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WEDNESDAY      October 13, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 195

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

Appreciating the Role of the Laity

    We continue our new daily series in uncovering the great treasuries of the Church contained in her Deposit of Faith. Today, we continue with the Mystical Body of Christ, today featuring the Laity and their role as members of the Church Militant. For the thirty-first installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


The Laity

As Archbishop of Madrid Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela is intent on keeping Spain and all of Europe on the straight and narrow

    Our one-hundred-tenth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is nearly 64 year-old Castillian prelate Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, Shepherd of Spain's largest Archdiocese - the See of Madrid. Taking a more active role in European policies in respect the Bishops of Europe, Cardinal Rouco is a voice to be heard in the new millennium. He is one of the oldest cardinals to receive his red hat during Pope John Paul II's most recent Consistory of February 21, 1998. For more on Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

110.   Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela

Events Today in Church History

    On this date eighty-two years ago the Mother of God appeared to the visionaries Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia for the final time in Fatima, Portugal. On this occasion Our Lady imparted that her Immaculate Heart would triumph in the end and presented a special present for all in attendance at the Cova with the special "miracle of the Sun" in which the sun danced and darted and seemed as if it were plummeting towards earth before swinging back and remaining stationary. All saw it and attested to the supernatural phenomena. The Church agreed in later years and today Fatima is a fully approved Shrine worthy of veneration. 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 October 13:

with a Catholic slant



    VATICAN CITY, 11 (NE) Pope John Paul II encouraged Sunday the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray frequently the Rosary. During the Sunday Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the "singular form of Marian prayer which is the holy rosary." Remembering that the feast of the Virgin of the Rosary had been celebrated last Thursday, he said that those who pray the Rosary "unite themselves to Mary in the meditation of the mysteries of Christ, and invoke the grace of these same mysteries in the different situations of life and history."

    The Holy Father stated as well that "in the past, the prayer of the Rosary has helped to safeguard the integrity of the faith of the People of God." He also urged faithful to practice this prayer to sustain "the Church's crossing to the Third Millennium, so that she may continue to be 'sign and instrument of the intimate union with God and among all the human people."

    Concluding his brief address before the Angelus prayer, the Pope raised his prayers to Blessed Mary, asking the Mother of God to help the Church "be the bridge that unites man with God and human beings among themselves."


    VATICAN ( -- During the 1970s and 1980s, Soviet spymasters in Rome were assigned to infiltrate agents into the Vatican, according to a report released in Italy on October 12.

    The "Mitrokhin Dossier," containing documents copied from the secret files of the KGB after the downfall of the Soviet government, indicates that in the early 1980s the top priority of the KGB office in Rome was to penetrate the Vatican diplomatic service. At the time, the Kremlin feared that Western governments-- especially the United States-- had access to intelligence information from the Vatican. KGB agents were therefore directed to identify and recruit Vatican staff members who might have access to classified information, and could be persuaded to pass that information along to the KGB.

    The KGB documents indicate that the Kremlin recognized that it would be difficult to corrupt Vatican officials. However, Soviet intelligence analysts judged that the effort would pay rich dividends, because Vatican diplomats are renowned for their ability to collect sensitive information from all over the world-- precisely because the Holy See has a deserved reputation for guarding secrets.

    The Mitrokhin Dossier was compiled by a Western agent within the KGB apparatus, and transmitted secretly to England in 1992. Four years ago the Dossier was made available to the Italian government, and now the Italian prime minister has relayed the documents to a parliamentary charged with investigating the country's intelligence system.

    The Dossier lists 261 Italians who are said to have cooperated-- in some cases unwittingly-- with the KGB intelligence effort. The list includes an Italian Franciscan monk, who is now deceased; a Ukrainian-rite Catholic priest; an Italian journalist assigned to the Vatican; and the head of a Roman press agency.

    The head of the parliamentary committee which released the Mitrokhin Dossier warned that the listing was not definitive. "We have not yet verified the authenticity and accuracy of the information contained in the documents," he cautioned.


    ROME 12 (NE) Historian Peter Gumpel, postulator of the cause of beatification for Pope Pius XII, stated recently regarding a supposed postponement of the cause of beatification of Pope Pius XII that the "cause proceeds regularly and quickly." The issue was referred to as well last Friday by Cardinal Pio Laghi, during the presentation of the Italian edition of Father Pierre Blet's book "Pius XII and the Second World War in the Vatican Archives." Cardinal Laghi referred to the existence of extra official pressures demanding the suspension of the cause of beatification of Pope Pius XII.

    In a recent statement made last week, Father Gumpel clarified as well a series of speculations and misleading data from John Cornwell's book "Hitler's Pope." Regarding the work of the British journalist, Father Gumpel stressed the fact that the book -which contains several unfounded accusations towards Pope Pius XII- was "partial, biased and so unilateral that it makes one wonder what is the true reason that led this man to write this book."


A leading Catholic apologist sets the record straight in Pope Fiction

    SAN DIEGO, CA (October 12) - Defying the recent spate of media attacks on the Catholic Church and the papacy, American author Patrick Madrid has written an important new book in defense of the papacy. Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy (Basilica Press, 340 pages) offers a tour-de-force refutation of 30 major arguments against the papacy in general and specific popes in particular raised by Evangelical Protestants, radical feminists, secularists, and others. Madrid is the editor-in-chief of Envoy magazine, a journal of Catholic apologetics and evangelization; his books include Surprised by Truth and Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine.

    Though written primarily for a popular audience, Pope Fiction enters the debate over the papacy with a depth and vigor that will likely garner the attention (and ire) of papal critics. The book brims with a formidable array of biblical, historical and theological facts. It offers fresh and intriguing insights into issues such as the persistent “Pope Joan” myth about an alleged ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man, was ordained a priest, and was eventually elected to the papacy.

    “Pope Joan” is the subject of a recent best-selling book by the same title by Donna Woolfolk Cross, and is the subject of a soon to be released major motion picture, produced by Harry Ufland (producer of “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “One True Thing”). Madrid says he hopes Pope Fiction’s demolition of the Pope Joan myth "will be an antidote to the confusion about the papacy that will inevitably result when this movie is released."

    In light of the recent release of Hitler’s Pope, John Cornwell’s polemical book which charges that Pope Pius XII was “silent” in the face of Hitler’s efforts to exterminate European Jews, Pope Fiction offers a much-needed dose of the salient facts, presented in a manner completely accessible to a popular audience.

    In the book’s final, explosive chapter Madrid draws on the work of renowned scholars and journalists such as Dr. Peter Gumple, S.J. and Antonio Gaspari to present a comprehensive picture of Pope Pius XII’s vigorous behind-the-scenes role saving Jews during the Holocaust. What emerges is a compelling case in favor of the pontiff, demonstrating that, far from his being tacitly complicit in Hitler’s extermination campaign against the Jews (as critics allege), Pope Pius XII was one of the most indefatigable and effective protectors of the Jews during the Holocaust.

    Other hot-button issues Madrid examines include: papal involvement in the Spanish Inquisition, the Galileo Affair, and the Crusades; the scriptural and patristic evidence surrounding Simon Peter’s role in the New Testament Church; the “scandal of bad popes”; the papacy’s track record on slavery; the assertion that an alleged papal title, “Vicarius Filii Dei,” equates with the 666 “Number of the Beast” mentioned in Revelation 13; and examples of popes who allegedly taught theological error. Special attention is given to biblical and historical arguments leveled against the papacy by Evangelical Protestants.

    Fr. Ray Ryland, Ph.D., a former Protestant minister and now a Catholic priest and associate professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, praised Pope Fiction, saying it “catalogs and refutes those fictions charitably and completely. Had it been available when I first began to be drawn to the Catholic Church, my journey home would have been years shorter.”

    For more on Madrid's newest book, see

For more details, see DAILY SHIPLOGS

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October 13, 1999 volume 10, no. 195  DAILY CATHOLIC