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December 3, 1998
SECTION TWO vol 9, no. 235
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Events Today in Church History
On this date in 741, Pope Saint Zachary was elected the 91st successor of Peter. His eleven year pontificate was most noted for consecrating Pipin the Short as King of the Franks. It was the first investiture of a king by a Pope and would set a precedence over succeeding centuries. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 3:
(Feast of Saint Francis Xavier)
Pope Saint Zachary becomes the 91st successor of Peter. Born in Calabria, his pontificate would last eleven years during which time he would strongly oppose Rachis, Duke of Friuli, whose desire was to occupy all of Italy. But through Zachary's example and prayers, Rachis converted and became a repentant monk. Zachary is most famous for consecrating Pipin the Short as King of the Franks, which would be the first investiture of a sovereign by a Roman pontiff. St. Zachary would die on March 22, 752.
Death of Pope Anastasius IV, 168th successor of Peter, whose papacy lasted one year and who had, as counselor, Cardinal Nicholas Breakspeare who would become his successor Pope Adrian IV. By Anasatasius' gentleness of character he succeeded in bringing about the pacification of the temporal domains of the Church.
Pope Clement VI, the fourth Avignon Pope, excommunicates members of the Roman tribunal and its representative Cola di Rienzo for their disregard of the hierarchy of the Church and especially di Rienzo's plans to become supreme ruler of Italy.
Death of Blessed Jan van Ruysbroeck, a Belgian mystic who wrote his works in Flemish rather than Latin in order to reach the people of that land.
NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Vatican hails permanent restoration of Christmas in Cuba
The Holy See reacted enthusiastically to the Cuban communist regime's decision to reinstate Christmas as a national holiday and holy day on this island which has done without this special feast for nearly thirty years, save for last year when Fidel Castro announced it would be a one-time exemption because of the Holy Father's pending visit last January. However, due to the coaxing of Pope John Paul II during his papal visit and afterwards, and the prayers of the people, Castro and his cronies have finally seen the light and have heeded the will of the populace, granting recognition of Christmas from now on. For more, click on Cuban Christmas.
HOLY SEE WELCOMES CUBAN RECOGNITION OF CHRISTMAS
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican welcomed the news that
Christmas will once again be celebrated as a holiday in Cuba on a
The Cuban government yesterday announced the re-establishment of
the Christmas holiday. Last year the Christmas holiday was observed
as a goodwill gesture, just prior to the January 1998 visit by Pope
John Paul II. Before that, no Christmas celebrations had been allowed
in Cuba since 1969.
In an official response to the Cuban decision, papal spokesman
Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the Holy See had received the news
"with satisfaction." He added that the official recognition of Christmas
was "a response to a precise desire of the people and the Cuban
Church, and I think it will not pass unnoticed by the international
The Cuban government, for its part, issued a statement claiming that
the suspension of Christmas observances in 1970 "was not motivated
by anti-religious sentiments, but solely by the economic necessities"
of the island, which made it essential to keep businesses open in
order to maintain adequate productivity.
In another positive gesture, the Cuban government yesterday
announced the release of Jesus Chamber Ramirez, a political dissident
who had spent the last six years in prison, often in solitary
confinement. His name was on a list of prisoners for whom Pope John
Paul had sought clemency last year.
Missouri Supreme Court courting controversy by changing capital punishment conflict
By their recent actions, the Missouri Supreme Court has brought more attention on capital punishment and it could blow up even more so in their face. Originally Darrell Mease was to be executed for multiple murders on January 27, 1999 but someone noticed that is the same date the Holy Father, who has expressed the Church's position against capital punishment, will touch down in the gateway city of St. Louis. Rather than risk embarassment, they decided to delay the date two weeks, but we suspect even more embarassment will be forthcoming as politicians, state and city officials and national authorities from the president on down try to two-step around this sensitive time-bomb. You just know the Pope will take advantage of their backstepping to bring it to the attention of the world, especially the United States, as morally wrong. For more, click on gateway gaffe.
MISSOURI COURT CHANGES EXECUTION PLANNED DURING POPE VISIT
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CWNews.com) - The Missouri Supreme
Court decided on Tuesday to change the planned date of
execution for a convicted murderer that was originally set
for the same time Pope John Paul II will be visiting the
The court had originally set January 27 as the execution
date for Darrell Mease, 42, who was convicted in the murder
of his former drug-dealing partner, the man's wife, and
their handicapped son in 1988. But the court later changed
the date to February 10 without additional comment.
Kent Gipson, a lawyer who has challenged many of Missouri's
death sentences, said he thinks the court changed the date
because of the potential embarrassment of carrying out the
execution while the Holy Father is visiting the state. The
Pope has been a vocal opponent of the death penalty, even
directly lobbying US governors to grant clemency for death
row inmates. "Somebody figured out they had set the date
for the night the Pope was in town and didn't want any
undue attention called upon the death-penalty machine,"
The Holy Father is scheduled to arrive in St. Louis on
January 26 and leave the next day after attending a youth
Freak fire claims chancery property of Louisiana Diocese
A mysterious fire roared through the chancery of the Diocese of Alexandria in central Louisiana Monday night, destroying most of the building which housed the administrative branch. No one was hurt of which Bishop Sam Jacobs gave thanks as he watched firemen try to douse the flames in the early evening after all had gone home. He expressed dismay but hope that most of the archived sacramental records were still intact since they were in vaults. The extent of the damage has yet to be determined and how the fire started is also still under question. The idea of arson has not been ruled out for the Klu Klux Klan is quite active in this region and known to be anti-Catholic. For more, click on Diocesan fire .
ALEXANDRIA DIOCESE BUILDING BURNS DOWN
ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana (CWNews.com) - The Diocese of
Alexandria, Louisiana suffered serious losses on Monday
when the chancery building was gutted by a mysterious fire.
No one was seriously injured, although a firefighter was
treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, but nearly all
of the secretarial and departmental offices were gutted.
Sacramental records, including baptism and marriage
records, and financial records may have survived because
they were stored in vaults, but there condition could not
be determined until the scene had been investigated.
Fire department spokesmen said the fire at the St. Joseph
Catholic Center began around 6:15 pm and was under control
45 minutes later, although the fire was still burning.
Bishop Sam Jacobs was on the scene was firefighters battled
the blaze and later said he was thankful no one was
seriously injured. "We don't know what caused it," Bishop
Jacobs said. "It looks like most of the secretarial and
departmental offices in the back are burned and gutted.
It's hard to tell from the outside. "Right now, I have no
idea what this means for the diocese," he added. "We just
have to see the damage once the fire's out."
Pope stresses role of Holy Spirit while decrying another missionary murder
The Holy Father continued to emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit at his weekly Wednesday audiences as has been his signature during this year of the Holy Spirit in preparation for Jubilee 2000. He reiterated the importance of the Sanctifier in evangelizing the Gospel and forging a better world through the centuries and today. One of the fallouts of evangelizing is the opposition by those who don't want to hear the Gospel or follow it. Such was the tragic news of the death of yet another Catholic missionary, this time a Canadian Christian Brother who was hacked to death by machete in Haiti in what the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano called "barbaric."
For more, click on Wednesday audience .
HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES CHRISTIAN ACTIVISM, POPE SAYS
AT SAME TIME VATICAN LAMENTS "BARBARIC" KILLING IN HAITI
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II today delivered his
27th address in a series of catechetical talks on the work of the Holy
At his weekly public audience, the Pope said that the Holy Spirit is
the source of "Christian involvement in transforming the world
through the light of the Gospel."
The Holy Father observed that the Christian's determination to
change the world is linked to "hope for the certain arrival of the
Kingdom of God." Since the Holy Spirit is the source of both these
impulses, it is wrong to suggest-- as some Marxists analysts have--
that there is a conflict between them.
"Christian spirituality is not a spirituality of escape, or of rejection of
the world," the Pope continued; "and it cannot be reduced simply to
temporal activity." Believing Christians are called to "give witness to
the Resurrection of Christ" and at the same time-- and for the same
reason-- to "work together as builders of a new society."
While working toward, and hoping for, the Kingdom of God,
Christians are sustained by the Eucharist, the Holy Father said. The
sacraments provide the power through which the faithful "live in the
hope of Christ," and "not conformed to the mentality of the present
Meanwhile, the official Vatican newspaper today
lamented the "barbaric" killing of a Canadian missionary in Haiti.
Christian Brother Bernardin Hudon died last Thursday after being
hacked with a machete at his home in La Valle. Police have not been
able to determine the motive of the crime, or to name a suspect.
However, they do suspect that the killer had been hidden inside the
building, since there was no sign of forced entry.
"The only sad certainty," reported L'Osservatore Romano, "is that a
new name has been added to the contemporary list of martyrs for
the Church." In 1997 there were 68 Catholic priests, religious, and
seminarians killed; to date this year there have been at least 15 such
killings. Pope John Paul II has said that during the Jubilee Year, the
Church will honor the many martyrs of the 20th century.
For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"The intention in the human heart is like water far below the surface, but the man of intelligence draws it forth."
Proverbs 20: 5
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December 3, 1998 volume 9, no. 235 DAILY CATHOLIC