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FRI-SAT-SUN to FRI-SAT-SUN      August 7-16, 1998      SECTION FOUR       vol 9, no. 154-159

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION FOUR and SECTION FIVE and SECTION SIX and SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE

A Document intended to Protect the Faith: Ad Tuendam Fidem

     Because the staff at the DAILY CATHOLIC is on sabbatical this week, we offer the first installment of the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio AD TUENDAM FIDEM aimed at governing dissidence within the Church. We will resume next Monday, August 17th with the second of two parts. For the first of two parts, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
NEXT MONDAY: Part Two of Two of Ad Tuendam Fidem:

The evil one plays on our emotions, prompting us to take the easy way out.

     In his fourth part on The subtleties of satan of his weekly column, Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. warns us of the evil one's clever way of enticing God's creatures to opt for the easy way out, thus weakening our resolve of the hard, persistent task of carrying our cross. For Father's column, click on the fourth part of his treatise in HEARTS TO HEART TALK

The subtleties of satan part four

Countdown to the end of the persecutions

     As part of our summer retro campaign, we continue to bring you the early chapters of this on-going megaseries. Today we cover the second half of the third century - the last of the Roman persecutions. For the early installment titled The Blood of the Martyrs replenishes a flourishing Church: 250-300, click on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH.

The Blood of the Martyrs replenishes a flourishing Church: 250-300

Installment Twelve
This installment we deal with the second half of the century beginning with Pope Saint Cornelius who followed Pope Saint Fabian in March of 250. Three years later in 253 Cornelius was exiled to Civatavecchia where he was martyred for refusing to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. Pope Saint Lucius I became the 22nd pontiff on June 25, 253 and his pontificate lasted less than a year. Yet in this short span he decreed that because of the Christian and ascetical nature, and to avoid scandal, men and women not related by blood were forbidden to live together as well as clergy be separated from deaconesses even if the lodging they were given was given in charity. Charity was not what the wicked Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus, better known as the Roman Emperor Valerian, had in mind when he ordered Lucius executed on March 5, 254. With his martyrdom still fresh in the minds of the bishops, they met to elect Pope Saint Stephen I on May 12, 254. Three years later he was beheaded by traitors on August 2, 257 during the liturgy while sitting on his pontifical chair in the Catacombs of St. Callixtus. During his papacy he had to quell the schism brought on by the followers of the antipope Novatian. Less than a month later Stephen was replaced by Grecian-born Pope Saint Sixtus II on August 30, 257. Sixtus, though mild and meek, he was forceful enough to settle on-going disputes that had flared up during the pontificates of his three predecessors. He also was responsible for identifying and approving the mortal remains of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul. It was during his papacy that Saint Cyprian was martyred under Valerian and at Cyprian's memorial Mass Sixtus II decreed that the exclamation "Deo Gratias" be pronounced thereafter during the Mass. Shortly after this, he also was executed by Valerian on August 6, 258. As he was being led to his death, he was confronted by Saint Lawrence who expressed dismay that he couldn't die with his beloved Pope. Sixtus prophecied to Lawrence that in three days he, too, would receive his crown of martyrdom. True to his words Lawrence was burned to death over hot coals, but not before baffling and frustrating his Roman persecutors. First because he had promised the Emperor that he could collect in three days the greatest treasures of the Church to present to the Romans. On the third day he produced the poor, the infirm and Christians proclaiming: "see the treasures of the Church." Then, while being roasted on a spittle, he mocked his persecutors with the famous words: "I am done enough on this side, turn me over."

Because of the open persecution of the Church, it took a year before the 25th pope in the line of Peter was elected on July 22, 259. He was Pope Saint Denis or Dionysius as some lists record. He had been a Roman missionary in Gaul under the persecution of the Emperor Valerian, but the respite in persecutions was due to the fact that Valerian and his Roman legions had to divert all their attention to the gates of Rome where the Barbarian hordes were massing to attack. After the Romans successfully fended off the vandals, Gallienus succeeded the slain Valerian as Roman Emperor. Through much prayer on Denis' part and the desire to mend wounds and rally the Christians to Roman ranks for the purpose of more bodies and more revenue through taxes, Gallienus agreed to give the Christians liberty. Denis died on December 26, 268 and was followed by Pope Saint Felix I on January 5, 269. It was Felix who began the custom of burying martyrs under church altars and celebrating Mass on their tombs. He also quelled the heresy of Paul of Samosota, the proud Bishop of Antioch who taught that Christ was no more than a mere man, in Whom the Divine Word dwelt by its operation and as in its temple, with many other gross errors concerning the captital mysteries of the Trinity and incarnation. Felix called three councils in Antioch to examine the heresy and in the third council Paul was convicted of heresy, pride, and many scandalous crimes and Domnus was appointed Bishop of Antioch. Problems still existed with Paul because of his pride for he kept possession of the bishop's palace. But Felix appealed to the new Emperor Aurelian, who had succeeded Gallienus upon his death in 270. Though Aurelian was a pagan, he ruled that the house should belong to the Pope to whom all the bishops answer. This was a major precedent that still exists today. Paul was evicted, but Aurelian eventually turned against Felix, possibly because the latter had converted countless infidels. Thus, Aurelian renewed the persecution of the Christians, executing Felix on December 30, 274. Less than a week later Pope Saint Eutychian was selected as the 27th Pope, living eight more years until his martyrdom on December 7, 283. During his papacy he began the custom of blessing the crops and decreed that the "Dalmatic," a cloak similar to the one Roman Emperors wore, be placed over the remains of the slain martyrs out of respect for the dead. This evolved into the Dalmatic vestment worn by deacons during solemn liturgical functions. The man to succeed Eutychian was Dalmatian-born Pope Saint Caius elected on December 17, 283. Shortly after his election his uncle became the next Roman Emperor:Diocletian. What different paths these two men from Dalmatia took. One followed God's call, the other followed the siren of satan, moving up through the ranks of the army to a position of power. At first everyone thought there would be harmony as Diocletian set up headquarters in Nicomedia on the straights of the Black Sea near what would become Constantinople. With these changes in government and the expansion, the Church began to share in the prosperity and many converted. However Diocletian began to resent these changes, presuming that they weakened his authority. Thus he had an arsonist set fire to the palace in Nicomedia and blamed the Christians, many of whom were tortured. He kept casting aspersions on them, blaming Christ's followers for insurrection in Armenia and Syria and ordering the leaders into prison. As if this weren't enough, he issued a decree that all Christians must offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. Needless to say, the Christians went ballistic, but answered on their knees as they were dragged away to the mines, their villages and homes burned to the ground and thousands slaughtered. The cruel persecutions of Diocletian were some of the most dastardly in all of history with such renown saints as Saint Agnes, Saint Lucy, and Saint Sebastian receiving their glorious crowns of martyrdom. Through their deaths and the deaths of millions of Christians their blood sowed the seeds for the Rock to swell and the Church flourished, aided especially by another Roman Emperor who would convert to Christianity and forever change the direction of Christ's Church. This we shall see in the thirteenth installment when we examine the fourth century - "In Hoc Signo Vinces."

NEXT INSTALLMENT:"In Hoc Signo Vinces" - freedom at last!


For special prayers and novena to the Blessed Mother for the Solemnity of the Assumption, click on PRAYERS FOR THE ASSUMPTION.

Prayer to Mary Assumed into Heaven

Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in Heaven by the Holy Trinity.

      Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from Heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of Heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. In honor of your Assumption into Heaven I ask for this favor: (Mention your request here).

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.

Mary, my dear Mother and mighty Queen, take and receive my poor heart with all its freedom and desires, all its love and all the virtues and graces with which it may be adorned. All I am, all I might be, all I have and hold in the order of nature as well as of grace, I have received from God through your loving intercession, my Lady and Queen. Into your sovereign hands I entrust all, that it may be returned to its noble origin.

Mary, Queen of every heart, accept all that I am and bind me to you with the bonds of love, that I may be yours forever, and may be able to say in all truth: "I belong to Jesus through Mary."

My Mother, assumed into Heaven, I love you. Give me a greater love for Jesus and for you.

Mary, Assumed into Heaven and Queen of the Universe, ever-Virgin Mother of God, obtain peace and salvation for us through your prayers, for you have given birth to Christ the Lord, the Savior of all mankind.

Almighty, ever-living God, You raised to eternal glory the body and soul of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Your Son. Grant that our minds may always be directed Heavenward and that we may deserve to share in her glory.Amen.

Prayer to the Queen of Heaven and Earth

Mary, Assumed into Heaven, I venerate you as the Queen of Heaven and earth. Your own Son led you to a throne of glory in Heaven next to His own. As you tasted the bitterness of pain and sorrow with Him on earth, you now enjoy eternal bliss with Him in Heaven. I thank Jesus for having put a most beautiful crown upon your head, while all the Angels and Saints acclaim you as their Queen.

Because here below you shared in all the mysteries of our Redemption, Jesus has crowned you not only with glory but with power. He placed you at His right hand that you may dispose of the treasures of grace by a singular title - that of Mother of God.

In the midst of all the Saints you stand as their Queen and ours - dearer to the Heart of God than any creature in God's Kingdom. You pray for your children and distribute to us every grace won by our loving Savior on the Cross.

Queen Assumed into Heaven, may your glorious beauty fill my heart with a distaste for earthly things and an ardent longing for the joys of Heaven.

May your merciful eyes glance down upon my struggles and my weakness in this vale of tears. Crown me with the pure robe of innocence and grace here, and with immortality and glory in Heaven. Amen.

Christ prepared his disciples well - from weaklings to spiritual giants that have cast a holy shadow over two millenniums

In his second part on "Survival of the Spiritually fittest" Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. illustrates how Jesus took a group of 90-pound weaklings and turned them into spiritual giants and how these exercises have produced tremendous bulking up within the ranks of the Church over 2000 years. For Father's fifty-second installment of "Faith: Key to the Heart of God," click on KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL

Fifty-Second Installment: Survival of the Spiritually Fittest part two

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August 7-16, 1998 volume 9, no. 154-159   DAILY CATHOLIC