FRIDAY-SATURDAY-SUNDAY

December 19-21, 1997   vol 8, no.56

     SECTION ONE     
To print out SECTION TWO, click here



"Great Expectations"

      As the countdown to Christmas continues with "Great Expectations" we are reminded that today is the 154th anniversary of the publishing of the book "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Since that time this master British author has given the world so many interesting and unforgettable characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley, Old Fezziwig, David Copperfield, Uriah Heep, Edwin Drood, Martin Chezzlewit, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger, and on and on. But God has given us so much more!!! Even though the simple name of John hadn't even been announced yet, the future Baptist leapt in Elizabeth's womb when she first saw her cousin - the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Visitation. The great expectations of Mary, Elizabeth and the world for the Messiah is something to reflect on in today's Reflections on Sacred Scripture by Cyndi Cain on the Gospel passage for this Sunday. Click on "COME UNTO ME"

The Visitation of Mary coming to Elizabeth represents Jesus' desire to come to us every second of our lives.

"And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished.'"

Luke 1: 42-45
       The Gospel for this Sunday (Luke 1:39-45) tells us of the time when the Blessed Mother went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

      There are two considerations that Our Lord brings to my heart and soul in this Gospel, that He desires we reflect upon.

      First, the Blessed Mother was pregnant with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. She was newly married. The trip to Elizabethís was not an easy one, and she would be gone from her own home in Nazareth for quite some time, leaving not only the town of her birth, but the home she dearly loved and the husband she loved so chastely and divinely. She went to perform a service for her cousin, thinking, as she did throughout her entire life, of others, never herself. Hers was a selfless act of exquisite charity, and that same exquisite charity belonged also to Joseph, who lovingly sent her on her way, accompanying her part of the way, before returning to continue his labors as a carpenter in Nazareth. Mary did not go to gloat over her own Divinely Incarnated Child, for she was never one to boast or brag. She went because someone needed her, because she wanted to work for Elizabeth, to be there for her when her own child would be born.

      Second, look at the humility with which the two cousins met one another. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, went rushing out to meet Mary. She was so grateful for her arrival, that she was there for her. But, to Elizabethís great surprise, as she neared Mary, the Holy Spirit informed her of Maryís pregnancy, of the Incarnation, that the child in Maryís womb was indeed the Son of God. Elizabeth, in perfect humility and understanding and trust, accepted the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and exclaimed, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby stirred in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who trusted that the Lordís words to her would be fulfilled."

      What joy is expressed here from Elizabeth to Mary, from the as yet un-born John in his motherís womb. If there was a cause for abortion-rights advocates to pause and reconsider, this passage should help. The "baby" also enlightened by the Holy Spirit recognized the "baby" in Maryís womb as the Son of God, the Messiah, and the un-born John the Baptist leapt with joy in Elizabethís womb. And the humility in Elizabeth! She cried out with joy unto God and told Mary how blessed was she among all women, the same words we say in the "Hail Mary."

      Just as Elizabeth was expecting only her young cousin to come and help out around the house and to help her prepare for the birth of her child, Elizabeth received so very much more because of her faith and her trust in God. "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

      Let us ponder these words as we enter now the final week of Advent, crying out with joyful trust that, on Christmas Day, the Infant Jesus shall spiritually, mystically come into our hearts and souls, given unto us that day by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us recognize this great mystery and trust that in all things Godís Will is absolutely perfect and our correspondence to His Perfect Will is that which brings us the joy and peace that only He can give, for not only Christmas, but every single day. That Jesus is born we shall exclaim on Christmas Day at Holy Mass! Let us also strive to exclaim that every day, by having Jesus live and dwell in us by our trust, our love, our faith and hope in Him that keeps us going frequently to the Sacraments, so as to have our souls filled with sanctifying grace, so He may be King forever of our hearts and souls unto Eternity.


"Bah Humbug!"

      That is the infamous refrain echoed by Ebenezer Scrooge to all who wished him a "Merry Christmas." Today the politically correct pundits take his place in doing all they can to promote a "holiday" spirit by cleverly omitting the name "Christ" in Christmas. Because they can't just say "mas" as in "more" they opt for "no mas" by pushing other icons that take away from the true spirit and meaning of Christmas. After all, we wouldn't want to offend those who deny the Son of God! Sister Mary Lucy Astuto gets to the heart of the reason for the season with Please say: "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" in her weekly column in giving us tips on how to put "Christ" back in "Christmas." Click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

Please say: "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

     After 23 years of working in a well-known local company, my sister retired as of September of this year. She retired because the work was getting to be quite wearing. My sister is a devout Catholic. Almost every day of her "work life" she attended Mass and usually prayed a rosary on her way to and/or from work.

      The work itself, though demanding and wearing, was not the major source of her distress. It seems that the workplace today (and I have heard this from several other persons) is becoming more immoral each day and with that, it is becoming more PAGAN.

      Why do I say immoral? I say that, for one instance, because many companiesí administration reflect respect for homosexual acts and expect its employees to to have similar respect.

      Why do I say PAGAN? I say that because employees are being asked to greet customers with "Happy Holidays!" not "Merry Christmas!" The request is explained away as "We donít want to offend those who are not Christians."

      In my sisterís case, her response was: "But the majority of us here ARE Christians. Why should the MINORITY rule?" This was one more "attack" on Christian Faith that frustrated my sister.

      The expression "Happy Holidays!" and other greetings that withdraw the word "Christmas" is prevalent. Whether itís the news media (newspaper or television), advertisements of various kinds, or whatever - the stress is on not saying "Christmas!" Note it yourself! The next time you go shopping, look particularly for signs around the store that express a Christmas wish. Note how many times the greeting eliminates the word "Christmas."

      This elimination offends me and should offend any Christian who claims to know and love Our Lord, Jesus. After all, Christmas IS Our Lordís Birthday. It IS the primary reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place --- or should be.

      Eliminating the word "Christmas," is one more influence of the evil one. Out of sight IS out of mind. How tricky the devil is and how subtly he can work to slowly, but surely destroy Faith.

      But let us recall that Our Lord said: "He who professes Me before men, I will profess before My Father. He who denies Me before men, I will deny before My Father" (Matthew 10:32-33).

      Please do not get caught up in the secular greetings. It is PAGANISTIC and DIABOLICAL to secularize Christmas. If you are afraid to offend anyone, if you are ASHAMED of professing Christís Name in "Christmas," then I would not want to stand in your stead when you will have need of Jesus defending you before the Father.

      Iíll never stop saying: "Merry Christmas!" I pray you wonít either! Hereís wishing you a Holy, Happy New Year! And, O yes, --- a Merry CHRISTMAS! God bless you!


"All-over Twist"

      Actually the title is "Oliver Twist" by Dickens, but can you imagine the dickens of a time the media would have had had they been there in force on that piercing cold night in Bethlehem nearly 2000 years ago? In this week's editorial we give you an "all-over twist" of events with the equation: The "C" of Christmas + "C" of Cyberspace = the Holy See's Sea of Evangelization. Click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT

The "C" of Christmas + "C" of Cyberspace = the Holy See's Sea of Evangelization

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       With the recent launch of this publication - the only regular daily Catholic publication on the internet or anywhere in print - the thought has crossed our mind what it would have been like had we had this same technology when Jesus Christ was born. Imagine the commotion had today's media hordes been present at that simple stable in Bethlehem on that piercing cold December night nearly two thousand years ago when the Blessed Virgin Mary brought forth a tiny Son - the Savior of the world. Think of the commotion: Everywhere reporters would be scurrying about - Satellites, klieg lights, cameras whirring, newshounds pecking away on portable lap tops, microphones thrust forward in vying for position among the crush of correspondents; all disturbing the quiet, peaceful setting of this night of nights. With this scenario in mind, no wonder there was no press coverage in Bethlehem. Yet, one asks, wouldn't God have wanted to announce to the world this greatest event in the history of mankind? He did! He used His own media and press agents to get out the Word and through this medium His message has reached every corner of the earth down through the centuries. While every newspaper, magazine, television network or radio station that ever existed has or will eventually go out of business, God's "journal" has continued unabated all these years. This first "edition" began with the angels who announced "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will" (Luke 2: 14). Yet, it was left to the mortal media to confuse this when we constantly hear "Good will to men." Just another example of misquoting the Word of God. In His Wisdom God the Father sought a quiet refuge for His Only-begotten Son for, had He allowed it to be announced in the manner of the mass media network of today, Herod would surely have been able to better pinpoint the Holy Family's location and have ordered the slaughter of the innocents well in advance of the actual edict. It was God's Will that events took place the way they did. Maybe that's why there was no press coverage. Had God allowed it, it's likely that proverbial cynicism, which seems to run deep in journalistic veins, would have erupted into scientifically explaining away the astronomical phenomena of the shining star over Bethlehem. How do you suppose the fourth estate would have reported the Virgin Birth? More than likely they would have been skeptical of anything of that nature, opting instead to dig for any dirt they could find in an attempt to expose the one who impregnated Mary. In short, "faith" is a word foreign to most journalists...even on foreign soil.

     Because of this lack of faith the true meaning of the Nativity is still foreign to too many because today's liberal media - the false prophets of today - convey a mundane message to the public. Faith doesn't sell. Secular and sensational do! Yet, what was more sensational than the birth of the Messiah? Sadly, the true meaning why Jesus came into this world, to bring Peace to men of good will and to redeem the world as the chosen Savior, charging us to love one another, is still lost on most today. Today His glorious birth is scorned upon while lighting the White House Christmas tree or Rockefeller Plaza get top attention along with reporting the latest injunction against a town by the ACLU to prevent a creche scene. The poor atheists are the victims and the majority who believe in Jesus as the Son of God - that Christ is the reason for Christmas - are held up for ridicule. You see the real reason why Jesus came into this world, to bring Peace to men of good will and to redeem sinners everywhere for all time, is still lost on the makers of news today.

     This misinformation, manipulation of the facts, and apathy are the main reasons we began publishing the Daily CATHOLIC on a daily basis Monday through Friday seven weeks ago. It is our hope that eventually, through the generous donations of benefactors who believe such a publication is necessary and helpful, we will be able to offer the Daily CATHOLIC in Spanish, French, Polish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Quite possibly, down the road, even offer a Japanese and Chinese version. We also hope, that if we can garner enough donations to cover all costs of publishing on the web, we will be able to either lower the subscription price even more or, better yet, offer it free to all in cyberspace. But these factors are all contingent on generating enough contributions to keep the Daily CATHOLIC going strong. If you can help in any way, you will be furthering God's Will that we reach every corner of the earth as He commanded in Mark 16: 15, "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature."

     If you would like to know more on how you can help, click on BE AN ANGEL to make a tax-deductible donation in helping us spread the Word and the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith. Any amount will help us immensely in furthering our mission for Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Your contribution and telling others of the benefits of receiving the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday will go a long way in offsetting the apathy of so many lukewarm Catholics and the false gospel of many purveyors of doom in the secular media who thrive on Catholic-bashing. Your assistance will make a statement that you do care about standing up for the true faith and doing all you can to help bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which will usher in the glorious new Advent - the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated and prayerfully accepted.

      On behalf of all at the Daily CATHOLIC and the CATHOLIC-INTERNET NETWORK and MIR-A-CALL Center, we wish all a Blessed Christmas and a grace-filled New Year. Our humble gift to you is our prayers for each of you and your loved ones, which we spiritually place on the patten at the Offertory at Daily Mass. May God richly bless you during this season of Gaudete and may His loving Mother Mary ever shield you in the safe harbor of her protective and Immaculate Mantle in the new year and beyond as we all sail together on the new flagship of this ministry's fleet - the S.S.Daily CATHOLIC - which was commissioned on the feast of All Saints this year. As we navigate over the evangelistic seas of the world-wide web, may we all be guided by the beacons of the two pillars described by Saint John Bosco in his vision - the Holy Eucharist and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in prayerful hope of all arriving safely, when our voyage is complete, at our port of destination: Heaven! With your help and support, many more will join us on this life cruise toward everlasting life. We can all start by putting the capital "C", which stands for Christ, back in Christmas and spreading it to all in cyberspace through the sea of evangelization asked for by the Holy See and Jesus' special Vicar of Christ. To all, Peace and blessings.

Michael Cain, editor

"The Olde Curiosity Shoppe"

      Though that was the title of another of Charles Dicken's many works, it could also be the title of the Vatican II documents which collect dust on the shelves if we don't take them down, open them up, and, out of curiosity, look up the facts. If we don't seek the truth we may forever be duped by the modernists who would like us to believe that Vatican II changed so many things, throwing out such staples as indulgences. The facts are that the Council Fathers have not eliminated or downgraded indulgences as many liberals spout. The actual documents from Vatican II are included in this first of two parts on Indulgences which we will tie in with our Catechism Capsules daily series next week. Click on VATICAN II VERIFICATIONS

INDULGENCES

part one

     There have many misconceptions that Vatican II changed many things in the Church and "we don't do it that way anymore" has become the refrain in all too many parishes throughout the world. However, surprise! It hasn't changed that much! To prove this, we go to the source: the Vatican Council Postconciliar Documents, expertly compiled by the revered Dominican Austin P. Flannery in two volumes.

      Our sixth "bone to pick" with dissenters is on Indulgences, tying in with our topic which we will cover next week in "Catechism Capsules." There has been a misconception that Vatican II threw out indulgences because they were "superstitious" and out-moded. Wrong! In fact the Vatican II documents make it very clear that indulgences are still very much in vogue as we highlight just what was decreed at the Second Vatican Council below and continue next week in this same column taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, Part Six, pages 62-79 on the APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ON THE REVISION OF INDULGENCES (Paul VI, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 1 January, 1967).

Chapter I INDULGENCES ARE FOUNDED IN DIVINE REVELATION:

1. The doctrine of indulgences and their practice have been in force for many centuries in the Catholic Church. They would appear to be solidly founded on divine Revelation, (1) handed down "from the apostles". This (tradition "...makes progress in the Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit," and "as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in her."(2)

2. The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. Godís holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. (3) Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments. (4) This is why the faithful have always been convinced that the paths of evil are strewn with many stumbling blocks. They bring to those who follow them adversities, bitterness and harm. (5).

WHAT EXPIATION INVOLVES

3. The full taking away and, as it is called, reparation of sins requires two things. Firstly, friendship with God must be restored. Amends must be made for offending his wisdom and goodness. This is done by a sincere conversion of mind. Secondly, all the personal and social values, as well as those that are universal, which sin has lessened or destroyed must be fully made good. This is done in two ways. The first in by freely making reparation, which involves punishment. The second is by accepting the punishments Godís just and most holy wisdom has appointed. From this the holiness and splendor of his glory shine out through the world. The very facts that punishment for sin exists and that it is so severe make it possible for us to understand how foolish and malicious sin is and how harmful its consequences are.

CONSEQUENCE OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE MYSTICAL BODY:

"All who belong to Christ and are in possession of his Spirit, combine to make one Church with a cohesion that depends on him (cf. Eph. 4:16). The union of the living with their brethren who have fallen asleep in Christ is not broken;...for these reasons a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in Purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth.

Chapter III THE CHURCH APPLIES THE FRUITS OF CHRISTíS REDEMPTION

6. In fact the apostles themselves urged their disciples to pray that sinners might be saved. (28). This very ancient practice of the Church has happily lasted, (24), particularly in the practice of penitents begging the whole communityís prayers, (25) and in helping the dead with intercessions, especially through the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. (26)

Chapter IV HOW INDULGENCES DEVELOPED FROM THE CANONICAL PENANCES

7. The conviction was present in the Church that the pastors of the Lordís flock could set the individual free from the vestiges of sin by applying to him the merits of Christ and of the saints. In the course of the centuries and under the influence of the Holy Spiritís continuous inspiration of the People of God this conviction led to the practice of indulgences. It was a progression in the Churchís doctrine and discipline rather than a change. (33) From the roots of Revelation something had grown up, a new privilege which was for the benefit of the faithful and the whole Church.

WHAT INDULGENCES ARE: THE CHURCHíS AUTHORITATIVE INTERVENTION

8. The taking away of the temporal punishment due to sins when their guilt has already been forgiven has been called specifically "indulgence." (37)

In fact, in granting an indulgence the Church uses its power as minister of Christís Redemption. It not only prayss, It intervenes with its authority to dispense to the faithful, provided they have the right dispositions, the treasury of satisfaction with Christ and the saints won for the remission of temporal punishment. (38)

INDULGENCES HAVE BEEN ABUSED IN THE PAST

The teaching authority, the Magisterium of the Church, has defended and explained the teaching about indulgences in various documents. (40) Unfortunately, the practice of indulgences has on occasions been improperly applied. This has been either through "untimely and superfluous indulgences" which humiliated the power of the keys and weakened penitential satisfaction (41) or it has been through the collection of "unlawful profits" which blasphemously took away the good name of indulgences. (42) The Church deplored and corrected these improper uses. It "teaches and commands that the usage of indulgences (a usage most beneficial to Christians and approved by the authority of the Sacred Councils) should be kept in the Church; and it condemns with anathema those who say that indulgences are useless or that the Church does not have the power to grant them. (43)

Next week we will treat the Benefits of Indulgences and focus on Partial and Plenary indulgences from the Vatican II documents.



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

December 19-21, 1997 volume 8, no. 56         DAILY CATHOLIC


December 1997