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April 21, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 77


     Besides being a weekday in the Second Week of Easter, it is also the feast of another great Doctor of the Church - Saint Anselm, Bishop. For his story as well the liturgy, readings, and meditations for today and tomorrow's Mass, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Tuesday, April 21, 1998


     Born in 1033 in the village of Aosta, Italy near Piedmont St. Anselm became a Benedictine monk despite his father's protests. To fulfill his vocation he was forced to flee to France where he entered the Benedictine monastery at Bec in Normandy, France at the age of 23. There he was appointed abbot in 1078 and became known far and wide as a dynamic preacher. His prowess as a holy man reached across the channel to Britain where the English King William Rufus (William II) requested he become his highness' personal confessor. In 1092 the English clergy overwhelmingly beseeched him to become Archbishop of Canterbury which had been vacant for three years. While Anselm consented to it, he refused to compromise the Church's position with the state and the English king who, for worldly reasons, refused to acknowledge Anselm. To further aggravate the situation, William II demanded excessive payments from Anselm for the diocese which the latter refused to pay. Those who were not loyal to Rome backed the king against Anselm, but when the bishop made an impassioned plea to the people, "If any man pretends that I violate my faith to my king because I will not reject the authority of the Holy See of Rome, let him stand forth, and in the name of God I will answer him as I ought." The common people understood he was one of them and they rallied behind Anselm who fled England to Rome. There Pope Urban I backed Anselm and refused William's demands for fees or threats to confiscate diocesan property. The king realized he had met his match and the "vox populi" sounded solidly behind Anselm against the king. William wilted and died in 1100. With the obstacle gone, Anselm returned triumphantly to England but ran into almost the same problems with William's successor King Henry II over lay investiture. Anselm returned to Rome where Urban's successor Pope Paschal II strongly supported the archbishop. Henry realized it was a no-win situation and recanted allowing Anselm to return and invest bishops and abbots himself instead of the king. In 1102 at a synod in Westminster, Anselm was one of the first to vigorously denounce slave trade in Africa. In 1108, Henry made Anselm a regent and a year later Anselm passed on to his Heavenly reward when he breathed his last on April 21, 1109 at the age of seventy six.

      Though he had been embroiled in many disputes with imperial parties during his bishopric, he wrote many tomes on theology and established a powerful influence on the people of his time, coming to be known as the "Father of Scholasticism." He was studied in depth by such luminaries as Saint Thomas Aquinas. In 1720 Pope Clement XI declared Anselm a "Doctor of the Church."

Wednesday, April 22, 1998


Today's Prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for the Mass honoring Saint Anselm

      Father, you called Saint Anselm to study and teach the sublime truths you have revealed. Let your gift of faith come to the aid of our understanding and open our hearts to your truth.

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World
News Service



     VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II opened the special Synod of Bishops for Asia on Sunday, April 19. As he did, he indicated that he still hoped that a few bishops from mainland China would be able to participate.

      Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the press spokesman for the Holy See, told reporters that the Holy Father had specifically invited two senior Chinese bishops to attend, so that all of the country's other bishops could feel that they were represented.

      Bishop Matthias Duan Yinming, the first of the Pope's choices, is the oldest bishop in China, having been consecrated in the Diocese of Wanxia, Sechuan, in 1949. He was born in the same diocese in 1908.

      The second bishop mentioned, Bishop Joseph Xu Zhixuan, is the coadjutor of Wanxia. He was born in 1916 and ordained to the priesthood in 1946, then to the episcopacy in 1980.

      Vatican sources indicated that there are at least 70,000 Catholics loyal to Rome within the Wanxia diocese. One source added that at least 50 of the bishops who work within the government-sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association have secretly pledged their loyalty to the Holy See.

      In a related story, out of Beijing on the eve of the Vatican's bishop synod for Asia, the chairman of the Communist-approved Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association on Monday called on Pope John Paul II to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize Communist China.

      "We hope that Pope John Paul II will cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognize the People's Republic of China as China's only legitimate government as soon as possible," said Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan, head of the state-sanctioned church which eschews all ties to the Vatican and rejects some foundational dogmas, including papal infallibility. "If the political problems between the two states are resolved it will open new prospects in the relations between the two churches," the bishop told a news briefing in Beijing.

      China does not allow the Pope to appoint bishops, allowing only its own appointed bishops to lead Catholics. A large community of Catholics worship underground, led by bishops who proclaim loyalty to the Holy Father. Bishop Fu said while the state-approved Chinese Catholic church pledges allegiance to China's Communist government and does not recognize the Vatican's authority, it had no differences with the Universal Church on matters of religious belief. "We are completely in accord with the Pope on matters of faith and doctrine, and Chinese Catholics pray for the Pope in Masses in all churches," he said.


     PARIS (CWNews.com) - Thousands of France's mayors have signed a petition asking the government to rethink plans to allow same-sex marriages, eliciting strong responses from homosexual activists on Sunday.

      France's Socialist-led government is preparing legislation to introduce a "contract of social union" that will give homosexual or heterosexual couples living together, the legal rights currently enjoyed by married people. Michel Pinton, the former secretary-general of the large Union for French Democracy party (UDF) and now mayor of the small village of Felletin in central France, sent letters in March to France's 36,000 mayors asking them to voice their opposition to the plan, because they would be asked to officiate at these "weddings," and up to 12,000 have done so.

      "In our sick French society, the two things that are still healthy, the family and the town council, are now being threatened by a catastrophic weakness," he wrote. "It may be that this new form of marriage, which you will have to officiate at, clashes with your conscience."

      The organizers of the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage responded with a threat to sue Pinton. "He is being very dishonest as well as homophobic," organizer Jan-Paul Pouliquen told Reuters News Service. "We are not talking about gay marriage ceremonies with vows, but a simple contract to be signed at the town hall in front of any council official."

      Ironically regarding France's immediate neighbor Luxembourg, the US Senate is facing a contentious vote as it returns from its Easter recess over sending the United States' first openly homosexual ambassador to that predominantly Catholic country.

      James Hormel is President Clinton's nominee to be ambassador to the tiny, European nation of Luxembourg, which is 97 percent Catholic, and was the only foreign relations nominee not acted upon at the end of last year's session. Three Republican senators, expressing concern that he would use the post to promote a homosexual agenda and offend Catholics, put "holds" on the nomination, effectively freezing it. But before leaving for the Easter recess, 42 Democrats sent Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, a letter supporting the nomination and urging a vote.

      Hormel, a 64-year-old San Francisco businessman, Democratic Party contributor, and heir to the Hormel Meat Co. fortune, received unanimous Senate confirmation last May for another post, as an alternate to the US delegation to the UN General Assembly. His current nomination also received approval for a full Senate vote last November with 16-2 vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

      The Family Research Council voiced its opposition to the nomination citing Hormel's financial support for a documentary aimed at educators that promotes homosexual lifestyles and his leadership of a 1996 "gay pride" parade in San Francisco in which he lauded homosexuals dressed as nuns. FRC president Gary Bauer, citing Luxembourg as a Catholic country, said "appointing an ambassador who shows nothing but contempt for certain groups of believers should offend every American who believes in the Constitution."


     VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A Belgian nun was killed by armed marauders in Congo earlier this month, the Vatican news service Fides has reveal.

      Sister Anne Desrumeaux was killed in the evening of April 8 when a group of soldiers attacked the convent of St. Therese in Nganza, in the Diocese of Kananga. The same convent had been the object of a previous attack on the preceding Sunday, which was Palm Sunday. The attackers were discouraged on that occasion when one of the nuns set off an alarm that brought the local population to the alert. But on Wednesday night of Holy Week, a group of about 20 men broke into the convent, and shot down the Belgian nun when she confronted them. She was rushed to the nearest hospital, but during the long trip-- made still longer when the driver was forced to make a detour around an armed rebel camp-- she lost blood steadily, and she was declared dead at the hospital in Thikagi.

      Archbishop Godefroid Mukeng'a Kalong celebrated a funeral Mass for Sister Desrumeaux in St. Clement cathedral in Kananga on Holy Thursday. Among those present for the funeral was the local governor, who received a formal protest from the diocese because of the inadequate security at the convent.


      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II presided today at the funeral of Cardinal Alberto Bovone, who died on April 17 after a long illness.

      The Holy Father praised Cardinal Bovone for his wisdom, discretion, and energy in carrying out the work of the Vatican, where he had worked in the Roman Curia since 1951. Cardinal Bovone was prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints when he died. He had been elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul in February, but-- too ill to attend the conclave-- actually received his red hat from Cardinal Angelo Sodano in his room at Gemelli Hospital.

      The death of Cardinal Bovone leaves 118 cardinals eligible to vote in a papal conclave.

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Events today in Church History

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

Historical Events in Church Annals for April 21:


"The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that a man may avoid the snares of death"

Proverbs 13: 14

Medjugorje Monthly Message for March 25th

   Dear children! Also today I call you to fasting and renunciation. Little children, renounce that which hinders you from being closer to Jesus. In a special way I call you: Pray, because only through prayer will you be able to overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things. By your daily life, little children, you will become an example and witness that you live for Jesus or against Him and His will. Little children, I desire that you become apostles of love. By loving, little children, it will be recognized that you are mine. Thank you for having responded to my call. For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

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Apri1 21, 1998 volume 9, no. 77   DAILY CATHOLIC