman family clans returned to the perils of the era of Pope Formosus when anarchy and intrigue reigned supreme. There were a few Pontiffs who returned to the immoral ways of yesteryear and this softened the papacy, ripe for a takeover by various factions. It was Otto I and then his son Otto II who walked into this scenario and walked out richer and more powerful. They took advantage of the weak Popes and warring factions to forge their own rules in lessening the influence of Rome while the people of the world looked trepidly toward the end of the millennium as the time of the Last Judgment for superstition was the rule of the day in these times known as the "Dark Ages." For Installment thirty-two The Rise of the Holy Roman Empire - part four: "The Apostolic Line of Peter during the second half of the tenth century" in the BARQUE OF PETER

The Rise of the Holy Roman Empire

part four: Popes of the second half of the tenth century leading up to the end of the first millennium

Next Wednesday: Installment Thirty-three: The Second Millennium: The Apostolic Line of Peter for the first part of the eleventh century.

Appreciation of the
Gospel of Saint Mark

installment 81:   The Gospel of Saint Mark

    The second Gospel was written by Saint Mark, who, in the New Testament, is sometimes called John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there. He was associated with Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas (who was Mark's cousin) on their missinalry journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with Saint Peter and with Saint Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria. His feast falls on April 25.

    It is historically certain that St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, that he wrote it in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D., that he wrote it in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition tells us that St. Mark was requessted by the Romans to set down the teachings of St. Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in this Gospel. In this way, the second Gospel is a record of the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles.

    St. Mark's purpose is to show to the Romans that Jesus is the Savior, and that He is Divine. To this end he attends more to the miracles of Our Lord than to His sermons, giving only a few of the parables at length. The author, however, gives in some detail the events he narrates, and leaves the impression of an eyewitness. His language is simple, and yet earnest and full of charm.

Tomorrow: The Gospel of Saint Luke

15 years Slovakia's Cardinal Josef Tomko has been a key figure in curial circles and with nations and faiths as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

    We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our one-hundred-forty-first red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is 75 year-old Cardinal Josef Tomko, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for fifteen years. He has played major roles in ecumenism and talks with Eastern and Protestant churches as well as Israel. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II during his May 25, 1985. For more on Cardinal Josef Tomko, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

141.   Cardinal Josef Tomko

        Serving as Prefect for the influential Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for the past fifteen years, Cardinal Josef Tomko has been a steady influence in the curia and to religions around the world in their relationship to the Church. He was born on March 11, 1924 in Udavske, Slovakia. Matriculating to the seminary in his home diocese of Kosice, he became a priest a day after his 25th birthday he was ordained a priest. His Bishop sent him to Rome to study where he obtained degrees in Theology, Canon Law and Social Sciences from the Pontifical Lateran University and the Gregorian. In 1966 he began his long curial experience when Pope Paul VI appointed him the head of the Doctrinal Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He steadily learned the ropes in various curial offices including the Secretary of State. On July 12, 1979 Paul VI named him Titular Archbishop of Doclea and he was ordained and installed on September 15, 1979. That same year he was appointed Secretary-General for the Synod of Bishops, a position he held until 1985.

        In Pope John Paul II's Consistory of May 25, 1985 he was elevated to the Sacred Conclave, receiving his red-hat and the titular church of St. Sabina. His new status also translated to a new title - Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Since that time he has worked overtime in communicating and working with leaders of other religions and heads of state. He has been highly visible in representing the Holy Father and the Holy See throughout the world. His curial membership is extensive including participation in the Secretary of State in the Second Section, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Congregation for Catholic Education. In addition, he is active in the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts plus the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. He is also the Grand Chancelor of the Pontifical Urban University, a post he has held since his promotion to the College of Cardinals.

        Were it not for his age, he might be a serious consideration for next Pope but he will be 76 in two months and it is highly doubtful another Slav would be elected in the near future. He has been a loyal subject and a huge asset to the Holy Father and the curial offices. Few cardinals have as much experience as Cardinal Josef Tomko.

Events that happened today in Church History

    On this day 24 years ago in 1964, Pope Paul VI during his first full year of his papacy became the first Vicar of Christ since Saint Peter to step on the soil of the Holy Land when he visited Israel and Jordan during a special pilgrimage. Now, in late March Pope John Paul II will become the second when he makes an even more extensive pilgrimage to the Holy Land including the Jordan River, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem among other sites such as the Sea of Galilee in retracing the footsteps of Jesus Christ during his historic "Jubilee Journey" this year. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for January 5:

"Love covers up the corruption of the soul"

    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".

"We love to see ourselves idealized in the minds of others. That is one of the beautiful joys of love. We become fresh, innocent, brave, strong in the mind of the beloved. Love covers up the corruption of the soul. The winter of discontent is forgotten by being clothed in the blossoms of a new spring. After a while the lover begins to substitute what he really is is in his own mind, with what he is in the mind of the other. It is this idealization which pleases in love."

December 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    Dear children! This is the time of grace. Little children, today in a special way with little Jesus, Whom I hold in my embrace, I am giving you the possibility to decide for peace.Through your 'yes' for peace and your decision for God, a new possibility for peace is opened. Only in this way, little children, this century will be for you a time of peace and well-being. Therefore, put little newborn Jesus in the first place in your life and He will lead you on the way of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE


    "And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking upon the sea, and He would have passed by them. But they, seeing Him walking upon the sea, thought it was a ghost, and cried out. For they all saw Him, and were troubled. Then He immediately spoke to them, and said to them, 'Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.'"
Mark 6: 48-50

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January 5, 2000     volume 11, no. 3
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