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MONDAY      December 20, 1999     SECTION TWO      vol 10, no. 241

To print out entire text of today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE


    Today we begin the final weekdays of Advent or, as they are called Late Advent. We follow this pattern through the week, with tomorrow also sharing the optional feast of Saint Peter Canisius, Priest, Religious and Doctor of the Church. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on St. Peter Canisius, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Monday, December 20, 1999

Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Optional Feast of Saint Peter Canisius, Priest, Religious and Doctor of the Church


"And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.'"

Luke 1: 30-33

Saints can relate to sinners

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

"Saints love sinners - not because they share developed qualities of soul, but because the saint is able to apprehend the possible virtue in the sinner. It was thus that the Son of God Himself became the Son of man: He loved what man might be and, in the words of St. Augustine, 'He became man that man might become like God.'"

Finally the long-awaited books "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." and THE HIDDEN WAY are NOW available!

     With the messages completed, you can now order the book that contains ALL the messages. This much-anticipated 224-page book of ALL the messages to the world imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart from the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a lasting gift that will inspire you in your faith, and all God asks of us. You can acquire your own handsome, coffee-table top copy of "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." containing all 632 messages or the THE HIDDEN WAY containing 100 inspirational Meditative Lessons from Our Lord and Our Lady on Church Doctrine by clicking on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." or THE HIDDEN WAY or both books at BOOKS

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



Thought-Provoking Gesture in Preparation for Jubilee

    VATICAN CITY, DEC 17 (ZENIT).- At 4:45 p.m. this past Wednesday dry hammering broke the silence in St. Peter's Basilica. At that time, a Vatican worker began to knock down the wall sealing the inside of the Holy Door. This action is connected to the "recognitio" rite, which was presided by Cardinal Virgilio Noe, Archpriest of the Basilica, and Bishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical celebrations.

    The opening of the Holy Door is always preceded by actions intended to facilitate the Pope's task on Christmas Eve. First a metal box was removed, which was placed in this spot during the 1983-1984 Jubilee. Then the bricks were removed that sealed the wall. The Holy Father will now be able to open the door by pushing both sides with his hands.

    The wall the Vatican workers knocked down yesterday had 3,800 very special bricks. Each one had the name of its owner -- the person who bought it by making a donation at the closing of the last Jubilee. These bricks have now gone to their respective owners, whose names had been inscribed in a register with their corresponding address.

    The "recognitio" ceremony began with a procession led by Cardinal Noe. After reading a passage from the prophet Isaiah and reciting a Psalm and the Our Father, an additional 15 minutes of energetic hammering were necessary to extract the metal box which had been sealed in the wall 16 years ago. While the procession moved away after the final ceremony, some one hundred pilgrims in the Basilica came forward to pick up pieces of the wall as mementos.

    In the Basilica's sacristy, Cardinal Noe examined the box's contents. It took ten minutes to open by using a blowtorch. Inside was a picture of the Virgin, a series of gold and silver coins minted during the 5th year of John Paul II's pontificate, the register of the names of brick proprietors, the Bull closing the extraordinary Jubilee of 1983-1984, and four gold bricks, exactly like the terracotta ones of the wall.

    Similar "recognitio" ceremonies of the Holy Door are being held in the major Roman basilicas between today and December 21.

    The crossing of the Holy Door, a symbol of the Jubilee, evokes the step that every Christian must take from sin to grace: John Paul II reminds the faithful of this in the Bull of convocation of the Holy Year 2000. He also states that to cross the threshold of the Holy Door means to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. ZE99121614


Mother Teresa of Calcutta's Process Will Not Conclude in 2000

    VATICAN CITY, DEC 17 (ZENIT).- Friday morning Archbishop Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presented to the international press what can easily be called an encyclopedia of the Saints and Blessed of the last 400 years.

    With the Latin title, "Index ac status causarum," the volume gives a list of all the causes analyzed by this Vatican organization since 1588, the year it was established by Sixtus V, until the present.

    Bishop Edward Novak, secretary of the Congregation for Saints, gave some significant figures from the book. "There have been 1,742 Blessed and 591 Saints proclaimed by the Congregation between 1609 and 1999. John Paul II has proclaimed 1,235 Blessed and Saints, becoming the Pontiff who by far has made the most proclamations." The numbers are high, in part, because among the Blessed and Saints proclaimed by this pontificate there were several large groups of martyrs beatified together, such as 205 Mexicans, 25 Spaniards, 108 Poles, 127 Vietnamese and 103 Koreans.

Pius XII's Beatification

    Responding to questions from reporters, Archbishop Saraiva Martins said that "there is no delay whatsoever in Pius XII's cause for beatification. Those who read the historic facts without ideological prejudices can see the wisdom of Pope Pacelli's actions. For us there is not doubt."

    With reference to the Holocaust, the Portuguese Archbishop explained that "if Pius XII had behaved another way, today he would be accused of having caused many more victims, especially among the Jewish people." The prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints proceeded to quote several publications in which, beginning 1939, Goebbels and the Allies point to Pius XII and the Church as the great opponents of Nazism.

    Although he did not give a specific date, Archbishop Saraiva Martins spoke at length in favor of the causes of beatification of Pope Pius IX and Pope John XXIII. However, he excluded Mother Teresa of Calcutta's beatification in the year 2000.

    There is a significant number of causes coming to conclusion at present. Archbishop Saraiva Martins did not exclude the possibility that there might be additions to the three scheduled beatification (March 5, April 9, September 3) and two canonization (May 21 and October 1) ceremonies in the papal Jubilee calendar. ZE99121712


Cardinal Rivera Confirms Juan Diego's Historicity

    MEXICO CITY, DEC 17 (ZENIT).- The best evangelizer of Mexico is the Virgin of Guadalupe. This is not something of past centuries, but a daily contemporary event, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop Primate of Mexico said, when addressing the "John Paul II and Virgin of Guadalupe" International Congress, which was held in the Archdiocese of Mexico City from December 9-12.

    No theologian, pastor, religious or enlightened soul has found the formula for inculturation of the Gospel and synthesis of theology as Saint Mary of Guadalupe did in her apparition to Juan Diego, the Cardinal said. "The picture of the 'Morenita' is still imprinted on the serape and some aspects of its composition and conservation are an inexplicable challenge to human science."

    Cardinal Rivera recalled the Popes who have recognized the cult and devotion to the Mexican Virgin of Tepeyac: Gregory XIII, Benedict XIV, Leo XIII and John Paul II. "The words of the Supreme Pontiffs over the centuries on the Guadalupe Event have been spoken on the foundation of historical investigation, with fully attested scientific methodology. This was affirmed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, after studying the Spanish, Indian, and mixed historical sources, and scientifically proving and guaranteeing the correct theological interpretation of the Guadalupe message."

    Referring to the controversial statements of Fr. William Schulenburg, former Abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, who denies the historical existence of Juan Diego, the Indian to whom the Virgin appeared, and is opposed to his canonization, Cardinal Rivera warned that there will always be persons who deny transcendental events for man's salvation. "Over the centuries many have denied Christ's historicity or his humanity or divinity," noted the Cardinal, but God continues to use the same method of manifestation throughout history: simplicity.

    Cardinal Rivera recalled to the words of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, during his September visit to Mexico: "I would say that in the Universal Church no one can reasonably doubt that Blessed Juan Diego has been an emissary of the Most Holy Mary in order to know her and love her, and in her, her Divine Son." ZE99121606


    DUBLIN ( - Church attendance in Ireland has dropped to its lowest level ever, according to a new survey.

    The poll by Irish Marketing Surveys found that only half the population of the Irish Republic attended church weekly, a drop of 13 percent in the past year. Ten percent of those questioned said they went to church once a month, five percent went on holydays and 13 percent never went to church at all.

    A spokesman for the Archbishop of Dublin said the findings were disappointing. He blamed the fall in religious practice on the recent spate of sex scandals which have rocked the Church in Ireland.

    Spokesman Ronan Mullen also said Ireland's new-found economic prosperity was leading to a loss of faith. But Mullen added: "We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the majority of Irish Catholics still practice their faith."

    The survey found that 94 percent of the population of the Irish Republic describe themselves as Catholic, two percent as Protestant and 3 percent as members of other faiths, atheists or agnostics.

    Church attendance in Ireland has been falling steadily since the 1960s, when more than 90 percent of the population attended weekly Mass.

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December 20, 1999 volume 10, no. 241  DAILY CATHOLIC