THURSDAY     March 2, 2000    vol. 11, no. 44    SECTION ONE

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Pat Ludwa's column VIEW FROM THE PEW on the guilt guilders
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Events that occurred this day in Church History

  • The Blame Game
    It's time to stop blaming the Church for any guilt feelings one might have for the real guilt lies with those who deny their own guilt and diminish the consequences of sin!

       In his column today, Pat Ludwa reveals the underbelly of the lie modernists love to spread about guilt which they claim is imposed on them by Holy Mother Church and which they can shed by attacking that 'source of guilt.' He points out how erroneous this is for we all have an inherent God-given checks and balance system which God has perfected through His Church. But the liberal agitators use this as a weapon against the very institution that seeks to free men's souls through the totally cleansing Sacrament of Reconciliation. We would pray they realize where the source of guilt for this attack truly lies and use the upcoming First Week of Lent to join the rest of the universal Church in asking forgiveness and forgiving and coming back into the fold as Christ wills. We are all sinners who strive for sanctity. To deny this and not take responsibility for our own actions is to deny God. For his column today, The Guilt Weapon, see VIEW FROM THE PEW

    The Guilt Weapon

          I often hear this from many people, "Iím tired of the Church making me feel guilty." This is often the excuse given by those who commit a sin dealing with sex. The thing is, it isnít the Church making them feel guilty. Itís themselves.

          St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote that: "These wild movements against the Church of Christ and His temporal Vicar on earth, were not made by men mentally deranged, but by men acting according to a determined plan, way and purpose. Because of this, wise and strong men are weakened, families torn apart, hearts corrupted, and an insane bitterness grows up. Some souls, when they are unable to throw off the infamous burden they carry (guilt), will avoid the Church, or even raise up against Her. Brothers, this is so sad, because I cannot believe that a single human being under Godís sun, would not long for happiness. The greatest possible happiness, happiness without limit, namely God." (Oct. 16, 1917)

          Guilt is the way the Holy Spirit prompts us to repentance, draws us to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For without repentance, there can be no forgiveness. Guilt, in this case, from an informed and correct conscience, draws us closer to God. Thus healing us and removing the guilt. So, the Church, rather than being the harbinger of guilt, is the reliever of guilt. Fulfilling part of the mission our Lord gave Her. However; "Neither we nor God can forgive what is not acknowledged as a sin, a wrong. Thus, Mark's Gospel rightly begins with a command - "repent." Without this repentance, no forgiveness is possible." (On Forgiveness; Crisis, January 1999; James V. Schall, S.J.)

          So our enemy decides to attack, not with logic, but by making it seem as though repentance is not necessary. We have nothing to feel guilty about, after all, thatís the way God made us...right? God loves us just as we are...right? True, but as we are God wants us to grow in Him, to mature, not remain like children demanding their own way.

          So, in this sense, guilt is used as a weapon, not by the Church, but by Her enemy. By redirecting the focus of the guilt. The Church gave us the guilt, therefore we should reject the Church as causing this pain. But the pain is from within themselves, not from the Church. This pain acts to drive people away from the truth of the Church and to drive them into open opposition, or Ďreformí of the Church in a vain attempt to ease their Ďpainí, to soothe their troubled conscience.

          However, there is another way our enemy uses guilt. Many have nothing to feel guilty about, at least not serious guilt. What of them? How is guilt used to drive them away from the Church? Itís without question that, over the centuries, many people have been abused, used, and persecuted. Even by Ďgoodí members of the Church. Women were often looked at as cattle, as their husbands (or fatherís) personal possession. Gays have been beaten and killed; not for anything more than just being confused and trapped. ĎGoodí Catholics, among others, saw a dead Indian as the only good Indian, and blacks as only partly human, capable of working for them in bondage, but little more. Yes, these things occurred, even by people in the Church, but the Church Herself never sanctioned them.

          From the very beginning, the Church saw the dignity of all men. Men and women, white and black, slave and free, East or West. All men were Godís children. This was not to say there were no differences, but on the whole, we were the same. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christs, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3: 28-29).

          But the enemy of God and His Church uses guilt here too. Iíve heard it said that the liberal agenda is driven by guilt. Guilt over what happened to women, blacks, homosexuals, Indians, etc. I donít think theyíre driven by it, I think itís used to prompt it.

        "Look how women were treated in the past! The only way to ease the Ďguiltí is to allow women priests. After all, itís only fair." "Look how gays have been treated. Itís only fair now, in an enlightened society, to accept and bless their acts and even marriage."

          They make it seem as though they should feel guilty for being, say, women. The Church has always elevated women, cherished and tried to protect their dignity. It isnít the Churchís fault that society is only now catching up to it. Yet, we hear this as though the Church is saying they should feel guilty, or somehow less, for being women. If anything, itís they who are planting this notion in their hearts. Poisoning their hearts against the Church. And that, somehow, men should feel guilty about how other men treated women. And that the only way to make amends is to go to the other extreme; again, poisoning their hearts against the Church. It is guilt, not over what is, but what was; guilt, not from what you or I did, but what others might have done.

          In one sense, Iím a liberal. I see people in need, in pain, etc. And as a Christian, as a practicing Catholic, I long to help them as best I can. Not out of guilt, but out of love of God. "'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets'" (Matthew 22:36-40).

          Without a love of God, we cannot truly love our neighbor. Without a love of God, we cannot even love ourselves, and if we donít love ourselves, how can we ever truly be happy? Happiness doesnít come from rationalizing away our guilt, or from letting guilt be imposed on us by others for diabolical agendas. No, true happiness comes when we come to God in repentance and conversion. He wipes away our guilt, dries our tears, and fills us with joy. But we see that a determined plan is in fact, in action. Many refrain from confession, being told, both implicitly and explicitly, that we have nothing to feel guilty about, and that our guilt is placed on us by the Church. And if the guilt we feel is serious enough, they tell us we have to oppose the Church, and if we canít change the Church, to destroy it (which is the same thing) so we donít feel the guilt.

          Happiness doesnít come about by making us the center of our lives by either killing the guilt we hold within ourselves or by accepting a false guilt imposed by others, but by placing God at the center of our lives. If we truly look at what many modernists call for in the Church (Call To Action, etc.), weíll see that God is not the center of their agenda, but their personal desires.

          My friends, if we have hearts with guilt, rejoice. For that means we are still working to follow Christ. We know weíve let Him down but have a means, given us by His mercy, to relieve that guilt. In that Sacrament of Penance, our hearts are healed. Our pain is eased, and our love increased. "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3: 28-29).

          That blasphemy is the refusal to act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit to repentance. Since, "Neither we nor God can forgive what is not acknowledged as a sin, a wrong. Thus, Mark's Gospel rightly begins with a command - 'repent.' Without this repentance, no forgiveness is possible" (On Forgiveness; Crisis, January 1999; James V. Schall, S.J.).

          "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10).

      Pax Christi, Pat

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    Holy Father looks back at his Egyptian experience and Mt. Sinai high while looking forward to continuing his "Jubilee Journey" on the path of Salvation History in the Holy Land later this month

       Today we bring you the Holy Father's Angelus message from this past Sunday in which he gives thanks to God and to all the authorities in Egypt for his successful "Jubilee Journey" in completing the Pentateuch path of his pilgrimage through Salvation History. He reflects on specific moments of great spiritual wealth for all Catholics and Christians around the world, and looks forward to continuing the "Jubilee Journey" later this month to the Holy Land. See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    The Holy Father's Angelus Message from Sunday, February 27, 2000

      Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

      1. I thank the Lord who, after the special commemoration of Abraham held in the Paul VI Auditorium last Wednesday, enabled me to make these days of planned pilgrimage to Egypt, a hospitable land that gave refuge to the Holy Family fleeing from Herod, which received the Gospel in apostolic times and is heir of a very ancient civilization. The high point of this pilgrimage was the ascent to Mount Sinai.

          I am grateful to President Mubarak and to the Egyptian authorities, to the organizers and to those who in different ways contributed to my making this visit in Moses' footsteps. I renew my thanks to the Coptic Orthodox Church, with whose Patriarch, His Holiness Shenouda III, I had a cordial discussion; as well as Egumeno Damianos and the Greek-Orthodox monks, for their hospitality near Mount Sinai.

      2. I send cordial greetings and appreciation to the fervent Catholic community, with whom on Friday I was able to celebrate a solemn Holy Mass in the Cairo Sports Palace, in which all the Churches present in Egypt took part: the Coptic, Latin, Maronite, Greek, Armenian, Syrian and Chaldean.

          A significant ecumenical meeting was later held in the new Cathedral, consecrated last Christmas, with representatives and faithful of the Churches and ecclesial community present in Egypt. I am pleased to emphasize how profitable the dialogue with the Coptic Orthodox Church was, and I pray the Lord that he will render it ever richer in fruits of mutual understanding and collaboration.

          I also want to thank Grand Sheikh Sayed Tantawi of Al-Azhar, head of the Muslim community to which the greater part of the population belongs, for our courteous meeting.

          Now my thoughts turn to the central part of my pilgrimage, the most ancient Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. There, in a simple but touching ceremony, I was able to commemorate both the moment in which God, speaking from the burning bush, revealed his name "I am" to Moses, and where he stipulated the Covenant with the People, founded on the Decalogue. The fundamental precepts of the Natural Law are reflected in the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue points out the way for a fully human life. Outside of it there is no future of serenity and peace for persons, families, or nations.

      3. My eyes now turn to the Holy Land, the land of Jesus Christ, where, God willing, I will go during the last week of the month of March. Thanking all who accompanied me with prayer and continue to be near me with their spiritual support, I invoke the Mother of the Redeemer so that my visit to places in which 2000 years ago the Word of God "pitched his tent" among men, may redound to the benefit of the whole Church and the entire world.

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    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 two. For the 122nd installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 123: Adam and Eve: Our First Parents part two

          If our first parents had not sinned these gifts would have been transmitted to all men as the possession of human nature. God put Adam and Eve in the "paradise of pleasure", a garden which contained all kings of plants, flowers, birds, and beasts, - everything good that could be imagined. All the birds and beasts were perfectly obedient to Adam and Eve. In the midst of the garden grew the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Neart it was the tree of life, which protected Adam and Eve from disease.

          God also gave Adam and Eve infused knowledge; that is, without experience or study they knew all that full-grown persons needed to fulfill the purpose of their creation, and as educators of men. For example, Adam knew the indissolubility of marriage; his insight helped him give suitable names to the animals.

          God blessed Adam and Eve with a freedom from subjection to their lower appetites, such as impurity, drunkenness, etc. They had no inclination to evil. Their will was free from all weakness, weakened by no sensual desires. On account of the absence of rebellion of the flesh against the spirit, they felt no shame even though they were naked in Paradise.

          Lastly, God gave Adam and Eve freedom from bodily disease and death. Adam and Eve were created immortal, and were made free from all subjectio to sickness, which is the prelude to death. Had they been faithful to God, they would never have died, nor suffered disease. God gave Adam and Eve the commandment not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree that grew in the Garden of Paradise.

          God wanted Adam as head and representative of the human race to merit heaven. And so, after granting him His abiding grace, and blessing him with wonderful gifts, and giving him the Garden of Paradise to live in, He commanded him not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree. "Of every tree of Paradise thou shalt not eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat; for in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death" (Genesis 2:16, 17). The fruit of the forbidden tree was not evil in itself, for in Paradise God did not place anything bad. It was bad only because it was forbidden; and if Adam and Eve partook of it they would have disobeyed God.

          If Adam and Eve had been faithful to God, they would have passed without disease and without bodily death from their earthly Paradise to heaven, God's home, where they would see Him face to face. All the children of Adam, the entire human race, would have been born as Adam had been created, in a state of friendship with God, and with all his gifts. If one had sinned, he would have been punished by God, but no being the head of the entire huma race, he would not have passed on the stain to his descendants. Everybody would then have suffered for his own sins alone.

          Adam and Eve did not obey the commandment of God, but ate of the forbidden fruit. The devil tempted Eve to eat of the fruit, and she ate; then she gave some to Adam, and he also ate (cf. Genesis 3: 1-13). They committed sins of pride and disobedience.

      Tomorrow: Evolution and the Bible part two

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       Today and tomorrow we observe the liturgy of Ordinary Time while also celebrating the Feast of the virgin and religious educator Saint-elect Katherine Drexel who will become the second American-born saint of the Church on October 1st this year. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on Blessed Katherine, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Thursday, March 2, 2000

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

    Friday, March 3, 2000

      Friday March 3:
      Eighth Friday in Ordinary Time and
      Feast of Blessed Katherine Drexel, Virgin and Religious Founder
      plus World Day of Prayer and FIRST FRIDAY

      Green vestments

        First Reading: 1 Peter 4: 7-13
        Responsorial: Psalm 96: 10-13
        Gospel Reading: Mark 11: 11-26

    Optional Feast of Blessed Katherine Drexel, Virgin and Religious Founder

         The same year our Blessed Mother appeared at Lourdes in France Blessed Katherine Drexel was born across the sea in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After her mother died at childbirth, Katherine was well taken care of by her wealthy banking father who later remarried a loving stepmother who loved Katherine as well. Katherine was afforded the best education money could buy and traveled extensively. The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore solicited the rich to contribute to the missions serving the Indians and Blacks in America. Because of her family's wealth, Katherine became deeply involved in this ministry which took her all the way to the Vatican and a private audience with Pope Leo XIII who convinced her to become a missionary to these people herself. Spurred on by his encouragement she entered the Pittsburgh novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy and, after solemn profession, she founded her own religious congregation of nuns in 1891 - the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. That same year her family established the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia. Katherine took notes and dedicated to educating the Blacks and Indians, founded Xavier University in New Orleans as an all-Black college in 1915. Katherine lived through six pontiffs from Pius IX to Pius XII and it is estimated that upon her death in 1955, she had donated over 12 million dollars toward the apostolate for Blacks and Indians. She was beatified in 1988 by Pope John Paul II who set her date for observance on March 3 and will be canonized during this Jubilee Year on October 1st in Rome.

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    "And Jesus addressed him saying, 'What wouldst thou have Me do for thee?' And the blind man said to Him, 'Rabboni, that I may see.' And Jesus said to Him, 'Go thy way, thy faith has saved thee.' And at once he received his sight, and followed Him along the road"

    Mark 10: 51-52

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    Events that happened today in Church History

       On this day 124 years ago in 1876 Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli was born a stone's throw from the Vatican. He would grow up to become an exemplary priest, bishop diplomat, and cardinal and be elevated to the Throne of Peter on this day as well 61 years ago, taking the name Pope Pius XII. He is the only Pope to become the Sovereign Pontiff on the same day as his birth at the age of 63 in 1939. Though his pontificate was weighted with the terrible Second World War, his Jubilee Year fifty years ago was highlighted by his proclaiming the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a Dogma of the Church. For more on this remarkable Vicar of Christ, see Pius XII 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 2:

    • 673 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Chad, Archbishop of Lichfield. This English saint succeeded Saint Deusdedit to the see of Lichfield. He is credited with founding many monasteries and churches in his diocese and enforcing religious disciplines in the religious houses while setting the example for all through his actions and eloquent preaching.

    • 1459 A.D.
    • Birth of Adriaan Florensz Dedal at Utrecht in the Netherlands. He would not only go on to become a priest and Cardinal bishop of Utrecht, but become the last foreign Pope up until John Paul II when he became Pope Hadrian VI on January 9, 1522 at the age of 63. His pontificate would only last a year and a half.

    • 1810 A.D.
    • Birth of Gioacchino Vencenzo Pecci (no relation to Joe Pecci) in Carpineto in the hills south of Rome to a family of six children, he would go on to become a priest and rise through the Curia to become a cardinal and then 256th successor of Peter as Pope Leo XIII on February 20, 1878 at the age of 68.

    • 1876 A.D.
    • Birth of Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli in the shadow of the Vatican to an aristocratic famil of Rome. He would go on to be ordained, become a cardinal and be elected the 260th successor of Peter on this day in 1939, taking the name Pope Pius XII at the age of 63.

    • 1939 A.D.
    • Election of Pope Pius XII, 260th successor of Peter. He would be a strong opposer of Marxist persecutions and aid Jews during World War II even though many accused him of doing nothing, the facts say otherwise, listing this holy pontiff as a man of convictions who risked much by assuring hundreds of thousands Jews were sheltered from Nazi abuse. He would also discover the tomb of Saint Peter during the excavations under the great Basilica and celebrate the 24th Jubilee in 1950. He would also highlight the Jubilee by proclaiming the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven on November 1st of that year.

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    We often hide our feelings to look good!

       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".

    "When unexpected visitors come to a house, a housewife will take old linen and dirty shirts which lie about the front room and toss them into the cellar. The mind does the same thing; it defends itself against tormenting sensations by throwing them into the unconsciousness."

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    March 2, 2000     volume 11, no. 44
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