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WEDNESDAY      October 27, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 205

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

The Holy See expands in the post Gregorian years

The Agony and ecstasy of the Church after Pope Gregory the Great

    We continue with our on-going series of this abridged History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church over a 2000 year span called 2000 YEAR VOYAGE ON THE BARQUE OF PETER. Today we resume the voyage early in the seventh century after the death of Pope Saint Gregory the Great when the Church was at a crossroads, undergoing severe growing pains. She turned outward, reaching out to new nations and rising up saints who would promulgate the Faith in new and distant countries as the threat of Islamism cast a long shadow over Europe prompting the idea of the Crusades to recoup sacred ground where Christ walked in the Holy Land. For Installment twenty-four The Agony and ecstasy of the Church after Pope Gregory the Great - part one: The first 300 years following the Gregorian Era in the BARQUE OF PETER

Installment Twenty-four

The Agony and ecstasy of the Church after Pope Gregory the Great - Part One

The first 300 years following the Gregorian Era

Next Wednesday: Installment Twenty-five: Agony and Ecstasy of the Church after Gregory the Great part two: The Apostolic Line of Peter from 604 to 900 A.D.

Appreciating the Indefectibility of the Church

    We continue our new daily series in uncovering the great treasuries of the Church contained in her Deposit of Faith. Today, we feature, in the Foundation and Mission of the Church, the first part of Indefectibility of the Church For the forty-third installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


part one


Gentlemen, start your humility engines!

    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".

"Pride is what we think ourselves to be; humility is the truth we know about ourselves, not in the eyes of our neighbor, but in the eyes of God. As Chesterton put it, 'There is no such thing as a being a gentleman at important moments; it is at unimportant moments that a man is a gentleman... If once his mind is possessed in any strong degree with the knowledge that he is a gentleman, he will soon cease to be one.'"


    Today we commemorate the Thirtieth Wednesday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of the Apostles Saint Simon and Saint Jude. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on this feast, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

Thursday, October 28, 1999

with a Catholic slant


"WE, THE YOUNG OVER 65 ... "

John Paul II's Letter to Elderly

    VATICAN CITY, OCT 26 (ZENIT).- Totally unexpectedly, John Paul II put pen to paper and wrote a Letter to the Elderly. This is a unique document in papal history, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls explained, at the opening of a press conference this morning; the Pope "has put much that is personal," in this Letter. On paper, is the heart and mind of an older person, but the spirit of youth. The text is full of personal touches: "As an older person myself, I have felt the desire to engage in a conversation with you." The letter explains how the third and fourth age can be an extraordinary time for the life of persons and the world, if lived in the light of faith. A dimension that offers new horizons toward the end of life.

    International Year of Elderly "I am 67 and I thank the Holy Father for this letter full of hope and meditation," Cardinal James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said, when meeting with the press to publish the papal text.

    "With this letter, the Holy Father makes his 'first hand,' authoritative and affectionate contribution on the real meaning of old age, to this International Year of the Elderly, proclaimed by the United Nations as a preamble to the Jubilee. The end of life is full of color, if seen in the unending light of Christ," the U.S. Cardinal said. It is not accidental, that "the Holy Father concludes with good wishes for life," giving the elderly "the necessary push to continue on the road of life with hope," Cardinal Stafford said.

    Very Personal Testimony Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, explained that "the letter is striking testimony of the way the Pope lives and faces problems related to this stage of life. The Pope lives his old age with great naturalness. He is not afraid to show the limitations and frailty of age in front of everyone. He does nothing to camouflage them. When speaking to youth, he is not reluctant to admit "I am an old priest ... but service to the Gospel is not a matter of age." Thus, he continues to fulfill his mission as Peter's successor, looking far ahead, with the enthusiasm of the only incorruptible youth -- that of the spirit -- that this Pope maintains intact. Precisely in this letter, John Paul II speaks about this liberty of the spirit, describing it in relation to openness to the Absolute, as "the human spirit is always young, when it lives oriented to eternity."

    Charm of Age "Every age has its charm and tasks," the Polish Archbishop acknowledged, and old age offers the human person a unique opportunity "to understand better the meaning of life and attain 'wisdom of heart,' without hiding the more difficult aspects of this stage of life." "Faced with the mystery of death, only faith and confident abandonment in God's hands can give serenity to old age."

    Personal Touches "I find great peace in thinking of the time when the Lord will call me: from life to life!" the Pope says, who in no way detracts from the enjoyment of this life, "but ... places the future in the hands of divine goodness."

    The Pope considers life on earth "beautiful, despite its limitations and sufferings, which ought to be lived to its very end." From the Christian perspective, "the twilight of life can be seen as a 'passage,' a bridge between one life and another, between the fragile and uncertain joy of this earth, to that fullness of joy that the Lord holds in store for his faithful servants."

    John Paul II concludes his reflection with another personal revelation. "In this spirit, dear elderly brothers and sisters, as I encourage each of you to live with serenity the years that the Lord has granted you, I feel a spontaneous desire to share fully with you my own feelings at this point of my life, after more than twenty years of ministry on the throne of Peter and as we await the arrival, now imminent, of the Third Millennium. Despite the limitations brought on by age, I continue to enjoy life. For this I thank the Lord. It is wonderful to be able to give oneself to the very end for the sake of the Kingdom of God!" ZE99102605


    NEW YORK ( - The United Nations Security Council on Monday voted unanimously to approve a transition government for East Timor as it moves toward independence from Indonesia.

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to appoint his special envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello to oversee East Timor. De Mello, a Brazilian, previously oversaw Kosovo until a permanent administrator was appointed. The resolution also calls for a peacekeeping force of 9,000 to replace the current force now led by Australia.

    "The international community must help the people of East Timor, first to rebuild their shattered lives and then to construct the institutions that they will need to become an independent state," said Deputy US Ambassador Peter Burleigh. "We emphasize the need for the United Nations to work in close consultation with the East Timorese."

    Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. In August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. After the pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on a rampage, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the former Portuguese colony before peacekeepers moved in to restore peace.


    VATICAN ( -- Preparations for a papal trip to Iraq have been interrupted, with a top Vatican diplomat citing the need for a "pause for reflection."

    Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, has told the Italian daily Avvenire that the halt in preparations is the result of "some signals coming from Iraq." The papal voyage-- originally scheduled for December of this year-- has been in doubt since September 29, when an official Iraqi government news service carried a stinging criticism of the Pope, signed by several leading Iraqi intellectuals. The criticism was taken as an indication of the government's viewpoint. In its October 26 report, based on the interview with Archbishop Tauran, Avvenire concludes that the trip may be in jeopardy because the Iraqi government is seeking to gain political advantage from the Pope's visit.

    On October 21, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini had told reporters that he still considers the papal trip "probable." But in a sign of new difficulties in relations between the Holy See and the Baghdad government, Archbishop Tauran said that Cardinal Silvestrini was only voicing a "personal desire."


    MEXICO CITY, 26 (NE) Mexican Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez called Catholics to a deeper compromise and conscience of the Church's evangelizing mission. Reflecting during Sunday's homily about missionary activity, the Archbishop of Guadalajara warned about a conformist attitude visible among many faithful, highlighting the need to proclaim the Gospel and the teachings of the Church. He also invited Catholics to study and learn more about their own faith and identity.

    Archbishop Sandoval said as well during his homily that passivity in missionary zeal was being used by protestant missionaries to reach Catholic homes with more energy. He also criticized several mass media organizations that encouraged a culture opposed to evangelical values. This, said Cardinal Sandoval, must encourage Catholics to increase their witness of the Gospel and foster missionary activity.

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 and the features, dossiers and Daily Dispatches at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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October 27, 1999 volume 10, no. 205  DAILY CATHOLIC