December 3, 1997   vol 8, no.44      ENTIRE ISSUE

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Bishops urged to be fishers of men with the world-wide net

      On the day we celebrate one month of bringing you the DAILY CATHOLIC, and the occasion of two years on-line, we bring you this short story from the bishops' Synod of America where the subject turned to communication and the need to utilize the world wide web to better evangelize. We strongly welcome their entry into cyberspace and hope they will adhere to all Holy Mother teaches to stop the stem of the modernists who have other thoughts. We need to all work together to spread Christ's one true faith. Click on DAILY SYNOD SYNOPSIS


[The following report-- one in a series of daily reports on the activities of the special Synod of the Americas-- comes through the courtesy of the international news agency ZENIT, based in Rome.]

      The Synod moved quickly from the Andes to Wall Street to provide more reflections on the task of evangelization. Archbishop James Francis Stafford, formerly of Denver and now the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has the task of confronting the challenges facing Catholics in the "other" America, the United States. The archbishop explained how researchers describe the effect of having a "network" society, how it promotes a process of disillusionment in a dubious world of virtual reality where every "make and model," including the Christian faith, is converted into planes, lines, and fields, into just one more option among many. The very nature of the medium, he pointed out, conditions the mass of consumers to come up with their own forms of religion, tailor-made for a personal fit, combining the different "church models" in a world of privately constructed images. "How can the Church proclaim the Gospel to a world of virtual reality?" asked Archbishop Stafford.

      Archbishop Edmundo L. Abastoflor Montero of La Paz offered an answer to that question. He recognized that the challenge can only be met when the Church effectively employs the means of mass communication as an instrument for evangelization. "They are a realm of borders, a place of encounter between the Church and the world," he affirmed.

      Bishop Manuel Eguiguren Galarraga of El Beni, Bolivia, added that the answers to the big questions facing America can be found in a book written 2000 years ago. As he put it: "I have often wondered why the Holy Father repeatedly finds such a universal response among youth wherever he goes. Could it be simply because he presents them with the Gospel, in a way that is passionate and demanding at the same time?"

The Ministry of the Word!

      That is the purpose for getting more involved with the internet and the Vatican clarifies its exact meaning in regard the lay person's and priest's role in their 37-page document on the Instructions to the Laity document released November 13. In our campaign to bring you the entire document, we present the eleventh installment, dealing with the section on PRACTICAL PROVISIONS, Article 2, The Ministry of the Word Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

on the role of the Laity

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

Eleventh installment: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 2
The Ministry of the Word

     1. The content of that ministry consists in "the pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place".(60)

The exercise of its respective functions is properly that of the Bishop of each particular Church since he is the moderator of the entire ministry of the Word in his Diocese (61)

and it is also properly that of his priests who are his collaborators.(62) In communion with the Bishop and his priests, this ministry also belongs to deacons.(63)

2. The non-ordained faithful, according to their proper character, participate in the prophetic function of Christ, are constituted as his witnesses and afforded the "sensus fidei" and the grace of the Word. All are called to grow even more as "heralds of faith in things to be hoped for (cf. Hebrews 11, 1).(64)

Today, much depends on their commitment and generous service to the Church, especially in the work of catechesis.

Therefore, the faithful, especially members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life can be invited to collaborate, in lawful ways, in the exercise of the ministry of the Word.(65)

3. To ensure the effectiveness of the collaboration mentioned in paragraph 2 above, it is necessary to note some conditions relating to the operation of this same collaboration.

Canon 766 of the Codex Iuris Canonici establishes the conditions under which competent authority may admit the non-ordained faithful to preach in ecclesia vel oratorio. The use of the expression admitti possunt makes clear that in no instance is this a right such as that which is specific and proper to the Bishop (66)

or a faculty such as enjoyed by priests and deacons.(67)

The terms in which these conditions are expressed - "If in certain circumstances it is necessary..., ...if in particular cases it would be useful..." in canon 766, make clear the exceptional nature of such cases as well as the fact that such must always be done iuxta Episcoporum conferentiae praescripta. In this final clause, this Canon establishes the primary source for correct discernment with regard to necessity or useful in specific cases. The prescriptions of the Conference of Bishops in this matter, which must receive the "recognitio" of the Apostolic See, are obliged to lay down those opportune criteria which may assist the diocesan Bishop in making appropriate pastoral decisions, proper to the nature of the same episcopal office.

4. In some areas, circumstances can arise in which a shortage of sacred ministers and permanent, objectively verifiable, situations of need or advantage exist that would recommend the admission of the non-ordained faithful to preaching.

Preaching in churches or oratories by the non-ordained faithful can be permitted only as a supply for sacred ministers or for those particular reasons foreseen by the universal law of the Church or by Conferences of Bishops. It cannot, however, be regarded as an ordinary occurrence nor as an authentic promotion of the laity.

5. Above all in the preparation for the sacraments, catechists take care to instruct those being catechized on the role and figure of the priest as the sole dispenser of the mysteries for which they are preparing.


Man has something a computer can never have: a heart and soul!

      No matter how hard scientists and programmers try, a heart and soul is something they'll never be able to install in computers or any technology. That gift of heart and soul is man's alone through the Mercy of God. But too often man forgets the heart and relies too much on the head. That's when trouble starts as Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. explains in his topic The Journey from the Head to the Heart in his column about praying with and in the heart. The adventure is intriguing. Click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart

Part Ten: The Journey from the Head to the Heart

by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

      In helping us pray more with the heart, one directive can be given in this one: connect each day of the week with a genuine and healthy heart activity. What I mean is this: let Mondays be BELIEVING days (Faith), Tuesdays - TRUSTING days, (Hope) Wednesdays - LOVING days (Charity), Thursdays - OBEDIENCE days, Fridays - FORGIVING days, Saturdays - THANKING days, and Sundays as PRAISING days. If, on each of these days, we could posit the corresponding heart activity, and at the same time cut down on our mental intake, we could keep ourselves in balance. If we follow out this simple directive for a period of time, let's say, two months, we could eventually live in the heart. All of the above heart activities are wholesome and very dear to the Lord.

     The mind is not to be belittled. As was said, it is a marvelous invention on the part of God. It is only that we must make use of it as God intended. Putting it into somewhat of a parallel; speaking of the automobile, the mind is the steering apparatus, the heart is the motor. Both are needed and helpful. If we choose to live in the heart, we would find time that we would have a different type of life. We would have believing thoughts, trusting thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, forgiving thoughts, grateful thoughts, and praising thoughts. Not a bad kind of of a life to lead. It is the life that Jesus led.

     The journey from the head to the heart is not an easy one. Our God never promised us an easy life. This journey is one that our God wishes each one of us to make. He is and will continue to be a constant Helper to each one of us every minute of the day, but He will not force His help upon us. He gives us the Holy Spirit, the Church, Scripture, the Sacraments, the Holy Father to help us along. Once we decide to make use of the helps given to each one of us along the way, we will find it quite easy to live in the heart, and what is so helpful - once living in the heart, we will find it easy enough to pray with the heart, and praying with the heart, we will find a peace and joy within our hearts that the world cannot give.

     Next week, as we continue in Advent, I will layout ways to better pray with the heart where that true peace can only be found.

To review Father Valenta's previous columns in this series, go to Archives beginning with the August 18, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 16.

Golden Chalice Award presented to American Catholic Online

      Franciscan founder St. Francis and his ally St. Anthony stressed simplicity and clarity in preaching the gospel and the Catholic faith. The Franciscan web site that bears the latter's name - expresses the same clarity at, the name of server which carries "St. Anthony Magazine". For the first week of Advent we honor this site with a review and the bestowing of the "Golden Chalice Award." Click on SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK

Simplicity and Clarity on-line - in line with ideals of St. Francis and St. Anthony

     We first came across our nominee for the SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK- American Catholic Online at two months ago when they offered us a very fitting tribute to Mother Teresa which we were able to offer to our subscribers. They've also offered specials on Saint Francis and are currently offering a personal perspective of the proceedings at the American Synod in Rome by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk from Cincinnati where the site is headquartered. He has been able to give us a bird's eye view of the Synod without editorializing too much. You can find the reference to his comments through St. Anthony Messenger elsewhere on this front page.

      American Catholic Online is run by the Franciscans with their keynote publication St. Anthony Messenger being the main publication they promote. They offer excerpts from past issues on-line but the magazine itself is only available in print...and has been since 1893, making it one of the oldest Catholic publications in America. The editor is Father Norman Perry, O.F.M. and his staff at St. Anthony's and American Catholic Online offer excellent, colorful graphics on a clean, simple white background with oodles of white space that make it quite appealing to the eye. This Franciscan site has such features as a direct link to Assisi that proves invaluable in researching information on the recent earthquake in Umbria. Though the site employs frames, the non-frame effect makes it even cleaner looking. You realize this effect when you go to the links pages and though you are linking to another site you are still at the ACO site which narrows the screen and makes it more difficult navigating around other sites. They also offer capability for audio and video, but, like most sites, it takes a while to download the a/v from Realaudio. Almost 100% of the material on the site is from past magazine articles or books they sell on-line such as "Saint of the Day" and "Minute Meditations." The main reason for the site is to promote these periodicals along with their main flagship Franciscan publication - "St. Anthony Messenger." The site is used as a teaser for these, but it is done in such a subtle and easy manner that it reads quickly and easily...especially with the large Garabond type face and narrow columns. Again, white space is what makes this site unique. Therefore we hereby present the "Golden Chalice Award" to the Franciscans' American Catholic Online site, giving it FOUR Hail Mary's.

Advent means preparation; preparation requires reconciliation

     To properly prepare for Christ's Coming, we need to be worthy and the only way that is possible is if we are clothed in Sanctifying Grace. Because of the nature of Original Sin, we are susceptible to temptation and falling, thus God has given us the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation whereby we can rid ourselves of sin and be once again encased in grace. In our treatment of truths contained in the Catechisms, we begin today with the Sacrament of Penance. Click on CATECHISM CAPSULES

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

    The Sacraments are part and parcel of our lives and so we continue our "capsule series" on each of the Sacraments, bringing you a few capsule paragraphs each day from both the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and the old Baltimore Catechism. It is appropriate that we begin Advent with the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, better known as "Confession." There are various terms for this sacrament of healing. It has often been called the key to the door, for without this key sacrament we cannot receive Jesus in Holy Communion nor can a candidate be confirmed. The Sacrament of Penance reminds us of our humanness and our total dependence on the Mercy of God. Along with the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick or Extreme Unction, Penance/Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing.

No. 1420 and 1421, page 357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery; Chapter Two - The Sacraments of Healing; Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:

      Through the sacraments of Christian initian, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life "in earthen vessels," and it remains "hidden with Christ in God." We are still in our "earthly tent," subject to suffering, illness, and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin.

      "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed aginst him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."

From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Benziger Brothers, Inc. and Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. Nos. 721, 722, and 723, page 149 and 150.

Q. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.

Q. Has the word Penance any other meaning?
A. The word Penance has other meanings. It means also those punishments we inflict upon ourselves as a means of atoning for our past sins; it means likewise that disposition of the heart in which we detest and bewail our sins because they were offensive to God.

Q. How does the institution of the Sacrament of Penance show the goodness of Our Lord?
A. The institution of the Sacrament of Penance shows the goodness of Our Lord, because having once saved us through Baptism, He might have left us to perish if we again committed sin.

A New Church Year

     Yesterday marked the beginning of the Church's Liturgical Year with the First Sunday of Advent. Today and tomorrow we celebrate the First Monday and First Tuesday of Advent with the liturgical readings listed in preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Click on LITURGY OF THE DAY.

Monday, December 1:

First Monday of Advent, December 1: and

Tuesday, December 2:

First Tuesday of Advent, December 2:

Medjugorje Monthly Message

November 25th Message

    Dear children: Today I invite you to comprehend your Christian vocation. Little children, I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation. Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian and love God over everything. Little children, today also I invite you to rejoice and be joyful Christians, responsible and conscious that God called you in a special way to be joyfully extended hands toward those who do not believe, and that through the example of your life, they may receive faith and love for God. Therefore, pray, pray, pray that your heart may open and be sensitive for the Word of God. Thank you for having responded to my call!
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



      CINCINNATI (CWN) - A holiday display in a public park will not contain a cross erected by the Ku Klux Klan this December for the first time since 1989, because the group failed to submit an application by the deadline, the Cincinnati Department of Public Works said on Tuesday.

      The KKK has been allowed to submit application for the diplay since the late US District Judge Carl Rubin allowed a Jewish group to apply to erect a menorah in 1990. Each year, the city of Cincinnati unsuccessfully fights the Klan's application in federal court, which upholds the constitutionality of the display.

      Tony Gamble of Independence, Kentucky, who calls himself the imperial wizard of the Tri-State Knight Riders of the KKK, did not file an application this year because he is awaiting a January trial on charges he raped and sexually abused two girls younger than 12 years old.


     VATICAN (CWN) -- The Vatican today revealed plans for a visit by Pope John Paul to Austria in 1998. The Pope is scheduled to travel to Vienna on June 19, then on to Salzburg to participate in the celebrations marking the 1200th anniversary of the diocese there. He will then visit St. Polten, to preside at the beatification of Sister Restituta Kafka, who was executed by the Nazi regime.

      Austria thus becomes the third country slated for a papal visit next year. The Vatican has previously announced plans for a trip to Cuba in January and to Nigeria in March. The year will also include two special synods, for the bishops of Asia and of Oceania.


      VATICAN (CWN) The theme of the family returned again today in the Synod discussions. Archbishop Rene Fernandez Apaza of Cochabamba, Bolivia, denounced the existence of "governmental programs, funded by powerful international associations, which attempt to solve one problem-- the increased number of pregnancies and unwanted children-- with a massive diffusion of contraceptives, many of which are actually abortifacient. These campaigns are nothing more than 'contraceptive imperialism.' When united to a 'demographic terrorism' and an extreme feminism, they end with the proclamation of the supposed right to abortion, contributing even more to the culture of death."

      In response to this situation, Archbishop Apaza asked for a Church- wide strategy that would offer both a solution to social injustices that harm the dignity of families, and support for "materially and humanly poor families." He especially stressed that "one of the most important areas of family pastoral work is the education regarding the Catholic teaching on responsible procreation."

      Along the same lines, Archbishop Dario Castrillon called all Catholic priests to participate enthusiastically in this educational project. The priest "cannot be afraid of proclaiming the wisdom of God in the area of sexuality. The modern milieu with the means of communications at its disposal, has made sexual matters a new 'taboo,' that is, off- limits, for the Church. Sex without marriage, without commitments, without families, has produced a society of men and women who are frivolous, egoistic, and irresponsible before the demands of life. And this phenomenon, together with other factors, leads to a materialistic society and culture that easily tires of life, and according to important analysts of modern society, leads to frustration and disillusionment."

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For the Advent Novena Prayer, click on ADVENT Novena Prayer

How you worked, Mary, to prepare for the Coming of your Son and the Father's. You were caught up in the Divine Wonder of the Coming of the Messiah. He Whom your people had awaited for many generations. Intercede for us, dear Mother, that we, too, may realize that your Son can be born anew in us this Christmas, and that He must be born anew in all the world if mankind is to turn away from evil. Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we have received from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


"He who is perverse in heart finds no good, and a double-tongued man falls into trouble."

Proverbs 17: 20

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

December 3, 1997 volume 8, no. 44         DAILY CATHOLIC

December 1997