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September 23, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 181
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Appreciation of the Pontifical Councils
Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the great treasuries of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. We continue with the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Church and the dicastries or Pontifical Councils that have been established by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Today we cover the first three. For the seventeenth installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
THE ROMAN CURIA
The Pontifical Councils
Having covered the nine Sacred Congregations, and the three Tribunals in the Roman Curia, today we begin a four-part series on the Pontifical Councils featuring today the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Pontifical Council for the Family. These councils or dicastries which oversee different aspects of the life of the Church and her relations with the realities of the world. The concept of Pontifical Councils is relatively new, having been introduced by Pope Paul VI but truly defined by our present Vicar of Christ Pope John Paul II.
- Pontifical Council for the Laity
This Council oversees the apostolate of the laity and their involvement in the life and mission of Holy Mother Church. Most of the members are composed of lay people from all parts of the globe who are associated with some sort of apostolate. The President of this council is Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the former Archbishop of Denver who was so successful in hosting World Youth Day in 1993 there and his resume in working with lay organizations. Cardinal Stafford's council supervises World Youth Day activities and keeps in contact with bishops' conferences and local churches and ecclesial associations and movements. It watches closely activities for youth, vocations and the mission of women, the lay commitment in the world, and most importantly the participation of the laity in the life of ecclesial communities. Cardinal Stafford also co-sponsored the document in 1997 which outlined the responsibilities of the non-ordained faithful, specifically as to liturgical abuse and Eucharistic Ministers.
It was Pope Paul VI who first established this council on an experimental basis at the time on January 6, 1967. Because of its success it became a permanent council through his Motu Proprio Apostolatus Peragendi on December 10, 1976. Pope John Paul II alluded to this in his Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus on June 28, 1988.
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
This dicastry, headed by Australia's Cardinal Edward I Cassidy is responsible for relations with other Christian churches non in union with Rome. This council oversees the correct interpretation and execution of the principles of ecumenism without compromising Catholic principals while promoting Christian unity, employing dialogue on ecumenical questions and situations with churches and other non-Catholic ecclesial communities. This council deals with those who proclaim Christ as their Savior. Also attached to this dicastry is the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews which has been extremely busy recently in smoothing over relations stemming from ill-feelings of World War II, false charges against Pope Pius XII and the current Israeli-Palestinian differences in paving the way for a peaceful settlement and the opportunity for the Holy Father to travel to the Holy Land on his historic "Jubilee Journey" in 2000. This commission also published the landmark: "We remember the Shoah."
The origins of this Council began on June 5, 1960 when Pope John XXIII established it as a "perparatory secretariat" in preparation for the Second Vatican Council in appointing a limited amount of non-Catholic Christian periti as observers for ecumenical purposes. It was given more permanent status during the first sesson of the Council in Autumn of 1962 and further defined by Pope Paul VI in 1966 and 1967 before Pope John Paul II established it as a permanent Pontifical Council with his Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus on June 28, 1988.
- Pontifical Council for the Family
This council promotes the pastoral care of families in order to promote the Sancity of Life in regards all aspects of life from education, evangelizing and apostolic work as well as elevating the spirituality of conjugal love in the Sacrament of Marriage and the importance of procreation in God's overall plan. The members of this council are appointed by the Pope and are composed of cardinals and lay people, mostly married couples whose life exemplifies the principals and ideals the council stands for. They convene in Rome once a year to discuss the important matters addressed by the council and the President of this dicastry Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo from Colombia.
This council began as the Committee for the Family on January 11, 1973 and was created in its present status by Pope John Paul II on May 9, 1981.
Tomorrow: the Roman Curia: Pontifical Offices part two
Events that happened this day in Church History
This day 57 years ago today will, like December 7, 1941 live in infamy in the annals of atrocious deeds for it was on this day in 1942 that the Nazis began their "experimental" gassing of thousands of Jews and Catholics who had been deported to the Nazi "Death Camp" in Auschwitz which today is on the Polish side. Among those victims of the horrible holocaust were two saints of the Church - Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe a devoted Marian priest, and Saint Edith Stein, a converted Jew who became a nun. 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 September 23:
Death of Pope Saint Linus, immediate successor of Saint Peter. Linus was elected in 67 A.D. and created the first fifteen bishops after the Apostles. He forbade women to enter a church with uncovered heads, a custom that survived nearly 2000 years until Vatican II liberals did away with that. During his pontificate the evangelists Saint Luke and Saint Mark were martyred. He is buried near St. Peter in the crypt below the altar.
Death of Saint Thecla who is said to have bribed the gatekeepers at the Roman prisons where Saint Paul was incarcerated in order that she could get inside and learn from the Apostle often for she had heard him preach and was so moved by the Word of God that she renounced her fiance and was baptized. She is said to have been in Paul's entourage in his journeys, all the way to his imprisonment.
Death of Saint Adaman. This Irish-born abbott of Iona wrote the life of Saint Columba.
On this day the Nazis began experimental gassing executions at Auschwitz in Poland. Millions of Jews and thousands of Catholics would be slain including the priest Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe and Saint Edith Stein who Pope John Paul II canonized last year.
SIMPLY SHEEN: The road to truth is paved with humility
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 denial of Truth is just as fatal to the mind as the denial of light is to vision. Truth in its fullness is not easy to attain, even if one does admit its existence. There are certain psychological and spiritual conditions which are essential for its discovery, and the most important of these is the virtue of humility."
Today is the Twenty-fifth Thursday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow is the Twenth-fifth Friday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, and meditations, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Thursday, September 23, 1999
First Reading: Haggai 1: 1-8
Psalms: Psalm 149: 1-6, 9
Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 7-9
Friday, September 24, 1999
First Reading: Haggai 1: 15; 2: 1-9
Psalms: Psalm 43: 1-5
Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 18-22
The clarion sounds as a wake-up call to Catholics as we provide a review of all past articles on the Church today
Like our other feature series, we present installments 1 through 105 of this series which is a set blueprint for Catholics everywhere to take up the banner of truth in defending Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as we prepare for this glorious event - the second coming of Christ and the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Second Pentecost, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the Advent of Peace. To read any of the over one-hundred previous installments in this long on-going series, click on the Archives ofWHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Violence still a problem in East Timor as Australian peacekeeping troops try to secure area
One would think, since the arrival of the Australian peacekeeping troops, that anti-independence militias and dissidents within the Indonesian army would flee, but unfortunately that's not the case as many stubbornly stay behind, sniping in the same manner as the Japanese soldiers did in the Pacific islands after World War II. Because of the terrain and the fact so many refugees are spread out and hiding, it makes it difficult for the peacekeepers to comb everywhere as they go door-to-door in an attempt to ferret out the snipers who killed a foreign journalist and two other westerners as a backlash to both independence and foreign intervention. Until UN peacekeepers can secure the area it is not safe for East Timor's spiritual leader Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo to return. For more, click on Terror continues in East Timor
MORE VIOLENCE STRIKES EAST TIMOR
DILI, East Timor (CWNews.com) - Anti-independence militias
killed three people in Dili on Tuesday, including a Dutch
journalist, according to witnesses.
Sander Thoenes, 30, a reporter for the Financial Times of
London, was found dead in a suburb of Dili where
pro-Indonesian militias were active, according to Maj. Gen.
Kiki Syahnakri, commander of Indonesian forces in the
territory. Motorcycle driver Florindo Araujo said he was
driving the Thoenes, when they approached a roadblock
staffed by at least six armed men wearing what Araujo said
were the gray uniforms of the Indonesian police. The two
turned around, but some of the armed men gave chase, firing
warning shots and eventually shooting out the motorcycle's
rear wheel. Araujo, who fled, last saw Thoenes lying in the
Militiamen have vowed to kill Westerners, whom they accuse
of helping East Timor in its efforts to break free of
Indonesian rule. Thoenes was the first foreigner believed
to have been killed since UN peacekeepers arrived on Monday.
Australian Maj. Gen. Peter Cosgrove, commander of the UN
force, said the militias were attempting a show of force in
Dili and the attacks were "obviously a reaction to our
Congress could pass funding bill to help pro-life causes to Planned Parenthood's chagrin while UN cries over the fact their culture of death programs aren't working
Shock-waves of panic are going through the ranks of those promoting the culture of death - from the fact the UN is coming up short of funds to finance contraceptives and abortions internationally and trying to strongarm wealthy nations into forking over their share to continue their dreadful, deadly agenda...to a bill that has been introduced and supported in the House by pro-life congressmen - a referendum that could grant pro-life groups 85 million dollars funding for crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies and maternity homes to uphold the Sanctity of Life. For more, click on Culture of death reeling.
NEW CONGRESSIONAL BILL WOULD FUND CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS AS
UN COMPLAINS POPULATION CONTROL FUNDS DOWN
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - Two of Pennsylvania's
Republican congressmen introduced a new bill on Tuesday
that would provide federal funds to pro-life crisis
pregnancy centers, but not pro-abortion groups.
Rep. Joseph Pitts and Sen. Rick Santorum proposed the law
as an alternative to federal funds that are currently set
aside for pro-abortion groups, including Planned
Parenthood, the United States' largest abortion provider.
The Women and Children's Resource Act would give $85
million to maternity homes, adoption services, crisis
pregnancy centers, but the funds would not be available to
family planning agencies or other groups that refer to
abortionists, provide abortion counseling, or perform
The money could be used for pregnancy testing, adoption
information, prenatal and postpartum care, diapers, baby
food and clothes, abstinence counseling, and referrals for
other services, including housing, education, and job
training. The funds would be allocated to states based on
the number of abortions and out-of-wedlock births.
The National Abortion Federation immediately attacked the
bill, saying it "poses a significant public health danger
because it would support organizations that withhold
information about safe, legal options to unintended
Meanwhile, the United Nations' Population Fund
(UNFPA) said on Wednesday that as world population hits six
billion spending on population control programs has fallen.
UNFPA Director Nafis Sadik said funding was billions of
dollars short of goals because of limited resources in
developing nations and the failure by developed nations to
provide funds promised at the 1994 Cairo population
conference. "That has been a huge problem ....
International resources are at half the level that were
expected," Sadik said. According to UN projections, world
population is due to hit six billion next month and reach
8.9 billion by 2050, although some pro-life groups dispute
Sadik said wealthy nations had promised to give $5.7
billion for UN population control programs, that include
birth control, sterilization, and abortion, but only about
$2 billion had been received. In the United States, much
funding for the UN has been blocked by pro-life congressmen
who object to the UN's pro-abortion, anti-population
The UNFPA report warned that decreased funding will result
in more "unwanted pregnancies," abortions, maternal and
child deaths, and a faster spread of AIDS. Sadik added that
it is in wealthy countries' best interests to fund
population control because it would help the environment,
cut the flow of immigrants, and help the global economy.
Pope set for rock and roll with U2's Bono during International Forum on Foreign Debt at the Vatican today
A delegation representing a contingent of those promoting cancelling debts to third world countries and calling itself "Jubilee 2000" will meet with the Holy Father today and among that group is the Irish rock and roll band U2's lead guitarist Bono and rocker Bob Geldoff. It is doubtful the Pope will jam with the group but we understand they will present him a gold guitar in appreciation for his leadership in trying to convince wealthy nations to forgive debts for the new millennium. For more, click on Rocking to forgive debts.
POPE TO RECEIVE U2'S BONO AND "JUBILEE 2000"
International Forum to Offer Concrete Solutions
ROME, SEP 21 (ZENIT).- An international Forum on the foreign debt of
developing countries is being held today and tomorrow in Rome to promote the
"Indemnification of Debt to Live A Millennium Free of Debts." The event,
which takes place within the framework of the U.N.'s Peoples' Week, is
dedicated to the role of the global civil society and economic justice. It
will end with a walk from the city of Perugia to Assisi.
The organizations convoked by the Forum have called for the complete
cancellation of the poor countries' debt before the year 2000. The Forum is
being attended by groups that adhere to the "Jubilee 2000" initiative, which
has received numerous support from stars of the entertainment world.
At the heart of the problem are the debts that the poorest countries cannot
pay without imposing on their neediest people an unbearable burden. Often
the debts are the result of decisions taken by unscrupulous governments,
especially dictators, who used the money to purchase arms. One of the
factors aggravating the already difficult situation of these nations are the
interests: as a result some countries end up paying $13 for every dollar
loaned to them. This is the reason why the forum is calling for the
cancellation of the debts that have already been paid, without taking the
interest into account.
"Jubilee 2000" Association member, Anne Pettifor, who spoke about studies
that state it would be enough for every person in the Western countries to
donate $4 a year to overcome the problem. In addition, she referred to the
biblical meaning of the Jubilee, which is centered on forgiveness and
At the conclusion of the Forum's sessions on Thursday, the Pope will receive
a delegation of "Jubilee 2000," including Bono of U2, Bob Geldoff and
Now it can be told: Stunning story of how Church ended Venezuela stalemate and paved the way for democracy last month
The Venezuelan Bishops' Conference has revealed that Bishop Jose Sanchez of Caracas, with the help of his angels and the Holy Spirit crashed the Venezuelan congress three weeks ago with the intent that if this were God's will "all doors would open." They did just that and through his intervention and the Bishops' Conference he was able to open the eyes of stubborn politicians what was best for the people of Venezuela and their religious and civil freedoms. For more, click on Venezuela venue.
CHURCH SAVES DEMOCRACY IN VENEZUELA
Disclosures by Secretary of Episcopal Conference
CARACAS, SEP 21 (ZENIT).- It was nightfall on Thursday, August 26. Bishop
Jose Sanchez heard on the television news that the Congressional members
and participants of the National Constituent Assembly were looking
privately for a solution to the confrontation that required the convocation
of Parliament in extraordinary session. "They will not decide a thing," the
secretary general of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference thought to
himself. He called several bishops and told them the Church should
intervene. He went directly to the Legislative Palace, arriving at 9:15
p.m., not knowing where to park. "I arrived trusting in God, and said to
Him that if what I was doing was for the good of Venezuela, that doors
might open to me."
Leaving his car, the Bishop asked a member of the National Guard to take
him to the room where the parliamentarians and members of the Constituent
Assembly were meeting. "Do not tell them I am a priest, they might
misunderstand; tell them I am Bishop Sanchez," he said to the guard. "And
so I joined them, and suggested they sit at a table to talk, ... the best
place we had was the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference."
Bishop Sanchez said in an interview with the newspaper "El Nacional," that
at that moment he realized that as long as the Assembly was determined to
declare itself authentic and Congress was determined to deny this, there
would be no understanding, "and that could generate much violence (...) the
situation could become enormously complicated."
Today, almost one month after these events, the bishop explains how men of
God were able to calm the spirits of the two powers: the Assembly and the
Congress, "which held very narrow, radical positions, because they were
defending principles on which they did not want to cede nor will cede."
Bishop Sanchez regards the Constitutional process as very positive for the
country, because he feels the people are participating in the changes. "We
have always asked the people to participate, and at this moment we see that
several articles of the new Constitution are complete, I think there are
16. There are also hundreds of proposals from ordinary citizens, the Church
and the (political) parties on other specific issues."
The Venezuelan Bishops believe that "there is great expectation in the
country regarding what the Constitutional (Assembly) could decide, because
the Venezuelan people cannot be let down. It would be very unfortunate if
Venezuelans felt they were not understood by the Constitutional (Assembly).
This is my message to the members Assembly; they must make every possible
effort to understand their Venezuelan (countrymen) who have put their
confidence in them. We do not want to feel betrayed by any resolution of
the Constituent (Assembly)."
If the Constitution does not satisfy Venezuelans, the Bishop foresees "all
kinds of danger. The Venezuelan people desire much justice, work and peace."
Serve the People
"What I would suggest to all who govern, to anyone, is that they must listen
to the people. Because all men in government run the risk of surrounding
themselves with a small group, and this small group often gives them
erroneous information. I believe that, up until now, President Chavez has
listened a great deal to the people. You can see this every time he speaks; I
would advise him to continue with this attitude that will enable him to take
measures and to know if the needs of the people are being met. For example,
right now, people are anxious for more sources of employment; they want
health (services) and better education," Bishop Sanchez said.
In regard to relations between the ecclesiastical institution and the
government of President Chavez, the secretary of the Episcopal Conference
emphasized that a climate of ... discussion has developed. He admits there
have been difficulties, but points out that the government has decided to
help and collaborate with the programs developed by the clergy. "They have
said that they see great transparency in the way the Church manages the
funds given by the State."
Proposals to Constitutional Assembly
The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference has a commission that is closely
following the Constitutional process. The Church has prepared a number of
proposals to be included in the new Constitution. Bishop Sanchez stressed
the need for "religious liberty in Venezuela. This means, in the first
place, respect for the conscience of every individual, but also for each
one of the religions."
The Bishops also believe that the Constitution must include absolute respect
for life, "from the moment of conception until death, that is, we are
opposed to abortion, the death penalty and euthanasia." Finally, the Bishops
request that the Church be given the possibility to participate, along with
the whole of society, in the education of the Venezuelan people.
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.
Finally the long-awaited books "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." and THE HIDDEN WAY are NOW available!
With the messages completed, you can now order the book that contains ALL the messages. This much-anticipated 224-page book of ALL the messages to the world imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart from the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a lasting gift that will inspire you in your faith, and all God asks of us. You can acquire your own handsome, coffee-table top copy of "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." containing all 632 messages or the THE HIDDEN WAY containing 100 inspirational Meditative Lessons from Our Lord and Our Lady on Church Doctrine by clicking on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." or THE HIDDEN WAY or both books at BOOKS
Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
September 22, 1999 volume 10, no. 180 DAILY CATHOLIC