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WEDNESDAY - Saint Patrick's Day      March 17, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 53

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

Our Lady shares her heart with her children

      The Blessed Mother in her Meditation in Lesson 7 THE MOTHER SUFFERS WITH THE SON shares what is in her heart how the evil one tried to the torment her, but she turned to the sure-fire pest eradicator: prayer and gave herself to the Divine Will. She asks us to do the same- turn to prayer for all louir answers and to withstand the suffering all must undergo if we are to help carry her Divine Son's cross. These meditative lessons, imparted by Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart during Lent of 1993, are meant to inspire and prompt a greater understanding of the season of Lent in helping us all prepare for His Passion and Death, and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. For part three of Lesson 7, click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 7:


part three Our Lady's Meditation



      Today is the Fourth Wednesday of Lent and the Optional Feast of Saint Patrick, Bishop and Apostle of Ireland while tomorrow we commemorate the Fourth Thursday of Lent and the Optional Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes of these saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

Feast of Saint Patrick, Bishop and Apostle of Ireland

Thursday, March 18, 1999

Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


      Below is the Opening Prayer for the Mass honoring Saint Patrick:

God our Father, You sent Saint Patrick to preach Your glory to the people of Ireland. By the help of his prayers, may all Christians proclaim Your love to all men.

Events Today in Church History

      On this date in 1497, Pope Alexander VI decreed that a cave in Ireland be sealed shut forever; the same cave which was revealed to Saint Patrick in an interior vision as the "doorway to hell." Also, on this date in 1762 New York Catholics celebrated their first St. Patrick's Day Parade. 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 March 17:

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      ROME, 16 (NE) "The materials in my possession confirm that no one of whatever station or organization did as much to help the Jews as did Pius XII and, at his explicit instructions, the Roman Catholic Church." These were the words of Father Peter Gumpel, relator of the cause of beatification of Pope Pius XII, after having examined the voluminous amount of materials regarding the process of beatification of the Pope.

      In an article published in the English newspaper The Tablet, Father Gumpel underlines that in regard to the beatification cause of Pope Pius XII "something shameful is going on," due to the numerous and groundless critics that have risen presenting an distorted idea of the role the Pontiff carried out during World War II.

      In his examination of the facts relative to this time, Father Gumpel highlights the many testimonies of gratitude shown to the Holy Father upon concluding the war, many of them coming personally from Jews and from their organizations in different parts of the world. "Nevertheless," he says, "their witness is today largely ignored by many who were still children or not yet born at the time of the Holocaust."

      Later on, the Jesuit priest, that suffered himself the nazi persecution, recalled that it was Rolf Hochhuth and his anti-Catholic work The Vicar, who began the strange public attacks against Pope Pius XII. He also pointed out once more how this work clearly evidences Hochhuth's lack of historical knowledge and has been criticized by many personalities - including Jewish historians- for its distorted and tendentious presentation of the facts. The relator of the cause makes a brief reference to the great amount of facts and documents that show what the Church did under the orientation of Pope Pius XII.

      On the other hand, showing the ignorance of many, Gumpel highlighted the publication - ordered by Pope Paul VI - of all the documents related to the Second World War, known as Actes et Documents du Saint Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. "The 12 volumes contain 5,100 documents published according to high scientific standards." Trying not to judge the intentions of those who act in this manner, Gumpel simply points out: "People who demand that the Vatican publish the documents regarding this period are ill informed." There is even the existence since 1997 of a 336 page volume, elaborated by one of the investigators, Father Pierre Blet, Pius XII and the Second World War, according to the archives of the Vatican. Blet is one of the most serious historians on that time, publishing his book to make accessible the immense amount of Vatican documentation accumulated in the twelve volumes that cover from 1939 to 1945.

      Later on, responding to the strange critic of supposed silence by the Pontiff, Father Gumpel reminds that "the truth is that Pius XII repeatedly and publicly condemned the persecution of innocent people for the sole reason of their race." Accusations against the Pope from Nazi authorities were immediate and many facts confirm this. "Pius XII also avoided more vehement public declarations because experience had taught him not only that they did not save a single Jewish life, but, on the contrary, that they triggered even more violent persecutions of the Jews." The statement of the Dutch Catholic bishops, points out Gumpel, left this clear in the Pope's mind, who even decided not to publish a public protest already written given the consequences that it could have. After the Dutch Bishop's statement, Catholics of Jewish origin were sent to concentration camps, among them the religious Saint Theresa Benedicta, whose lay name was Edith Stein.

      "The only effective way of helping the Jews," points out Father Gumpel, "consisted in shielding them secretly from the Nazis. This was the strategy adopted by Pius XII. Pinchas Lapide, after many years of research in Jewish sources, came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church, at Pius XII's instructions, saved between 700,000 and 860,000 Jewish lives."

      Vigorously responding to vain scandals and even absurd pressures, Father Gumpel concludes: "The cause of the beatification and canonization of Pope Pius XII, who is rightly venerated by many millions of Catholics, will not be stopped or delayed by the unjustifiable and calumnious attacks against this great and saintly man." The article of Father Gumpel once again evidences the coherence in the luminous life of charity of Pope Pius XII, during this chapter of indefatigable work undertaken by the Supreme Pontiff in the difficult years of World War II.

      In a directly related story reported by Catholic World News from the Vatican, it was one year ago-- on March 16, 1998-- the Vatican released a new document on the Holocaust, entitled: “We Remember: a Reflection on the Shoah.” The document was prepared by the Holy See’s Commission on Relations with Judaism.

      This week Cardinal Edward Cassidy, the president of the commission which released that document, made reference to the strong reactions from some Jewish organizations, particularly regarding the document’s references to Pope Pius XII. The cardinal observed that there were “strong reactions” to the document’s report that Pope Pius had directly or indirectly saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Nazi era.

      "The pontificate of Pius XII must become an object of deeper and more objective study," Cardinal Cassidy said. He was participating in a conference to announce the publication of a new book, Pius XII and the Jews, by Sister Margherita Marchione. Cardinal Cassidy himself wrote the preface to that book.

      The cardinal said that Pope Pius XII was unjustly accused remaining silent about the Holocaust. That accusation is not based on an objective study of the facts, he said. Rather, it is the result of an attack on the memory of the wartime pope, which began with the presentation of the dramatic work, The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth, in 1963.

      The new book by Sister Marchione offers testimony from Jewish and Catholic leaders who were active during the years of World War II, and have direct knowledge of the work of Pope Pius. The 250-page work (published in English under the title, Yours Is a Precious Witness), also provides carefully documented statistics regarding the number of Jews who became victims of the Holocaust.


      DENVER ( - Archbishop Charles Chaput on Monday announced that the Archdiocese of Denver was launching a new major seminary and theological institute.

      The St. John Vianney Theological Seminary will begin to educate all of the archdiocese's growing number of seminarians in Denver for the first time. The seminary will operate as part of the new Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute which will offer pontifical degrees in association with the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.

      Archbishop Chaput said the new institute is "dedicated to forming a new generation of Catholic evangelizers for today's new mission territory -- right here in northern Colorado." At first, the institute will offer STB (baccalaureate in sacred theology) degrees only to seminarians in its initial phase, but will eventually be opened to laymen in the future. The archbishop said he also hopes to offer licentiate and doctorate programs as well.


      DUBLIN ( - Britain's Prime Minister has described the car bomb which killed a human rights lawyer in Northern Ireland as "a disgusting act of barbarity."

      Solicitor Rosemary Nelson -- who had represented a number of Catholic and nationalist clients -- suffered serious leg injuries when the bomb went off under her car in Lurgan, County Armagh on Monday. Prime Minister Tony Blair said no effort would be spared in hunting down and bringing to justice those responsible. The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, said the killing was clearly designed to sabotage the peace process at a critical time.

      The Church of Ireland (Episcopalian) Bishop of Down and Dromore, Bishop Harold Miller, condemned the bombing as a "cruel and appalling murder." He said he had hoped that the days of such evil deeds were past, and he was deeply saddened that there were still "coldly calculating people in our midst who are prepared to take the life of another human being."

      The Royal Ulster Constabulary said no warning had been given and no group had claimed responsibility for the bombing.


      GLASGOW, Scotland ( - Cardinal Thomas Winning of Glasgow last week issued a new directive to archdiocesan priests, allowing them to offer absolution for women who had procured an abortion without having to first refer them to the archbishop.

      Procuring an abortion had once been a "reserved sin" in which the confessor was required to send the penitent person to the bishop to receive absolution because of the grave matter involved. Although the practice was officially ended with the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the cardinal made the announcement in hopes of reconciling lapsed Catholics.

      The cardinal said he wanted to give those involved with abortion the opportunity to "make peace with God and their unborn child." He said, "God is ready to give you His forgiveness. Certainly, what happened was and remains terribly wrong, but do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope."

      Cardinal Winning's remarks came as he spoke on the second anniversary of a pro-life initiative that offers help to women considering abortion. He announced that the 107th baby born under the program was delivered on Monday and a further 46 women were due to give birth.

      Meanwhile, Noticias Eclesia reported in Church News out of Mexico City that Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, warned that no authority can force Catholics to hide their faith nor can impose them "to live in schizophrenia or in duality asking them to behave in one way as citizens and in another as believers."

      The Mexican Cardinal urged Catholics to live a committed coherence with their faith in all circumstances of life. All this was stated in the context of the debate generated by the presentation of a bill that would eliminate penalization for abortion.

      He insisted that Catholics can not reduce Christian life to the knowledge of the Creed, nor a mere moral or a series of rites. Faith, he continued, is not only a «party dress that one takes out of the wardrobe in order to go to Mass on Sundays», but it must be the light of our lives.

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. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


      With the completion of the four part installments by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. we want to refer you to his site at the ARCHDIOCESE OF DENVER. The Archdiocese is fast becoming the ideal model of what an episcopate should be and this site gives you an idea of those attributes.

Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

March 17, 1999 volume 10, no. 53   DAILY CATHOLIC