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April 6, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 68

HOLY WEEK On the Way to Calvary

We Remember!

     Because of its importance and because of all the controversy surrounding this document, we bring you the full document with part one today. This document entitled We Remember. A Reflection on the Shoah was released on March 16 this year by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassady of Australia who is the President of the Commission of Religious Relations with the Jews. The document came under quite a bit of heat from liberal Jewish factions because the Vatican did not hand them the head of Pope Pius XII on a platter as the scapegoat for the Holocaust. Rather, further documents have been produced and key people, both Catholic and Jew, have come forward to totally exonerate Pius of any wrong-doing and actually point out the painstaking ways he went out of his way to help the Jewish cause during World War II. For the first part of this document that includes an introduction by Pope John Paul II, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
INTRODUCTION: With all the controversy swirling over the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish community regarding the Holocaust, Pope John Paul II authorized Cardinal Edward Idris Cassady of Australia to draw up a document on the Church's response to the "Shoah" which the Jews refer to as the Holocaust. In the following installments we will include the entire text of this document but, because so many don't want all the footnotes included, we have eliminated those. If you want the full text with footnotes, please refer to the Vatican home page. The first part of this is the Holy Father's introduction to this document entitled: "We Remember. A Reflection on the Shoah (Holocaust)" BELOW: the first installment of We Remember.

The Vicar of Christ Speaks

We Remember. A Reflection on the Shoah

first installment:

Words from Pope John Paul II on "A Reflection on the Shoah (Holocaust)"



I. The tragedy of the Shoah and the duty of remembrance

      The twentieth century is fast coming to a close and a new Millennium of the Christian era is about to dawn. The 2000th anniversary of the Birth of Jesus Christ calls all Christians, and indeed invites all men and women, to seek to discern in the passage of history the signs of divine Providence at work, as well as the ways in which the image of the Creator in man has been offended and disfigured.

      This reflection concerns one of the main areas in which Catholics can seriously take to heart the summons which Pope John Paul II has addressed to them in his Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente: "It is appropriate that, as the Second Millennium of Christianity draws to a close, the Church should become more fully conscious of the sinfulness of her children, recalling all those times in history when they departed from the spirit of Christ and his Gospel and, instead of offering to the world the witness of a life inspired by the values of faith, indulged in ways of thinking and acting which were truly forms of counter-witness and scandal".(1)

      This century has witnessed an unspeakable tragedy, which can never be forgotten: the attempt by the Nazi regime to exterminate the Jewish people, with the consequent killing of millions of Jews. Women and men, old and young, children and infants, for the sole reason of their Jewish origin, were persecuted and deported. Some were killed immediately, while others were degraded, illtreated, tortured and utterly robbed of their human dignity, and then murdered. Very few of those who entered the Camps survived, and those who did remained scarred for life. This was the Shoah. It is a major fact of the history of this century, a fact which still concerns us today.

      Before this horrible genocide, which the leaders of nations and Jewish communities themselves found hard to believe at the very moment when it was being mercilessly put into effect, no one can remain indifferent, least of all the Church, by reason of her very close bonds of spiritual kinship with the Jewish people and her remembrance of the injustices of the past. The Church's relationship to the Jewish people is unlike the one she shares with any other religion.(2) However, it is not only a question of recalling the past. The common future of Jews and Christians demands that we remember, for "there is no future without memory".(3) History itself is memoria futuri.

      In addressing this reflection to our brothers and sisters of the Catholic Church throughout the world, we ask all Christians to join us in meditating on the catastrophe which befell the Jewish people, and on the moral imperative to ensure that never again will selfishness and hatred grow to the point of sowing such suffering and death.(4) Most especially, we ask our Jewish friends, "whose terrible fate has become a symbol of the aberrations of which man is capable when he turns against God",(5) to hear us with open hearts.

II. What we must remember

      While bearing their unique witness to the Holy One of Israel and to the Torah, the Jewish people have suffered much at different times and in many places. But the Shoah was certainly the worst suffering of all. The inhumanity with which the Jews were persecuted and massacred during this century is beyond the capacity of words to convey. All this was done to them for the sole reason that they were Jews.

      The very magnitude of the crime raises many questions. Historians, sociologists, political philosophers, psychologists and theologians are all trying to learn more about the reality of the Shoah and its causes. Much scholarly study still remains to be done. But such an event cannot be fully measured by the ordinary criteria of historical research alone. It calls for a "moral and religious memory" and, particularly among Christians, a very serious reflection on what gave rise to it.

      The fact that the Shoah took place in Europe, that is, in countries of long-standing Christian civilization, raises the question of the relation between the Nazi persecution and the attitudes down the centuries of Christians towards the Jews.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Two of the Vatican's statement on the Holocaust: "We Remember. A Reflection on the Shoah": III. Relations between Jews and Christians.

A rich lesson on riches

      Monday in Holy Week provides the scenario of how two men considered riches. One, Lazarus used his to help others and to do God's Will and he was greatly blessed - so much so that Jesus raised him from the dead. The other, Judas Iscariot, disallusioned that Christ was not interested in the riches of this world, sought other ways to obtain riches, culminating in the disastrous reception of thirty pieces of silver for betraying his Master. The lesson today is that the greatest riches can never be obtained in this world, but rather only in Heaven. For today's readings, lesson and liturgy as well as tomorrow's, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY FOR HOLY WEEK

On the Road to Calvary

MONDAY, April 6, 1998

Worldly Riches are a mere drop in the Ocean of Heavenly Riches

     The three gospels leading up to Holy Thursday deal with Judas Iscariot and his path to damnation. In the first reading, Isaiah records in Isaiah 42:1 "...my chosen one with whom I am pleased." This Our Lord wanted so much to say about one of His Apostles, Judas. Yet, at every occasion, Jesus sadly saw the path Judas was on. No matter what He would say, Judas had his eyes on worldly treasures rather than Heavenly riches. This is made evident in the Gospel for Monday of Holy Week where John relates the account of Lazarus, whom Jesus commanded back to life. Lazarus was a rich man who used his riches for the good of others and serves as an ideal example for wealthy Christians today that they indeed can use worldly riches toward eternal treasures by following the Gospel of Christ and heeding the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Judas had his priorities confused when he protested over the waste of expensive perfume Mary Magdalene used to anoint her Lord's feet. To Jesus, it was a humble gesture of love and obedience to God's Will; to Judas, it was a waste of money for he protested that "It could have brought three hundred silver pieces, and the money have been given to the poor" (John 12: 5). We get a good indication how the others felt about Judas' greed in the next sentence when John, the gentlest and most loving of all the Apostles curtly says in verse 6: "Now he said this, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and holding the purse, used to take what was put in it."

      In the eighth verse Jesus hits the nail on the head, so to speak when He says in John 12: 8 after admonishing Judas to leave the Magdalene alone, "For the poor you have always with you, but you do not always have Me." The impact of this sentence hits home that the greatest Treasure is there among them in the flesh in the person of the Son of God, Who prophesizes His burial and the Magdalene's role by indicating in the verse before that she should keep the rest to anoint His body which she indeed did and was one of the faithful, along with John, to follow Jesus all the way to the Cross and beyond to the Sepulchre. It was only fitting she was rewarded for her loyalty by being the first to see Jesus after He had risen.

      This lesson should help us put things in perspective, to realize the greatest treasures are not here on earth, but only in Heaven will we attain unfathomable wealth when we behold the face of God. Our lifespan is but a drop of water compared to the ocean of Heavenly Eternity. That in itself should help us put our priorities in order. Do we put more importance on that tiny drop of water than the entire Infinite ocean? Judas did and we all know his fate. That should strongly remind us the path he sought was a dead-end. When we realize the insignificance of this lifespan in relationship with everlasting life with God it will better help us join Jesus on the path to Calvary. There on the Cross was the greatest ransom ever made and for it, Jesus released to us untold of treasures that are ours for the asking. All we need do is heed His Will and knock at the Door of His Sacred and Merciful Heart for the day's Responsorial Psalm says it all: "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation."

TUESDAY, April 7, 1998

The tale of two Apostles who both denied Christ

     The Gospel for this day, from John, treats the two Apostles who denied Christ. One, of course was Judas Iscariot who swiftly left the Last Supper room to do his dastardly deed and ultimately despaired for the evil one had so greatly possessed him as John points out so poignantly in verse 27 when the Evangelist writes, "And after the morsel, satan entered into him." The other is Simon Peter. Always the inquisitive one, Peter presses Our Lord as to who is the one who will betray him. He even pledges his loyalty so boldly that he swears he will follow Jesus wherever He goes. Jesus knows only too well Peter's weaknesses and prophesizes in John 13: 38, "Amen, amen, I say to thee, the cock will not crow before thou dost deny me thrice."

      Incredulous, Peter truly believes this will never happen, but alas we all know it did. We also know Peter went on to become the Rock Jesus had intended in founding His One True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. What was the difference between the two? Besides character, one asked for forgiveness and resolved to amend his ways just as the Good Thief Dismas also did as he was clinging to life on the cross with Christ; the other despaired, too proud to come in humility and ask to be reconciled. Judas' actions were also paralleled by the Bad Thief who hung there scorning Jesus and deriding Dismas.

      How many times have we denied Christ? Oh, true, they were small, but they build up. As Catholics we have the saving grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But we cannot abuse it. We can't feel it is a convenient outlet to just wipe away the same sins we intend to commit again. No, we must make a commitment to sin no more as the priest commands at the end of Confession. Sure, because we are human, we will sin again...but it is not a will to sin, but our weakness that we fall. The shame is in staying in sin, refusing to get up. There is no shame in falling and rising again, asking forgiveness. Jesus is always there to help us, just as He was there to forgive Peter He was there to forgive Judas, but the Iscariot did not respond. Will we respond when we fail? Will we come running to the Merciful Heart begging for Mercy? Our Lady assures us of being forgiven and begs us to go to Confession often, at least once a month and more if possible. The more we take advantage of this wonderful Sacrament, the more we realize the graces inherent and the protective shell we can build around our soul and lifestyle to keep satan out. Like Peter, we too, have been chosen. Like Peter, we too, have fallen and will fall again. Like Peter, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to instill the Gifts that will enable us to continue joyfully on the way to Calvary as we eagerly repeat the words of the Psalmist in today's Psalm 71: 3 - 4, "Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked."

Pilate procrastinates in the Praetorium

      Rather than doing the right thing and setting Our Lord free, he procrastinates on a decision as the demons dance about his conscience and soul as we see in the second part of Meditative Lesson 13: THE JUDGMENT BY PILATE These meditative lessons, imparted by Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart during Lent of 1993, are meant to inspire and prompt a greater understanding of the season of Lent, especially during Holy Week, and help us all prepare for His Passion and Death, and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. Click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

part two

     Now Pilate is really desperate. There had been in him a slight hope that this man before him might deny such a claim. If he had, Pilate might have been able to defend the release of the prisoner to Rome, despite and Jewish uprising. But He had answered: "Thou sayest it!" and Pilate’s soul, which knew and belonged to God, recognized Him and heard the truth in the answer. And for this Truth the Jews would insist on His death, and Pilate would ultimately comply - in stages, first by ordering Jesus scourged.

      Angry now - at his own predicament and the ever-quarrelsome Jews, Pilate moves out onto the wide balcony and the crowd begins to shout. With an abrupt gesture Pilate motions to the guards to bring Jesus forward. Because of His condition it takes perhaps forty-five seconds before Jesus positions Himself just to Pilate’s right and slightly behind him.

      "Behold the man!" is Pilate’s exclamation.

      And a roar, with the force of a tidal wave, assaults Pilate and Jesus, Who stands with bowed head, the meek, humble Lamb.

      "I have had Him scourged to satisfy your filthy lust for blood," Pilate says with all his imperious authority.

      I behold now the thousands of demons in an absolute frenzy pulling and pushing at the crowd, driving it forward. I am given to "see" that upon these poor wretches there are chains. Some are bound by their hands, others with their feet, still others with a chain around the neck, waist, heart, mind.

      The Roman guards under Pilate’s command, swords drawn, shields held protectively, move against this rabble which starts forward. Human cowardice, however, holds it back.

      "He is a blasphemer!" comes a cry from the crowd.

      "He is liable to death!" screams another.

      A chorus of "Blasphemer!" "Death to the devil’s spawn!"

      And Pilate, looking at Jesus, is pensive, struggling. But now I see his own demon which sits upon his shoulder, whispering constantly in his ear. *Pilate makes a gesture as if to remove an annoying gnat and the demon merely climbs to the floor where it dances obscenely and incites his fellow demons to imitate him.

      "It is the custom at this time," Pilate shouts, momentarily quieting the crowd, "for Rome to release to you a prisoner. It is your Passover. Therefore, I offer this man, who I find innocent, or Barrabas."

      The demons cannot contain their movement. They yank, tug and jerk the chains around the people and their hideous howls become the cry: "Barrabas!" "Give us Barrabas!"

      Pilate is momentarily stunned. These people are truly mad! He knows it, but the demon who is now back upon his shoulder ends the battle.

      "So be it," Pilate wearily exclaims. To a servant he commands, "Bring basin and water."

      The crowd chants "Barrabas" and "Death to the Blasphemer! Crucify this Christ, who has dared to call Himself Son of God."

      The servant arrives, a young boy totally in awe of Pilate. With fastidious care Pilate holds his hands over the basin and the water is poured upon his palms and fingers. Pilate carefully wipes his hands dry upon a spotless piece of white linen.

      "Then let it be as you say," he addresses the pressing crowd. "But I will have no part of this. Let His death be upon your heads."

      "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" is the response. "His blood upon us and upon our children," they respond, certain that they are exacting true justice according to the law.

      "Release to them the prisoner Barrabas," commands Pilate. He turns, passes Jesus and with a wave of his hand gives the order. "This one - Crucify Him!"

      Jesus is at once surrounded by Roman guards who form a phalanx around Him.

      Pilate is once again sitting upon his judgment seat. He does not bother to look up as Jesus is taken out and let to the bottom of the palace. He suddenly sinks back into the chair, and upon his face there comes a deep shadow of immense remorse.

      Yet, the demon who is still upon his shoulder whispers the lie, and Pilate resumes his arrogant posture; justice is done! So be it! NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part three of Lesson 13: Our Lady's Meditation on THE JUDGMENT BY PILATE

Mass Appeal

     The site we review today is helpful during Holy Week and during the rest of the year for the St. Ann's Media site offers the daily readings of each Mass as well as a daily homily by one of the Passionist priests assigned to the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Ann's in Scranton, Pennsylvania. For this week's review, click on SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK

Mass Appeal should be reserved only for the Mass at The Mass site

     During Holy Week and every week of the year a site like THE MASS is an integral part of our daily lives. This one we review today is run by St. Ann's Media which is conducted by the Passionist Priests out of the National Shrine of Saint Ann's Basilica in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Since the mid-50's they have been broadcasting a Mass, first locally and then internationally on the Odyssey Network, which is a far cry from EWTN but still affords some Catholicism is a vast desert of other religions, many of which promote new ageism and eastern mysticism. This connection is the one negative against this site because they sponsor a Prayer Line which is very good, but the listing of "other prayer pages" for Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Shinduism, Baha'i, etc. is very, very disturbing. Nonetheless, one can skip this entirely and go to the Daily Mass page which is excellent. It includes a meditation for the day and the entire readings and Psalms for that day. It is simple and comprehensive and we will be linking the Daily Mass page to our current LITURGY section to make it more convenient for readers to read all the readings. They have a group of Passionists who provide daily homilies as well. They also have the capability for audio homilies which can be very inspiring, the problem is when we clicked on we got the homily for Labor Day. Not exactly timely. The site is headed by Father Peter Grace, C.P. and assisted by Father Richard Nalepa, C.P. with the site maintained by lay man Terry Marcheona. The site loads very, very quickly with very few graphics and simple listings of links. They offer a full liturgical calendar by month and one can get ahead of the season in anticipating future liturgical dates since they provide a two to three month advance. They also provide the petitions for the day in text and audio and a prayer request line where one can submit their prayer requests which will be placed on the altar during Mass.

      One of the things that did surprise us was there was no video since they specialize in video taping the Mass on the satellite. It would be an ideal situation even though it could only be for edification and not fulfilling any type of obligation since a televised or "videoed" Mass is not considered the same as attendance at Mass and therefore, especially on Sundays and Holy Days, does not fulfill the requirement. There is a section on St. Ann's Basilica itself and this beautiful edifice would be ideal for showing the Mass on a special "Mass cam" if that were possible. They offer Mass and Prayer Enrollment Cards as well as a line of gift items available through St. Ann's Media. In addition, they have an interesting sidebar on recently beatified Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi who the Holy Father beatified a few weeks ago in Nigeria with links to the saint-to-be's own home page which are all provided by Fr. Tansi's monastery in England. Overall, the St. Ann's Media sight's strong point is the Daily Mass liturgy and the audio homilies and we would have awarded a much higher rating had they not included not only non-Catholic links, but non-Christ-oriented links. That is something we hope dearly they will change in the future for, other than that and the fact they need to update the audio homilies, it is a very good sight that can compliment everyone's day. Especially during Holy Week this is a most helpful sight to keep us all in the spirit of the Passion. Therefore, for the sake of the Mass, we award St. Ann's Media the "Golden Chalice Award" and confer ONE Hail Mary to this site which can be so much more if they will only eliminate the negatives (non-Christian links) and explore and expand the positives, for after all, Mass appeal should be reserved only for the Mass.

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

Apri1 6, 1998 volume 9, no. 68         DAILY CATHOLIC