December 8, 1997   vol 8, no.47
     SECTION ONE     To print out SECTION TWO, click here

She shall crush his head

...and it can't happen soon enough as far as we're concerned as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception today, we share with you the LITURGY OF THE DAY.

Monday, December 8:

Holy Day of Obligation, December 8:

     This feast was established for the universal Church by Pope Pius IX when He proclaimed that from all eternity, the Triune Divinity chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the tabernacle of the Son of God. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed once and for all that it was unthinkable that Mary be defiled in any way by sin in any manner whatsoever. Thus, in that infinitesmal second that God created Mary He made her Immaculate. This grace, like all other graces since Adam and Eve's fall, was given to Mary through the merits of her Divine Son Jesus. She stood alone as one free of the stain of original sin, redeemed not from the evil already present at birth, but from any evil that threatened this sacred temple known as the Mother of God. This was confirmed in the infallible words of Pius IX, "The most holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin." Saint Ephrem first held this belief in the fourth century. Seven centuries later the crusaders brought this belief back to the Western Church from the Eastern Church in the Holy Land where, since 750, it had been celebrated on December 9 along with the feast of Saint Anne who had conceived the Blessed Mother. In 1050 a feast honoring Mary's conception was offered by Pope Leo IX. In the twelfth century the Franciscan Father Duns Scotus defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and was listed in the Roman Calendar in the year 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. In 1708 Pope Clement XI made the conception of Our Lady a feast of obligation. Nearly 150 years later in 1854, Pius IX proclaimed it the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This interestingly followed the lead of the United States Bishops eight years earlier who had decreed in 1846 that the U.S. was consecrated to Mary's Immaculate Conception and assigned December 8 as the official feast of their Heavenly patron. Four years after Pius IX's infallible pronouncement, Our Lady herself confirmed this dogma at Lourdes when she proclaimed to the visionary Saint Bernadette Soubirous, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

December 9, 1997

Second Tuesday of Advent and
Optional Memorial of Blessed Juan Diego, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe

     We also share with you the problems of the lost week that was and the trials and tribulations we faced because of that slippery, slithery serpent who earmarked our ministry last week. But we came through it unscathed, save for some hefty expenses for parts and labor and have learned from yet another ordeal. So praying that all our readers are still with us, we explain the best we can. Click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Take a byte out of time, but don't blame it on Murphy!

      If something could have gone wrong this past week, it did. Most call it "Murphy’s Law" but we refer to it as the true source - "satan’s revenge." Actually, even though it was a miserable week it was truly a blessing in disguise for it proves we’re doing something right for God and the red devil is furious. We should be worried if he’s not bugging us because then we’re not a threat to him. If we are a threat to him, then we’re a strong ally of the Almighty and have nothing to fear…no matter what the fallen angel throws at us. He’s not happy with what we’ve been doing in our apostolate and he surely isn’t happy with the Daily CATHOLIC and so he’s sent all the force he can to throw a monkey wrench, or should we say "pitchfork," into the works and gum up the program. Gum it up he did and trying to put the teeth back into our memory card file took some time and some ingenuity, but thanks the intercession of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts and a few computer-knowledgeable experts hopefully we’re back full steam. Never saw so many computer parts scattered all over the floor. Don’t know how they can translate all the circuits inside, have a hard enough time trying to keep things going smoothly just at the keyboard! One of the main problems while we were down is that we could not transmit e-mail and, boy, are we backed up! We will answer correspondence as soon as we can and to those many who e-mailed us to inform us of the problems: that we were well aware of, believe you me! We also appreciate the many posts of support and encouragement we received during this lull. Many couldn’t figure out why we kept running last Monday’s issue each day with the current date and issue number. Blame it on the computer. It’s efficient in one area such as automatically triggering date and issue, but lacking when it comes time to implement because of said problem above. Therefore we apologize to anyone who printed out the issues last week each day only to discover it was deja vu all over again!

    &bnsp;Since we were down one full week, be assured that we are extending subscriptions by one week for everyone. So you haven’t missed out except on the news last week. Other than "old news" all articles, columns will be picked up beginning with today’s issue. While we were down it gave us time to work on a few other things - such as pasting up the final print issue of A Call To Peace which will be out next week. In addition, we have finalized subscription costs for next year beginning January 7, 1997. For those who want to subscribe by the month (which is over 20 issues) the costs are $7 per month. For those trying it for three months the cost is $15 which is a savings of $6. overall. However, for those who sign up for a year which includes 250 issues the cost is only $33. a year. That’s a savings of $51 a year over the monthly rate and $27 a year savings over the quarterly rate! With a full year’s passport of 250 issues you also receive access to all 90 back issues which incorporates 45 bi-weekly issues of A Call To Peace and 45 issues of the Daily CATHOLIC (which includes the first 7 issues of 1998 because of the one week computer glitch). In addition, because we’re in the business of evangelization, and believe you are, too, we are offering a two-for-one package for only $50 a year. That way you’ll get two passports, one for yourself and one to give to someone who has the internet but might not sign up for it otherwise…someone who might be a lukewarm Catholic, or one of the misguided ones who have bought into all the modernism permeating our beloved Church today. With the total issues you’ll receive over a year’s time, that’s less than a dime a day for the only daily publication exclusively devoted to things for and about Roman Catholics! The new forms will reflect these new rates beginning next Monday.

     Had to take a little time to reintroduce myself to the keyboard and monitor and still a little rusty getting back in the groove now that we’re back up and running. By Wednesday everything should be back to normal and you can expect to receive only the best from the Daily CATHOLIC. That we guarantee…but only with the help of the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Queen of Peace - to whom we have dedicated this ministry. We thank you for your support and enjoy this special day of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - a special feast that is inextricably linked with the inevitable and glorious Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. That’s when ol’ horn-head will really get his come-uppance and we get to say, "I told you so, satan!" For now all we can say is "Thank you, Lord, for helping us, and begone, satan!" It was the devil that took a byte out of time - like a week - and it's high time he hightailed it outtahere. So we're calling a spade a spade and a forked tail the culprit, and not blaming it on Murphy!

Michael Cain, editor
     To commemorate this special Holy Day of Obligation, we share with you a special site dedicated and devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, appropriately called The Immaculate Heart of Mary web site to which we present this week's Golden Chalice AwardClick on SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK



Immaculate Heart of Mary website: a triumph as we await the Triumph!

     With the glorious occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception today, what better site to review for our SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK than one dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There are several on the net dedicated to the Immaculate Conception such as the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and numerous other sites, as well. But the site that caught our eye and is worth visiting is the Immaculate Heart of Mary web site at

     Operated and designed by Virginian Michael Shea, out of total dedication and gratitude to Our Lady, this site offers three features that are exceptional. First, there is a new quarterly Marian publication entitled Mary Online which offers hard-hitting, right-on editorials and articles with a strong Catholic bent that tell it like it is. The only set-back is that it is a quarterly so the material is quite outdated, and we eagerly look forward to the winter quarterly since the one on-line - their inaugural issue - is dated August. Nevertheless, Shea’s article refuting, or should we say "exposing" the pathetic Newsweek article on Our Lady in late August is well worth reading, as are his editorial and movie review. Loved his intro for the latter: "Reviews of new movies that Catholics may find of interest, or which the culture is going to shove in their face anyway." He also features the excellent article by Patrick Coffin, which we ran two months ago. Coffin is the Information Director for Franciscan University and close associate of Dr. Mark Miravalle who is the foremost authority and proponent on the Fifth or "Final Dogma" on the titles of CoRedemptrix, Advocate and Mediatrix of all graces. All articles are easy to read with categories on Family, the Church, Apologetics and Opinion.

     This site also offers the Immaculate Heart Book Store in cooperation with the super international on-line purchasing-power web bookstore Books Now, which features books at discount prices on all subjects of Catholicism. In addition, there is a special Devotional section listing novenas and prayers that are very edifying entitled "Ave Maria". They also offer a web forum, chat-room capabilities, and a links section to other Catholic sites. But probably the best feature of this site is the excellent graphics, most probably because Shea is the owner of AdLib Digital Creations. His expertise in this field comes through throughout the site, including a fabulous collection of over 75 pictures/paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary - the most of any site we know of. To make it simple for browsers, Shea offers thumbnail sketches to view before clicking on the selection of your choice to see the larger image with some background on it.

     Everything on this site, other than the book store, is free and Michael shares his graphics freely with permission. Overall, the generosity of Mary’s Heart pours out in Shea’s own heart for he states that not only is this the reason he offers this site, but all proceeds from sale of books are earmarked for EWTN to help Mother Angelica in her ministry. With that kind of benevolence, how can we not award the GOLDEN CHALICE AWARD this week to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Site, conferring SEVEN Hail Mary's.

Roman around the Vatican

      The Synod of American Bishops heads down the final stretch this week, finishing up this Friday. Today we review the second phase which was completed last week and give you a brief synopsis of what the Bishops intend. 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 second phase of the Synod of Bishops for America ended, as the twelve language groups presented their proposals for Church renewal, evangelization, inter-religious dialogue, and economic justice.

      The Church is losing members, in part, because of overly "moralistic" preaching of the Gospel, according to Archbishop Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo of Ibague, speaking for his Spanish-language group. That group concluded that the Church must correct her internal problems to prevent the authentic message of Jesus Christ from being lost.

      The group also mentioned moral and financial scandals, excessive bureaucracy in certain ecclesial structures, and a lack of solid formation of Catholics in the faith. These problems are aggravated by "a well-financed campaign to destroy the Catholic Church" from without, the group said.

      All of the groups agreed that the Church's reaction must begin in parishes, the institution closest to the faithful. The parish has been presented as a "community of communities," in which everyone is welcome: base communities, apostolic movements, and families. Parishes, both rural and urban, must also dismantle their bureaucracies in order to become more missionary.

      Some groups, fearing a growing bureaucracy, have opposed the creation of an episcopal council for the entire American Continent. Instead, they propose that CELAM, the episcopal conference of Latin America, create an office to inform the Church in the United States and Canada of its needs. The US episcopal conference has had such an office for several years to keep the South informed.

      A concrete expression of the growing solidarity among Synod participants is seen in the agreement that the regions of America better distribute their priests, especially to minister to countries that are suffering shortages.

      To overcome the current polarization that has exacerbated the problems with non-Catholics, Bishop Mario del Valle Moronta Rodriguez of Los Teques has proposed a "trialogue" among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. This would include relations with the Protestant groups that most Latin American Catholics call "sects", such as the Baptists and Pentecostals. Some of these groups have been in dialogue with the Holy See for decades. The bishop hopes it will thus be easier to warn the faithful about pseudo-religious groups, such as New Age, which constitute a very real threat and require a serious and effective pastoral strategy.

      The Synod has clearly demonstrated the important challenges brought about by economic globalization and the lack of resources that many bishops face in confronting them. One participant went so far as to call for the "criminalization" of globalization. The language groups concluded, however, that the bishops are not experts on economics and therefore are not qualified to provide solutions for financial problems. The bishops, for instance, have presented few proposals for dealing with the external debt in the South.

      The Synod also addressed the impact of the means of social communications in a globalized society. It has urged bishops to make more use of new technology.

      Spanish Language Group C, moderated by Archbishop Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico, encouraged the further development of the Information Network of the Latin American Church (RIIAL) , and television networks such as that of the Brazilian episcopal conference. CELAM recently announced that it will launch two TV channels, one in Portuguese and the other in Spanish.

      On Wednesday the Synod will begin to draw up proposals of the whole assembly. The Synod is expected to:

     After our one week forced hiatus, we resume bringing you the installments of the Vatican document on Instructions to the Laity and Priests handed down on November 13. Today we present the twelfth installment on The Homily. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

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

Twelfth installment: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 2
The Homily

§ 1. The homily, being an eminent form of preaching, qua per anni liturgici cursum ex textu sacro fidei mysteria et normae vitae christianae exponuntia,(68) also forms part of the liturgy.

The homily, therefore, during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, must be reserved to the sacred minister, Priest or Deacon (69) to the exclusion of the non-ordained faithful,even if these should have responsibilities as "pastoral assistants" or catechists in whatever type of community or group. This exclusion is not based on the preaching ability of sacred ministers nor their theological preparation, but on that function which is reserved to them in virtue of having received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. For the same reason the diocesan Bishop cannot validly dispense from the canonical norm (70) since this is not merely a disciplinary law but one which touches upon the closelyconnected functions of teaching and sanctifying.

For the same reason, the practice, on some occasions, of entrusting the preaching of the homily to seminarians or theology students who are not clerics (71) is not permitted. Indeed, the homily should not be regarded as a training for some future ministry.

All previous norms which may have admitted the non-ordained faithful to preaching the homily during the Holy Eucharist are to be considered abrogated by canon 767, § 1.(72)

§ 2. A form of instruction designed to promote a greater understanding of the liturgy, including personal testimonies, or the celebration of eucharistic liturgies on special occasions (e.g. day of the Seminary, day of the sick etc.) is lawful, of in harmony with liturgical norms, should such be considered objectively opportune as a means of explicating the regular homily preached by the celebrant priest. Nonetheless, these testimonies or explanations may not be such so as to assume a character which could be confused with the homily.

§ 3. As an expositional aide and providing it does not delegate the duty of preaching to others, the celebrant minister may make prudent use of "dialogue" in the homily, in accord with the liturgical norms. (73)

§ 4. Homilies in non-eucharistic liturgies may be preached by the non-ordained faithful only when expressly permitted by law and when its prescriptions for doing so are observed.

§ 5. In no instance may the homily be entrusted to priests or deacons who have lost the clerical state or who have abandoned the sacred ministry. (74)

NEXT ISSUE: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 4 The Parish Priest and the Parish

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 8, 1997 volume 8, no. 47         DAILY CATHOLIC

December 1997