We may be on vacation for a week, but we're not going far. Maybe we'll take in a ball game or two, a movie and a picnic, but for the most part our sons are in year-round school here in Southern California so we can't go far. Add to that the lack of funds for such luxuries and our itinerary is pretty well set. Rather, consider this a "working vacation." Not that we're workaholics, but there is only so much time in a day and when we're trying to publish an issue each day it just doesn't leave much time to refine and research. Therefore, we plan on taking this time to do just that. Call it catch-up time. Those waiting for us to answer their e-mail correspondence will be ecstatic.
Taking time off is all about timing and the timing couldn't be more perfect for today arriving from England via freighter are the first batch of the long, long-awaited book "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." which incorporates all the messages imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart for the world from September 1990 to the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in 1995. That's 632 messages. Special thanks goes out to all those who have been praying for so long for its fulfillment, but especially to two individuals - James Fink of the Twin Cities who helped catalogue everything and provided most of the preface and Robert James of Cardiff, Great Britain whose faith was unquestioned in seeing this project through to its conclusion. He is responsible for publishing the book in England after we got caught in a catch-22 stateside. We had originally contracted with a large secular and, we thought, respectable book printing firm in Canada that would distribute the book everywhere for a very reasonable price. Needless to say, that was a pipe dream for after signing the contract we had to pay for all preparations and plates as well as an up-front fee. That normally is no problem because that can be recouped quite quickly when the book is available in book stores everywhere. What we didn't count on, however, was satan's trump card: Bankruptcy. The company went into Chapter 11 and froze all assets. They not only locked the printing negs and plates away, but froze the thousands and thousands of dollars we had invested in the book up front. In short, we got taken! As if this wasn't bad enough, it got tied up in legal circles where we could not speak about it and the contract was still in vogue while everything was pending since we were told there was a chance they would reorganize and form a new corporation which would honor all previous contracts. This tied up our ability to seek other avenues because the contract was still legally valid and this process dragged on and on over eighteen months. Finally, late last year we realized it was all a smokescreen to fend off clients and collectors. Once we were able to void the contract because of their failure to live up to their end of the bargain, it was back to square one. During all this time Robert James, a very devoted chap from St. Mellons had requested permission to print "THE HIDDEN WAY" which we were thrilled because of the stalemate on the other book waiting to be printed. He did such a wonderful job on that book that we approached him early this year if he would want to take on this project. After much prayer and thought, he said 'yes' and the blessings have flowed ever since. The first books came off the press a month ago and he sent us sixteen of them which soon were dispersed to our Spiritual Director Father Al Svobodny, OMI as a special gift on his 50th Anniversary as a priest. Without his guidance this would never have gotten off the ground. We also sent copies to our loyal and patient Board of Directors and a few other special people who have been so supportive. In short, those sixteen books didn't last long. However, now that we are finally receiving a large shipment, we can take the time to send out the books to the hundreds and hundreds of believers who had preordered this much-anticipated book with their generous donations over two to three years ago. Cyndi is going to be busy since we promised all those who put their trust in us back then that they would receive an autographed book with a personal note in each one. You can imagine how time consuming that is. Add to that the packaging and mailing for all of these and this editor will be busier than ever in the coming week. The order form for "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." can be attained by clicking on the illustration of the book on the main page. While we wanted to keep the cost of the book as low as possible, escalating printing costs and the enormous expense of shipping from England to America have prevented us from discounting it to book stores. The book costs us close to $25 each because of all the hidden costs and there are a slew of them; from fork-lift operators to customs, from entry fees to stripping charges, terminal charges and document fees, not to mention trucking them to the DAILY CATHOLIC! Yet we're not in this ministry to make a profit and therefore we are offering it to all for $25. per book plus a processing, shipping and handling fee of $8. for it costs no less than $4.20 to send out Priority Mail and $3. in processing charges. For oversees and Canada, we have to charge a higher shipping fee but the $25. price will remain steady. The book is nearly three-quarters inch thick with 224 pages and roughly eleven and a half inches high and eight and an eighth inches wide. It is a handsome perfect-bound colorful book that can proudly be displayed as a coffee-table book and used often for the messages are more pertinent than ever and many which Our Lord and His Blessed Mother have foretold have already come to pass or are happening now. We are indeed living in exciting times!
While we are promoting this book, along with "THE HIDDEN WAY" and the Trilogy of the Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary - "COME, LET US ADORE HIM" "IT IS CONSUMMATED!," and "MY LORD AND MY GOD!" we stress that these are only guideposts to help us focus ever stronger on the Sacraments, Sacred Scripture and the great Deposit of Faith incorporated in the Doctrines and Dogmas of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith. All of these private revelation books are in total accord with Church teaching, the Holy Father and the Bible, and have all been previously submitted to our Spiritual Director and the local Ordinary of the diocese we were in when she received the messages. None have ever been rejected or altered by any priest or bishop. Some have asked why there is no Imprimatur and we explain simply because it is private revelation that is both not possible or necessary in accord with Pope Paul VI's directive on October 14, 1966 in which the decree of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (now the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) A.A.S. 58.1186 stated that with the abolition of Canon 1399 and 2318 of the former Canonical Code: "Publications about new revelations, prophecies, miracles, interior locutions, messages, etc. have been allowed to be distributed and read to the faithful without express permission of the Church and no longer require a 'Nihil Obstat' or 'Imprimatur,' providing they contain nothing which contravenes faith and morals." As always, we respectfully recognize and accept that the final authority regarding private revelation rests with the Holy See of Rome to whose judgment we will always humbly submit.
And so, even though we begin our first vacation in a year, we'll not be lazing about the beach soaking up the rays. That will come after the work is done since we'll be taking a more restful vacation later this summer as is the DAILY CATHOLIC's policy to break up the two-week vacation into two one-week intervals during the summer. We hope you miss us because we will miss you and look forward to reconnecting in the Monday, July 19th issue. In the following Friday issue, no. 137 on the feast of Saint Bridget of Sweden we will debut the Countdown of the Top 100 Catholics of the Twentieth Century as you voted them. We had well over 20,000 votes and were overwhelmed by the response. The task of tallying the votes was practically a full-time job in itself. In our editorial on July 23rd we'll fill you in on all of that and more. So, God-willing and the creek don't rise, we'll see you again in a week. For now, the time has come to rest, reflect, retool and refuel!
There is also a need to help poor farmers from being tempted by the easy money gained from cultivating plants used for drug-production. In this regard international agencies can make a valuable contribution to governments by providing incentives to encourage the production of alternative crops. Encouragement must also be given to those involved in rehabilitating drug users and to those engaged in the pastoral care of the victims of drug dependence. It is fundamentally important to offer the proper “meaning of life” to young people who, when faced with a lack of such meaning, not infrequently find themselves caught in the destructive spiral of drugs. Experience shows that this work of recuperation and social rehabilitation can be an authentic commitment to evangelization. (225)
In this regard, the Synod Fathers, echoing recent documents of the Church's Magisterium, forcefully restated their unconditional respect for and total dedication to human life from the moment of conception to that of natural death, and their condemnation of evils like abortion and euthanasia. If the teachings of the divine and natural law are to be upheld, it is essential to promote knowledge of the Church's social doctrine and to work so that the values of life and family are recognized and defended in social customs and in State ordinances. (230) As well as protecting life, greater efforts should be made, through a variety of pastoral initiatives, to promote adoptions and to provide continuing assistance to women with problem pregnancies, both before and after the birth of the child. Special pastoral attention must also be given to women who have undergone or actively procured an abortion. (231)
How can we fail to thank God and express genuine appreciation to our brothers and sisters in the faith throughout America who are committed, along with other Christians and countless individuals of good will, to defending life by every legal means and to protecting the unborn, the incurably ill and the handicapped? Their work is all the more praiseworthy if we consider the indifference of so many people, the threats posed by eugenics and the assaults on life and human dignity perpetrated everywhere each day. (232)
This same concern must be shown to the elderly, who are often neglected and left to fend for themselves. They must be respected as persons; it is important to care for them and to help them in ways which will promote their rights and ensure their greatest possible physical and spiritual well-being. The elderly must be protected from situations or pressures which could drive them to suicide; in particular they must be helped nowadays to resist the temptation of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Together with the Pastors of the People of God in America, I appeal to “Catholics working in the field of medicine and health care, to those holding public office or engaged in teaching, to make every effort to defend those lives most at risk, and to act with a conscience correctly formed in accordance with Catholic doctrine. Here Bishops and priests have a special responsibility to bear tireless witness to the Gospel of life and to exhort the faithful to act accordingly”. (233) At the same time, it is essential for the Church in America to take appropriate measures to influence the deliberations of legislative assemblies, encouraging citizens, both Catholics and other people of good will, to establish organizations to propose workable legislation and to resist measures which endanger the two inseparable realities of life and the family. Nowadays there is a special need to pay attention to questions related to prenatal diagnosis, in order to avoid any violation of human dignity.
Here I would like to mention that in some places Americans of African descent still suffer from ethnic prejudice, and this represents a serious obstacle to their encounter with Christ. Since all people, whatever their race or condition, have been created by God in his image, it is necessary to encourage concrete programs, in which common prayer must play a part, aimed at promoting understanding and reconciliation between different peoples. These can build bridges of Christian love, peace and justice between all men and women. (234)
In order to attain these goals it is essential to train competent pastoral workers capable of employing methods already legitimately “inculturated” in catechesis and the liturgy, avoiding a syncretism which gives only a partial account of true Christian doctrine. Then too, it will be easier to provide a sufficient number of pastors to work with the native peoples if efforts are made to promote priestly and religious vocations within the midst of these very people. (235)
Church communities will not fail to see in this phenomenon a specific call to live an evangelical fraternity and at the same time a summons to strengthen their own religious spirit with a view to a more penetrating evangelization. With this in mind, the Synod Fathers recalled that “the Church in America must be a vigilant advocate, defending against any unjust restriction the natural right of individual persons to move freely within their own nation and from one nation to another. Attention must be called to the rights of migrants and their families and to respect for their human dignity, even in cases of non-legal immigration”. (236)
Migrants should be met with a hospitable and welcoming attitude which can encourage them to become part of the Church's life, always with due regard for their freedom and their specific cultural identity. Cooperation between the dioceses from which they come and those in which they settle, also through specific pastoral structures provided for in the legislation and praxis of the Church, (237) has proved extremely beneficial to this end. In this way the most adequate and complete pastoral care possible can be ensured. The Church in America must be constantly concerned to provide for the effective evangelization of those recent arrivals who do not yet know Christ. (238)
NEXT MONDAY: Installment twenty-one - Chapter Six: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IN AMERICA TODAY: THE NEW EVANGELIZATION Sent by Christ