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THURSDAY      July 22, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 136

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

The clarion sounds as a wake-up call to Catholics as we provide a summer review of all past articles on the Church today

      Like our other feature series, this summer we present installments 1 through 105 of this series which is a set blueprint for Catholics everywhere to take up the banner of truth in defending Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as we prepare for this glorious event - the second coming of Christ and the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Second Pentecost, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the Advent of Peace. To read any of the over one-hundred previous installments in this long on-going series, click on the Archives ofWHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?

Events that happened this day in Church History

      Today is the anniversary of the birth of two saints separated by over a century. First is Saint Philip Neri who 484 ago was born in Florence, Italy at the outset of the Protestant Reformation and went on to found the Oratorians in remaining true to the True Church. Secondly, 132 years later and 352 years ago Saint Margaret-Mary Alacoque was born in Burgundy, France. She eventually joined the Visitation Order of nuns and Jesus chose her to appear to to convey devotion to His Most Sacred Heart which ultimately led to the establishment of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. 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 22:

SIMPLY SHEEN: A slice of humble pie!

      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".

"No one is humble who does not believe in God, and who does not recognize dependence on the Power that created him, the Love that redeemed him and the Spirit that sanctified him."

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News and ZENIT International News Agency



      VATICAN ( ) -- Pope John Paul II conducted his regular Wednesday public audience at the Vatican on July 21, then traveled to his summer residence at Castelgandalfo, where he will remain until September.

      At this audience, the Pope spoke of Heaven-- which, he reminded his audience, is "not an abstraction but a physical location." The joy of heavenly life, he said, comes from "the fullness of intimacy with God," which is "the end of human existence."

      The Holy Father returned to Rome on Tuesday evening after having spent 13 days vacationing in the Italian Alps. During the coming weeks at Castelgandalfo, he will spend a great deal of time preparing for the Jubilee celebrations and for several upcoming pastoral trips. Although only a few papal voyages have been publicly announced, there are expectations around the Vatican that the Pontiff will visit India in November, to promulgate the formal results of the Asian synod which met in Rome last April and May. He also hopes to visit Iraq in November, and the Holy Land in March 2000. Although diplomatic difficulties still hamper the planning for those trips, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls assured reporters that the papal visits are "not politically impossible."

      Meanwhile, the Holy Father appeared refreshed by his vacation. On the last day of his stay in the mountains, he encountered a bicyclist-- who, stopping to talk, explained the advanced system of gears that enabled him to pedal comfortably up steep slopes. The Pope, poking fun at his own physical infirmity, remarked, "It's so easy these days, I might try it myself!"


"CiviltÓ Cattolica" Reaffirms Doctrine of Eternal Punishment

      ROME, JUL 20 (ZENIT).- In answer to challenges posed by many Catholic scholars to the Church's doctrine on Hell, the Jesuit magazine "CiviltÓ Cattolica" has published an article defending this truth of the faith. According to the article in the July issue, Hell exists, even if it is not a place; to affirm the contrary is to empty the Christian message of its meaning.

      In particular, the magazine refers to professor Luigi Lombardi Vallauri's thesis that "hell is anti-juridical" because it is "an excessive punishment in relation to the faults committed." Vallaurdi is professor of the Philosophy of Law at Florence's State University. Vallaurdi maintains that original sin is an invention of St. Augustine and that "Jesus was completely dominated by the idea of Hell. Very different from the good news! His news is the worst ever announced to man. It is said that Jesus was good and, if anything, that the Church is bad. Wrong. Jesus was very bad."

      Because of his thesis, professor Vallaurdi's annually reviewed appointment at the Catholic University of Milan was not renewed in 1988. The professor is also known for rather eccentric behavior, having been photographed with coat and tie -- and bare feet.

      Another intellectual with a very relative idea of Hell, is professor Pietro Prini, who sees in the denial of Hell's existence "a sign that the Christian conscience has made great progress in its twenty centuries of history."

      According to Vallaurdi and Prini, "Catholic belief in hell is in conflict with justice and a disgrace to the Church."

      The editorial staff of "CiviltÓ Cattolica" attempts to clarify the argument: today, without a doubt, the Devil and Hell are fluctuating concepts in people's imagination. Many are no longer certain of anything. "Hell is not a place but a state, a person's way of being, in which he or she suffers the privation of God. Hell is a state of mind, where the sinner lives eternally the despair of not seeing God's face."

      "It is important to clarify that it is not God who condemns man to hell, but man who freely condemns himself to eternal perdition," continues the article. "God does not inflict eternal suffering on man; man inflicts it on himself by rejecting the salvation God offers. God is always and forever only love, and his activity is always and forever saving ... God does not want to compel anyone to love him, because love cannot be forced. But by rejecting God's grace, man condemns himself to the privation of God, which is exactly what Hell is. God is absolutely opposed to man's condemnation, and he uses all his omnipotence to prevent a person from being eternally lost; but, having created the human person free, and wanting him to freely choose his own destiny -- because only free choices are worthy of man -- God respects human liberty."

      "CiviltÓ Cattolica" reaffirms what John Paul II has always taught. In a recent Wednesday morning general audience, the Pontiff emphasized that on Judgment Day "those destined to resurrection and life" will be separated from "those who will resurrect to condemnation."

      The Jesuits point out that "God is not waiting with a gun to send someone who commits a sin to Hell." No, God has created man free, so that he will freely choose his destiny. Therefore, man can sin, make mistakes every now and then, but this is not the kind of sin that condemns him to eternal punishment.

      The fatal sentence is passed for "grave, conscious and voluntary sin." It is the supreme sin of the one who "commits an act of pride and arrogance, preferring himself to God, in a word, a person who denies God to assert himself."

      "Like God, the Church does not will Hell," the article concludes. "The reason it has preached on Hell throughout its history is precisely to turn people away from eternal damnation. Perhaps the Church has overly stressed fear of Hell to the detriment of balance with the Evangelical announcement which is, in essence, the announcement of God's Love. Today, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, because catechetical preaching scarcely mentions Hell, to the detriment of Christian people. The Christian message is a message of hope, joy, confidence in the Father's infinite love, and that of Christ the Savior, but it must not be forgotten that man is weak and a sinner and always in need of being called to conversion. Jesus' first words were, 'Be converted and believe in the Gospel.' " ZE99072007


      Mexico City, 21 (NE) After long debates over the historical existence of Juan Diego, the Mexican native witness to the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, postulators of the canonization cause have declared that the process is quite advanced and has good proof of his historicity.

      As was made known by the Archdiocese of Mexico, Father Arthur Rocha Cortes, a member of the Postulator Commission for the Cause of Saints, has recently concluded his work "Documents to serve in the genealogy of Juan Diego".

      In this document it is explained that Juan Diego was a native descending nobleman of Netzahualpilli and of Moctezuma, who dominated the "cacicazgo" of Texcoco. It is also thought that Juan Diego, after the Marian apparitions and having been baptized, left polygamy in order to marry a single woman and live in chastity.

      Documents have also been discovered concerning the family and descendents of Juan Diego, such as Sister Maria Micaela Jeronima Escalona who was consecrated in 1739 and Sister Gertrudis Vazquez Towers, registered in 1726 at the convent of Corpus Christi as descending from Juan Diego.


      Philadelphia, 21 (NE) "No matter what you have done, you can always become a saint", said Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, to inmates of the Montgomery County Prison.

      During a visit that also included lunch, Cardinal Bevilacqua explained inmates that holiness is not something unreachable. "It takes doing one's daily tasks well and for the honor and glory of God", he said during the service held for about 90 male inmates. The Archbishop also recalled the Gospel story about the thief crucified next to the Lord Jesus who was forgiven.

      During a press conference held before the visit, Cardinal Bevilacqua pointed out the need to give hope to those in jail. "'They've committed offenses against society and other human beings, but we're ready to forgive them if they're truly sorry". "There is always hope they can become better human beings", he stated.

      Cardinal Bevilacqua said as well that it is correct to penalize criminals for their offenses, but explained he does not support death penalty. "The Church supports the right of the state to inflict the death penalty but says there is no reason for the state to use that right", he affirmed.

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 and Daily Dispatches, Dossiers and Features from 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 22, 1999 volume 10, no. 136   DAILY CATHOLIC