Or will it? Here in California, where former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson has sat in the governor's chair for eight years, there is a tightly contested race between the Democrats entry Gray Davis, an avowed abortionist even though he has Catholic roots, and Republican Attorney General Dan Lungren who has gone out of his way to defend pro-life and, in a twist unheard of in politics, speaks proudly of his Catholicism in insisting that abortion is wrong. Naturally the pro-aborts are jumping on this in trying to rally the culture of death masses to reject Lundgren because he is both pro-life and Catholic. It is so refreshing to hear a candidate say "the polls be damned, I'm going to speak my convictions." That is exactly what Dan Lungren is doing, going against the grain so-to-speak in living his faith no matter the consequences. Grass-roots support show his message is making an impact. Whether it will be enough to catapult him into the governor's seat in Sacramento and awaken a renaissance of renewed morality in America remains to be seen and prayed for. We all know the fate of another great Catholic pro-lifer Alan Keyes who was derided by the media and smothered by his opponents' war chests in his bid for the presidency of the United States. There are also innumerable candidates for local offices and Congress who are speaking up for God's laws and following their beliefs despite the chances that it could backfire. To all of them we say more power to them. But that's not what is important. What is important that God is saying more power to them. Didn't Jesus say that if you acknowledge Him, He will acknowledge you? While that is true, we also have been bombarded by those who bandy about the name of the Lord in hypocritic ways that call to mind Our Lord's words in Matthew 7: 21, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven shall enter the kingdom of Heaven.". Listen closely to what He says in the same paragraph, verse 23: And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity!'" Isn't that what we have today among many of these politicians - "workers of iniquity?" But, in the democratic procedure assured by our forefathers, we have the opportunity to vote out those "workers of iniquity" and hopefully replace them with someone who can make a difference and restore America's honor before God. So, once again, through the beautiful gift of free will, we can make a difference but we must be committed to following through and not being afraid to stand up for Christ no matter what the opposition or earthly consequences. Besides exercising our rights at the ballot box, we can also exercise our God-given rights to achieve the Divine Will through prayer and it will take beaucoup petitions to Heaven to offset the work and wiles of the evil one. We know it can be done. Look at the odds at the battle of Lepanto where conquest of the superior Turkish fleet seemed an impossibility but through the power of the Rosary victory was achieved. So also with these up-coming elections where the outcome could put enough pro-life Congressmen in office that ol' Slick Willie's veto of abortion bans won't amount to a hill of beans. But we, like Dan Lungren and other Christian candidates who truly have the people's common good and God's will in mind, must continue to keep the faith!
Speaking of "keepin' the faith," if you remember last week in this column we talked about the euphoria and roller coaster ride of the San Diego Padres in reaching the pinnacle of the diamond sport by making it to the World Series. That has been the Friars' and fans' motto all year long - "Keepin' the Faith!" Well, to many it would seem like the faith was lost with a four and out fall classic in which the hated Yankees (can't say "damn Yankees" in a Catholic publication can we?) swept our beloved home team. Yet, there were few tears in San Diego and many, including our sons, learned what "keepin' the faith" really means. It was a valuable lesson for all. In fact, when put into perspective there were no losers at all. How many would stay an hour after the last game and cheer for your vanquished heroes until you were hoarse? The answer: 60,000 plus die-hard Padre fans! How many would turn out two days later for a parade downtown where people were 20 deep for seventeen blocks? The answer: 200,000 San Diegans who crowded downtown on Friday afternoon to thank their team. How many kids understand that, though they prayed their hearts out for the Pads to win, it was not meant to be and through that they were truly keepin' the faith? The answer: We don't know about the countless other kids, but we do know our two sons finally realized that "keepin' the faith" means accepting whatever happens and not despairing, not asking God "why" but learning that good can come out of all things - even defeat. They learned that the sun will shine the next day and that life goes on and they are stronger for being involved. Oh, sure, it still hurts, but having the faith and knowing that God won't let you suffer more than you can handle is a confidence builder that helps dull the pain of losing and knowing that someday we'll all be winners in Heaven. Would we change anything by being less involved if it meant hurting less when they lose? Not really because to really experience something, to be really committed to a cause, you have to throw yourself in lock, stock and barrel and accept the chills and spills. That's the only way to strive for the rewards. Our role model for this is Jesus Who threw Himself into redemption full-force even to dying on the Cross. What if He had taken the attitude of playing the salvation role from a distance. Do you think it would have had the impact on others it did? Do you think Christians would have gone to their deaths with the total commitment to Him as martyrs if He had not been so committed? Do you think His Church would have been able to survive the schisms, unrest and persecutions throughout the centuries if He had not been so committed and expected the same of us? The answer: No way!!! Therefore, when someone like Dan Lungren and a handful of other honest Christian candidates along with loyal Catholics including our two sons remain committed to "keepin' the faith" then there's reason to smile and feel good about the coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for we can all agree that's a goal worth achieving.
It quickly became evident that John XXII would not be a puppet Pope for Philip V as Clement V was for Philip IV. One of the first things the new Pope announced was his desire to return the papacy to Rome. This prompted the Italians to receive him more warmly than they had anticipated. While making plans for that he dove into cleaning up the papacy that had been left in shambles administratively by his predecessors and because of the two year vacancy between Clement and himself. Despite his age, he totally reorganized the curia and redrew dioceses, splitting up larger ones to accommodate the flocks and to make tithing more fair for all. While he can be lauded for his new fiscal system that was ahead of its time, he might be considered "a fool who rushed in where angels fear to tread" when he was sucked into the Franciscan controversy by the general of the Order Michael of Cesena who asked him to rule against the Spirituals who Pope Saint Celestine V had elevated and who Pope Boniface VIII had alienated so much that resentment towards the latter was still strong as ever when John XXII became involved. The Pope issued an order commanding the Spirituals to be obedient to their superiors who were not in union with their philosophy. He banned their habits they had donned and and rationalized they could store up provisions and material things. If they did not comply they would be handed over to the Inquisition Court which pronounced that Jesus and His Apostles owned nothing as their own; the sylogism being that the Franciscans should turn everything over to the Pope since they owned nothing. John was caught in the middle. He tried to denounce the declaration but it was too late. The Franciscan Order as a whole was up in arms. In retaliation, many aligned themselves with one of John's enemies - the Holy Roman Emperor Louis of Bavaria. John XXII had plunged himself into world politics by trying to mediate between Frederick of Austria and Louis of Bavaria who were bitterly contending for the Holy Roman Emperor's crown after the death of Henry VII. Louis disregarded the papal intervention and won out, dissing the Pope who in turn issued an interdict. Louis countered by lobbying for a general council to present his case and attempt to demean the Holy Father on grounds of mental incompetency and senility.
Rather than waiting for the council to convene, the self-appointed emperor took matters in his own hands, invading Rome. There, in 1328 Louis selected the Franciscan Pietro Rainalducci as Pope Nicholas V. On May 14, 1328 Louis crowned Nicholas as Pope and in turn the Pope crowned Louis as emperor. A week later Nicholas named nine new cardinals and began setting up a Roman curia. Not only was the papacy split but so was the Franciscan Order as those following Michael of Cesena rallied around Nicholas at the insistence of William of Occam who was obsessed with establishing a new Pope to the point of condemning John XXII claiming he was a heretic, while loyal Franciscans remained solidly behind John. When Azzone Visconti defected his support for Louis and turned on the emperor, Louis was forced to flee Rome. There were already cracks in the alliance and others soon followed creating a huge chasm, including Nicholas V who disassociated himself with Louis and William and fled to a castle at Burgaro. When the Florentine army discovered his whereabouts, John XXII requested they bring Nicholas to him. But the protective count of Burgaro stole Nicholas away to Pisa fearing the warriors of Firenze would kill him and made arrangements for Nicholas to renounce the papacy and seek forgiveness from John who had previously excommunicated him. Before the Archbishop of Pisa on July 25, 1330 he formally renounced his claim to the papal throne and sought forgiveness from John. Soon after he was sent to Avignon where he humbled himself before John who in turn pardoned him, realizing this man had been used by Louis and the others and, seeing the genuine sorrow in Nicholas, allowed him to remain in the court of Avignon with all the privileges of a Franciscan priest. He died on October 16, 1333 and was buried at the church of the Franciscans in Avignon.
Despite the troubles John XXII encountered, he was a good man and showed his talents as an organizer and canon lawyer in leaving the Church in better shape during his 18-year pontificate that many didn't expect to last even a year considering his age and health. But John fooled them all and was very active in promoting mission activities in Asia and the mideast, specifically Iran where no Pope had dared penetrate prior to that. He favored the Dominicans, obviously because of the Franciscan split, and also because he had lived in a Dominican priory during the early years of his papacy. The Pope, though infallible in faith and morals, seemed very, very fallible especially in his last years when he was nearing ninety-years. He had made the statement during a homily, not from the Chair of Peter, that all souls could not benefit the Beatific Vision until they had experienced the Last Judgment which, in effect, meant they were in Limbo the same as those before Christ redeemed mankind. He humbly apologized for his error, explaining he was not speaking ex cathedra but rather solely as a person. But it was enough to shake the populace, especially the frustrated Franciscans who used this as more grist for the mill to declare him a heretic, a charge he lived with until his death, fueled by the hatred from Louis and William. Like Clement V, he exhibited a tendency to appoint many relatives and this nepotism also angered others as he further entrenched the French Church at Avignon by building the Papal Palace at Avignon. It was John XXII who instituted the feast of the Most Holy Trinity as well as the "Sacra Rota." On December 4, 1334 John breathed his last breath, seeking forgiveness for all he had wronged on his deathbed in Avignon.
Before we continue our march through the Avignon Popes with John's successor Pope Benedict XII, we will pause for the next several weeks beginning with the next installment to do a review of the first 1300 years in Church history and to point out how 1332 was such a pivotal year and how the events that took place during that time would shape history for the next 666 years leading up to our present year of 1998.
Now the moment of Justice is set in place and will not be held back. Now the little ones, my faithful army, must know one another and grow stronger in the true faith.
Thus for a very short time will I speak to my little ones, that from my words you may draw strength, for the darkness descends.
Woe to the world! Woe to all of my priest-sons, my shepherds who fear man and man's laws and will not guide my little ones to the Truth. Great shall be their punishment in the time of Justice, for they will be held accountable for every soul they have led astray.
Now is the enemy entrenched. Now comes the army of demons to ensnare even the faithful remnant. Therefore, pray! Fast! Love my Son and cherish Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Know that the True Faith shall be driven underground, and my faithful ones shall weep for all that has been lost!
And lo! The tangible darkness is now prepared, and it shall come in an instant. Therefore, wait and watch. Pray and keep vigil, for great signs and warnings shall be given you.
I love you. I beseech you, convert your heart now and be gathered beneath my Immaculate Mantle. Pray! Pray! Pray!
Yet, I solemnly tell you that for each soul who willingly flies into the arms of God, satan snatches a thousand souls away by his trickery, deceit and poison.
The earth is overcome by the evil one's poison. It is a veritable ocean of evilness that mocks God and seeks to destroy Him completely.
Therefore, I do solemnly tell you that my time to be with you in this way is coming to an end. Know then that the Hour of Justice shall strike and all the earth shall be purified. In this time of great sorrow I intercede for each of you, for I love you. I desire to bring you to my Divine Son Who is Life. Pray! Keep watch. The Hour has come.
Thank you for responding to my Call!
Pope Honorius I becomes the 70th successor of Peter. His reign would last 13 years and it was he who instituted the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14. He had a great zeal for the missions, dispatching missionaries throughout the old world. He resolved the problem of the Eastern Church and the Schism of Aquilea on the question of the "Three Chapters."
Christopher Columbus declares the island of Cuba for Spain and the Roman Catholic Faith, a faith that has stood strong for 500 years despite the communist regime of Fidel Castro and which, thanks to Pope John Paul II's visit in January, is showing a strong spirit of perseverance.
Pope Pius IX issues his 26th encyclical Levate dealing with the afflictions of Holy Mother Church.
Pope John Paul II beatifies Blessed Adolph Kolping.