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September 28, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 184
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
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, treating today the fourth and final part of the Pontifical Councils. For the twentieth 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 complete our four-part series on the Pontifical Councils with the final part, featuring the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. These councils or dicasteries 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 Culture
This council's responsibilities are to promote the Vatican's and the entire Church's relations with the world in respect culture and establishing dialogue with to unbelievers providing they are open to discussion and the process of cooperation. There are two sections within this council which are 1) faith and culture, and 2) dialogues with cultures. Attached to this council is the Coordinating Council for Pontifical Academies which are being established throughout the world, the most recent in Denver. The President of this Council is Cardinal Paul Poupard who we featured last Friday in COLLEGE OF CARDINALS and who was lauded at the most recent Venice Film Festival for his input and the Church's regarding various cultures and the role of the film industry.
This council was first established on April 9, 1965 by Paul VI as the Secretariat for Non-Believers in the aftermath of Vatican II. On May 20, 1982 Pope John Paul II merged the Pontifical Council for Culture with Paul VI's Secretariat mentioned earlier, establishing it as an authentic council and expanded its responsibilities to its current status in his Motu Proprio of March 25, 1993.
- Pontifical Council for Social Communications
This council is headed by Archbishop John Patrick Foley of Philadelphia as President. He was elevated to this position on April 5, 1984 replacing Cardinal Andrezej Deskur. This dicastery is responsible for being an instrument of social communication and a conduit of the message of salvation to all peoples. This council deals with civic cultures and mores the world over, promoting human progress in the overall scheme of the God's children.
The origins of this Council date back to Pope Pius XII who, in 1948, created it for experimental purposes, constantly reorganizing and retooling until February 22, 1959 when his successor Pope John XXIII made it an offcial council. John Paul II gave it its present functions with his Motu Proprio of June 28, 1988.
Tomorrow: the Roman Curia: The Sacred Offices
SIMPLY SHEEN: Hatching 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".
"Religion starts with an emptying of self. The Spirit cannot come into the soul until the ego begins to hang outside its tinsel dwelling the sigh: 'Immediate Occupancy.' The ego or the selfish part of existence has to be broken like the shell of an egg before there can be the development of the personality which at the beginning is as helpless as a chick."
Today is the only day we commemorate Ordinary Time, but it is shared with the Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, ruler and martyr plus the Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz, husband and father, and his companion martyrs. Tomorrow we begin a string of four glorious feasts with the Feast of the Archangels Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on all these feasts, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
Tuesday September 28:
Twenty-sixth Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Martyr
Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz, Husband, Father and Companions, Martyrs
Green or Red vestments
First Reading: Zechariah 8: 20-23
Psalms: Psalm 87: 1-7 or Zechariah 8: 23
Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 51-56
SAINT WENCESLAUS, RULER AND MARTYR
Born in 907, Saint Wenceslaus of Prague was the first Slav to be canonized. His canonization was expedited because of his martyrdom at the hands of his brother who was jealous. Their father had died early in their life and they were educated and cared for by their grandmother Saint Ludmilla who also was martyred in a sinister family plot by their own mother who had grown bitter and jealous. At the tender age of 15 Wenceslaus ascended to the throne as king of his country where he ruled with wisdom and concern, stressing God's Will in all things, which angered the pagans of his land who mounted an underground opposition to overthrow him. Even though Wenceslaus knew his mother's heart was not pure, he prayed incessantly for her and would not exile her, hoping she would see the light of God's way. Even though he had all the proof in the world of her involvement in his grandmother's death, he rebuked those who urged him to take revenge with the words, "Why do you want to prevent me from applying the Divine Law of Jesus Christ and to obey His commandments? I reject your advice because I want to serve God with all my heart." A few years later, after Wenceslaus had married and bore a son, the opposition got to his brother Boleslaus who, realizing he was younger and would not be successor to the throne now that Wenceslaus had a heir, became embittered and was easy prey for their machinations. Thus, on September 26 Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to attend Mass with him in celebrating the feast of Saint Cosmas and Damian. However it was a trap to lure Wenceslaus into a secluded area away from his entourage of guards where Boleslaus struck the holy king on the head from behind with his sword. The blow did not immediately kill Wenceslaus who struggled with his own flesh and blood for his very life as blood flowed profusely from his skull, but though the king was stronger, Boleslaus' accomplices lying in wait behind the pillars emerged and thrust their swords into Wenceslaus' back, felling the holy Slav ruler. Three years later his remains were transfered from the cemetary to the church of St. Vitus in Prague where he was greatly venerated and fifty years later the people were openly celebrating with great pomp and circumstance the feast of St. Wenceslaus for he had been so loved and so promoted the Catholic faith that many conversions had taken place.
SAINT LAWRENCE RUIZ, HUSBAND, FATHER AND COMPANION MARTYRS
This feast commemorates the first Filipino martyrs Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, a layman and his fifteen companions met their death in Nagasaki in 1637 at the hands of heathen Japanese warriors. Born in China, Lorenzo migrated to the Philippines where he settled in the Chinese section in Manila called Binondo. A father of four children, he was forced to flee with Dominican missionaries, who were enroute to Japan to spread the faith, because he had unjustly been accused of a crime being blackmailed because of his honesty and virtuous life. The companions were composed of all those somehow associated with the Dominicans either as clergy or lay order. Two days after Christmas of 1637 word finally reached Manila that Lorenzo and his Dominican companions had all been slayed. Immediately the people gathered at the church of Santo Domingo to sing a solemn Te Deum in honor of their fallen compadres. These saints were canonized 350 years later by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Manila on October 18, 1987.
Wednesday, September 29, 1999
First Reading: Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14 or Rev/Apoc: 12: 7-12
Psalms: Psalm 138: 1-5
Gospel Reading: John 1: 47-51
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
For the Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, we bring you Opening Prayer for the Mass in his honor:
Lord, You taught Your martyr Wenceslaus to prefer the kingdom of Heaven to all that the earth has to offer. May his prayers free us from our self-seeking and help us to serve You with all our hearts.
For the Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and his companion martyrs of Nagasaki, Japan we bring you Opening Prayer for the Mass in their honor:
Lord God, in our service to You and to our neighbor give us the patience of the holy martyrs Lawrence and his companions; for those who suffer persecution for justice' sake are blessed in the kingdom of Heaven.
Events Today in Church History
Today is the twenty-first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul I, the immediate predecessor of our current Vicar of Christ. Cardinal Albino Luciano was chosen on August 26th and, in effect, served thirty-three days, dying mysteriously in his bed. He was the first Pontiff in history to take two names of previous Popes out of respect for the two preceding Popes. 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 28:
Death of Pope Saint Pontian, 18th successor of Peter who ordered the chanting of the psalms and the recital of the Confiteor before death and the use of the salutation Dominus vobiscum. He was deported and condemned to work in the mines of Sardinia and died of suffering the wounds from that ordeal on the tiny island of Tavolara.
Death of Saint Wenceslaus, Duke and patron saint of Bohemia. For more on this saint, see TODAY'S LITURGY
Cardinal Pedro de Luna of Aragon chosen as the antipope Benedict XIII during the reign of the legitimate Supreme Pontiff Pope Boniface IX.
Birth of the master painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarrotti.
Death of the first Filipino martyrs Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companion Martyrs in Nagasaki, Japan. For more, see TODAY'S LITURGY.
Death of Pope John Paul I, 263rd successor of Peter. Cardinal Albino Luciano had been elected on August 26th of 1978 to succeed Pope Paul VI and was known during his brief 33 day reign as the "smiling Pope." He was the first pope in the long line of pontiffs to choose a double name out of respect for his two predecessors. He also declined to have a coronation ceremony. Some suspect he was poisoned by interests who feared him, but reports reveal he died of a heart attack while reading in bed.
The DAILY WORD
"But when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, wilt Thou that we bid fire come down from Heaven and consume them?' But He turned and rebuked them, saying, 'You do not know of what manner of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.'"
Luke 9: 54-56
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Holy Father continues to hammer home theme of Faith and Reason during his final Sunday Angelus at Castel Gondolfo
Continuing with one of his favorite themes, "Faith and Reason" from his most recent encyclical Fides et Rationis, Pope John Paul II elaborated further on the reasons for Faith and through Faith we find the reasons to believe. It was his last Sunday Angelus Address at his summer residence of Castel Gondolfo. He returns this week permanently to the Vatican after an extended summer stay as the weather becomes cooler. For more, click on Holy Father's Angelus
FAITH MUST BE REASONABLE AND "REASONING"
John Paul II Addresses A Favorite Topic
CASTEL GANDOLFO, SEP 26 (ZENIT).- Today, John Paul II once again addressed
a topic that has interested him enormously since his youth: the relation
between faith and reason. He spoke on this subject a year after signing the
encyclical "Fides et Ratio" (Faith and Reason), in which he proposed a new
dialogue between contemporary philosophy and theology.
The Pope focused especially on the role of reason in the road to faith.
Reason, he said, "is already present in the mature act of faith, because
the latter, although founded on the 'authority of God who reveals,'
develops in a profoundly reasonable way through the perception of 'signs'
that God Himself has given in the history of salvation," the Pontiff
Signs of the Spirit
"Obviously, it is not about 'proofs,' as is the case in the field of
experimental science. God's signs are to be found in the context of
interpersonal communication. According to the latter's logic, not only is
it related to reasoning, but also to a profound existential commitment. In
this condition, and supported by interior grace, they become luminous
indicators, a kind of 'signs of the Spirit,' which indicate the presence of
God and impel man to abandon himself to God with full confidence."
But the role of reason in the life of the believer is not limited to this.
"Mature faith challenges intelligence, committing the latter, in St.
Anselm's expression, 'to seek what it loves.' Thus faith becomes not only
reasonable but also 'reasoning,' " the Pontiff, who is a doctor of
philosophy and theology, said.
The Holy Father is convinced that there can be no faith without reason, nor
full reason without faith. "What is more, it can be said that 'one is in
the other': on one hand it is necessary to believe to perceive something of
the mystery that transcends us; on the other, it is necessary to understand
so that faith will be reasonable and increasingly mature."
Farewell to Castel Gandolfo
After appealing to the international community for aid to Taiwan, the Pope
greeted a group of officers and sailors of the Chilean Navy in Spanish;
they sang an song composed in the Pontiff's honor entitled "Messenger of
The people of Castel Gandolfo, located some 30 kilometers south of Rome,
took advantage of the occasion to bid the Pontiff farewell; he returns to
the Vatican this week, at the end of summer vacations.
Finally, the Pope received members of the Italian Air Force and their
families in audience. He thanked them for accompanying him in his pastoral
trips within Italy, he praised their technical and professional training
and, as he usually does at the end of September, he decorated some of them
with pontifical honors.
Cardinal O'Connor decries sacriligeous art, urges Mayor and all New Yorkers to reject Catholic-bashing exhibit at Brooklyn Museum
As if there is not enough anti-Catholic events going on, the latest is a slap in the face to the Church and Mary the Mother of God who is defamed and defaced with an obscene, disgusting montage creating an image of Our Lady on display at the Brooklyn Museum. New York's Archbishop Cardinal John J. O'Connor decried it and applauded New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's threat to withold seven million in grants from the museum if they do not remove it immediately. When the procurators and artist responded it was protected by the First Amendment, the Mayor shot back that when tax money is used and it upsets the public then "There is nothing in the First Amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects." For more, click on Sacrilege in Brooklyn.
ART ATTACKING VIRGIN MARY DECRIED BY NEW YORK CARDINAL, MAYOR
NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - Cardinal John O'Connor of New York
called on Catholics in the archdiocese on Sunday to
register their disapproval of a piece in a Brooklyn Museum
that depicts painting of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung
smeared on it.
In his Sunday sermon at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Cardinal
O'Connor said: "I'm saddened by what appears to be an
attack not only on our Blessed Mother ... but one must ask
if it is not an attack on religion itself and in a special
way on the Catholic Church." He also reserved words of
praise for city officials he also condemned the display.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had pledged to cut off the Brooklyn
Museum of Art's $7 million in annual funding from the city
-- one-third of its budgets -- unless the painting was
removed before the exhibit opens on Friday.
The painting, "The Holy Virgin Mary," depicts Mary with
dark skin, African features, and flowing robes and includes
a shellacked clump of elephant dung and two dozen cutouts of
buttocks from pornographic magazines. The artist, Chris
Ofili, 30, a black Catholic who was born in England and
lives there, has said he used the pornographic images
because classical images of Mary are often "sexually
New York Civil Liberties Union director Norman Siegel said
the mayor's threats to cut the funding "violates the First
Amendment. His assertion that New York City can withdraw
all funds for the museum based on a single exhibition that
he finds offensive illustrates a serious misunderstanding
of the Constitution." But Giuliani defended his statement,
saying: "There is nothing in the First Amendment that
supports horrible and disgusting projects. If you're going
to use taxpayers' dollars, you have to be sensitive to the
feelings of the public."
Vatican sets record straight in refuting the defamations by head of UN's Population Fund
On the heels of ridiculous comments by Nafis Sadik, head of the United Nations' Population Fund Committee, that the Roman Catholic Church had softened its stance on her UNFPA agency, the Holy See shot back strongly saying nothing was further from the truth and that the Vatican will always oppose any family-planning programs that include abortion of any kind. The Vatican's chief press secretary Joaquin Navarro-Valls spoke out strongly reaffirming that the Church would only support those programs that promoted the Sanctity of Life. For more, click on Vatican as committed as ever .
VATICAN REAFFIRMS CONCERNS ON UN FAMILY PLANNING
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican has emphatically rejected
the message contained in a series of recent news reports, which had
suggested that the Holy See was relenting in its opposition to UN
family-planning programs that emphasize abortion and
In a statement formally released on September 27, Joaquin Navarro-
Valls-- the head of the Vatican press office-- remarked that "the
Holy See has not changed its well-known position." Navarro-Valls
used the occasion to underline the Vatican's opposition to the use of
abortion, abortifacients, and artificial contraceptives as means of
Last week Nafis Sadik, the head of the UN's Population Fund
(UNFPA), had issued a public statement claiming that the Holy See
was backing off its opposition to the UNFPA's efforts. Sadik made
that remark in a September 22 report on the activities undertaken
by her agency since the 1993 Cairo Conference.
Navarro-Valls said that in accepting the report of the Cairo
Conference, the Vatican had not endorsed the UNFPA's definition of
certain controversial terms such as "contraception," "family
planning," "reproductive rights," "female controlled methods," "the
widest possible range of family planning services," "new options,"
and "under-utilized methods." The Holy See, he continued, would
oppose any "'family planning' services which do not respect the
freedom of the spouses, human dignity, and the human rights of the
Specifically, the Vatican spokesman continued, the Holy See would
continue emphatically to oppose any family-planning campaign
which includes abortion or "emergency contraception." He also said
that the Vatican would continue to speak out against an approach to
sexuality-- often found in the work of the UNFPA-- which is
"inspired by a vision of sexuality which does not give due
consideration to the dimension of reciprocity that is constituted by
the expression of mutual love."
Pope emphasizes to Canadian bishops the importance of clear demarcation line between clergy and laity during ad limina visit
Seeking to ensure that the Catholic faithful realize the shortage of vocations is not an open invitation to "clericalize" the laity, the Holy Father strongly insisted that the Canadian Bishops convey that point to their flocks so they don't get the wrong impression of the laity's role in the administration of the sacraments and the life of the Church. This could confuse the laity into feeling pressure to do too much themselves and overstep bounds that they should not venture into. Such confusion would also demoralize priests as to their true responsibilities. For more, click on Canadian ad limina.
DISTINGUISH LAITY, CLERGY, POPE TELLS CANADIAN BISHOPS
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Catholic bishops of Canada met with
Pope John Paul II on Saturday, September 25, for their ad limina
During the discussion, the Pope spoke of the "prodigious fruits" of the
Second Vatican Council, and the "new spiritual vitality" that is most
manifest among the laity.
The Pope told the Canadian bishops that it is essential to rediscover
"the sense of complementarity and communion" between priests and
lay people. He argued that the image of the Church as a sheepfold
had the negative effect of suggesting that lay people have a "strictly
passive and dependant" role. In fact, he said, priests should see
themselves as servants of the laity, as well as ministers set apart
from the congregation for that special service. Lay people, on the
other hand, should recognize that their role is "to promote the art of
being Christian in the world."
The Pontiff urged the Canadian bishops to guard against the danger
of confusing the proper roles of priests and laity, saying that such a
crisis in vocational identity works to the detriment of priests and lay
people alike. Priests should not become "politicized," he said; and lay
people should not become "clericalized."
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 28, 1999 volume 10, no. 184 DAILY CATHOLIC