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THURSDAY

May 14, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 94

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE


Though our crosses are heavy, God gives us the grace and strength to endure

     That is the essence of the Blessed Mother's 149th and 150th messages to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart which we bring you today in which Our Lady urges us place our suffering in the Passion of her Divine Son Who will never let us down. The more we are able to carry our cross with Him, the more souls will be saved. Click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."

Messages One Hundred Forty-Nine and Fifty

Message One Hundred Forty-Nine, January 29, 1992

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)

Message One Hundred Fifty, January 29, 1992

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)

LITURGY FOR THURSDAY AND FRIDAY IN THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

     Today is the feast of the Apostle, Saint Matthias. For the liturgy, readings, meditations, and vignette on the apostle for today and the same for tomorrow's feast of Saint Isidore, Patron Saint of Farmers, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Thursday, May 14, 1998

SAINT MATTHIAS, APOSTLE

      Known as the "After" Apostle, Saint Matthias won out over fellow disciple Barsabbas to take the place of the defector Judas after Jesus' Ascension into Heaven. Matthias had been a devoted disciple of Our Lord since being present when John the Baptist baptized the Messiah. Needing to make the number twelve again in accordance with the needs of the new Church, the Apostles gathered in the same upper room where Christ had instituted the Holy Eucharist and then appeared to them after the Resurrection. There, they decided on two candidates and left the rest up to the Spirit of Christ, Which was, of course, the Holy Spirit. The Divine light shone upon Matthias through the method of casting lots. It was a precursor of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday where Matthias, now one of the twelve, was instilled with the gifts and strength of the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Matthias preached the Gospel and the virtues of self-denial wherever he was sent, ultimately ending up in Ethiopia in Africa where he was martyred for his beliefs in the city of Colchis. Though little is truly known about this "last" Apostle, he was renowned for his virtues, chief among them the mortification of the flesh.

Friday, May 15, 1998

SAINT ISIDORE THE FARMER, MARRIED MAN

      Not to be confused with Saint Isidore of Seville who lived six centuries before, this Saint Isidore was born in Madrid, Spain and farmed the fertile land of a wealthy Madrid nobleman. From his early days Isidore was devoted to God and never missed a day of Mass, often being accused of neglecting his work. However, Isidore replied to his employer, "I know, sir, that I am your servant but I have another Master as well, to Whom I owe service and obedience." The nobleman employer was understanding for he beheld two strangers helping Isidore plough and understood them to be angels to make up the work Isidore missed while at Mass. He grew to love Isidore and offered him riches, but Isidore gracefully declined, asking that the money go to the poor to whom he had a great love, often bringing food to those less fortunate. He tended all the livestock with love for they, too, were God's creatures. He died peacefully on May 15, 1130 and since his canonization has been revered as the Patron of Farmers.

Events Today in Church History

     For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on TIME CAPSULES: ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for May 14:


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World
News Service

HEADLINES:

ASIAN SYNOD RELEASES FINAL STATEMENT

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A final statement issued today by the special Synod of Bishops for Asia makes no direct reference to the oppression of the Church in China, although it contains an indirect statement on countries which do not respect "fundamental rights." The statement does, however, call for preservation of the "sacred character of Jerusalem; a lifting of the international embargo on Iraq; and an effort to ease the burden of international debt by the year 2000.

      On specifically religious matter, the bishops' message pays homage to the spiritual value of Asia's traditional religions, and cites "the urgent need to take local cultures into account," especially in the design of the liturgy. Inter-religious dialogue, the bishops proclaim, is a clear necessity for Asia.

      Published at the formal closing of the synod, which had opened on April 19, the six-page final message will be conveyed to the Pope, to serve as the basis for his apostolic exhortation summarizing the conclusions of the bishops' deliberations.

      The meeting of bishops from different broad geographical regions was part of Pope John Paul's plan of preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000. The Asian synod faced a particularly daunting task, since Asia embraces not only the Far East, but also regions as disparate as Siberia and the countries of the Middle East. The synod did not include the countries of Oceania, whose bishops will gather for their own special synod in October.

      The bishops' final statement opens with a statement of solidarity among the Catholics of Asia, and an expression of "regret" that two bishops from mainland China were denied government permission to participate in the deliberations. The assembled bishops promised their prayers for the Church in China.

      In their statement, the bishops offered their thanks to the many missionaries who had brought the faith to their continent. The history of religious persecution in Asia-- and the continued reality of oppression there-- prompted them to recognize explicitly that many Christians in the region still live in difficult and dangerous situations, suffering for their faith. And they add that "the Christians of Asia need zealous pastors and spiritual guides, not simply efficient administrators."

      In addressing the question of liturgy, the bishops emphasize that :the liturgy plays a key role in evangelization." The much-discussed question of "inculturation"-- the adaptation of the liturgy to fit predominant cultural patterns-- is addressed only indirectly in the final statement. While emphasizing the need for inter-religious dialogue, the bishops did not answer the question of how far the Church should go to adapt to local customs.


TOP VATICAN DIPLOMAT OUTLINES CONCERNS

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II is hoping to set up direct talks between the Holy See and the government of China, with his ultimate goal being the normalization of church-state relations and the eventual establishment of diplomatic relations.

      In an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, expressed regret that the Chinese government had not allowed bishops to travel to Rome for the special Synod of Bishops for Asia. "We are touching a problem of religious liberty," he said.

      However, the archbishop pointed out that because there are no direct relations between China and the Holy See, Vatican officials are at a loss to explain the logic of the Chinese refusal.

      In a wide-ranging interview, Archbishop Tauran was also questioned about the results of Pope John Paul's January trip to Cuba. "The Pope has opened doors," he said. While it may be too optimistic to think of "a radical change in just three months," he pointed to positive developments since the trip, and said "the time has come" for a new relationship between the Catholic Church and the Castro government. He also repeated the Vatican opposition to the US-led embargo on Cuba, saying "it is still difficult to justify such an embargo on moral ground."

      As the conversation turned to the Middle East, the archbishop said that the Vatican felt frustration at the stalled peace talks, and worried about the problems of the Palestinian people-- whose frustrations, he said, made them subject to the temptations of extremism. He warned that if the peace process is blocked today, it will be difficult to persuade moderate Arab leaders to back any peace initiatives in the future.

      The Holy Father cannot travel to the Holy Land as long as the current conditions exist, the archbishop said. He insisted on the points that have been emphasized by the Vatican for years: the need for a just and stable peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, and the need for international safeguards on full access to Jerusalem.

      Archbishop Tauran said that Vatican diplomats are especially concerned today about developments in Africa: "the inter-ethnic warfare, the lack of authority, the corruption of leadership, the poverty and the inefficient effort to combat it"-- all of which, he said, "are pushing entire peoples toward the edge of despair."

      The chief Vatican diplomat accentuated the role of the United States as a world leader. "It's a bit like a family," he said; "The biggest, the strongest, has the duty to help the weakest member of the family."


PRO-LIFE GROUP DISPUTES CALL FOR BIRTH CONTROL INSURANCE

      NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - The American Life League took issue on Tuesday with a group representing gynecologists and obstetricians who said insurance companies who cover the cost of Viagra for men, but not birth control for women are discriminating against women.

      Judie Brown, president of ALL, said the difference is basic. "Pregnancy is not a disease," she said. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which met in New Orleans on Tuesday, urged Congress to pass a bill requiring insurers who pay for prescription drugs to also cover birth control. The group said covering Viagra, a drug to treat impotence in men, shows a bias by those who refuse to cover another "medical necessity" -- birth control.

      While nine out of 10 employer-based health insurance plans cover prescription drugs, most don't cover prescription contraceptives, the doctors' group said. Last month, Maryland became the first state to require insurers cover the cost of birth control if they also cover prescription drugs. US Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine this week proposed legislation to mandate coverage by insurers.

      ALL said the difference between birth control and impotence is that the latter is a medical dysfunction. "The decision to use artificial birth control is elective," said Brown. Most insurers offer plans that cover contraception, but employers often don't choose to pay for it, said Health Insurance Association of America spokesman Richard Coorsh. The industry group opposes requiring contraceptive coverage and mandated benefits in general because they drive up insurance costs, he said.


CLINTON ADMINISTRATION DISPUTES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL BEFORE SENATE

      WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The Clinton administration told a Senate committee on Tuesday that a proposed religious freedom law would interfere with diplomacy and could cause increased religious persecution.

      Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor John Shattuck told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that while the administration remains committed to the promotion of religious freedom the proposed legislation would tie their hands in all situations. The bill sponsored by Sens. Don Nickles, R-Oklahoma, and Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut, that would set up an annual review and sanctions programs for countries deemed to practice religious discrimination.

      The measure would also create a special White House adviser on religious persecution and establish in the State Department the post of ambassador-at-large for religious liberty. It also would establish a US Commission on International Religious Liberty. It is similar to a bill being considered in the US House, but doesn't include automatic sanctions against countries that persecute religions.

      But Shattuck told the panel the administration was concerned that even the Senate bill's "sanctions-oriented approach" could undermine efforts to bring about improvements voluntarily. "We also believe that sanctions could have an adverse impact on our diplomacy in places like the Middle East and South Asia," he said.

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.

PROVERB OF THE DAY

"The intention in the human heart is like water far below the surface, but the man of intelligence draws it forth."

Proverbs 21: 4

To review past articles in textonly format, click on Archives.



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May 14, 1998 volume 9, no. 94   DAILY CATHOLIC