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WEDNESDAY      January 6, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 3

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".

"Politics is what might be called 'deferred repentance' - the keeping clean of the outside of the cup in order to escape the necessity of cleaning the inside."


      Today is the feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, a humble, holy religious brother from Canada. Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, priest and religious and cofounder of the Mercedarians. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these men, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Wednesday, January 6, 1998

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.

Thursday, January 7, 1998

Feast of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest and Religious

      Born at Penyafort in Catalonia, Spain in 1175, Saint Raymond was a scholarly genius, evident by the fact he was teaching philosophy in Barcelona at the early age of 20. By the time he was 35 he had resigned to study law at Bologna, Italy where he acquired a doctorate in 1216. Two years later Bishop Berengarius of Barcelona, proud of Raymond's achievements, made him an archdeacon which led to Raymond's vocation as a Dominican. The ensuing years brought fame to Raymond for his preaching throughout Spain as he addressed both Moors and Christians who had been freed from Moorish slavery, an endeavor Raymond played a pivotal role in from preaching the Spanish crusade which ultimately freed the Spanish slaves. Along with Saint Peter Nolasco, Raymond cofounded the Mercedarians in 1223, which was a lay order called the Order of Our Lady of Ransom and whose specific purpose was to raise money to ransom the Christian slaves. Raymond was St. Peter Nolasco's spiritual director. Raymond became spiritual confessor to Pope Gregory IX in 1230. It was there in Rome where Raymond was assigned the task of collecting and codifying papal decrees. His massive work, released in 1150, became the cornerstone for canon law. It was also during this time that he was appointed papal penitentiary which led to his writing Summa casuum and which would have an influential effect on the penial system throughout Europe during the middle ages. In 1235 Raymond was consecrated Archbishop of Tarragona, Spain. It was a position he did not want for he wanted to be with the people and felt as bishop he could not dedicate time to preaching or studies. He became very ill a year later and requested the Holy Father to rescind his appointment as bishop so he could return to his beloved Spain where, after recuperating, resumed his preaching duties. Three years later he was named Master General of the Dominican Order. In this position he wrote a revision of the Dominican constitution, one that would stand until 1924 and then, at the age of 65, resigned his position with the Dominicans. Though it was the end of his official titles with the Dominicans it was not the end of his ministry for he would go on to preach for 35 more years, living to the ripe old age of 99, passing into God's embrace on January 6, 1275 in Barcelona, just shy of becoming a centarian. In those final years Raymond not only founded friaries in Tunis and Murcia, introduced the study of Arabic and Hebrew in Dominican circles to better understand Sacred Scripture and to preach to the non-Christians of the mideast during the Crusades, but also assisted in establishing the Inquisition in Catalonia, Spain. Raymond was canonized in 1601 by Pope Clement VIII.


      Today's Prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for the Mass honoring Blessed Andre Bessette:

Lord our God, Friend of the lowly, You gave Your servant, Brother Andre, a great devotion to St. Joseph and a special commitment to the poor and afflicted. Through his intercession help us to follow his example of prayer and love and so come to share with him in Your glory.

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( -- Today, the feast of the Epiphany, Pope John Paul II will ordain six men as bishops.

      Three of the new bishops will be papal nuncios: Msgr. Alain Lebeaupin has been assigned as the apostolic nuncio to Ecuador, Msgr. Allesandro d'Errico to Pakistan, and Msgr. Salvatore Pennachio to Rwanda.

      Meanwhile, in a letter to the director of Vatican Radio, Pope John Paul II has offered his thanks for 60 years of broadcasts to Poland.

      "During the sorrowful years of the war and the occupation in Poland, and then during the oppression by the Communist regime, Vatican Radio offered not only the sole Catholic radio programming for us, but also one of the rare sources of credible information about the Church and the world," the Pope wrote. He added that the Vatican Radio broadcasts had "strengthened the ties that bound our faith in Christ, our love for the Church, and our patriotism."

      Tying in with his roots, Poland's bishops announced on Monday that Pope John Paul II has planned one of his most ambitious trips to his homeland when he visits Poland for two weeks in June.

      Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski of Gdansk said the Holy Father will visit 20 cities between June 5-17, beginning in Gdansk and ending in Krakow where he was bishop in the 1960s and 1970s. He will address the National Assembly for the first time and meet with Poland's leaders. The trip will have many themes, said the archbishop, but it essentially boils down to preparing his countrymen for the new millennium.

      During the trip, the Pope is expected to beatify more than 100 Poles killed by the Nazis and commemorate victims of Communist repression. He will also address coal miners in Silesia who are suffering increased unemployment and working conditions, and visit Lichen where the country's largest church is under construction.


      VATICAN ( -- Several Italian newspapers carried stories on January 5 recording the protests of Fides, the Vatican news agency, over the torture and sexual abuse of a Catholic priest in China who is active in the underground Church.

      "The Chinese Communists are continuing their work of persecution against Chinese Catholics who remain faithful to Rome," reported Las Stampa.

      Fides had called international attention to the abuse of Catholics with a story (carried on Monday by Catholic World News) about Father Li Qinghua, of the Hebei diocese, who has reportedly been tortured, brainwashed, and repeatedly subjected to temptation by police- employed prostitutes since his arrest on November 15. "Other priests have received the same treatment in recent months," Fides charged.

      La Stampa said that these reports matched the pattern of wholesale religious persecution in China, which has continued in part because of "the indifference of international authorities." The daily recalled the case of Bishop Su Zhimin of Baoding, who was imprisoned last October along with 26 of his priests. Another Italian paper, Il Messagero, cited the case of Bishop Tommaso Zeng Jingmu, who spent 32 years in prison before his release in May 1998. And yet another paper, Il Tempo, remarked that the latest outrages had occurred "despite the fact that since 1994 China has been busily assuring us of the religious freedom on its territory."

      Meanwhile, in Beijing China's Communist government on Tuesday denied the report by Fides that Catholic priests are arrested and tortured in a special prison unit designed to blackmail them.

      The Fides new agency reported on Monday that Father Li Qinghua, 31, was arrested in November and transported to a prison unit where he was tortured and then young women were used to tempt him to violate chastity and his vow of celibacy. Other priests told Fides that they had been detained and that those who succumb to the deception are blackmailed with video from hidden cameras.

      Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao denied any knowledge of the Father Li's predicament, but expressed disbelief at the veracity of the report. "I don't know the details of the case and I don't know the source of the information," Zhu said. "But I can say clearly that these reports have not been confirmed." He also dismissed the report as "irresponsible" and denied the existence of underground churches in the atheist Communist state. "So-called underground churches do not exist in China," he said.

      Many Catholics belong to the underground Catholic Church in China which remains loyal to the Church's teachings and the pope. The government only allows membership in the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association which eschews ties to foreign organizations and denies certain Church doctrines.


      HAVANA ( - Calling for a "new evangelization" of Cuba, Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino of Havana has launched a program in which thousands of copies of the Gospel of St. Matthew will be distributed all across the island nation.

      The distribution of the Gospel, in a pocket-sized booklet of 112 pages, began at the New Year's day Mass in the Havana cathedral. The copies of the Gospel, which were printed with financial help from Mexican Catholic donors, carry on their covers a reproduction of Rembrandt's famous work, "The Prodigal Son." The booklets will eventually be distributed in every diocese in Cuba.

      The Gospel of St. Matthew is the third to be distributed in such a way throughout Cuba. In 1997 the Church passed out copies of St. Mark's Gospel, and in 1998 copies of St. Luke's Gospel. The Gospel of St. John will be distributed in the year 2000, completing the cycle of four Gospels in time for the Jubilee.

      Cardinal Ortega told worshippers at the cathedral that the task of evangelization is the duty of all Christians. He urged his people to "walk along the way with those who have no belief, and those who believe in magic and find their security in primitive rites." He also called upon Catholics to reach out toward "those who are bowed down by the miseries of the life, those who lack the basic necessities, those who have only a superficial religious life -- which makes difficult for them to grasp more deeply the principles and commitments that characterize a true faith."

      Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. President Bill Clinton on Tuesday announced new changes in the US policy toward Cuba to encourage increased contact between Cubans and Americans which he said he hopes will lead to changes in the Communist country.

      Clinton's changes include an expansion of the amount of cash transfers allowed between private Americans and Cubans, limited direct flights between the countries, and proposals for US food sales and direct mail service. "These steps are designed to help the Cuban people without strengthening the Cuban government," Clinton said in a statement. "They are consistent with our policy of keeping pressure on the regime for democratic change -- through the embargo and vigorous diplomatic initiatives -- while finding ways to reach out to the Cuban people through humanitarian efforts and help in developing civil society." Administration officials stressed that the proposals do not signal a weakening of the 38-year-old trade embargo.

      Critics of the Castro regime said the initiatives only mask Clinton's true aim. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, said the administration secretly maintains its "true intention of normalizing relations with the Cuban dictator," Fidel Castro. Administration officials contend that the ground for the policy shift was laid by Pope John Paul II's historic visit to the Communist country last year and insist that they will only help to promote democracy without aiding Castro.

      In a related story out of Rome, the Pope might stop in Cuba on his way to Mexico later in January, according to a story in the Italian media.

      The daily newspaper Il Messagero, in its January 3 editions, suggested that the Holy Father might visit Cuba either on his way to Mexico or on his return trip from the United States. The Pope's current schedule calls for him to reach Mexico on January 22, and return from St. Louis to Rome on January 28.

      Il Messagero pointed out that both Havana's Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro have said they would welcome a new visit by the Pontiff, whose trip to Cuba in January 1998 paved the way for some historic changes in the island nation.

      The newspaper added that Vatican sources would not comment on the possibility of a papal stopover in Havana, except to say that it was "technically possible," if difficult, to make last-minute changes in the Pope's itinerary. Papal spokesmen said that any such change in plans would be determined by the Pope himself.


      WASHINGTON ( - After consistently rejecting complaints that it had funded organizations that oppose Church teaching, the US bishops' charitable agency has quietly rescinded grants to a California group which had been active in campaigns to promote homosexuality.

      The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has canceled grants of over $30,000 to the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), after CTWO sponsored a program that included the distribution of condoms to teenagers in Oregon. CTWO has also been on record in support of homosexual marriage, and has joined in public condemnation of both the "Christian Right" and the "nuclear family."

      Until the latest grant was revoked, the CTWO had enjoyed funding from the CCHD for nearly 20 years. The CCHD grants were allegedly made in support of programs helping low-income people to build effective political organizations.

      For several years, the CCHD has been criticized for making grants to organizations which oppose Catholic teachings on issues such as homosexuality, feminism, and abortion. The Washington-based Capital Research Center, a non-profit organization which studies philanthropical giving, has repeatedly called for tighter scrutiny of the CCHD, and has issued several reports listing the grants made by the bishops' agency to groups engaged in abortion advocacy. To date, the CCHD has always rejected the critics' charges, insisting that they are completely without foundation.

      In a related story out of New York, two Catholic activism groups placed a full-page ad in The New York Times on Wednesday responding to the October murder of a 21-year-old homosexual Wyoming man by calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals and lesbians.

      The ad was sponsored by Pax Christi USA, which promotes transforming society through non-violence, and New Ways Ministry, which has been controversial because of its promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality in contradiction to Catholic Church teaching. "If Catholics and all people of faith commit their hearts to acceptance and inclusion of gay and lesbian people, the escalation of violence can be overcome," said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry. "Misguided religious thought has fueled the homophobia that causes violence. True Christian charity can correct it."

      Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old, openly-homosexual college student, was allegedly killed by two Wyoming men, partly because of his sexuality. Pro-homosexual groups pointed at the murder as a sign of increasing violence and hostility against them, which they said stems from religious and moral objections to their lifestyle.

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.


"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the sharing of the blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread."

1 Corinthians 11: 16-17


Today we recommend a multipurpose site with fascinating articles and highlights from a planned theme park for apparition sites to the Third Secret of Fatima at MARIANLAND maintained by Rafael Brom of the Center for the Queen of Peace in Sugarland, Texas.

Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

January 6, 1999 volume 10, no. 3   DAILY CATHOLIC