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August 30, 2002


by Father William Saunders

The New Testament has various references to the second coming of our Lord and the last judgment. Immediately one thinks of the Book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse, which focuses on those "end times" but employs cryptic symbolism and imagery. In all, the various signs predicting the Second Coming and the depictions of it can easily cause confusion. Perhaps this is why different cults have emerged over the centuries which isolated themselves from the rest of society in preparation for an imminent Second Coming.

As Catholics, we are mindful and profess in our Creed that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. The Second Vatican Council's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" states, "Already the final age of the world is with us and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect" (No. 48). To try to grasp the when, what and how of this Second Coming and last judgment, we really need to glean the various passages in Sacred Scripture to see how our Church has interpreted them. They are united in one drama.

Our Lord in the Gospel spoke of His second coming. He indicated that various signs would mark the event. Mankind would suffer from famine, pestilence and natural disasters. False prophets who claim to be the Messiah will deceive and mislead people.

Nations will wage war against each other. The Church will endure persecution. Worse yet, the faith of many will grow cold and they will abandon the faith, even betraying and hating one another. (Confer Mt. 24:4-14; Lk 17:22-37) St. Paul describes a "mass apostasy" before the Second Coming, which will be led by the "son of perdition," the "Man of Lawlessness," the "adversary who exalts himself above every so-called god proposed for worship." This "lawless one" is part of the work of Satan, and with power, signs, wonders and seductions will bring to ruin those who have turned from the truth. However, "the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and annihilate him by manifesting His own presence." (Cf. 2 Thes 2:3-12) The Catechism affirms, "God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the last judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world" (No. 667).

Our Lord will come suddenly. "The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to the other" (Lk 17:24). St. Peter predicts, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest" (2 Pt 3:10).

Death will be no more. The dead shall rise and those souls who have died will be united again to their bodies. All will have a glorious, transformed, spiritualized body as St. Paul said, "He will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body..." (Phil 3:21).

At this time, the final, or general judgment will occur. Jesus said, "Those who have done right shall rise to life; the evildoers shall rise to be damned" (Jn 5:29). Our Lord described this judgment as follows: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, escorted by all the angels of heaven, He will sit upon His royal throne and all the nations will be assembled before Him. Then He will separate them into two groups, as a shepherd separated sheep from goats" (Mt

Here each person will have to account for his conduct and the deepest secrets of his soul will come to light. How well each person has responded to the prompting of God's grace will be made clear. Our attitude and actions toward our neighbor will reflect how well we have loved our Lord. "As often as you did it for one of My least brothers, you did it for Me" (Mt 25:41).

Our Lord will judge us accordingly. For those who have died and already have faced the particular judgment, their judgment will stand. Those living at the time of the Second Coming will receive judgment. Those who have rejected the Lord in this life, who have sinned mortally,, who have no remorse for sin and do not seek forgiveness, will have condemned themselves to hell for all eternity. "By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love (Catechism, No. 678). The souls of the righteous will enter heavenly glory and enjoy the beatific vision and those who need purification will undergo it.

We do not know when the Second Coming will occur. Jesus said, "As to the exact day or hour, no one knows it, neither the angels in heaven nor even the Son, but only the Father. Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come" (Mk 13:32-33).

Given the world situation and event the explosion of reported apparitions and messages of our Blessed Mother, we better stay awake and keep watch.


ASK FATHER QUESTION BOX- Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell: The Four Last Things
Life after Death by Peter Kreeft
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Hell by Father William Saunders



Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

15. The perfect find their time of gladness and consolation in freedom from care in all things; the warrior-ascetic delights in the heat of the battle; but the slave of the passions revels in feasts.

August 29, 2002


Please join me in praying for the repose of the soul of Raymond Blum who recently passed away after a long bout with cancer.  Ray was a devote Catholic and a cherished Trib Times reader since its inception.  He was kind enough to post an inspiring account of his battle with terminal cancer on this site. It remains online at:

His family relates that at the moment of his death they clearly saw the image of Jesus of Divine Mercy reflected in his eyes.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine upon him.


Reflection by Father Ted, Catholic Chaplain - San Francisco General Hospital

My Jesus, help me to know Your most holy Will.

You say to me - If you really want to know my most holy Will, you must first of all ask Me.

I will teach any one who wants to know My most holy Will.

As you know, My Will is simply the Will of My Father, Your Father.

What I want for you is what I do Myself. I want you to love the Father. I want you to love the Father above everything.

That is why when the lawyer asked Me - "What is the greatest commandment?" I told him - "love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength."

I showed the Father My love for Him while I was on earth by spending time in union with Him - expressing My love for Him and listening to Him. Then I showed Him My love for Him by doing what He asked of Me.

He was the One who, through the Holy Spirit, lead or drove Me out into the desert for forty days as preparation for My Public Life. He was the One who, after I had spent the night in prayer with Him, selected those who were to be My Apostles from among all the disciples.

He was the One who, through Peter’s profession of Me as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, showed Me that Peter was the one upon whom I was to build My Church.

He was the One who strengthened Me in the Garden of Gethsemane through the angel to complete My mission of laying down My life for the salvation of everyone.

He was the One to Whom I prayed as I hung upon the Cross - asking Him to forgive those who were crucifying Me. And He listened to My prayer - as He always does.

He was the One to Whom I offered up My last breath as My final act of love for My beloved disciples when I died that Friday afternoon.

I listened to Him. I did what He asked of Me. I did so because that was how I expressed My love for Him.

The night before I offered Myself upon the Holy Cross, I told My Apostles - "I give you a ‘New Commandment’ - to love one another as I love you."

This also is the Will of My Father - that you love one another as I and the Father love each one of you.

If you really want to know My Will for you, it is this - Love My Father in Me in the Holy Spirit and love one another as We love you.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

9. Often vanity proves an enemy of gluttony, and between themselves they quarrel over the wretched monk as for a purchased slave. The one urges him to relax, while the other proposes that he should make his virtue triumph. The wise monk will shun both, at the right time shaking off each passion by the other.

August 28, 2002

Bin Laden's associates told Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, that the Saudi-born militant was well, "safe" and planning new attacks on the United States. "My sense is that he will time any new attack to coincide with a US attack on Iraq. He would want to capitalise on this to appeal to the Arab street, so he will probably delay any attacks until the United States moves on Iraq," said Atwan. "He will probably want to be seen as the only Arab standing up to the United States when the United States attacks Iraq.


Renewed U.S. talk of war to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein drew defiance from Baghdad on Tuesday and a warning from Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak that any such attack could plunge the Middle East into chaos.

U.S. warplanes attacked a radar site in northern Iraq and an air defense command facility in the south after what the U.S. military called hostile acts against U.S. and British jets patrolling two no-fly zones in Iraqi airspace.

The allied planes struck as Arab leaders digested Monday's call from U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney for pre-emptive action against Iraq, saying Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction posed a mortal danger to the United States.

"We could not care less about the threats that are out there. Iraq has a long history with these threats and such despotism," Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan told reporters in Syria after meeting President Bashar al-Assad.

In Baghdad, President Saddam Hussein told Qatar's foreign minister that a U.S. assault on Iraq would be an attack on "all the Arab nation," the official Iraqi News Agency reported.

"(Cheney's) position can only express the depth of rancour and hatred for the Arab and Muslim nations," said Ramadan, urging Arabs to close ranks in response. "Public opinion increasingly rejects the dominance of American despotism."


Cheney urges action on Iraq
U.S. options for Iraq
Key Iraqi Site Reportedly Bombed
U.S. Jets Attack Northern, Southern Iraq
Iraq war fears push up oil prices

CATHOLIC ANALYSIS: Would a war against Iraq be just?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

6. He who fondles a lion often tames it, but he who coddles the body makes it still wilder.

August 27, 2002


BOOK REVIEW: Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception

This book, while coming from an unabashedly Christian couple, is written with tenderness and sound reasoning, and will appeal to any couple interested in learning more about why NFP is a valid alternative.

The Torodes argue that not putting up barriers in a marriage is at the very essence of the marital union, allowing for the oneness that all married couples seek. Couples in recent years who have "gone natural" speak of its myriad pluses-more intimacy (think about it, the husband has to know his wife's cycles), no pills to screw up her cycle, to mention just a few.

They quote a marriage counselor, Gregory Popcak, who thinks NPF can be a marriage saver. He's not the only one, either. Popcak says,

It has been my experience that couples who use NFP are actually challenged to work harder on having good marriages. They are challenged to communicate better, to overcome their personal weaknesses more willingly and generously, and they are forced to nurture their friendship more because they can't just "throw sex" at their problems. By way of example, I have witnessed hundreds of non-NFP couples who couldn't communicate their way out of a paper bag, who had lost common interests over the years, who did not really like each other and were often outright abusive in their treatment of one another, but then were completely surprised when their partner wanted a divorce. "I thought everything was great! After all, we had sex almost every day!"
SEE ALSO: The Cukierski Family Apostolate: "What Every Catholic Couple Should Know..Birth control, NFP and Marital Sexuality"


Recently, a new drug, the RU-486 abortion pill, was introduced to the Taiwanese market and has helped abortions to become even easier and more convenient.

Classified as a class-four controlled substance, the abortion pill is legal only if given by doctors and administered within his or her sight. The route of every packet from its importer, doctor, and patients, are strictly monitored by the Bureau of Controlled Drugs.

The attraction of this abortion pill also lies in its easy formula. Within the first seven weeks of pregnancy, the woman takes 600mg of Mifepristone. After a one to two-day period, 400mg of Misoprostol is administered. Within three hours of that, the abortion is complete as the woman bleeds the fetus from her uterus.

According to industry professionals, roughly 75,000 RU-486 packages have been prescribed since the health department approved their sale in Taiwan in June last year.

What makes it so easy for minors or any woman to obtain abortions in Taiwan is the pseudo-legal status that allows clinics -- but not doctors at major hospitals -- to perform the procedure.

According to the law, "artificial miscarriages," the legal nomenclature for abortion, can only be performed if the "mental or physical health" of the mother or child is at risk. The exceptions include cases of rape and incest. If the woman is under 20, she must obtain her parents' consent. Married women must also receive permission from their husbands.

But the general consensus among doctors is that enforcement of the law is nonexistent, because it's vague as to what is considered a risk to women's health.

RELATED: Paying off the dead

SEE ALSO: FDA Petitioned to Bar Abortion Pill

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

5. Satiety in food is the father of fornication; but affliction of the stomach is an agent of purity.

August 24, 2002



The devotion to the Infant Jesus starts at Bethlehem, and later, with the crib of Christmas of St. Francis of Assisi. The childhood of Jesus has been always an active devotion in the Catholic church.

Christians always longed to show their deep reverence to the incarnate God, Jesus Christ. The Child Jesus was adored by Church Fathers like St. Athanasius or St. Jerome. Other great worshipers of the Childhood Jesus's are St. Bernard of Chlairvaux, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua.

In Spain this cult had great devotion. During the Baroque period it was first St. Teresa of Avila who always traveled with her sculpture of the Infant Jesus during founding new convents. She always made a gift of the Child Jesus to a new Carmelite foundation.

The Royal Infant of Prague performed so many miracles that his devotion spread like fire to the whole world, lead by the Carmelites.

In Colombia, the Divine Child Jesus, was responsible for so many wonders and miracles, that his devotion spread to all America, with the Salesians Priests and Mary Help of Christians.

In France, the devotion to the Child Jesus spread with St. Therese of the Child Jesus, and from France to the world.

In the USA, the devotion is great, with a beautiful shrine of the Dominicans Friars in New Haven, Ct.

In the 19th century the fame of the miraculous Infant Jesus spread to the Spanish speaking countries of South America, Central and North America, all Europe, Africa, and Oceania. Many Asiatic countries are thanking the Infant Jesus for miracles, like the Philippines, China, Vietnam, and India. In the Philippines, almost every Christian has a statue of the Child Jesus at home.




Love for our Infant Savior teaches us to accept—as He did—our littleness, our poverty as creatures. It teaches us, as St. Paul was taught, that "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in infirmity" (2 Cor. 12, 9). This devotion shows us that God's power is attracted by our very weakness, for when dealing with our human frailty, God's power is mercy. The proud and arrogant, God scatters, "He has put down the mighty from their thrones," as our Lady sang in her Magnificat. But the little and humble He loves. "He has exalted the lowly" (Lk. 1, 52).

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

4. Gluttony deludes the eyes of others; while appearing to receive in moderation, it intends to devour everything at once.

August 23, 2002


One hundred years before Fatima, Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora received revelations reminiscent of those given by Our Lady to the three shepherd children in Portugal in 1917. Her prophetic revelations are both a cause for sober reflection and great hope in the coming of God’s triumph.

FULL ARTICLE: A Century Before Fatima, Providence Announced a Chastisement

Pope John Paul II's Homily for the Beatification of Isidore Bakanja, Elisabetta Canori Mora and Gianna Beretta Molla

Biography of Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora


VIA Javier López: I would like to inform you that the Catholic Charismatic priest Fr. James has recently offered the first Charismatic retreat celebated in Russia from July 11 to 14.

You can see a report in his official website: and photos in:

Fr. James Manjackal is now in Croatia. It is expected that more than 20,000 people will attend each of his preaching meetings!

I believe that we must support these kind of priests who risk their lives going to evangelize to places as the Arabian Gulf or even Russia!


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

3. Gluttony is a deviser of seasoning, a source of sweet dishes.  You stop one spout, and it spurts up elsewhere; you plug this too, and you open another.

August 22, 2002


Surely, Mary's regal title does not obstruct or impede our close attachment to her. For the Holy Virgin is not only our Queen, but she is also our Mother who has the most tender compassion for her children. Mary Immaculate, the handmaid of the Lord, is a queen who served with profound humility.

The Queenship of Our Lady reflects the kingly nature of the priestly people of God. We are a royal people, redeemed by the Precious Blood of our King and Savior, who are called to serve in this life so that we might enjoy an eternal crown of glory in the life to come.

Pius XII in his Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam has presented the most definitive treatment by a pope on the queenship of the Mother of God. The Holy Pontiff writes that Mary's queenship has definite Biblical foundations and is widely affirmed by the Fathers of the Church. Pius XII in Ad Coeli Reginam had this to say concerning her queenship:

The Blessed Virgin Mary has not only been given the highest degree of excellence and perfection after Christ, but also she shares in the power which her Son and our Redeemer exercises over the minds and wills of men. For if the Word of God, through human nature assumed by Him, works miracles and gives grace, if He uses the Sacraments and uses His saints as instruments for the salvation of souls, why should He not use His Blessed Mother's office and activity to bring us the fruits of the Redemption?

VIA Barrie Schwortz, Editor & Publisher Shroud of Turin Website: This update includes a number of important and even amazing breaking news stories. The first is the addition of three new scientific papers that provide credible new evidence that the samples used in the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud included spurious fibers from a medieval reweaving and repair. This may well be the evidence needed to convince authorities and the scientific community that the 1988 c-14 results were inaccurate. The papers are by Sue Benford, Joseph Marino and Ray Rogers (retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratories and former STURP team member)and all three are now available on the website as Acrobat pdf files.

Even more amazing is the announcement from Turin that the thirty patches sewn into the Shroud to repair it from the 1532 fire have been removed, along with the replacement of the backing cloth which was added during these same repairs in 1534! On the site you will find a dozen or so newspaper articles from the Italian press, translated into English by Emanuela, Maurizio and Simona Marinelli. These articles are the only information we have at the moment.

This may well be the most important update I have ever done and certainly the impact of these actions by the Turin authorities have reverberated around the world! Sadly, few if any American news services have even carried the story!

I am planning to include additional information as it becomes available. I have been in touch with sindonologists worldwide and am planning to publish their comments in the near future.

RELATED: Textile expert accused of damaging Turin Shroud

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

2. Gluttony is hypocrisy of the stomach; for when it is glutted, it complains of scarcity; and when it is loaded and bursting; it cries out that it is hungry.

August 21, 2002


Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore said Friday that a document made public August 12 represents the state of thought among the participants of a dialogue that has been going on for a number of years between the U.S. Catholic Church and the Jewish community in this country.

Cardinal Keeler, the U.S. Bishops' Moderator for Catholic-Jewish relations, said that the document, entitled Reflections on Covenant and Mission, does not represent a formal position taken by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA). The purpose of publicly issuing the considerations which it contains is to encourage serious reflection on these matters by Jews and Catholics in the U.S. These considerations provide a basis for discussing both the similarities and the significant differences between the Christian and Jewish understandings of the call given by the one God to both peoples.

Cardinal Keeler said that, within the Catholic community, there has been a growing respect for the Jewish tradition and the lasting covenant which God made with them. Judaism is "already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #839), a response to God's grace that requires religious freedom and respect for the faith relationship between God and the human person. This same respect for the freedom of faith requires us to be open at the same time to the action of God's grace to bring any person to accept what Catholic belief understands as the fullness of the means of salvation which are found in the Church.


QUESTION: In the recently released announcement of our bishops they say that we can't try to convert Jews to the Catholic Faith because of the Old Covenant. Just WHAT is going on in the Church?

ANSWER by Fr. John Echert, S.S.L.: From what I have read of the document, parts of it strike me as contrary to divine revelation, and I predict that it will not be approved by the Vatican, or perhaps the bishops themselves. As I understand it, this draft was put together by a committee, and it does not have approval by the body of bishops. It is an embarrassment, lacks any teaching authority, and serves to reveal the thinking of some people who hold powerful positions in the national conference. If a document such as this gains approval, as it currently stands, I will seriously consider the prospect that we are moving into one of the signs of the end times, namely, apostasy.

RELATED: How Catholics Can Evangelize Jews

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

1. As we are about to speak concerning the stomach, as in everything else, we propose to philosophize against ourselves.  For I wonder if anyone has been liberated of this mistress before settling in the grave.

August 20, 2002

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Today, therefore, in this Shrine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God's merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth "the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming" (cf.
Diary, 1732)."


Pope John Paul, addressing his largest crowd ever in Poland, said Sunday only God would decide if he could return home again and warned that the new millennium was threatened by an onslaught of evil. Preaching to an estimated 2.7 million people packed in and around Krakow's Blonia meadow the Pope showed that age and a string of health problems had not dimmed his spirit.

Despite the heat and his heavy liturgical vestments, he completed a three-hour ceremony and responded to chants from his adoring countryfolk with the wit and the timing of an actor. "I want to thank (Krakow) for the hospitality and I would also like to add 'see you again' but I leave this completely in God's hands," he said, improvising at the end of the mass.

The Pope's message in his sermon, however, was a somber warning about a future where a lack of respect for life was leading the world to destruction. "Man lives in fear of the future, of emptiness, of suffering and annihilation," said the Pope, who during his four-day trip has offered a message of divine comfort to a world still shaken by the September 11 attacks on the United States. A prayer read during the mass asked God to heal "the sorrow of nations in the darkness of wars and the suffering of people who are threatened with hunger and terrorism."

The Pope laid the blame for the perpetuation of "the mystery of iniquity" on mankind's attempts to usurp God's role as the creator of life, reiterating the church's stern rejection of euthanasia, the cloning of human cells and abortion. "He (man) claims for himself the creator's right to interfere in the mystery of human life. He wishes to determine human life in genetic manipulation and to establish the limit of death," the Pope said. "Rejecting divine law and moral principles, he openly attacks the family," he added. "The 'mystery of iniquity' continues to mark the reality of the world."

The Pope also repeated his warning that Poland's return to democracy had brought a slide in moral and social values. He called for a "new creativity in charity" to help those left behind as orphans of free market capitalism, and used the Sunday mass to set on the road to sainthood four Poles who led exemplary lives sacrificing themselves for others.

Poland pulls further from pope's values
Pope Calls for Peace from City where He Saw War
John Paul's return lifts spirits of pope and his countrymen

SEE ALSO: Pope Pledges to See Out His Papal Mission

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

7. Despondency reminds those standing at prayer of necessary duties. And brutish as she is, she leaves no stone unturned to find some plausible pretext to drag us from prayer as with a kind of halter.

August 17, 2002



An Iraqi prayer leader yesterday urged Muslims across the world to rally behind Iraq in the face of U.S. threats which he said were tantamount to waging war on Islam.  "America does not target only Iraq, it targets Islam...This is a war against Islam," Sheikh Abdul-Ghafour Al Qaisi said during Friday prayers at Baghdad's Grand Imam mosque.

"Muslims must show their strength, cooperation and solidarity in the face of this evil and this aggression," he said in a sermon broadcast live on Iraqi television. Qaisi called on scholars of Islam everywhere to join the struggle. "We appeal to you from Baghdad, from Iraq ... to stand on the side of right and issue your fatwas (religious edicts) against this brutal force," he said.

RELATED: Muslim radicals in Britain issue 'holy war' warning


VIA Ivan Cox: Perhaps you are not aware that the September 11th has a connection with past history. Hilaire Bellock's book published in 1938, "The Great Heresies" page 70/71 (my copy) has this to say.: .......

"Vienna as we saw was almost taken and only saved by the Christian army under the command of the King of Poland on a date that ought to be among the most famous in history --- September the 11th 1683.

EXCERPTED FROM: Why the suicide killers chose September 11

It was on September 11 1683 that the conquering armies of Islam were met, held, and thrown back at the gates of Vienna. Now this, of course, is not a date that has only obscure or sectarian significance. It can rightly, if tritely, be called a hinge-event in human history. The Ottoman empire never recovered from the defeat; from then on it was more likely that Christian or western powers would dominate the Muslim world than the other way around. In our culture, the episode is often forgotten or downplayed, except by Catholic writers like Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton. But in the Islamic world, and especially among the extremists, it is remembered as a humiliation in itself and a prelude to later ones. (The forces of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza once published a statement saying that they could not be satisfied until all of Spanish Andalusia had been restored to the faithful as well.)

EXCERPTED FROM Patrick J. Buchanan Editorial: Coming Clash of Civilizations?

Astonishingly, 63 years ago, when Islam lay dormant under the heel of Western empires, a famous Catholic writer predicted Islam would rise again. Wrote Hillaire Belloc: "It has always seemed to me ... probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent." Islam was a Christian heresy, Belloc believed, whose strength lay in its "insistence on personal immortality, the Unity and Infinite Majesty of God, on his Justice and Mercy [and] ... its insistence on the equality of human souls in the sight of their Creator."

While The Prophet "gave to our Lord the highest reverence, and the Mother of God was ever for him the first of womankind," he rejected the Incarnation. Mohammed "taught that our Lord was the greatest of all Prophets, but still only a prophet, a man like other men." Belloc believed Islam to be a "Reformation" movement with parallels to "the Protestant Reformers – on Images, the Mass and Celibacy."

When Christians were illiterate, Islam spread "for 700 years, until it had mastered the Balkans and the Hungarian plain, and all but occupied Western Europe itself," almost destroying Christendom "through its early material and intellectual superiority."

Three heroes saved the West. In 732, at Poitiers, Charles Martel, the Hammer of the Franks, stopped Islam's invasion in France. In 1571, the Christian fleets of Don Juan of Austria, an illegitimate son of Charles V, destroyed the Mohammedan armada in an epic battle immortalized in Chesterton's "The Ballad of Lepanto." And Polish Catholic King John Sobieski stopped the Turks at Vienna "on a date that ought to be famous in history, September 11, 1683."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

6. Despondency is a pretext for hospitality. She insists that by means of manual labour, alms could be given; and she urges us eagerly to visit the sick, recalling Him who said, I was sick and ye visited Me (Mat 25:36). She puts it into our heads to go out visiting the dejected and faint-hearted, and sets one faintheart to comfort another.

August 16, 2002


Scientists have developed a cheap and easy cloning method to let technicians create cloned embryos with gear that could fit in a trailer and costs only a few thousand dollars, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday.

"It's so much simpler than anything we are doing today, it's dramatic," the British science magazine quoted Michael Bishop, ex-president of US cattle-cloning company Infigen as saying.

"It's a huge step toward roboticising the whole process."

Cloning advocates say it can be used by farmers to preserve the lines of prized livestock, and by protection groups to save endangered species. But opponents worry that cheaper and easier cloning could hasten the day when humans try to clone themselves.


A doctor leading a controversial human cloning experiment defended the procedure Monday night, though he acknowledged there are risks. "The public will realize that this is not as monstrous as ... it may sound. Once they see a baby dressed in pink or blue, they will say, 'What a wonderful thing,'" Dr. Panayiotis Zavos said on "Connie Chung Tonight" on CNN.

But "for me to say there are no risks involved, that would be a pure lie," he added. Zavos, a reproduction researcher, appeared on the show with an American couple - known only as Bill and Kathy - who will be the first of six or seven couples taking part in the experiment who hope to have a baby next year. None of the couples has been able to conceive any other way. The American couple described publicly for the first time the failed attempts to have a child that led them to turn to Zavos.

The doctor said he plans to clone a baby for the couple by taking DNA from Kathy and adding it to a donor's egg. The donor's DNA would be removed from the egg, which would be implanted into a surrogate mother. Zavos said the procedures would be attempted later this year in two overseas clinics. He would not disclose the locations.

RELATED: U.S. couple apparently will try cloning


Scientists plan a mammoth clone show
Of Mice and Men and Genome Maps
Researchers Make Polio Virus in Lab
Genes Inserted Into Crops Spread to Other Species
Joint Venture Clones Cattle With Human Antibodies
Scientists create 'endurance' mouse

RELATED COMMENTARY: Cloning: A Diabolical Counterfeit of Eternal Life

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

5. A doctor visits the sick in the morning, but despondency visits the ascetics about noonday (Ps 90:6).

August 15, 2002


VIA Father Ted, Catholic Chaplain - San Francisco General Hospital

My Lord Jesus Christ, during this week You desire me to focus upon my ultimate goal or destiny.

Today You allow me, and all of us, to recall that You took Your Mother into Heaven, Your Home, body and soul.

This You desire to do for me and for all of us.

For it is Your Father’s desire that all of us enter into Heaven where He dwells with You and Your Holy Spirit. That is why He, with You and the Holy Spirit, created each one of us.

Yet to so enter into Heaven we must also want to. That is why You have placed within each one of us this desire. Nevertheless we can refuse to respond to this desire. We can even refuse to cooperate with all the helps that You offer to us to be where You Three created us to be.

There is not one person who has ever been conceived, who has ever lived upon earth, whom You have not ordained to be with You in Heaven.

There is not one person who will be conceived, who will ever live upon earth, whom You have not ordained to be with You in Heaven. Every one who has been conceived, who will be conceived, has been or will be given every possible opportunity to respond in a most positive way to Your graces for everlasting life with You Three in Your Eternal Home.

This is Your desire, the desire of Your Father, the desire of the Holy Spirit.

At the same time, because of Your love for us as vital members of Your Holy Family, You allow us to assist our brothers and sisters, who have not yet responded to Your special promptings of grace, to do so.

You have been urging so many of us, to pray incessantly for one another - to so live as to encourage others by our example, so that they may realize how deep is Your love for them.

During these first two weeks of August You have given to us models of how to live. You have recalled for us the wonderful examples of how to live in the lives of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Saint John Marie Vianney, Saint Dominic, Saint Lawrence, Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, Saint Clare, and Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe.

Two of these holy ones lived during the first part of the 20th century, when some of us were children, namely, Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross and Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe.
Both of them died in the same concentration camp in Poland - dying as witnesses of Your love for all people, including those who killed them.

Help us, dearest Lord, to love You as they did. And through their intercession help us to love others as they did.

Thank You, dearest Jesus, for having created us, for having ordained us to be with You in Your Heavenly Home. May we do all in our own power to respond to all the graces that You offer to us to so live like these holy men and women who are with You now in Heaven.

VIA Father Luc: With regard to suffering (Trib Times 8/10) I can add the following reflections from my site,

I would like in this brief chapter to say something regarding that awful question which faithless minds will always pose to those of His Kingdom.

Why does God allow such horrific sufferings to befall persons?

The answer is very simple. God is Good and can only do Good.

In this state of trial he permits beings free will. If they reject Him then they are doing evil.

I liken this situation and question posed to a simple mathematical equation.

The more sin there is, the greater the evil that will befall mankind.

The conclusion is the awesome truth that man brings these things upon himself.

If man were not to turn their backs upon their Creator and cease to sin, then there would be less suffering in this world.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

4. Community life is opposed to despondency. But she is a constant companion of the hermit. She will never leave him till his death, and wrestles with him daily till his end. Seeing an anchorite's cell, she smiles, and creeps up and camps near by.

August 14, 2002

(Mat 7:21-23)  "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'

UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Reflections On Covenant And Mission Issued by Bishops" Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee and the National Council Of Synagogues: Says Targeting Jews for Conversion Not Acceptable


By Fr. Robert D. Smith

St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, gave his men some advice about preaching which is good for all preachers of Christianity throughout the world. "We ought not to speak of grace at such length and with such emphasis that the poison of doing away with liberty is engendered. Hence, as far as possible with the help of God, one may speak of faith and grace that the Divine Majesty may be praised. But let it not be done in such a way, above all not in times which are as dangerous as ours, that works and free will suffer harm, or that they are considered of no value.

"Though the zealous service of God our Lord out of pure love should be esteemed above all, we ought also to praise highly the fear of the Divine Majesty. For not only filial fear but also servile fear is pious and very holy. When nothing higher or more useful is attained, it is very helpful for rising from mortal sin, and once this is accomplished, one may easily advance to filial fear, which is wholly pleasing and agreeable to God our Lord since it is inseparably associated with the love of Him" (Spiritual Exercises, nn. 369-370).

These are the very last words in the Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius put them in this place of particular emphasis. And what do we notice about them? That what he was warning about is disregarded today totally and everywhere.

What St. Ignatius particularly warns against is exactly what great numbers, the vast majority, of priests are doing today. They speak Sunday after Sunday, from one end of the year to the other, from one end of each decade to the other, on this very point, to the exclusion of the rest. They speak interminably on the grace of God, on His great mercy, on His great forgiveness for sinners, on His great love for all men, on His power in bringing men to Himself, on His universal call to salvation.

All these things are perfectly true. But when taught without mention of the necessity of repentance for salvation, without any mention of the fear of God, they give hearers the impression that God's grace overrides even unrepentance.

This is the great problem today. The greatest problem today is not the priests who openly teach error; that there was no Resurrection of Christ, no Virgin Birth, no miracles worked by Christ. These people are relatively few in number, as serious as their errors are.

The real problem comes from the vast number who, not openly teaching error at all, speak in the way described by St. Ignatius exclusively about the grace of God. Incredibly, in their preaching, they never mention the Commandments, Judgment, Hell, Purgatory; they scarcely ever use the word repentance and never speak of it as required. They see the words salvation, the chosen, the elect as too negative in their implications ever to be used at all. By omitting mention of these things, they sabotage Christ's central teaching that repentance is necessary for salvation.

Notice that St. Ignatius does something very rare. He not only praises filial fear and stresses it by saying that it is "inseparably associated with the love of God," but he also praises servile fear. Why so? Because the person committed long-term to sin, who is in mortal sin, will almost invariably see the Commandment which he is breaking not as a help but as an oppression delivered by God. The adulterer sees the prohibition of adultery as an oppression. In such a case, filial fear is impossible, and only servile fear can deliver him from sin, to begin to work toward a higher level.

St. Ignatius is telling us what Christ Himself, St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. John all tell us again and again. Beware of thinking that Christianity teaches us merely to love God without any thought of repentance as absolutely required for salvation, without any thought of the need to fear God and to fear God's coming Judgment.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

3. A man in obedience does not know despondency, having achieved spiritual things by means of sensory things.

August 13, 2002


Citing his personal pain for the bloodshed in the Holy Land, Pope John Paul II on Sunday delivered one of his most forceful denunciations yet of the violence there, lamenting that Palestinians were subjected to virtual "collective punishment" and that Israelis were gripped by daily fear of attacks on their lives.

"When will one learn that co-existence between the Israeli and Palestinian people cannot result from arms? Neither attacks, nor walls of separation, nor retaliation will ever lead to a just solution of the conflict under way," John Paul said in an appearance to pilgrims in the courtyard of his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo, a hill town near Rome.

"The pope suffers along with all those who are weeping in mourning and over destruction," John Paul said, adding that he is "near, above all, to those very many innocents who pay the price of such violence."

The pope said he "wants to repeat to everybody, to whatever ethnic group they belong to, that there is no justification for he who kills defenseless civilians in an indiscriminate way."

He ended with an appeal to Israeli and Palestinian politicians to resume "loyal negotiations" and to the international community to work with more determination to "be present in the territory, offering mediation to create the conditions for a fruitful dialogue."


Christians in this overwhelmingly Muslim country went to worship services Sunday in what has become an act of bravery and, for some, faithful defiance in the face of deadly attacks by Islamic extremists bent on revenge for the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

In the capital, Islamabad, Protestant worshippers filed into St. Thomas Church past patrols of motorcycle police, security guards with metal detectors and female security agents checking women's bags.

In his sermon, Rev. Irshad John told the congregation they should not fear death, but later asked them not to gather in groups outside the church gates once the service was over. That could make them a target, he said, and "that could be a problem for all of us."

Funmi Opatola, 49, is the wife of Nigeria's deputy ambassador to Pakistan and a lector at the St. Thomas parish. "People feel threatened. You don't know what's going to happen," she said. Her voice booming from the lectern, Opatola called for worshippers to "pray for those who are too scared to come out of their homes. Give them the strength and the courage to come out."

(Mat 5:10)  "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

2. Despondency is a paralysis of soul, an enervation of the mind, neglect of asceticism, hatred of the vow made. It calls those who are in the world blessed. It accuses God of being merciless and without love for men. It is being languid in singing psalms, weak in prayer, like iron in service, resolute in manual labour, reliable in obedience.

August 10, 2002


(1Pe 4:12-13)  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

What is God's Answer to Human Suffering?

God's answer to the problem of suffering not only really happened 2,000 years ago, but it is still happening in our own lives. The solution to our suffering is our suffering! All our suffering can become part of his work, the greatest work ever done, the work of salvation, of helping to win for those we love eternal joy.

How? This can be done on one condition: that we believe. For faith is not just a mental choice within us; it is a transaction with him. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone... opens the door, I will come in and eat with him" (Rev 3:20). To believe, according to John's Gospel, is to receive (Jn 1:12), to receive what God has already done. His part is finished ("It is finished," he said on the cross). Our part is to receive that work and let it work itself out in and through our lives, including our tears. We offer it up to him, and he really takes it and uses it in ways so powerful that we would be flattened with wonder if we knew them now.

You see, the Christian views suffering, as he views everything, in a totally different way, a totally different context, than the unbeliever. He sees it and everything else as a between, as existing between God and himself, as a gift from God, an invitation from God, a challenge from God, something between God and himself. Everything is relativized. I do not relate to an object and keep God in the background somewhere; God is the object that I relate to. Everything is between us and God. Nature is no longer just nature, but creation, God's creation. Having children is procreation. My very I is his image, not my own but on loan.

What then is suffering to the Christian? It is Christ's invitation to us to follow him. Christ goes to the cross, and we are invited to follow to the same cross. Not because it is the cross, but because it is his. Suffering is blessed not because it is suffering but because it is his. Suffering is not the context that explains the cross; the cross is the context that explains suffering. The cross gives this new meaning to suffering; it is now not only between God and me but also between Father and Son. The first between is taken up into the Trinitarian exchanges of the second. Christ allows us to participate in his cross because that is his means of allowing us to participate in the exchanges of the Trinity, to share in the very inner life of God.



Stations of the Cross- a collection
A Scriptural Way of the Cross with Meditations by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
A Salesian Way of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem
Stations of the Cross For the Victims of Abortion

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 13- "On despondency"

1. As we have already frequently said, this= we mean despondency- is very often one of the branches of talkativeness, and its first child. And so we have given it its appropriate place in this chain of vices.

August 9, 2002

(Eze 34:13)  And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country.


Mr Salzberg, a softly spoken young man in a kippa, a Jewish skullcap, is brimming with enthusiasm and already trying out his Hebrew. The family arrived on a specially chartered flight along with 320 other immigrants from the US and Canada – the largest single influx from North America for years. But behind the excitement, there is an awareness that there is another side to coming to live in Israel. It surfaces briefly as we talk. He looks at his daughter, playing in an outsize T-shirt printed specially for coming here, and says: "I'm very aware as a father that my three children are now considered legitimate targets."

This is the dilemma that faces those who decide to emigrate to Israel. They are coming to live in what seems to outsiders to be a war zone. As Mr Salzbergpoints out, ordinary life goes on here. But it goes on under conditions that are far from normal. This is a conflict that takes place in the crowded markets and cafés of the city centres. Where at any moment you could be the victim of a suicide bombing. Where your children could be gunned down on the bus.

Over 350 Israeli civilians have been killed in suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinian militants since the current intifada began, according to Amnesty International. Yet thousands of Jewish people continue to emigrate to Israel.

It is perhaps easier to understand the attractions for those coming here from countries such as Russia or Ethiopia, who face grinding poverty at home. But hundreds like Mr Salzberg continue to give up the relative peace and prosperity of North America and Western Europe to come here, though the numbers have been declining since the mid-Nineties. Last year, 1,243 immigrated here from the US, 307 from the UK, and so far this year, the numbers have remained steady. They include people such as Raymond Cannon, a London lawyer who has decided to retire here; Jonny Whine, another Londoner who is 25; Avi and Rachel Abelow, who have brought their 21-month-old baby to live in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Over 350 Israeli civilians have been killed in suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinian militants since the current intifada began, according to Amnesty International. Yet thousands of Jewish people continue to emigrate to Israel.

It is perhaps easier to understand the attractions for those coming here from countries such as Russia or Ethiopia, who face grinding poverty at home. But hundreds like Mr Salzberg continue to give up the relative peace and prosperity of North America and Western Europe to come here, though the numbers have been declining since the mid-Nineties. Last year, 1,243 immigrated here from the US, 307 from the UK, and so far this year, the numbers have remained steady. They include people such as Raymond Cannon, a London lawyer who has decided to retire here; Jonny Whine, another Londoner who is 25; Avi and Rachel Abelow, who have brought their 21-month-old baby to live in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Part of the explanation lies in one of the messages pinned to the Salzbergs' door. It reads simply: "Welcome home." For many Jewish people such as the Salzbergs, moving to Israel is a far bigger question than the danger involved. In Hebrew, it is called making aliyah. It is about Zionism, and the return to the promised land.


Recent Terrorist Attacks in Israel
Chronology of Thwarted Terrorist Attacks in Israel
Immigration record for 2002: 500 arrivals in one day
U.S. Christians find cause to aid Israel Evangelicals financing immigrants, settlements

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

9. One lies for sheer wantonness, another for amusement; one, to make the bystanders laugh; and another, to trap his brother and do him injury.

August 8, 2002


The recommended treatment for war fever is a strict diet of fact. The warmongers say Saddam is a terrorist. But the Bush administration's attempts to link him to September 11 and al-Qaida lack any evidential basis, as even US intelligence admits. Donald Rumsfeld claims al-Qaida fugitives are harboured by Baghdad. But this is an assertion without proof.

Warmongers say Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and will, sooner or later, blow us all up. This, Bush states, is the main reason why Iraq poses "a continuing, unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security of the United States". If examined carefully, this claim refers to the possibility that Saddam will obtain a nuclear bomb at some time in the future. No credible expert, including Rolf Ekeus, the UN's chief weapons inspector from 1991-97, claims Iraq has that menacing capability now.

Warmongers say Saddam poses a threat to his neighbours. In fact, he has assiduously repaired ties with the Arab League and has been courting Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. He has even sent envoys to Iran. To a man, the Arab neighbours oppose a war - and so do Turkey and most Nato allies.

Waxing desperate, warmongers resort to the legal case. Saddam, they say, is in breach of several UN security council resolutions. But, as the Bishop of Oxford has argued, by threatening to attack a sovereign state without a specific UN mandate, without demonstrating just cause, and without exhausting all chances of a peaceful resolution, the US and Britain risk making an even greater mockery of the law.

Whatever ranting warmongers may say, war on Iraq is not right, not sensible, not legal, and not inevitable. As anybody who stood on the road to Basra in February 1991 and witnessed the utter devastation that accompanied the bloody conclusion of the first Gulf war can testify, war is a sickness. But there is a cure.

U.K. Clergy Urge Against Iraq Strike
Catholic bishops join lobby to PM for Iraq attack re-think
Massive support for Christian Declaration against war on Iraq
Six Americans Fast in Baghdad in Anti-U.S. Protest

Germany Questions Risk of Iraq War
Plans Advance for War Against Iraq
Saudi Arabia Says It Will Not Allow U.S. to Use Saudi Ground to Attack Iraq
War Is Talk of the Town in Baghdad

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

8. We notice various degrees of harm in all the passions, and this is certainly the case with lying. There is one judgment for him who lies through fear of punishment, and another for him who lies when no danger is at hand.

August 7, 2002


Bloody Weekend
Israeli Forces Kill Two Palestinian Militants
Suicide Bombers' Families Flee Homes
Saudis tighten anti-Israel boycott
Six Dead in Attack on Pakistan Church School


Reports released Tuesday by the U.S. Agency for International Development and CARE International found that malnutrition among Palestinian children under 5 in the Gaza Strip and West Bank has reached emergency levels and ranks among the highest in the world as a result of security measures imposed by the Israeli military.

The surveys also found that more than half of the Palestinians in the two occupied territories have been forced to decrease food consumption in recent weeks because of a lack of money and military curfews that have kept families confined to their homes for days at a time and restricted commerce and the transport of food supplies.

"We're seeing malnutrition rates that are unacceptably high," said Gregg Greenough of Johns Hopkins University schools of medicine and public health in Baltimore, one of the participants in the research.

Greenough said 22.5 percent of Palestinian children suffer from acute or chronic malnutrition.
That, he said, is equivalent to levels found in Chad and Nigeria and higher than rates in Bangladesh and Somalia. The assessment said that the overall malnutrition level for the West Bank and Gaza Strip "is considered an emergency by most humanitarians and public health officials."

The Israeli government, which offered its own medical experts in a separate news conference, did not contest the findings. But it said Palestinians have rejected its offers of medical and health assistance in recent months. In addition, it stressed that although many Palestinians suffer from malnutrition because of inadequate diets, they are not going hungry.

"Israel is doing everything it can to fight terror without harming the general population," said Daniel Seaman, a government spokesman.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

7. He who has obtained the fear of the Lord has forsaken lying, having within himself an incorruptible judge- his own conscience.

August 6, 2002

"So when I saw those sobbing, reaching Mexicans I knew what they knew. When you see the pope something happens. You expect to be moved but it's bigger than that and more surprising. It feels like a gaiety brought by goodness. It feels like a bubbling up. I think some people feel humbled by some unseen gravity and others lifted by some unknown lightness.

It's like some great white dove flutters from your chest, emerges and flies upward. And you didn't even know it was there. And all this leaves you reaching outward, toward one who is broken, ungainly, without grace. And it fills you with tears. Or so it seems to me. At least that was my experience." PEGGY NOONAN- John Paul the Great


Over the course of nearly two weeks in Canada, Guatemala, and Mexico, the pope showed that he retains the star power of his high church office, as well as his ability to use the bully pulpit of his station to call attention to issues of concern to the church: clergy sexual abuse in North America, the people's quest for ''peace, solidarity, and justice'' in war-torn Guatemala, and the ''legitimate aspirations'' of the downtrodden indigenous minority in Mexico.

His trip had the tone of a victory lap by the globe-trotting pontiff. The final stop of his trip, in Mexico, was the same country where he made his first foreign visit, in 1979, a country where he is perhaps more popular than in any place but Poland. Millions of Mexicans lined the boulevards of this capital city yesterday, playing mariachi music, shouting, and releasing yellow-and-white balloons, the colors of the flag of the Holy See, as the popemobile sped off to the Benito Juarez International Airport.

And the pope, speaking in Spanish at the end of a ceremony in which he beatified two 17th century Zapotec Indians who were hacked to death for reporting a group of pagans to church authorities, offered an emotional farewell to Mexico. In his remarks, he seemed to suggest that he agreed with the many Mexicans who have said they believe this fifth papal visit to Mexico will be the pope's last.

''I go, but I'm not leaving,'' he said, to ecstatic applause, before boarding his popemobile for the ride to the airport. ''I go, but I won't be gone, for although I go, my heart remains.''

RELATED: Papal Visit Sparks New Mexico Openness


Saying that the Catholic Church must focus on addressing the ''root causes'' of clergy sexual abuse now that it has approved a national policy for protecting children from predatory priests, eight American bishops have proposed a rare, massive gathering of church leaders and lay people - the first in more than a century - to reaffirm traditional Catholic teachings on celibacy, sexual morality, and the authority of bishops. The plenary council proposed by the eight bishops, who have not been publicly identified, would bring together the nation's nearly 400 bishops, as well as all vicars general, Episcopal vicars, major superiors of religious orders, rectors of ecclesiastical and Catholic universities, deans of theology and canon law faculties, seminary rectors, and lay people.

The number of people gathered could exceed 1,000, and the gathering could be on par with a Vatican Council, several theologians said Friday.

If convened, it would be only the fourth plenary council ever held in this country, and the first since 1884, according to the Rev. John P. Beal, an associate professor of canon law at Catholic University, who described past councils as ''extremely significant.'' The gatherings require Vatican approval.

The proposal was made in a six-page letter sent to members of the American church hierarchy last month and obtained by Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic monthly in Washington, D.C., which notified its 5,000 subscribers of the letter by e-mail.

RELATED: Is church property at risk in abuse suits?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

4. I have seen some who, priding themselves on their skill in lying, and exciting laughter by their jests and twaddle, have pitiably destroyed in their hearers the habit of mourning.

August 3, 2002


(Rev 18:1-3) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor.  And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!  It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness."


How much worse could the worst bear market in a generation get?  A lot.

For some insight into just how bad things could still turn out on Wall Street, it is worth paying attention to Robert D. Arnott, managing partner at First Quadrant, a money management firm in Pasadena, Calif., and co-author of a provocative recent article in the Financial Analysts Journal.  It has the seemingly innocuous title, "What Risk Premium is `Normal'?"

"The market has come down quite a bit from the unprecedented levels it reached a couple of years ago," Mr. Arnott says.  "It has now reached the same valuation level as at the market top in 1929."

That's right, the market top: before the crash that heralded the start of the Depression, not afterward.

Mr. Arnott, whose view of market history extends a bit further than that of most people on Wall Street (his research examines the performance of stocks back to 1802) doesn't really expect the kind of stock market collapse that occurred from 1929 to 1933.  And he certainly doesn't expect the economy to fall apart; indeed, he is counting on economic growth to average the same rate of the last three decades.

But his study is a powerful reminder of just how over the top the stock market became in the 1990's and how much more downward adjustment may still be needed before prices reflect a fair valuation of the earnings and dividends that support them.

To reach that point, Mr. Arnott predicts, Wall Street may have to endure a long spell — a decade or longer — in which the stock market, while providing plenty of ups and downs, repeatedly disappoints investors.  "I would be very surprised," Mr. Arnott said, "if bonds don't outperform stocks over the next decade or so." Meanwhile, he added, "The economy is probably going to be fine; it will just take a decade or two to catch up with what the market had anticipated."


How Wall Street could impoverish us all
Aug. 14: The day of reckoning
Expect Surprises Long after August 14
All styles are out of fashion in mutual funds
Prediction: Footsie 'faces fall to 3,000'
Fed Chief Now Blamed for Inflating Stock Bubble
U.S. Real Estate Bubble Nears Its End
Uruguay orders banks closed amid deepening economic crisis


Excerpted from Working Money article by Tim Wood:

SUMMARY- There's no question we are in a primary bear market, nor that it is just beginning.  It is not likely to conclude until at least 2006, more probably 2010.  The DJIA should move down to at least the 6,495 level, and could even move deep into the 3,000 range.  Don't fall for the hype from the Wall Street "analysts." They do not present factual evidence for their forecasts, which seem to be based on nothing more than hope and hype.

VIA Richard: Excellent and well documented "56 year financial panic cycle" article is found here: (note: next financial panic is due Fall 2002)

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

3. Let no one who thinks rightly suppose that the sin of lying is a small matter, for the All Holy Spirit pronounced the most awful sentence of all against it, above all sins. If Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie, as David says to God (Psalm 5:4), what will they suffer who stitch an oath on to a lie?

August 2, 2002


by Father Angelus M. Shaughnessy, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin

The most fundamental disposition in any relationship is honesty; in our relationship with ourselves, with other people, and with God. Without truth and sincerity, no communication can be trusted. There is not even a starting point with a dishonest person, with a liar.

Some of us have become so proficient in lying to ourselves that we have convinced ourselves that the false is the true, that the bad is the good. Isn't it true? The biggest lies I tell are the lies I tell to myself!

Some have become so accustomed to rationalizing their personal guilt away they could almost get doctor's degrees in self-deception. Even lying under oath becomes as natural as breathing! How could we trust these people with anything in life? Could we possible trust them with life itself?

One pastor told me that his parishioners have no problem at all anymore with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (that Mary was conceived without original sin). He said he thought all of his people considered themselves immaculately conceived. They don't go to confession any more. They have nothing to confess.Whom do we think we are kidding? We are not the Church of the Latter Day Saints. We are the Church of the modern day sinners, every one of us. He who has no sin is all sin.

The greatest evil in the world is not sin; the greatest evil in the world is the denial of sin. Compunction, contrition, sorrow get rid of sin; but the denial of sin perpetuates the sin. And we are the losers in the process.

The ultimate in evil, beyond which you cannot go, is to call evil good. To call the killing of the pre-born "pro-choice" (they favor free will, their opponents, pro-life people, are called "anti-choice".) They call suicide: "death with dignity". They call pornography: "freedom of speech". They call homosexual marriages: "alternate life style". I am sure our Lord would call all this something else, maybe closer to: "the abomination of desolation"!

This is the mentality of so much of today's culture of death! It doesn't get any worse than this! It cannot get any worse! And how the father of lies must rejoice in this form of human self-destruction! No one else could mastermind such a massive downfall for the human race.

The sacrament of Christian maturity is not the sacrament of Confirmation. Confession is. If you ever want to know how grown up you are in the spiritual life you can gauge that infallibly by your response to your own guilt. The real translation for this kind of maturity is humility, the cultivation of the humble heart.

Humility is truth, the truth of where we stand naked before God without camouflage, hypocrisy, deception, and phony excuses. The Church and its confessional will always be hated by those who refuse to face their own guilt.

We are as guilty as our most hidden sin and we stay guilty as long as it remains unconfessed. God always forgives, but only if we are sorry. We cannot be truly sorry unless we admit our guilt. The degree of our shame in confessing is the degree of our pride. The degree of our sorrow is the degree of our love.

Lord, make me see myself as You see me that I may see You as You have promised. Give me the grace to respond to my sins by making an honest-to-God confession. Then judgment day holds no fears for me. We may fool ourselves. We can never make a fool of God: and He hates the ways of falsehood.

ALSO VIA Richard: Vatican Radio is free and very informative. You can listen to excellent teaching programs and you can also hear news of particular interest to Catholics.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

2. A lie is the destruction of love, and a false oath is a denial of God.

August 1, 2002


As feathered Aztec dancers and robed Catholic clergy moved through an incense-filled basilica, Pope John Paul II canonized the first Indian saint in the Americas on Wednesday, using the ceremony to urge Mexicans to help its large Indian population.

"Christ's message, through his mother, took up the central elements of indigenous culture, purified them and gave them the definitive sense of salvation," John Paul said, his face reddening after a series of open-air Masses.

"Juan Diego .... facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans," said the pope.

Repeating a theme he focused on in his visit to Guatemala earlier this week, the pope said Mexico needed to offer its 10 million-strong Indian population greater "justice and solidarity" if it was to become a better country.

"Mexico needs its indigenous people and these peoples need Mexico," he said to loud applause.

Mexican's Miracle Recovery Makes Indian a Saint
Pope returns to a Mexico no longer as 'faithful'


Pope John Paul II arrived in Guatemala Tuesday afternoon bringing a message of "peace and reconciliation" to a country where violence and threats against Catholic human rights activists are increasing, six years after the end of a 36-year civil war.

"This celebration should be a true moment of grace and renewal for Guatemala," the pope said at an airport arrival ceremony.  Although he spoke in a relatively clear voice, his fragile health was evidenced by the custom-made lift that was used to lower him gently from his plane.

"I fervently hope that the noble Guatemalan people, who thirst for God and for spiritual values, who are anxious for peace and reconciliation, solidarity and justice, may live and enjoy the dignity that is theirs," the pope said in Spanish.

Guatemalans Greet Weary Pope

"The pope does not forget you and, admiring the values of your cultures, encourages you to overcome with hope the sometimes difficult situations you experience," he said at the ceremony, attended by all of Central America's heads of state and the president of the Dominican Republic.

Wrapping up the Mass, the pope thanked Guatemalans for "moving me one more time."

"Guatemala is in my heart!" he said to screams and shouts from the crowd.

RELATED: Guatemala- The terror has returned
MORE: In first, pope canonizes Central American
SEE ALSO: Guatemala Heeds Pope's Plea on Death Penalty

PROFILE: Central America's first saint- Brother Pedro de San Jose Betancur

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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 12- "On lying"

1. The offspring of flint and steel is fire; and the offspring of chatter and joking is lying.

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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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