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FRI-SAT-SUN             July 24-26, 1998             SECTION THREE              vol 9, no. 144

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     This weekend is pretty ordinary as in Ordinary Time except for Saturday when we celebrate the feast of SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE. Though the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time supercedes the feast of Saint Anne and Joachim, we bring you vignettes on the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For the liturgies, readings, meditations and story of St. James, plus St. Anne and St. Joachim, click on LITURGY

Friday, July 24, 1998

Saturday, July 25, 1998


SUNDAY, July 26, 1998

Though it is not celebrated because it is on Sunday, July 26 is...

The Feast of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

     The apocryphal Protoevangelium of St. James claims that the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne were sterile, yet an angel predicted Mary's birth to Joachim after he had spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying. Anne was too old by biological standards to give birth, but God in His Providence miraculously allowed Anne to be impregnated with the wondrous Immaculate Conception. At Mary's birth she was given the name Miriam which was shortened to Mary and, at a very early age, Joachim and Anne consecrated her to God sending her off to the Temple to study and live her Hebrew faith. St. Anne or Ann, which means "grace," was, along with Joachim, given special graces for their faithfulness, and the greatest grace was that they were chosen to be the parents of the Mother of God and the grandparents of Jesus, Son of God. St. Anne is considered the patron of mothers and of special importance to children and she is greatly venerated in Canada, specifically at the massive St. Anne Beaupre Basilica in Quebec. At first St. Anne was the only one recognized in the Church dating back to the crusades, but St. Joachim was added in 1584 by Pope Gregory XIII and the two feasts were combined into one day; originally this was March 20, the day after the feast of St. Joseph, but in 1969 the Church, through recommendation of the Second Vatican Council, moved the date to July 26th.

Monday, July 27, 1998


with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- At a press conference in Rome today, introducing the new apostolic letter Apostolos Suos, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger explained that a statement issued by an episcopal conference cannot be considered authoritative unless the bishops adopt it unanimously, because the truths of the faith are not decided by majority votes.

      The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was helping reporters to analyze the motu proprio formally issued today by Pope John Paul II, setting forth the proper role of the national bishops' conferences. (For a fuller description of the apostolic letter, see yesterday's CWN news feature.)

      Cardinal Ratzinger briefed the press along with several other ranking Church officials: Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of Prague, the president of the council of European bishops' conferences; Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, the secretary of the Congregation for Bishops (who was representing the newly appointed prefect of that Congregation, Cardinal Moreiera Neves, who has not yet arrived in Rome to take up his new post); and Archbishop Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts-- the body charged with the interpretation of Canon Law.

      The Pope's letter affects the 108 episcopal conferences around the world. (It does not affect the 12 groups which bring together the heads of episcopal conferences in various geographical regions, nor does it affect the synods of bishops that govern Eastern Catholic Churches.)

      Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out that the Pope's letter upheld the position of individual bishops who might be in the minority within an episcopal conference, but remain the authoritative teachers of their own dioceses. He emphasized that each bishops carries personal responsibility for the work of the episcopal conference, and that responsibility cannot be delegated to committees or staff aides.

      Archbishop Monterisi observed that the papal document had been prepared in response to a request made by several bishops during the special synod of 1985. During the ten-year process of preparing the document, he added, there had been an extensive process of consultation with all of the world's episcopal conferences. The first draft of what would eventually become Apostolos Suos was conveyed to the world's bishops in January 1988, and the bishops' responses were incorporated into later drafts prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in collaboration with the Council for Legislative Texts.

      Archbishop Herranz, the head of that latter body, said that the apostolic letter itself has "the power of universal law," and that individual episcopal conferences may not change the rules set forth by the Holy Father in this letter. It is, he said, "an ordinary instrument of the legislative activity by the Supreme Pastor of the Church."

      Archbishop Herranz said that the most important new teaching contained in Apostolos Suos involves the doctrinal authority of the bishops' conferences. On that point, the Pope made it clear that a doctrinal statement could be considered final only if it was endorsed unanimously by every diocesan bishop belonging to the conference.

      All of the participants at the press conference agreed that a document issued by a committee of bishops, or by the conference staff, would have "informational" value, but must be regarded as "provisional." Such documents should not be published in the name of the bishops' conference, they said.

      Archbishop Herranz also pointed to other new elements in the apostolic letter, such as the requirement that the president of the episcopal conference must be an active diocesan bishop, rather than an auxiliary or titular bishop, and that the voting system within the conference must not allow auxiliary bishops to hold a majority.


      GUATEMALA CITY ( - Guatemalan authorities on Wednesday arrested a priest and a cook in connection with the murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Joseph Gerardi in April.

      Father Mario Leonel Orantes Najera and Margarita Lopez were arrested at the San Sebastian church where they worked with the bishop. Bishop Gerardi was found dead on April 26 in the garage of the church rectory, having been beaten to death with a cement block. Father Orantes was brought before investigating judge Isaias Figueroa Medina on Wednesday for questioning, but officials did not release any evidence that led to the arrests.

      Human rights leaders have blamed Bishop Gerardi's death on participants in the country's 36-year civil war for a report on human rights abuses the bishop released just two days before. The spokesman for Guatemala's conference of bishops, Archbishop Victor Hugo Martinez, expressed surprise at the arrest but said he wanted to hear evidence before commenting. The only man previously arrested in the case was Carlos Enrique Vielman, 24. His attorney, Mario Alfonso Menchu, insisted that Vielman was innocent and raised the suggestion that Father Orantes might have been involved.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - The US House on Thursday voted to override President Bill Clinton's veto of a bill banning partial-birth abortions, but pro-life Senators were still several votes short of a similar override.

      Clinton vetoed the bill last October, and congressional supporters of the bill delayed a crucial vote until more support could be rallied in the Senate and to make the president's veto a part of the 1998 congressional election campaign. The Senate passed the bill last year by a vote of 64-36, three votes less than the two-thirds majority needed for an override. Thursday's House override vote passed by a clear margin.

      The bill would ban partial-birth abortions -- which involves the partial delivery of the baby through the birth canal after which the abortionist pierces his skull and suctions out his brain -- except to save the life of the mother. Several states have already passed similar bans, but legal challenges have overturned some of them.


      LONDON ( - The British House of Lords on Wednesday voted to block a proposed law passed by the House of Commons that would have lowered the age of consent for homosexual sex from 18 years old to 16.

      The upper House of Lords, which is not elected, cannot veto legislation, but only delay it, although such delays can often disrupt the legislative agenda. Religious leaders and Conservative Party members united in opposition to the measure. "Do we really want to open the floodgates of suffering even further than they are already?" said Britain's chief rabbi, Lord Jakobovits, speaking in the debate about the threat of AIDS to young people.

      After the vote, the government said it was "considering its position," although it may decide to accept the Lords' rejection rather than threaten its legislative timetable by scheduling a Commons' vote to overrule it.

For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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July 24-26, 1998 volume 9, no. 144   DAILY CATHOLIC