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January 5, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 2
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
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".
"Give a person a taste for the intellectual, the spiritual and the moral, and you make them happy."
Today is the feast of Saint John Nepumocene Neumann, American bishop and religious educator. Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, religious brother from Canada. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these men, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Tuesday, January 5, 1998
Tuesday January 5:
Eleventh Day of Christmas
Feast of Saint John Neumann, Bishop and Religious Educator
First Reading: 1 John 4: 7-10
Psalms: Psalm 72: 1-4, 7-8
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 34-44
Feast of Saint John Neumann, Bishop and Religious Educator
The practice of Forty Hours Devotion in the United States can be attributed to a Czechoslovakian in the
nineteenth century who came to our shores to become a Redemptorist priest and foster Catholic schools
and education throughout the U.S.A. This man was Saint John Neumann, born on March 28, 1811 and
ordained in 1936. In 1852 he was appointed bishop of Philadelphia where he worked tirelessy to establish
the Catholic school system in America. He labored especially with European immigrants in mind. He spoke
twelve languages fluently and wrote numerous books and two catechisms as well as a Bible History for the
students. His was a life of firsts, becoming the first Redemptorist to make his profession in America and
the first bishop from America to be ordained a saint. He died on January 5, 1860 just as the Civil War was
breaking out, but he was not forgotten and his legacy has served many a college student through the years
with almost each college campus throughout the country providing a Catholic oasis for the students known
as "Neumann clubs." He was ordained in 1977 by Pope Paul VI.
Wednesday, January 6, 1998
Wednesday January 6:
Twelfth Day of Christmas and
Feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, Religious
First Reading: 1 John 4: 11-18
Psalms: Psalm 72: 1-2, 10, 12-13
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 45-52
Blessed Andre Bessette, Religious
Credited with countless cures, Canadian-born Blessed Andre Bessette, a Holy Cross Brother was born
in 1845 into a family of twelve. At the age of twelve he became an orphan when his parents died and helped
care for his brothers and sisters by working in mills and farms in New England before returning to Montreal
in 1870. At the age of 25 he joined the Holy Cross Order as a Lay Brother. Never educated and of poor
health, Andre did not let that deter him from fulfilling God's Will in the simplest of ways. Though he was first
rejected by the Holy Cross Fathers after his novitiate, the Bishop of Montreal intervened and suggested that
he become a lay brother with the Order. For the next 67 years he devoted himself to the menial, but
spiritually rewarding jobs of porter and gardener. Through the grace of God those who came in contact with
this holy man were cured and word quickly spread of his fame. While he was helping build a shrine to Saint
Joseph in Montreal - St. Joseph's Oratory, he contined as porter at the College of Notre Dame in that
Canadian city. For 40 years he held this responsibility until demand was so great for Brother Andre to be at
the shrine that the Holy Cross Order transferred him over there. Millions of pilgrims flooded the shrine with
countless cures physically and spiritually occurring regularly when they came in contact with this holy,
humble man of God. They flocked to him for spiritual direction. He received over 80,000 letters a year and
insisted on corresponding with the people, but could not read or write and so he dictated the letters, many
through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to a plethora of secretaries hired to handle the phenomenal
responses to Blessed Andre. Through word of mouth and devotion, this shrine has since become the most
well-known shrine to the protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus in the world. It was already the best known in North America when Brother Andre succumbed of old age at 92 in 1937. Eighteen years later the Oratory was solemnly dedicated and declared a minor basilica. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
Events Today in Church History
Today marks the 35th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's historic pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan, becoming the first Sovereign Pontiff since Saint Peter to set foot on Holy Land soil during his pontificate. Pope John Paul II hopes to be the third Vicar of Christ to do so when he travels to the Holy Land, God willing, sometime in the Jubilee Year 2000. 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 January 5:
Pope Eugene IV moves the Council of Basle from Ferrara to Florence because of both the danger of the plague and financial reasons.
Pope Clement VII issues a stern warning, forbidding King Henry VIII to remarry after his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The monarch's proud and haughty refusal would result in his excommunication and the break of England from Holy Mother Church.
Death of Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, Bohemian saint who migrated to America and became a great priest and bishop. For more on him see TODAY'S LITURGY
Pope Paul VI becomes the first Sovereign Pontiff since Peter to set foot in the River Jordan during his papal visit to Israel and Jordan. Pope John Paul II hopes to be the second when he visits, God willing, the Holy Land sometime in the Jubilee Year 2000.
FINAL DAY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
For Day Twelve of the song that was actually a secret Catechism for persecuted Catholics, click on TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Actually, the Twelve Days of Christmas were a secret "catechism" sung by Roman Catholics after the
Reformation in countries such as England where they were not allowed to practice their faith. Thus, to
communicate with fellow Catholics and truly celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ as the Savior in the Catholic
tradition without fear of reprisal, they formed this "carol" which represented "religious reality" in symbols.
This was also used often during the French Revolution.
The "True Love" is God the Father. The Partridge in a pear tree is the Holy Trinity - in particular the Holy Spirit (the Dove) and Jesus Christ Who is known as the "Second Adam". We all know that the fall of man derived around an apple tree. A pear tree ties into this analogy and elevates the redemption.
In each issue we describe each day of Christmas and the hidden Catholic meaning to the song. Many
do not realize that the Twelve Days of Christmas are after Christmas - not before, and cover the time
between Christmas Day and the Feast of Epiphany which had traditionally been celebrated on January 6th.
"On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, a Partridge in a pear tree."
So many have misinterpreted the Twelve Days of Christmas with a secular meaning, but they fail to realize that, in fact, they were a "secret catechism code" sung by persecuted Roman Catholics from the Protestant Reformation through the French Revolution. It was their way of communicating their faith much in the same manner the early Christians did with symbols such as the fish. The first day is a given since Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas and the "Partridge in a pear tree" represents Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the King.
"On the second day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, two turtledoves."
The two turtledoves represent the Old and New Testaments - the Word of God which over the years has been so watered down by "interpretations and political correctness" that often it loses its true meaning and must be properly discerned through the Church's reliance on the Holy Spirit.
"On the third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, three French hens."
The three French hens represent the Three theological Virtues of FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY which enabled Catholics to stay in the state of grace by practicing and promulgating these vital virtues when the sacraments were not readily available.
"On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, four calling birds."
The four calling birds represent the four Gospels where truly the Word of God through Jesus and His life for all of us to emulate was recorded. Since Catholics were not allowed to keep bibles or preach during those times, they reinforced others through the song to read the Gospels in private and live it.
"On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, five Golden Rings."
The five golden rings represent both the first Five Books of the Old Testament or the Pentatuch which reminded fellow Catholics of the roots and, after the devotion became more widespread and known, the Five Decades of the Rosary and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, six geese a-laying."
The six geese a-laying represent the six days God took to create the earth, the universe, and all creatures. It was a way for all Catholics to remind fellow faithful and be reminded that, despite persecution, they were not second-class citizens but rather first-class children of God and rightful heirs to His mansions in the Heavenly regions if they persevered in the One, True Faith. Thus the sixth day represents the sixth day octave of Christmas and Creation.
"On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, seven swans a-swimming."
The seven swans a-swimming represent the Seven Sacraments established by Jesus Christ as well as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. With the Sacraments and Gifts Catholics could sustain themselves through the dark times and encourage others at this holy time of the year with this Christmas song, reminding each other of the wondrous glory of God and His munificence on the seventh day of the octave of Christmas.
"On the eighth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, eight maids a-milking."
The eight maids a-milking represent the Eight Beatitudes preached by Jesus Christ on His sermon on the mount and which Catholics, no matter how persecuted, could practice good deeds through the Beatitudes and gain great consolation and courage from these.
"On the ninth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, nine ladies dancing."
The nine ladies dancing is not about partying but rather the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit as described in Galatians 5: 22 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modedesty and continency." These fruits helped Catholics to practice the virtues and remind fellow Catholics how to stay out of harm's way as far as their souls were concerned.
"On the tenth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping."
The ten lords a-leaping symbolize the Law of God - the Ten Commandments. It was not a leap to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Protestants, who were persecuting the Catholics of those times and countries, also believed in the Ten Commandments, but the reference to "lords" was in reference to the rich and powerful for they were the ones who could change the laws that governed persecution and curtailment of the Catholic Faith. Yet it was the "lords" who were lax in obeying God's laws and Catholics wanted to remind their fellow Catholics that no matter how wealthy or spoiled the princes were, faith and perseverance was more important by reminding them of the law of ages.
"On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eleven pipers piping."
The eleven pipers piping stood for the Eleven Faithful
Apostles who stuck with Jesus when seemingly all others
had abandoned Him. They were referred to as "pipers" for
they indeed were sent out to all corners to spread the Gospel
as Our Lord had commanded and, like the "Pied Piper of
Hamlin" they attracted many to the One, True Faith. It was a
way for Catholics to remind their fellow faithful to keep this
in mind during the hard times for all but Saint John were
persecuted and martyred for the faith. If they remained
faithful to their Faith and to Jesus, they too would one day
enjoy the same rewards of Heavenly bliss.
"On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming."
The twelve drummers drumming represented the Twelve
Points of Belief in the APOSTLES' CREED It's interesting
that Catholics chose drummers for their symbolism for to
keep reminding each other of the twelve points of the solid
creed known as the Apostles' Creed for this was their
profession of faith and there was a constant need to keep
hammering home this point or should we say "bang the drum"
so fellow Catholics would get the "beat" and get into a
rhythm of their religion, encouraged by all Jesus promised
and professed in the Creed.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Pope to canonize three new saints Saturday; calls upon the the example of saintly heroes during two World Wars
The Holy Father took the occasion during Mass at St. Peter's on World Day of Peace to remind all that true peace comes through the cross holding up such holy luminaries as Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint Edith Stein as true examples of heroic glory. It was also announced that he will add three more saints to the roster when he canonizes two priests and a nun on Saturday. For more, click on Saints.
WITH CANONIZATIONS AHEAD, POPE RECALLS VICTIMS OF CENTURY'S WORLD WARS
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- On Saturday, January 9, three new saints
will be canonized at a ceremony in Rome.
The ceremony-- an "ordinary consistory," which is a meeting of the
cardinals and other bishops present in Rome at the time-- will see
the canonization of Marcellin Benoit Champagnat, the French priest
who founded the Marist teaching order in 1817; Giovanni Calabria,
and Italian priest who founded the Poor Servants of Divine
Providence; and Agostina Livia Pietrantoni, the Italian foundress of
the Sisters of Charity.
On the 32nd World Day of Peace, January
1, Pope John Paul II evoked the memory of the victims of this
century's two great world wars.
As he celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope told members
of the congregation, his thoughts had turned to the millions of deaths
that had occurred during those wars. "How can be forget the death
camps, the children of Israel who were cruelly exterminated, the
marytred saints-- Father Maximillien Kolbe, Sister Edith Stein, and so
many others?" the Pope asked in his homily.
The Holy Father also mentioned the 50th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and repeated his insistence
that peace must be based on respect for fundamental rights. As he
addressed a crowd of 30,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's
Square for his Angelus audience, he said that "the integral
observance of human rights is the surest route to creating solid
relations among states."
On the eve of the new year, the Pope had traveled to the parish of St.
Ignatius in Rome, which is staffed by the Jesuit order. With the Jesuit
leadership and the mayor of Rome among the congregation, the Holy
Father led the singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the
blessings of the year 1998. He also mentioned the suffering that
many families had endured during the year, paying particular
attention to "the sick, the aged, and those who live alone, or
abandoned; those who feel they have been abandoned by society."
Chief Catholic Chaplin rails at Clinton's order to bomb Iraq, advises troops to question morality of military orders
Archbishop Edwin O'Brien not only pulled no punches, but sent vibrations through the entire fabric of the United States Armed Forces when the head of the US Military Services spoke out strongly against Bill Clinton's questionable decision to bomb Iraq. He stated what we stated a few weeks ago in our editorial, if it is morally wrong, then even the soldiers must weigh the consequences for they must answer to a much Higher Source than the US commander-in-chief. For more, click on Artillery from the Archbishop.
US MILITARY ARCHBISHOP: SOLDIERS MUST WEIGH MORALITY OF ORDERS
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The archbishop of the
Archdiocese for US Military Services said last week that
the US bombing of Iraq is morally questionable and that US
military personnel should question their actions if ordered
to take an action that is a clear "violation of the moral
Archbishop Edwin O'Brien said in a statement to Catholic
chaplains serving the US armed forces around the world that
soldiers, airmen, seamen, and Marines "are not exempt from
making conscientious decisions" when confronted with
immoral orders. "I join the bishops of our country as well
as the concerned voices of the Holy See and other
hierarchies in calling on our president and his
advisers to initiate no further military action in the
Middle East," he said, referring to a five-day bombing campaign on Iraq
initiated by the US and Britain as punishment for Iraqi
non-compliance with UN weapons inspections.
The archbishop praised the professionalism of US military
personnel and noted that they are subject to the policy
decisions of US elected leaders. "Once civilian leadership
decides a policy requiring military action, it is the sworn
obligation of all in our armed forces to execute their
mission in complete obedience unless in a specific instance
the required action is judged clearly illegal or immoral,"
Archbishop O'Brien stipulated the conditions under which a
soldier decides the morality of an order. "In executing
orders that might violate just war requirements military
personnel face a serious moral challenge .... Any
individual who judges an action on his or her part to be in
violation of the moral law is bound to avoid that action,"
he wrote. "When clear moral conclusions that a particular
act is unjust cannot be reached because, for example, of
lack of sufficient evidence, the individual is justified in
following the presumably better informed decision of his or
Unspeakable tactics being employed to persecute and dishearten Catholic priests in the underground Church in China
The reliable Fides News Agency reports shocking news out of China that numerous priests are being persecuted, tortured and tempted in an effort of the Chinese government to suppress the underground Catholic Church in China. Despite all the denials during the numerous fact-finding tours by religious and political leaders last year, the fact is they are lying through their teeth and Fides provides the sad facts to prove it. For more, click on chafed in China.
CHINESE PRIESTS TORTURED, SEXUALLY ABUSED, BLACKMAILED
ROME (CWNews.com) - The Vatican news service Fides reported
on Monday that priests serving the underground Catholic
Church in China have been arrested, tortured, sexually
abused, and blackmailed by the Communist authorities.
Father Li Qinghua was arrested in November in Hebei
province has suffered torture designed to undermine his
priestly vocation and training, including the use of
special female agents who try to tempt the priests into
engaging in sexual relations, the agency said. Fides
reported: "Hidden video-cameras are used to film the
priest's reactions, to blackmail him into admitting his
connection with other underground priests and force him to
join" the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the
state-sanctioned church that eschews any contact with
foreign religious bodies, including the Vatican, and denies
certain Catholic doctrines.
Father Li, 31, was arrested on November 15 during a secret
catechetical session and six lay workers were arrested the
following day. The six were later released, but Father Li
has since been transferred to a special prison unit in
Xushui. Underground priests arrested anywhere in Hebei are
brought in Xushui where a special guest-house has been
transformed into prison: the corridors along the rooms are
barred with iron grills, with no escape, according to
priests who have suffered the same abuse.
According to the report, priests who resist the temptations
and brainwashing risk being sent to the brutal "re-education
camps," are placed under house arrest, or are sent back to
be dealt with by local police.
Lay group defies cardinal, demands glass confessionals to prevent child abuse
Before a child abuse group goes too far in defying Cardinal Basil Hume's direct order, they should remember that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones - the same goes for the ridiculous idea of glass confessional doors. Their rationale for distributing leaflets in his diocese is that with the see-through glass priests will not commit child abuse, even though they have no proof of any of this. It is a further degradation of priests on a whole to associate all priests with pedophilia which the Cardinal, head of Westminster, blamed on the media for spreading these lies and alarming the public, stirring them into a frenzy. For more, click on Glass menagerie
CHILD ABUSE GROUP DEMANDS GLASS CONFESSIONALS
LONDON (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster
this weekend rejected calls by a child abuse group to put
glass doors on confessionals to protect children from
Christian Survivors of Sexual Abuse said in pamphlets
distributed throughout Britain, "Children should not be
alone in a confessional box with a priest." The group added
that an alternative to glass doors would be to have the
priest and the child sit in the open in the church where
they can be seen, but not heard. The pamphlet, entitled
"Safe Church, Safe Children," also outlines what
constitutes sexual abuse and advises parents on precautions
Cardinal Hume sent a letter to the group this week, saying
he does not want them to distribute that pamphlet in his
diocese and calling their suggestions outrageous. "To
suggest that children should never be alone in the
confessional is outrageous," he said. "I believe this
statement only compounds the media image of priests as
pedophiles awaiting their prey."
The group rejected the cardinal's demand and has pledged to
distribute the pamphlet anyway. "It was a highly defensive
reaction to a sensible suggestion which has already begun
in Australia and Ireland," said the group's leader Margaret
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. Both CWN and NE are 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.
January 5, 1999 volume 10, no. 2 DAILY CATHOLIC