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April 3-5, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 67



"...was crucified, died and was buried."

     Before we can arrive at the follow-up sentence to the Creed, which reads "On the third day He arose from the dead...", we must face the Way to Calvary for there can be no glory without the Cross. In her column this weekend Sister Mary Lucy Astuto points this out with Why Jesus chose to suffer in which she emphasizes the tremendous all-encompassing love Jesus had for all of us. She asks us to return that love. Click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

WHY JESUS CHOSE TO SUFFER

      This coming Sunday is Passion Sunday, also known as Palm Sunday. With it we begin Holy Week and the observance of the last week of Lent which includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday and ends with the wonderful and glorious Easter Sunday.

      I LOVE Easter Sunday. I love the commemoration of Our Lordís resurrection and triumph over sin and death. I love the lilies which join in by their beauty and wonderful aroma to announce: HE IS RISEN!

      But Iím getting a bit ahead of myself I want to digress first about the reasons why Jesus chose to suffer in order to redeem us.

      You know, He did not HAVE to choose to suffer. Since Jesus is DIVINE as well as human (He had two natures), every single act of His had infinite value. One blink of His eyes, one footstep, one nap, one trip to the well for water, one use of the hammer in the carpenter shop could have been used by Him and accepted by His Father to redeem the whole world. Everything Jesus did was infinitely pleasing to the Father and had infinite value. No matter how seemingly insignificant the act or unbeknownst to the people of His day, each act of Jesus or ANY act of His could have redeemed every person who had ever lived, was living at the time or would live.

      So then the question is: Why did Jesus choose the way of suffering? The answers are MAINLY two-fold. Jesus chose to suffer 1) to show us how terrible sin is and 2) to show us how much He loves us.

      Sin is THE reason why we need redemption at all. Sin is an offense against God. Sin offends God. God abhors sin. No sin is so small that God can be pleased with it. Even the so-called "white lies" are not "white." Sin is a contradiction to the very nature of God Who is All- Goodness. Sin is saying "NO!" to God.

      In the Scriptures Jesus said: "If you love Me, keep My Commandments." Not keeping Godís Commandments, whether in big areas or lesser ones IS sin. Our world today loves sin; loves to disregard Godís laws; accepts and loves evil. No sin is a "little" as one could not say that slapping Jesus is a "little" act.

      On the cross we SEE what our sins did to Jesus. We see in action the price He paid - a magnanimous price and the tremendous love it took to go the way of suffering. "Greater love than this no one has, that He lay down his life for his friend."

      Had Jesus chosen an "easy" way to redeem us, than all of humanity could understandably say: SO!!!! How does THAT prove God loves me? Or how does THAT show me how terrible sin is?

      Now, we have no excuse for those questions. Meditating on the Passion and Death of Jesus paints a very clear picture for us. Sin IS terrible to God and, yes, He loves us truly - infinitely - for in His sufferings and shedding of every last drop of His blood, we MUST acknowledge: GREATER LOVE THAN THIS NO ONE HAS, THAT HE WOULD GIVE HIS LIFE THAT I MIGHT LIVE FOREVER.

      Easter will have greater meaning for us if we "walk" the Passion with Jesus.

      Please be sure to get to confession before Easter! God bless you!


PROVERB OF THE DAY

"The nether world and the abyss lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of men!"

Proverbs 15: 11

PRAYERS & DEVOTION

This weekend's prayers are the third and fourth of the Seven Last Words of Christ that we will bring in these issues leading up to the Easter Triduum

      "Woman, there is your Son." (John 19: 26) Jesus, help me, that I might honor Your Mother and seek her aide in every aspect of my life.

      "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27: 46) Blessed Trinity, help me, that I might have the courage to be faithful to You even when I do not feel You near me. That I might understand with what grief the lukewarm souls caused You to suffer such grevious torment.

For more devotions of Lent, click on WAY OF THE CROSS


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

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Events this weekend in Church History

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

Historical Events in Church Annals for April 3:


Historical Events in Church Annals for April 4:


Historical Events in Church Annals for April 5:


637 - 636 - 635 and counting, hoping and praying..


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

HEADLINES:

PIUS XII WANTED TO CONDEMN NAZI, ARTICLE SAYS

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica has revealed that Pope Pius XII was prepared to issue an explicit denunciation of the Nazi Holocaust in 1942, but that he was persuaded not to publish the statement because of the consequences that would follow.

      The Civilta Cattolica story, to be published in that magazine's next issue, reports that Pius XII wrote the denunciation of the Nazi regime "with his own hand," intending that it would be published in L'Osservatore Romano. But the article goes on to say that the Pope eventually burned his own manuscript-- apparently in frustration-- because he had been convinced that such as statement would lead to even more brutal Nazi treatment of both Jews and Catholics.

      These striking revelations appear in an unsigned article on the recent Vatican document about the Holocaust and the controversy that has ensued. La Civilta Cattolica is generally regarded as a semi-official publication of the Vatican, whose articles are approved by the Secretariat of State.

      Father Pierre Blet, SJ, the sole survivor among the Jesuit historians who studied the secret Vatican archives from World War II, told the Rome news agency I Media that the revelation about the proposed statement came from Sister Pasqualina, the German nun who worked on the staff of Pope Pius XII for years. The story appeared in her memoirs in 1982, and Sister Pasqualina later confirmed the existence of the statement in conversation with Father Blet. However, the Jesuit historian continued, "I never used it in my writing because it is impossible to document this letter-- which has in fact disappeared." Intrigued by the story, he questioned Sister Pasqualina further, and learned that Pope Pius XII had burned the draft statement, in her presence, "in the kitchen of the pontifical apartments."

      The story in La Civilta Cattolica explains that Pope Pius XII was dissuaded from issuing his statement for three reasons:

      First, he noticed that the Nazi regime had intensified its persecution of Jews immediately after the publication of Mit Bennender Sorge, the German-language encyclical issued by his predecessor, Pope Pius XI, to condemn Nazi racial policies.

      Second, he learned that after Dutch bishops had made open protests against the deportation of Jews, earlier in 1942, the Nazi regime again responded by redoubling the persecution-- and also rounding up Jews who had converted to Catholicism, among them the Blessed Edith Stein.

      Finally, he was counseled by many Jewish leaders-- including some who had escaped from Berlin and elsewhere in Germany-- that such an explicit condemnation would be counterproductive.

      The report in La Civilta Cattolica matches the evidence produced by Cardinal Paolo Dezza, who had been rector of the Gregorian University during the wartime years. Last week Cardinal Dezza recalled visiting with Pope Pius XII, and finding: "The Pope was suffering, because he was ready to intervene publicly with a solemn condemnation of Hitler's actions. But he had me read a letter from the German bishops and cardinals, who begged him not to speak, because if the Pope spoke out publicly against Hitler, he would treat Catholics even more violently than Jews."

      The Civilta Cattolica article goes on to defend the Church against accusations that Catholic teaching provoked anti-Semitism, and to defend the Vatican decision not to offer unfettered access to the secret archives involving World War II. The unsigned editorial praised the recent statement, We Remember, as a positive step forward in inter-faith dialogue.


DALLAS EX-PRIEST SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON

      DALLAS (CWNews.com) - A Dallas jury on Wednesday sentenced a former priest to life in prison for sexually molesting young boys in his parishes during the 1980s and 90s.

      The verdict comes less than a year after a civil jury returned a $119.6 million verdict against the Diocese of Dallas for negligence in its handling of the allegations against Rudolph Kos, who was sentenced to life in prison on three counts of aggravated sexual assault and also received 20-year prison terms for conviction on four other accounts. He will be eligible to seek parole in 15 years.

      Kos had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. Eleven men had filed complaints against Kos for the assaults that occurred at three Dallas-area churches from 1981 to 1992. After the sentencing, the diocese said in a statement: "We hope with the conclusion of the criminal cases that all of us can move forward with the healing process."


NEW VIETNAM ARCHBISHOP INSTALLED

      HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (CWNews.com) - The new archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City was installed on Thursday in a sign of new cooperation between the Communist government of Vietnam and the Catholic Church.

      Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, 64, was selected as the replacement for the late Archbishop Paul Nguyen Van Binh, who died in July 1995, by an agreement between the Vatican and the government in Hanoi. The post has been vacant for so long because Hanoi refused to agree to a Vatican-appointed replacement. As with all religions in Vietnam, the administration of the official Catholic Church falls under the Communist party's mass movement umbrella agency, the Fatherland Front.

      Tensions rose last year when Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung of Hanoi sent a letter to Prime Minister Phan Van Khai complaining about restrictions on Church activities. The letter complained that priests faced a bureaucratic minefield to get permits to travel within their parishes, that applications to assign new priests to parishes faced delays, that strict limits on the number of young men permitted to enter seminaries were unreasonable, and that the restrictions forced people to follow their spiritual beliefs illegally.

      Around 200 priests and 1,800 others, including a handful of foreigners, crammed into Notre Dame cathedral for Archbishop Man's installation. Hundreds of others pushed up against the padlocked church gates to listen to the two-hour service. In a sermon, Ho Chi Minh City apostolic administrator Bishop Nicolas Huynh Van Nghi hinted that much needed to be done to improve relations between the Church and the Communist party.


VATICAN PAPER CONDEMNS DOMESTIC-PARTNER MOVE

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The official Vatican newspaper today issued a strong reaction to a proposal for legal approval of same-sex marriages. "Do we really want to kill the family?" asked L'Osservatore Romano.

      The proposal to grant legal status to homosexual "marriage" was introduced in the Italian chamber of deputies by representatives of the leftist PDS and centrist Forza Italia parties. It would provide for a registration of "affective unions," which same-sex couples could enter. The L'Osservatore article observed that by this process, a homosexual union would gain a status approximating that of a legal marriage, "within certain limits." The proposal would not allow homosexual couples to adopt children, nor would it have any effect on the legal status of children from a previous union.

      Nevertheless, the Vatican newspaper pointed out, the proposal is unsettling because it points to an abandonment of moral principles, and suggests a profound reversal of legal reasoning. L'Osservatore expressed shock that support for the proposal came from across party lines, noting: "One cannot remain indifferent, faced with the fact that a decision of such revolutionary has gained such broad support from both the majority and the opposition."

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Apri1 3-5, 1998 volume 9, no. 67         DAILY CATHOLIC