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

A Connecticutt Yankee in the Cardinal's dog-house

     With apologies to Samuel Langhorne Clemens - better known as Mark Twain who died eighty-eight years ago today, we present our take on another kind of Yankee and the man who is not afraid to take on not only the Yankee organization and "the boss" George Steinbrenner, but also Major League Baseball for their insensitivities to Catholics and Christians in staging games during the most sacred hours of Good Friday. For our editorial Who do you count on in the big apple? Go with O'Connor in a "New York minute!", click on today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT.

Who do you count on in the big apple? Go with O'Connor in a "New York minute!"

     Do you think the 500 pound girder that crashed into the seats behind third base at Yankee Stadium the other day was a coincidence? Perhaps it was a God-incidence for the Infinite Manager of all can't be too happy with the Yankee organization and, for that matter, the entire Major League Baseball organization for scheduling games in the afternoon on Good Friday this year. Think about it. The Yankees, headed by "the boss" George Steinbrenner- who always seems to get what he wants, went ahead and scheduled their Opening Day game at 1:05 on Good Friday. On this day not only Catholics, but most Christians reserve the hours between noon and three p.m. in commemorating the three hours Jesus hung on the Cross. It is a time when followers of Christ abstain from as many worldly or secular things as possible, setting those three hours aside in respectful quietude and serenity. Add to the fact that this year Passover also was beginning and the pin-stripers as well as acting commissioner Bud Selig and company offended even more citizens by brashly scheduling a starting time that flew in the face of our suffering Lord, not to mention those fervent souls who love baseball but love Jesus more! One of those souls, an avid Yankee and Mets fan was Cardinal John O'Connor, the esteemed prelate of New York City. Few leaders in America carry the clout this man of the cloth wields. When he speaks, people listen. They may not all agree with this loyal servant of the Roman Catholic Church, such as the gays and abortionists, but they do listen. The Boston Red Sox listened before he spoke, scheduling their Opening Day for 3:05 p.m. Though this is still not a good time considering one had to have left for Fenway Park by 1:30 to be comfortably seated by game time, thus consuming one and a half hours of the precious time reserved for prayer and introspection, at least it was an effort to respect the tradition of Good Friday. The Cleveland Indians, the Yankees' opposition on Good Friday, filed a formal protest objecting to the start time and asking that future scheduling take into account the sensitivities of Christians who reserve this day as so sacred. Hooray for the Wahoos! That's their beloved nickname that Clevelanders embrace so dearly, not a putdown. Observing the sacredness of Good Friday during the Easter Triduum is dear to Cardinal O'Connor for the sake of his flock and he made no bones about his displeasure in his weekly column in the New York CATHOLIC last week. He berated the Yanks and Mets (though they were not involved), but, out of principal, because they are all intricately woven into the fabric known as the American and National Leagues, he vowed to boycott all baseball games this year! That message was heard loud and clear in the New York offices of Major League Baseball who did a fast shuffle, back-stepping and apologizing profusely while vowing it would not happen again. But that was not good enough for the Cardinal and, we suspect, not good enough for his Boss - known as the Holy Trinity! Good for the Cardinal! It's about time more Catholic prelates spoke out against the disregard for the sensitivities of Catholics, as well as Christians and Jews. Catholics have taken a beating with the bashing from liberals and anti-Catholics - from ABC-Disney's short-lived travesty Nothing Sacred to the ballyhooed Dallas sexual abuse trial last summer. In the big apple, the gay and pro-abortionist worms have attacked the Cardinal for his strong stance against homosexuality and abortion. But he's held his own, not backing down one iota. More power to him!

     Speaking of power, that is what Steinbrenner has always wielded. This is a man who is known to be set in his ways - few can tell him anything. If he wants his team to start at 1 p.m. on Good Friday, the hell with the rest, they'll play! But he's met his match, not only in the Cardinal, but in the bigger Boss upstairs Who reminded ol' George he is, afterall, only human! Just as the temple was rent asunder when Jesus died, so also the temple of greed - that 75 year old edifice that has become a shrine - is beginning to be rent asunder. The beam that plummetted into the plastic seats was a strong reminder Who's really "the Boss." Ol' George was forced to vacate his temple and trek across town to Flushing Meadows, home of the Mets at Shea Stadium to play the Angels - something you just know had to gall the Yankee head man. Though the Angels lost that game, the Angels above had to be weeping that society has become so immune to the sensitivities of the sacred that "the game" is more important than the soul. This editor is a big sports fan, always has been, but I too draw the line when it comes to interferring with my faith. Yet I've always loved the game. Baseball is America! Baseball is mom and apple pie! Baseball is family and relaxation. Baseball is green grass and a blue sky. At least it used to be. Now television rules the roost, dictating when most games are played such as the World Series at 9 p.m. at night when most kids should be getting ready for bed and school the next day. Ironically, had the Yankees waited until the evening of Good Friday to play their Opening Day game, they would have garnered higher Nielsen ratings since it would have been in prime time. But Steinbrenner and the League offices opted for their own agenda and the results are evident. The end has to justify the means. When it doesn't, it doesn't mount to a hill of beans. And beans is what ol' George may be left with as he tries to construct a beanstalk out of the decaying house that Babe Ruth built in the Bronx. Yankee Stadium is falling apart just as society is falling apart. It is not one big explosion, but rather an implosion for America's soul is rotting away just as the beams and wood structure of that hallowed hall of Murderer's Row is also rotting away. Building a new ballpark may be easier for ol' George then rebuilding his soul for Jesus said in Matthew 19: 24, "I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." And sadly, George may have a lot of company trying to push that dromedary through the opening because today the age of family-owned teams has gone the way of the dinosaur. Now we have filthy-rich barons such as Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner, not to mention our old nemesis Disney, who wield the power and if it's good for the bottom line, then forget ethics and spirituality. They have a business to run and they'll do it their way, thank you. Even if the Cardinal won't be chomping down on a hot-dog and enjoying some Crackerjacks, there are plenty who will compromise and rush to take his place at the ballpark and that's all that matters to this new breed of owners: Filling seats and their own coffers along with their "chattel" in uniform who strive to get by on their guaranteed multi-million dollar contracts!

     The Cardinal carries clout and hopefully by lambasting his beloved teams and the entire League it will make a dent in the thick-headed skulls of the decision makers. If not, watch for more ballparks to begin imploding as God sends a message that "it's only a game" and that the real contest is between our priorities in this temporal, fleeting world or celebrating for eternity with Him. It's the bottom of the ninth, two out, bases loaded, you're down by a run. Who do you send up to pinch hit? Bud Selig, any of the other owners, Steinbrenner, or O'Connor? Selig is too unpredictable. The other owners, because they can never agree, won't know which side of the plate to hit from, and as for "the boss" he's got enough problems with his crumbling edifice and million-dollar cry babies. We all know this self-proclaimed "boss" will have to ultimately answer to "The Boss!". So who do you go to in the clutch? It's a no-brainer! Go with the one who's got the clout and providence to hammer home the winning run everytime! Go with O'Connor in a "New York minute!"

Michael Cain, editor

Innocents Abroad

  &nsbp;  Again, taking a page from Mr. Twain, we thought this title best depicted the life of King Saint Louis IX of France who, during his forty-four year tenure as monarch sought with all his might to be just and giving to the innocent ones for he himself was an innocent soul who placed all his trust in God. He spent his middle years as king away from family and France heading up two Crusades and therefore was abroad for quite some time. His contributions to the Church helped sustain Holy Mother Church during volatile times as we see in the sixty-fourth installment entitled Saints who preserved the Church during the turbulent thirteenth century: The indomitable Louis IX. Click on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH


     While the sixteenth century is often referred to as the "Century of Saints" because of the quantity of holy men and women who arose during that time, the thirteenth century is known for the quality of holy men and women who greatly contributed to Holy Mother Church; saints like Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Clare, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Gertrude, Saint Hedwig, Saint Raymond of Penyafort, and the Servite Founders. In addition there was the "Paris connection" of Saint Albert the Great, Saint Bonaventure and Saint Thomas Aquinas - all great Doctors of the Church and the man who enabled them to flourish - Saint Louis IX king of France who we cover in this installment below.

Installment Sixty-Four

Saints who preserved the Church during the turbulent thirteenth century. The indomitable Louis IX

     While there were several popes who tried their best to keep Holy Mother Church on the straight and narrow path during the turbulent thirteenth century, there were those pontiffs who, because of political expediencey, weakened the status of the Church sometimes usurping their power for temporal means. Had it not been for the steady influence of a few saints during this century who knows what course the Church might have followed. Thanks to the heroic efforts of men like Saint Louis IX, the stellar king of France, as well as the greatest Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas the Church came through these trials with flying colors, preserving her integrity and Divine mission that has carried down through today. Today we will highlight the accomplishments of the former, next week the latter.

     The century began with two of the most stalwart saints this world has ever known - Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic whose legacy resulted in the conversions of millions through their orders - the Franciscans and Dominicans. The same year that Francis trekked barefoot from Assisi to Rome to request approval from Pope Innocent III for his fledgling order of Friars Minor, a future saint and king was born in Poissy, France, the son of King Louis VIII and Queen Blanche of Castille. His mother, a fervent Catholic raised him loyally and when he was but a mere twelve-years old his father died, bequeathing the throne to young Louis. Blanche had all she could do to thwart the coups against the throne from those usurpers who tried to take advantage of the monarch's death and pounce before young Louis could grow to maturity. But his mother prevailed through God's providence and when he was twenty Louis was married to the daughter of Count Raymund Berenger from Provence - Margaret. When he turned twenty-one Louis took full reign of France and, through Blanche's sage guidance, was able to fend off revolts throughout southern France. It was from 1242 to 1249 that he gained great notoriety as a great warrior with victories over King Henry III of England at Taillebourg, Poitou and Raymond VII at Toulouse. Though Louis and Margaret went on to have eleven children, Louis would be gone from the home hearth for great lengths of time, primarily because of his involvement in the Crusades. Though everyone expected the German Emperor Frederick II to lead the Fourth Crusade, when he dragged his feet Pope Innocent IV turned to Louis who willingly took up the cause. In 1248 he led crusaders to a stunning victory at Damietta in 1249 but a year later, his troops were ambushed and soundly defeated by the Saracens at El Mansura. Louis was captured and imprisoned by the infidels. Because of his resources, Louis was able to ransom himself and his men and were directed to the Holy Land where they remained until 1254. Louis returned to France that year due to his mother's death and, through a series of battles, wheeled and dealed other territories in order to solidify France with the acquisition of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine and Poitou in the Treaty of Paris in 1259. In 1258 he gave up Roussillon and Barcelona in the south in exchange for Provence and Languedoc from Aragon with the Treaty of Corbeil. In 1270, at the age of 56 he embarked on the Sixth Crusade. This was a trying time for the papal chair was empty after the death of Pope Clement IV in 1268. It would remain vacant, due to intense in-fighting among the conclave, until Pope Blessed Gregory X was elected four years later in 1272. But Louis would not live to see Gregory become Pope for he contracted typhoid fever soon after landing in Tunis where he, along with his devoted son Philip, died on August 25, 1270 uttering the words of the psalmist, "Into Thy hands I commend my soul."

     Though he was a great military mind, that is not what he is remembered for. His monarchy was one of great kindness and sympathy to all his subjects and he sought to enhance the faith by founding several religious and educational institutions. He also forbade any kind of fighting between feudal lords in an effort to bring about peace in France and protect the vassals for he had a great love for all people, especially the poor and dessolate. He was always a man of his word and gave back much more than he took. He will go down as one of, if not the greatest of all French monarchs. In 1239 he was gifted with the original Crown of Thorns by Emperor Baldwin II and he rebuilt the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris to house this very special relic. In 1257 he founded the world-famous Sorbonne University and numerous other places of culture, the arts and religious edifices in the Gothic architecture which would incorporate all of Europe. It was Louis who instituted France's first navy. However his greatest contributions were not to France but to Holy Mother Church for his wise counsel and insistence when the popes wavered kept her on an even keel through the troubled seas of the that century. His wisdom was a breath of fresh air compared to the treachery and schemes of the German emperors who played Rome like a fool. Louis promoted peace and prosperity for not just France but all his European neighbors offering the pen in treaty negotiations rather that utilizing the sword. "The sword is only for those who deny Christ," this holy king is quoted as saying. Louis ruled for forty-four years and 27 years after his death Pope Boniface VIII canonized him. He immediately became patron saint of France.

      One of his dearest friends was a Dominican who taught at the University. That man was Saint Thomas Aquinas who we will feature in the next installment of this on-going series.

Ever the Twain shall meet...

     ...and forgive all injuries. That is not only the advice of Mark Twain but also Jesus in His 82nd Lesson/Meditation to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart among a series of 100 Meditative Lessons imparted to her. The following FORGIVE ALL INJURIES was conveyed on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11, 1995. Just as Twain's Tom Sawyer forgave all injuries and overcame the fear of Indian Joe, so also Our Lord asks us to forgive all and overcome the fear of the world by fearing in the Lord. Click on THE HIDDEN WAY

Lesson/Meditation #82:


(Imparted on February 11, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lord)
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

      Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, I, Jesus Christ, Only-Begotten Son of God and Savior of the World, come this day when the world honors My Holy and Immaculate Mother in her apparitions at Lourdes.

      There She bore witness to the Truth, giving all honor, glory, praise and worship to the Trinity, for she declared to My child Bernadette "I Am The Immaculate Conception". This, you must believe if you are Mine in My One Holy, Catholic Church. I Myself tell you yet again. This dogma is truth! Believe, My children, for Truth is Light and you are suffocating in the darkness of satan's half truths.

      O! You must be full of My Truth, My children, for yet one more and final dogma is to be proclaimed by My holy, beloved Vicar Pope John Paul II. With what eagerness does Heaven await this dogma, for by it the Divine Will is fulfilled.

      But My enemy does not want this dogma; he lays a million traps so that never shall it be declared, and thus he tries to seal the lips of My Vicar. But I, your God, alone Am Truth and Light and My Spirit shall speak through My beloved Vicar and the dogma shall be proclaimed! Pray much for this. You do not pray enough for this, little children. Sadly, you do not know how to pray.

      I solemnly tell you, My children. Pray as I taught you. Pray as My Mother beseeches you, and then, little children,, you will be able to fulfill that Spiritual Work of Mercy which tells you to FORGIVE ALL INJURIES with patience, love, fortitude and an honest and pure heart!

      Let us begin then with the first word of this particular Work of Mercy. In the previous work of mercy I explained to you that if you truly love Me you must BEAR all injuries. To bear means an acceptance, spiritually and with your whole heart, of all wrong done unto you. That is, My children, to pick up your Cross daily and follow Me. Now that you have accepted your Cross, be it large or small, be it one or many, you follow Me!

      And what example did I give unto you throughout all of My Sacred and Sorrowful Passion? Let us look at this together, dear children, for then you will be able to succeed in this Spiritual Work of Mercy which commends and commands you to FORGIVE all injuries.

      Dear little children, do you think I do not know how difficult it is for you to forgive? Did I not create you? Do I not know you? And, o! How I love you. It was Love which allowed Me, the Son of God, Savior and Lord, to FORGIVE.

      From the beginning of My earthly life My heart and soul were fully one with the Eternal Will of My Father. Love alone spurred Me on, and My lips were ceaselessly in prayer, while I was among you. So many countless injuries were done unto Me, your God, the full martyrdom of body, heart and soul. Yet each and every one I forgave so that My Eternal Father in Heaven would also forgive, that man might return to unity with The Blessed Trinity.

      Walk with Me now for a little while and you will understand more clearly that, for you, my weak little children, forgiveness must be an act of your will. First it thrives in your soul, animated by the Holy Spirit, who enflames you with love for Me. This Love then prompts your weak, yet stubborn, human will to forgive. This is a cry, a plea that rises to Me, an echo of My own words as I hung upon the Cross and beseeched: "Father, forgive them, They do not know what they are doing." And I send down graces. Nay, I bend down and give to you My own heart so your "will" to forgive transcends the mere human will and becomes a great spiritual work of Mercy.

      Remember, little ones, I speak to you today about the Spiritual life, that purely mystical life of your immortal soul which is made in My Image and Likeness. The life of the soul-grace-flowing from the Holy Spirit and the fully-lived faith of My One True Church, lifts up your heart, detaching it, as it were, from the lower human ego, will, and intellect which are the driving force behind your human emotions and feelings, which are very strong.

      Being lifted up to the Spiritual level your heart slowly transforms by means of My Merits, My grace, and empowered by My love enables you to place all human emotions, feelings and their consequences upon a higher, purer plane-the mystical ladder that leads to Me.

      Therefore, by willing to forgive, and by repeatedly willing to forgive you join your heart to My Most Sacred Heart, and your willingness to forgive must not cease, but pour out from your heart as a libation offered unto Me. In this way you are united to My Passion. My Heart was pierced. By its piercing I welcome you into Its Refuge. There you learn and become strong in the spiritual life, and your weak humanity is slowly subdued and finally conquered by the sublime mystery of My Passion, Death and Resurrection; by all grace and workings of the Holy Spirit in you.

      So, little children, do not seek so much, or ponder so fully, upon "forgiveness." To feel forgiveness is not what this Spiritual Work of Mercy speaks of. This forgiveness is the continuation of My words upon the Cross. Forgiveness of all injuries is recognition that I, Jesus Christ, willed to forgive you for all the injuries you would do unto Me in your life, and in recognition of this Infinite Love you offer this very same forgiveness to all of your brothers and sisters who do you injury-in any and every manner!

      By this Spiritual Work of Mercy you seek no judgment of the person who has committed the injury. That is, you recognize the evil deed or sin involved against you, but you defer all judgment of the soul to Me, asking that this sin not be counted against the person. To FORGIVE ALL INJURIES is to call down Divine Mercy upon yourself and to share that Mercy with everyone!

      O! How eagerly I await to forgive you. How little you seek forgiveness from Me. So very few of My children allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten their souls so that they may see every crack, crevice and spot of debris which has gathered there. How very few of My children will to root out the tiniest speck which separates them from Me. Those who do this are they who fulfill this Spiritual Work of Mercy and forgive all injuries as I forgive.

      All of you are called to become like Me, to be transformed by the Holy Spirit in heart and soul into My own Image. Unless you are humble, unless you first recognize and acknowledge your own need to be forgiven, you cannot FORGIVE-not even one injury much less all injuries!

      Therefore, I do solemnly tell you that in these end times you cannot be Mine and be stubborn and proud of heart! I ask each of you to thoroughly examine your heart and soul with the aid of The Holy Spirit and to go to the Sacrament of Penance. Then, having been forgiven, go and do likewise to everyone in your life, and you shall know Mercy and be Mercy in My Name, for I Come!


Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

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