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August 11, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 150
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Today is the Feast of the virgin and religious foundress Saint Clare of Assisi who, with Saint Francis established the Franciscan Order of nuns. Tomorrow we return to Ordinary Time for Thursday. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignette for St. Clare, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Wednesday, August 11, 1999
First Reading: Deuteronomy 34: 1-12
Psalms: Psalm 66: 1-3, 5, 8, 16-17
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18: 15-20
FEAST OF SAINT CLARE, VIRGIN AND RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
So impressed was Saint Clare of Assisi by the Lenten sermon of Saint Francis of Assisi that she fled her wealthy home at the age of 18. Rather than submitting to her parents' wishes to be married to an influential nobleman, she submitted to Christ and on Palm Sunday in 1212 received the habit from Francis at the Portiuncula. Because Francis had no convent, Clare became a Benedictine nun at St. Paul in Bastia. Her life of edification and example convinced her own sister Agnes and mother to join her in the convent. This catapulted into more aristocratic women joining and soon Francis decided to build a house next to the church at San Damiano where he appointed Clare in 1215 the Mother Superior, a position she held for forty years. Thus the Order of the Poor Clares were founded, though they were at first called "The Poor Ladies of San Damiano." At Francis' request, Pope Gregory IX drew up the first Rule for Clare and her fellow sisters in 1228. The nuns were so intent on practicing an austere life that Francis several times had to step in and reprimand them for being too severe on themselves. Yet Clare insisted on the strict vow of poverty and sought out Pope Innocent IV to receive from him assurance that this vow would be upheld and respected by the Church which his namesake Pope Innocent III and successor Gregory IX had assured. She did this knowing full well the temptations of receiving property and gifts from noble families who sought to bestow their wealth on the Church by lavishing the clergy and religious with gifts in return for favors. Clare wanted this vow to be pure and free from any tainting. Some of the popes rescinded this vow and many of the orders as well as some of those under Francis opted for modification of the rule which relaxed the vow of poverty. Clare would have none of it and she drew up a stricter rule in the spirit of Francis' rule guaranteeing absolute poverty for the Order. Throughout her life Clare sought from the supreme pontiffs the privilege of not receiving any privileges except the grace of God. This dedication to shunning everything of the world to embrace God and His Will paid off in dividends as vocations multiplied a hundredfold while the other orders suffered in recruiting. It was an omen of what has happened today in the religious orders. Those who have stuck by the strict rule their founders established have flourished while those who have slacked off, turning their back on the traditions of their orders, are closing their doors for lack of vocations and inspiration. Clare's dedication and persistence was an inspiration to priests, bishops and even popes during her lifetime. They sought her out for consultation and often offered generous remuneration for her time, but always she refused. Clare grieved greatly at the death of Francis but realized God had much more work for her to finish before He called her home to be with the humble founder of the Franciscans. Clare always had a deep and abiding love for Jesus, especially in the Most Blessed Sacrament and, in 1241 when the Emperor Frederick II threatened at the walls of Assisi, she confidently climbed to the top of the fortress and there held aloft the Eucharist within the Monstrance. She is often depicted in this manner. In the same miraculous way Pope Leo the Great had stopped Attila the Hun at the gates of Rome, Clare's heartfelt prayers were answered and Frederick retreated. Twelve years later, on August 11, 1253 Clare closed her eyes in Assisi for the final time. It was time to join Francis in Heaven. Less than two years after her death Pope Alexander IV canonized this holy foundress of the Poor Clare nuns.
Thursday, August 12, 1999
First Reading: Josue 3: 7-11, 13-17
Psalms: Psalm 114: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18: 21-20
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
l; Today, in honor of Saint Clare, we bring you the Preface from the Franciscan Missal for the Mass in her honor:
You wondrously inflamed Your servant Clare to follow like Francis in the footsteps of Your Son. To him You espoused her mystically through perpetual fidelity and love. Raising her to the summit of seraphic perfection through the highest poverty, You made her the mother of countless virgins.
Events Today in Church History
On this date 507 years ago the political powerhouse prelate Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja y Borgia bribed his way into being elected the 214th successor of Peter, taking the name Pope Alexander IV. The high honor did not transform him into a saint, but rather an even more devious Pontiff who used his authority to wield power and curry favors while punishing his enemies. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for August 11:
Death of Saint Clare of Assisi, who, with the help of her mentor Saint Francis of Assisi, founded the Poor Clares. For more, see DAILY LITURGY.
Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja y Borgia is elected Pope Alexander VI as 214th successor of Peter, the pontiff who, by a simple mark on the maps of the new lands of America, he decided the destiny of the new continent but, by his conduct set the Church back considerably and brought scandal on the Holy See which had a great effect on the unrest that resulted in the Reformation.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Chinese add to their snub of the Pope by denying Portugal Papal Envoy at upcoming ceremonies in Hong Kong
On the heals of Red China's refusal to allow the Pope to visit Hong Kong, they're at it again. This time they are refusing the presence of a Papal Envoy from Portugal during ceremonies on December 20 marking the transfer of the Portuguese territory of Macau to Communist China. While Communist officials insist it is all over the Taiwan recognition, Church officials believe it really is about any kind of influence from the Roman Catholic Church which is struggling in the face of forced worship at the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church which is run by the communists and not in union with Rome. For more, click on Papal snub.
PORTUGAL, CHINA AT ODDS OVER VATICAN ENVOY FOR MACAU HANDOVER
HONG KONG (CWNews.com) - Newspaper in Hong Kong reported on
Tuesday that China and Portugal have disagreed over
Portugal's plan to invite a papal envoy to attend
ceremonies marking the handover of the Portugese colony of
Macau to Communist China on December 20.
The controversy followed reports on Monday that China had
refused permission for Pope John Paul II to visit Hong Kong
during his visit to Asia later this year. While Chinese
sources said the Vatican's diplomatic recognition of Taiwan
was at the center of dispute, Church sources said the
decision revolved around China's ban of the Church on the
mainland while setting up a Communist-controlled Catholic
The South China Morning Post newspaper said China told
Portugal that it doesn't want a papal envoy on the guest
list when Macau is returned to China after 442 years of
Portugese rule. "The Taiwan issue is hindering the
finalization of talks," the Post quoted a European diplomat
as saying. In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official
who spoke on customary condition of anonymity said China
and Portugal agreed they would not invite guests from any
countries with which they did not have diplomatic relations.
Cardinal answers critics who lambast him for supporting Air Force Officer's cause
Speaking with authority, the Archbishop of New York Cardinal John J. O'Connor, who is also the retired U.S. Chief of Navy Chaplains as a Rear Admiral, called on the United States military to honor the integrity of conscience and a person's faith, a concern stemming from the case of Lieutenant Ryan Berry, a married Catholic officer who was forced to bunk with female officers even though he is married. He protested and the Air Force said "tough luck, live with it or be transfered!" Cardinal O'Connor doesn't think he should have to live with that predicament for it goes against Berry's faith and conscience and to live in grace is more important than to "live with it." For more, click on Cardinal O'Connor.
CARDINAL O'CONNOR CRITICIZED FOR SUPPORT OF LT. BERRY
NEW YORK, AUG 9 (ZENIT).- On July 29, Cardinal John O'Connor added his
voice in support of Lt. Ryan Berry, who was reprimanded by the Air Force
for seeking to follow his Catholic conscience, in his weekly "Viewpoint"
column. In this week's column he reports the reaction. The diocesan
office is receiving numerous calls from feminist groups accusing him of
chauvinism and discrimination. Cardinal O'Connor denies this analysis.
He states that the real issue behind Berry's case is that of integrity
Citing his experiences in the Vietnam War, Cardinal O'Connor assures
that integrity of conscience is necessary for military discipline. He
quotes Vatican II to explain the Church's position. "Deep within his
conscience man discovers a law that he has not laid upon himself but
which he must obey."
"I can no more determine Lt. Berry's conscience than can his commanding
general. Nor can I determine whether this woman or that man is an
occasion of temptation or sin in a given set of circumstances. Nor am I
interested in trying to do either. My interest is in respect for the
human conscience. When I took an oath of office as a military officer, I
pledged, 'I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the
Constitution of the United States, against all enemies foreign and
domestic . . . so help me God.' Every military officer takes that same
oath. What guarantees fidelity to his or her oath but conscience?" the
Little Audrey Santo marks 12th Anniversary of her long illness with special Mass in Worcester, Mass
Over five thousand packed the Church of Christ the King in Worcester, Massachusetts Monday , many overflowing into the street for the chance to see the "miracle girl" Audrey Santo, best known as "little Audrey" who has been in a suspended-like state for twelve years. Monday marked the 12th anniversary when an accident in a swimming pool rendered her helpless. But she is not hopeless and no longer "little Audrey" for she is now 15 and helping so many through her prayers and miraculous intercession and signs which are under investigation by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly. For more, click on Little Audrey
THOUSANDS MARK ANNIVERSARY FOR MIRACLE GIRL
WORCESTER, Massachusetts (CWNews.com) - Up to 5,000 people
came to a church in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Monday to
visit a 15-year-old girl on the 12th anniversary of the
accident that left her in a coma and began her life as an
alleged conduit of miraculous healings.
Long lines of people, many of them with chronic or terminal
illnesses, walked by the bed of Audrey Santo at Christ the
King Church, asking her to pray for them in an annual event
that has come to mark the swimming pool accident that left
the girl in a coma at age 3. Since then, mysterious oils
oozing from paintings and statues, as well as numerous
unexplained healings has spread the girl's story across the
The bishop of Worcester has ordered an investigation in to
the phenomena surrounding the little girl, although no
conclusion has yet been reached.
Catholic tensions mount in Scotland and Northern Ireland
All is not well in Scotland or Northern Ireland for that matter. Regarding the former, a well-known Scottish composer claims anti-Catholicism is rampant in this land once ruled by the Catholic Queen Mary, Queen of Scots. He cites various incidences that bear out his accounts. Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea in Belfast tensions are building once again at the news that the Apprentice Boys, a radical Protestant faction, has received permission to march through predominantly Catholic neighborhoods and the Catholics are furious, feeling the Orange are just rubbing their faces in it. They threaten to protest which could ensue in violent clashes. For more, click on Catholic tensions.
COMPOSER SAYS ANTI-CATHOLICISM RAMPANT IN SCOTLAND, WHILE
PROTESTANTS GIVEN PERMISSION FOR MARCH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
EDINBURGH (CWNews.com) - A leading Scottish composer said
at the Edinburgh International Arts Festival that
Scotland's hidden shame is rampant anti-Catholic bigotry.
"In many walks of life -- in the workplace, in the
professions, in academia, in the media, in politics and in
sport -- anti-Catholicism, even when it is not particularly
malign, is as endemic as it is second nature," said James
MacMillan, a Catholic from Glasgow. "Many of us are either
happy to live with or deny completely the existence of
anti-Catholicism, which is still a significant element of
Scottish culture," added MacMillan, who composed the
fanfare for the opening in July of the first Scottish
parliament in 300 years.
MacMillan's composition, the Seven Last Words from the
Cross, is a finalist for the festival's Mercury prize.
After citing the Protestant Orange marches that are still
held every year, similar to those held in Northern Ireland,
commemorating historic victories over Catholics, and the
sometimes violent soccer rivalry between the mainly
Catholic Celtics and mainly Protestant Rangers.
"I have been spat on for being Catholic. And when my
daughter attended her first Easter vigil at the age of six,
she came into her first contact with sectarian abuse from a
few drunks who noticed the candles burning outside,"
Last week, a magazine run by the Free Presbyterian Church
condemned the influence of the late English Cardinal Basil
Hume, and members of the Church of Scotland launched a
campaign to make members of the new Scottish parliament use
Presbyterian prayers instead of planned prayers that embrace
Meanwhile in Belfast, the Northern Ireland Parades
Commission on Monday gave permission to the Protestant
Apprentice Boys group to hold a controversial march through
a Catholic neighborhood in Belfast, prompting fears of a
The Apprentice Boys will be allowed to march along Lower
Ormeau Road on Saturday as part of the annual marches which
historic victories over Catholics. The commission said it
gave permission because there had been progress in dialogue
between the Apprentice Boys and the Lower Ormeau Concerned
Community (LOCC) group.
But LOCC representatives protested the decision calling it
"unfair." "We are very angry at this decision," said LOCC
spokesman John Gormley, vowing that residents would
demonstrate against the march when it passed through their
For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the
CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the features, dossiers and Daily Dispatches at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
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August 11, 1999 volume 10, no. 150 DAILY CATHOLIC