January 28, 1998   vol 9, no. 20    


Celebrating Catholic Education

      Today, in the midst of "Catholic Schools Week" we celebrate one of the greatest educators in the annals of great Church Doctors - Saint Thomas Aquinas. We include in this issue links to his famed Summa Theologica. In addition, we feature his story along with the readings for today's Mass and tomorrow's in Ordinary time. Click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

WEDNESDAY, January 28, 1998

     Few saints were more revered than Saint Thomas Aquinas a learned Dominican who contributed so much to Holy Mother Church in writings and songs. He is best known for the great theology tome "Summa Theologica", which incorporates three parts covering the entire teaching of the Church in regards Faith and Morals. He also penned the awe-inspiring Benediction hymns of "O Salutaris Hostia" and "Tantum Ergo". He was born of noble heritage in Aquino, Italy in 1226 five years after the death of the founder of the Dominicans Saint Dominic. Though Thomas studied at the Dominican University in Naples, his brother kidnapped him on his way from Naples to the Order's University in Paris. This absconding was ordered by Thomas' own mother, so incensed was she that Thomas was considering the priesthood. Thomas was forcefully taken to the family's castle of Rocca-Secca and kept there against his will for two years, often being coerced by his own brothers to abandon his holy vow of chastity. But Pope Innocent IV intervened, ordering Thomas be brought to Rome. From there Thomas, also an expert chemistry scholor, was free to go on to Paris to study. In France he studied under Saint Albert the Great who had joined the Dominicans in 1223. After graduating summa cum laude, Thomas landed teaching dockets at universities in Paris, Rome and Naples. So great was his tutelage that Pope Urban IV summoned Thomas to personally advise the pontiff in 1261. Thomas stayed on for three years. There in Rome, he composed the Mass and office for the feast of Corpus Christi as well as writing the hymns "Pange Lingua" and "Adoro Te". Though he was an extremely learned man, he was also humble enough to realize his vital need for God. Once, while in prayer, he heard Jesus say to him from the crucifix, "Thomas, thou has written well of Me. What reward dost thou wish?" The holy preacher didn't hesitate in his response, "No other reward, Lord, except Thyself." Besides St. Albert, Thomas was a close confidant to Saint Bonaventure. He became such a counselor to the papacy that Pope Gregory X personally invited him to participate in the General Council of Lyons in 1274, but the Dominican scholar died on his way there at Fossa Nuova near Terracina, Italy on March 7, 1274. He was only 49 when he was called home to Heaven and exactly 49 years later he was canonized by Pope John XXII. Thomas was officially declared a "Doctor of the Church" in 1567 by Pope Saint Pius V and his feast day had always been celebrated on March 7th until after Vatican II when it was changed to January 28th.

THURSDAY, January 29, 1998

Many educators have incurred "illegal procedure" penalties

      Today we commemorate "Catholic Schools Week" with an expose of what has happened to our faith through education in the United States at all levels of "Catholic" education. In this commentary we call for a change in the slogan "Restoring Faith in Education" to "Restoring Faith in our Faith through Education." Why restore faith in education when it has been proven the system does not work? Why not restore faith in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith through proper Education? That is the only way we'll be able to reverse the secular trend of the past thirty years in our schools, increase vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and receive the blessings and fruits from above. Future generations depend on it! click on TODAY'S CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Let's work on restoring faith in our faith through education at all levels!

      This week we celebrate "Catholic Schools Week" with the theme "Restoring Faith in Education". Maybe that should be changed to "Restoring Faith in our Faith through Education." Because it is not education per se that we need to have faith in, but rather faith that the Catholic faith will be taught honestly, thoroughly and sincerely in our Catholic schools at the primary, secondary and higher institution levels.

     Don't know how many saw the obituary of a gentleman that passed away recently. It was of Edmund Anton Stephan who was a prominent lawyer in the Chicago area who died January 16 at Evanston Hospital at the age of 86. What is significant is that this is the man who basically began the process that de-Catholicized that once noble Catholic institution known as Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. As a lay Notre Dame alumnus and trustee back in 1967 he drew up and framed the legal structure whereby a mostly lay board took over governing the University. It was a drastic change from the previous administration of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the religious order of priests who had founded the university in 1842. Though there are still some Holy Cross priests still teaching today, the majority of faculty and administrators are secular. The governing board remains totally lay run. Back in 1967 Stephan was elected chairman of the board of the trustees where he served through 1982 when he was forced to retire because of the mandatory 70-age limit. Yet he remained "chairman emeritus" until his death last week. Though Notre Dame's highly visible president Father Theodore Hesburgh praised this man highly, do not forget that this transition signaled the end of Catholic universities in our country as we used to know them when a solid Roman Catholic foundation was vital and not an elective. Hesburgh, in eulogizing this man said, "The important thing to remember when we moved to lay control, is that it affected not just Notre Dame, but ultimately almost every Catholic university and Catholic hospital in the country." That's right, like a domino effect every Catholic university. save for a select few, followed suit, abandoning the principles of Catholicism in favor of a "more open curriculum." The results over the past thirty years have spoken for themselves: catastrophic. By shifting the responsibility to the lay sector, the seeds of vocations have dwindled to but a few blooms in a growing field of weeds sprouting heresies and secularism. By turning it over to the lay sector, it paved the way for such notorious theologians as Fr. Richard McBrien to take hold under the golden dome. Hesburgh claimed the move from religious control to lay control was necessary because Vatican II dictated it. Sorry folks, he's wrong. He sites the Council called for people outside the clergy to be given positions "commensurate with their talents, their experience, their specialized knowledge and their dedication." In that he is correct, but his interpretation is what is in error for Vatican II never intended for the laity to "take over" which they did at Notre Dame and countless other Catholic institutions throughout the United States. The laity was always meant to use these God-given talents to compliment and support religious institutions and their projects, and through this valuable and specialized assistance, help Holy Mother Church as well as contribute to nourishing more vocations The Vatican II Council Fathers intended for the laity to be more involved because of their talents - a way they could participate in evangelization and tithe with their talents and time as well as treasures. In no way did the Second Vatican Council "dictate" that the laity take over.

     Though many will mourn this man and we join them in regards to his soul and pray for him, we do not mourn this man for what he accomplished but rather we mourn what he wrought - a further watering down of the faith by diluting and, in some cases, eliminating a strict Catholic curriculum that had served Notre Dame so well for well over a century. This same strict Catholic curriculum thrives today at such loyal institutions as Franciscan University at Steubenville, Christendom College, and even diocesan universities like the University of Dallas to name a few. There are lay people involved with all of these, but they are there in support, not dictating change because the Council did not "dictate" this. Rather the Council "dictated" that the faith be deepened in all universities and institutions throughout the world. It's too bad Fr. Hesburgh and Mr. Stephan and countless others missed the point. The damage done has been considerable, but it is not irreversible if we wake up to the fact that, after thirty years the results are in: this experiment is not working. There is a huge mural of Christ flanking the facade of the campus library overlooking Notre Dame's hallowed football stadium and often referred to as "Touchdown Jesus." He has not been celebrating much over these last three decades. More often than not instead of signaling victory, He has had to issue penalty flags to the Notre Dame administration and other administrations who have wandered from the roots of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith. Call it "illegal procedure!" It's time we get the right signal callers and coaches into the game - dedicated religious committed to the Church - so that we can make up lost yardage and fully restore faith in our faith through education at all levels!

Michael Cain, editor

God's present to us is that He is always Present in the present

     We resume our on-going megaseries on Marian Apparitions and conclude our multi-part feature on the essence of why Our Lady has been appearing and why God has sent Mary to guide us, to admonish us, to warn us. But we must be zone in, eliminate the static so that we can listen, learn and live what Heaven is telling us to do. For the fifty-third installment, click on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS


      No matter the age, the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart have been imparting the same message: "Pray! Pray! Pray!" A return to God is the priority and why God has sent His messenger - the Mother of God in a special way to convey God's Will, reinforcing Divine Revelation and His Holy Church. It is only through constant prayer, taken as a bouquet in loving, motherly intercession before the Throne of God, that the hearts of mankind will eventually be softened and all her little ones brought into accord with the Will of God. This continuing in-depth series on the grace-filled mystical phenomena of Our Lady's appearances through the ages and the meaning of her messages will open eyes and hearts because she is the mother of us all and her words of wisdom and warnings must be taken seriously...very seriously!

God's present to us is that He is Present in the present!

Installment Fifty-three

     The headline may seem a bit confusing with so many "presents" but the Holy Trinity bestows so many presents on us and God is always Present with us as Three Persons in One - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - in our present time for there are no time restrictions with the Almighty. That is why the Father has sent His beloved daughter the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Son has sent His very Own Mother - and the Holy Spirit has sent His blessed spouse to be with us in this present time for that truly is a precious present - giving us the Queen of Heaven and earth to guide us and help us. This century especially - from Fatima to Garabandal to Medjugorje, Akita, Betania and countless other sites, Our Lady has been beseeching us to convert, to return to God, to be more fervent in our prayer life. We need to ask God specifically for the grace to listen to Him, and to trust Him enough not to let us be deceived, nor deceive others. We all need to pray for the grace of true discernment and seek out our Blessed Lord, Present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist and in the Tabernacle at your nearest parish church. When we receive Jesus worthily this is the Font of Grace, the Font of Divine Mercy whereby He speaks to each one of us in a special way.

     If we can eliminate the static, the distractions by going deep inside to spend a few quiet moments with Him, then we can better listen, learn and live God's Will and Word. If we can learn to do this with total reverence then God will never get a busy signal when He comes calling. Afterall, the interference always comes from our end because worldly things block Him out. We're too busy being about our own affairs. We need, more than ever to listen, learn and live what Our Lady - Refuge of Sinners - says, "Do whatever He tells you." No wonder Saint John Bosco's vision entailed the vital link between devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the bond of devotion to the Blessed Mother - the Immaculate Heart; no wonder Fatima and Medjugorje are indefatiguably linked as Our Lady has confirmed; no wonder the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is so vital to ushering in the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - the new era. By complying with her words in John 2: 5 and all she has imparted through private revelation - both officially approved by Holy Mother Church and that which the Magisterium has allowed to continue - we will become a true link in the chain that will bind satan, and we will play a powerful role in prompting God to allow Mary's Immaculate Heart to triumph sooner, thus issuing in the Reign of the Sacred Heart - the New Millennium of Peace - the Age of the Eucharistic Presence.

      Yes, this is a special time. It is a special time to heed what our Mother of the Church is imparting, to heed all that the Holy Father - the saintly John Paul II is preaching. It is a special time to listen to what God is saying to each one of us and collectively through His Word - Sacred Scripture, through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and through any private revelation that is totally in line with Divine Revelation. By heeding Saint Paul's words in 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-22 to "Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus regarding you all. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. But test all things, hold fast that which is good. Keep yourselves from every kind of evil." With that kind of formula we can more readily invoke the Holy Spirit to help us close our mouths and open our ears so that we may all truly hear God working in each one of us. If we listen, learn and live what God wants, then we will love Him, as well as our fellow man, all the more sincerely. It's that simple! All we need to do is listen and respond. But we cannot respond if we are not listening. As we conclude this segment of the THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS before continuing our chronological course of Marian Apparitions in the early nineteen sixties, we leave you with the inspiring words of David in Psalms 46: 10, "Be still, and know that I am God."

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.

Indulging in the treasury of the Communion of Saints

     We continue our treatise on Indulgences by showing how the Communion of Saints contributes toward the treasury of the Church, enabling us to enjoy the merits of Indulgences. Today we feature solely the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Next week we will conclude this segment on Indulgences by bringing you capsules exclusively from the old, but still very much pertinent Baltimore Catechism. Click on CATECHISM CAPSULES

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation: Indulgences

   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. Today we bring you exclusively the new Catechism and will conclude this short series on Indulgences next week with capsules from the old Baltimore Catechism. 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."

No. 1474, 1475, 1476, 1477 and 1498, page 371and page 374 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:

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

      The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God's grace is not alone. "The life of each of God's children is joined in Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian barethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person." [Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5].

      In the communion of saints, "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. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things." [ibid.] In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

     We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church's treasury, which is "not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the 'treasury of the Church' is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer Himself, the satisfactions and merits of His Redemption exist and find their efficacy." [Ibid.]

     "This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by His grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body." [Ibid.]

      Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.

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January 28, 1998 volume 9, no. 20          DAILY CATHOLIC

January 1998