DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     June 23, 1998     vol. 9, no. 121

CATHOLIC PewPOINT

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

The liberals' last stand!

          In case you haven't heard, the bishops are bickering among themselves; not just in the United States, but also in Australia, in South America, in Mexico, in Germany and in Austria where the Holy Father visited over the weekend. His intention was to beatify three saints including a nun Sister Restituta Kafka who was decapitated by the Nazis during World War II. The crowds, which have been enormous almost everywhere else Pope John Paul II has traveled over the years, were much smaller than expected as unrest seethes below the surface in this once most Catholic of countries. Yet Austria, where the Catholic faith was so strong for so many centuries, is also the country where the Protestant Reformation took hold because of discord. That same kind of dissidence is raising its ugly head once more late in the twentieth century. To stem it, the Holy Father did not pussyfoot around the issues in addressing the bishops and the people. He told the bishops in no uncertain terms to quit their fueding and get with the program. They have taken an oath of fidelity to Rome and to the tenets of Holy Mother Church. They cannot waiver from that, no matter the blemishes the Church might show such as the pedophilia charges against the former deposed cardinal of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer. In another diocese the people rebelled because the bishop there was too rigid and conservative. Wow, have the Austrian people become that soft, that cafeteria-ish that they're going to badmouth every orthodox bishop - every prelate or priest who insists on loyalty to the Vicar of Christ? We know only too well from the incidences in Dallas and the fallout there that the whole Groer episode is a sad chapter in Church annals in Austria, but the Pope has replaced him personally with a very good prince of the Church Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn who has been tabbed a moderate, which is something the people need at a time like this. But, me thinks the Austrians, and the bishops they have hoodwinked, protest too much. It would seem they are using the Groer scandal as the scapegoat to project their own modernistic agenda. They are demanding democratic sessions where the laity has a greater say in ecclesial matters. This has been tried in the United States by such radical groups as We Are Church and Call To Action to little or no avail...thank God. If the Austrians persist they might as well join their Protestant bretheren. There will be no compromises! The Holy Father has said as much. For more, see the first article in our Headlines section today. While encouraging dialogue, he warns the bishops not to water down the authority of the Church for the sake of democratization. There will be none of that the Pope insists. In this land of the famed Von Trapp family of "Sound of Music" fame, the Austrians were trying to lay a trap and the wise Polish Pontiff wouldn't take the bait. Rather than getting into debate with the baiters, he urged them to return to religion, calling for "hearts to beat not just for career and money, but for God and mankind." The Holy Father also alluded to another man who the Austrians - hundreds of thousands - had rushed to hail when he first entered Austrian soil in 1938 - one Adolf Hitler. Of this butcher, the Pope said, "Sixty years ago a man declared himself the savior. The new saints (whom the Holy Father had just beatified) carry another message: Salvation is not in man, but in Christ."

          The Pope's reference to Hitler was a stroke of genius in pointing out the Austrians' past follies in judgment and gently prodding them that they are again making a big mistake by trying to force the issue of challenging Holy Mother Church. Just like in America, there have been widespread cracks in the Church's armor throughout western Europe because of prosperity and because many bishops have kowtowed to political and financial pressure, forsaking their role as true shepherds for the sake of compromise and harmony. But there is no harmony when dissent festers beneath the surface and comes to a boil, erupting in open rebellion. Such was the case a few months ago in Germany when the abortion issue of counseling divided the bishops there and the Holy Father again stood his ground. In fact, one of the great characteristics of this 264th successor of Peter is that he will not compromise when it comes to the teaching of the Church. He has remained almost the lone voice crying in the wilderness against great odds - the crusader for the unborn, the aged, the poor, the downtrodden. He has exhibited over his priestly life the courage of Christ. In fact, a fellow brother Fourth Degree Knight has just e-mailed us a poem on courage which fits John Paul the Great to a tee. We present it here:

      Courage is the strength to stand up
      When it's easier to fall down and lose hold.
      It is the conviction to explore new horizons
      When it's easier to believe what we've been told.
        Courage is the desire to maintain our integrity
        When it's easier to look the other way.
        It is feeling happy and alive, and moving forward
        When it's easier to feel sorry for ourselves and stay.
          Courage is the will to shape our world
          When it's easier to let someone else do it for us.
          It is the recognition that none of us are perfect
          When it's easier to criticize others and fuss.
            Courage is the power to step forward and lead
            When it's easier to follow the crowd; their pleas resound.
            It is the spirit that places you on top of the mountain
            When it's easier to never leave the ground.
              The foundation of courage is solid,
              The rock that doesn't roll.
              Courage is the freedom
              Of our mind, body, and soul!
    The above poem epitomizes the Pope during his nearly twenty years as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, from his tremendous leadership in bringing down the Iron Curtain to singlehandedly holding the pro-aborts at bay at the Cairo conference to commanding respect from every leader of every country in the world. He is truly a hero for the times, for the ages. The Austrians would do well to listen to this sage, aging man who has the wisdom of history and the Holy Spirit on his side. In this second year leading up to Jubilee 2000 - the Year of the Holy Spirit - we'd all do well to tune into the Sanctifier and to heed the Holy Father's lessons on history - for if we do not learn from history, we simply will not learn.

         Speaking of history, because it is summer we are bringing you "reruns" of our megaseries on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH begun over two years ago and which are no longer available in archives. Therefore, we wanted to bring all readers up to date on this series which has been hailed by so many via e-mail. To trump it we are bringing you a marathon starting today through next Tuesday with the first six installments on the early years of the Church from the time of Christ and The Establishment of the Blessed Sacrament through Saint Peter leading up to his first successor - Pope Saint Linus. After the one week marathon we will pick up each succeeding installment on its regular Tuesday issue. The marathon concept will be repeated next week with our series on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS extending from Wednesday July 1 through July 8th on a daily issue basis, and the following week with our other mega series WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM? from Thursday July 9 through July 16 - Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

         It was Our Lady of Carmel who bestowed the scapular to Saint Simon Stock for protection in 1251 and the Pope is reminding all that we need to return to that concept of protection in 1998. In fact, more than ever, we need the protective graces of God's Mercy and Love and that will only be forthcoming through obedience. No matter our own personal agendas, no matter the scars the Church may reveal as an institution governed by humans, we must be obedient to what God has deigned from Peter through John Paul II when Jesus said, recorded in Matthew 16: 19, And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven." Our advice to the Austrians, and to all others: heed Our Lord's words by heeding the Holy Father's. If not, this could be the liberals' last stand!

Michael Cain, editor