Monday thru Friday at
See why so many consider the
Daily CATHOLIC as the
"USA Today for CATHOLICS!"
December 13, 1999
SECTION THREE vol 10, no. 236
To print out entire text of today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
Today is the Feast of the martyred virgin Saint Lucy. Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of Saint John of the Cross, author of "Dark Night of the Soul." This religious priest was the spiritual confessor to Saint Teresa of Avila For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profiles on these saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Monday, December 13, 1999
First Reading: Numbers 24: 2-7, 15-17
Psalms: Psalm 25: 4-9
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 23-27
Feast of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Born of noble parents in Syracuse, Sicily late in the third century, Saint Lucy gave herself totally to God as His bride early in her life. When she became a teen a Roman suitor proposed marriage to the beautiful young girl. She rejected him because of her vow and he retaliated in anger, accusing her before the governor during the terrible persecution period of the vile Emperor Diocletian. She was unveiled as a Christian and the governor attempted to strip her of her dignity by subjecting her to inhuman punishment if she did not sin. She replied: "I will never sin, so that the Holy Spirit will give me a greater reward. You see now that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that He protects me." This infuriated the governor who ordered her to be torched to death at the stake. But the fire did not penetrate her tender flesh. He tried to remove her from there to subject her to even worse punishments but the soldiers could not move her. Finally, the governor himself grabbed a sword from one of the Roman guard's sheaths and slashed her throat, leaving her to die. But Lucy continued to pray, giving testimony to her precious faith as she clung to life until a priest, in disguise, slipped in and gave her Holy Communion. After receiving Jesus she smiled, looked heavenward and expired in 304.
Tuesday, December 14, 1999
Tuesday December 14:
Feast of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Religious Doctor of the Church
First Reading: Zep 3: 1-2, 9-13
Psalms: Psalm 34: 2-3, 6-7, 17-19. 23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 28-32
Feast of Saint John of the Cross, Priest, Religious and Doctor of the Church
Born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez in Fontiveros at Old Castile, Spain on June 24, 1542 of very poor parents, Saint John of the Cross was the youngest son of a silk weaver who died shortly after his birth. John's mother moved to Medina del Campo where he was educated in the catechism school under the Jesuits there and learned to love his faith greatly at an early age. Though he had developed the trade of male nurse, he opted for the Carmelites by entering the seminary in 1563. After ordination he returned to Medina del Campo where he first met Saint Teresa of Avila, a spiritual and philosophical bonding that would carry on through their lifetimes. Though he yearned to join the Carthusians because they offered a deeper comtemplative way of life, Teresa was able to convince him to stay and join her in reforming the Carmelite Order for both priests and nuns. Re-energized, he changed his name from John of Saint Matthias to John of the Cross dedicated to living Christ's words in Luke 9:23, "If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily." On November 28, 1568, aided by four others which included the former prior of the Carmelite Order in Medina Antonio de Heredia, he founded the first house of reform for Carmelite men at Durelo, Spain which marked the beginning of the Discalced Carmelites. Two years later he became rector of the Discalced house of studies at Alcala and in 1572 was reunited with St. Teresa when he was appointed spiritual director of her Convent of the Incarnation at Avila. During his five year stay here the Calced Carmelites, unhappy with the conservative bent of John and Teresa, mounted a campaign against the two saints. In 1577 they kidnapped John and held him prisoner in Toledo, subjecting him to great hardships behind bars as well as intense pressure to give up his crusade for reform and holiness. It was during this time he wrote his famous "The Dark Night of the Soul" where only his faith and goal of the cross kept him sane. After nine months of this intensive punishment that challenged John's inner faith, he escaped the clutches of the Calced and, through the tireless efforts and never-say-no attitude of Teresa the Discalced Carmelites were finally officially recognized in 1579. Immediately John was placed in charge of the Discalced Carmelite College at Baeza for two years before being elected prior at Granada in 1582. Three years later he was appointed provincial of Andalusia and in 1587 selected prior at Segovia, Spain. Through out a twelve year period he established several Discalced houses for men, but in early 1591 the Madrid general chapter dealt the Discalced Carmelites a terrible blow by stripping John of all his offices because of his support for the conservative cause and reduced him to a simple monk, sending him to La Penuela Monastery in Andalusia. His enemies had hoped he'd become so discouraged he'd leave the order or do something that would prompt him to be expelled. Shortly after arriving at the monastery, John, ever the humble one, contracted a fever from which he never recovered. Moved to the priory at Ubeda where he could get the proper medical attention, he died shortly after arriving there on December 14, 1591. He had prophecied the day, date, time and place of his death and true to his words he passed on to a Greater Glory just as the friars began the midnight office. This great mystic's writings which also include "The Ascent of Mount Carmel," "The Spiritual Canticle," and "The Living Flame of Love" have merited him the title of Doctor of the Church inferred on him by Pope Pius XI in 1926. He had been canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Outside pressures force Vatican to put Papal Trip to Iraq in January on hold
Because Iraq cannot assure the safety of Pope John Paul II in a papal journey to Ur in the Chaldean section of Iraq, the Holy See has seen fit to temporarily cancel the Holy Father's planned trip there which was scheduled in January. The Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid stated the problems also stem from the fact that western powers such as the U.S. and Britain control air space and the Iraqis could not guarantee a no-fly zone and the potential for bombing during the Pope's visit. Considering the veiled threats from Washington regarding dissuading the Pope from going to Iraq, many would not put it past the west to create a scene if the Pope went through with his desire to travel to Ur. For more, click on Iraq trip postponed
PAPAL TRIP TO IRAQ OFFICIALLY POSTPONED
Chaldean Patriarch Says Decision Was Taken for Safety Reasons
BAGHDAD, DEC 10 (ZENIT-FIDES).- John Paul II has been forced to postpone
his trip to Iraq again. Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid, the
highest Catholic authority in the country, said the decision was made
for security reasons.
In statements to "Fides," the religious leader explained that the
pontifical trip has not been cancelled but simply postponed. "We are
very saddened by this new delay in the visit, but here in Iraq the
situation changes every day. In spite of this, the Pope's trip is only
postponed: the Jubilee Year is long and we are only at the beginning of
This morning the Vatican Press Office published a statement by its
director, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, explaining that "Iraqi authorities have
communicated to the Secretariat of State that the abnormal conditions in
which the country is living because of the embargo and the no-fly zone,
as well as the situation the region is experiencing, do not make it
possible to adequately organize the Holy Father's visit to Ur of the
Chaledeans, in Iraq."
The Chaldean Patriarch explained that this decision has nothing to do
with the criticisms of the Pope by some Iraqi intellectuals, who accused
him of scarcely mentioning the Muslims in a letter written to the
Christians of the country. According to His Beatitude Raphael I, these
criticisms have not had the slightest effect: "Only the West gives
importance to these things; here no one has been concerned about this."
The real reason for the new delay in the papal trip, the Patriarch said,
is the fact that Iraq cannot guarantee the safety of the trip: "The
Americans and British control all the air space. A few months ago they
bombed an area close to Ur. What would happen if they start bombing this
same areas during the Pope's visit? Or even if they don't, but some
cruel person does? Without a doubt the international community would
accuse Iraq. Everyone would be ready to blame our country."
"Nor is it a question of relations between the Vatican and Iraq,
either," the Catholic religious leader continued explaining. "I can say
the Iraqi government and the Vatican have an optimum relation. Iraq
would be honored to welcome the Pope. For all of us, Christians and
Muslims, the Pope is a saintly person. We do not want to profane the
visit of a holy man with an attack by a deranged person or some foreign
"The Pope intensely desires this trip," Bidawid concluded. "We Iraqis
all anxiously wait for him, but we shall have to hope for better times.
The trip was scheduled for January, at the beginning of the Jubilee
Year, but the Pope could come at the middle or end of the year."
Holy Father does end run around Beijing, reaches out in prayerful unity to Chinese Patriotic Catholics for Jubilee
To the surprise of many the Holy Father literally took the bull by the horns and rather than going through the censored Chinese channels, directly addressed the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association representing over 10 million Catholics in China who are not in union with Rome but are favorable toward the Pope. He took advantage of this to communicate with them, encouraging them toward unity and expressing his prayerful hope that the Jubilee will bring about the long-sought after unity between Chinese Catholics and the Holy See. That is a key to the on-going negotiations between Rome and Beijing. For more, click on Reaching out to Red China.
JUBILEE COULD BRING UNIFICATION OF CHINESE CATHOLICS
Pope Writes Chinese Catholics' Patriotic Association Controlled by Party
VATICAN CITY, DEC 10 (ZENIT).- John Paul II has made an unprecedented
call for unity for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 in a letter to
Chinese Catholics belonging to the Patriotic Association -- a national
church controlled by the Communist Party, which does not accept papal
The Pope's announcement caught many people by surprise: "I rejoiced when
I learned that you intend your most precious gift on the occasion of the
Great Jubilee to be unity among yourselves and unity with the Successor
of Peter," he began.
Archbishop Riberi, the Vatican's Inter-Nuncio in China was expelled from
the country in 1951, at a time of repression of Christians by the
Communist Party. Six years later, the Chinese Catholics' Patriotic
Association was established in Shanghai, as an organism of the Communist
Party to oppose papal primacy, considered a foreign authority and,
therefore, illegitimate. In 1958 the first consecration of two
"official" bishops was effected.
At present, there are some 10 million Catholics in China. Just over half
are faithful to Rome, in spite of the persecution campaign unleashed by
the regime to oblige them to form part of the Patriotic Association.
There are 70 "official" bishops, and 60 who belong to the Underground
Church, openly faithful to Rome. However, many of the "official" bishops
adhere to the Patriotic Association because otherwise they would be
unable to act. In private, they admit their adherence to the Pope. In
fact, during Mass, all bishops, even those working with permission from
the Communist Party, pray for John Paul II. There are about 1,000
"official" priests, and about the same number of "Un-official" priests.
Both the Church that is faithful to Rome, as well as the Patriotic
Association, each have about 2000 nuns. There are 14 official seminaries
and 10 non-official.
Negotiations are underway at present between the Vatican and Beijing, to
try to reestablish diplomatic relations, which were interrupted at the
time of Archbishop Riberi. However, as a condition, Rome requires the
dissolution of the Patriotic Association. This is, perhaps, the most
difficult issue to resolve, as the Communist Party is opposed to the
idea. Many "official" Catholics, however, have declared they are totally
According to the international agency "Fides," even hardline bishops of
the official Church in China are supporting the Jubilee celebrations.
Meeting in a Synod last October, they made concrete proposals for the
celebration of the year 2000. A few days ago, Bishop Fu Tieshan of
Beijing, who is close to the Party, pointed out the important churches
of the city as the Jubilee places where pilgrims will be able to gain
the indulgence. The official Jubilee symbol can been seen in all
What is most interesting, "Fides" explained, is that some Chinese
Catholics are planning to travel to Rome for the Jubilee. "To date,
these hopeful pilgrims have not received an answer from the government,"
the agency clarified.
The Natang Cathedral in Beijing has opened an Internet site for the
Jubilee (http://www.sapientia.netfirms.com/) in which there is
information on the Church, the Jubilee, Christian art, and Catholic
books that can be purchased by post.
In his letter, John Paul II explains that this change in attitude of
Catholics of the Patriotic Association does not in any way mean giving
up their pride "as good Chinese and authentic Christians; you love your
country and you love the Church, both local and universal."
The Pope hopes that the Jubilee will be an opportunity to remember the
Church's martyrs. "My heart overflows with wonder and gratitude to God
for the generous witness given by a host of bishops, priests, men and
women religious, and lay people. And it seems that the time of trial, in
some places, has not yet come to an end!"
Seven million pilgrims pour into Guadalupe for five-day festivities of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Scores of millions, mostly Mexican faithful, poured into Mexico City over the weekend with their destination the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe where they were there to celebrate the annual Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Many make the annual pilgrimage on their knees and decorations of Our Lady's image and Rosaries abound all over the city where it is not unusual to see cars, trucks, taxis and even buses all decorated with flowers and holy images. To accommodate the overflow crowds, large screens were erected outside to televise the events including the main Mass conducted by Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the Archbishop of Mexico City. Also to allow all to attend Mass, there was a Mass an hour throughout the day on Sunday in the Basilica. For more, click on Our Lady of Guadalupe packs 'em in.
POPE URGES TO SPREAD DEVOTION TO VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE
MEXICO CITY (NE) The Holy Father sent a message to the
International Congress "John Paul II and the Virgin of
Guadalupe", that took place in the Archdiocese of Mexico from
last Thursday through yesterday, urging faithful in the American Continent to
spread the love and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Cardinal
Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, emphasized at the
beginning of the congress that the event of Guadalupe is neither
something from the past, nor an object of mere historical study,
but instead a daily fact, for Mary is "our evangelizer." The
Mexican Cardinal stated as well that even the most critical
historians where surprised by the convergence of sources that
confirm the existence of Blessed Juan Diego and the appearances
at the Tepeyac. "Nobody can deny," he added, "that the image of
"la Morenita" is still printed, and that some aspects of its
composition and conservation are an inexplicable challenge for
The sanctuary's Rector affirmed
in a recent interview that approximately seven millions pilgrims
were expected to visit Our Lady at the Basilica during the next
few days. Stressing the fact that Blessed Juan Diego is
considered the main Patron saint of Mexico, the rector also
reminded that on this occasion, for the first time, the feast of
the Virgin of Guadalupe, will be celebrated as a solemnity in
Mexico and a feast in all the American continent. It has been
also informed that on the 12th, Masses were celebrated every
hour in the shrine. Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of
Mexico, presided at the main celebration. Giant screens had
been placed in the exterior of the Basilica to allow a greater
participation of faithful.
Mother Prioress turns terrible trauma of rape into a greater awareness of suffering women have endured during war
Despite the fact a young Mother Prioress of the cloistered Order of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration was forcefully and violently raped in her own priory while her fellow nuns were at dinner. She affirmed that the experience brings home the point that no one is safe and the horrible treatment many women in war over the years have had to endure. It gives her a greater understanding and she wants to make more aware of the evils, evils that can even penetrate the holy, sacred confines of a nunnery. For more, click on Mother Prioress.
STRENGTH OF A NUN TO COPE WITH RAPE
Prayer Helps to Understand the Violence against Women during Wars
MILAN, (ZENIT).- The quiet days of reflection and adoration in a
Laveno, Italy, convent were jarred by the intrusion of cruel and
senseless violence. While the Benedictine nuns of Perpetual Adoration
were eating dinner, six youths boke into the hose and raped the
Prioress, the youngest of the six nuns in the community.
"They wanted money to buy drugs. But later they reacted violently,
perhaps resentful of having found persons who are pure of heart," the
The Laveno monastery is destined to disappear, according to the
reorganization plans of the Federation of Benedictine Sisters of
Perpetual Adoration to which it belongs. In spite of the terrible
experience, the Mother Prioress did not want to leave the community at
this time of trial, preferring to stay with her Sisters, who have been
profoundly affected by what happened.
On the contrary, she has the strength to analyze the event with a
dimension of hope: "How can we fail to understand the women of Bosnia
now, or those who are victims of rape during wars, who have seen their
dignity trampled... I am living this painful experience with serenity,
trying to resolve it in prayer."
According to Mother Giovanna, first adviser of the Presidential Council
of the Federation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, in
speaking to the Sisters about the crime in the monastery of Laveno, she
said: "We realize the commitment exacted from us by our cloistered
consecration in face of the great confusion that men and women of our
time are living in." She added, "We are like everyone else. The
convent's grating does not protect us against the lack of values and the
snares of evil. On the contrary, it make us companions on the way of
wounded humanity, at this time of strong human and spiritual fragility."
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.
- Total number of visits to the DAILY CATHOLIC thus far in 1999 (as of December 9): 4,902,746
- Total number of visits since this daily publication went on line November 1, 1997: 6,699,314
Click here to return to SECTION ONE or SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
December 10-12, 1999 volume 10, no. 235 DAILY CATHOLIC