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!
It is a fact that Dante placed many of the popes in Purgatory, and a few in his "Inferno" but Hadrian's successor Pope John XXI was the only one Dante placed in Heaven. There are some unique things about John XXI. First of all, he was the first and only Portuguese Pope, having been born Pedro Juliani, son of a physician in Lisbon in 1215. He followed in the footsteps of many of his predecessors by attending the learned University of Paris where he, too, studied under Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great, and Saint Bonaventure. Like his father he became a physicial and began teaching medicine at the University of Siena. Through acquaintances and the influence of his predecessor Hadrian V, he became the personal physician to Gregory X and stayed on in the Vatican after Gregory's death. Gregory ordained Pedro and promoted him to Archbishop of Braga and then Cardinal of Tusculum. He wrote innumerable books, including The Soul and two books on medicine The Eye (opthamalmology) and The Poor Man's Treasury which highlighted ways of curing various illnesses. One of the illnesses not covered was the jealousies among the cardinals when it came time to elect Hadrian's successor. They had gathered in Viterbo where Hadrian had passed away and a bitter battle between two favorite sons once again forced a stalemate. One of these candidates, Cardinal Orsini who would be elected the next time, swung his block toward Cardinal Juliani and he was elected on September 8, 1276. Because he was so often referred to as "Pedro of Spain," few realized his roots were in Portugal. He chose John XXI even though there had been no John XX since the last John had been Pope John XIX who died in 1032. Perhaps because of historian error or the confusion as to numerical designation, this stems back all the way to Pope John XV. Regardless, Pedro took the name John XXI and was crowned as the one-hundred eighty-seventh successor of Peter two weeks later on September 20th. In deference to Cardinal Orsini who he trusted and leaned on so and was indebted for his generous act of swinging the votes in his favor, he assigned most of the power to him. Orsini counseled John XXI but make no mistake, the decision making did not come from the Pope but rather Cardinal Orsini. Orsini was a strong advocate of the policies set forth by Gregory X, but, because of the harsh circumstances of the last conclave, John degreed that there would be free papal elections. Other than that, few decisions were made that did not have Orsini's stamp on it. One was the fact that John refused to confirm Charles of Anjou as Senator of Rome and imperial vicar in Tuscany, something Charles and many of the people thought would be a fait accomplis. Rather John insisted Charles reconcile with King Rudolf I of Habsburg. It was a trade-off, so to speak, for if Charles were willing to acknowledge Rudolf as Holy Roman Emperor, then the Pope would recognize Charles as a Senator and royal vicar. Being from Portugal and spending more time in Spain as well as France, John sought to also reconcile the Spanish king Alfonso X of Castile with the French monarch King Philip III. The Holy Father was able to obtain the promise from both that the churches, their income, and property would be respected in both countries. John also turned his attention East, trying to resurrect the reconciliation with the Byzantine court, but Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus was still perturbed by the demands made by Innocent V. Yet, still playing politics in hopes of staving off any threat from Charles' overtures to recapture Constantinople, he strung John along even though he himself would die a few years later and his successor Andronicus and the Patriarch John Beccus would make full submission to Rome.
John did much in reinstating tithing in England and western Europe, exacting papal taxes and correcting previous abuses. Long a man of the sciences, John dallied in astronomy as well as medicine and healing of souls, even having a special room built in the papal palace in Viterbo where he could view the stars at night. It was here where he died as the room, hastily built, collapsed on top of him in much the same manner as the frescoes fell on the poor unsuspecting Franciscan Friars at Assisi late last year. He died a six days later of internal injuries on May 20, 1277. It was a shock to the Christian world who felt so confident that a man of great health, relative young in age, and so knowlegable in the medical arts would live a long time. It was not to be. What was to be, was the continuation of the same policies because Cardinal Orsini would be elected the next pontiff six months later and carry out much of what he began over the next three years.
Next installment: Pope Nicholas III: Political prowess punctuates the Papacy.
On this night which has brought you to interior contemplation, I will speak to all of My Children now on that final Cardinal Virtue of TEMPERANCE.
Let us look at Temperance as a heavenly scale placed within your immortal soul and watched over by the Holy Spirit. While the Holy Spirit is guardian of Temperance, the conscience is attuned to My Will, the soul continually tips the scale toward Me.
What occurs, my little children, if you do not possess this holy scale of Temperance, which must exist in your soul? What do you do? How do you remain steadfast in a world that is ceaselessly changing?
O! I solemnly tell you that the soul that lacks Temperance is like a teeter-totter upon which every thug and bully will play; a teeter-totter swayed this way and that by wind currents, and every movement of nature. There is no balance to a soul deprived of Temperance, only a constant swaying until the soul is thrown into such disarray that, dizzy and confused, it collapses because it has lost Me.
Upon each of you, My children, I have endowed you with holy senses of sight, touch, sound, taste and feel. All of these human senses are intended by Me to lead you to Me, your Creator. Over all your senses is your intellect, which you greatly prize. This human intelligence is most certainly a marvelous gift and power from Me, but it is so finite and fallible if you were to compare it to Me that you would never grasp your insignificance. Therefore, I bless and give to each of My children, Holy Temperance.
Like the well-balanced scale the virtue of Temperance disposes your human senses and ego and intellect to judge your desires, thoughts, deeds, words all in My Light which is the ballast of Temperance.
Temperance is that virtue which recognizes that all I have created is good, and good fruit can come forth only if the creature uses the created thing for Me, In Me, through Me and with Me. There is, then, a balance whereby the abrupt impulses of your weakened human nature are viewed in the divine enlightenment of The Holy Spirit and having been "weighed" against the Divine Will, the soul prompts the person to proceed or to cease the thought, word or deed about to be undertaken.
It is Holy Temperance which teaches the ardent soul proper zeal in loving Me. Temperance separates holy zeal and ardor for Me from fanaticism which always has its roots in self-love and is intertwined in satan's lies.
Temperance is a mediator between the soul who seeks and practices Temperance against the soul which lacks in this virtue. Temperance is a kind teacher to the ignorant, for Temperance, refined by holy charity, disposes the person to lead all souls unto Me, for My honor and glory alone.
It is Temperance which helps the soul to set in place its spiritual house, and thus helps the person to rightly order his life around Me. Temperance is gratitude for all My gifts, graces and blessings, and it seeks to use these gifts prudently for love of Me and of one's neighbor.
Therefore, dear children, as these end times continue, I do solemnly tell you: By your continued prayers and mortifications, by being humble little obedient children who partake in the full Sacramental Life of My Church, you will know Temperance and because its resting place is The Holy Spirit, you shall not be led astray, but shall persevere in the One True Faith!
Pray for this virtue! Desire it. Cultivate It and learn to hear its whispered warnings when you are led into temptation.
Be children of Holy Temperance and I, your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shall not abandon you even when the spiritual darkness shall seem to devour the world. Temperance will help you in being patient, and in trusting in Me. For I Who Am, Come! The moment is at hand. Let all men hear and respond, for I, your God, desire your eternal salvation!
Learn Temperance and you will possess My Peace, know My Mercy and taste My Infinite Love.