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July 6, 1999
SECTION ONE vol 10, no. 129
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Message to the Americas: Repent of your ways and take up the cause of human dignity and the Sanctity of Life
Normally this weekly feature is brought to you on Mondays but because yesterday was part of the weekend holiday issue, we bring it to you today. Following up a year after the Bishops of North, Central and South America, along with the Caribbean contingent, met for the month-long Synod of the Americas in Rome at the end of 1997, Pope John Paul II officially closed the Synod with his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico City in January 1999. Because of its significance for all Americans, we bring you this important document in several installments over the next few months. For those wanting to read the entire encyclical or check footnotes, go to Ecclesia in America For the nineteenth installment on Chapter Five: The Path to Solidarity - Social sins that cry to Heaven , click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America
From Pope John Paul II to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women Religious, and all the Lay Faithful on the encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America
Installment Nineteen of ECCLESIA IN AMERICA: CHAPTER FIVE: THE PATH TO SOLIDARITY
SOCIAL SINS THAT CRY TO HEAVEN
"By this all will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another"
John 13: 35
56. The Church's social doctrine also makes possible a clearer appreciation of the gravity of the “social sins
which cry to heaven because they generate violence, disrupt peace and harmony between communities
within single nations, between nations and between the different regions of the continent”. (205) Among
these must be mentioned: “the drug trade, the recycling of illicit funds, corruption at every level, the terror of violence, the arms race, racial discrimination, inequality between social groups and the irrational destruction of nature”. (206) These sins are the sign of a deep crisis caused by the loss of a sense of God and the absence of those moral principles which should guide the life of every person. In the absence of moral
points of reference, an unbridled greed for wealth and power takes over, obscuring any Gospel-based vision of social reality.
Not infrequently, this leads some public institutions to ignore the actual social climate. More and more, in
many countries of America, a system known as “neoliberalism” prevails; based on a purely economic
conception of man, this system considers profit and the law of the market as its only parameters, to the
detriment of the dignity of and the respect due to individuals and peoples. At times this system has become the ideological justification for certain attitudes and behavior in the social and political spheres leading to the neglect of the weaker members of society. Indeed, the poor are becoming ever more numerous, victims of
specific policies and structures which are often unjust. (207)
On the basis of the Gospel, the best response to this tragic situation is the promotion of solidarity and
peace, with a view to achieving real justice. For this to happen, encouragement and support must be given to all those who are examples of honesty in the administration of public finances and of justice. So too there is a need to support the process of democratization presently taking place in America, (208) since a
democratic system provides greater control over potential abuses.
“The rule of law is the necessary condition for the establishment of an authentic democracy”. (209) For
democracy to develop, there is a need for civic education and the promotion of public order and peace. In
effect, “there is no authentic and stable democracy without social justice. Thus the Church needs to pay
greater attention to the formation of consciences, which will prepare the leaders of society for public life at
all levels, promote civic education, respect for law and for human rights, and inspire greater efforts in the
ethical training of political leaders”. (210)
The ultimate foundation of human rights
57. It is appropriate to recall that the foundation on which all human rights rest is the dignity of the person.
“God's masterpiece, man, is made in the divine image and likeness. Jesus took on our human nature, except
for sin; he advanced and defended the dignity of every human person, without exception; he died that all
might be free. The Gospel shows us how Christ insisted on the centrality of the human person in the natural
order (cf. Lk 12:22-29) and in the social and religious orders, even against the claims of the Law (cf. Mk
2:27): defending men, women (cf. Jn 8:11) and even children (cf. Mt 19:13-15), who in his time and culture
occupied an inferior place in society. The human being's dignity as a child of God is the source of human
rights and of corresponding duties”. (211) For this reason, “every offense against the dignity of man is an
offense against God himself, in whose image man is made”. (212) This dignity is common to all, without
exception, since all have been created in the image of God (cf. Gen 1:26). Jesus' answer to the question
“Who is my neighbor?” (Lk 10:29) demands of each individual an attitude of respect for the dignity of others
and of real concern for them, even if they are strangers or enemies (cf. Lk 10:30-37). In all parts of
America the awareness that human rights must be respected has increased in recent times, yet much still
remains to be done, if we consider the violations of the rights of persons and groups still taking place on the
Preferential love for the poor and the outcast
58. “The Church in America must incarnate in her pastoral initiatives the solidarity of the universal Church
towards the poor and the outcast of every kind. Her attitude needs to be one of assistance, promotion,
liberation and fraternal openness. The goal of the Church is to ensure that no one is marginalized”. (213)
The memory of the dark chapters of America's history, involving the practice of slavery and other situations
of social discrimination, must awaken a sincere desire for conversion leading to reconciliation and
Concern for those most in need springs from a decision to love the poor in a special manner. This is a love
which is not exclusive and thus cannot be interpreted as a sign of partiality or sectarianism; (214) in loving
the poor the Christian imitates the attitude of the Lord, who during his earthly life devoted himself with
special compassion to all those in spiritual and material need.
The Church's work on behalf of the poor in every part of America is important; yet efforts are still needed to
make this line of pastoral activity increasingly directed to an encounter with Christ who, though rich, made
himself poor for our sakes, that he might enrich us by his poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). There is a need to
intensify and broaden what is already being done in this area, with the goal of reaching as many of the
poor as possible. Sacred Scripture reminds us that God hears the cry of the poor (cf. Ps 34:7) and the
Church must heed the cry of those most in need. Hearing their voice, “she must live with the poor and share
their distress. By her lifestyle her priorities, her words and her actions, she must testify that she is in
communion and solidarity with them”. (215)
59. The existence of a foreign debt which is suffocating quite a few countries of the American continent
represents a complex problem. While not entering into its many aspects, the Church in her pastoral concern
cannot ignore this difficult situation, since it touches the life of so many people. For this reason, different
Episcopal Conferences in America, conscious of the gravity of the question, have organized study
meetings on the subject and have published documents aimed at pointing out workable solutions. (216) I too
have frequently expressed my concern about this situation, which in some cases has become unbearable.
In light of the imminent Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, and recalling the social significance that Jubilees had
in the Old Testament, I wrote: “In the spirit of the Book of Leviticus (25:8-12), Christians will have to raise
their voice on behalf of all the poor of the world, proposing the Jubilee as an appropriate time to give
thought, among other things, to reducing substantially, if not cancelling outright, the international debt which
seriously threatens the future of many nations”. (217)
Once more I express the hope, which the Synod Fathers made their own, that the Pontifical Council for
Justice and Peace together with other competent agencies, such as the Section for Relations with States of
the Secretariat of State, “through study and dialogue with representatives of the First World and with the
leaders of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will seek ways of resolving the problem of
the foreign debt and produce guidelines that would prevent similar situations from recurring on the occasion
of future loans”. (218) On the broadest level possible, it would be helpful if “internationally known experts in
economics and monetary questions would undertake a critical analysis of the world economic order, in its
positive and negative aspects, so as to correct the present order, and that they would propose a system
and mechanisms capable of ensuring an integral and concerted development of individuals and peoples”.
NEXT MONDAY: Installment twenty - Chapter Five: The fight against corruption
Catholic PewPoint helps put things in perspective and clear up the tunnels of confusion!
This summer we present all the editorials to date from 1999 for you to review. Take a ride on the twists and turns of humanity in past installments of Catholic PewPoint. In this wild ride of life, through the tunnels of doubt we need to cling to the rails of hope and trust that God will guide us safely over the whirls and swirls, dips and blips, highs and lows that affect us daily in this rollercoaster called life. These commentaries help keep things on a more even keel, slowing the turns so that all can better navigate the dangerous curves and stay on track in heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel. During the summer we will present this archive feature on Tuesdays and a new commentary every Friday. To read any of the forty-six installments presently available for 1999, click on and strap in for the Archives of CATHOLIC PewPOINT.
Retroactive articles on Church history available from 1150 to 1515 A.D. for summer review
This summer we present the installments from Blessed Pope Eugene III, the 167th successor of Peter in the mid-twelfth century through Pope Leo X, the 217th in the Petrus line early in the sixteenth century. These are installments 46 through 106. We should soon have installments one through 45, which cover the first millennium, available to review on-line within a few weeks. We will resume our original series in September with installment 107 on Pope Hadrian VI. To read any of the sixty installments presently available in this long on-going series, click on the Archives of THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH.
This retro summer we present the best of Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW
This summer on Monday's we will present the opportunity to review any of Pat Ludwa's thirty-three columns for this year. Since Monday's issue was included with the weekend issue, we present this feature today. Original columns will run in Thursday's issues, but in Monday's issues we bring you these archives. For Pat's past columns, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW ARCHIVES
SIMPLY SHEEN:No matter what, God loves us!
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".
"There may be times when our heart chides us that we have fallen far below our ideals, but with amendment one can always be sure of the Father's Love."
"I am Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. This shall be made dogma and this shall be a great sign. When this happens know the Triumph of my Heart is imminent."
Those words were imparted by the Blessed Virgin Mary in Message #584 on January 15, 1994 to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in which Our Lady reaffirms the obvious that the Holy Father will eventually proclaim this "Fifth Dogma" ushering in the events that will bring about the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart. In this message and the one preceding it on January 12th, she warns us of the evil one's intense fury and that he is pulling out all stops for his time is short and the signs point to this. That is why she is asking all her little ones to pray like we've never prayed before. For Messages #583 and #584, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages 583 and 584
Message Five-Hundred-eighty-three, January 12, 1995
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, how I love and cherish all of my children. I, their Mother, see their sorrows and I weep for them, plead and intercede for them before the Most Blessed Trinity.
Beloved little ones of my Immaculate Heart, I do solemnly tell you that as each day passes the Third Secret of Fatima comes to fulfillment. But there is yet a little more time given in the name of Divine Mercy.
Therefore, I again beseech you: Love my Divine Son and seek His Holy Will. Know and live your Faith, and be humble, little obedient children of my Immaculate Heart.
Pray very, very much for the evil one denies his defeat and seeks yet to devour all of God's little ones. Be of great courage, for your happiness is not in this world, but in Heaven.
In these next weeks lift up your eyes. To those awake in the Holy Spirit you shall see a Sign from God that shall set your hearts afire. Many, too, shall be those who will also see this Sign and will find in it greater confusion. Many, too, will reject this Sign and condemn it and all who believe.
Let this be a sign unto you! When you are given this great and beautiful, yet awesome Sign you will know the truth of my apparitions and of my words through my messengers; you will also know that the Triumph of my Heart is very close, and thus the sorrows must also increase for all the world!
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Message Five-Hundred-eighty-four, January 15, 1995
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, I love and bless you and all your family. The world shall only know of you as my hidden flower, but its meaning shall remain with God until He chooses to reveal it.
Therefore, I ask you to tell all the world: The days of Tears and Mourning have arrived. But be not afraid! Do not sink into despair.
No, my children, lift up your eyes and look to the Heavens. Soon...very soon you shall see there a great and luminous Sign of God's Power and Presence among you; a Sign that shall say to the soul that is open to the Holy Spirit, "Behold, all that Scripture contains is Truth and Truth is now to be fulfilled."
I solemnly tell you that this year shall not pass away until many who now believe fall prey to satan and, being discouraged, shall be his victims. I also solemnly tell you many shall be those whose hearts, now darkened, shall know conversion of heart and be within the Refuge of my Immaculate Heart and my Son's Sacred Heart.
The stars are already falling from the Heavens. These 'stars' are consecrated religious and priests who are in apostasy and schism with my Divine Son's Church. The Divinity of my Divine Son is darkened and He is the Son, and the moon sheds less and less light, for I who am the Woman clothed with the Sun, the moon under her feet, am ridiculed, scorned, and denied on every continent. I, who am God's Handmaid, do solemnly tell you that He Who Is Creator of all has bestowed upon me, His Handmaid, the graces He wishes to distribute to His children, so great His Love for you and His Mercy toward me.
I am Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. This shall be made dogma and this shall be a great sign. When this happens know the Triumph of my Heart is imminent.
I love and bless you. Hurry to my Divine Son and give Him your heart.
I ask you to pray as you have never prayed before. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Today is the Feast of modern martyr Saint Maria Goretti as well as the Fifteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow we commemorate the Fifteenth Wednesday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignette on St. Maria Goretti, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Tuesday, July 6, 1999
Tuesday, July 6:
Fourteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saint Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr
Green or red vestments
First Reading: Genesis 32: 23-33
Psalms: Psalm 17: 1-3, 6-8, 15
Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 32-38
FEAST OF SAINT MARIA GORETTI, VIRGIN AND MARTYR
Considered the first saint of the 20th Century, Saint Maria Teresa Goretti was born into a poor family in
Nettuno, Italy in 1890. At a very early age she showed tremendous maternal instincts, caring for her four younger
brothers as well as the neighbors young children while the parents worked in the fields during the day. Her
mother had been forced to work the fields since her husband and Maria's father died in 1900. Too poor to afford
education, Maria dedicated herself to doing God's Will and went about her work joyously. One of the older boys
who worked on the farm, a nineteen year old, lusted after Maria who was only twelve years old in 1902.
Regardless he attempted to rape her when no one else was around, but Maria resisted, crying out: "No! No! Do
not touch me, Alessandro! It is a sin. You will go to hell!" Her refusal so enraged Alessandro that in a fit of
passion he pulled out his field knife and plunged it into her fourteen times and then fled. Bleeding to death,
Maria was rushed to the hospital where she lay dying for two more painful days. On receiving the Final
Sacrament, the priest asked her if she would forgive her murderer and she lovingly proclaimed, "Yes, I forgive
him for the love of Jesus, and I want him to be with me in Heaven. May God forgive him!" Shortly after that she
breathed her last death with her lips to the crucifix, clutching the Miraculous Medal. Her assailant Alessandro was quickly arrested and served 26 years in prison. It was during his 8th year in prison that he experienced a conversion experience from a dream of Maria Goretti presenting him with flowers. When he was released from prison in 1928 he went immediately to Maria's mother and begged forgiveness and then accompanied her to Christmas Mass where they received Holy Communion together. He became a Franciscan tertiary and spent his remaining life with the Capuchins. The most fascinating aspect of all this was that both Alessandro and Maria's mother were present for the canonization ceremonies in Rome when Pope Pius XII officially proclaimed Maria Teresa Goretti a saint in 1970. She is one of the greatest role models for young people today in a society that exalts the world, the flesh and the devil.
Wednesday, July 7, 1999
First Reading: Genesis 41: 55-57; 42: 5-7, 17-24
Psalms: Psalm 33: 2-3, 10-11, 18-19, 22
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 1-7
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
July is the month of the MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS and so, on Ordinary days this month we bring you the Prayer of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Almighty, everlasting God, Who didst appoint Thine
only-begotten Son Redeemer of the world, and didst deign
to be appeased by the shedding of His Blood; grant, we
beseech Thee, that by our solemn service we may so honor
what He paid as the price our Redemption, and by Its virtue
be so defended here on earth from the evils of this present
life, that we may forevermore enjoy Its fruit in Heaven.
Throught the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who
liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end. Amen.
Events Today in Church History
On this date in 1535 Saint Thomas More was martyred for the faith in England as King Henry VIII, who Thomas had tutored in the faith, turned on his trusted friend and had him beheaded in the London Tower. Thomas had refused to condone Henry's decision to divorce and held true to the teachings of Holy Mother Church during the Protestant Reformation, giving up his prestige within the English royalty to attain an even higher position in the Royal Court of the Blessed Trinity. 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 6:
Death of Saint Sexburga, wife of the King of Kent and mother of two sons who became monarchs and two daughters who became nuns and who herself, after the death of her husband, became a nun as well as abbess.
Death of Saint Godelina, who was strangled to death by her husband during childbirth. The child was born blind, but through Godelina's Heavenly intercession was healed.
Saint Thomas More becomes a martyr for Holy Mother Church as he is executed at the order of King Henry VIII.
Death of Saint Maria Goretti, Italian virgin who was stabbed 14 times in defense of her purity by a young man named Alexander whom she forgave as she lay dying in a Nettuno, Italy hospital. Her murderer, in his 8th year of incarceration in 1910 converted to Catholicism in a dream in which Maria presented him with a bouquet of flowers. Released in 1928, Alexander sought out Maria's mother to ask forgiveness and received Holy Communion with her at Christmas Eve Mass that year. He was also present at Maria's canonization by Pope Pius XII in 1950. For more, see LITURGY
June 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Today I thank you for living and witnessing my messages with your life. Little children, be strong and pray so that prayer may give you strength and joy. Only in this way will each of you be mine and I will lead you on the way of salvation. Little children, pray and with your life witness my presence here. May each day be a joyful witness for you of God's love. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
The DAILY WORD
"The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest."
Matthew 9: 37-38
Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
July 6, 1999 volume 10, no. 129 DAILY CATHOLIC