What are the odds? That is something this editor has been speculating on during this past week while recuperating from the flu. In random manner we thought about many things such as the fact that shortly after last Tuesday's editorial on the sudden departure of our dear pastor Monsignor Thomas Healy, our only other priest at St. Mark's Father Aurelio Crisologo also had a heart attack, though, thank God not fatal, and is presently in intensive care after open-heart surgery. Both priests in a two-priest parish out of commission in a matter of days! What are the odds?
The Monsignor's body has been carried back to his native Ireland and laid to rest in a County Kilkenny cemetary next to his family on Friday, the same day that the Irish turned out in massive numbers at the polls to overwhelmingly make a statement for peace. A few months ago what were the odds that over 70% of Northern Ireland and nearly 95% of the rest of the emerald isle would vote unanimously for the peace accord that was reached on April 10th? By the way, that just happened to be Good Friday! Our Lord, Who said "Love one another as I have loved you", has to be smiling for it was on this day He died for the reparation of the sins of mankind to give all His children the great gift of Eternal Life! There have been plenty of sins committed over the centuries in the name of religion, most recently in Northern Ireland where Protestants have murdered Catholics and, yes, Catholics have murdered Protestants in this bitter class and tribal fued. Finally, on the day after we celebrated the feast when Jesus ascended into Heaven, Irish intelligence reached new heights and the promise of salvation for the emerald isle is at hand. Like Christianity, it will not be easy for there are many crosses to bear and, human nature being what it is, especially between Protestant and Catholic - between Limey and Mick, there will be more trials ahead and only by trusting in God and each other will this be a lasting peace. But in the overall scope of things, it is a tremendous beginning and the voter referendum sends a solid message to Prime Minister Tony Blair to back off and cede Northern Ireland back to its true roots, despite the fanatical resistance by the Protestant liberal Reverend Ian Paisley. Thankfully his rude rumblings and radical rhetoric received a hollow reception and his efforts have been for naught. And so, for the first time in eight decades, peace hovers over the entire emerald isle. What are the odds?
Someone who's not Irish but has seemed to have the luck of the Irish through the years is that super Geek Bill Gates, but he may have met his match in the US Government. They are not taking kindly to his monopoly and we say "hurrah" to that for Gates' empire portends too much to "one world order" not that Bill Clinton isn't trying to push it through, but he doesn't have the intelligence or hutzpah to carry it off. Gates has the horses, the ammo and knows the territory. Oh, does he know the cyberspace terrain! But the government - federal and states - are circling the wagons and making one last stand against Gates' Windows 98 garrisons. The issue boils down to the fact Gates is including his own Internet Explorer web browser in the new package without giving the customer a choice. The government is insisting he include Netscape's web browser as well. Gates is balking because he knows Netscape is far superior to Explorer. We heartily recommend Netcape over Explorer because of its superior quality and ease of use, plus it works better with other programs. But this is not a commercial for Netscape, rather an editorial for fair enterprise and against one man gaining so much power. Only God should have that kind of control. The government is not the best solution, but in the face of Gates' push to rule the world through cyberspace, we endorse any restraints that can hold off Gates from gaining even more control. We will continue with this publication on the net as long as it's safe to do so - and provided this ministry can afford to continue (if we don't garner more donations we may not be able to continue) - but the time is coming when it won't be safe to be on the net for the antichrist could rule. Which will come first? The rule of the antichrist or the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart? We're still putting our money and prayers on the Triumph? What are the odds? It's up to each of us!
Speaking of odds, over the last several months it's been bandied about that the Holy Father will soon proclaim the glorious Dogma of Mary as CoRedemptrix, Advocate, and Mediatrix of all graces. Many have pointed to this coming Sunday - the Solemnity of Pentecost which, this year, coincides with the Feast of the Visitation - a Marian feast and a perfect occasion to decree the Fifth Dogma which has also been called the "Final Dogma." Those, who are betting it will be this year and even this week, point to the fact that many Mariologists and Marian leaders, including Dr. Mark Miravalle author of the main document advocating the dogma and organizer of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici. Could this be just a coincidence or a definite plan for the much anticipated announcement? By this time next week we should know. There has been a strong negative campaign against it by many within the inner circle of the Vatican, claiming that it will further erode chances for ecumenism and alienate Protestants as well as confuse Catholics. That is nothing but a smokescreen for if one truly knows their faith then they'll realize that Marian theology is in total accord with all the Church has ever taught and her title as CoRedemptrix, Advocate and Mediatrix are common in papal circles throughout the centuries. All Pope John Paul II would be doing is making it "official." As the Totus Tuus Pope it only makes sense. The question is, will the Holy Father make the bold move in the face of so much opposition within the curia who claim he isn't even close to such a proclamation or will he defy the negative prognosticators and go through with what so many have been praying for over the past year and particularly this week as the Novena of Rosaries for the Holy Father builds to a crescendo worldwide. What are the odds? Stay tuned!
Finally, who would have ever thought that, after electing an Italian Pope who lasted less than a month, the conclave would opt for a non-Italian? What were the odds that they would select, as Pope John Paul I's successor, a man from a partially communist country in Eastern Europe? What were the odds that this gentle Pole would play a a pivotal and major role in crushing the hammer and sickle throughout Eastern Europe and Russia? What were the odds that this great man would, practically single-handedly, stem the world-wide acceptance of abortion and birth control at the U.N. Cairo Conference on Population? What are the odds that this 264th successor of Peter will go down as the single most influential leader of the 20th century? Pretty good considering that this past weekend he became this century's longest running pontiff, surpassing Pope Pius XII's 19 years, seven months and seven days. We pray and hope there are a few more years, months, weeks and days left in this great Pope's reign. A bullet in 1981 couldn't stop him and a media barrage of negativity against this man considered the most trusted in the world hasn't deterred him. Age and illnesses cannot slow him down for he knows his mission to lead Holy Mother Church into the glorious Third Millennium is just around the corner and he has miles to go before he sleeps. We all know his greatest adversary and ours - satan - has been released on the world with a vengeance and he is doing all he can to claim as many victims as he can. The odds seem overwhelming. In one corner we have the wiles of the evil one and a society that has plummetted into oblivion, clutching to the seven deadly sins; in the other we have a frail, holy senior citizen who just turned 78, an alarming depletion of clergy who are aging, and a handful of faithful among Jesus and Mary's little army. Oddsmakers would take it off the books. The odds seem insurmountable. But with God, all things are possible. Besides, a little cheating is appropriate in this case because we read Thee Book and know the outcome. When it will happen we don't know, but we do know, through prayer, study, and by following all that Our Lady asks us to do, that the odds are mighty, mighty good! As the results on the odds covered above have proven, when in doubt, pray; then go with the odds!