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November 11, 1998
SECTION TWO vol 9, no. 221
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
LITURGY OF THE DAY
Today is the Feast of the bishop Saint Martin of Tours while tomorrow we commemorate the Feast of the martyred bishop and religious Saint Josaphat. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these saints, click on LITURGY
Wednesday, November 11, 1998
First Reading: Titus 3: 1-7
Psalms: Psalm 23: 1-6
Gospel Reading: Luke 17: 11-19
Feast of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Born the son of a Roman officer and pagan parents in Hungary around the year 319, Saint Martin of Tours became the epitome of the Good Samaritan throughout his life, beginning at the age of 15. Having been educated at Pavia, Italy, Martin followed his father's footsteps when he enlisted in the Roman army as an imperial guard. On one cold day, the legend relates, he came upon a barely-clothed beggar who was shivering. As people passed him by, ignoring his pleas, Martin felt compassion. Having no money, only his weapons and his long red army-issued cloak, Martin drew his sword and slashed the cloak in half, giving the poor man the cloak to warm him. As he slept that night, Martin had a vision in his dreams of Jesus Christ who was wrapped in the half cloak Martin had bestowed on the beggar. It was a confirmation of Christ's words in Matthew 25:35-40 specifically the last verse, "Amen I say to you, as long as you did for one of these, the least of My brethren, you did it for Me." The dream had such a profound effect on Martin that he immediately sought out the Christians for catechumenism. Constantine had passed the Edict of Milan and Christians were now free to openly profess their faith. After six years as a catachumen, Martin was baptized and traded his commission in the army for the minor order of exorcist by Saint Hilary of Poitiers. After Hilary was exiled, Martin went back to his Hungarian homeland, where, through his example he converted his pagan mother. After Hilary was allowed to return to Poitiers in France, Martin left Hungary to rejoin Hilary there as his disciple. Martin was ordained and became a hermit on land that would eventually become the monastery of Liguge - the first ever monastery in France that was reinstated by the Benedictines in 1852 and still exists today. Martin gained the reputation of being a miracle worker after he had brought a catechumen back to life. He became so popular that the people of Tours demanded he become their bishop when the vacancy came. In 371 he was selected Bishop of Tours and dedicated his episcopate to evangelization. Four years later he founded the monastery at Marmoutiers where vocations multiplied, providing many priest-monks for the region and beyond. He was an excellent diplomat and administrator, convincing representatives of the Roman Empire in the west that the Church should have the same guidelines and freedom in France that Constantine afforded Holy Mother Church in Rome. His austere lifestyle was a bone of contention among other bishops and priests who fought his attempts to instill this way of life on them. While at a country parish trying to quell the division among the clergy, he died in 397 at the age of 78. His efforts and the seeds of faith he planted in French soil nourished France for centuries where Tours became the focal point of monastic life. He was one of the most well-beloved bishops of the 4th Century and has always been one of France's favorite saints so much so that in the autumn, when the leaves begin to fall, they call it "St. Martin's summer" for that is the time the people drink the new wine that has been harvested and wine represents the fruit of Christian virtue which Martin personified.
Thursday, November 12, 1998
First Reading: Philemon 1: 7-20
Psalms: Psalm 146: 7-10
Gospel Reading: Luke 17: 20-25
Feast of Saint Josaphat, Bishop, Religious and Martyr
In 1580, during the papacy of Pope Gregory XIII- author of the Gregorian Calendar, Saint Josaphat was born as John Kuncevic to an Orthodox family in Vladimir, Poland. Though he was born into the Greek Orthodox Church and a Pole, he became a member of the Uniate Ruthenian Church in Vilna, Lithuania. In the 16th and 17th Centuries the Ruthenian followers were divided into three sects - the Catholic or Latin Church in total union with Rome, the Orthodox Greek Church which answered to the Patriarch of Constantinople and Moscow, and the Greek Uniate Church which the Polish people had discarded because of the lengthy liturgy and the ignorant clergy who were allowed to marry. In a word, respect was non-existent for the latter hierarchy. The Roman Catholic Church had become strong in Poland, but had failed to make headway into Lithuania or Russia, but a synod held by the Ruthenian Church in 1595 opted to be reunited with the Church of Rome pending approval by Pope Clement VIII. So excited with this proposition was John that he became a Basilian monk at the age of 24 at Holy Trinity Monastery at Vilna and was given the religious name of Josaphat. Along with a friend and fellow monk Jozef Rutski, he worked long and hard on bringing reform to the Basilians in anticipation of union with Rome. At the age of 37 Josaphat released an extensive thesis in the Slavic language on the natural roots of unity of the Ukranian Church with the Church of Rome. Through his efforts he started a Basilian monastery that was totally in union with the Catholic Church. When his friend Jozef became metropolitan of Kiev, Josaphat became archimandrite of the monastery which was the same as abbot in the Roman Church, before being appointed in 1617 Archbishop of Polotsk on the eastern border of Lithuania next to western Russia. Because of the state of disrepair in his new diocese and the strong opposition to Rome, Josaphat knew in his heart his mission was to reach out to the Ruthenians and convince them the Catholic Church was the true faith. He carried this out through synods, seminars, and catechesis studies. When some priests rebelled, he exacted sanctions on clergy who were not following the true teachings. This naturally caused dissension and resentment and many of the misguided clergy stirred up opposition to Josaphat, spreading fear among the Ruthenians that if the Latin rite were introduced into their land they would lose everything from their culture to their property. This caused the Ruthenians to rally against Josaphat. It turned to outright hatred when, in 1621 the Byzantine Patriarch of Jerusalem traveled to the Ukraine to consecrate a metropolitan and a handful of Orthodox bishops in the Ruthenian Church. This action further eroded support for Josaphat and the plotters, led by antiarchbishop Metetius Smotritsky, sought to seal his fate by stirring fear in the populace at a time when Poland was being threatened by the Turks from the South and Sweden to the north. In addition, Poland was cautious of coming to Josaphat's aid because Josphat, though in total union with Rome, still insisted on keeping the Byzantine rites and customs in the Ukranian Church as opposed to the Latin rite in Poland. To quell the opposition Josaphat decided to go to Vitebsk, Russia which was then known as "White Russia" and where he had first become an auxilary bishop, to meet face to face with his enemies in hopes of a peaceful dialog. However this was thwarted when a priest named Elias harassed Josaphat and was locked up. The people demanded Elias' release and as they assembled taunts of kill Josaphat rose to a fever pitch. As Josaphat held out his hands to quiet the crowd and speak reasonably to the maddening mob, they stormed the platform and began beating him. As the frenzied mob of Ruthenians roared its approval, one man cleared a path and leveled his rifle at Josaphat killing the saint instantly. They then dispatched of his body by hurling it into the Dvina River. Thus this Eastern saint became a martyred victim of the cruel persecution by the Slav-Ruthenian Church in Russia in 1623. Nearly 250 years later Pope Pius IX canonized Josaphat as the first Eastern saint to formally be canonized in such a process. The efforts begun by Josaphat are being carried out today by Pope John Paul II in uniting the Orthodox Churches with Rome and the Uniate Churches such as the Ukranian Rite and Byzantine Rite which are in union with the Pope, yet maintain an eastern culture in their liturgy and language.
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
Today's Prayer is taken from
the Preface of the Mass honoring
Saint Martin of Tours:
It is truly right and just, our duty and a source of salvation, to give You thanks, omnipotent and eternal God, and to praise You for the holy life of Bishop Martin, who was a glorious disciple of Christ Your Son. With ardent longing he prepared for baptism and laready knew how to show his love for the poor with exemplary generosity. Abandoning the uncertain honors of military life, he put himself at the service of the King of the universe by monastic profession. And when in Your benevolence You willed that he be a shepherd of Your flock, his zeal for the true faith and his love for Your Church made him a shining example for all and a model of every form of justice.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Vietnam visit inviting to Vicar of Christ as Pope expresses enthusiasm for traveling there next year
The Holy Father reacted postively and enthusiastically to the invitation to visit Vietnam in 1999 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of La Vang extended to him by Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The on behalf of the Vietnam bishops. The only holdup is approval from the Communist government in Vietnam who, though they have been notified by the bishops, deny any knowledge which is a typical ploy of their stalling tactics. But pressure from the people and world opinion should sway them enough that the Holy Father will be cleared to make the trek to Southeast Asia next year. For more, click on Vietnam visit.
POPE "PLEASED" WITH INVITATION TO VISIT VIETNAM
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue
reports the Pope John Paul II is delighted with the invitation he has received
from the bishops of Vietnam. Such a visit has been mentioned as furnishing
an occasion for the promulgation of a post-synodal exhortation concluding
the work of the Synod on Asia.
According to the Vatican news agency Fides, Archbishop Nhu The met
privately with the Holy Father on November 6, and-- as representative of
the Vietnamese bishop-- formally invited the Pontiff to visit Vietnam for the
conclusions of ceremonies marking the bicentennial of the Marian sanctuary
in La Vang. Fides reported that the Pope replied that he would like to come
"if it is possible."
The greatest obstacle to such a trip is the absence of diplomatic relations
between Vietnam and the Holy See. However, sources in the Vatican
Secretariat of State suggested that there could be reasons for optimism, and
that the Vietnamese government might be open to a papal visit as a step
toward mutual diplomatic recognition. Archbishop Nhu The added his
opinion that the government could draw profit from such a visit, since "if the
Pope comes, all the world will look upon Vietnam sympathetically.... it could
be a sign of openness to the international community."
From Vietnam, Bishop Barthelemy Son Lam of Than Hoa told Fides that an
official request for approval of a papal visit would be presented to the
government tomorrow by Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung. He added that the
government had been kept abreast of the bishops' plans to issue such an
Pope honors ten deceased cardinals in special solemn Mass in their honor
The Pope celebrated a special solemn memorial Mass for the ten cardinals who have died this past year, the most notable of the deceased prelates being Cardinal Agostino Casaroli who was vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, a position filled last Friday by the Holy Father with the elevation of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger to that post. With the ten who have passed on the total number of cardinals stands at 157 with 101 of them eligible to vote in conclave. The amazing thing is that only 27 of the 157 cardinals were not chosen by Pope John Paul II, pretty well solidifying his mark on this pontificate and future papacies. For more, click on Cardinals
MEMORIAL MASS FOR DECEASED BISHOPS, CARDINALS
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II presided at a solemn Mass in
St. Peter's Basilica, in memory of the cardinals and bishops who have died
during the past year.
The Holy Father praised the deceased prelates for their service to the
Church, saying that they had imitated the Good Shepherd, "who lays down
his life for his sheep." Summing up one of the main themes of his pontificate,
the Pope said, "This is the destiny of every Christian, and indeed of every
man: to find himself through the gift of his self." He concluded that the Holy
spirit "will raise up to new and eternal life all those who have generously
given their life to the Gospel."
Ten cardinals have died during the past year: Cardinals Laurean Rugamba,
Eduardo Pironio, Antonio Quarracino, Jean Balland, Antonio Ribeiro, Alberto
Bovone, Agostino Casaroli, John J. Carberry, Anastasio A. Ballestrero, OCD, and
Alois Grillmeier, SJ. Their deaths leave the College of Cardinals with 157
members today, of whom 101 are eligible to take part in a papal election. Of
the 157 cardinals, 128 were elevated by Pope John Paul II.
The Conspiracy theory becomes more and more a reality in pro-aborts' arsenal of satan's weapons
As we first offered in yesterday's PewPOINT, the anthrax scare is not something coming from pro-life groups but rather from proponents for the culture of death. This is evident from the latest news that several Catholic churches and a Chicago pro-life group have been intimidated by the anthrax scare. Even as a strong pro-abortion task force is being formed by Janet Reno and the Justice Department, pro-life leaders are now speaking out, letting the public and media know that too many have assumed the death threats against abortion doctors came from pro-lifers when, in truth, it could very well be a conspiracy as we asserted in yesterday's editorial "It's time to fight fire with Fire!" For more, click on abortion conspiracy
ANTHRAX THREATS AGAINST CATHOLIC CHURCHES, PRO-LIFE
GROUP WHILE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REVIVES ABORTION TASK FORCE
CHICAGO (CWNews.com) - Two Catholic churches and a pro-life
group received letters that threatened they contained
anthrax bacteria on Monday, 10 days after abortion clinics
in four Midwestern states received similar threats.
St. Matthew's Church and School in Indianapolis, Queen of
Martyrs' Church in Cheektowaga, New York, and the Chicago
office of the Pro-Life Action League all received letters
that said, "You have been exposed to anthrax." The note was
identical to a threat sent 10 days ago to the abortion
clinics. Those letters had a Cincinnati postmark while the
most recent threats had Texas and Illinois postmarks.
Six parish staff and 481 students and teachers were treated
for possible exposure to anthrax at St. Michael's, although
authorities did know if the threat was real. Nine people
were decontaminated at Queen of Martyrs, which is located
near Amherst, New York where abortionist Barnett Slepian
was murdered last month. None of the seven workers at the
Pro-Life Action League were evacuated or treated. That
group lost a lawsuit earlier this year that had been
brought by pro-abortion groups.
The threats may have been reprisals for the earlier threats
which turned out to be hoaxes. A coalition of national and
local pro-life groups condemned all forms of violence,
including threats of violence, whether they are targeted at
pro-life or pro-abortion advocates. "The National Coalition
for Life and Peace condemns this deadly threat. At this
time, fortunately, it appears the threat was a hoax. Real
or not, however, domestic terrorism has no place in our
society," the group said. They also cautioned against
assuming the acts are the work of pro-abortion extremists,
just as they condemned the assumption that the earlier acts
were the work of pro-lifers.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. the US Justice Department on
Monday reformed its national task force to investigate
crimes against abortionists and abortion clinics, and
announced a $500,000 reward for arrest of the killer of
abortionist Barnett Slepian last month.
Attorney General Janet Reno said the revival of the task
force was in response to a "series of savage attacks
against providers of reproductive health care." She said,
"These attacks and others seek to undermine a woman's basic
constitutional right -- the right to reproductive health
care. And while some people may oppose that right, no one
should ever use violence to impede it."
In addition to the Slepian murder, Reno cited the shootings
of four abortionists in Canada and upstate New York over the
past four years, chemical attacks on 20 clinics in Florida,
Louisiana, and Texas this past summer, arson attacks on two
clinics in North Carolina, and anthrax threats made against
10 clinics in four states in the past 10 days.
Reno did not say whether the task force would investigate
violence against pro-life groups including anthrax threats
made against two Catholic churches and a pro-life group on
Monday. The new National Clinic Violence Task Force will be
headed by Bill Lann Lee, acting assistant attorney general
in charge of the Justice Department's civil rights
division. Since 1994, the division has brought 27 criminal
and 17 civil cases under the federal Freedom of Access to
Clinic Entrances Act.
Venezuela venue very inviting to bishops who encourage dialogue with leading candidate in Caracas
In the land where Our Lady has been appearing for over two decades and asked all to be "ambassadors of reconciliation" and a capitol city where bullets riddled modern hotels which we saw the evidence ourselves during our stay in Caracas in 1990, finally peace may be returning full time to the heavily Catholic country of Venezuela and this is nothing but good news to the bishops of Venezuela who have expressed hope that when the final votes are cast on December 6th in a three-stage process that will formulate the people's will to what they want. One of the men they are leaning to is the former head of a coup in the late eighties and again in the early nineties. Some are fearful if he is elected some military leaders will try to avenge his earlier actions by staging a coup against him. Venezuela has enjoyed over 40 years of democracy, though not always smoothly, but the faith is flourishing in a land of two extremes - extreme wealth and extreme poverty. For more, click on Venezuela venue .
VENEZUELA BISHOPS PRAISE ELECTIONS AS RENEWAL OF DEMOCRACY
CARACAS (CWNews.com) - The Catholic Bishops of Venezuela
"want to renew our commitment to preserve and strengthen
democracy in our country, especially this critical moment,"
said Bishop Jose Sanchez Porras today, after the country
completed the first round of national elections.
On Sunday Venezuelans voted in the first step of a
three-stage democratic process that will have reach its
climax on December 6, when a new president and legislature
will be elected. The November 8 balloting resulted in the
election of state governors.
Sunday's elections confirmed the rising political influence
of retired Colonel Hugo Chavez and his coalition of
independent movements, which won control over 9 Venezuelan
states, defeating the traditional Social Democratic Party,
which won in 8. Chavez has been the focus of some criticism
from the country's Catholic hierarchy.
Bishop Sanchez Porras, the secretary general of the
Venezuelan bishops' conference, read a statement lauding
"the achievements of these 40 years," which were described
"a heritage that we all have to preserve, enrich, and
"The Church in Venezuela, which has always been close to
the democratic process, rejects the totalitarian temptation
and commits her effort to strengthen a true democracy and to
promote to responsible and calm completion of the current
process," the bishops said.
The bishops have criticized Chavez -- who in 1992 failed in
his attempt to organize a military coup -- for his sharp
criticism of the democratic process. Last week Chavez tried
to ease tensions with the Catholic Church by holding a
meeting with Archbishop Ignacio Velazco of Caracas.
The bishops have also expressed concern over press reports
suggesting that the military leadership would not accept
the election of Chavez -- implying that if the man who once
tried to organize a coup is elected by popular ballot, he in
turn might be overthrown by a military coup, putting an end
to the longest record of democratic rule in South America.
In an obvious reference to the threats from the military,
the bishops said: "We trust in the democratic vocation of
our armed forces, which will respect the people's will and
will walk with the Venezuelan people along the path of
deepening the nation's democracy."
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.
Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
November 11, 1998 volume 9, no. 221 DAILY CATHOLIC