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A Chronicle Depicting the Lateness of the Hour

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January 31, 2003


Cardinal Jozef Glemp, head of the Polish church, recently called for a special clause in the EU membership treaty recognising the "separateness" of Poland's position on abortion and also proposed that an eventual EU constitution should single out Poland's national sovereignty on the abortion issue. His demands have been taken up by Poland's bishops.

But the leftwing government of the prime minister, Leszek Miller, failed to raise the abortion issue when negotiating the terms of Poland's membership, concluded last month, not least because the government favours legalising abortion or liberalising the conditions under which abortion is allowed.

Michal Tober, a government spokesman, told journalists in Warsaw on Tuesday that the note to Brussels would "prevent EU opponents from using false arguments that the EU would impose on Poland any regulations concerning moral and religious issues".

While there is no direct challenge from Brussels to Poland's abortion laws, conservative Poles see a threat in last year's European parliament resolution calling on all member states and the east Europeans entering next year to legalise abortion. Pro-life campaigners in Poland and Ireland are also outraged at proposals going through the European parliament to provide aid, via the United Nations population fund, to help pay for abortions in developing countries.

Poland has the most restrictive abortion laws in eastern Europe, partly as a reaction to Soviet communism. During the cold war, abortion was available on demand throughout the Soviet bloc where it was in effect practised as a means of birth control.

Uniquely in the EU, Ireland enjoys a special provision declaring that no EU laws or rules can affect its constitutional ban on abortion. Malta, joining the EU at the same time as the Poles, negotiated a dispensation with Brussels safeguarding its abortion ban.

FROM THE USA: Ads to blast officials, like California Gov. Davis, who back abortion rights
RELATED: Annual Pro-life Mass Homily by Bishop William K. Weigand
EDITORIAL: Will the Real Catholic please stand up?

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

10. Chastisement for the proud is a fall, a thorn (2Cor. 12:7) is a devil; and abandonment by God is madness. In the first two cases, people have often been healed by men; but the last is humanly incurable.

January 30, 2003

Archbishop Martino: Indifference toward the transcendent dimension of human beings can only lead to tragic effects, as the history of the European continent has painfully demonstrated.


Pope John Paul II is lobbying European governments to officially recognize the European Union's Christian roots, but diplomatic sources say secular opposition is likely to block his efforts.

Vatican diplomats, and the pope himself in meetings with European officials, say they want to see a strong reference to Christianity worked into the preamble to the EU constitution, now being drafted by the Convention on the Future of Europe chaired by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

Working through the Catholic delegates among the more than 100 European parliamentarians attending the convention, the Vatican hopes to have a statement written into the text identifying the European Union with the Christian faith, according to a senior European official in Washington.

The Vatican's argument is that Christianity's fundamental role in shaping European culture should be acknowledged in what is destined to become the European Union's key document. "It's something that is apparently close to Pope John Paul's heart," the official said. "But it won't survive the process."

RELATED EDITORIAL: The EU is utterly godless. Let's keep it that way


My God is my every thing
By Dennis DeLaurier
For the Wharton MMP Prayer Cenacle January 20, 2003

My God is my refuge in all things. Without Him is only darkness. My days are not complete when I do not dwell with Him.

My God is my support and strength. I am weak, but with him I am mightier than a raging river or simple and sweet like a drop of water. All things are possible with the Lord.

My God is my day. Like a wondrous sunrise or a clear crisp spring day. He has laid out this most wonderful time to dwell in His glory. He is my sunset and an evening breeze that is reflected in my eye and gently flows across my forehead.

My God is my rest. How easy it is to rest in the Lord, fearing not the night. For you rest with the Creator who has blessed you. Happy are those who rest in the Lord for they will awaken to a new day of love.

My God is my provider. I have wanted for nothing. He has pursued me with His love always available to my needs. Ask for what you need, not what you want and the Lord will provide.

My God is my essence. I am nothing without the Lord as I am because he wills it. With love He created me and set me on His way. The Lord is my reference and compass, He is the fuel of my very being.

My God is my Savior. Even though I am a sinner He is always available through reconciliation. My God will look the other way and remember not my sins if I only ask with the simplicity of a child. Our Lord loves us and receives with great joy His wayward children who have returned to Him.

My God is my everything. A leaf cannot drop from a tree or a drop of rain from the sky without Him. My God is the fire of my emotions. He is the flame of love in my heart. He is the reason for my thoughts. He is the dwelling place of my very existence, for I am who and what I am because He wills it. With Him there is all that is and nothing else because what is, is His very thought and desire.

My God is a loving and Infinite God. With Him all things are possible because he only has to will it to be so. My God is an infinitely loving God. He created me out of that love.

My God is my Father. Glory be His name forever.

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

9. God resisteth the proud (James 4:6). Who then can have mercy on them? Every proud-hearted man is unclean before God (Prov. 16:5). Who then can cleanse such a person?

January 29, 2003


Pope John Paul II made a new plea Tuesday that the Middle East be spared war, asking that representatives of Orthodox churches from the region join him in prayers for peace.

"Let us pray together that this region will be preserved from the threat of war and further violence," John Paul said. He said their efforts should be directed at building a "civilization of love" based on justice, reconciliation and peace.

John Paul has spoken out frequently in recent weeks against the possibility of a war in Iraq, calling such a conflict a "defeat for humanity." His latest comments came during a meeting with representatives of Oriental Orthodox Churches in Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Syria, Armenia and India.

RELATED: Religious leaders try to raise voice for peace
SEE ALSO: Iraq war seen within weeks


VIA READER: I am extremely disappointed that you would forward such a message as part of your site. I certainly do not agree at all with the sentiments expressed by L. A. Kovach, and will so inform the President. I do not know what the agenda is behind such simplistic thoughts, nor will I be used in such a manner. I implore you not to forward such an obviously political request again. I pray for our nation which is in such grave danger from within and without.

EDITOR'S REPLY: WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?)

Jesus is Justice Personified. Is it "just" for America to unilaterally enter into a war with Iraq? Both Catholic and non-Catholic theologians have reached the conclusion that in the present circumstance a preemptive attack on Iraq would not fulfill the requirements for a "just war".

A recent headline article anticipates that 800 cruise missiles will hit Iraq in the first 48 hours of the conflict. Regardless of the precision of these devices one can expect widespread devastation. Innocent people will be killed, maimed and become homeless.

And then, Iraq will retaliate.

Has everything been done that could be done to prevent such tragedy?


VIA Jeannie Weber: A ministry called Children of the Tears are doing a 54 day rosary novena to prevent the war. We are starting this on Wednesday, Jan 29; it will end just prior to the Feast of the Annunciation. We invite all to unite with us in this effort and join us in praying the 54 day rosary novena. It is very powerful. We are also uniting our masses, and fasting on Wednesday and Friday for this intention. Our prayers are very powerful when we unite them. Just wanted to share this with your readers.

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

8. An arrogant man yearns after authority; for otherwise, as it were, he cannot, or rather, does not wish to perish utterly.

January 28, 2003


Thousands of Arabs burned American flags and effigies of President Bush in protests across the Middle East on Monday to denounce U.S. threats to wage war on Iraq. Yemeni security officials said tens of thousands converged on the capital, San`a, while smaller protests were staged in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Sudan and Bahrain.

Anti-U.S. sentiment has been rife throughout the Arab world for more than two years because of Washington's perceived support for Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. Tensions have increased as America threatens Iraq with force if Saddam Hussein does not give up his weapons of mass destruction. Iraq says it has no such arms.

Yemen's parliament speaker and head of the Islamic Reform Party, Abdallah al-Ahmed, denounced U.S.-British policies toward Iraq, describing their possible attack as "immoral." "The Zionist American and British war is because of oil, it is oil that makes those vampires salivate," al-Ahmed said.

After nearly 45 minutes of fiery speeches, Yemeni protesters headed to the U.N. office in San`a, where they delivered a petition demanding an end to "American and British aggression on Iraq."

"Death to America! Death to Israel," the protesters chanted.


U.S.: Not Much Time for Iraq to Avert War
800 missiles to hit Iraq in first 48 hours
Europe and Iraq: Who stands where?

OF INTEREST: Army chaplains aid diverse U.S. troops



A torch has been lit. It must be passed on. This torch must be passed on with haste - for the hour is late. We must do something about this war which will soon place our young men's lives in grave danger. Many could die. Your sons. My sons. Our sons. America's son's. This war may also put our civilian populations in serious peril.

We must unite now in prayer! Many of our son's could fall. Even the smallest person can change the course of the future! We ourselves must now go in before them, like the priests of ancient Israel. If we will not before them in prayer, or stand with them in prayer as the battle begins, we can not expect God to help us, had we stood in prayer - holding fast to our faith in spite of our sins, and the sins of our nation.

(Joe 2:12-13)  "Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.

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

7. The cypress does not bend to walk on earth; nor does a lofty-hearted monk bend to acquire obedience.

January 27, 2003



I'd like to propose that you send the message below to friends on your e-mail list, as well as to your Congressman, Senator and the White House. For those who may be overseas, please address your e-mail to the White House and your own government. Peace is still very much possible, through a combination of prayer and intelligent protest.

An e-mail campaign started today, now - can make a difference for peace this week! Please don't hesitate. Let's not curse the darkness - rather let us 'light a candle' and spend a few minutes sending out this message. Thanks, and may the Lord bless and guide us and our elected officials. Some e-mail and web addresses are listed below for your convenience.

President George W. Bush: [email protected]
Vice President Richard Cheney: [email protected]

The following page will tell you your Representative in Congress by zip code:

These pages provide more e-mail addresses to Senators and or Representatives:

Please take a few minutes and do this now. Peace - isn't it worth it? May the Lord of peace - who asked us to love our enemies - inspire, bless and guide you.

- - - start of suggested message - - -

There are three compelling reasons at this time to oppose the impending US attack on Iraq: Moral, Economic and Political.


* Unlike the Cuban Missile Crisis - our government has provided the public and the world with no clear cut evidence that Iraq has the types of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons some in the American or English governments assert. During the Cuban Crisis, the Kennedy Administration produced aerial photographs for all the world to see the nuclear tipped missiles and their bases. Then, the US government's stance was a blockade, and negotiations. That resulted in a defusing of the crisis and a peaceful resolution to the problem.
* The notion of a preventative strike by America could also be used by other governments to threaten their weaker neighbors. It is a dangerous precedent that could lead the world to more wars and violence.
* The potential gain from invading Iraq is outweighed by the cost to life, limb and property - of both allied troops and Iraqi citizens and soldiers. The economic and political points below also have moral components, and many others could easily be cited.


* Compared to previous recessions, this current recession is shorter, and already has more positive economic signs in durable goods orders and other indicators that we are moving toward recovery. Yet fears of war are among the factors that have kept stock prices depressed, and has dampened consumer confidence and spending as well. While the situation in Venezuela has impacted on oil prices, a significant factor in the recent rise if crude oil has been due to the steady drum beats for war. All products cost more, when oil and transportation costs go up.
* The cost of war is enormous - in the hundreds of billions of dollars. While some mistakenly think that 'war is good for the economy' - that is clearly absurd. If shooting off bombs and bullets helped an economy, we should blow things up all the time, shooting at practice targets! Breaking and then rebuilding is a waste of resources that could go towards needed or useful projects at home and abroad.


* Attacking Iraq under the present circumstances will no doubt outrage many Arab and Moslem nations. The result will be more efforts at more terrorist style attacks on Americans at home and abroad.
* Even many of our NATO and other allies oppose the proposed use of force against Iraq.
* The Bush Administration has seen its poll ratings steadily drop as we march closer to war. Many positive domestic projects and legislation could and should be advanced, but are at risk due to the rising disquiet about economic and war related issues.

The government has the ability to 'spin' a pull back from the brink of war and to negotiate with Iraq's leaders instead of continue this mad push for conflict at this time and under these conditions. I ask you as my elected official to stop this push for war with Iraq. Thank you, and may God bless and guide us all.

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

6. A haughty monk contradicts violently, but a humble one cannot even look another in the face.

January 25, 2003



Undertake the ambitious task of shooting a film that concentrates on the last few hours in the life of a history-altering religious figure, as accurately as possible, and you might anticipate kudos from Hollywood's elite. Do so entirely in the dominant languages of the period without subtitles and you might expect to hear critics using the term "groundbreaking" and "genius" in the same breath.

Attempt the aforementioned effort and overflowing adulation is yours, unless your subject is Jesus Christ. Just ask Mel Gibson.

The popular film star, best known for his dual role as actor/director in the movie "Braveheart" (for which he won an Oscar and Golden Globe for best director), is seeking to portray the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ as accurately as possible. Gibson's script is based entirely on gospel accounts of Christ's ordeal that culminate in his crucifixion. In an effort to be historically accurate, he had all the dialogue translated into Aramaic and/or Latin. At this point he has no plan for subtitles. In an interview with ABC News, Gibson said, "For me, that's more real, and hopefully I'll be able to transcend language barriers with filmic storytelling." The chosen title for the forthcoming film is "The Passion."

If nothing else, Gibson's new film is an innovative attempt to tell an epic story in a fresh way. The attempt at accuracy alone is novel considering the way Christ has been depicted by Hollywood in recent years. If Gibson's subject were any figure other than Jesus Christ, he would probably be the talk of the filmmaking world. However, since he has chosen a subject that has become increasing controversial in our politically correct world -- and is seeking to portray Christ in a positive light -- his effort has garnered mostly silence and some interesting scrutiny.

Appearing on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," Gibson revealed that a reporter from a "reputable" but unnamed publication had been dispatched to "dig up dirt" on him. Asked if he believed there is a link between the investigation and his new film, he replied, "I think there is.... Whenever you take up a subject like this [Jesus Christ], it does bring out a lot of enemies." Gibson added that his private life, his banking records, charities he supports, friends, business associates and family members -- including his 85-year-old father -- have all been scrutinized in this investigation.

Depict Christ as self-doubting, fallible and fallen as did Martin Scorsese in his 1988 film "The Last Temptation of Christ," and you are the toast of Tinsel Town.

Portray Jesus as homosexual as does Terrance McNally in his play "Corpus Christi," or in a jar of urine as did Andres Serrano in his 1989 work titled "Pi-- Christ," and critics will laud your bold imagination.

Give three college students a story about a fake witch, a hand-held camera, and let them run around in the woods cursing and shooting herky-jerky film footage -- ala "The Blair Witch Project" -- and you have introduced an innovation that will change the medium.

Depict Christ's last 12 hours that culminate in his crucifixion and do so in ancient languages for the sake of authenticity and, at best, you will be ignored by media movers and shakers and at worst someone will try to discredit you.

It is interesting that someone would try to find something in Gibson's past in an effort to somehow depict his effort in portraying Christ's last hours as hypocritical. And if someone managed to dredge up some decades-old dirt, would it detract from the movie? The film is about Jesus Christ not Mel Gibson. "This is a movie about love, faith and forgiveness. He [Jesus] died for all mankind. He suffered for all of us. It's time to get back to that basic message," Gibson said of the film.

To date, there is no distributor for "The Passion." A deranged, deluded or homosexual Christ has no problem being accepted, even embraced, by the media elite. However, a Jesus Christ beaten and bloody hanging on the cross with no editorial comment or social commentary -- even if his words can't be understood -- is very challenging. Challenging enough for some to try to thwart its being placed in theaters, even if it means a personal attack on the director. Another reason to rethink, "Hooray for Hollywood!"

RELATED: The Passion of Mel Gibson

DON'T MISS: Christ complex- Interview with Jim Caviezel, actor who plays Jesus in "The Passion"

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich

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

5. A venerable man said to me: 'Suppose that there are twelve shameful passions.  If we deliberately love one of them (I mean, pride), it will fill the place of the remaining eleven'.

January 24, 2003


Radical Islam Rising
Muslim Cleric on Trial for Incitement to Kill
Malaysia warns of Iraq backlash
Iran and Threats to U.S. Forces in Middle East
Arabic newspaper quotes bin Laden

COMMENTARY: Muslim Disinformation Campaign

FROM THE MAIBAG VIA Barbara: Meanwhile, a veteran missionary from Nigeria has said that she is deeply burdened at the naivety of Americans about Islam. During her time in Nigeria, in her town alone, 200 churches were burned to the ground by Muslims and hundreds of Christians killed just because they were Christians. She stated that the western mindset has not come to terms with Islamic fervor and fears we are in for a horrific and rude awakening.

MORE: Nigeria's Christians Face Increasing Muslim Persecution


A possible new flashpoint in Christian/Muslim relations looms in April, when John Paul will beatify Marco d’Aviano, a 17th century Capuchin priest who rallied Christian resistance to the Ottoman Turks’ siege of Vienna in 1683.

A fiery preacher, Marco d’Aviano tapped the Polish king Jan Sobiesky as leader of the “Holy League” forces, composed of the armies of Austria, Poland, Venice, and the Papal States. Marco d’Aviano is buried in a Capuchin crypt in Vienna, and is remembered as the patron saint of a Christian Europe that defeated Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa’s dream of an Islamic empire on the continent. (His biography records that he celebrated Mass for the troops just before battle, leading them in repeated cries of “Jesus! Mary!” During the fighting, he brandished a crucifix at the Turks, shouting, “Behold the Cross of the Lord: Flee, enemy bands!”)

To his defenders, Marco d’Aviano was a holy man of peace reluctantly drawn into war, as well as a wonder-worker and mystic. Detractors, however, ask why the pope has chosen this moment to raise up a symbol of Christian-Muslim conflict rather than of dialogue. Some Muslims may see it as an implicit call to a new anti-Islamic crusade. Perhaps the beatification is a classic case of John Paul’s instance that dialogue cannot come at the price of compromising one’s identity. (It cannot hurt that one of the primary witnesses to the Capuchin’s holiness is a Polish king).

Information on Marco d’Aviano may be found at


The lesson of Earth's inevitable end: Enjoy life
Science, Soul, Heaven and Supreme Mind


Natural Catastrophes in 2002- a Year of Extremes
Cold breaks all past records
Killer cold claims nearly 2000
Death total hits 44 in Brazil rains
Australia Battles Killer Blaze in Capital
Strong Quake Shakes Mexico City
Flu Epidemic Kills 2,000 in Congo
Flash Flood Storms in Bolivia Kill Two, Cuts Power to Large Section of Capital

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

4. Where a fall has overtaken us, there pride has already pitched its tent; because a fall is an indication of pride.

January 23, 2003

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "The reconstruction of the unity of all the baptized is, in effect, a gift from God, and our effort alone is not sufficient to bring it about," he added. "But when Christians come together, see themselves as brothers, collaborate to alleviate sufferings, and pray for unity, they contribute to make the face of Christ and his glory shine."


In the face of ecumenical trials and tensions, Christian churches need to work harder for "mutual forgiveness" and full unity, Pope John Paul II said at the start of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The pope also encouraged Vatican officials to augment practical cooperative ventures with Orthodox churches, including a highly successful program of scholarships for Orthodox students in pontifical universities. The Vatican was hosting a number of encounters during the Jan. 18-25 week of prayer, and the pope was set to close the week by leading an ecumenical prayer service at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Speaking at a noon blessing Jan. 19, the pope said Christian unity week offered a moment of hope at a time of ecumenical problems. He cited St. Paul's letter on the fragility of the human condition and the strength of grace, saying those in the ecumenical movement are "afflicted ... but not destroyed."

Religious rift persists as Europe moves toward unity
Towards fuller Christian unity


VIA Marytalk: Vatican drafts guidelines to combat new boom in fraudulent revelations

The Vatican is planning to warn Catholics of the dangers of believing in bogus caims of heavenly apparitions in the wake of an explosion of so-called private revelations around the world.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is to publish up-to-date criteria to help Catholics to distinguish between true and false claims of visions, messages, stigmata, weeping statues and Eucharistic miracles. It said the boom in such phenomena posed a risk to the unity of the Church and warranted an "exemplary pastoral response" from the Holy See.

The document, due early this year, was announced in the latest edition of Attivita della Santa Sede, a Vatican year book. The CDF hopes new guidance will clarify the meaning of "apparitions, messages, and extraordinary events in general, in keeping with the teaching of the faith and ... the practical criteria which could bring about a resolution".

It said that between 1905 and 1995 there were 295 reported "apparitions", only 11 of which were recognised as genuine. It said that in many cases false seers had been unmasked, pecuniary transactions discovered, and "signs from heaven" exposed as human trickery. "Sometimes there is a long and worrying tension between the faithful who believe in the 'apparitions' and the local bishop who is unwilling to give official recognition to them," said the CDF.

"This enduring tension is a danger to the unity of the local Church."

Among those considered to have experienced genuine private revelations in recent years are St.Faustine Kowalska, the first saint of the new millennium and a Polish nun who received the devotion of Divine Mercy from Our Lord in the 1930s. The visions of the three children at Fatima have also been affirmed.

Pope Pius XII was said to have been visited by Jesus and Mary during the Second World War, and the private letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta have shown that she began her ministry to India's poor after she received interior messages from Our Lord in 1947.

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

3. Let all of us who wish to avoid this pit listen: this passion often finds food in gratitude, for at first it does not shamelessly advise us to deny God.  I have seen people who thank God with their mouth, but mentally magnify themselves.  And this is confirmed by that Pharisee who said ironically: O God, I thank Thee.

January 22, 2003

FR. FRANK PAVONE: "Roe vs. Wade is not just a bad decision; it is a poison which seeps into the soil of our culture and gives rise to many dangerous 'weeds' such as infanticide, destruction of embryos in the name of research, the threat of cloning, etc.".


The right to an abortion became law 30 years ago today, but few pro-choice activists are in the mood to celebrate the anniversary. That's because they think a legalized right to abortion is in more danger now than it has been in any of those three decades.

A solidly Republican majority in Congress stands ready to pass at least four bills that would peck away at the rights set forth in Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case legalizing abortion. And a Republican president is ready not only to sign those bills, but also to appoint pro-life judges to top spots throughout the federal court system.

No one expects Roe v. Wade to be overturned anytime soon. But both sides in the contentious and lengthy abortion debate say the future of abortion rights looks radically different today than it did just three months ago, when a Democratic Senate stood in the way of those anti-abortion bills and those anti-abortion judges.

"There is probably more concern than we've ever had at any other time," said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, co-chairwoman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.

For those who feel that abortion is murder, these are hopeful times. "The number of abortions has been declining gradually, and the political tide is turning toward life," said Sandra Rios, president of Concerned Women for America.

RELATED: Poll: Majority Supports Abortion Rights
SEE ALSO: Catholic archbishop leads hundreds in march and protest outside clinic
COMMENTARY: Against Abortion, But Pro-Choice? by Fr. William P. Saunders


I thought about the Anglican Bishop's remarks about the U.S.A and what I think we should be apologizing for not our Military Policy....but our Social Engineering Policy.... We in the U.S. have allowed our tax monies to be used to spread death and destruction to the rest of the world...particularly in Third World Countries...via our POPULATION CONTROL PROGRAMS...

USAID... has blanketed the earth with DEATH... War is a PUNISHMENT for SIN.... instead of protesting the War...we should be protesting the WAR ON THE UNBORN..THE WAR ON THE HANDICAPPED...THE WAR ON THE ELDERLY...THE WAR ON FERTILITY ...THE WAR ON THE FAMILY.... THE WAR ON WOMEN.. THE WAR ON CHILDREN... If we want PEACE...we must work for JUSTICE..

I would like this message to go out to all your readers...if you approve of it.... It is the Message of Fatima... it is the Peace Plan of Heaven... The TRUTH will set us FREE. Catholics must live their FAITH in TOTAL... and respond to Our Lady of Fatima's pray the ROSARY DAILY... while meditating on the MYSTERIES... We can do this while we walk... (what better way to exercise and keep need for yoga) We should receive HOLY COMMUNION and go to CONFESSION regularly... We should live CHASTE LIVES...whether married or single.... We should be OPEN TO CHILDREN if we are married.... except where there is a SERIOUS REASON.. ..and.then use NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING... We should dress MODESTLY...Our Lady of Fatima told us that there would be many fashions introduced that would MUCH OFFEND OUR LORD... Look in the mirror...before leaving the house...Look in our wardrobes... and ask "would I wear this if I were to die today ...and meet Jesus"? We are protesting the result of our SINS... instead of the evil that is sin. ..The punishment of sin is DEATH.. Sin will result in War... Why should we be FREE to destroy 1.5 million unborn surgical abortion every year our own back yard... That is not counting the three to six children that are aborted each year ..per woman on the Birth Control Pill...or I.U.D...or Depo Shot...or NORPLANT... or the miscarriages that result because of CONDOMS, FOAMS, JELLIES, DIAPHRAGMS etc. and that is just in America...!!!

None of us is sinless...we all share the blame in some way....The Blood of the Innocents are on our hands.. but we can all make an effort to eliminate sin from our lives. Then when we pray for Peace... and March for Peace... we can expect PEACE.

SEE ALSO: Pope Lists 3 Requirements to Overcome Climate of Fear-
"Yes to Life," Respect for Law, and Solidarity

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

2. The consummation of vainglory is the beginning of pride; the middle is the humiliation of our neighbour, the shameless parade of our labours, self-praise in the heart, hatred of exposure; and the end is denial of God's help, the extolling of one's own exertions, fiendish character.

January 21, 2003


Tens of thousands of people converged on the nation's capital to protest American preparations to invade Iraq, in what organizers said was the largest rally in a coordinated display of antiwar sentiment across the globe. Organizers said the dozens of protests across the United States and in cities from Tokyo to Paris Saturday heralded the coming of age for a peace movement that has been gathering momentum since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Police in Washington do not estimate attendance at rallies, but organizers said that at least 200,000 people had taken part - even more than at an October peace rally in the capital. Washington police said 30,000 followed the march route from the National Mall.

Protesters also gathered in smaller cities such as Lansing, Mich., as well as staging larger rallies in cities such as San Francisco, where tens of thousands packed downtown streets, holding signs that read "Peace for All Nations" and "Patriots for Peace." Abroad, antiwar marchers took to the streets in Hong Kong, Lahore, Moscow and Christchurch, New Zealand. Students wearing face masks lampooning President Bush or carrying toy guns with flowers rallied in Tokyo.

The preemptive peace movement has had little effect on US policy so far, with Congress voting overwhelmingly last fall to grant the president authority to take military action. But city councils have passed antiwar resolutions, including one in Chicago that drew widespread attention last week, and recent polls show a growing number of Americans believe President Bush hasn't made an effective case for war yet.

MORE: Showdown Iraq-... Latest News
SEE ALSO: American indifference is an open wound in the Arab world


As American forces leave for military assignments in the Persian Gulf, religious leaders continue to make strong statements opposing war.

One of latest, and perhaps most harsh, critiques came from the top bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA. ''I'd like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States,'' Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold III said Friday in an interview with Religion News Service.

The United States is rightly ''hated and loathed'' around the world for its ''reprehensible'' rhetoric and blind eye toward poverty and suffering, he said in the interview in which he criticized the Bush administration's position on Iraq.

''Quite apart from the bombs we drop, words are weapons and we have used our language so unwisely, so intemperately, so thoughtlessly that I'm not surprised we are hated and loathed everywhere I go,'' he said.

Recently, Pope John Paul II called war ''a defeat for humanity'' and implored Washington to look for peaceful options to settle its differences with the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.


Give Peace a Chance, World Religions Say
Christians say Saddam's Iraq a safe haven
Irish Primate concerned about possibility of war
Germany’s Catholic bishops condemn Iraq war

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

1. Pride is denial of God, an invention of the devil, the despising of men, the mother of condemnation, the offspring of praise, a sign of sterility, flight from Divine assistance, the precursor of madness, the cause of falls, a foothold for satanic possession, a source of anger, a door of hypocricy, the support of demons, the guardian of sins, the patron of pitilessness, the rejection of compassion, a bitter inquisitor, an inhuman judge, an opponent of God, a root of blasphemy.

January 18, 2003



Dave Armstrong
Full-time Catholic author, evangelist, and apologist

Website: Biblical Evidence for Catholicism

Catholic Apologetics: Books by Dave Armstrong
(Information / Purchase / Tables of Contents / Excerpts)


The Rapture: Catholics Need Not Apply
by Paul Thigpen

Conclusion: What does the Church teach about the end of the world? An overview, along with the scriptural passages that confirm it, can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see especially Nos. 668-682; 972; 988-1004; 1015-1017; 1186; 2771-2772; 2776). This teaching can be summed up briefly in a few declarations that form an indispensable part of God’s revelation:

•Jesus will return to the Earth in a glorious triumph that is universally visible and undeniable — not invisible and secret.
• First, however, the Antichrist will appear to persecute the Church.
• The Church will suffer the great tribulation prophesied by her Lord.
• The final victory of Christ on Earth will not come through a gradual improvement in the world’s spiritual condition, nor by a special period of his earthly reign before judgment day. It will take place not within history, but beyond it, after Christ has brought an end to history in a glorious Second Coming.
• The dead will be raised.
• Christ will judge the living and the dead, and the Devil will at last be utterly overthrown.
• At the end of time, God’s kingdom will come in fullness, and all things will be renewed. The entire universe will be perfected. The saints will reign with Christ, glorified in body and soul, and will enjoy perfect fellowship face to face with God for eternity.
• The hope of God’s coming kingdom should not tempt us to withdraw from earthly affairs.
• In the meantime, Christ’s presence with us through the Word, the Sacraments, and the Spirit draw us closer to the fulfillment of redemptive promise.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

24. Vainglory is often the cause of dishonour instead of honour, because it brings great shame to its enraged disciples.

January 17, 2003

(Eph 4:11-13)  And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;


Blessed by bishops and a pope, credited with powerful miracles and adored by millions of believers worldwide, the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is securely buckled into the front seat of Carl Malburg's tan Mercury minivan parked outside a Bonita Springs diner.

Malburg is part of a long lineage of custodians who have accompanied the statue, which is a representation of Mary as she appeared in a series of visions to three Portuguese children in 1917, to be viewed by Catholics all over the world. It was carved in 1947 based on a description from one of the children and has been on tour ever since. For the past 10 years, Malburg has spent three weeks of every month, 11 months a year with the statue, leading a life that's half gospel preacher and half museum caretaker.

The statue has been said to cry human tears but the faithful report it is much more likely to smile. Some believers have seen its shroud change colors; others have caught mysteriously fragrant scents blossoming into the air around it. Pope John Paul II has credited Our Lady of Fatima with protecting him from an assassin's bullets 20 years ago.

Yet Malburg will be the first to point out that the statue itself is not holy — it only represents the Virgin Mary's presence in the world. The miracles are done by God or Mary, not the statue, he says.


Thousands flock to church after Virgin Mary painting starts to cry
Perth Archbishop announces inquiry into weeping Madonna statue
Sightings of images of the Virgin Mary in Canada


The Vatican issued a new set of guidelines for Catholic politicians Thursday, reminding them to heed the church's "nonnegotiable" teachings on abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and other issues when making public policy.

The Vatican said it was publishing the document now because of medical and scientific advances and because of the "emergence of ambiguities or questionable positions in recent times."

The guidelines, prepared by the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, don't offer any change to the church's long-held opposition to abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and its promotion of the rights of the unborn.

Rather, they serve as a reminder of church teachings for Catholic politicians, so that when they vote for legislation or otherwise influence public policy, they do so in line with certain "nonnegotiable ethical principles."

In particular, the document said laws concerning abortion and euthanasia "must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death. In the same way, it is necessary to recall the duty to respect and protect the rights of the human embryo."

While not offering concrete examples of legislation for Catholic politicians to promote, the document does propose a model for them to emulate: St. Thomas More, the 16th century lawyer and diplomat who refused to renounce the pope and recognize the king as head of the English church.

King Henry VIII had More beheaded for his positions. Two years ago, Pope John Paul II made More the patron saint for politicians. "He taught by his life and his death that 'man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality,'" the document said.

RELATED: Archbishop urged to cancel service for pro-abortion politician

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

23. Vainglory makes those who are preferred, proud, and those who are slighted, resentful.

January 16, 2003


The Catholic Conference of Kentucky announced today its opposition to proposed legislation before the 2003 Kentucky General Assembly. Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington has introduced a legislative proposal, House Bill 58, which would remove the clergy-penitent protections in reporting instances of child abuse or neglect. CCK views the proposed legislation as an assault on the First Amendment’s guarantees to practice one's religion free of government interference.

According to Vincent E. Senior, CCK’s Executive Director, "The confidentiality of the confessional is at the very heart of the Catholic faith and must not be infringed upon by state government. If this legislation passes, it would seriously damage the historical inviolability of the seal of confession." In fact, a priest may not violate the seal of confession even to save his own life. Any priest who violates the seal of confession faces automatic excommunication from the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1467) cites the Code of Canon Law (No. 1388.1) in addressing this issue, which states, "A confessor who directly violates the seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he does so only indirectly, he is to be punished in accord with the seriousness of the offense."

The right of each American to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all, is a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. CCK is calling on Kentucky’s General Assembly to recognize the Constitutional issues that HB 58 presents. According to Senior, "Americans enjoy a degree of religious freedom unlike any in the world and I doubt if this legislation would pass a Constitutional test."

RELATED: Bill Would Repeal Clergy-Penitent Privilege in Child Abuse Cases

SEE ALSO: Catholic bishops challenge state's contraceptive law


Notorious abortionist George Tiller plans on giving free abortions in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that decriminalized abortion on demand. But the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue West says, no abortion is free.

Operation Rescue West's Troy Newman said, "Abortion costs at least one human life and countless sorrow. A free abortion masquerades the deadly price tag of a lifeless baby. Abortion kills us physically and ultimately costs us our spiritual life. Plus the physical side-effects like pain, emotional suffering, punctured uterus and sterility add up to bill nobody can afford."

Newman countered Tiller's free abortion claims as a publicity stunt intended to mainstream abortion on demand. But according to Newman, this ploy has been tried and failed in years past. In fact, abortionist Tiller unsuccessfully offered to give out free abortions last year at this time but over 85 percent of his appointments were canceled.

AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE: Ten things any Catholic can do to defend the faith

BREAKING: President Bush Proclaims January 19, 2003 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

20. Whenever he sees that any have acquired in some slight measure a state of peace, he immediately urges them to leave the desert for the world, saying: 'Set out in order to save the souls which are perishing.'

January 15, 2003


A record number of America's Roman Catholic bishops will be eligible for retirement in 2003, starting a gradual shift in leadership as the U.S. church seeks to recover from the clerical molestation crisis.

By December, 32 of the 283 bishops active in the United States will be 75 — the church's retirement age — or older. It is the largest number of U.S. bishops eligible to resign in one year since Pope Paul VI set a retirement age in 1966, according to Catholic News Service.

The potential retirees include 16 bishops who lead their own dioceses. There is also one cardinal — Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia — who will turn 80 in June. The remainder are either auxiliary bishops or prelates for Eastern-rite churches and the military.

Under church law, a bishop submits his resignation to the Vatican at age 75 but cannot step down until the pope gives his approval. Pope John Paul II has increasingly allowed elderly prelates to keep working. Of 17 bishops who turned 75 last year, only a handful retired.

RELATED: The unchanging parts of the Mass are the only foundations not shaken in church


Trail of Pain in Church Crisis Leads to Nearly Every Diocese
Rural churches face clergy shortages, aging members
Cathloic clerics echo call to faith
Faith continues to call seminary students


VIA Richard Obl.SB: Reading the link - the end time - and the section on the declining number of men going into the priesthood, part of the problem also is that they have put a "age limit" on those they will accept as seminarians and those who want to go into religious life as Brothers. I know, I have been looking and just about everyone has sent replies back saying- "you are to old"- .  I sure am glad that Jesus did not ask his first disciples how old they were, than tell them that they were too old.

I feel that if the church really wants to build up the numbers for those seeking priesthood or religious life, they would benefit greatly from the life experiences and education people like me bring with them - BA in theology - have experienced death of loved ones, was separated from the church for a period and came back, marriage, divorce, annulment. How many young men going into the seminary have these types of backgrounds which will help them more relate to the problems of the community and world today?

VIA Michael Lambert: Please pray for vocational guidance, peace of heart, wisdom, and courage for a Carmelite novice who was asked to leave her convent just weeks before taking her final vows. She still wants to pursue a religious life, but cannot return to her original convent.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

19. Do not take any notice of him when he suggests that you should accept a bishopric, abbacy or professorship; for it is difficult to drive away a dog from a butcher's counter.

January 14, 2003

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz (a Chaldean Catholic): "Saddam Hussein will never leave his country but will stay there until the last Iraqi shot is fired."


The Pope today issued his strongest message yet in opposition to possible war in Iraq, telling Vatican diplomats that military force must be “the very last option.” John Paul said a renewed conflict with Baghdad would only harm ordinary Iraqis, “already sorely tried” by UN sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Amid a massive buildup of US forces in the Gulf, the Pope called for stepped-up diplomacy and dialogue, saying war is not inevitable.

“War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations,” he told the Vatican’s diplomatic corps in his annual speech at the start of the new year.

“As the Charter of the United Nations organisation and international law itself remind us, war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations.”

The pontiff’s speech, delivered in the frescoed Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace, marked his strongest message yet in opposition to war, and it was the first time since the crisis erupted that he has publicly mentioned Iraq by name.

RELATED: Iraqi bishop welcomes latest papal appeals for peace
MORE: Iraqis Focus Of Nuns’ Fears


An announcement of warning by a leading Kabbalist rabbi has been making waves in many religious communities throughout Israel. Rabbi Chaim Ezra HaKohen Prachya, for whom this is the first time making a public statement of this nature, has publicized a sharp call for "prayer and good deeds" to ward off a possibly upcoming catastrophe. The rabbi writes of his difficulty in departing from his custom of not making public announcements - "Woe unto me if I reveal, and woe unto me if I do not reveal. How can I be silent? Forgive me, for I must speak..."

Rabbi Prachyah writes that he sees the possibility of "rivers of blood" but that it can be countered by "tears and sobs, crying out, openly and secretly, night and day, pour forth prayer to our Father in Heaven, and perhaps He will have mercy, perhaps He will have compassion." He also delivered a sharp rebuke regarding election campaign efforts: "Instead of organizing election rallies, organize public fasts, and instead of spending millions on photos of 'false gods," invest all your resources to bring millions of Jews to the streets, led by Torah giants from all the streams, in a show of Jewish unity vis-a-vis the Heavens and the world. Do this! and thus nullify the decree."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

18. I have noticed the demon of vainglory suggesting thoughts to one brother, while he reveals them to another, and he incites the latter to tell the former what is in his heart, and then praises him as a thoughtful reader. And sometimes, unholy creature that he is, he even touches the bodily members and produces palpitations.

January 11, 2003



In 1983, bishops from all over the world gathered at a synod in Rome to discuss reconciliation and the sacrament of Penance. A year later, Pope John Paul wrote a document reflecting on that synod. The pope noted that in the preparation for, as well as during the synod, the message came across that the sacrament of Penance is in crisis. The use of this healing sacrament has declined noticeably, especially in the Western world.

The pope cites many reasons for this crisis. More important, however, is what we lose by not making frequent use of the sacrament of Penance. This sacrament provides the penitent with abundant grace which turn his or her failings into bountiful fruit for God's kingdom. It also provides a discipline which enables the penitent to struggle against those failings. Frequent Confession can reform our lives and draw us closer to God.


St. Joseph Cafasso Priest of the Gallows

We relate to you in this newsletter some marvelous events that Our Lord granted to St. Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860) in his priestly ministry. What follows is from the book entitled “St. Joseph Cafasso Priest of the Gallows” by St. John Bosco. St. Joseph Cafasso was the spiritual advisor of St. John Bosco. His apostolate in the prisons is one of the most outstanding accomplishments of his priestly ministry. He was canonized June 23, 1947.

“[Don Cafasso] had gone to the prison in order to prepare the prisoners for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady, and had spent a whole week instructing them and exhorting them. This he did in a large room in which there were forty-five of the most noted criminals. Almost all had promised to go to confession on the vigil of the feast. But when the day came, none of them could make up his mind to go to confession. He renewed his invitation, recapitulated what he had said during the week, and reminded them of the promise that they had made. But whether it was through human respect or the temptation of the devil, or some other vain pretext, none of them would consent to go to confession. What was Don Cafasso to do?

His ingenious charity and courage found a way out of the difficulty. With a smile on his face he went over to the man who appeared to be the biggest and strongest and most robust among the prisoners, and without saying a word, he caught hold of his luxurious long beard. The man, thinking that Don Cafasso had acted through jest, said to him as courteously as could be expected from such people, “Take anything else from me you like but leave me my beard!” “I will not let you go until you go to confession,” replied Don Cafasso. “But I don’t want to go to confession,” said the prisoner. “You may say what you like, but you will not escape from me; I will not let you go until you have made your confession,” said Cafasso. “I am not prepared,” said the prisoner. “I will prepare you,” said Cafasso.

Certainly, if the prisoner had wished, he could have freed himself from Don Cafasso hands with the slightest effort; but whether it was respect for the holy man’s person, or rather the fruit of the grace of God, the fact is that the man surrendered and allowed himself to be led to a corner of the room. Don Cafasso sat down on a bundle of straw and prepared his friend for confession. But lo! In a short time there was commotion; the strong man was so moved by Don Cafasso exhortation that his sighs and tears almost prevented him from telling his sins.

Then appeared the great marvel; he who had been most vehement in his refusal to make his confession went to his companions after it was finished and told them that he had never been so happy in his life. He became so eloquent in exhorting them that he succeeded in persuading them all to go to confession.

At the gallows in Turin (Italy) the saint assisted sixty-eight men. He succeeded in converting all of them, and, before their deaths, asked them to deliver messages in Heaven as a little service to which he had a right, and he even invoked their intercession.

Whether it was the result of his holiness or that he received special gifts from God, Don Cafasso was certainly most successful in gaining these unfortunate men for Heaven. As soon as the rumor was out that the sentence of death was about to be passed on any of the prisoners, he broke the news gently to him and began to prepare him for confession and the other comforts of the Church, with the result that when the fatal message of his condemnation arrived, the condemned man received it with indifference, being equally resigned to live or to die.

When the sentence was pronounced, Don Cafasso visited them constantly; he spent the last night with them as far as possible, encouraging them. In the morning he said Mass for them, prepared them for their last Holy Communion, made his thanksgiving along with them, and then entertained them. He laughed and grieved with them, and he would willingly have died along them if that would redound to the good of their souls.

St. Joseph Cafasso, Priest of the Gallows is available from TAN Books & Publishers (

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

17. It is not he who disparages himself who shows humility (for who will not put up with himself?), but he who maintains the same love for the very man who reproaches him.

January 10, 2003




(Jonah 1:1-2)  Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amit'tai, saying, "Arise, go to Nin'eveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me."

COMMENTARY: We are told that Nineveh is so large that it takes three days to walk through it; yet Jonah only gets a third of the way through the city probably halfheartedly announcing -- Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed -- when the entire population -- 120,000 citizens repent! They are all fasting, they are all covered in sackcloth -- even the animals! In fact, in no time the king of Nineveh himself is dressed in sackcloth and sitting on a pile of ashes.

(Jonah 3:10)  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.

Ninevah was spared the punishment it was due because of their reaction to the call to repentance by God through Jonah.  History shows that Ninevah eventually was destroyed, as required by God's justice, but the generation in Jonah's day was saved as an eternal example of God's merciful response to a truly repentant heart.


(Luke 22:39-43)  And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And he was withdrawn away from them a stone's cast. And kneeling down, he prayed. Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer.

How should God's mystical Body respond to Gethesami?  We see through Jesus' actions in the garden that the proper response is prayer and surrender.  Our loving and merciful Father will certainly provide us, via His Grace and angelic support, all that we need to spiritually survive the trials of this evil hour.


St Cyprian writes, "What we must do is beg the Lord with united and undivided hearts, without pause in our entreaty, with confidence that we shall receive, seeking to appease Him with cries and tears as befits those who find themselves amid the lamentations of the fallen and the trembling of the remnant still left, amidst the host of those who lie faint and savaged and the tiny band of those who stand firm. We must beg that peace be promptly restored, that help be quickly brought to our places of concealment and peril, that those things be fulfilled which the Lord vouchsafes to reveal to his servants: the restoration of His church, the certitude of our salvation, bright skies after rain, after darkness light, after wild storms a gentle calm. We must beg that the Father send his loving aid to his children, that God in his majesty perform now as he has so often His wonderful works".


Commentary on Canticle from the Book of Jeremiah  (Jer  14,17-21):

Now comes the turning-point: the people return to God and raise an intense prayer to him. First of all, they recognize their own sin with a brief but heartfelt confession of guilt: "We recognize, O Lord, our wickedness,... that we have sinned against you" (v. 21). Thus God's silence was provoked by man's rejection. If the people will be converted and return to the Lord, God will also show himself ready to go out to meet and embrace them.

Finally, the prophet uses two fundamental words: "remember" and "covenant" (v. 21). God is asked by his people to "remember", that is, to return to the line of his generous kindness, which he had so often shown in the past with crucial interventions to save Israel. God is asked to remember that he bound himself to his people by a covenant of fidelity and love. Precisely because of this covenant, the people can be confident that the Lord will intervene to set them free and save them.

The commitment he assumed, the honour of his "name" and the fact that he was present in the temple, "the throne of his glory", impel God - after his judgement of sin and his silence - to draw close to his people once again to give them life, peace and joy.

With the Israelites, therefore, we too can be sure that the Lord will not give us up for good but, after every purifying trial, will return to make "his face to shine upon us, and be gracious to us ... and give us peace" as the priestly blessing mentioned in Numbers says (6,25-26).

Analysis: Pope's God is angry & silent

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yet another sign of the times.........Pray on!!!

(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.

(Rom 8:35-37) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

(1Jo 3:2)  Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

(1John 4:18)  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

16. It is a great work to shake from the soul the praise of men, but to reject the praise of demons is greater.

January 9, 2003




Priests. While the number of priests in the United States more than doubled to 58,000 between 1930 and 1965, since then that number has fallen to 45,000. By 2020, there will be only 31,000 priests left, and more than half of these priests will be over 70.

Ordinations. In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained in the United States. In 2002, the number was 450. In 1965, only 1 percent of U.S. parishes were without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 priestless parishes, 15 percent of all U.S. parishes.

Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. Two-thirds of the 600 seminaries that were operating in 1965 have now closed.

Sisters. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By 2002, that had fallen to 75,000, and the average age of a Catholic nun is today 68. In 1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline of 94 percent since the end of Vatican II.

Religious orders. For religious orders in America, the end is in sight. In 1965, 3,559 young men were studying to become Jesuit priests. In 2000, the figure was 389. With the Christian Brothers, the situation is even more dire. Their number has shrunk by two-thirds, with the number of seminarians falling 99 percent. In 1965, there were 912 seminarians in the Christian Brothers. In 2000, there were only seven.

The number of young men studying to become Franciscan and Redemptorist priests fell from 3,379 in 1965 to 84 in 2000.

Catholic schools. Almost half of all Catholic high schools in the United States have closed since 1965. The student population has fallen from 700,000 to 386,000. Parochial schools suffered an even greater decline. Some 4,000 have disappeared, and the number of pupils attending has fallen below 2 million--from 4.5 million.

Though the number of U.S. Catholics has risen by 20 million since 1965, Jones' statistics show that the power of Catholic belief and devotion to the faith are not nearly what they were.

Catholic marriage. Catholic marriages have fallen in number by one-third since 1965, while the annual number of annulments has soared from 338 in 1968 to 50,000 in 2002.

Attendance at Mass. A 1958 Gallup Poll reported that three in four Catholics attended church on Sundays. A recent study by the University of Notre Dame found that only one in four now attend.

Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers now accept church teaching on contraception. Fifty-three percent believe a Catholic can have an abortion and remain a good Catholic. Sixty-five percent believe that Catholics may divorce and remarry. Seventy-seven percent believe one can be a good Catholic without going to Mass on Sundays.

By one New York Times poll, 70 percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Jesus.


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EDITOR'S COMMENT: The statistics above are taken from an article that seeks to ascribe the cause of this "disease" in the Church to Vatican II.  Yet as the excerpts from the both the Catechism and the Bible quoted in part one of this series illustrate, this falling away from the faith was prophesied to occur thousands of years ago.  It was as inevitable as the crucifixion of Our Lord was inevitable.

Perhaps an analogy from the medical field would be of value.  When a drug or treatment is evaluated to determine its effect on a disease, it is necessary to first have knowledge about the natural course of the disease.  That is, what happens to people who are untreated?  It is then possible to fairly evaluate the effect of a given treatment- is it beneficial, does it have no effect, or is it detrimental.

It is impossible to appropriately ascribe any blame for the Church's present state to Vatican II simply because we do not know what the state of the Church would be today had Vatican II not occured. Traditionalists will argue that it would be much holier while modernists would argue that Vatican II did not go far enough in its "reforms".  But as obedient Catholics we must trust that the Magisterium is indeed led by the Holy Spirit and that Vatican II was the will of the Father and hence necessarily for the good of the Church.

Further evidence that Vatican II is not the cause of the present state of crisis in the Church is the fact that the apostasy in faith is occurring throughout Christianity, involving both our Eastern Orthodox brothers and other denominations that would not be affected by Vatican II.

Returning to the medical analogy, Vatican II may be viewed as a palliative "treatment". A palliative treatment does not cure a disease but eliminates suffering that would be present if the treatment were not given. But the Church's march to Calvary must nevertheless continue.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

15. When you hear that your neighbour or friend has abused you behind your back or even to your face, then show love and praise him.

January 8, 2003


A Three Part Series


(1John 2:18-19)  Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us.

That we are indeed in the "end times" is corroborated both by Scripture and Tradition.  The "end times" began with the Ascension almost 2000 years ago.  It is the final stage of human history that will culminate in the Lord's glorious return.  Before that event, however, will come a era of increasing evil leading to the crucifixion of Christ's mystical Body, the Church.

(2Ti 3:1-5)  Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God: Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof.

(Dan 12:9-10)  He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand.

(Rev 12:12)  Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!"


670 Since the Ascension God's plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at "the last hour".[553] "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 but imperfect."[554] Christ's kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.[555] . . . until all things are subjected to him

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.[578] The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.[579] God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.[580]

686 The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the plan for our salvation. But in these "end times," ushered in by the Son's redeeming Incarnation, the Spirit is revealed and given, recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine plan, accomplished in Christ, the firstborn and head of the new creation, be embodied in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit: as the Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

14. No one knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him. And so let those who try to praise us to our face be silent and ashamed.

January 7, 2003


Pope John Paul II is "deeply worried" as tensions increase over a possible war in Iraq, a top Vatican official said, adding that no country can act alone to police the world.

The comments by Archbishop Renato Martino, prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace and the Holy See's former U.N. envoy, came amid a series of Vatican criticisms of a possible war in Iraq. In the last two weeks, the pope himself has called for peace in the Mideast, although without explicit reference to Iraq.

Martino, in an interview with Rome's La Repubblica newspaper published Saturday, described the pontiff as "deeply worried."

"The pope lives the drama of the moment, he feels involved personally," Martino said.

Several Church officials have expressed grave concerns about a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq. The pope's Christmas message called on the world to "extinguish the ominous smoldering of a conflict," although the pontiff did not mention Iraq by name.

RELATED-  Alternatives to War with Iraq: Kroc Institute Resources on Policy and Ethics


A U.S.-led war, Iraqi Christians believe, could pit orthodox Islam against one of the Middle East's largest and oldest Christian communities.

Christians interviewed during two weeks in the capital say they believe a U.S.-led war would be seen by many Iraqis as a battle between the Christian and Muslim worlds. "People will think we are with the Americans," says Iraqi Christian Yonan Ibrahim.

Ibrahim says many Christians believe they will be targeted if a U.S.-led war ousts Saddam, who has until now shielded them from discrimination.

Some fear a post-Saddam Iraq could bring a far less tolerant country toward Christians if anti-American feelings run high. "Our government likes us, and they protect us," he says. "But if something happens, we don't know what it will be like. We are really afraid."

In fact, Christians in this country long known for its Western links and secular culture already have sensed a shift toward Islam. "Right now, Christians are afraid of the future, of what will happen. Most of the Christians are preparing to leave," Ibrahim says. Hundreds of thousands already have. From the moment the 1991 Gulf War ended, Christians from one of the world's most ancient communities began a stampede to the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia.

About 1 million of Iraq's 24 million people are Christian. An estimated 500,000 Christians live in central and southern Iraq. That's 50% fewer than the number that lived in that area a decade ago. About 500,000 live in northern Iraq's three provinces, which comprise a semi-autonomous territory governed by two Kurdish parties. The area, which is under U.N. protection, is patrolled by British and U.S. jets. Many of the Christians are Assyrian Catholics, known as Chaldeans here, similar to those in Syria and Lebanon. Their liturgy is in Aramaic, the language Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken.

RELATED: Pleas for peace in Iraq

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

13. I have seen people mourning who, on being praised, flared up in anger; and as at a public gathering one passion gave place to another.

January 3, 2003



VIA Father Angelus Shaughnessy, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin


The American family is in danger of extinction. Some are suggesting we need a new definition of family. Half of all the marriages in the United States now end in divorce. Every year a million children are born out of wedlock. Over a third of America's children live in single-parent homes. Only one in four American children now lives with both biological parents. Over a million children each year are killed in their mother's womb, the worst possible form of domestic violence. In some cities, there are more abortions than live births.

Grandparents are currently raising four million American children. Many more children are exposed to their mothers boyfriends, who are responsible for two-thirds of the child abuse by persons other than parents. A lot of these men are immature and not capable of caring for children. Emotionally crippled themselves, they are in need of much help to grow up. Over a million people are in prison right now nationwide.

Broken homes breed a thousand problems. Fewer than half of America's children now eat meals at a table together with other members of the family. Few young people have small brothers and sisters to care for. Only one in twenty children lives in a home where a child's biological father goes to work and the biological mother stays home to raise the children. Thanks to TV, many children's only acquaintance with God is through cursing and swearing. Nobody ever taught them that God's last name is not "damn it"!

How very tragic!

Infidelity, divorce, illegitimacy, promiscuity, contraception, sexual irresponsibility, premarital sex, pornography, legalized abortion, drugs and alcohol, the exclusion of Gods voice from public life - - are some of the causes that explain the tragedy of modern American family life. The sexual revolution is at the heart of most of this disorder. Such selfishness can never generate happiness. Our hearts were made for something else.

Happiness comes only with love. But love is the most used, over-used, misused, abused, misunderstood word in the English language. For some, "love" means "lust". But lust can never be love, because lust always wants to manipulate, to control, to use, to exploit other people for selfish purposes. And once a person knows that they have been used, they hate the person who has treated them that way; and they hate themselves for allowing themselves to be so used.

What can we do?

Start praying! Lord, spare us from using people whom we should be loving; and spare us from loving things we should only be using. To enflesh this prayer in our homes and in our hearts, we need the example and help of the Holy Family of Nazareth: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Of and by ourselves we are not capable of the sacrificial heroism required to do the Lords will. With the help of God, it becomes possible. At this time, it seems that only a miraculous intervention can convert our nation's selfishness into unselfish love and true happiness.

We don't give up!

Lord, we trust in You! Jesus, Mary, Joseph, help our families!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

12. People of high spirit bear offence nobly and gladly, but only the holy and righteous can pass through praise without harm.

January 2, 2003


In his message written for the 2003 World Day of Peace -- Jan. 1 -- the pontiff stressed the continuing significance of the encyclical letter "Pacem in Terris" (Peace on Earth) which Pope John XXIII issued almost exactly 40 years ago, only two months before his death.

John Paul II reminded the world of the frightening context in which this encyclical was put to paper: "The world was ... in a profound state of disorder."

-- Only two years earlier, the Berlin Wall had been built, dividing not just one city but "the whole of humanity, and penetrated peoples' hearts and minds, creating divisions that seemed destined to last indefinitely."

-- "Just six months before the encyclical ... the world had come to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis. The road to a world of peace, justice and freedom seemed blocked."

The pontiff continued, "Pope John XXII did not agree with those who claimed that peace was not impossible. With his encyclical, peace -- in all its demanding truth -- came knocking on both sides of the Wall and all of the dividing walls."

John Paul praised his predecessor's "profound intuition" in identifying truth, justice, love and freedom as essential conditions for peace:

-- "Truth will build peace if every individual sincerely acknowledges not only his rights but also his duties to others."

-- "Justice will build peace if in practice everyone respects the rights of others and actually fulfills his duties towards them."

-- "Love will build peace if people feel the needs of others as their own."

-- "Freedom will build peace and make it thrive if, in the choice of the means to that end, people act according to reason and assume responsibility for their own actions."

Forty years ago, John XXIII saw the "growth of awareness of human rights that was then emerging within nations and at the international level," John Paul II said. "John Paul XXII ... understood its singular power to change history."

According to John XXIII, any society, if it is to be to be well-ordered and productive, "must lay down as a foundation the principle that every human being is a person endowed with intelligence and free will."

History has shown that the human rights principle defined by John XXII "was not simply an abstract idea; it was an idea with profound consequences."

The pontiff reminded the world that the non-violent revolution of 1989, which brought down the Berlin Wall and then ended the Soviet system, confirmed his predecessor's insight. A "significant progress" has been made towards the implementation of his vision, the pope said.

"Although distorted notions of freedom as license continue to threaten democracy and free societies, it is surely significant that, in the 40 years after 'Pacem in Terris' much of the world has become more free, structures of dialogue and cooperation between nations have strengthened, and the threat of global war ... has been effectively contained," John Paul II said.

"Pacem in Terris" has brought to a new level of development the church's doctrine that peace is a "tranquillitas ordinis," or a "tranquility of order," as Augustine formulated it more than 1,500 years ago, the pope went on.

He continued, though, "The fratricidal struggle that daily convulses the Holy Land and brings into conflict the forces shaping the immediate future of the Middle East shows the need for men and women who, out of conviction, will implement policies firmly based on the principle of respect for human dignity and human rights."

"Religion," he concluded, "has a vital role in fostering gestures of peace and in consolidating conditions for peace. It exercises this role all the more effectively if it concentrates what is proper to it: attention to God."


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

11. The flatterer is a servant of devils, a guide to pride, a destroyer of contrition, a ruiner of virtues, a misleader. Those who pronounce you blessed, lead you astray, says the prophet.

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