November 26, 1997   vol 8, no.39      COMPLETE ISSUE

Play it again, Sam!

      Today is the 55th Anniversary of one of the greatest films that ever came down the pike - "Casablanca" with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. After all these years, do you realize that Bogie (Rick) never, ever said "Play it again, Sam"?!? But do you realize that someone else has been saying "Play it again" for nearly 2000 years? And He is sending in His leading Lady to tell us all to heed His Word and return to Him, the Master Producer of Heaven and earth. We're talking about God the Father, of course, and sadly He has gotten mixed reviews throughout this long-standing production of mankind, but still He perseveres, loving us all so much He has sent the Mother of God to us in a special way. The nature of her performance is the gist of this week's installment of THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS detailing the nature of Private Revelation in our forty eighth installment of this on-going series. Click on The Relevance of Private Revelation

The Relevance of Private Revelation

Installment Forty Eight
     Private revelations, imparted to thousands over the centuries, have never been proposed to the faithful as articles of faith. When the Church approves them, it merely states that they contain nothing contrary to faith or morals. The La Salette, Lourdes, Knock, Fatima, Banneaux, Akita and Betania apparitions are an example of this. Yet Garabandal, San Damiano, Medjugorje, Ecuador and numerous places in the United States as well as other apparitions sites around the world too numerous to mention, are also Private Revelation even though they have not yet been officially approved by the Church. Most probably, because of the plethora of apparitions and the time involved to investigate and prove without a shadow of doubt that they are authentic, few of these will be approved. Yet that does not mean they are not worthy of respect and notice for the message coming out of all of these places is the same. It is the Gospel message. There is nothing new. The same holds true for the countless messages from visionaries, locutionists and prophets. Prophecies are predictions of future events that could not have been known by natural means. This does not mean specifics or dates, but rather causes and effects that will definitely affect us. In the last ten years prophecies have increased a hundred-fold and not all are of God, but when we begin to judge we have stifled the Spirit and must discern carefully adhering to Saint Paul's wise words in 1 Thessalonians 5. Throughout the ages, for the benefit of men and confirmation of faith, God raised up prophets. Generally speaking, the gift of prophecy is a sure sign that the possessor is a messenger of God. However, again, we must always discern carefully and look at the fruits.

    &bnsp;We must listen and learn through proper discernment for there have always been and are false prophets. In this present day, the evil one is doing all he can to confuse the faithful. How do we know if something is of God or not? There are various discernment processes to go by, but the best gauge to use is: Are the messages in line with Sacred Scripture and the Traditions and Teaching of Holy Mother Church? If they are, how can that not be of God? Surely satan would not bring others closer to Jesus by imitating Our Lord's Blessed Mother. If you study the majority of messages from the apparition sites mentioned earlier and from the many messages from locution messengers and prophets, you'll see their content is strikingly similar. Though their styles may be vastly different, the content is basically the same, for the messages are based on Sacred Scripture. Why? Because we need to return to the basics. And nothing is more basic than what God laid down.

     Throughout the centuries God sent prophets to foretell various events and facts concerning the promised Savior. There were stylistic differences in the messages. Amos wasn't as polished as Isaiah for example, yet the content and intent were the same. Ezekiel foresaw the coming of the Savior and how His kingdom would have no end; Daniel predicted the exact time of the Redeemer's birth; Isaiah prophesied that this God-Man would be born of a virgin; and Jeremiah augured how the Messiah would die patiently and willingly like a lamb for our sins. That was the Old Testament. In the New Testament God has sent His Mother, Mother of His Church to modern-day prophets in order to help all God's children return to Him through Divine Revelation.

NEXT WEEK: God's very special Messenger: Mary, Mother of the Church

As Time Goes By...

      ..."Casablanca" gains in prestige as a classic. But the real classics, as time goes by, are the Heavenly Words imparted in Sacred Scripture. Through them we realize more and more the correlation of Divine Revelation with Private Revelation as Wilmott G. Brown illustrates in his excellent work The Significance of Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje as explained in Scripture. He continues with the unique comparisons of these three sites with previous revelation. Click on Comparisons part two.

     The Carmelite order is based upon the prophet Elijah and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Remember both Mary and Elijah were assumed into Heaven; see 2 Kings 2: 11. Some of the Carmelite saints include Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, and Saint Simon Stock. Amazingly, OUr Lady once appeared to Saint Peter Thomas and said, "The order of Carmel is destined to endure until the end of the world for Elijah, the first patron of the Order, asked this of my Son at the transfiguration," as John Haffert wrote in his book Mary in her Scapular Promise. You can participate in the spirit of this Order, by wearing the brown scapular, which was given to Saint Simon Stock.

     Consequently, as stated in Malachi 3: 23-24, Elijah or the spirit of Elijah will be sent before the coming of the Lord. For the first coming of Jesus, John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah; now in these apparitions, the Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared in the spirit and power of Elijah to fulfill prophecy and indicate that the second coming of Jesus Christ in glory is near. How near, only God the Father knows the exact time of His coming. Therefore, we are in the latter times or the end time and have covered these prophecies of the end times by various saints over the centuries in earlier installments. Next week we will discuss the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel.

NEXT WEEK: Chapter Six Comparisons - part three

"This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship"

      Those were Bogie's words not to Ingrid Bergman, but rather to Captain Renault (Claude Rains) at the end of the film. Those also could be the words of the bishops who are offering all kinds of good advice for the faithful as well as their constituents and which are chronicled today in our on-going coverage of the Synod of America. 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.]

     Archbishop Ivan Marin-Lopez of Popayan, Colombia, offered the most remarkable intervention at the American Synod today when he suggested that bishops and priests should renounce a portion of their own worldly possessions in a gesture demonstrating their solidarity with the poor as the Church prepares for the third millennium. His suggestion was met with silence from the body of bishops participating in the Synod.

      A more popular theme for the Synod was the discussion of the "new evangelization." Father John Corriveau, minister general of the Capuchin friars, speaking from long experience in missionary work in Latin America, suggested that many Protestant sects have been successful there in part because they give lay people a keen sense of responsibility for the work of evangelization. He suggested that Catholics should be equally emphatic about the need to involve lay people in evangelization. That same theme was echoed by Bishop Manuel Eguiguren of Salapia, Bolivia, who recalled that Vatican II had announced "the age of the laity," and suggested that the same theme-- "the Church of the laity"-- would be appropriate for the third millennium. He added his own note of controversy, however, by stressing that the Church could not enter the celebration of the Jubilee without "confessing our own sins against the equality of women."

      Cardinal William Baum, the American prelate who now heads the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, called for an examination of conscience in the fullest sense of the term. "Have we been timid or uncertain in our teaching activity?" he asked. Cardinal Baum emphasized the need to foster a real sense of sin, and of the need for the Sacrament of Penance-- which, he pointed out, furnishes a path to deeper conversion. He insisted that without clear preaching and teaching on sin and on the "last things" it would be unrealistic to expect any changes in unjust social structures.

      Archbishop Jorge Medina Estevez, the Chilean who now heads the Congregation for Divine Worship, used his address to respond to the comments of another bishop, who had asked for a more liberal approach to Catholics who are divorced and remarried, and now seek to be admitted to the sacraments. "There is no sense of wishing communion, when one continues in a way of life that is contrary to the law of God, such as concubinage and adultery," he said.

"Here's looking at you, kid"

      Those were, of course, Bogie's words. but they're really God's informal words to us - His children for He has given us so much as He watches over each one of us in a loving, fatherly way bestowing on us His only-Begotten Son and His Mother as Mother of the Church - a Church that guides us on the path back to Him through the teachings, doctrines, traditions and dogmas and explained to us through the Catechism. We continue our daily capsules on the Sacrament of Confirmation. 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 a few capsule paragraphs each day from both the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and the old Baltimore Catechism with this week devoted to the Sacrament of Confirmation, linked to Baptism and the Eucharist, both sacraments of which we have covered to this point and all three comprising the sacraments of intitiation.

No. 1318 and 1319, page 333 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery; Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:

      In the East this sacrament is administered immediately after Baptism and is followed by participation in the Eucharist; this tradition highlights the unity of the three sacraments of Christian initiation. In the Latin Church this sacrament is administered when the age of reason has been reached, and its celebration is ordinarily reserved to the bishop, thus signifying that this sacrament strengthens the ecclesial bond.

      A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both in the ecclesial community and in temporal affairs.

From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Benziger Brothers, Inc. and Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. No. 676, pages 139 and 140; Nos. 691, 692 and 693, pages 142 and 143.

Q. Why do we say the bishop is the "ordinary minister" of Confirmation?
A. We say the bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation because in some foreign missions [and remote parishes], where bishops have not yet been appointed, the Holy Father permits one of the priests to administer Confirmation with the Holy Oil blessed by the bishop.

Q. To receive Confirmation is it necessary to be in the state of grace?
A. To receive Confirmation worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace.

Q. What special preparation should be made to receive Confirmation?
A. Persons of an age to learn should know the chief mysteries of the faith and the duties of a Christian, and be instructed in the nature and effects of this Sacrament.

Q. Why should we know the chief mysteries of faith and the duties of a Christian before receiving Confirmation?
A. We should know the chief mysteries of faith and the duties of a Christian before receiving Confirmation because as one cannot be a good soldier without knowing the rules of the army to which he belongs and understanding the commands of his leader, so one cannot be a good Christian without knowing the laws of the Church and understanding the commands of Christ.

Welcome to the Blue Parrot

     ...Many actually called it "Rick's Place" which was also the title of the original film, until producer Hal Morris changed it to Casablanca. The Blue Parrot was a place where all could come for song and laughter. Since we don't sing, we bring you a laugh or two with our mid-week humor line which we bring you every Wednesday. This week we conclude our two-part comedy on Headline Heckles that can raise the hackles! with the final twenty malaprop headlines. Click on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven!

Headline heckles that can raise the hackles: Second part