November 28-30, 1997   vol 8, no.41      SECTION TWO

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'Tis the season for giving!

      One nun who has her head on straight as well as her holy habit is Sister Mary Lucy Astuto, a traditional religious who realizes the vitality and virtueality of her vocation. In her weekly column GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER she reminds us of the precious gift we have in our supreme pontiff and how, with Christmas just around the corner, we can reciprocate with a special gift for him. Click on A Gift for the Holy Father

A Gift for the Holy Father

      Before writing an article, I always ask God to let me know what it is about which He wants me to write. On this occasion after praying, what came to my mind clearly was to write about the Holy Father and what each of us can do in the way of a Christmas gift for Him.

      Our Lady of Medjugorje said that Jesus let her pick this Pope for our times and that she had been preparing him for the Papacy all of his life. I believe that! I believe that our present Holy Father, John Paul II, is the greatest Pope of this century and perhaps the greatest ever (after St. Peter maybe). Not only is he a man of great Faith and prayer, he is a tireless worker in the defense and protection of the authentic Catholic Faith, yet he is under great duress and suffering. Not only does he suffer physical ailments, Parkinson’s disease as well as the results of his being shot many years ago, but he also endures the psychological duress of being hated and rejected by his very own. Just like Jesus.

      Still he remains faithful and provides the Christ-like leadership this age needs; and still he labors with strong will and Faith, though so many oppose him and are angry because he won’t bend God’s Word and Law to suit the world’s desire to sin.

      Our Holy Father is a living martyr. Living FAITHFULLY day after day in spite of opposition, in spite of great suffering from various sources is a TRUE martyrdom. It may be bloodless, but it requires the courage and fortitude of the greatest of saints to persevere faithfully.

      Faithful Catholic leadership is more difficult than ever because the news media has taken up Catholic-bashing. Our Holy Father often gets the full brunt of this, which source has to be the diabolic seeking to destroy him and the Church. The gates of hell want to prevail against the Church , striking at the "Shepherd" in hopes that the sheep will be scattered.

      All Catholics during this Advent Season should prepare a gift to give our Holy Father for Christmas. That gift should be conscientious and daily prayerful support for him. Oh, I know! Most of us may pray for him every day, but I mean a more intense and earnest gift of prayer.

      Decide now what that might be. It should be something extra, over and above what you usually do. Maybe a daily rosary just for him or at least a decade just for him. Maybe five Our Father's, Hail Mary's and Glory Be’s, daily, just for him.

      He works and suffers for the Church (that’s us) every day. He is human, also. We must support him better with our prayers. He may never know us personally; he may never know our particular names on this earth, but God does.

      What better gift to give Our Holy Father than love expressed through earnest prayer from our hearts. That’s the kind of present that scores with God and merits for us in the way it really counts. Please decide and persevere. God bless you!

No matter what you call it, call it right!

      One of the biggest problems with miscommunication within liturgical circles and among the faithful is the terminology of duties and observances. The Instruction on the Role of the Laity in Assisting the Priests, issued by the Vatican on November 13, helps to clarify many misnoners. We continue our daily installments of this entire 37-page document with the tenth installment, beginning the PRACTICAL PROVISIONS with Article 1 entitled Need for an Appropriate Terminology. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

on the role of the Laity

INSTRUCTION on Certain Questions regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest

Tenth installment: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 1
Need for an Appropriate Terminology

      In his address to participants at the Symposium on "Collaboration of the Lay Faithful with the Priestly Ministry", the Holy Father emphasised the need to clarify and distinguish the various meanings which have accrued to the term "ministry" in theological and canonical language.(53)

§ 1. "For some time now, it has been customary to use the word ministries not only for the officia (officies) and non-ordained (functions) munera exercised by Pastors in virtue of the sacrament of Orders, but also for those exercised by the lay faithful in virtue of their baptismal priesthood. The terminological question becomes even more complex and delicate when all the faithful are recognized as having the possibility of supplying-by official deputation given by the Pastors-certain functions more proper to clerics, which, nevertheless, do not require the character of Orders. It must be admitted that the language becomes doubtful, confused, and hence not helpful for expressing the doctrine of the faith whenever the difference 'of essence and not merely of degree' between the baptismal priesthood and the ordained priesthood is in any way obscured".(54)

§ 2. "In some cases, the extension of the term "ministry" to the munera belonging to the lay faithful has been permitted by the fact that the latter, to their own degree, are a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The officia temporarily entrusted to them, however, are exclusively the result of a deputation by the Church. Only with constant reference to the one source, the 'ministry of Christ' (...) may the term ministry be applied to a certain extent and without ambiguity to the lay faithful: that is, without it being perceived and lived as an undue aspiration to the ordained ministry or as a progressive erosion of its specific nature.
In this original sense the term ministry (servitium) expresses only the work by which the Church's members continue the mission and ministry of Christ within her and the whole world. However, when the term is distinguished from and compared with the various munera and officia, then it should be clearly noted that only in virtue of sacred ordination does the work obtain that full, univocal meaning that tradition has attributed to it." (55)

§ 3. The non-ordained faithful may be generically designated "extraordinary ministers" when deputed by competent authority to discharge, solely by way of supply, those offices mentioned in Canon 230, § 3(56)

and in Canons 943 and 1112. Naturally, the concrete term may be applied to those to whom functions are canonically entrusted e.g. catechists, acolytes, lectors etc.

      Temporary deputation for liturgical purposes - mentioned in Canon 230, § 2 - does not confer any special or permanent title on the non-ordained faithful.(57)

      It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as "pastor", "chaplain", "coordinator", " moderator" or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.(58)




With the First Sunday of Advent we begin Daily Advent Prayers in preparation for the Coming of Emanuel. Also on this "New Year's Eve" when we celebrate the observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, it is the beginning of a nine day novena leading up to her solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. For the Advent prayers, Click on ADVENT NOVENA PRAYERS


PRAYER for December 1: First Sunday of Advent


      BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CWN) - The British government announced on Tuesday that since the truce with IRA guerillas seems to be holding, British army patrols will no longer conduct daylight patrols in Catholic areas of West Belfast.

      The army patrols were escorting local police forces on foot patrols, but the need for the escort has decreased because of the ongoing truce, according to police spokesmen. Military sources said the escorted patrols would continue at night. Protestant rioters set eight vehicles on fire in pro-British neighborhoods near West Belfast on Tuesday, but spokesmen deny any link with the end of patrols, and said it was likely a protest at the arrest of a well-known Protestant supporter of British rule.

      The IRA and other Catholic and Protestant guerilla groups have maintained an uneasy truce since July as multi-party peace talks have continued. Britain transferred 250 paratroopers back to England last week, the first reduction in army strength since July. In recent weeks, Irish republican politicians have accused Britain of being slow to scale down military activity and thus fuelling frustrations among pro-Irish Catholics.


      VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II today received Jerzy Buzek, the new Polish prime minister, in a private audience. Buzek, who won his post after the triumph of a coalition led by Solidarity in the latest national elections, had chosen to make a stop at the Vatican his first official international visit.

      The Vatican press agency characterized the Polish leader's visit as "a gesture of great courtesy," explaining that the prime minister had requested an early meeting with the Holy Father, "for whom he has great admiration and esteem"-- so that he could clear the way for further international appearances.

      The Vatican added only that the discussions were held "in a very cordial climate," and involved "themes of mutual interest."


      MEXICO CITY (CWN) - The Federation of Parents in Mexico have been successful in their campaign against two violent television series broadcast by the country's most popular networks.

      The tension, dubbed by the local press as the "TV war," ended when both Televisa and Azteca TV agreed to cancel "Ciudad Desnuda" (Naked City) and "Fuera de la Ley" (Outlaw), respectively. Both series featured live recordings taken with hidden cameras of activity in the Mexico City, but focused mainly on murders, bribes, rape, and prostitution. Several family organizations started an intense campaign against the series, which rated among the most successful on Mexican TV.

      Initially, the broadcasters reacted by claiming their right to free information and saying that both were newsworthy programs that help bring justice and order to the city. Nevertheless, the Federation of Parents attracted other organizations that agreed to start a boycott against the broadcasters. The pro-family organizations finally received the support of President Ernesto Zedillo, who also criticized the programs publicly.

      Both Azteca TV and Televisa announced the cancellation of the programs, and promised to review the contents of two other programs, which have also been mentioned by the Federation of Parents as "offensive."

Medjugorje Monthly Message

November 25th Message

    Dear children: Today I invite you to comprehend your Christian vocation. Little children, I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation. Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian and love God over everything. Little children, today also I invite you to rejoice and be joyful Christians, responsible and conscious that God called you in a special way to be joyfully extended hands toward those who do not believe, and that through the example of your life, they may receive faith and love for God. Therefore, pray, pray, pray that your heart may open and be sensitive for the Word of God. Thank you for having responded to my call!
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE


Virtue is the benchmark of Vocations

"The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves the man who pursues virtue."

Proverbs 15: 9

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

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November 28-30, 1997 volume 8, no. 41         DAILY CATHOLIC

November 1997