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May 5, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 87

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


     The sounds of mariachis and castanets during Mass and the aroma of fresh tortillas wafting in from outside signals that this day is like no other to the faithful of Mexican descent for it is Cinco de Mayo - the day Mexico celebrates their independence from France. Or is it? In today's editorial we do some investigative reporting and illustrate one shouldn't always believe what one reads. Is it legend or fact? That we answer in today's commentary Viva Cinco de Mayo. Click on, today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Viva Cinco de Mayo!

      Today is that annual event Cinco de Mayo when all of Mexico and Spanish-American communities celebrate their day of independance. Just as we celebrate the fourth of July, so also they commemorate the fifth of May as their day. Amidst pinata bashing, a feast of margaritas, nachos, burritos, and much mariachi music there is an ironic note to Cinco de Mayo: it isn't really the official day of independence for Mexico! You see the victory they celebrate was the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 when the Mexican forces, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza outlasted the French artillery, losing 215 men to 400 of France's soldiers. But it was in 1863 that the French, under Napoleon III, retrenched, bringing in reinforcements and retaking the city of Puebla. The French legions were able to reconquer Puebla despite a strong defense by Mexico's president Benito Juarez. The French forced surrender two months later through starvation of the citizens. This opened the door for the French to march on Mexico City where they installed the Austrian Maximilian to replace Juarez and rule it for France. Maximilian recruited ex-Civil War confederate soldiers to fight with him as mercenaries. It was a direct confrontation with Juarez tactic of inviting northern soldiers to fight against France. Maximilian also threatened under pain of death any Mexican who would fight against him. With a heavy hand he ruled and all looked lost for the Mexican people reared for the past three centuries under Spanish dominion. Undaunted, many Mexican loyalists - known as Juaristas - retreated to the mountains where they learned guerilla warfare and then unleashed the first known such military tactics on Maximilian, ambushing the French at every turn. The latter were growing more confused, not knowing who they were fighting as the casualties mounted. Add to this the United States' terse reprimand to France to cease and desist and we see that America played a major role in Mexico's independence for General Phil Sheridan commanded an army of 9,000 battle-tough recruits who were positioned at the Mexican border ready to move south. Napoleon III could see the handwriting on the wall and rather than sending in more troops, decided Mexico wasn't worth it and recalled the troops already in Mexico. This pullout left Maximilian and his wife Carlota stranded in Mexico City at the mercy of Juarez. While Carlota was in Europe futilely pleading for help for her husband and his cause, Juarez captured the Austrian ruler. On June 19, 1967 at Queretaro Maximilian was executed by Juarez who, despite pleas of mercy from the citizens and the Church, carried out the execution. Juarez realized that his execution would discourage all other European nations from even thinking about ruling Mexico. He brought home this point when he said "I kill the idea, not the man."

     In reality then, Mexico should celebrate "Diecinueve de Junio" but it doesn't have the same ring as "Cinco de Mayo" so history takes a back seat to legend. This happens so many times throughout the history of mankind, but not with Sacred Scripture. Even though many naysayers have said that the Bible is fiction, that we can't take the accounts of it literally, we must realize, especially in the New Testament, that these are facts confirmed by the Church and upheld through the Doctrines and Traditions of the body Jesus Christ bequeathed to Saint Peter: His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. So much is made between fact and fiction that it often boggles the mind. We find this so often in our research of the history of the Roman Catholic Church in bringing you the series THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH where we find one account clashes with another historian's narration of the story. We even find this in Scripture, but it is nitpicking to say it is "fiction," rather an interpretation of how the author saw the event or events in question. Most of the time the discrepancies deal with minute details and non-important issues. On matters of great importance, such as Christ's Words, they seldom vary from evangelist to evangelist, even though one of them - Mark came after Our Lord ascended into Heaven. In all history, importance should not be placed on dates or details, but on the causes and effects. So also with Holy Mother Church, we cannot get bogged down with details about liturgy that so often divides us. It's true most liturgies today are an eclipse of what they used to be. So often reverence is forgotten for the sake of expediency and staying up with the ICEL. For traditional Catholics who long for the orthodox way of faith within Holy Mother Church they often feel they are in a Protestant church. The tabernacle is nowhere in sight, statues are passe, replaced with banners and trees. The altar is too often a mere table and more emphasis is placed on the baptismal font and the pulpit than on the holiest part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Yet, it is still the Holy Sacrifice and, despite the liturgical aberrations, the important elements still remain such as the words at the Offertory, and the vital words for confection of the bread and wine at the Consecration. If these elements and words are intact, if the priest truly offers the bread and wine separately, if he follows the rubrics outlined by the Vatican, than no matter how many distractions, no matter how many ministers crowd the sanctuary and take away the awe of the altar, it is still a valid Mass worthy of the graces bestowed and still our greatest prayer and the greatest Gift we could ever receive: Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - truly present body and blood, soul and divinity.

     So just as those of Mexican ancestry celebrate the independence of their country on a day that is not as true as history teaches, so also we can celebrate the opportunity to attend and take part in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass even though it has been watered down from the reverence and awe it once held in the traditions of Trent. It is still very valid, sanctioned by Rome and blessed by God and attended by countless choirs of angels at every Mass everywhere in the world. And in churches throughout Mexico today and many communities in the southern and western United States, you can probably hear the guitars and mariachis during Holy Mass. Though for some cultures this may seem strange and somewhat out of place, to the Mexican faithful, the angels and saints, and God, too, it is music to the ears. So let's forget the trivia and trivial, because the causes and effects of Mexican independence preserved the faith in Mexico to this day. That in itself is worth celebrating. Viva Cinco de Mayo!

Michael Cain, editor


Murder at the Vatican!


      VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II named a new commander for his elite Swiss Guard on Monday, promoting the former second-in-command and acting commander to the post.

      Alois Estermann, 44, is an 18-year Swiss veteran of the 100-member security force that dates back to 1506. The Swiss Guards are often seen guarding St. Peter's Basilica wearing 15th-century uniforms and carrying ancient halberds. A plainclothes detachment also provides personal security for the pontiff and accompanies him at all times. Estermann has been acting commander since his predecessor resigned in October and is one of the few non-noblemen to lead the group. He was one of the guards on duty during the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square by Mehmet Ali Agca, and he threw himself in front of the Holy Father after the shots were fired.

      Pope Guilio II founded the Swiss Guards in 1506 after hearing of the exceptional bravery of Swiss mercenaries. Forty recruits will be sworn in on Wednesday, the anniversary of the death of 147 guards who fell protecting Pope Clement VII in 1527. Recruits for the Guard are Catholic men from Switzerland who have served their compulsory military duty. They must be under 30 years old and over 5-foot-8, and willing to learn Italian.

Diecisiente de Abril marks the end for the House of Hohenstaufen

     Translated from Spanish that means the "seventeenth of April" and it signifies the year 1268 when Conradin, the last of the House of Hohenstaufen German kings who had confounded the Vatican for so many years, was beheaded by Charles of Angiou. With his death a new reign of terror would haunt the Holy See for years to come, but Pope Clement IV did not see it coming during his reign which we cover in our sixty-sixth installment today, entitled Pope Clement IV and the end of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty. Click on, THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH
Installment Sixty-six

Pope Clement IV and the end of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty

     Picking up where we left off three installments ago after detailing powerful and influential Saint Louis IX, King of France and Saint Thomas Aquinas, among others, we return to the succession of supreme pontiffs. When last we left off we had left the Perugia grave of Pope Urban IV, known as the "Corpus Christi" Pope who worked closely with Thomas. By now the French-Italian rivalry was heating up and it took four months to finally elect the next Vicar of Christ. The French held court and elected Cardinal Guy Foulques. He had been a compromise candidate and had not even been at the conclave from the beginning of the process. Because of hostilities in Perugia and the surrounding regions of northern Italy, Foulques had come disguised as a monk and few recognized him. He left the same way while the cardinals were still dickering over a successor to Urban. What he didn't realize was that the cardinals chose him for his no-nonsense policies and his well-rounded lifestyle, which they felt, would serve him well with the faithful since Foulques had a family himself. He was widowed and then became a priest and quickly accelerated up the latter to archdeachon, bishop, archbishop and cardinal. Now he was chosen to accept the highest rank of the Church. Contacted on his way back to France, he agreed and returned to Perugia and became Pope Clement IV, the one-hundred and eighty-third successor of Peter on February 15, 1265. Because of the upheaval in Rome, Perugia continued to be the headquarters for the Holy See during these times, though a few years later he would move to Viturbo where the setting was calmer.

     Taking up the cause Urban had fought so bravely and yet so frustratingly, Clement was beset immediately with the problems in Sicily and beseeched his countryman Charles of Angiou to hasten to his aid for he was afraid Manfred, illegitimate son of Frederick II Hohenstaufen, would take control. Charles and the rest of France were well aware of the infamous Manfred for Urban had ordered crusades be preached against Manfred. Charles responded to Clement by gathering his troops and heading for Italy, but had to take evasive measures to evade the Sicilian ramparts set up on the Tiber. With cunning and perseverance Charles and his men successfully reached Rome on May 23, 1265. The pro-papal state leaders and its people were elated and Charles was crowned monarch of Naples and Sicily in early 1266. Less than six weeks later Charles defeated and killed Manfred at the Battle of Benevento on February 26, 1266. While this might seem to be the end of the problems, it wasn't. For the son of Conrad IV, legitimate son of Frederick II, had a son who was ready to take the reins. He was "little Conrad" or Conradin and when French occupation stirred the Italians to revolt, Conradin moved into Sicily to wrest the Sicilian crown. Brash because of his teen years, Conradin mounted an army against the rest of Italy and the prize: Rome. Clement, just as pontiffs before him, warned Conradin of the consequences and the latter, like his father and grandfather, ignored the threats. Thus Clement had little choice but to excommunicate the last of the Hohenstaufens. This did not faze Conradin who captured Rome in July 1268 amidst tumultous applause from the Ghibellines or anti-papal state factions, but their glory was shortlived. At the Battle of Tagliacozzo in the province of L'Aquila, on August 23, 1268, Conradin bit off more than he could chew by daring to overpower Charles' army which had retreated outside of Rome and regrouped. There, Conradin was taken prisoner and dragged back into Rome, kicking and screaming. Charles ordered him to be beheaded. Ever the holy man, Clement intervened for mercy, but Charles, having been appointed by Clement as imperial vicar of Tuscany on April 17 which gave him legal power for executions, realized the only way to stop the upheaval was to put an end to Conradin. With the mighty swing of the axe the line of Hohenstaufens ended forever!

     What Clement didn't realize was that, though he had eliminated one threat in Conradin, he had created a "monster" in the growing power of Charles of Angiou, who, because of his French blood, became more of an enemy to the Italians. Add to that his mounting ambition to taste more power and Clement was running into problems. Clement had been corresponding with the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus in hopes of reconciling East and West, but Michael, who had taken Constantinople from the Latins, was playing his trump card and, worried that Charles would advance on his city to try to regain control, strung the Pope along. This frustrated Clement throughout his papacy and he died at Viturbo on November 29, 1268 with the weight of not having accomplished all he had wanted to for his beloved Church and the people of God. As the College of Cardinals convened in that cold wintry December, few realized they would be there for three years as the Italian-French angst would stalemate the papal chair until late March, 1272 when they would finally, in desperation, elect a simple, humble, holy Italian priest who would rescue Holy Mother Church. He was Pope Blessed Gregory X who we shall cover in our sixty-seventh installment: Pope Blessed Gregory X: Restoring the peace and unity with the Greeks at the 14th Ecumenical Council.

Prudence is Prime when it comes to Virtue

Lesson Meditation #84

(Imparted on February 12, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lord)
      Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, say now the "Our Father", commending all into My Care, for I will help those whose hearts are open to Me, because My Love has no limit. Therefore, be at Peace and pray!

      Today, I wish to recall to the minds of all My children those virtues which My One True Church teaches. These are the Cardinal Virtues, or Moral Virtues, upon which all other virtues hinge. I solemnly tell you that in these end times you are a generation that no longer recognizes virtue, nor do you now what true morality is. Thus, you are easy prey for satan who turns virtue to vice, and tempts you to sin by living in an amoral manner.

      The first of the chief moral or cardinal virtues is named PRUDENCE. Prudence is that facet of your intellect, properly connected to the intellect of your soul, which illuminates judgments you are obligated to make in your daily duties.

      I speak not about judgmentalness, but about proper judgment on your part that assists you in doing, thinking and saying what is right before Me, and that which is wrong.

      The cardinal virtue of holy prudence is that guidance of the Holy Spirit which helps you to distinguish right from wrong at all times, so as to keep your conscience ever in My Light and My Truth.

      To you I have bestowed the gift of free will, and it is for you a precious gift if you use this free will with Prudence. Prudence is that virtue which acts as a system of checks against your weak human nature.

      Today, you do not recognize prudence nor do you cultivate it! Rather, blinded by satan's lies you succumb immediately to the weakness of your humanity, and pay heed to its demands, its incessant cravings for pleasure. You are victims of rationalization, rather than bearers of holy prudence.

      The virtue of which I, your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak, is that of second-thought. First you are inclined toward a certain thought. The thought then forms more fully and demands from you expression in thought, word or deed. But if holy prudence is alive in your soul, the thought, with its word or deed of action, is first sifted and filtered by the Light of Truth. Prudence demands a full reckoning of the proposed thought, word and deed. It is, My little children, as if Prudence presents all to Me to examine, and to judge. Then, having been presented to Me, your God, Prudence, as a wise and holy mother, returns the thought and following action to you, with the blessing of the Most Holy Trinity, or the awareness that this thought which seeks action is contrary to My Law and must be fought against by prayer and sacrifice.

      I have created and endowed each of you with graces and gifts unique to you. But in every soul I seek to place Prudence so that at all times and in all things the lower passions of the human ego do not dominate the superior passions of the soul.

      Behold, little ones, the world as a whole; behold your own particular country, community, and family. Examine all with the Light and grace of the Holy Spirit, and discover if Prudence is alive, or if it is suffocated by the spiritual darkness of these end times.

      Look closely at your own life and thoroughly examine your conscience. Do you seek to be acceptable by worldly standards? Do you insist upon bodily comforts and neglect the life of your soul? Do you rebuke any who speak openly in praise of My Name because to hear them would re-awaken in you the virtue of Prudence?

      I do solemnly tell you, o world, that you have gone so far away from Me that My Voice is no longer heard by your soul. Where My Voice is absent, there is no Prudence. Where I Am not, the opposite of virtue, which is vice, reigns, and vice is from satan and your own ego, pride, selfishness, laziness, greed, lust, envy and jealousy.

      If Prudence were alive in your soul My church would be filled at every moment with My children who would not wish to be separated from Me. The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass would be for you a treasure so dear you could not do without it. The Sacraments would be for you great and priceless gifts of which you would partake daily, and prayer would flow from your heart in reverence, praise, honor and adoration of Me.

      My churches have become an abomination before Me, for My children enter into this holy place unmindful of where they are and why, because Prudence does not guide them. Therefore, they mock Me; their attitude lashes Me, and their lukewarmness scourges Me. Prudence is that virtue which enables the soul to thirst for Me, while living and walking each step of your earthly journey in faith. Prudence directs the soul to sound and proper reverence of and for Me, and Prudence hears not the scornful mockery of the world.

      O! Hear Me, My children. Put on the virtue of Prudence which is My gift of grace through the Holy Spirit. Prudence dwells in the core of your soul and so generous is Prudence that is struggles daily to subdue all unruly human passions and desires.

      Seek then the virtue of Prudence in these end times, My children, for from it shall spring My Light in the time of spiritual darkness so that you will not lose your way.

      Prudence is from Me. It leads you to Me. It is a beacon in this the time of chaos and confusion. Prudence is a weapon, a shield, a guide and protector of the many holy virtues I seek you to adorn your soul with.

      Learn from prayer, and by an enlivened conscience, if Prudence is alive in your spiritual life, seek the virtue at all times. With Holy Prudence The Holy Spirit guides, and you shall be prepared for My Coming, as I have told you so often.

      This is My Will for you. Be Prudent, lest the evil one ensnare you.

      I love and bless each of you. Receive My Peace! Prepare prudently, for I Come!

Next Lesson/Meditation #85: THE CARDINAL VIRTUE OF JUSTICE

April 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

   Dear children! Today I call you, through prayer, to open yourselves to God as a flower opens itself to the rays of the morning sun. Little children, do not be afraid. I am with you and I intercede before God for each of you so that your heart receives the gift of conversion. Only in this way, little children, will you comprehend the importance of grace in these times and God will become nearer to you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE


Though we have already celebrated the feast of Pope Saint Pius V on April 30th, the actual day he died in 1572 was May 5th. Therefore, we offer this special prayer in honor of this saint today, taken from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood booklet, "My Daily Prayer."

     O God, Who in order to crush the enemy of Thy Church and to restore divine worship, didst vouchsafe to call Blessed Pius to the Supreme Pontificate, grant that we may be defended by his protection, and may so adhere to Thy service that overcoming all the snares of the enemy, we may rejoice in perpetual peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


"Toil not to gain wealth, cease to be concerned about it."

Proverbs 23: 4

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May 5, 1998 volume 9, no. 87   DAILY CATHOLIC