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TUESDAY      January 5, 1999      SECTION ONE       vol 10, no. 2

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO


      In today's editorial we begin the year as many statesmen are doing with their state of the state, state of the city or state of the union addresses. However, we are looking inward, presenting a spiritual barometer of where we are as we head down the home stretch toward the finish line leading to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. For today's commentary entitled With 360 to go we need to take heart and do a 180! , click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT.

With 360 to go we need to take heart and do a 180!

Michael Cain, editor

Blessed Pope Urban V returns the papacy to Rome before tumult forces him to carry it back to Avignon

      After the death of Pope Innocent VI the Sacred Conclave chose a man who was not one of them - not even a cardinal, but rather a pious, studious Benedictine abbot who chose to wear those same robes as Blessed Pope Urban V during his eight-year pontificate, one that found him doing something none of his six predecessors could do: lead the Holy See out of the Avignon exile and back to Rome. But Rome was not a hospitable host and, because of turmoil and the politics of that time, Urban returned the papacy to Avignon where he died shortly after returning fulfilling a prophecy told to him by Saint Bridget of Sweden. For the eighty-seventh installment titled Pope Blessed Urban V: A French abbot who abdicated Avignon for Rome but in the end had to return to his roots, click on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH.
Installment Eighty-seven

Pope Blessed Urban V: A French abbot who abdicated Avignon for Rome but in the end had to return to his roots

      Because of the tactics used by Pope Innocent VI in reforming the clergy and his use of the Inquisition, the Sacred Conclave decided that this time around they would elect someone who was not a member of the College of Cardinals. Thus, upon Innocent's death September 12, 1362 many looked outside for someone to lead them out of the malaise to which Holy Mother Church had been plunged. Yet on the first ballot enough French bishops were able to swing the vote to the brother of Pope Clement VI, but when he refused, they settled on a holy Benedictine abbot who was on assignment in Naples, Italy when he received news of his selection. Father Guillaume de Grimoard, who had been born in Grisac, France in 1310 was humbled but, because of his deep concern for the Church, accepted - realizing he might possibly be able to return the Holy See to its proper place in Rome after so many years of exile in Avignon. Thus Grimoard sailed to Marseilles on the Mediterranean coast of France and was officially elevated as the 200th successor of Peter on November 6, 1362 taking the name Pope Urban V. He chose "Urban" for the simple reason all four Urbans before him had been declared saints. Though Urban V is not yet a saint, he is quite close, having been beatified in 1870 by Pope Pius IX.

      His first duties included reigning in the Inquisition and imbuing the Church with more scholarly disciples. He had been a scholarly teacher himself and he made it a point to support many students from poor families as well as endowing numerous universities while reforming them at the same time. In addition he founded new institutions of higher learning at Orange in France, Krakow in Poland, and Vienna in Austria. It is no secret that Urban, because he was not a cardinal himself, was somewhat intimidated by the red-hats when meeting them face-to-face. Also, because he did not feel worthy to wear the papal robes because he had not been a cardinal, he chose to wear the Benedictine robes he had grown so familiar with as an abbot. It also reminded him to maintain his spiritual life and he spent tremendous amounts of time in prayer.

      One of his main goals was to reunite with the Eastern Church which for two centuries had been in schism. To appease the Greeks, he preached a crusade against the Turks and set the monarch of France King John II as head of the crusaders. He also felt he could kill two "birds" with one stone by employing the free companies that had been ravaging Avignon and much of Southern Europe and Italy. These were mercenary men who were basically robbers. Yet, because the idea of a crusade sounded like a broken record, there was no urgency for Europeans, and the mercenaries had grown comfortable looting in Europe, the crusade never really got off the ground. When John died in 1364 the fervor of it died with him.

      Much to Urban's chagrin, there were problems in northern Italy that had come to a head in Milan. The constant foe of the Church Bernabo Visconti was winning handily over the beleaguered and dishearted papal troops. Add to this the Roman Cardinal Gil de Albornoz, head of the papal troops had a high disregard for a French Pope and Urban knew morale was low; therefore he had to step in to save Bologna and, ultimately the Church in Italy. Thus he signed a humiliating pact with Visconti paying him huge amounts of money to evacuate Bologna. Many could not understand how the Pope would give away the store so-to-speak, but Urban had sincere plans to return the papacy to Rome and felt his biggest obstacle remained Visconti. The Holy Father's announcement of his eminent return to the eternal city won Albornoz over and he became Urban's papal legate in paving the way for Urban to return. The French cardinals bitterly opposed this and appealed to the new monarch of France King Charles V who, rather than helping the cardinals, chose to assist the Pope, primarily because the papacy in Avignon had exerted too much influence in France. Thus, he turned his back on the French court and the cardinals and personally offered to escort the Supreme Pontiff on April 30, 1367 from Avignon to Corneto in Italy. Urban was met there by Cardinal Albornoz who had become fiercely loyal now. They journeyed to Viterbo where the mercenaries tried to assault the Pope and Albornoz' men, but they fended them off, finally arriving at the Lateran on October 16, 1367 heavily escorted by the cardinal's troops. However the Lateran had been ransacked and burned making it virtually unlivable and thus Urban opted for the Vatican. He had already planned for this by beginning rennovations three years prior while still in Avignon. While most of the curia had remained behind in Avignon, Urban spent his time in Rome rebuilding churches that had been damaged and beginning a total rebuiliding of the Lateran church.

      Back in Rome where he could more properly deal with his greatest concern - the Eastern Church, he received the Byzantine Emperor John V Paleologus and great strides were made; possibly, too good for the emperor was so taken by Urban's holiness and his own need to have Rome behind the emperor in his battle against the Turks, that he converted to the Latin rite, abjuring his Greek Orthodox faith which, while great for the Church, left John powerless for the rest of the Byzantine empire did not go along with his conversion. Leaders of the Eastern Church demanded a council be convened, but Urban resisted for he and John had agreed a Latin Church would be established in Greece. The Pope and emperor had already settled on sending missionaries to the Greeks for that specific purpose. Yet, because no council was held, John became a paper tiger in his own land and no reconciliation was possible.

      Urban had made inroads in reforming the curia and might have remained in Rome had it not been for the warring families and the mercenaries who made his stay there very, very difficult. Perugia rebelled and Urban excommunicated the city. To add injury to insult, Visconti stirred up the Romans in early 1370 to depose Urban and the Pope had to retreat to Viterbo. The handwriting was on the wall for the Pope could not properly conduct the business of the Church with a mere skeleton crew in Rome where there was so much unrest and the rest of the curia in France. He realized that for the sake of the Church he must return to Avignon, though he had so wanted the papacy back in Rome full-time. In addition, the 100 Year War was in full force again between England and France and Urban, always the peacemaker, felt he could mediate between the two countries better if he were back in Avignon. Thus inevitable came a reality when he appointed eight new cardinals in September, 1368 and six of them were French, only one a Roman. Despite the warnings of Saint Bridget of Sweden, who was given a message that if he truly decided to go back to Avignon he would soon die, Urban felt otherwise and feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit, he sailed from Corneto on September 5, 1370. Arriving at Marseilles two weeks later, he returned to Avignon on September 27, 1370 and a few weeks later, true to Bridget's prophecy, he became seriously ill and died on December 19, 1370. It was not the way Urban had wanted to end his papacy, but the climate in Europe at that time prevented him from staying put in either Avignon or Rome. It would be left to his successor Pope Gregory XI to put an end to the Babylonian Captivity in France and return the Holy See, lock, stock and barrell to Rome as we shall see in the next installment through the coaxing of another holy woman; not Saint Bridget who would die in 1373, but a fiesty religious from Siena named Catherine.

CATHOLIC CANVAS: Daily Dose of curious contents of the Church

      Blessed Pope Urban V added the third crown to the tiara which is the diadem the Pope wore at his coronation and solemn non-liturgical ceremonies up until Pope John XXIII. It rises 15" and is circled by three ornamented crowns of gold, one upon the other. It represents the threefold authority of the Pope in the Magisterium of the Church - temporal, royal and spiritual powers. (source: The Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson, Publishers)

"It is my faithful army who will keep the ember of the True Faith alive."

      Those words of assurance from the Blessed Virgin Mary encompass the contents of the 335th Message in early May of 1993 as imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart while she knelt at the seat of Holy Mother Church - St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Our Lady warned of the forces that are out to silence His Holiness Pope John Paul II both inside the Vatican and outside and implores all her little ones to "keep the faith" and be obedient to her Divine Son Jesus's beloved Vicar on earth. In her message the day before Blessed Mary asks her children to take spiritual refuge first before thinking of physical refuge. For messages 334 and 335, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."

Messages Three Hundred-Thirty-four and Three Hundred-Thirty-five

Message Three Hundred-Thirty-four, May 7, 1993

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)

Message Three Hundred-Thirty-five, May 8, 1993

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart)
(Adoration Chapel in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome)

December 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    Dear children! In this Christmas joy I desire to bless you with my blessing. In a special way, little children, I give you the blessing of little Jesus. May He fill you with His peace. Today, little children, you do not have peace and yet you yearn for it. That is why, with my Son Jesus, on this day I call you to pray, pray, pray, because without prayer you do not have joy or peace or a future. Yearn for peace and seek it, for God is true peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE


     Today's Prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for the Mass honoring Saint John Neumann:

Father, You called St. John Neumann to labor for the gospel among the people of the New World. His ministry strengthened many others in the Christian faith: through his prayers may faith grow strong in this land.


"Do you not know that those who run in a race, all indeed run, but one receives the prize? So run as to obtain it."

1 Corinthians 9: 24

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January 5, 1999 volume 10, no. 2   DAILY CATHOLIC