WEDNESDAY     March 1, 2000    vol. 11, no. 43    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH - Installment 121: Our First Parents: Adam & Eve part one
  • Events that occurred this day in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

  • Spy in the Vatican? Echelon could be the guilty one
  • Cardinal O'Connor feeling weaker; Indian cardinal joins ranks of the retired
  • Murder case of Guatemala bishop still bogged down, as another culprit slips away

  • Appreciation of the significance of our first parents: Adam and Eve

        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, presenting a brief catechesis, outlined in My Catholic Faith, on Adam and Eve: Our First Parents part one. For the 121st installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 121: Adam and Eve: Our First Parents part one

          Our first parents were perfectly happy in Paradise. If they had not sinned, they would never have died or suffered from sickness and sorrow. When the time came for their leaving the earth, they would have been taken body and soul to Heaven. The tree of life grew in Paradise. By eating of its fruit Adam and Eve were preserved from death, sickness, and all manner of weakness of the body. All these gifts were lost as a punishment of the sin our first parents committed.

          The first man and woman were Adam and Eve, the first parents of the whole human race. God made Adam's body out of the slime of the earth, and breathed an immortal sould into it (cf. Genesis 2:7). God then cast a deep sleep upon Adam, and taking one of his ribs formed it into Eve (cf. Genesis 2:22). Adam's body was formed from the earth. But his soul was immediately created out of nothing by the almighty power of God. The woul of every person is created in this way. We do not inherit our soul from our parents; it comes directly from the hand of God at the same moment that we receive life.

          Adam and Eve were our first parents. All of mankind makes up one great family. Sacred Scripture says that before the creatin of Adam "there was not a man to till the earth" (Genesis 2:5); and that ever was the "mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). Legends of all races tell of an original happiness from which man fell, and of a flood that covered the earth.

        (a) All men have common bodily characteristics.
        The beat of the pulse, the temperature of the body, the physical structure, and even such faculties as the sense of smell, of sight, of hearing,- all these vary little among different races. Differences are results of variations in climate, food, ways of living, and opportunity.
        (b) Emotionally and intellecutally all races are the same.
        Researchers have discovered a universal sameness in ideas of right and wrong; there is a universal moral code, even among the most primitive of tribes. For example, all men consider wrong the murder of those who are not enemies, cruelty to children, incest, and irreverence. If the moral code were the result of rearof reprisal, why was not stealing considered wrong when committed against an enemy? Science almost compels the conviction of the origin of mankind from onlyone pair of ancestors; Religion delcares it.

          The chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God was sanctifying grace, which made them children of God and gave them the right to Heaven.

          God created Adam and Eve in the state of innocence and holiness. This made them pleasing to God, and full of love for Him. It made them children of God, and therefore heirs of Heaven. This state of innocence we term "sanctifying grace". "God filled them with wisdom and the knowledge of understanding. He created in them the science of the spirit, he filled their heart with wisdom. And their eye saw the majesty of his glory, and their ears heard his glorious voice" (Eccl.. 17:6, 11).

          God's abiding grace made Adam and Eve so happy that their happiness almost equalled that of the angels. "Thou hast made him a little less than the angels; thou hast crowned him with glory and honor" (Psalm 8:6).

          The other gifts bestowed on Adam and Eve by God were happiness in the Garden of Paradise, great knowledge, control of the passions by reason, and freedom from suffering and death.

      Tomorrow: Adam and Eve: Our First Parents part two

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    Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

      On this date 1,508 years ago in 492 A.D. one Pope died and another was elected the same day. We're referring to two holy Popes - Pope Saint Felix III, the 48th successor of Peter who died after a nine year pontificate . He is famous as the grandfather of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. His successor was Pope Saint Gelasius I who became the 49th in the line of Peter on this day and whose papacy lasted four years. He instituted the Code for the uniforming of the ceremonies and rites and inserted the Kyrie Eleison into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He was also called the "Father of the Poor" because of his sincere caring and charity. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for March 1:

    • 492 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Saint Felix III, 48th successor of Peter. Born in Rome, he was elected on March 13, 483. He tried to restore peace in the disturbed Eastern Church . He had sons, one of which would go on to be the grandfather of the famous Saint Gregory the Great. He has often been erroniously been taken for Felix II, a holy martyr. Pope St. Felix died of natural causes on this date in 492.

    • 492 A.D.
    • Election of Pope Saint Gelasius I as 49th successor of Peter. He would be elected on the same day as Pope Saint Felix III died. Also born in Rome but of African origin, his pontificate would last four years. He would go on to institute the Code for the uniform organization of ceremonies and rites. Because of his charity he would be called the "Father of the Poor." He would also maintain the supremacy of the Church over that of kings and would be responsible for inserting the "Kyrie eleison" into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    • 705 A.D.
    • Election of Pope John VII as 86th successor of Peter. His papacy would last two years. Born in Rossano di Calabria, Italy, John VII would refuse to consent to the ambiguous claims of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II who would initiate those massacres which would convince the Latin peoples to separate themselves more and more from the Eastern Empire.

    • 965 A.D.
    • Death of the antipope Leo VIII who was elected by a schismatic Synod and the Emperor Otto I because of his fued with the true Roman Pontiff Pope John XII. Unlike other antipopes, Leo was a victim of circumstances and a good man who was under the undue influence and pressure of Otto.

    • 1420 A.D.
    • On this date Pope Martin I announced a crusade against John Huss and his heretical teachings, but because of other problems with the papacy at the time and the struggle between Council and Pope, it never materialized and consequently would leave the door open for the Protestant Reformation to rise its ugly head a century later.

    • 1484 A.D.
    • Death of Blessed Christopher, a Dominican preacher and abbot who was gifted with prophecy and translated those into his powerful homilies. Everywhere he went, especially in Taggia where he is highly revered today, great conversions occurred. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1875.

    • 1591 A.D.
    • Pope Gregory XIV's threat on this day to make the excommunication of King Henry IV of France permanent helped rally the French faithful to convince the monarch to reunite with Rome after Gregory's predecessor the inflexible Pope Sixtus V had placed Henry under interdict.

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    It is not true that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

       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".

    "Most neuroses are bulwarks against fear. Many psychologists and physicians have come to adopt this thesis inasmuch as fear does provoke some kind of self-defense. It is actually not fear that is feared; the enemy is the tension between the conscience and what has happened. Fear is like the gauge on a steam boiler. It merely registers pressure. "

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       Today is the Feast of the Bishop and Martyr Saint Polycarp while tomorrow is the Seventh Thursday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on St. Polycarp, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Peter 1: 18-25
        Responsorial: Psalm 147: 19-20
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 32-45

    Thursday, March 2, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Peter 2: 2-5, 9-12
        Responsorial: Psalm 100: 2-5
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 46-52

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    "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the Scribes; and they will condemn Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and put Him to death; and on the third day He will rise again."

    Mark 10: 33-34

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      Echelon trying to penetrate the upper echelons of the Holy See

         Intrigue and interpol have come to the surface with the report in the Sunday issue of the London Sunday Times that the network called Echelon, controlled by the U.S. National Security Agency and jointly operated by Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, is accused of spying on the Pope and the Vatican, intercepting messages sent by the Holy Father and turning them over to British Intelligence. James Bond would be appalled that such a network should spy on the Holy See like that. It either cries out for justice or is possibly just an effort in futility since the Pope knows no intrigue, only honest dialogue in the pursuit of peace. continued inside

    Office of Public Prosecutor in Rome Studying Case

        ROME, FEB 29 (ZENIT).- At present the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Rome is studying the possibility of opening an official investigation on the revelations in the London "Sunday Times," alleging that the Echelon network spied on Papal and Vatican activities.

        The investigators have in their possession the article published in England and others that appeared in the Italian press, to verify if there is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation. Last Sunday, the English newspaper quoted secret agents saying that Echelon intercepted messages sent by the Pope. The messages were then given to officials of the British government's secret service. Italian attorney Pietro Saviotti is responsible for the investigation.

        Echelon was established in 1947 by the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, to create a sophisticated network of interception of all kinds of communications. The little that is publicly known about Echelon appears in the book "Secret Power," by New Zealander Nicky Hager. Scottish reporter Duncan Campbell has also made disclosures that appear in a report published last month in Brussels.

        Echelon is controlled by the U.S. National Security Agency. It works with a network of 120 satellites and stations located in different countries. According to press sources, it is able to intercept 95% of world communications trasmitted on Internet, fax, telephone, etc.

        The English and Italian articles state that Echelon extended its espionage systems to communications of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Princess Diana. Echelon is especially interested in the activities of humanitarian organizations, as they have privileged information on the countries where they operate.

        If it can be demonstrated that messages were intercepted on Italian telephone lines, the Roman Magistrate's competency would be automatic. The Office of the Public Prosecutor in Rome has already collected a series of documents from the European Parliament, to study carefully the possibility that Echelon has been involved in illicit activities. Further investigation depends on this, because to serve an international writ on the United States an hypothesis of illegality must first be formulated.

        Echelon has been the topic of conversation at the international political level, but to date no one has presented an official accusation in the courts. Last week the issue reached the European Parliament; it was discussed during a congress on "The European Union and Data Protection." In Brussels, British Prime Minister Tony Blair previously denied any wrongful use of the sophisticated planetary interception network. ZE00022905

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      Cardinal O'Connor showing stress of long bout with brain cancer, forced to cancel week's activities as Cardinal Pimenta of India joins the New York Archbishop in being over 80

        The Holy Father appointment of Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap. as the new Archbishop of New York came none too soon considering the failing health of His Eminence Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor who was forced to cancel both his Sunday Mass at St. Patrick's and all meetings this week. While the state of the 80 year-old prelate does not seem to indicate hospitalization, he remains in bed in the Archbishop's residence. The best medicine we can all administer is prayer. A fellow colleague of Cardinal O'Connor's from India Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta has also just reached his 80th birthday today, thus making him ineligible for voting in the Sacred Conclave. This makes the total of eligible College of Cardinals at 104 leaving 16 possible openings and more talk of a Consistory later this year or early next year. continued inside.


        NEW YORK ( - Cardinal John O'Connor of New York continued to cancel meetings and appointments on Tuesday as he suffered from "pronounced weakness." The 80- year-old cardinal underwent brain surgery for a tumor last year.

        Cardinal O'Connor did not celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday and a scheduled book party at his residence was cancelled on Monday. Spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the cardinal is "suffering from some pronounced weakness. He has not been able to function as he has in the last several weeks. ... He's not been able to work normally at his residence."

        He said doctors had not determined the cause of the weakness but were not considering placing O'Connor in a hospital. O'Connor spends considerable time in bed but is not bedridden, Zwilling said.

        Meanwhile in India, Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta, the retired archbishop of Bombay, India, will celebrate his 80th birthday on March 1, and therefore become ineligible to vote in a papal conclave.

        Under the rules governing the election of a new pope, only cardinals below the age of 80 have a vote (although older cardinals may participate in discussions at the conclave). There are now 104 cardinals eligible to serve as electors in a papal conclave. Of these, 46 are European; 18 are from Latin America; 12 each from North America, Africa, and Asia; and 4 from Australia and Oceania.

        Cardinal Pimenta headed the Bombay archdiocese from 1978 until his retirement in 1998. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II in November 1994.

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      Case of murdered bishop continues stalemate with the release of yet another high ranking military member

         The on-going case of finding the culprits who murdered human rights advocate Bishop Juan Jose Conedera Gerardi nearly two years ago in Guatemala continues to be bogged down with the announcement that one of the suspects has evidence that supports his alibi, no doubt bought off other government witnesses. Much unrest and finger-pointing continue as mistrust for the government and military mounts and meanwhile the poor priest being used as the scapegoat remains in prison. Stay tuned continued inside.


        GUATEMALA CITY ( - A military officer who was a suspect in the 1998 murder of a Guatemala bishop was released on Monday after a tribunal accepted his alibi.

        Judge Flor de Maria Garcia said Obdulio Villanueca, a member of the elite presidential guard, was released "after analyzing the allegations of the defense." Villanueca, along with two other army officers, a priest, and a housekeeper, were arrested on January 22 for allegedly taking part in the killing of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Jose Conedera Gerardi.

        The bishop was killed on April 26, 1998, two days after releasing a human rights report that accused the military and pro-military groups of most of the deaths during the country's 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Two previous judges and two prosecutors resigned from the case during the two years of investigations, all of them citing death threats as they proceeded to name suspects.

        Human rights groups and Catholic leaders reject the claim that the priest, Father Mario Orantes, and the housekeeper were involved and instead point their suspicions toward military factions.

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    For more NEWS & VIEWS, see SECTION THREE

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    March 1, 2000     volume 11, no. 43
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