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THURSDAY      January 28, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 19

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


      Today is the Feast of that great Dominican priest and Angelic Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas. It marks the end of a string of feast days as we return to Ordinary Time with a weekday Mass tomorrow. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignette on St. Thomas, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Thursday, January 28, 1999

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Priest and Angelic Doctor of the Church

Friday, January 29, 1999


      Today's prayer is in honor of Saint Thomas Aquinas taken from the Preface of the Dominican Missal for today's Mass:

You raised up in Your Church the blessed Thomas, a Doctor Angelic in the integrity of his life and in the loftiness of his mind. You raised him up to strengthen Your Church with his salutary and solid doctrine, and to enlighten her as a sun; his wisdom, extolled by all, commands the administration of the whole world.

Events that happened this day in Church History

      On this day in 814, the great and blessed Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne died. Like another emperor Constantine, Charlemagne played a significant role in the advancement of the Holy Roman Church for it was he who did more than the Popes of his time to advance the hierarchy, disciplines and doctrines of the Church and restore the unity of the liturgy during a tenuous time in the Holy See. 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 28:

(Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas)

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News

NOTE: For articles on the Holy Father's visit to St. Louis, click on PAPAL VISIT



      VATICAN ( -- The Devil exists. That unpopular reality is brought into sharp focus by the promulgation of a new rite of exorcism for the Catholic Church.

      De Exorcismus et supplicationibus quibusdam, approved by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 1998, was formally released by the Vatican on January 26. The document sets out a new and precise liturgical form for the rite of exorcism. The 84-page form, introduced by the Congregation Divine Worship, was published entirely in Latin; the episcopal conferences of different nations may now prepare their own versions in the vernacular languages.

      This new Vatican document clearly recognizes both the existence of the Devil and the reality of diabolical possession. In a short introduction, the document calls attention to the existence of both "angelic creatures" and others "called demons, who are opposed to God." Since the influence of the demonic can become apparent in people, places, or things, the document continues, the Church "has prayed, and continues to pray, that men will be freed from the snares of the Devil."

      The new rite confirms "the victory of Christ and the power of the Church over the demons." It points to the rites in the Christian tradition: the "minor exorcism" of catechumens prior to their baptism and the major exorcisms conducted according to this ritual. The latter are designed to "drive out demons, or bring freedom from demonic influence, through the spiritual authority which Jesus confided in his Church."

      The liturgical ritual itself is centered on supplicatory prayers, asking for God's help, and "imperative" prayers addressed directly to the Devil, commanding him to depart. The prayers are to be said as the exorcist lays his hand on the individual, and are part of an overall ritual which includes specific blessings and sprinklings with holy water. The ritual also includes the litany of the saints, the reading of the Psalms and the Gospel, and a proclamation of faith which may be either the familiar Creed or a simple question-and-answer ("Do you renounce Satan? I do."). The ritual concludes with the kissing of the Cross, and the final prayer, proclaiming the triumph of Christ and his Church.

      The new ritual for exorcism replaces one which was promulgated as part of the Roman Ritual of 1614. The Second Vatican Council called for the revision of that Ritual, which has been accomplished in stages during the past 30 years; the rite of exorcism was the last of the new rituals to be introduced.

      In introducing the new document to reporters in Rome, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that the rite has not been greatly changed from the earlier ritual. He added that while there are "very few cases" in which the rite is used, the rite of exorcism-- which can only be used under the guidance of the local bishop, and with the consent of the person suffering diabolical possession-- remains necessary because the Devil is a reality. He cautioned that while many Catholics today no longer profess belief in the Devil, that belief "is not a matter of opinion which one can accept or reject; it is an element of faith and Catholic doctrine."

      The News Service Noticias Eclesiales also reports that during the presentation, Cardinal Estevez pointed out that "exorcism has its departure point in the faith of the Church, according to which Satan and other evil spirits exist and that their main activity consists of deviating men from the path to salvation."

      Regarding the real existence of the devil and his harmful action in the world, he pointed out that "the devil is the liar par excellence. Lies have always been, right from the beginning, his preferred strategy to deceive men making them believe that happiness is in money, power, and carnal concupiscence."


      BOGOTA ( - Archbishop Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo of Medellin, president of the Colombian Bishops' Conference, issued an urgent statement on Tuesday calling for a campaign of solidarity with the victims of the earthquake that hit the country on Monday.

      The earthquake affected the eastern, coffee-producing region of Armenia, Pereira, and Manizales. According to official reports, half of the city of Armenia has been destroyed and at least 300 dead and 1,200 injured have been reported, but the figures may rise as rescue operation continue. "In this year devoted to God the Father and focused on the virtue of Charity, the painful tragedy of our brothers and sisters in the coffee region is a test to our Christian fraternity," said Archbishop Giraldo in the statement.

      "Once again, the pain of those who have lost their loved ones and are now homeless is knocking at the doors of our hearts," the document said, making reference to the earthquake that devastated the same region in 1995. "It is Christ who is showing his suffering face in our brethren and who invites us to break all indifference and attachment to our goods and give our best to God in the person of the affected."

      "We only own before God what we give generously to the ones in need," he added. Archbishop Giraldo called priests, religious, and committed laymen to launch a collection that will take place on Sunday, January 31 at the parishes and on February 1 in all other Catholic institutions such as schools, colleges, and hospitals. "The help will be sent immediately to our fellow bishops of Armenia and Pereira, as a sign of ecclesial communion," he concluded.


      MADRID ( - Spanish state radio reported on Wednesday that a Spanish Salesian missionary was murdered in the Dominican Republic.

      Father Cipriano Ibanez, 72, was killed on Tuesday by robbers who shot him after he refused to give them his car, according to the report. He was on his way to celebrate Mass in Santo Domingo.

      In Tuesday's story about the murder of Father Hector Fabio Rojas in Ecuador, he was mistakenly identified as a Salesian. The slain priest is actually a member of the Order of Friars Minor, a Franciscan order. We regret the error.


      JAKARTA ( - For the first time since invading and annexing the former Portuguese colony 23 years ago, the government of Indonesia raised the possibility of independence for East Timor on Wednesday.

      Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said at a news conference on Wednesday, "If they want to have their freedom, they are welcome." Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah quoted President B.J. Habibie as saying that Indonesia's highest legislative body could take up the issue later this year of East Timor's leaving this southeast Asian nation.

      East Timor, which is predominately Catholic, was invaded by Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. The region has suffered bloodshed and human rights abuses since then as revolutionary groups and government soldiers battled for control of the region.

      The remarks follows weeks of clashes in other parts of Indonesia between Christians and Muslims that have resulted in dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries, and enormous property damage. The worst economics crisis in decades has exacerbated divisions and suspicions in the country, igniting riots and violence.

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.


     Today, in honor of the great Saint Thomas Aquinas, we feature the official site of his Order - DOMINICAN ORDER OF PREACHERS. It is the web site for the religious community founded by Saint Dominic and enhanced by St. Thomas and others and is dedicated to preaching, teaching and fostering devotion to the Rosary.

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

January 28, 1999 volume 10, no. 19   DAILY CATHOLIC