February 4, 1998   vol 9, no. 25    


"Now, Lord, You may dismiss Your servant!"

     Yesterday was a sad day for those who foster the culture of life when Karla Faye Tucker, only the second woman to be executed in the United States since the Civil War, was injected on the execution "platform" at Huntsville Texas at 6:30 p.m. Central Time and within eight minutes was no longer among the living. Despite pleas by the Holy Father to Texas Governor George Bush no clemency was given. In today's commentary we treat this event with "No-Mercy Platform opens the door to Tender Mercies for Karla Faye Tucker!" for Karla, by her own admission had seen the way to salvation and willingly went to her death, reminiscent of Simeon's words in Monday's Gospel, "Now, Lord, You may dismiss Your servant! click on Today's Daily CATHOLIC PewPOINT

No-Mercy Platform opens the door to Tender Mercies for Karla Faye Tucker!

     By the time you read this Karla Faye Tucker most probably will not be among the living. We say this because there is a remote possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will overrule the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole who unanimously voted not to grant clemency to the convicted pickaxe murderer of a Houston couple in 1983. Considering the Justices' track record for upholding the culture of life, things look pretty bleak. Barring a complete turnaround by the Court, or a last-minute reprieve by Texas Governor George W. Bush, an avowed pro-lifer, Karla Faye Tucker's days of breathing life on this earth will have ended at 6 p.m. Central Time on February 3, 1998.

     Even his holiness Pope John Paul II got into the act by sending a message a few days ago to Governor Bush via the Apostolic Nuncio in which he appealed to the governor for clemency to "provide a culture more favorable to respect for life." It was not an unusual move for the Pope has submitted similar requests in a humanitarian gesture of promoting the culture of life to other officials regarding those who were about to be executed. The reason this case has received so much publicity is two-fold. One, Karla Faye Tucker will be or will have been only the second woman ever to be executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Secondly, the turnaround of this once "drug-head" 23 year-old former prostitute who now, at 37 had turned her back on sin and become a born-again Christian caused even more publicity. But it was what she had been doing since her conversion that prompts our response - working to share Christ with others in a manner truly reminiscent of Mary Magdalene.

     As the hours, minutes and seconds counted down to her execution, Karla Faye Tucker was composed and accepting of whatever God so willed. She knew she would have to pay for a crime that drugs greatly contributed to, but she also realized that the penalty for sins against the Law of God are far greater than any punishment man can bestow. She violated the Fifth Commandment, not once, but twice hacking victims Jerry Lynnn Dean and Deborah Thompson to death in Houston in the early summer of 1983. She realized that she could not bring them back to life, that she could not make amends to the families of the victims; but she could make amends to God for this heinous deed of which she was truly repentant. Her actions over the last fourteen years have borne this out as she had become a model prisoner, ministering to many, even marrying the prison chaplain - though the last had nothing to do with her salvation and, in fact, hurt her credibility with many.

     We could use this column to call for an end to the death penalty, but that is not our soapbox for the political ramifications, pros and cons are much more clearly cut than the abortion or euthanasia issues. Many point to the Old Testament of "an eye for an eye" mentality in reinstating the death penalty as a deterrant to stop crime. But crime can only be stopped by turning hearts. That is one of the things that Karla Faye Tucker eventually did; hearts that had been hardened by lives of crime and immoral prison life were softened to the Word of God through this diminutive prison colleague who sought to make amends to Whom it counted - her Creator. Now prayerfully her soul is freed from the prison of original sin and free to roam the regions of Heaven, if not for a possible short stint in Purgatory. Time limits we have no concept of for those are reserved for God alone. But time is what Karla Faye Tucker had on her side. Yes that's right. Though it may seem like a contradiction for many will say "time ran out on her," we say au contraire for she had time to make amends and to prepare for the time she knew she would die. How many of us would opt for this opportunity? Wait a minute you might be saying, has this editor totally lost his marbles? Not really when you read further. Think about it. What if you knew the exact time you were going to die? Wouldn't that give you the proper preparation time to prepare to meet God? How many of us have that "opportunity?" Very few for we do not know the time nor the hour! So rather than lament for Karla Faye Tucker, let us celebrate the opportunity God provided her to be ready. Remember the words of Simeon in Monday's Gospel of Luke (2: 29) for the Feast of the Presentation, "Now Thou canst dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation." Karla Faye Tucker claimed she had seen the light, focused on salvation and, like Simeon, was now ready to let God call her home where she would truly be free and forgiven. That is a gift that, despite the No-Mercy platitudes of the Texas Board, truly reveals His Tender Mercies to all of us, especially to one who was lost and now is found!

Michael Cain, editor

We can never say Our Lady didn't warn us!

      In today's special on-going feature series on the Blessed Mother's appearances over the last two millenniums we resume chronological visits from after the Second World War up until 1961 throughout the world. In most of these reported sightings and messages, Our Lady conveyed the same theme as she has up to today: Repent, and turn back to her Divine Son for the tribulation is at hand. For the fifty-fourth installment of this on-going megaseries, "Post-war rumblings of more tribulations on the horizon if God's people don't repent!" click on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS

Post-war rumblings of more tribulations on the horizon if God's people don't repent!

Installment Fifty-four

     After six weeks of treating the essence and impact of the Age of Marian Apparitions we now return to the chronological line of Apparitions reported throughout the world. When last we left off we had traveled through World War II, bringing us up to 1946 when the Blessed Mother reportedly appeared in three different places in Europe - Dalmatia in the village of Vilar-Chao where she purportedly was seen by thousands; in Espis, France where she began appearing to an unknown visionary there on the thirteenth of every month; and to a visionary in Mariefried, Germany where she is reported to have appeared as Mediatrix of All Graces conveying messages that her hour was approaching soon. This ties in with the fifty-five messages she imparted to the visionary of Amsterdam the year before regarding her title as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix.

      The following year Our Lady continued her messages in Mariefried, Germany as well as Espis France as well as appearing in Holland and Brazil. But two of her most important visits that year were to Tre Fontane in Rome where she revealed herself as the "Virgin of Revelation" to visionary Bruno Cornacchiola a religious brother still living north of Rome. Her other apparition happened in Montichiari, Italy where Our Lady appeared as "Rosa Mystica" imparting Messages and warnings to visionary Pierina Gilli. The fame of this apparition and the replica of Our Lady in the beautiful statue known as the "Rosa Mystica" - Mystical Rose - and the wonders attributed to it have spread throughout the world and are well-known today. The theme of roses was also conveyed to a Filipino novice by the name of Teresita in Lipa the following year where Our Lady introduced herself as "Crown of Roses". That same year of 1948 the Blessed Virgin Mary is reported to have appeared in Italy, Austria, France, and Transylvania to name a few. The next year the sites claiming her visits were from Shanghai to Sicily as well as Germany and Bavaria. At the latter she allowed the visionary and those in attendance to see the sun dance similar to Fatima and which followers have come to regard this as the "Solar miracle." She also appeared in Poland where a statue of the Blessed Mother wept blood.

     The nineteen fifties dawned with only two reported visits - one in Cassacicchio, Italy and one in Denver where Our Lady wept bitterly. The next year she increased her visits, appearing to stigmatist Antonio Ruffini in Cisterna, Italy and visionary Luigia Nova in Arluno, Italy where she came as the "Virgin of the Poor". In Poland she appeared again as the "Queen of Angels" emphasizing the vital importance of the Rosary. In 1952 she is said to have revisited a site in Belgium as well as appearing to Father Louis Shourlah a Jesuit priest in India to whom she imparted the Devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. In 1953, only two places made claim to apparitions - Calais, France and Bivigliano, Italy. The following year, 1954, Our Lady appeared in Ireland and Germany, and to a place she had not been before - the Ukraine where she prophecied the "Deluge of Fire" that was coming. This prophecy at the time was not taken seriously enough as mystic and visionary Josyp Terelya relates in his book "Witness" and what followed at Chernobyl clarified her certain forecast for that region and the world. Mary appeared also in Calabria, Italy to Mother Elena Aiello with dire Warnings similar to what she had imparted at the Ukraine and chose visionary Sister Mildred Neuzell of Cleveland, Ohio to appear as "Our Lady of America" also warning of things to come. This same theme followed through the next six years with her visit in 1955 to Ngome in Africa where she appeared as "Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High" asking the children to repent, and in Hungary where she emphasized the "Two Hearts" and that we should offer our lives body and soul to her Immaculate Heart and her Divine Son's Most Sacred Heart and where she also issued dire warnings to "repent before the great trajedies come upon you." Just a little over a decade later Russian tanks would roll into Hungarian territory and great bloodshed would occur. Our Lady knew. In 1956 she appeared only in one place - Austria where she warned that a "terrible punishment was close." In retrospect, today Austria suffers greatly within the Church as schism has taken over and bishops, priests and laity are in open rebellion to Rome. Alas, they did not heed Our Lady's words. In 1958 the Queen of Heaven appeared in Czechloslovakia with the intent message "Repent or you will suffer much." Here, too, Our Lady could see the upheaval that was coming in Eastern Europe and did all in her power to bring her little ones back to her Divine Son.

      It was in 1961 that Our Lady made two appearances in Europe; one in Hungary and the other in Spain, the latter is one which has great ramifications today as we near the end of the millennium and an apparition that we shall spend several installments on because of its importance and the vital messages imparted there. The former, was to Mrs. Erzebet Szanto Kindelmann, a Hungarian mother of six who died in 1985. Our Lady communicated to Erzebet for several years but it was in the first years that she imparted the following, appearing as the "Flame of Love": "My Daughter, your compassion for suffering souls moved my Motherly heart so much that I will grant the grace that if anyone anywhere will say three Hail Mary's in reference to my Flame of Love on each occasion a soul will be freed from Purgatory." The Blessed Mother continued with a powerful promise that all Catholics can practice during every month of November - a month of reconciliation, redemption and thanksgiving: "Furthermore, in the month of the Holy Souls ten souls will be freed from Purgatory for each Hail Mary...Suffering souls will also feel the effect of the grace coming from my Motherly Flame of Love." This devotion to the "Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" spread quickly throughout the world and is still very pertinent, powerful and poignant today! It was a union of the Communion of Saints in which we as the Church Militant pray for the Church Suffering while the Church Triumphant prays for us.

      And prayers and repentance are vital for our present times as Our Lady warned over the decades of the late forties, through the fifties and into the sixties and beyond for today we are reaping what we have sown. This is evident from the hard-heartedness of people the world over as terrorism and violence has increased beyond expectations globally. In fact there have been more who have given their lives for the faith over the last one hundred years than in any of the previous centuries - some claim in all of the previous centuries combined. When you consider the plethora of early martyrs, that is a staggering amount. The callousness of God's people and the obscenities in our media and news that no longer shock us shock God and we're in for a shock. God has promised it. In the next several installments we shall concentrate on one apparition that began in 1961 in the mountains of southern Spain near a village called Garabandal which would have repercussions not only around the world but through several decades as the countdown to the millennium calls to mind the impending Warning and resulting Miracle promised by Our Lady as we shall see next week.

To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.


Today's prayer is the Novena Prayer for preparation of the feast next week of Our Lady of Lourdes. This novena includes a prayer to Saint Bernadette the visionary of Lourdes. Click on PRAYERS & DEVOTION


Nine Day Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes culminating on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11

Taken from Treasury of Novenas by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D.

      Mary, Mother of God, we firmly believe in the doctrine of Holy Mother Church concerning your Immaculate Conception: namely, that you were, in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

      Alone of all the children of Adam, you were gifted with the fullness of sanctifying grace that made you the object of a very special love on the part of God. How wonderful were the workings of Divine power to make you a fitting dwelling for the Redeemer of the world! With no tendency to evil, but with a deep yearning for the highest virtue, you glorified God more than all His other creatures. At the very instant of your conception your mind was filled with the light of God, and you will was entirely conformed to the Divine Will. You were always intimately united with God.

      We thank God with you for these wonderful blessings. Help us to imitate your holiness to some degree. Your holiness was not the result of the privilege of your Immaculate Conception and sanctifying grace alone, but followed from your gift of yourself to God and your constant cooperation with His graces. Help us to be generous with God by turning to good account the graces that He ever bestows on us, and by rising promptly when we fall, with renewed confidence in His Mercy.

      Ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comfort of the afflicted, you know our wants, our troubles, our sufferings. Deign to cast upon us a look of mercy.

      By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, from which you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. We come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of our requests. Through gratitude for your favors, we will endeavor to imitate your virtues that we may some day share your mercy.

      Through your loving compassion shown to thousands of pilgrims who come to your shrine at Lourdes, and through your special love for your devoted client Bernadette, we ask for this grace if it be the Will of God:

(Here Mention your requests)


      Saint Bernadette, little shepherdess of Lourdes, favored with eighteen apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with the privilege of lovingly conversing with her, now that you are eternally enjoying the entrancing beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God, do not forsake us, your devoted clients, who are still in this valley of tears.

      Intercede for us that we, too, may walk the simple paths of faith. Help us to imitate your example, at our heavenly Queen’s request, by saying the Rosary daily and by doing penance for sinners.

      Teach us to imitate your wonderful devotedness to God and our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, so that, like you, we may be blessed with the grace of lasting faithfulness and enjoy the happiness in heaven of the eternal vision of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


      God of infinite mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, the sinless Mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.


For today's liturgy and preparation for tomorrow's feast of Saint Agatha, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

WEDNESDAY, February 4, 1998

      First Reading: 2 Samuel 24: 2, 9-17
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 32: 1-2, 5-7
      Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 1-6

THURSDAY, February 5, 1998

      First Reading: 1 Kings 2: 1-4, 10-12
      Responsorial Psalm: 1 Chronicles 29: 10-12
      Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 7-13

Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

     The virgin martyr Saint Agatha was born in Sicily into a rich and noble family. Her parents consecrated her to the Trinity before she was born as a result of the promise from God that she would indeed be born despite incredible odds. As she grew into the flower of her teens, the beauty of her soul was somewhat overshadowed by her physical attractiveness which drew raves throughout Sicily; so much so that Quintanus, governor of Sicily under the Emperor Decius, enforced laws against the Christians as a pretext for seducing this beautiful flower of God. Praying for purity and the fortitude to withstand his advances, she prevailed, much to Quintanus' wrath who ordered vile mutilations on this faithful virgin who bore all for the love of her one true Love - Jesus Christ. Having cut off her breasts, they were miraculously healed when Our Lord sent Saint Peter to heal her. So incensed was Quintanus that he stripped her and subjected her to cruel humiliation, rolling her naked through the streets and over broken shards before her Spouse heard her pleas and called her Home. In testimony to her purity, it is believed that her body is still incorrupt and her intercessory prayer has proved victorious for many young women subjected to sexual harassment. She was truly a temple of the Holy Spirit.

One last time to indulge in indulgences by looking back

      Last week we completed our capsule paragraphs on Indulgences from the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Today we complete Indulgences with one last look by looking back to the old, but still very pertinent Baltimore Catechism as we conclude our brief series on Indulgences and the Sacrament of Penance. The answers provided in the old Catechism parallel the answers in the newer Catechism and confirm that nothing has truly changed regarding Indulgences except the fact excess ones have been eliminated as necessary. Click on CATECHISM CAPSULES
      The Sacraments are part and parcel of our lives and so we continue our "capsule series" on each of the Sacraments, bringing you capsule paragraphs from both the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and the old Baltimore Catechism. Last week we brought you paragraphs exclusively from the new Catechism; today we bring you exclusively paragraphs from the old Baltimore Catechism. to conclude this short series on Indulgences. This part on indulgences is included with the section on the Sacrament of Penance ("The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.") reminding us of our humanness and our total dependence on the Mercy of God and the promises He has made to His well as our promises to Him for through indulgences we can "obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for ourselves and for the souls in Purgatory."
From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Benziger Brothers, Inc. and Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. No. 848, page 179, nos. 855, 856, 858, 860, 861, 865, 866 and 868, pages 181-184

The essence of the treasury of the Communion of Saints that make Indulgences possible:

Q. How long has the practice of granting Indulgences been in use in the Church, and what was its origin?
A. The practice of granting Indulgences has been in use in the Church since the time fo the apostles. It had its origin in the earnest prayers of holy persons, and especially of the martyrs begging the Church for their sake to shorten the severe penances of sinners, or to change them into lighter penances. The request was frequently granted and the penance remitted, shortened or changed, and with the penance remitted the temporal punishment corresponding to it was blotted out.

Q. Does the Church, by granting Indulgences, free us from doing Penance?
A. The Church, by granting Indulgences, does not free us from doing penance, but simply makes our penance lighter that we may more easily satisfy for our sins and escape the punishments they deserve.

Q. Who has the power to grant Indulgences?
A. The Pope alone has the power to grant Indulgences for the whole Church; but the bishops have power to grant partial Indulgences in their own diocese. Cardinals and some others, by the special permission of the Pope, have the right to grant certain Indulgences.

Q. What must we do to gain an indulgence?
A. To gain an Indulgence we must be in the state of grace and perform the works enjoined.

Q. How and why should we make a general intention to gain all possible Indulgences each day?
A. We should make a general intention at our morning prayers to gain all possible Indulgences each day, because several of the prayers we say and good works we perform may have Indulgences attached to them, though we are not aware of it.

Q. What works are generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences?
A. The works generally enjoined for the gaining of Indulgences are: The saying of certain prayers, fasting, and the use of certain articles of devotion; visits to Churches or altars (tabernacles), and the giving of alms. For the gaining of Plenary Indulgences it is generally required to go to confession and Holy Communion and pray for the intention of the Pope.

Q. When do things lose the Indulgences attached to them?
A. Things lose the Indulgences attached to them: (1) When they are so changed at once as to be no longer what they were; (2) When they are sold. Rosaries and other indulgenced articles do not lose their indulgences, when they are loaned or given away, for the indulgence is not personal but attached to the article itself.

Q. How and when may we apply Indulgences for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory?
A. We may apply Indulgences for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory by way of intercession; whenever this application is mentioned and permitted by the Church in granting the Indulgence; that is, when the Church declares that the Indulgence granted is applicable to the souls of the living or the souls in Purgatory; so that we may gain it for the benefit of either.

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February 4, 1998 volume 9, no. 25          DAILY CATHOLIC

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