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February 28, 2003

(Rom 1:20-21)  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.


This week marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, the microscopic data every cell contains, and upon which all life on earth is based. New York is commemorating the anniversary with a six-part exhibition celebrating the often-overlooked partnership between art and science. Dr. James Watson, who made the discovery with Dr. Francis Crick, was on hand to view the sculptures, photographs, and paintings his research inspired.

Dr. Watson said artists quickly became interested in his discovery. He said legendary surrealist Salvador Dali told him that the structure "convinced him of the existence of God", to which Dr. Watson replied, "To me, it proves the opposite."

As scientists celebrate the 50th anniversary of DNA's discovery, James Watson is still cantankerous and still an atheist.

But he and others assembled at Time magazine's Future of Life Summit acknowledged the darker side of genetic breakthroughs. Genetically engineered bioweapons, possible genetic discrimination and other issues were debated throughout the three-day conference, as was the moral implication of human embryonic stem cell research and cloning.

Stem cell research is controversial because unwanted human embryos donated by fertility clinics must be destroyed to harvest the cells. Many religious groups believe life begins at conception and think of destroying embryos as immoral.

President Bush opposes embryo destruction and many scientists complain that his administration's policies have slowed research by making funding difficult to obtain.

"The president unfortunately was brought up by parents who taught him to believe in God," Watson said in his usual blunt style. "He's handicapped."

IRONY:  Scientists stumble upon the mother of black surfaces

British scientists have come up with the blackest surface ever, an invention that could help with spacecraft navigation and the manufacture of optical instruments. Nigel Fox, who heads the optics group at the National Physical Laboratory, said: "When you look at the black, it is an incredibly beautiful surface. It's like black velvet."

LINK: Powers of Ten (of God)

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: "The most beautiful experiences we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science".

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

6. Meekness is the fellow-worker of obedience, the guide of the brotherhood, a bridle for the enraged, a check to the irritable, a minister of joy, the imitation of Christ, something proper to angels, shackles for demons, a shield against bitterness.

February 27, 2003

(Joh 15:13)  Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


When the enemy's grenade exploded, it broke Herbert Miller's ankle and riddled his body with shrapnel. He lay in a ditch unable to move that frigid November day in 1950, about 35 miles south of Manchuria in North Korea. Two enemy soldiers broke away from a passing infantry column and approached. One aimed his rifle at Miller's head.

Father Emil Kapaun appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and shoved the rifle aside.

Inexplicably, the enemy stood by as the priest picked Miller up and carried him safely to a camp for American prisoners of war.

"I fought in two wars, and I never saw a man like him," Miller, now 75 and living in Pulaski, N.Y., said of Kapaun, the Kansas farm boy who ministered to soldiers before he died in a POW camp.

"There's no words to describe him."

Well, perhaps one word: saint.

"From those earliest days, when I first heard of him, anyone who knew him would tell me, 'If anyone was a saint, he was,' " said Bishop Francis Roque of the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington.

A movement by Catholic war veterans to support the canonization of Kapaun is the latest and most significant tribute to "the shepherd in combat boots," who died May 23, 1951. He was 35.

Already, the Korean valley where Kapaun died bears his name. So does a Catholic high school in Wichita, an Air Force base in Germany, and several Knights of Columbus chapters.

Sainthood can only be bestowed by the Vatican, and only after rigorous qualifications are met - including at least two verified miracles. But supporters say it's just a matter of time.

"He kept doing things that were extraordinary," Miller said. "He showed forth the Christlike spirit. He deserves what they're trying to give him."

OF CONTEMPORARY INTEREST: Soldiers reaffirm their faith before test of war


Which way to the war?
Losing battle to prepare the babies for war
Why shrimp dressing could save the lives of soldiers

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "May the threat of war and death make way for the joyous praise of the Lord of life", said Pope John Paul II appealing to the faithful to pray for peace. He said at the end of his General Audience: "Human life is a wonderful reason to praise the Lord and this prayer will bring grace to all. May it bring peace to the world."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

5. Meekness is the buttress of patience, the door, or rather, the mother of love, and the foundation of discernment, for it is said: The Lord will teach the meek His ways (Ps. 29:9). It prepares us for the forgiveness of sins; it is boldness in prayer; an abode of the Holy Spirit. But to whom shall I look? Even to him that is meek and quiet (Isa. 66:2).

February 26, 2003

(Jer 1:5)  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."


John Paul II used his remarks to participants at a Pontifical Academy for Life gathering to renew his call for ethical research which avoids "every temptation to manipulate man."

The Vatican has denounced any form of human cloning as well as infertility-fighting practices that violate Catholic teaching, which holds that conception should only be achieved through intercourse by a married couple.

Not only the aims, "but also the methods and means of research must always be respectful of the dignity of every human being in whatever state of its development and in every phase of experimentation," he said.

Scientists must be aware of the "insurmountable limits that safeguard the life, integrity and dignity of every human being," John Paul said.

RELATED: US House to vote Thurday on Cloning Ban
SEE ALSO: Clone claim produces flurry of bills


The leader of Philadelphia's 1.4 million Roman Catholics said the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the church over the past year requires priests to renew their efforts to be holy.

"In encouraging my priests, I tell them to continue to be good priests and the best way we can overcome the scandal is to be holier priests," Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua said Monday at a luncheon hosted by the Pennsylvania Press Club.

Credible allegations of sexual abuse have been made against 35 archdiocesan priests over the past five decades, out of a total of nearly 3,000 priests who have served over the same period.

"So it is a very small number," Bevilacqua said. "That doesn't justify even one incident, which is horrific."

Bevilacqua said the history of the church has shown that human beings can be involved in scandals, but the fundamental faith of the church is not in its leaders but in Christ.

"When you find that a doctor may have been incompetent, people don't give up faith in medicine," Bevilacqua said. "They go to another doctor. ... The same here. Priests are human."

Pastors so far have reported no decrease in collections from the scandal, the cardinal said. He said he cannot tell the effect yet on young men signing up for the priesthood.

"The good Catholics, the active Catholics, their faith has remained very, very strong," Bevilacqua said. "They have seen that our faith is not in any pope, cardinals, bishops or priests. If our faith were in completely human beings, the church would never have gotten off the ground."

OF INTEREST: Dr. Judith Reisman, Advises Catholic Church to Sue the Sex Experts for Medical Malpractice

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

4. Meekness is a rock overlooking the sea of anger, which breaks all the waves that dash against it, yet remains completely unmoved.

February 25, 2003

(Mat 24:6-8)  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.


Pope John Paul II called on Catholics to fast on Ash Wednesday in the name of peace and said again on Sunday he worried a U.S.-led war against Iraq could unsettle the entire Middle East.

Looking wan and tired, John Paul opened his traditional Sunday remarks from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square by denouncing war as a way to resolve the conflict. "We Christians in particular are called upon to be sentinels of peace," John Paul said, calling on Catholics to dedicate their fasting on Ash Wednesday, March 5, for the cause of peace.

On that day, the pope said, faithful will pray for "the conversion of hearts and the long-range vision of just decisions to resolve disputes with adequate and peaceful means." He said that the fast, which Catholics traditionally conduct at the start of Lent to prepare themselves for Easter, is an "expression of penitence for the hate and violence which pollute human relations."

Fasting, an ancient practice shared by other religions, he said, also lets faithful "shed themselves of all arrogance."

"For months the international community is living in great apprehension for the danger of a war, which could unsettle the entire Middle East region and aggravate the tensions unfortunately already present in this beginning of the third millennium," the pontiff said.

"It is the duty of all believers, to whichever religion they belong, to proclaim that we can never be happy pitted one against the other; the future of humanity will never able to be secured by terrorism and by the logic of war," John Paul said.

RELATED: Unilateral attack on Iraq "a crime" -Vatican


New US, UK Resolution Says Iraq Failed to Disarm
France Offers Counterproposal to U.S. Draft on Iraq
Key Upcoming Dates on Iraq


5.9 Quake Shakes Northern Japan
5.4 Quake Shakes Southern California
5.4 Quake shakes Paris, eastern France
6.8 Quake shakes western China
Whole lot shaking going on

(Rom 8:22-23)  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

3. Meekness consists in praying calmly and sincerely for a neighbour when he causes many turmoils.

February 22, 2003


(Mat 16:18)  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

Abbey Church February 22, 2001

Someone was asked by a relative: "What was your father like?" "It was," came the reply, "like living with the Rock of Gibraltar lodged in the front room. There was no getting around him." There are at least three characteristics of a rock. It is a solid mass. It is stationary. And the elements of time and weather have little effect on its surface. It is something you can depend on to be there and stay there. At one time, a rock could serve as a land marker where there was a question of where one's property began or ended.

In the Gospel today, Jesus makes a remarkable statement. "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church." Formerly, he was Simon, which means reed. Now he becomes Peter (the Latin form is petra), which means rock. No longer bending like a reed, but solidified as a rock should be, --- for the continuance of the community of believers who would regard Jesus as their Savior, King and God. Jesus has left a visible and constant reminder that he is with his Church, and that Church has a leader and teacher. Church historians have come up with four Latin words that express just what that belief was and still is. "Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia." "Where Peter is, there is the Church." Both together. Not one without the other.

The dogmatic constitution "Lumen Gentium" has indeed much to say concerning the unity of the flock of Christ in so far as it is assembled under one visible head, namely the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter. There are indeed a number of impressive titles that go with this office: His Holiness the Pope, Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ, successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Servant of the Servants of God, Sovereign of the Vatican City-State.

Could any of them match: "Where Peter is, there is the Church"? The Rock is there. There is no getting around it.

RELATED: Saint Peter's Chair at Antioch


New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second Edition, Now Available
Vatican Announces October 19 date for Beatification of Mother Teresa
Pope Urges Rosary in Vatican Message

VIA David Sheehan: I received the following email annoucement-

Greetings from Croatia. All is well here. No shortage of plastic and tape here. Our prayers for peace are with the USA as she experiences the most difficult time in our generation.

Here peace is holding firm for now. We are planning the Summer Work Camp program for this June. Would you please MASS E-MAIL the attached announcement to the faithful?

Work Camp 2003 Bosnia Herzegovina
June 7th – June 20th, 2003

Join us as we embark for the fifth year of bringing hope through our Bosnia Herzegovina Work Camp program. Work Camp is limited to the first 40 participates. Please email Jeff Reed for details ASAP!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

2. Meekness is an unchangeable state of mind, which remains the same in honour and dishonour.

February 21, 2003

Dan (3:23-27) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. And they walked about in the midst of the flames, singing hymns to God and blessing the Lord. Then Azariah stood and offered this prayer; in the midst of the fire he opened his mouth and said: "Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever. For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true and thy ways right, and all thy judgments are truth.


Even in times of difficulty, believers are called to praise God in the knowledge that he is always near to his creatures, Pope John Paul II said. Christians believe in a "God who is beyond us, able to save us with his power, but also a God close to his people and in whose midst he wanted to dwell in his 'holy, glorious temple,' demonstrating his love," the pope said Feb. 19 at his weekly general audience.

Continuing his series of talks about the Scripture used in morning prayer, the pope spoke about the "canticle of the three young men" thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship an idol. The young men's hymn of praise, he said, "is like a torch which shines in the darkness of times of oppression and persecution, times which occurred frequently in the history of Israel as well as in the history of Christianity."


Pope: War Would Be Tragedy for Religion
Archbishops confront Blair over Iraq war
Vatican Warns Against Unilateral Action
Pope will discuss Iraq with British PM Blair in private audience

MORE FROM Ultimate adventure turns into a blessing: "When we got down there (the South Pole), we found out that we had these two gentlemen from the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi pilgrimage office on this trip - Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, the director, and Antonio Vizzi, a journalist and Italian general. They had said a Mass and planted a cross blessed by Pope John Paul II at the North Pole, and they were there to do the same at the South Pole."

"The whole thing was bringing peace to the ends of the Earth, which is where the church has always been focused. It was the highlight of the trip to be able to be part of this venture by the Vatican. It was a great experience."

(Mat 5:9)  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 24- "On meekness, simplicity and guilelessness"

1. The morning light precedes the sun, and the precursor of all humility is meekness.

February 20, 2003


A Singapore-based scientist who was part of the team that created Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, said Saturday her premature death was proof of the many dangers of cloning.

Dolly was put to death Friday, after premature aging and disease raised questions about the practicality of cloning.

"I think it highlights more than ever the foolishness of those who want to legalize (human) reproductive cloning," said Alan Colman, one of the scientists behind Dolly's birth in 1996.

"In the case of humans, it would be scandalous to go ahead given our knowledge about the long-term affects of cloning," Colman said.

Scientists decided to end Dolly's life at age 6 about half the life expectancy of her breed because a veterinarian confirmed she had a progressive lung disease, according to the Roslin Institute, the Scottish lab where she was created and lived.


VIA SPUC: A British expert in law and bioethics has argued in a national newspaper that the IVF industry is based on a "misguided central premise" that the end of fertility treatment justifies the means. Dr Jacqueline Laing of the London Metropolitan University highlighted the use of IVF to help post-menopausal women to conceive as an example of how the "baby making trade" ignored the interests of IVF babies and the respect due to early human life. Dr Laing argued that, as a result of the flawed reasoning behind the view that those who wanted children should have the right to have them, "human life in its earliest stages is mass-produced, frozen, experimented on and subject to quality control and destruction." [Daily Mail, 18 February] The vast majority of human beings engendered through IVF die before birth.

COMMENTARY: Leading Catholic spokesman Archbishop Mario Conti says test-tube babies were the first step in a logical journey towards human clones and a ghoulish trade in embryos


Scientists replace human stem cell genes
Cloneable Mammoth Cells Discovered in Russia
Deer cloning aims to bring in bigger bucks


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

31. A proud monk has no need of a devil; he has become a devil and enemy to himself.

February 19, 2003

(Mat 18:19-20)  Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."


A sea of lights flickered over the heads of Iowa City residents Monday as their voices sang for peace.

Steve Sherwood was one of 400 people to hold up a candle during the Christians United for Peace service at St. Thomas More Church, 405 N. Riverside Drive.

"I think everyone loves their country and their patriots," Sherwood said after the service. "But I don't think that means they agree with the way the country is headed. God's power and God's control can bring peace - not military power."

The ecumenical service included hymns, prayers, taize chants and a brief reflection from the Rev. Dr. Philip Hougen, Bishop of the Southeastern Iowa Synod.

"Those of us gathered here tonight come from a wide range of Christian traditions to pray for peace," Hougen said. "We are gathered here to pray for peace, that is where we must begin. But we must also speak for peace. How might we most effectively live out our faith in this country?

"We are citizens in this country and frankly folks, we have both a voice and a vote," he said. "We are called to speak for peace."

Hougen challenged those in attendance to take action and promote peace in the world.

"We are called tonight to pray for peace, to speak for peace and to work for peace," he said. "Those who work for peace have joy in their hearts."

RELATED: Students ponder fasting for peace
SEE ALSO: Group to hold prayer vigils for peace


World Urged to 'Plan for Worst' in Iraq
U.S. ponders worst-case scenarios
The Hi-Tech Dogs of War May Strike Before the Ides of March

Events in Our Daily Lives and God's Word by Bishop Paul S. Loverde:

We also experience alienation through fear. Many of us are experiencing anxiety and fear over the many situations in our world which threaten to spiral out of control. Two weeks ago, our nation watched in shock as we lost a second space shuttle, reminding us that, while dreams are possible, life is so fragile. Added to that, in our world today there are armed conflicts raging in Africa and Israel, and the drums of war are getting louder in Iraq and North Korea. Furthermore, this past week our government raised the terror alert, signaling that there could be threats against our own city and nation. These events increase our anxiety and cause us to fear for our safety and that of our loved ones and friends. Fear and anxiety can be like leprosy, which, we read in our first reading, caused those who suffered from it to be isolated from the community. Many people ask how we should react to the fear caused by these renewed terrorist alerts and threats. My advice is we must allow ourselves to be touched by Jesus Christ, the one Savior of the world.

Yes, we must allow our lives to be touched and transformed by the love and grace of Jesus Christ. In this time of anxiety, we should turn our hearts to God through daily prayer, regular celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance and increased participation in the Holy Mass. These are three concrete ways in which the Lord touches us, enters into our lives, listens to us, walks with us and guides us in the ways in which we should go.

Moreover, we must resist the feeling of alienation by reaching out and gathering with family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow students. Through this mutual support, w can strengthen one another and walk together in faith despite our fear and anxiety.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

30. The proud man is a pomegranate, rotten inside, while outwardly radiant with beauty.

February 18, 2003


Millions of protesters many of them marching in the capitals of America's traditional allies demonstrated Saturday against possible U.S. plans to attack Iraq.

The protests that started Friday in Australia continued through the weekend with a massive Sunday demonstration of more than 100,000 people in Sydney. The protests were the biggest in Australia since the Vietnam War three decades ago.

In a global outpouring of anti-war sentiment, Rome claimed the biggest turnout 1 million according to police, while organizers claimed three times that figure.

In London, at least 750,000 people demonstrated in what police called the city's largest demonstration ever. In Spain, several million people turned out at anti-war rallies in about 55 cities and towns across the country, with more than 500,000 each attending rallies in Madrid and Barcelona.

MORE: United Methodist Pastor to Act as Human Shield


The Social Justice Secretariat of the Jesuits, in consultation with the staff of the order’s Rome headquarters, outlined opposition to the war in a letter sent to each Jesuit province.

“We believe, with many others, that the reasons for a pre-emptive attack against Iraq are not convincing, and the effects of a possible war will turn out to be so devastating that it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to justify a military intervention,” the statement said.

The letter, signed by Jesuit Father Fernando Franco, head of the secretariat, called for “a considered and prayerful reflection on the main reasons that militate against war on Iraq.” The social justice office said its opposition was based on several considerations:

— “The ‘doctrine’ of a pre-emptive war is neither in accordance with U.N. doctrine and law, nor morally defensible. The application of this doctrine would open the door to an infinite war, a ‘war without end.’”
— A war against Iraq would heighten tensions between Muslims and Christians in the Middle East and beyond.
— A willingness to spend massive amounts of money on a military action, but not on development aid makes one ask “whether the true motives of war against Iraq have to do more with economic than security reasons.”
— The push for a war is being made “unilaterally by the leaders of a few industrialized countries outside the control of the U.N.,” and the United States and its allies seem to have disregarded the “obligation to build a broader consensus through legitimate democratic processes.”
— “Experience has shown us that the poor are always the main victims of violence and war.”

The Jesuit headquarters called on members of the order to strengthen their efforts against violence and in favor of peace. The letter asked each Jesuit province to get people to “creatively reflect on these issues, prepare some plans of public action and discern concrete ways of collaborating with others.”

COMMENTARY: Blair's 'moral' case for war in Iraq is shot full of holes


When Vatican officials opened their copies of the best-selling Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana in early February, they winced a little. An insert in the magazine showed Pope John Paul II and President George W. Bush sitting back-to-back. Under the heading: "Whose side are you on? With Bush or with the pope?" the magazine was asking readers to vote in a referendum on a new war in Iraq. That kind of juxtaposition of Bush and the pope has made Vatican officials uncomfortable. While opposing a preventive attack on Iraq, the Vatican is worried that it is being mistakenly cast as a foe of the United States and a friend of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Privately, Vatican officials often begin statements about Iraq with the phrase, "I'm not defending Saddam Hussein. ..." They credit his government with protecting the rights of Iraq's Christian minority, but they recognize that his overall human rights record is atrocious. Moreover, they tend to put most of the blame for the current crisis on Saddam, for failing to demonstrate unequivocally that his regime has stopped trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

RELATED: Pope wants Iraq to toe UN line

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

28. Forgetfulness of our falls is the result of conceit, for the remembrance of them leads to humility.

February 15, 2003



Pope Tells Iraqi Official He Opposes War
Aziz Promises Pope Iraq Will Cooperate with U.N.
Iraq Bans Weapons of Mass Destruction
Bin Laden urges Muslims to defend Iraq, not Saddam
Bin Laden's voice aside, war on Iraq is not war on Al Qaeda
Global opposition grows against U.S. war on Iraq
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien:World suspicious of U.S. push for war

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR: THE ORATORY OF DIVINE LOVE
An Answer to the Question What Can We Do?


VIA Jim McCrea: Many people resent the Catholic Church because of the "strictness" of its teachings. The thing is, God is absolutely pure, and we must be absolutely pure to enter heaven. "You must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt 5:48). We tend to believe that the teachings of the Faith are unreasonable because of our depravity. I think that it was St. Thomas Aquinas who said that for a sensual and proud man, anything that contradicts sensuality and pride seems to be evil. That explains why our Church is so hated and persecuted in our day and age - and called "evil." One with jaundice tends to see the whole world as yellow.

With my own visions of heaven (seen not in complete clarity but with obscurity), the one note that stands out about the nature of heaven is its absolute purity - a purity that is so absolute, supreme, and infinite, that the earthbound consciousness has had no notion of it. It is a purity that has an inconceivable "weight" or "force." What I experienced cannot adequately be communicated in words. It is completely and utterly opposed to anything that we might call "racy" or "sultry." What has also been revealed to me is that our utter and supreme joy and happiness in heaven can only be based on this utter and supreme purity. Any impurity in heaven (no matter how insignificant) would sully it and constitute the seeds of destruction that would soon turn it into hell.

With these lights, I can see that the absolute fulfillment that God intends for us in heaven is impossible to achieve without absolute purity. Any happiness in the context of what is impure (not only sexual, but any kind), is simply not genuine happiness. This is why it is such a huge mistake for Catholics to think that they can let little things go in their life. It is precisely those little things that block the way to heaven for so many people.

The teachings of the Faith are not unreasonable, and they are not impossible to live by. They are opposed because of man's pride. Many are not willing to live and believe in the fullness of what the Catholic Church teaches - and even *publicly* oppose those teachings, saying they should change - because inside they wish to have a sovereignty that is independent of God's will. Inside, they are saying "My will be done" rather than "Thy will be done." In this, they follow the lie of the serpent who said: "you will be like gods, determining good and evil." In this, they wish to be God. In this, they follow Lucifer who became Satan.

It is only in giving glory to the "other" in God, rather than the *self,* that we find true bliss. It is this self adhesion that many are not willing to overcome. It is this self adhesion which is the sin of pride. Once we rid ourselves of pride (which is a matter of willing it) and strive to follow the will of God in its entirety (which the Magisterium of the Church teaches in its integrity), the way is demanding, but not impossible - and the rewards are immeasurable and infinite.

(Mat 10:24-26)  "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Be-el'zebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

25. A monk is one who is conditioned by virtues as others are by pleasures.

February 14, 2003

(1Jo 4:7-8)  Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

IN THE NEWS: Italians Find St. Valentine Relic


VIA Father Angelus Shaughnessy, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin:


To Love is our only duty. To be loved is our greatest need. This is why we pray. God is love. Exposure to God in prayer is exposure to love. Prayer is really allowing God, watching God, love you and love me.

If we do not love ourselves enough with legitimate self-love, it is probably because we have not exposed ourselves sufficiently to the God of love and the love of God in prayer.

We must love ourselves. It is the fulfillment of a commandment: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself!"

Love yourself physically by eating the proper food, getting the necessary rest and exercise, doing what your physician has asked you to do to maintain your health.

Love yourself intellectually by cultivating habits of reading and study and thinking.

Love yourself emotionally by sharing your feelings with a trusted friend.

Love yourself spiritually by giving yourself the time and the space to pray and to be silent.

When you love in this way, it is not selfishness. It is God's will for you - - just the opposite of selfishness and sin.

Most of the sinning that we do is the result of not caring for ourselves in a balanced way, like the irritability that comes from lack of sleep If we burn out in our commitments to and relationships with others, it is most likely because we have not prayed enough.

If a person admits that he has been unkind, impatient, and selfish, invariably that is caused by his failure to let God love Him enough in prayer. No one confesses sins against charity who in the same breath does not confess missing his time for God in prayer.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be loved as to love. If we pray, we won't have to seek the love of others. They will love us freely because God makes us lovable in prayer. Then there will be no end to the generosity that we will be capable of. Nothing will be too much for us. No sacrifice will be too hard or demanding. We will have been energized into life and love.

Isnt that what saints are? People who love God very much? But even before that: Saints are people who are absolutely convinced that God loves them. Remember: There is only one sadness in life; and that is, not to be a saint.

Lord, teach us to love and to be loved. Teach us our duty!! Fulfill our deepest need!!

May Saint Valentine be the inspiration of our lives.

VIA Divine Word Missionaries: It is hard to believe that the Christmas season is already behind us. But, as time moves on, so do we… We will be soon celebrating St. Valentine's Day. You are welcome to visit our website and read the story of St. Valentine.

Also we invite you to light an online Prayer Candle for the intentions of your loved ones and friends or send a free electronic eCard.

There are many more exciting things on our web site that will provide you with spiritual experiences and opportunities to learn, pray and meditate, so please, visit our missionaries at: http:///

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

24. A monk experiences unceasing rapture of mind and sorrow of life.

February 13, 2003

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please pass this special Trib Times issue to everybody in your address book with an open mind and caring heart! We CAN make a difference!

(Mat 26:52)  Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.


From the Cradle of Civilization -- To the Grave?
By Tom Cornell


Across the Rubicon
By Arnaud de Borchgrave, the most experienced counterterrorist investigator in the Western world

ACTION REQUEST BY THE USCCB: Urge your Member of Congress and President Bush to work with other world leaders to find the will and the ways to step back from the brink of war with Iraq and work to fashion an effective global response to Iraq's known threats that both recognizes legitimate self defense and conforms to traditional moral limits on the use of military force.

RELATED: Pope strives to avoid Muslim-Christian divide


The Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) has issued a statement expressing its 'deep concern' that a war against Iraq could trigger a humanitarian crisis and destabilise an already fragile Middle East and is calling on world leaders to resolve the issue peacefully.

Iraq is under strain after 12 years of United Nations sanctions and decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Child mortality has risen by 160 per cent since the sanctions started after the last Gulf War; 11.4 per cent of children in north Iraq and 23.1 per cent in central and south Iraq are chronically malnourished. The nation has between 700,000 and one million internally displaced people. Sixteen million -- two-thirds of the population - are dependent on overseas food aid.

War is likely to spark a humanitarian crisis as Iraq's neighbours would close their borders and the United Nations would stop delivering food. Attacks on Iraq's infrastructure would increase the population's suffering, as the transport, water and sanitation systems have not recovered from the last Gulf War.

CIIR executive director Christine Allen said: "Many in the Middle East are increasingly perceiving the US-led war on terrorism and the campaign against Iraq as an attack on Islam. The US and UK governments should be striving to repair fragile international relations. They should abide by the rules of international law that prevent them from taking unilateral action against Iraq."

Saudi Arabia's top cleric: "The enemy has exposed its fangs and is fighting our religion and is doing its best to drive Muslims away from their religion."


Online game simulates 'worst case scenario' of war in Iraq
Game Link:

SEE ALSO: Iraqis Fear Bloody Disorder After Any U.S. Invasion

FROM THE WHITEHOUSE: Are You Ready? National Security Emergencies

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

23. A monk is he who calls his enemies to combat like wild beasts, and provokes them as they flee from him.

February 12, 2003



VIA Deal Hutson, Crisis Magazine: You might have heard about the interesting "homily" given at St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago this past weekend. As part of a celebration of Black History Month, Father Pfleger invited the Rev. Al Sharpton to come and give the homily at Sunday’s mass.

Nevermind that only priests or deacons are allowed to give the homily or that Sharpton is unapologetically anti-life and a presidential hopeful to boot. Saying that Sharpton was there to help parishioners "think outside the box," Fr. Pfleger insisted that there was nothing improper in the invitation.

As a priest, letting your church be used as a campaign stop for a clearly un-Catholic politician is one thing; as a bishop, letting your priest willfully lead his parishioners astray is quite another. Chicago’s archbishop Francis Cardinal George said in a press release that he didn’t approve of Fr. Pfleger’s actions, but he decided that "making a case of this invitation at this time would be a futile gesture and a waste of effort." It’s too bad that he didn’t go ahead and cancel Sharpton’s appearance. Cardinal George had the opportunity of joining other bishops -- such as Weigand, Keleher, Cupich, Sheehan, and Chaput -- who have recently made strong stands against pro-abortion politicaal candidates.

VIA Jim McCrea:  Our Bishops - the shepherds and leaders of the Church - are now too weak to do anything about those who flagrantly break the rules and use our Church structures to promote values diametrically opposed to what the Church has always taught (i.e. promotion of the killing of the unborn, and otherwise, a partisan political platform at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass). We must pray for our bishops. Being successors of the apostles we must pray that they be given the courage of the apostles.

VIA Reader: This is one of the saddest pieces of news that I have ever read. And that says a lot in light of current events. I just wish to say that I was born in a Catholic Charities Home and believe with all my heart that the availability of good Catholic priests and sisters saved my life. My mother was a young girl and had no one to turn to. I pray for all sides of this issue and I can say from experience that while adoption requires sacrificial love from everyone involved it leaves a sweet and strong bond of love. It doesn't destroy it heals. I am praying tonight for World Peace and here in our own country, in our own dear Catholic Church we see seeds of destruction, death and eternal damnation being sown. A black smoke indeed has entered the church, and I am beginning to choke.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

22. A monk, properly speaking, is he whose soul's eye does not look haughtily, and whose bodily feeling is unmoved.

February 11, 2003

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "At this hour of international worry, we all feel the need to look to God and beg him to grant us the great gift of peace,". "I encourage everybody to pray the rosary for an intercession."


Pope John Paul II's special envoy to Iraq set off from Rome on Monday, saying the pontiff had decided to explore "the last limits of hope." Separately, Franciscan monks announced Iraq's deputy prime minister would join them in a prayer for peace next weekend in the hillside town of Assisi.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a veteran of Vatican diplomatic missions in tense times and places, flew to Paris to catch a flight to Amman, Jordan. He will travel from there to Baghdad. The Vatican announced Sunday that the cardinal was going to emphasize the pope's plea for peace and to encourage Iraqi authorities to cooperate with the United Nations, which has demanded that Iraq rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.

"The pope isn't resigned" to war, Etchegaray told reporters before boarding his flight to Paris. "He had decided to pursue the last limits of hope and I am his messenger."

Also Monday, a Franciscan spokesman said Aziz was to travel to Assisi for a morning of prayer with monks in the frescoed Basilica of St. Francis, named after the medieval monk associated with peace.

"The world needs images of peace to conquer the images of war," the Rev. Enzo Fortunato said.

He said Aziz, a Chaldean Christian, would join the monks in lighting a peace lantern over the tomb of St. Francis and holding an ivory horn that was presented to St. Francis in 1219 by the then-sultan of Egypt, Melek el-Kamel.

SEE ALSO: Iraqi sister expresses her people's worries over war


I don't believe reasons for war: German foreign minister
France Concerned About Risks of War
Blix wants more time for inspectors
Annan Urges U.S. to Avoid Gulf War

EDITOR'S NOTE:  As a result of the acquisition of ATT Broadband by Comcast, the URL of this site will be changing.  If you currently use to access the Trib Times then you will not need to make any changes.  If you use then you will need to change the URL to  I apologize for the inconvenience.

Any emails directed to the editor should be sent to [email protected] as the email address will soon no longer be functional.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

21. We should constantly be examining and comparing ourselves with the holy Fathers and the lights who lived before us, and we should then find that we have not yet entered upon the path of the ascetic life, and have not kept our vow in holy fashion, and in disposition are still living in this world.

February 8, 2003


(Heb 13:5-6)  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you."  Hence we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?"


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The Trib Times is sent out each day via HTML mail.  In order to best utilize links and for optimal readability your email program should be configured to receive mail in HTML.  If you have been unable to click on the titles of articles, or found sentences running together, it is quite likely that you are receiving the updates in text form rather than HTML.  If you click on, then click on today's message, you will see the Trib Times in exactly the form it was intended to be read.  For those unable to configure their email to accept HTML mail I suggest using the Trib Times that you receive via email each day as a reminder to click on the link above.

Each Trib Times issue contains the following invitation on the bottom:

Prayer request?  Send an email to: [email protected].
This additional service is moderated by Pegeen, a very dedicated servant of the Lord.  If you would like to be personally involved with her prayer ministry I encourage you to contact her at the email address above.

The following is an update of the current status of her ministry:

May this update find you and your families well. This week we begin a new endeavor-- in addition to our prayers for all requests. Please send in any and all names of military people so that we may put them in our prayer light. We need to cover these souls with the armor of Jesus Christ, as well as those who are innocent and may be in harms way.

And we must pray that the Will of God, and the Will of God only, be done.

Our Prayer Forum's numbers this week are:

Prayer Warriors: 9200+
Prayer Groups: 49+
Prayer Posts: 8816
Prayer Requests: 27,108+

The Divine Mercy Chaplet continues every day for all of our prayer warriors. May all of our Leaders follow the Holy Spirit in every decision that they make, and may the Lord, Jesus, have mercy on all of us.

We do our part, the Holy Spirit does the rest.

(Phi 4:6-7)  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

20. Even if we endure ten thousand deaths for Christ, even so we shall not repay all that is due. For the blood of God, and the blood of His servants are quite different, and here I mean the dignity and not the actual physical substance.

February 7, 2003

(Heb 12:1-2)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.



FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Mission Moments: Pope's gift to shrine of St Padre Pio

Pope John Paul II has given three 'special privileges' to the shrine of Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo that put it on a par with the shrines of Our Lady at Lourdes and Fatima.

More than seven million pilgrims, from all over the world visit the shrine of Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo each year - more than visit Lourdes. Soon, by decree of the Pope, as at Lourdes and Fatima, pilgrims will be able to gain a plenary indulgence whenever they visit the Padre Pio shrine, on condition that they go to confession, receive Holy Communion and pray for the Pope's intentions.

A second privilege, made known at the end of the canonisation ceremony on June 16, 2002, is the 'exceptional' decision by the Pope that the memory of St Padre Pio be inserted into the Roman liturgical calendar as 'obligatory'. This means that on September 23 each year - the date of the saint's death and heavenly birth - Padre Pio will be invoked at all Masses said on that day throughout the world, and in the reading of the Divine Office.

The third privilege relates to the linking of the name of San Giovanni Rotondo to the name of the diocese in which the town is, namely the diocese of Mafredonia-Vieste. San Giovanni Rotondo was the town where Padre Pio lived for most of his life and where he died and is now buried. The diocese will henceforth be known as the diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo. The addition of the shrine's name to the original name of the diocese in which the miracles took place also happened in the case of Lourdes and Fatima. Our Lady appeared at Lourdes in the diocese of Tarbes and the name of Lourdes was later added in 1912 (58 years after the apparitions), and today the diocese is called Tarbes and Lourdes. Likewise, in 1984 - two years after the assassination attempt on the Pope's life - Fatima was added to the name of the diocese of Leira in which Our Lady appeared; the diocese is now called Leira-Fatima.

These privileges all come by decision of Pope John Paul II who went to confession to the saintly friar in April 1947 and later, in 1962, asked him to intercede with God for the cure of a Polish woman friend and mother of several children, Wanda Poltawska who had a life-threatening tumour, who was subsequently cured.

MORE FROM ITALY:  Renewed Interest in Dante's "Divine Comedy"

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

18. Do not lift up your neck, creature of earth! For many, though holy and spiritual, were cast from Heaven.

February 6, 2003


Pope John Paul II plans to meet with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on Feb. 14, the very day weapons inspectors are to deliver progress reports to the U.N. Security Council, the Vatican announced Wednesday.

The assessment by chief inspector Hans Blix and head nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei could help swing the diplomatic balance on war.

In a brief statement, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Aziz had requested the meeting with John Paul, and that the pope had agreed to see him.

The Vatican has been outspoken in its opposition to a new conflict against Iraq, with top officials saying a preventive strike would have no legal or moral justification, and warning that it could unleash anti-Christian sentiment in the Muslim world.

John Paul himself has said a war against Iraq would be a "defeat for humanity." He has said military action must be used only as a last resort and under strict conditions.

RELATED: Pope's peace man says Powell evidence unconvincing


VIA David Hughes: Left to my own device - I would agree with Bush completely. Saddam is a menace - period. Eliminate him. He has been at war with SOMEONE ever since he took power. He provides a safe-haven and a nest for every terrorist cell under the sun. He could buy Nukes from the Soviet Black Market, or from Korea, or develop them himself. He is simply, CLEARLY a dangerous snake - and such dangers should not be tolerated in civilized society. Left alone - they will only breed and multiply insidious power - until they have the means to strike MULTIPLE blows at civilian populations - as they wage this new "Fourth Generation of Warfare" - which is now widely discussed, that of inflicting terror and confusion upon entire cultures. We could never PROVE where these things came from. Better to KNOW that they did not come from Iraq.

However, I am concerned that the United States is about to realize the FULLNESS of the Gospel parable of the servant who is pardoned many debts - but then goes and mercilessly beats another smaller borrower - who owes him. We abort our children - and export our pornography across the globe - and we think that God is going to allow us to beat up a smaller foe?? "The more a country has been given - the more will be expected of it."

VIA Gerald DeNoble: I have to tell you that, like you, I appear to be only a spectator at the great world events of my own life. I am really powerless to do anything about them. In the hours after the Columbia Shuttle disaster flight engineers at NASA were asked about their safe flight ruling after investigating the falling insulation incident on take-off. The engineers replied that they gave a safe-for-flight ruling for two reasons: because they saw no evidence of serious damage, and because there was zero they could do about it if there was serious damage. That is how I feel about this war. There is almost zero I can do about it. I have always supported a nation's right to defend itself when attacked from without, yet I can clearly see how this war could easily devolve into a nightmare for the whole world. (It is interesting that the works of Birch and Culleton find little mention of the US in Catholic private prophesy.) Being an insignificant person on the world stage, the main recourse that is available to me is prayer. I have joined in the Rosary Novena for peace in the world started last week, and will offer many Masses that our Lord will shorten these times in which we live.

(Mat 10:29-31)  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

17. Do not be self-confident until you hear the final sentence passed upon yourself, bearing in mind the guest who got as far as joining the marriage feast, and then was bound hand and foot and cast out into the outer darkness (Matt 22:13).

February 5, 2003

(Heb 13:8-9)  Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today: and the same for ever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines. For it is best that the heart be established with grace, not with meats: which have not profited those that walk in them.


Monday in the Holy See Press Office there was a conference to present the document "Jesus Christ, Bearer of Living Water. A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age'," prepared by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the council for culture and Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the council for interreligious dialogue, presided at the conference.

Cardinal Poupard, citing a recent editorial he wrote, said: "The phenomenon of the New Age, together with so many other new religious movements, is one of the most urgent challenges for the Christian faith. It is a question of a religious challenge and at the same time a cultural one: the New Age proposes theories and doctrines about God, man and the world, that are incompatible with the Christian faith. In addition, the New Age is both the symptom of a culture in deep crisis and the wrong answer to this situation of cultural crisis: to its restlessness and its questions, to its aspirations and hopes."

He stressed that the new document regards this phenomenon and offers Christian reflections on the "New Age," adding that "today, Western culture, often followed by many others, has gone from an almost instinctive sense of the presence of God to what is often called a more 'scientific' vision of reality." There are many reasons for this, he said, including the passage from traditional forms of religion to more personal and individual expressions of what is called "spirituality."

“To those who are seeking religious experiences in the world”, concludes the text, “the fascination of Christianity will first of all be experienced in the witness of the members of the Church, in their trust, peace, patience and affection, and in their practical love of neighbor, all results of a faith nourished by authentic personal prayer.”

SEE ALSO: According to Gris, In Italy there are one thousand religious sects


Fed up with hackers, a flood of spam and lousy connections, Italian Roman Catholics have launched a search for a patron saint of the Internet. And they hope their online poll will yield a holy Web protector by Easter.

Will it be Archangel Gabriel, whom the Bible credits with bringing Mary the news that she'd give birth to Jesus? Or Saint Isadore of Seville, who wrote the world's first encyclopedia? Or perhaps Saint Clare of Assisi, a nun believed to have seen visions on a wall?

So far, about 5,000 visitors are casting their votes daily on, something that delights Monsignor James P. Moroney, an expert on prayer and worship for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Everyone needs patrons in the Kingdom of Heaven, and perhaps the Internet as a very young child needs the interventions of a saint all the more," said Monsignor Moroney.

Once the votes are collected, the top six choices, along with all of the names of those nominated, will be delivered to the Vatican's Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the site's creator Francesco Diani said.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

14. A most learned elder spiritually admonished a proud brother, but he in his blindness said: 'Forgive me, father, I am not proud.'  The wise elder said to him: 'What clearer proof of this passion could you have given us, son, than to say, "I am not proud"?'.

February 4, 2003


Many Arabs see the shuttle disaster as retribution
Shuttle crash is God's punishment, says Muslim Cleric
Iraqi Legislator Predicts the U.S. Will Incur Many Casualties if Iraq Is Invaded
Cowboys in the Wild East- America is simply brewing a backlash in the Arab street
World Views: Bush and Hitler

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Richard: As faithful Catholics it is very important that we remain in "common cause" with the Pope and the Vatican. As we all know so well - the Catholic Church is in great need of unity - right now especially. So let us carefully read and understand what the Vatican is saying - about the prospect of a new war in the Middle East. The Vatican is very clear and very strong in its pronouncements - as are the US Bishops who are also very clear for the record on this urgent matter.

The following address then, delivered on Saturday Feb 1st, from Cardinal Stafford is excellent and summarizes the whole matter beautifully:

The Prospect of a New Middle East War By Cardinal J. Francis Stafford

VIA National Catholic Reporter:  Speaking of turning up the volume, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state and hence the number two man in the hierarchy after the pope himself, held a lunch for Italian journalists Jan. 29 in which he spoke against a war in Iraq in remarkably blunt terms.

“I said to an old American friend: didn’t the lesson of Vietnam teach you anything?” Sodano said, as quoted in Italian press reports.

“The Holy See is against the war, it’s a moral position,” Sodano said. “There’s not much to discuss, whether it’s a preventive war or non-preventive, because this is an ambiguous term. It’s certainly not a defensive war.” “The keys in this moment are in the hands of the United States and Great Britain, and we’re trying to provoke reflection not so much on whether it’s just or unjust, moral or immoral, but whether it’s worth it,” Sodano said. “From the outside we can appear idealists, and we are, but we are also realists,” Sodano said. “Is it really a good idea to irritate a billion Muslims?” “Not even in Afghanistan are things going well,” Sodano said. “For this reason we have to insist on asking the question if it’s a good idea to go to war.”

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran also reiterated the Vatican’s strong anti-war line. Tauran, the Vatican’s foreign minister, took questions from reporters in conjunction with a talk on Christianity and development sponsored by the Association of Volunteers for International Service on Jan. 30.

“People are talking about a preventive war, but the question we must put before ourselves is how to prevent the war,” Tauran said.

“We are not pacifists, we are realists,” Tauran said, but added that in this case a strike against Iraq does not appear to pass the “just war” test. He mentioned the traditional criteria of proportionality and protection of civilian populations as two obvious concerns.

I asked Tauran if he shared Sodano’s concern about the impact of a war in the Islamic world, and he replied by quoting, as he has before, an Arab foreign minister who warned that war would “open the gates of hell.” “Specifically, a war would exacerbate extremism and threaten to inflame the situation in the Middle East. These are two obvious concerns,” Tauran said.

I also asked Tauran if the Vatican’s position would change should the United Nations approve a strike in Iraq. He seemed to suggest it would not.

“A U.N. resolution would be a different track,” he said. “It would address the legality of the action. But humanitarian and moral concerns would remain.” In response to another journalist’s question, Tauran denied that the U.S. embassy to the Holy See is applying extraordinary pressure on the war. “We are having conversations, but they are calm and serene,” Tauran said. “I would say they are persevering in making their argument.” Finally, Tauran was asked if the pope might try some gesture of peace in the near future, such as sending emissaries to Baghdad and Washington. “We’re thinking about it,” Tauran said. “Something might happen in the coming days. But for now there is no concrete plan of action.”

SEE ALSO: Archbishop George Pell of Sydney: The gospel for a just war

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

12. An angel fell from Heaven without any other passion except pride, and so we may ask whether it is possible to ascend to Heaven by humility alone, without any other of the virtues.

February 1, 2003


(Heb 10:35-39)  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.


PRAYER FOR TODAY: The Children of Tears Daily Prayer

“Oh, Jesus and Mary, weeping tears of sorrow, we consecrate ourselves to your Sacred and Immaculate Hearts and we offer you every moment of our lives as one continual prayer to atone for all the sins that cause your tears. We ask that our prayers be united within the Heart of Mary and presented at the Holy Throne of God.

Through the Heart of Mary, Lord, grant us the grace to…
…Live like a child.
…Pray like a child.
…Trust like a child.
…Pray at all times, in all places, despite distraction or conflict.
…Carry out our mission in our lives, families, parishes, serving and sanctifying the entire church.
…Recognize your presence in every simple moment of every day.
…Accept our crosses, not grumble or complain, but learn to be thankful and grow, from each cross.
…Gain a deeper longing and love for the Holy Eucharist.
…Stand for truth without compromise.
…Find joy and goodness in all things.
…Attain purity of thought, word and deed as we grow in an interior life and perfection.
…Regain our dignity by restoring faith, strength and proper order within us.
…Truly forgiving others, as well as ourselves.
…Heal from every wound and learn to love more.
…Be humble, not arrogant.
…See the good, not criticize.
…Be merciful, not condemn or judge.
…Love, not reject.
…Love, not exclude.
…Love, not abandon.

Holy Jesus, grant us death to ourselves that you may increase and we may decrease. Free us from the blindness of sin so we will repent of our sins, not justify them. Protect us from every deceit of the enemy, so we may overcome every temptation, and become more united to your will and live as you have destined for us. Amen.”

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

11. He who refuses reproof shows his passion [pride], but he who accepts it is free of this fetter.

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