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June 11-13, 1999
SECTION ONE vol 10, no. 112
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
Peace depends on how well we've learned from history
In this weekend's editorial we continue our take on Peace in the Balkans as we are reminded of what Heaven has said and the causes and effects of the ethnic factions in the Balkans over the past two-thousand years. We alert those who might have a polyanna perspective of the situation in Kosovo that this peace is very, very brittle and just signing a piece of paper will not assure peace. For why this is true, as documented in this weekend's commentary, Beware of the False Peace! , click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT.
"Beware of the false peace!"
This weekend we celebrate for the final time this century the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on succeeding days. At no time in history have the significance of these feasts taken on more of an importance than this final year before the Jubilee 2000, for according to all the signs the Two Hearts have imparted, we are very, very close to the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart as promised at Fatima towards the beginning of the this turbulent century. Her Triumph will usher in the glorious Reign of her Divine Son's Sacred Heart a glorious time also referred to as the Second Pentecost, the New Advent, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence or the Golden Age of Peace. Ah, peace, that elusive word and utopian state we all long for! Speaking of peace, as much as we would love to believe the peace agreement reached late Wednesday and early Thursday morning between the Serbs and representatives of NATO can be a lasting one, the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to numerous visionaries and messengers echo in our hearts and ears to beware of the "false peace." We have been warned of this since 1991 when America made quick work of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Uh, oh you say, Saddam is still around? And that ethnic cleansing continues in Iraq especially with the Kurds? And that the Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid has confirmed that the bombing is continuing eight years after Saddam was supposedly defeated? Is that proof enough of what Our Lady foretold? So who truly believes peace will be lasting in the Balkans? Don't every one raise their hands at once. You see, both sides signed the agreement because all sides saw it expedient to, not for humanitarian reasons but rather for political ones. That is another reason it qualifies as a "false peace."
It would seem presumptious to think that an amoral politician from Arkansas could solve something that has gone on for centuries. That is why we have been highly critical of NATO's bombing raids during the nearly 80 days over the Balkans for these victims of the bombing are also our brothers and sisters and NATO and its principals have not learned from history. It makes no sense to spend millions bombing someone and then spending millions more to rebuild something we destroyed. While buildings can be rebuilt, memories and feelings run deep - not only as in centuries, but, in the case of the Balkans, for millenniums! America, still wet behind the ears history-wise, doesn't understand that. Therefore, we are dedicating a series of editorials to the history behind the conflict in the Balkans which helps explain the problems and the fact that they not only cannot be solved overnight but will always carry with them great tension.
Consider that this "war" between Serbs and others has been going on for over two millenniums. Therefore for nearly 2000 years the people of the Balkans had to be suspect that the Apocalypse was close (cf. Matthew 24:6; Mark 13: 7). There is evidence today of artifacts from the Illyrian tribes of Ardijejan, Autarijati and Daorsan. There are even traces of Celtic tribes who migrated to this region near 400 BC. Remember Macedonia was very influential during the glory days of Greece. With the fall of the Greeks, this rugged, rocky area became part of the Roman Empire as a result of the Roman conquests of the Illyrians in 229 B.C. where it remained in Roman hands during the time of Christ. There are reports that Saint Paul passed through the Balkans during his journeys but they are not substantiated. When the Roman Empire fell in the fifth century, the land became part of Macedonia, inhabited by Slavs and eventually incorporated into the vast Byzantine Empire. The split of Rome and Constantinople was echoed in the split of the Slavic people with the Serbs and Bulgarians being influenced toward the Greek Orthodox faith through the efforts of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 864. The Croats and Czechs were won over by the strong Roman Catholic influence of the Franks who had converted to Christianity in 767 under King Pepin. The Croatian influence and faith has lasted for fifteen centuries, aided greatly by the heroic missionary efforts of the Dominican and Franciscans who had traveled with the Crusades, preaching to the Croats during their land journeys, with many of the Friars staying and establishing missions. This was the case in the fourteenth century when the Friars established themselves throughout Croatia and other regions of the Balkans known as Dalmatia. Though other missionaries tried to convert the mountain lands, it was the simplicity of the Franciscans, mirroring the ideals of their founder from Assisi, that endeared the friars to the people who continue to be vehemently loyal to this day, causing problems with Diocesan bishops where resentments between orders and secular priests have caused dissension. One reason is because the Diocesan priests and prelates bailed out when the going got tough whereas the men of Saint Francis instilled in the people a strong spirituality and resolve, a special courage under fire. The Franciscans were revered because they related to the people from the beginning. They came in poverty, wearing only their robes, and like Francis, carried only sacks of bibles and bread to share. They never asked for anything more. The people could see their sincerity and thus was established a holy love affair between the people and the Franciscans that lasts to this day and age, explaining the present problems the Bishop of Mostar Franjo Peric is having with the Franciscans in Bosnia and the controversy surrounding Medjugorje where it is the people who are resisting, not the Franciscan priests there.
Just when the Franciscans had settled the area, the terrible bubonic plague of the mid-14th century - the Black Death which ravaged all of Europe. The scourge of the Bubonic Plague weakend the Austrian Hapsburg hold, allowing the Turks to invade. This opened the door for the Muslim influence that remains strong today. In 1389, Bosnia and Serbia were incorporated into part of the Ottoman Empire and the people became captives as a result of the conquests of the Ottoman ruler Sultan Yildirim Bayezid, who was known and feared as the "Thunderbolt." After the conquest of the Turkish Sultan Fatih Mehmed, known as the "Conqueror" in 1463 the Serbian kingdom disapeared, followed by the absorbtion of much of Bosnia and parts of Albania and Croatia. The area in southern Bosnia was divided, becoming Herzego or Herzegovina. The Turkish influence brouht the Muslims into Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbs from Bulgaria, Russia and Greece as well as Albania infiltrated the lands and there was much crossbreeding through the centuries. In virtually every century Serbs, Croats and Muslims have been at odds over something as the the three major forces of the faith - the Western Church, the Eastern Church, and the followers of Mohammed sought to live in harmony. We can see from history how the ethnic struggles simmered until exploding into full-blown war 500 years later. In Tuesday's editorial we will continue with this "history lesson" as we attempt to clarify the causes and effects of the deep-seated strife and echo Our Lady's words to "Beware of the false peace!"
There can be only one peace process: Prayer!
In her column this week, Sister Mary Lucy Astuto addresses what's on everyone's hearts and lips - the Peace pact signed late this week in the Balkans. While Sister would like to be optimistic, she lists reasons why we should be very, very cautious in basically an extension of the editorial above, calling on all to invoke the dove of Peace - the Holy Spirit Who is the only One Who can make it a lasting Peace. For her column this weekend, Is the Peace real? click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
IS THE PEACE FOR REAL?
The news has just reported that the Serb troops are pulling out of Kosovo and that the head of NATO has ordered General Clark to stop bombing. I am very happy about this, but is the peace for real?
I hope and pray it is, but as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said: ďYou cannot trust a Communist!Ē Milosevic is a Communist, as was his father and mother.
I do not know what the future holds. Perhaps it is my natural inclination not to trust Milosevic, but I canít help but wonder if some semblance of troop withdrawal is set up, but other troops remain to wreak havoc with NATO troops who will be moving in. I wonder if Milosevic would thereby bring about the shootings and death of NATO troops. I just simply donít trust Milosevic. It seems he is a man with no conscience. Lives of innocent people mean nothing to him.
One thing we can count on for sure is that prayer is the real solution for the lack of peace in Kosovo or anywhere else in the world. The diabolic is so loose and so in control that God Alone can break its bonds. God Alone can overcome the evil present in our world today. And what ďmovesĒ God to intervene? Prayer! Prayer opens the floodgates of Heaven so that graces may flow.
I remember as a little girl begging my dad for a nickel to buy an ice cream cone. We were poor and my father, who was a shoemaker, struggled for every penny to raise his five children. It wasnít that he didnít want to make me happy. I usually wound up getting the ice cream. But Iím glad things didnít come so easy for us as children. We grew up to appreciate anything we would get. My point is that I probably would not have gotten an ice cream cone at all, if I had not asked, even over and over.
So it is with God. He can give us anything we want or need, but He often waits until we ask for it. Thatís why prayer is so important. In prayer we ask God to give us peace. God can do it without our asking, but He wants us to ask. He is the Eternal Father. He loves to give to His children who ask. It makes Him feel more like a Father to grant our requests.
So while we rejoice at knowing the Serb troops are leaving Kosovo and
at the present the bombing has stopped, let us not rest on our laurels. This may not be over
yet, folks. And real peace comes only by much prayer.
Let us pray harder, more and more. Real peace depends on it.
God bless you!
Star Wars still leaving rest of Top Ten Movies in the dust in second week of June
In the third week the megahit Star Wars' "Episode One - The Phantom Menace" continues to leave all other competition in the dust with "Notting Hill" continuing second-best. The newest entry "Instinct" did not have very good ones for it could only garner a third place rating while "The Mummy" and "Entrapment" held their positions in fourth and fifth as last week. As predicted last week, the big flop "The Love Letter" dropped out of sight and we say good riddance to a movie that promotes the lifestyle of avowed, blatant lesbian Ellen DeGeneres. The ratings prove the people feel the same way. For the Top Ten review for the first week of June, click on MOVIES AND MORALS
TOP TEN MOVIES FOR THE SECOND WEEK OF JUNE
1. STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE - THE PHANTOM MENACE $255.8 million in three weeks:
Because of sci-fi swordfights and
battle sequences, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is A-II - adults and
adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental
guidance suggested. "The Phantom Menace" is a disappointing prequel to the "Star
Wars" trilogy in which two Jedi knights (played by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor)
intent on saving the planet Naboo from Federation invaders enlist the help of a young
boy who will eventually become the evil Darth Vader. By emphasizing fantastical
creatures and myriad special effects, writer-director George Lucas loses much of the
movie's human dimension and ends up achieving mostly visual spectacle. May 1999
2. NOTTING HILL
$49.4 million in two weeks:
Because of an off-screen sexual encounter, some crude references,
occasional profanity and minimal rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference
classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13
-- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children
under 13. "Notting Hill" is a gauzy romantic comedy in which a Hollywood movie star
(played by Julia Roberts) and a timid London bookseller (Hugh Grant) fall in love but he
finds himself too intimidated by her fame to pursue the relationship. The contrived
crowd-pleaser is long on stunning smiles and sugary sentiment but short on realistic
romance. May-June 1999.
$10.4 million in one week:
Because of intermittent violence and a few instances of rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Instinct", psychiatrist Cuba Gooding, Jr. must uncover why imprisoned American anthropologist Anthony Hopkins chose to abandon civilization for life among
Ruwandan gorillas which led to his killing two park rangers a few years later. Balancing out a simplistic script and formula scenes of prison brutality are the steely performances of the two intense actors. June 1999.
4. THE MUMMY
$127.5 million in five weeks:
Because of recurring stylized violence and fleeting partial nudity, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association
of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be
inappropriate for children under 13. "The Mummy" is a spirited horror adventure set in
1920's Egypt where a treasure hunting Yank (played by Brendan Fraser) is confronted
by a revived 3,000 year-old mummy whose evil powers seemingly know no bounds.
The lavishly shot action movie is stuffed with spooky special effects and comical
moments that downplay horror in favor of rousing, old-fashioned entertainment. May
5. ENTRAPMENT $75 million in six weeks
Because of a romanticized view of crime, fleeting violence and a few
instances of rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification
is A-IV, adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is
PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for
children under 13. "Entrapment" is a mindless escapist caper in which a wily insurance
investigator (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) appears to join forces with the world's
craftiest art thief (played by Sean Connery) to nail him red-handed. The glossy fantasy
of double-crossing daredevils is sluggishly directed which limits the suspense. April
6. THE MATRIX $158.3 million in ten weeks
Because of excessive violence and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic
Conference classification, O -- morally offensive. Motion Picture Association of America
rating, R -- restricted The Matrix is a convoluted sci-fi tale in which a tiny band of
cyber rebels led by Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne do battle with virtually
indestructible humanoid killers from the 22nd centry. The action movie's violence is
glorified, glamorized and made to look exciting with a dazzling array of eyepopping
special effects. April 1999
7. THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR $7.4 million in two weeks
Because of sporadic nasty violence, some sexual innuendo,
intermittent rough language and a few instances of profanity, the U.S. Catholic
Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America
rating is R -- restricted. "The Thirteenth Floor" is a densely plotted sci-fi thriller
involving a murder in parallel worlds, including Los Angeles 1937 and the present, with
characters slipping between dimensions as they search for one true reality. The
convoluted tale plays intriguing mind games with viewers until the weakly constructed
climax goes over the top then ends unconvincingly. May-June 1999.
8. NEVER BEEN KISSED $50.6 million in nine weeks
Because of implied affairs and sexual references, a
sex-education scene involving condoms and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic
Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America
rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be
inappropriate for children under 13. "Never Been Kissed" is a bogus romantic comedy
in which 25-year old rookie reporter Drew Barrymore goes undercover as a high school
senior to write about teen life and ends up reliving her adolescent insecurities before
winning the heart of her English teacher. Movie cliches and stereotypes abound, and
Barrymore's clunky performance further sinks the contrived coming-of-age tale. April
9. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM $13 million in four weeks
Because of romantic
complications and, fleeting nudity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III --
adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly
cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. William
Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is an uneven adaptation of the
Bard's comedy in which forest fairy Puck causes all manner of romantic upheaval
overnight by casting spells on a quartet of mismatched young lovers, a hammy actor
(played by Kevin Kline) and fairy queen Michelle Pfeiffer. Not all the cast excel in
articulating Shakespearean dialogue but the fanciful and luminous visuals look sprinkled
with, fairy dust. May 1999
10. ELECTION $12.3 million in seven weeks
Because of several sexual situations, fleeting nudity, crude sex references, recurring rough language and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV, adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Election is a biting satire in which idealistic but flawed teacher Matthew Broderick goes overboard in trying to prevent scheming senior Reese Witherspoon from being elected president of the student council. The sharply observed comedy examines with ironic, sometimes nasty wit such human foibles as sexual obsession, hypocrisy and rationalization of such behavior. May 1999
Events this weekend in Church History
June 11th was a significant date throughout Church history beginning with Saint Barnabas who died on this date in 60 A.D.; then in 1509 it was the happy occasion of the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII who would be named "Defender of the Church" but satan would infiltrate the British throne and things would go terribly wrong as Henry would bolt and throw the Church in England into the throes of schism that remains to this day. On this date in 1997, Pope John Paul II said goodbye to his beloved homeland and returned to Rome. Now, two years later he is in the midst of what he has confirmed is quite possibly his last trip home. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history this weekend, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for June 11:
Death of Saint Barnabas, Apostle who traveled to Cyprus and Asia Minor with Saint Paul. He also traveled to Rome and consulted with Saint Peter before returning later to be with his cousin in Cypress and it was there that he was stoned to death by pagans in Salamis. His relics were found in the fifth century and preserved. While many historians believe Barnabas composed the Letter to the Hebrews, there is no definitive proof of this.
King Louis XI of France ratifies the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges which decreed that royal approval was necessary for the publication of papal decrees in France. This was strongly denounced by Pope Sixtus IV.
Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after another excursion to the New World.
The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon which was hailed by the Church and all were in the good graces of Rome. In 1521 the king would be named "Defender of the Faith" for his stance against Martin Luther but when he divorced Catherine twenty years after they had been married, the split between Rome and England had begun.
Today is the one-hundred year anniversary that Pope Leo XIII prayed the Consecration Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as decreed by the 256th successor of Peter in his May 25th, 1899 69th encyclical Annum Sacrum.
Pope John Paul II bids adieu to his beloved homeland of Poland after an eleven day trip to Poland that included visits to his childhood sites and the Shrine of the Black Madonna.
Hope for the future!
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".
"The world, and in particular our own country, is filled with thousands and thousands of good people; there is an intensification of spiritual life that is inspiring; intercession has multiplied; the young are craving for spiritual sacrifice. We are not lost! We are only losing our pride. God never puts the crown of victory on a swollen head."
May 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Also today I call you to convert and to more firmly believe in God. Children, you seek peace and pray in different ways, but you have not yet given your hearts to God for Him to fill them with His love. So, I am with you to teach you and to bring you closer to the love of God. If you love God above all else, it will be easy for you to pray and to open your hearts to Him. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light "
Matthew 11: 28-30
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June 11-13, 1999 volume 10, no. 113 DAILY CATHOLIC