Now fast forward four hundred plus years to today. We have in our midst another St. Teresa. One who has had to buck the establishment which includes bishops and priests who have thrown every obstacle they could at this nun of Italian descent. Like Teresa, she is feisty and her clashes with some hierarchy have become legendary. She, too, has sought to reform a group of nuns, reinstalling the accomplished wonders of essence of the Poor Clares by founding the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration which is a Pontifical Contemplative Order of Cloistered Nuns with the privilege of Solemn Vows, Papal Enclosure and Solemn Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament. She, also was crippled like Teresa for a great deal of her life. Like the Doctor of the Church from Avila, this nun of the twentieth century has imparted wondrous writings that bespeak brilliance and wisdom with common sense. Like Teresa, she has brought the faith to others. Over the centuries Teresa has reached millions through her writings and the accomplishment of her life's story. Over the past eighteen plus years this modern nun has used the means of modern technology to reach millions with the truths of the Catholic Faith. Teresa was not afraid to stand up to bishops when it came to doctrine and the teachings of the Church. So also this nun is not afraid to stand up to prelates who veer from Church teaching.
By now, of course, you realize we are talking about Mother Angelica, the spunky, determined nun who, like the Holy Father, continues despite age and unstable health. When it comes to this feisty, but reverent nun of Italian descent, you either love her or hate her. We happen to be in that first group who admire Mother tremendously. Modernists, liberals and those who would seek to usurp the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church with the American Catholic Church despise her because she exposes their self-will agendas before they can take root. She is the thorn in the side of the liberal bishops who have sought on more than one occasion to shut her down. When Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles released his controversial pastoral on the Eucharist in 1997 Mother went over it with a fine-tooth comb and found flaws that bordered on heresy. She was not afraid to challenge the bishop on her popular national cable show "Mother Angelica Live" reaching over fifty million. The cardinal didn't take kindly to being called on the carpet by a nun, let alone one who was orthodox and totally loyal to Rome and whom the National Conference of Catholic Bishops had no control over. He sought an immediate apology which Mother produced at the beginning of her show on November 18, 1997; then spent the remaining hour exposing the flaws in his pastoral. Mahony was livid and threatened to get an interdict against Mother, perhaps even wrest control of EWTN from her. Some bishops during St. Teresa's time tried to wrest control of her monasteries from her, but God prevailed. So also with Mother.
Cardinal Mahony inferred that Mother was in violation of Canon Law 753 which obliges Catholics to respect the teaching office of the diocesan bishop and specifies that only the Pope may correct a bishop's teaching. However, that article of the Code of Canon Law also says "the faithful must adhere to the authentic teaching of their own bishops with a sense of religious respect." It was with religious respect for the august responsibility of a cardinal in charge of millions in his see that she took him on for it was not authentic teaching Cardinal Mahony was imparting, veiling much of his document with new age feel-good phrases that diminished the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. For Mother's stubbornness and devotion to the essence of the Blessed Sacrament, the cardinal was going to have her head. He headed to Rome to meet with Pope John Paul II to quiet this Franciscan nun who has been a faithful guardian of the Faith in the face of many atrocities perpetrated on the American faithful by the liberal bishops of America. The result of Mahony's threats: Nothing! Nada! Nil! Absolute silence ever since.
Why? Because we suspect, had we been a fly on the wall, that the good cardinal got a dressing down from His Holiness for his pastoral. We say this because the pastoral demands Cardinal Mahony had made have been placed on the back shelf and the reforms he had insisted be enforced have not been. Thank God. We also say this because the cardinal has been strangely silent since his trip to Rome, as if the conflict never happened. Add to this God's intervention of a miracle in which Mother was miraculously healed of her crippling maladies that had confined her activities for decades because she wore uncomfortable but necessary leg braces. This healing happened shortly after she had spoken out in defense of Catholic doctrine. In His Mercy, God also healed Cardinal Mahony from prostate cancer through surgery. We would hope and pray He will heal the cardinal of his bent toward liberal, Protestant notions that water down the true tenets of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
But this editorial today is not about Cardinal Mahony but about Mother Angelica. Just as Pope Saint Pius V gave approval to St. Teresa to reform the Carmelites and papal enclosure for her monasteries, so also Pope John Paul II has done the same for Mother Angelica and her Order. She has met often with the Holy Father who has given his heartfelt blessings to all of Mother's endeavors with her Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, her Monastery of Our Lady of Angels in Irondale, Alabama and to her evangelization efforts first on the Eternal Word Television Network, then on WEWN Radio, expanding to the Spanish market and recently Europe. In addition Mother established www.ewtn.com as a well-rounded resource for the great Deposit of Faith. The Pope also gave approval for Mother to found the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, an Order of Priests and Brothers who live a Franciscan, Eucharistic life dedicated to bringing souls back into the good graces of the Church. In keeping with the Vicar of Christ's request for increased lay evangelization, Mother also founded the Lay Missionaries of the Eternal Word, a group of lay people placing an emphasis on the importance of prayer and spirituality in their lives.
And so today we have living in our midst, one who exemplifies the same traits as St. Teresa. Few have as keen a sense of humor as Mother Angelica who is not afraid to poke fun at herself and the way she brings to life the people of scripture and the saints as humans who had to make choices for God are classic. Right now as we write this we are listening to Mother on the streaming audio at EWTN's web site. Since we cannot get EWTN on cable being able to listen to Mother on the internet truly inspires us. Even though it breaks up at times, her words move us to tears, to laughter, to a deeper love for God and our Faith.
While the liberals rail at this independent nun we suspect God is smiling down on her as are the countless souls who have died over the past eighteen years who were converted to the Faith thanks to Mother's evangelization efforts. We presently have three women Doctors of the Church, but sometime in the future we may have four and that could very well someday be Mother Angelica. As far fetched as that may seem - for it takes veneration, beatification and canonization first - anything is possible with God. Mother would be the first to deny any traces of sanctity, but so also did St. Teresa, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, and countless other saints throughout the history of the Church. We should consider ourselves very blessed that God has seen fit to send us during these confusing, turbulent times in the world and the Church today a modern-day Saint Teresa: Mother Angelica.
Death of Saint Peter of Alcantara, priest, hermit and religious founder who was the confessor and spiritual director to the great Saint Teresa of Avila. It was he who guided and encouraged her to reform the Carmelites and he was a great mystic who wrote Treatise on Prayer and Meditation. He was canonized by Pope Clement IX in 1669.
Death of Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint John de Brebeuf and their companion North American Martyrs at the hands of a fierce Mohawk war tribe. For more, see DAILY LITURGY.
Death of Saint Paul of the Cross, priest and religious founder as well as visionary. For more on this saint, see DAILY LITURGY.
The Holy Spirit raises up saints in the Church throughout all generations. The members of the Church strive to imitate its Divine Founder, and in all countries and all times it has produced saints, canonized and uncanonized, martyrs, confessors, hidden souls that burn with the love of God and their fellowmen. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit enables the Church to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the faithful in the name of Christ. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will teach you all the truth. For He will not speak on His Own authority, but whatever He will hear He will speak, and the things that are to come He will declare to you. He will glorify Me, because He will receive of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16: 13-14).
The Church must teach, otherwise men would not know the sacred truths taught by Jesus Christ. The Church must sanctify, bringing grace, otherwise men could not be saved. And the Church must rule, because Christ founded it as a society, which must have authority. The Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles to enlighten, strengthen, and sanctify them, so that they could preach the Gospel and spread the Church all over the world, “Guard the good trust through the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).
The power to sanctify is the power of orders; the power to teach and to rule is the power of jurisdiction. With these powers -as can easily be seen in the Gospels- Christ gave His Apostles, and those who were to follow them, the power to bind and loose, to baptize, to forgive sin, to offer Holy Mass. By teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in the name of Christ it meant that the Church always does the will of its Divine Founder, Who remains forever its invisible Head.
The will of the Founder of the Church is fully expressed in the commission He gave to His Apostles just before His Ascension: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19).
During His public life Christ was a teacher, making His doctrines clear, as in the sermon on the mount. He appointed the Church to teach, saying: “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Today the Church continues to teach what He taught, by preaching, by deciding controversies, by condemning wrong teaching.
During life Christ dispensed the means of grace, as when He forgave Mary Magdalene, and when He gave His flesh and blood at the Last Supper. He appointed the Church to continue this office, to sanctify the faithful by administering the means of grace. The Church had power to forgive sins when He said: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them” (John 20:23). It had power to say Mass when, after instituting the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, He said: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11: 24-25). Today the Church exercises the priestly office in offering Mass, forgiving sins, administering the sacraments, etc.
Christ was the Good Shepherd, the pastor and ruler of men. He gave commandments, sent His disciples on missions, instructed them, and reproved the Pharisees. He appointed the Church to rule, with authority, saying: “He who rejects you rejects Me” (Luke 10:16). And “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven” (Matthew 18:18). The Church exercises this office by laying down precepts for all to observe, by reproving and correcting, by binding and loosening. Without this pastoral office and the corresponding duty of the faithful to obey, it would be impossible for the Church to keep going.
“And if he refuse to hear them, appeal to the Church, but if he refuse to hear even the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican” (Matthew 18:17). “Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops, to rule the Church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).
Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto and Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf met to discuss the visit despite recent concerns regarding various aspects of the visit by Pope John Paul II to the birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham at Ur. Iraqi dissidents and the US and British governments have expressed concern that the repressive regime of the President Saddam Hussein would use the visit for propaganda purposes.
Elements of the Iraqi government have also publicly demanded that the Holy Father make political statements in opposition to UN economic sanctions during the trip which has been characterized by the Vatican as a spiritual pilgrimage. The Pope has often spoken out against the effects of the embargo -- imposed for Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait -- on the weakest sectors of Iraqi society.
Earlier this month, Vatican sources had said the visit might not take place in early December because there were serious stumbling blocks.
According to media reports, Sahaf told Archbishop Lazzarotto that Iraq would happily receive the usual advance planning team from the Vatican and discuss details of the papal trip, they said, but added that no schedule had been set up so far.
The Holy Father centered his comments on the World Day for the Missions, which will be observed on October 24. He called upon the faithful to support missionary workers with their prayers, pointing out that many priests, religious, and lay workers are "bear witness to Christ, often amid great difficulties and even sometimes paying for their fidelity with their blood." He said that all Christians should be "missionaries in their own spheres of life."
"It is in this spirit that I try to exercise the apostolic ministry that Providence confided to me on October 16, 1978," the Pope said. He thanked the many people who had "accompanied me in prayer" during his years on Peter's throne, and asked them to continue that support.
"Some Hindu leaders have chosen this occasion to launch deceitful and systematic propaganda of half truths, lies and misinformation," the Archbishop said. He denied that the missionaries obtain "forced conversions" from Hindus -- the most frequent accusation made by the fundamentalists against the Church, and said that the Human Rights Commission, which has investigated the accusations, "has not found a single case of forced conversion."
In regard to the RSS, the most powerful fundamentalist organization in India, and its request that the Pope refrain from stating that Christianity is the only road to salvation, Archbishop De Lastic said that such a demand "violates religious liberty." "The Pope proposes what he believes -- he does not impose it." The fundamentalist organizations have also asked the Pope to request "forgiveness" for the atrocities committed in the south of India by the Inquisition, active in Goa in the 16th century. "How far back must we go in history? the Archbishop asked. "We pray every day for forgiveness of our sins... What more do you want?"
Referring to the protest march organized by the fundamentalists of the World Council of Hindus, Archbishop De Lastic said that India "is a democratic country and anyone can march according to what he believes." Speaking about the schedule of the Pope's visit, the Archbishop said that he will be received with the honors of a head of State, and will have a meeting with President Kocheril Rahman Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In addition, John Paul II will visit and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial and will formally close the Synod of Bishops for Asia. The Pope will also celebrate Mass in the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and meet with representatives of other religions. ZE99101703
Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni was elected at Patriarch of Cilicia by the Armenian Catholic Synod of Bishops, which met in Lebanon earlier in October. The Pope, in a short letter published October 18, extended his best wishes and his promise of full ecclesiastical communion to the new Armenian patriarch.
The new patriarch succeeds Jean-Pierre XVII Kasparian, whose resignation was acknowledged by the Holy See in September.
The new patriarch will be enthroned on October 24, at a ceremony held in Beirut. The Armenian Catholic Church, with roughly 150,000 faithful who live mainly in Lebanon and Syrian, maintains full communion with the Holy See. The Armenian Synod has the authority to elect a new patriarch, but submits the results of the election to Rome as a gesture of communion with the Holy See.
The Armenian Apostolic Church, centered in Armenia itself, has been split from Rome since the Council of Chalcedon. However, recent ecumenical developments have raised real hopes of reunification between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Holy See, and Pope John Paul II has on several occasions expressed his desire to visit Armenia in order to further that progress.