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The situation in the world, but especially America today has morphed from the sublime to the ridiculous with the ACLU and a few rabble rousing atheists able to manipulate and sway supreme courts into throwing out prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments in court rooms, creche scenes in public squares, and even ban the words "Christmas" and "Easter" when it comes to vacation time, opting instead for "Winter Break" and "Spring Break." What, folks, are we ashamed of? Why is it we allow this minute minority who oppose God to dictate to the rest? Are we that weak that we're not going to stand up to them and proudly proclaim our faith? That is what Dan Lungren is doing. And for that he is being crucified just as Another was spat on, ridiculed and hung on a cross nearly 2000 years ago! We all know what the press did to another noble, good, upstanding moral Catholic who ran for president in the last election...and we're not talking about Pat Buchanan, but rather Alan Keyes. He spoke from his heart and he spoke the truth and for that he was blackballed not only by the press, but his own black race as well. Ever since Al Smith there has been suspicion about Catholic politicians (outside of Boston or New York) that they would transfer the Holy See to America and set up the Pope as the head of the country or that they would clear everything through the Vatican before acting. Nothing could be further from the truth and many of those fears were assuaged when John F. Kennedy came to the oval office in 1960. However, in the aftermath of his death more facts have surfaced that makes it highly suspect if he ever really was Catholic, much like his brother Teddy today who espouses everything that Holy Mother Church is against - from abortion to homosexuality to sexual permisiveness.
Now from the Golden State comes a refreshing, conservative candidate who does not hide his faith under a bushel basket or use it as leverage to get votes. Rather, it could hurt him in "New Age-leaning" places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. But he spoke out regardless of the consequences because he is a man of conviction, something sorely lacking in politicians today, especially ones who inhabit the White House today! Lungren is not afraid to stand up for Christ and proudly proclaim "I am a Catholic!" More of us need to do the same. While the press may try to bury Lungren, it's interesting to realize that many reputable opponents are falling by the wayside. The Republicans have held office in the Governor's chair for the past 16 years. Democrats had hoped to unseat the "elephant" and place the donkey in Sacramento, but the ass keeps stumbling! First many thought Senator Diane Feinstein would run but she chose to stay with the senate; secondly they enlisted former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, but he declined. That left the door open for Checchi and Harman, a three-term suburban LA (Rolling Hills) congresswoman to throw their hats in the Democratic ring along with Lt. Governor Gray Davis, the most liberal of the lot, who most likely will slug it out with only one of the three emerging the Democratic candidate. All are pro-abortion. Meanwhile, the lone pro-lifer in the gubernatorial race Lungren has no opposition save a San Francisco opponent who is a medical marijuana activist from San Francisco (no wonder California gets such a bad reputation!). So the scenario is that Checchi is rich but inexperienced, Harman unknown, and Davis lacking the charisma to attract voters. Add to the fact that Davis' albatross could be the fact he was "Governor Moonbeam's" chief aide. That moniker, of course, was given to Governor Jerry Brown for his wacky politics. Speaking of Brown, he too was Catholic. In fact he studied to be a Jesuit priest. But seldom did he call on his faith which Lungren does. That leaves Lungren a pretty clear path to winning the race for Governor come November. The conservatives hope to mount a solid campaign, having endorsed Lungren along with Vista businessman and our neighbor Darrell Issa for the U.S. Senate. Lungren is unabashedly staunchly anti-abortion and won't back down from it. Issa leans heavily toward pro-life as well. It's a good team not for politics but for the resurgence of morality in America even if it does start on the "left coast" because on the other coast, or should we say, on the banks of the Potomac, the scales tip heavily away from justice, prudence and good to everything satan is advocating. On Tuesday the County of Santa Barbara, a fairly conservative stronghold in former President Ronald Reagan's backyard, held an election which should serve as a litmus test for the rest of the nation on the issue of abortion where strong pro-life Republican Tom Bordanaro was to face sentimental Democrat Lois Capps, widow of the former 22nd Congressional District incumbent, the late Walter Capps. Unfortunately she is strongly pro-abortion and all the culture of death factions have jumped on her bandwagon. It's pretty hard to jump on Bordanaro's since he has two things going against him. One, he's handicapped, wheel-chair bound and he's Catholic. But those are not weaknesses, those are strengths, for Bordanaro is unabashedly pro-life like Lungren. Both are not afraid to proudly proclaim their beliefs. As Californians, we strongly welcome both Bordanaro to Congress and Lungren to the race for governor and encourage them to continue the course. By the time you read this we should know the results of the Bordanaro-Capps race, but for Lungren there are many months to go. Our advice: Stay the course. Don't be afraid, Dan, to continue to proudly proclaim: "Catholic and proud of it!"
The 48-page document, entitled "Fundamental Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons," is accompanied by a 63-page "directory" for the ministry. The documents were presented to the press in Rome today by Cardinals Pio Laghi and Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefects respectively of the Congregations for Catholic Education and the Clergy.
The diaconate is one of the three ordained ministries within the Catholic Church, along with the priesthood and the episcopacy. The permanent diaconate, restored to active use in the Roman Church by Vatican II, has attracted nearly 23,000 men to the clerical state. Of those 23,000 permanent deacons, roughly 90 percent are married men, and roughly two-thirds live in North America-- predominantly in the United States.
The new Vatican document suggests that the permanent diaconate envisioned by Vatican II has now reached a sort of "maturity" after a period of 30 years. For that reason the Holy See has published this guide to the three essential functions of the deacon: the proclamation of the Gospel, the service of the liturgy, and administration of charitable works.
"We now need to set out universal norms" for deacons, Cardinal Laghi explained, pointing out that different episcopal conferences have developed widely different usages. He said that the example of the United States, with 15,000 permanent deacons, had helped to guide an international dialogue.
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos observed that there have been no widespread concerns about abuses of the deacon's role. Rather, he said, the new effort is a matter of "stimulating this sacramental and spiritual force, which gives life to the Church." Indeed the two documents contain no striking new teaching or discipline regarding the role of the permanent deacon.
However, the documents do lay to rest one argument which has been raised frequently by proponents of priestly ordination for women. The text makes it clear that the ordination of women as permanent deacons is not a possibility. Msgr. Jose Savaira Martins, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, explained: "While 'deaconesses' indubitably did exist in the early days of the Church, they were not ordained as priests were; they simply received a blessing, which was not a sacrament."
If women cannot be ordained to the clergy, reporters asked, would it be possible to revive the ancient practice in which some women received a blessing to work as deacons without being ordained? Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos responded: "In editing this text we wished precisely to avoid any new confusion on the idea of the diaconate. To go back to such a practice in the Church would cause confusion in the language."
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church made that disclosure in Moscow during the celebration of an Orthodox feast, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. However, the Patriarch said no such meeting could take place until the Vatican approves a statement condemning the "proselytism" of Catholic communities, especially in Ukraine.
A planned meeting last year between the Pope and Patriarch Alexei, scheduled to take place on June 21 in Vienna, was canceled because of heavy pressure from the Orthodox synod, which took a hostile stance toward "Catholic proselytism."
Patriarch Alexei also said that the Pope would not be welcome to visit Russia until the Eastern-rite Catholic churches drop their claims for the restoration of parish properties which were seized by the government during the years of Communist rule, and handed over to the local Orthodox churches.
Russia's Orthodox Patriarch said on Sunday that if he were to meet with Pope John Paul, the Catholic Church would have to agree to end its evangelistic efforts in his country and only minister to those who are currently Catholic.
Patriarch Aleksei II said he had already confronted other churches conducting evangelistic efforts in those countries traditionally claimed by the Russian Orthodox Church, including Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Russian recently passed laws making it more difficult to register and run new non-Orthodox churches, causing protests from Christians outside the country, but with branches inside it, including the Catholic Church.
"We will continue preparing for a meeting between the heads of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches," the patriarch told reporters Sunday during a visit to the Greek Embassy in Moscow. "However, we consider it necessary that at this meeting, both sides condemn proselytizing," he said. He added that a planned meeting with the Holy Father in Austria last summer was canceled because of the unsettled matter of Eastern-rite Catholics in Ukraine, who are demanding the return of property seized under Soviet rule.
Pro-life Republican Tom Bordanaro is facing pro-abortion Democrat Lois Capps, the widow of the former incumbent, Rep. Walter Capps' who died while in office on October 28, for the 22nd Congressional District seat. Bordanaro is a Catholic wheelchair-bound two-term assemblyman who has said he would vote against House Speaker Newt Gingrich for re-election to the post because of his failure to act on important social issues, while Capps, a former religion professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has said is a supporters of wide-ranging abortions rights, and has said she will vote to uphold President Clinton's veto of a ban on partial-birth abortions.
The election has also received national attention because of the focus brought by numerous special-interest groups. Among groups buying huge blocks of radio and TV advertising time were Americans for Limited Terms, the Campaign for Working Families, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, National Right To Life, and Americans for Job Security.