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MONDAY      July 19, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 133

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


      Today is the Sixteenth Monday in Ordinary Time with tomorrow being the Sixteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies and meditations, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Monday, July 19, 1998

Tuesday, July 20, 1998

SIMPLY SHEEN: Silence is golden!

      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".

"He who holds his tongue for a day will speak much more wisely tomorrow. Even friendships are matured in silence. Friends are made by words; love is preserved in silence. The best friends are those who know how to keep the same silences."

Events Today in Church History

      On this date three years ago the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexi II disappointed Vatican officials when his representative announced that the Orthodox leader would not meet with Pope John Paul II in Septempter during the Holy Father's trip to Hungary. It was another setback in the long-running dispute over confiscated Roman Catholic property during the Communist regime which had been given to the Russian Orthodox Church. Now, three years later, the situation still hasn't improved greatly but the Pope's recent trip to Romania and his relationship with Armenia have given Church officials a glimmer of hope that someday the Pontiff will be invited to Moscow. 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 July 19:

with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



Another Excursion to the Alps Buoyed by the Greetings of Passers-by

      INTROD, JUL 16 (ZENIT).- The Holy Father continues to restore his energies in the Alps, braced by the affection of locals and tourists. The news from Les Combes, the scene of the Pope's summer holiday and rest, is always good. On returning from yesterday's excursion, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said the Pope is very happy with his holiday so far in the Valley of Aosta; he is finishing a very large book that has riveted his attention.

      John Paul II's days alternate peacefully with prayer, reading, and excursions. Yesterday the papal party enjoyed very good weather and went up to the high Veltellin, on lake Place-Moulin, not far from the Swiss border, the location of a majestic glacier. On the party's return, at the last curve on the road before reaching the chalet, the Pope was awaited by a considerable group of people, including children. All was very sedate, giving the security service no occasion for real apprehension. The closest anyone came to the Pope was to give him a bunch of flowers.

      Today, the party went on a similar outing, although the ultimate destiny was kept secret. Locals ventured all kinds of guesses, discounting places already visited. There were those who were convinced he had gone to the Valleys of the Great Paradise, yet everyone kept to the reserve and discretion that are now categorical imperatives.

      On the other hand, today, on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the monastery of the Mother of Mercy in Quart, where John Paul II will pray the "Angelus" next Sunday, was full of bustle. On July 16, 1989, exactly ten years ago, John Paul II inaugurated this Carmelite cloister, which at present houses ten nuns who are already preparing for Sunday's "Angelus": hundreds of faithful from the Valley of Aosta are expected. The warning is out: roads that access this small community, which is very near to the town, will be cut off from the early hours of the morning. ZE99071604


Letter from Congregation for the Clergy

      VATICAN CITY, JUL 16 (ZENIT).- On July 11, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published a letter from the Congregation for the Clergy entitled "Teachers of the Word, Ministers of the Sacraments and Guides of the Community." The letter was signed by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Ternak, president and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation. The letter is a summary of the conclusions of the meeting held by this Congregation in Rome from October 13-15, 1998. It is a veritable "vademecum" for the priests of the third millennium.

      The letter emphasizes the importance of preaching, and the need for preparation in terms of content and presentation. The document suggests "the preparation of an outline of what is to be said"; the homily must be "positive and stimulating," using proper and elegant language that can be understood by all sectors of our contemporaries, avoiding banality and a hip tone."

      The letter draws a comparison with the media. The "professionals of audiovisual media prepare well for their work. It would not be an exaggeration for the teachers of the Word to study with intelligence and patience the improvement of the 'professional' quality of this aspect of their ministry."

      The letter also stresses the importance of sacramental celebrations, especially to attract those who are most distanced to a more regular religious practice. The "quality of the celebration" is recommended, the need to insist on the obligation to fulfill religious precepts, catechesis on the "conditions to receive the fruit of communion" and the re-launching of the sacrament of confession.

      "To offer all the faithful the real possibility to go to confession requires great dedication of time," says the letter, and, because of this, "it is strongly recommended that fixed periods of time be established for presence in the confessional" that everyone will be aware of through "clear, broad and convenient schedules."

      "As Jesus taught," the exercise of priestly authority "is never oppressive but reflects availability and a spirit of service." Consequently, priests should avoid "interfering in temporal questions, such as those of the socio-political order, which God has given to men." Even when they enjoy "considerable prestige with civilian authorities" they must use it with humility and to collaborate actively in the soul's salvation.

      The letter also dedicates space to the question of authority. The priest must "not be afraid to exercise his authority in areas where he must do so, because this is why he has been given authority," but "he must avoid introducing into his pastoral ministry extemporaneous forms of authoritarianism as well as democratic ways of managing his work, which are foreign to the profound meaning of his ministry."

      To act in these ways would end in the "secularization of the priest" and the "clericalization of the laity." Priests do not always want to exercise the authority they have been given. Behind this kind of behavior might be a "hidden fear to take on responsibilities, to make mistakes, to be unappreciated, to go out and meet the cross," the letter conjectures. In other words, neither authoritarianism nor imitation should be part of a priest's approach.

      The document concludes by emphasizing the importance of the priest's witness to the faithful. They "see (observe!) and feel (listen!) not only when God's Word is preached but also when the different liturgical celebrations are carried out, when they are received in the parish office, where they hope to meet with welcome and affability; when they see that the priest eats and rests and are edified by his example of sobriety and temperance; when they find him at home and rejoice to see the priestly simplicity and poverty in which he lives; when they see him dress with propriety, order and in his proper suit, when they speak with him, including on everyday topics and are comforted by his supernatural vision, the sensitivity and human style with which he addresses even the most humble people, reflecting authentic priestly nobility."

      In practical terms, the letter proposes an evangelical style, which is a requirement to insure that the "grace of the altar" will reach everywhere, from schools and youth activities to the media and hospitals. ZE99071605


Catholic Resistance to Hitler Revealed

      ROME, JUL 16 (ZENIT).- For years many historians have talked about the weak reaction -- if not downright cooperation -- of Catholics to the tragedy of Nazism. Now, thanks to meticulous ecclesial and historical research, a far more positive picture is emerging. The German Catholic world, both ecclesiastical and lay, was very much against the regime and, in some cases, paid for it with their life.

      Recently the first volume of the "Martyrologium Germanicum," entitled "German Catholic Martyrs of the 20th Century," was published, which confirms the Catholic position during the dictatorship. The "Martyrologium" was undertaken at the express request of John Paul II who, in his apostolic letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente" dated November 10, 1994, exhorted the local Churches to discover their martyrs of this century.

      Cardinal Joachim Meisner, president of the Liturgical Commission of the German Conference of Bishops, asked Auxiliary Bishop Helmut Moll of Cologne, to coordinate the research. Bishop Moll is a theological consultant of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The investigation, carried out over three years, produced notable results that caused surprise even among those directly involved with the work. In this century alone, Germany has had 700 martyrs, including priests, religious and laity, which proves, as Cardinal Meisner stated when presenting the first volume, that "the Catholic Church does not have to be ashamed of its role during the course of this century."

      The 700 martyrs are divided into four categories. Those who died under Stalinism, women who were raped, missionaries, and the victims of Nazism (1933-1945), the latter being the largest group. Of the more than 300 martyrs of Nazism, 123 were laymen who went to their death for their faith, in opposition to the dictatorship.

      In an interview with the Italian newspaper "Avvenire," Bishop Moll stated that "No one would ever have expected such a large number, no one especially would have thought that so many laymen gave their life as a witness of faith against Nazism." Moll was proud to announce that there is not a single diocese in Germany that did not contribute a martyr.

      "The Church and Catholics did not understand immediately the negative extent of the Nazi ideology. But it was not long before they did. As soon as Fritz Michael Gerlich of Stettin, director of the newspaper 'Der Gerade Weg' [The Narrow Way], was arrested and died in Dachau in July 1934, people realized that the Hitler regime was in open conflict with the Catholic world," the Bishop said.

      "Our research revealed how a good part of the laity and clergy carried out an important and convincing battle against the Nazi ideology," he added.

      Proof of this is the list of martyrs in the first volume of the martyrology, among which are well-known names of personalities who have already been beatified, such as Edith Stein, a Jewish convert who died in Auschwitz in 1942; Canon Bernhard Lichtenberg of the Berlin Cathedral, who died in prison for having celebrated a Mass for the Jews following Kristallnacht on November 8-9, 1938; and Karl Leisner, the young deacon from Berlin who was arrested for his faith, secretly ordained a priest in Dachau, and died in a hospital after celebrating only one Mass.

      Among the laity, the book names the married couple Maria and Bernhard Kreulich, who were killed in March, 1944, for criticizing the regime. Nicholas Gross, father of 7 children and editor of "Kettelerwache," the organ of the Association of German Catholic Workers, was killed in the Plotzensee Berlin jail in January, 1945. There were also youths, like the l7-year-old apprentice Heinz-Udo Hallau from Bielefeld, and Elfriede Goldschmidt and Walter Klingebenck, both 19 years old and from Munich.

      The next two volumes of the "Martyrologium," to be published in November, will give detailed biographies of the martyrs known to date. Needless to say, "in carrying out the research on the 20th century martyrs, we have gathered much information that will be useful for the new beatification causes, some of which are already underway, Bishop Moll noted.

      The work has been very great indeed, because Nazism confronted a vast number of priests: there are reports of 12,000 cases of religious who were victims of persecution and maltreatment by the regime -- about 36% of the diocesan clergy at the time. ZE99071607


      NEW YORK ( - A UN committee focusing on women's rights has pressured governments to stop promoting motherhood and called on religions to change the interpretation of their sacred texts as part of a campaign to promote radical feminism, according to a Catholic pro-family group on Friday.

      The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute said the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has used the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to put pressure on the 163 countries that have ratified it to implement their vision of feminism. The committee recently directed the government of Libya to reinterpret the Koran, the sacred text of Islam, "in light of the provisions of the Convention."

      Although not mentioned in CEDAW, the committee has claimed abortion as a fundamental human right and has directed a number of governments to change their restrictive laws. The committee complained to Mexico about "the lack of access for women" to easy and swift abortion. The Committee criticized Italy for allowing doctors to claim "conscientious objection" in performing abortions.

      The Committee criticized Croatia for allowing "church-related organizations to adversely influence" women's rights. It told the Dominican Republic that an "intermingling of the secular and religious spheres" is a "serious impediment to implementing the Convention."

      The group also admonished Armenia to "use the educational system and electronic media to combat the traditional stereotype of women 'in the noble role of mother,'" and the Czech Republic was criticized for "over-protective measures for pregnancy and motherhood." The committee's mandate is to oversee the advancement of women's status in the world, by requiring signatory states to report how they work for "equality in public life ... [and] also in private life."

For more headlines and articles, we suggest Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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July 19, 1999 volume 10, no. 133   DAILY CATHOLIC