FRI-SAT-SUN     March 3-5, 2000    vol. 11, no. 45    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Michael Vincent Boyer's HOW HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD column
  • Events that occurred this weekend in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD

  • The steady father figure Fred MacMurray played on television was an extension of the same role he played in his daily life despite the pressure of Hollywood's vices

        Today Michael Vincent Boyer, a well-respected Catholic insider expert on what's happening in the entertainment industry, brings the reader an upbeat story on Fred MacMurray who, though he was acting in such popular series as "My Three Sons" as a loving, paternal figure, it wasn't an act for in real life he was a sincere, moral Catholic who was a credit to Hollywood and his Church. For his column, Fred MacMurray: A Catholic actor whose respect for God and his Faith showed in his respect for his audience and profession , see HOW HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD

    Fred MacMurray: A Catholic actor whose respect for God and his Faith showed in his respect for his audience and profession

        " Fred MacMurray was not only a superhero to his fans, but to his family as a devout husband and devoted father, who never strayed in a town where straying and infidelity have become the norm. "

          Alas, Disney has gone from being the icon of family values in the entertainment industry to the harbinger of the culture of death since the passing of the baton from Walt Disney and past Disney glories to Michael Eisner and the greed and disregard for decency which has become the benchmark of Eisner's regime. Poor Walt, he must be turning over in his grave. And so must his good and close friend, Fred MacMurray the stalwart actor born in Kankakee, Illinois on August 30, 1908 who was born to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray, a concert violinist. They were a good Catholic family who saw to young Fred's Catholic education and higher learning in music at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. From that he went on play in a Chicago orchesra, then one in Hollywood where he first met Walt. Their bond would last a lifetime.

          Long before American television audiences came to know Fred MacMurray as the benevolent father-figure Steve Douglas on "My Three Sons" the acclaimed actor had already been a major star of motion pictures for over thirty years, appearing in leading roles that spanned the spectrum of comedy, drama, and adventure films. By 1960, MacMurray was enjoying time away from movies, preferring to spend more time with his second wife June Haver who he had married in 1954 after his first wife Lillian Lamont had died in 1953. He had a daughter Susan and a son Robert by Lillian and two daughters Kathryn and Laurie with June who he stayed with and cherished the rest of his life.

          In 1960, director Billy Wilder was in pre-production for a cynical comedy about a corporate ladder climber, Jack Lemmon, who attempts to get ahead by loaning out his apartment key to various executives for their extramarital affairs. Because of MacMurray's immense popularity, Wilder wanted MacMurray to play Lemmon's "heel" of a boss in a role that was uncharacteristic of any role he had previously portrayed. MacMurray expressed his concern to Wilder, explaining that the public had come to expect his screen portrayals of individuals with higher character. He explained to Wilder that he "didn't want to disappoint the audience."

          Director Wilder persisted and pleaded with MacMurray to take the role. Finally, MacMurray agreed to play the sleazy boss in a role that is called a "heavy" in acting terminology. Though he received high praise for his role in the finished film "The Apartment", mainly by critics who praised it as "uncharacteristic", MacMurray was never really comfortable with the with the movie or the "character" he portrayed. He would soon find out just how highly the audience had regarded him.

          In 1961 MacMurray and his wife June took their two children to Disneyland. While walking through the amusement park, a lady approached MacMurray with an angry scowl on her face. The woman immediately began a long tirade against MacMurray, explaining to him that she had come to respect him as an actor over the years for playing "upstanding" and "outstanding" roles, and she expected as much when she told the actor, "For that reason I took my daughter to see you in that movie "The Apartment" and I was ashamed." The incident so unsettled MacMurray that he vowed never again to play a "heavy". While many stories require characters of that nature in order to establish good versus evil, the type-cast "villain" has long been a mainstay of Hollywood depictions of low character. The movie critic's praise of his role was mainly a cynical celebration that MacMurray's mold was "broken".

          Keeping his promise of audience allegiance, MacMurray soon began a profitable relationship with the formerly respectable Walt Disney Company starring in "The Absent Minded Professor" in 1961, one of the year's most popular comedies and heads and tails above the filth Eddie Murphy promoted in a ripoff of the same name a few years ago. A few years after that first movie came out, MacMurray would begin his regular appearance as the widowed father Steve Douglas on the CBS series "My Three Sons", one of the highest rated shows in network television. MacMurray played a caring father raising three young boys and solving the problems of growing up and sharing his unique wisdom and advice on everything from going to school to camping trips.

          The darker forces in Hollywood that MacMurray fought eventually crept up again in 1971 when "My Three Sons "fell victim to the "CBS Massacre" by new television chief Fred Silverman who canceled all the network's most popular prime-time shows including Ed Sullivan, "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," "Mayberry RFD," Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, "Gomer Pyle" and many more.

          However, MacMurray had the last bitter laugh as he lived another two decades and sadly witnessed, along with the rest of America, the long slide and downfall of CBS, which never recovered from its prime-time "massacre." It was, in essence, the very thing that happened to America as morals have declined ever since. But the moral character of Fred MacMurray never waivered for every role was important to him in realizing his responsibility to his audience to convey the good qualities of a human being even if some of the characters he played were less than that, everyone knew the man playing that role was everybit the outstanding citizen he was. Through 98 films he graced the silver screen with grace and this strong character was also the visual inspiration for the original illustrations of the superhero Captain Marvel. Fred MacMurray was not only a superhero to his fans, but to his family as a devout husband and devoted father, who never strayed in a town where straying and infidelity have become the norm. Fred MacMurray never bought into that immoral lifestyle and died as he lived - nobly. He passed away from pneumonia at the age of 83 on November 5, 1991 and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery. He may be gone, but hopefully his legacy will live on and someday more Fred MacMurrays will come forth to renew Hollywood, having as their role model the untouchable, indubitable Fred MacMurray.

    Michael Vincent Boyer

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    Appreciation of the Bible over evolution

       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 today on Evolution and the Bible which clearly shows that whatever evolved came from God and that He created man from the slime of the earth as this special catechesis outlines in My Catholic Faith. For the 122nd installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 123: Evolution and the Bible part one

          Although there are some points of similarity between the skeletons of man and the ape, the differences are numerous and fundamental. As one scientist remarked, evolutionists might as well claim that man descended from any other form of life, because differences between man and the ape are as important as between man and other forms.

          The ape has neither chin nor forehead. Its foot grasps like a hand. Its teeth are not arranged in close rows. If it were forced to stand erect, it would be looking upwards, not forward. The average weight of its brain compared to that of its body is as 1 to 70. For man the ratio is 1 to 35. The ape cannot speak articulately. According to the Bible, the body of the first man was made by God from the slime of the earth. "And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth" (Gen. 2:7).

          The natural and obvious meaning of these words from the Book of Genesis is that the body of Adam was made directly by God from created substance. Such is the traditional Catholic interpretation. The Church teaches that the Genesis account is substantially historically true. But Catholics are not forbidden certain liberty of interpretation. For example, the "day" of creation is not necessarily - and not probably - our 24-hour day. We may consider the work done by God in one "day" as an immediate act, or as the result of a long period of development through the functioning of natural forces.

          Holy Scripture was not written for the purpose of serving as a technical reference work in science. The sacred writer's aim was to tell the story of creation, for the belief of the people, not for scientific investigation. Evolution is a theory concerning the origin and development of plants, animals, and man.

          The theory holds that life began with the simplest forms, then developed into more complex forms, until at last the most coomplex form, man, was "evolved." Some evolutionists hold that the moneky or ape and man both developed from a common ancestor. Darwin's first man was a highly developed ape. "Man when he was in honor did not understand; he hath been compared to senseless beasts, and made like to them" (Psalm 48:21).

          Many speak as if the theory of evolution had been thoroughly and scientifically proved. This is not so; at present conjectures still largely underlie the theory. Natural science alone can never explain how the first human body was actually produced. Unaided, it cannot explain the origin of inorganic matter, or the origin of life in the simplest organism. Divine revelation alone can give the answer to the origin of man, and of all created things.

          The evolutionists based their theories on the discovery of the so-called "missing link," from which the first man is supposed to have developed, a link between man and the ape. There is no such "missing link". All skeletons discovered have been proved to be either of genuine men or of real apes.

          Of the distinguished modern scientists who deny that evolution is an established fact, we might mention: Fabre, the outstanding naturalist of modern times; Millikan, the great physicist; John Burroughs, the naturalist; Professors Richet (Paris), and Henderson (Harvard); Dr. Dwight, the anatomist; Alexis Carrel, and Sir Bertram Windle.

      Monday: Evolution and the Bible part two

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    Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

       On Saturday 21 years ago in the 1979 His Holiness John Paul II issued his first encyclical Redemptor hominis that set the style for this 264th successor of Peter's illustrious 21 year pontificate to date. In it he showed a tremendous grasp of multi-cultures and outlined his theme of all realizing the importance of Jesus Christ in their lives as Christ-centered. 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 3:

    • 536 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Titian, Bishop of Brescia who was born in Germany but little else is known about this saint.

    • 561 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Pelagius I, 60th successor of Peter. Born in Rome, he was elected on April 16, 556. His elevation to the papacy was influenced by the Eastern emperor Justinian since Rome was then a province of the Byzantine Empire. Pope Pelagius remained faithful to the principles of Catholic orthodoxy and had the Church of the Twelve Apostles built.

    • 803 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Anselm of Nonantola, Benedictine abbot who came from royalty for his wife was the brother of the Lombard King Aistulph. But Anselm disdained the trappings of the world to embrace monasticism and found the abbey of Fanano outside Modena, Italy where he also built a hospital and sleeping quarters for pilgrims. When Aistulph was deposed by King Desiderius the latter punished his relatives, exiling Anselm to Monte Cassino but seven years later the great Charlemagne came into power and brought Anselm back to Nonantola where he lived out the rest of his life before dying on this date.

    • 1431 A.D.
    • Election of Cardinal Gabriele Condulmer as Pope Eugene IV, 207th successor of Peter.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for March 4:

    • 1152 A.D.
    • Frederick I Barbarossa assumes the crown of Germany and, through the Diet of Wurzburg sets about to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Blessed Pope Eugene III, but ambition, greed and the lust for power would consume Barbarossa and after Pope Eugene died, he would be a constant thorn in the side of the Popes as was his predecessor Conradin and his later successors.

    • 1483 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Casimir, Polish ruler who died at the age of 25. For more, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 1853 A.D.
    • Pope Pius IX, 255th successor of Peter, in a sweeping move to found new dioceses and re-establish old hierarchies in Europe, restores the See of Utrecht and brings the hierarchy of Netherlands back into tow. It was a resurgence of Catholicism in this Dutch region which in recent years has fallen back into apathy, schism and despair.

    • 1979 A.D.
    • Pope John Paul II publishes his first encyclical Redemptor hominis - "The Redeemer of man" as his first step in preparing mankind for the millennium and a Christ-centered society. It showed a tremendous grasp of intelligence, compassion and understanding of cultures that continues to flourish over these past two decades.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for March 5:

    • 138 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Oliva, virgin and martyr from Breschia who received her eternal reward of Heaven through martyrdom at the hands of the Roman emperor Hadrian.

    • 254 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Saint Lucius I, 22nd successor of Peter. Born in Rome, he was elected on June 25, 253. Possessing an aesthetical nature, he forbade men and women not related by blood to live together; he also decreed that clergy could not live with deaconesses even if given lodging for reasons of charity. His pontificate was cut short after less than nine months as Roman Pontiff, by the cruel persecution of the Roman emperor Valerian who ordered the execution of this martyred Pope.

    • 423 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Eusebius of Cremona. He succeeded Saint Jerome as Abbot of Bethlehem and was quite close to the saintly Doctor of the Church who translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate.

    • 1179 A.D.
    • Pope Alexander III convenes the Third Lateran Council, better known as the 11th Ecumenical Council in which papal elections would be regulated to insist on two-thirds majority for confirmation of an election - something still in effect today. The Council Fathers also condemned Albigensianism and Waldensesism. The well-attended and short Council would last only two weeks, being closed on March 19th.

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        This weekend we observe Ordinary Time plus the Feast of Saint-elect Katherine Drexel on Friday and Saturday's Feast of Saint Casimir plus the Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday and the EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on these feasts, see DAILY LITURGY.

    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.

    Saturday, March 4, 1999

      Saturday March 4:
      Eighth Saturday in Ordinary Time and
      Feast of Saint Casimir, Prince and Patron Saint of Poland and
      Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

      Green and white vestments

        First Reading: Jude 17: 20-25
        Psalms: Psalm 63: 2-6
        Gospel Reading: Mark 11: 27-33

    Optional Feast of Saint Casimir, Prince and Patron Saint of Poland

         The patron saint of Poland was a saintly young prince named Saint Casimir. He was known for his virginal chastity and for truly living what he preached for the 26 years he lived on this earth. Born in 1458 into nobility, his mother Elizabeth of Austria raised him in the True Faith. At 13 he was elected King of Hungary in hopes of toppling the rival king Matthias Corvino. However, through Casimir's prayers, peace and compromise were reached and the Hungarians were reconciled with Corvino. This enabled Casimir to abdicate the throne and devote his life to prayer as he preferred over the life of royalty. Yet while his father was in Lithuania, Casimir was again promoted - this time to the office of regent in Poland. Though he preferred a more contemplative lifestyle, he accepted this office with dignity and despite his youth, showed wisdom beyond his years in administering with great prudence and virtue. Casimir nurtured a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, dedicating his life to her and turning down an offer of marriage to the daughter of the German Emperor Henry III. In 1843 Casimir was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Lithuania and shortly after that contracted the fatal disease of tuberculosis, passing on to his Heavenly reward on March 4, 1484 at the young age of 26 in the court of Grodno. Amid great grief and pomp the Polish people honored him, burying him under the altar in the Chapel of Our Lady in the castle of Vilna. He was canonized 37 years later in 1521 by Pope Leo X, but it wasn't until 1602 that the Poles and Lithuanians realized Casimir had been made a saint since the original bull never reached Poland since Leo's successor Pope Hadrian VI had assumed Leo X had sent it and therefore did not follow-up. As it were, Leo died before he could dispatch the original bull and it was lost in the shuffle. Once it was discovered, Pope Clement VIII took care of officially notifying the Polish people by reissuing the papal bull. Almost immediately the Polish King Sigismund III began erecting a chapel honoring Casimir in Vilna and it was completed by his successor King Wladislaus IV.

    Sunday, March 5, 2000

        First Reading: Deuteronomy 4: 12-15
        Responsorial: Psalm 81: 3-8, 10-11
        Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4: 6-11
        Gospel Reading: Mark 2: 23-27; 3: 1-6

    Monday, March 6, 2000

        First Reading: 2 Peter 1: 2-7
        Responsorial: Psalm 91: 1-2, 14-16
        Gospel Reading: Mark 12: 1-12

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    For the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

        "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbah."

    Mark 2: 27

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    Medical should always consider moral ethics

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Archbishop 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".

    "Medical treatment in dealing with fear should never neglect the moral principles which may possibly be behind fear and their manifestations in body and mind. Even Freud has admitted that from a medical point of view the unscrupulous method of satisfying every instinct may make the patient worse. Ethics is the very essence of sound medical treatment."

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    March 3-5, 2000     volume 11, no. 45
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