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March 9, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 48

News can be evangelizing when presented right! And it is no "Mickey Mouse" operation here, for CWN is truly the "mouse that roared!"

     That is the analogy we have attributed to the meteoric rise of a fledgling Roman Catholic News Service that has risen from oblivion in 1995 to become today the most reliable news service worldwide for Roman Catholics. We are, of course, speaking of the Catholic World News, which provides news on a daily basis for the Daily CATHOLIC and which makes their services available and affordable to all. The principals at CWN are truly deserving of our "Golden Chalice Award". For the review of this website and the services offered through Catholic World News, click on SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK


The "mouse that roared!" - CWN: the most reliable source for Catholic news!

     Considered much smaller and far younger than larger competitors in the Church for news services, the Catholic World News Service has gained such an outstanding reputation for accuracy and loyalty to Rome in a phenomenally short time that it is fast losing the image of the mouse within the system to become the proud lion - like Saint Mark - proclaiming the truth solidly and with confident certainty. This site is different from any other for all they provide is the news, and they do it better than any Catholic service we know of. One thing is for sure, it is the most accurate news service on Catholic events and on the happenings within the Vatican. The site is affiliated with the renowned and respected Ignatius Press, headed by Father Joseph Fessio, SJ and is run by Philip F. Lawler who is also the editor of the equally respected monthly magazine The Catholic World Report. News that composes the "World Watch" section in the monthly The Catholic World Report, by and large, comes from the Catholic World News Service. However, unlike other news services that practically price themselves out of existence, CWN makes daily news available to all at their CWN site. Each day they post the news from around the world that is pertinent for Catholics as well as the latest from the Vatican through their Vatican Bureau. We have found the Vatican Updates from CWN are much more thorough than even the Vatican News Service. This is possibly because CWN has bureaus in Rome, as well as Washington D.C., London and arrangements with other news services overseas. This allows CWN to provide news that even the more recognized, but also more liberal CNS (Catholic News Service) doesn't offer. The site itself is fast and simple with the headlines listed right up front where the browser can go to the headline of choice.

     One of the real benefits of this service is that anyone with an e-mail address can become their own news bureau with a very, very low subscription rate of $25 a year for news articles sent directly to the subscriber Monday through Friday. In addition they will soon be inaugurating, according to Phil, a "shortened summary version" of the news. Though the Daily CATHOLIC hopes to expand our NEWS & VIEWS to include other news services in order to possibly provide more photos, Catholic World News has been a staple of the Daily CATHOLIC's tremendous growth over the last three months and we will continue to rely first and foremost on CWN. We are appreciative of all they have provided and gratefully present our "Golden Chalice Award" to Catholic World News and confer FIVE Hail Mary's to this excellent site which provides an even more excellent service for anyone who can click a mouse. Because of their computerized services to all and their dedication to the truth, Catholic World News is indeed the "mouse that roared!"

Evangelizing globally: Getting the world in shape!

     Just as Archbishop Chaput lays out a blueprint for Americans, so does the Holy Father for the entire world and specifically all united to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This he treats in his Apostolic Letter on the Role of the Laity, entitled Christifideles Laici which is expertly analyzed by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas in his summary of the Holy Father's writings for lay men and women. For the tenth installment on "Evangelization and Renewal of Society," click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
INTRODUCTION: In this "Lay Person's Guide to the Pope's Encyclicals" we catch a synopsis of the Holy Father's wisdom adroitly capsulized by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas, Ph.D. In his Papal Exhortation "Christifideles Laici", the Holy Father exhorts the laity to faithfulness. It is appropriate we follow-up November's pertinent document from the Holy See on Instructions to the Laity and Priests on abuses, by reinforcing the Pope's teachings with this Apostolic Exhortation imparted ten years ago. Now ten years later, after the "ten year period of grace" Our Blessed Mother spoke of to Father Don Stefano Gobbi back in 1988, we revisit this important letter from the supreme pontiff and, through the expert analysis of Dr. Bagiackas his holiness' words will be clearer and more simple to understand and most meaningful in these times when there are so many who, rather than pulling together for God's Will, are pulling apart within the laity. The eminent prelate from New York John Cardinal O'Connor has said of Dr. Bagiackas' work: "These summations will draw the reader closer to knowing God and will encourage broader readership of the writings of this remarkable Pope." BELOW: the tenth installment of Christifideles Laici: Chapter Three: 13. Evangelization and Renewal of Society and 14. Specifics

A Lay Person's Guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Laity

by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas

To read the entire Apostolic Letter click on Christifideles Laici

tenth installment:

Chapter Three: 13. Evangelization and Renewal of Society

     Of course, living a life of good example must always be the foundation of verbal witness to the Gospel. However, in our culture "the hour has come for re-evangelization." Consumerism has taken over our culture. There is indifference to God and spiritual values. Many seem to live as Christians in externals, but there is no connection with their concrete lives, such as Catholics who say that abortion is a sin but are pro-choice. Many Catholics themselves need to be re-evangelized. To witness to the world of today, we must ourselves be re-converted to Christ. For the rebuilding of the Church within, a great catechetical effort is needed. Spiritually renewed laity have a crucial part to play in this effort. At the base of catechesis is the effort of parents to teach their children the faith, a task which the sacrament of Matrimony provides the grace for. We also need to pray that those laity who have the means and the vocation will give their whole lives to missionary work.

14. Specifics of Renewal of Society

     In addition to direct evangelization and catechesis, the Churchís mission involves being a leaven to the world. In this regard, the promotion of the dignity of the person takes first place. This involves promotion the right to life from conception, in every phase of development, and under every condition, including terminal illness. A "culture of death" is threatening to take control of society. Abortion, infanticide, suicide, euthanasia are all on the rise, with the media promotion as heroes the leaders of these movements. Also, with biological science increasing our control of life, a more mature moral approach to bioethics is needed, an approach which does not exist now.

      Other important issues include promoting freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. But most fundamentally, "The lay personís duty to society primarily begins in marriage and the family" (p. 101). The family, which is the basic cell of society, is under attack today as never before. Whole civilizations depend for survival on the quality of family life. "The path to the future passes through the family" (p. 103).

      Other areas that the laity are called to redeem and sanctify are the areas of charitable works, political life, the economic arena, and culture, especially the media.

Next week: Chapter Four: Vocations According to One's Age and the Place of Women

It's hard to be evangelized if we don't listen!

      In his final installment on listening in his column today, Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. talks about how we can't do God's Will if we are not listening to Him, and so often satan does everything he can to prevent that. Conversely we end up listening alright, but to the wrong advice - the evil one's. For his third and last part of "Speak, Lord, Your servant is LISTENING!", click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart

Column Twenty-Four: how satan gets us to listen to him by us not listening to God

     Satan, who is the prince of this world, has already so dealt with human beings, especially those of the Faith, that it has become most difficult to listen to God, to the Pope, to the Blessed Mother, and to all authority. To be able to listen is almost a matter of going counter culture. Even within our Faith, when it becomes evident that one of the brothers or sisters starts taking God, or the Holy Father, or Mary, or authority seriously, he/she becomes an object of ridicule and even outright persecution. It is not fashionable to take Jesus at His Word, to follow the teachings of the Church as presented in its documents. It is no wonder that private revelation is talked down and look-askance at by man and even by leadership. The prophets of old were the recipients of private revelations. They, too, in a large part were not only ridiculed and persecuted, but at times even put to death by the very ones to whom God has sent them. So many of us who are striving to follow out the wishes of Our Lady, are found to be the butt of scorn by our own. I, as a priest consecrated to Mary, find myself set apart by fellow priests and even shunned. As part of the present culture each one of us, who is aspiring to listen to Jesus and to Mary, finds it difficult enough. When harassed for the fact that we give importance to private revelation, it becomes even more difficult.

      Perhaps now we can begin to understand why the Holy Spirit has arranged in recent times places like hermitages, retreat centers, places of quiet. He foreknew what was coming and that what is taking place in our present day, will make it even more demanding in time to come, to se ourselves aside to be able to be ALONE with ourselves, with God the Father, His Son, the Holy Spirit, and with Blessed Mary.

      The word "refuge" crops up more and more, either as a condition or an actual geographical place. Satan is making every effort to disintegrate the person through loss of faith, mental, emotional psychological, spiritual breakdowns. Unless each person who is aware of what is taking place, separates himself/herself from the present stream of conditions in the world, in the Church, it will be the easiest thing in the world to go down the road to perdition with al the rest.

      We need to struggle for composure; we need to individuate ourselves enough to find time to be alone especially with the Holy Spirit that His gifts might become fruitful in our daily living. Our Lady, with her please for faith, prayer, prayer, with the heart, fasting, penance and conversion, is giving us effective tools of battle against satan. What must be done on the part of each one of us is to plead with the Holy Spirit for the grace to become good listeners, grace to implement in our daily lives what it is that we hear being said by the Mother of God, and at all times to be able from our hearts to turn to God, fix our gaze upon Him and say, "Speak, Lord, your servant IS listening" (1 Samuel 3:10)

In my next installment, I will begin a series on Reconciliation since we are now in Lent, a perfect time to consider this.

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.


Today's prayer is the Opening Prayer in honor of Saint Frances of Rome

      Merciful Father, in Frances of Rome, You have given us a unique example of love in marriage as well as in religious life. Keep us faithful in Your service, and help us to see and follow You in all the aspects of life.

For more devotions of Lent, click on WAY OF THE CROSS

Medjugorje Monthly Message for February 25th

      Dear children! Also today I am with you and I, again, call all of you to come closer to me through your prayers. In a special way, I call you to renunciation in this time of grace. Little children, meditate on and live, through your little sacrifices, the Passion and Death of Jesus for each of you. Only if you come closer to Jesus will you comprehend the immeasurable love He has for each of you. Through prayer and your renunciation you will become more open to the gift of faith and love towards the Church and the people who are around you. I love and bless you. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

662 and counting, hoping and praying..

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant


Diocese of Dallas' insurance to help in landmark settlement

      The Diocese of Dallas has agreed to pay some of the plaintiffs from the landmark settlement last summer. The good news is that the Diocese's insurance claims will cover over half of the balance in the first settlement. Bishop Charles V. Grahmann who has been recuperating from a kidney infection, has just returned from Rome for his ad limina visit and hopes, through prayer this can all be put behind as the Diocese struggles to stay afloat and appease those ruined by former priest Rudy Kos, a known pedophile. For more, click on Dallas to read more.


      DALLAS (CWN) - The Diocese of Dallas reached a $7.5 million settlement on Thursday with three former altar boys who had accused a priest of molesting them and who had been awarded part of an $120 million judgment by a jury last year.

      The diocese agreed to pay $3.1 million to the three men and two insurance companies, Lloyd's of London and Interstate, will pay the remaining $4.4 million. The decision was reached as part of a court-ordered mediation seeking to reach an agreement in a July 1997 civil verdict. The eight other plaintiffs in the lawsuit remain in mediation.

      Former priest Rudolph Kos was accused of sexually abusing altar boys, and the jury determined the diocese was negligent and failed to reveal information about Kos to parishes where he served from 1981 to 1992. Kos will go on trial later this month on charges involving four young men.

GOP Gubernatorial candidate called on carpet for stating his faith

      One can say anything they want against someone else, commit any immoral act there is, and basically lie all they want, but don't you dare declare that you are a Catholic and proud of it! That's exactly what Southern California Republican Dan Lundgren proclaimed while campaigning for Governor this past week and was immediately criticized as a "religious extremist." He was criticized by the Democratic candidates, all fighting for the job that will be vacated by two-term Governor Pete Wilson when he steps down. For more, click on California hubbub to read more.


     SACRAMENTO, California (CWN) - The campaign staff for several gubernatorial candidates in California said this week that repeated religious references by Republican candidate Dan Lungren has them worried that he is a religious extremist.

      Lungren, currently the state attorney general, announced his candidacy this week and repeatedly cited his Catholic beliefs in his announcement speech. "If we are to be a successful people, we have to be a religious people as well," he said. He also said, "Separation of church and state doesn't mean separation of public debate and religious values," and "I'm a Catholic. I believe in penance and redemption."

      A spokesman for the Democratic candidate Al Checchi said his comments are alarming and inappropriate. Elena Stern said Lungren "is trying to mask his extremism in religion." Kam Kuwata, campaign manager for another Democratic candidate, Jane Harman, said he felt "a little queasy" about Lungren's remarks as "dangerously close to saying we need to have a state religion." However, Lungren's supporters said the alarming news is that anyone would question that a candidate should rely on religious beliefs for moral guidance.

Senate committee agrees with Pope: USA should help Cuba!

      Prompted by the Holy Father's call for richer nations to help poorer nations and especially Cuba who Pope John Paul II singled out in his trip to the tiny island last month, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has given the green light to increasing humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, but stopped short of recommending an end to the embargo instituted by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Whether Fidel Castro will accept aid is another story for he has expressed disdain for the United States and any help they might send. In addition, there are Cuban factions in the US, mainly Miami, who furiously oppose any help to the Castro regime. For more, click on Cuba to read more.


     WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff released a report on Thursday that recommends the use of US government funds for a humanitarian aid campaign delivered through the Catholic Church and independent nongovernmental agencies.

      The report prepared by congressional staffers who traveled to Cuba during Pope John Paul's visit there in January said delivering such humanitarian aid could help topple the Communist government which it said uses deprivation as a means of control. "This program should emphasize donated food and medicine and could include material support purchased with US government funds," the report said. The document also calls for maintaining the 36-year-old US economic embargo, which the Holy Father has asked the US to end.

      The staff report follows on proposals made by Cuban exile groups in January which advocate a similar plan. That proposal was turned down by President Fidel Castro's government, calling the offer ridiculous and an attempt at humiliation. The report, based on interviews with government officials and ordinary citizens during a 10-day visit, also accused the Castro government of employing a policy of coercing abortions from certain categories of women labeled "social risk pregnancies."

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

Living the life of evangelization

     That is what Saint Frances of Rome did as a wife, mother and religious founder. We celebrate her optional feast today in Lent and for her story along with the readings, meditations and liturgies of today and tomorrow, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

March 9, 1998

Monday, March 9:
Weekday in the Second Week of Lent and
Optional commemoration of Saint Frances of Rome, wife, mother and religious founder

Saint Frances of Rome

     Born in Rome in 1384, Saint Frances of Rome was married off by her parents at the age of 12 to Roman nobleman Lorenzo Ponziano. Though Frances had desperately wanted to become a nun, she succumbed to her parents' will and thus it was God's will that she be with her husband for 40 years during which time they never had an argument. Though the couple went through severe financial hardships, Frances always praised God for His providence. Frances had a large family and always felt her household duties were as much a prayer as kneeling in church as she often said, "A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares." After her husband died, she founded the Oblates and became a nun. She had many visions including often where her guardian angel would shine such a bright light that she was able to read her Divine Office at night via the Heavenly light. She promoted the concept of guardian angels and was also given the day she would die, March 9 and true to God's word, He took her home on that day in 1440 at the age of 56.

TUESDAY, March 10, 1998


"Plans fail when there is no counsel, but they succeed when counselors are many."

Proverbs 15: 22

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

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March 9, 1998 volume 9, no. 48         DAILY CATHOLIC