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July 31, 2002

Pope John Paul II in Canada: "Do not be discouraged by the sins and failings of some of her (the church's) members," he said, in what was believed to be his first public comment on the subject since the scandal began in the United States in January.

"The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame.  But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good."

Pope John Paul II in Canada: "Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakeably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young.  Do not let that hope die."

Pope John Paul II in Canada: "Christ alone is the cornerstone on which it is possible solidly to build one's existence, the pope said.  The 20th century often tried to do without that cornerstone, and attempted to build the city of man without reference to him."

"It ended by actually building that city against man.  Christians know that it is not possible to reject or ignore God without demeaning man."

"A new generation of builders is needed," he said.  "Moved not by fear, or violence, but by the urgency of genuine love, they must learn to build, brick by brick, the city of God within the city of Man."

VATICAN WEBSITE: Apostolic Voyage to Toronto, to Ciudad de Guatemala and to Ciudad de México 23 July - 2 August 2002


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

Like the prophet Micah (Mic 7:14), I pray, Lord Jesus - "Shepherd Your people."

Yet I know that You are shepherding us, as You always have.

Today You have given to us a magnificent shepherd to teach, to govern, and to sanctify Your dearly beloved sheep.  You have given to us John Paul II to be our shepherd, our Pope.

He has truly shepherded You Church during the past 24 years.

He has truly been faithful to You and to us.

Thank You Jesus for such a shepherd.

Now, give to us in America other shepherds to shepherd us here.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II – who will teach us the full gospel that You entrusted to Your Holy Roman Catholic Church.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II – who will correct us when we have not accepted the full gospel that You entrusted to Your Holy Roman Catholic Church.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II – who will make known to us all that Your Vicar in Rome has proclaimed - both what is true and what is false.  We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II – who will sanctify us - exhorting us to become the saintly men and women that You have called us to become.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II – who love You with all their hearts, with all their souls, with all their minds, with all their strength.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II - who will inspire us to become men, women, boys and girls of prayer - who worship the Father, with You, whole heartedly.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II - who will radiate Your image to us.

We need shepherds like Pope John Paul II - who will exhort us to radiate Your image to our other brothers and sisters in the world.

You have told us all to go forth and make disciples of all the world.

You want us to be light to others that they too may glorify the Father.

But we need help to do this.

We need inspiration to do this.

We need encouragement to do this.

We need correction when we do not do it Your Way.

We need shepherds to do all this, Lord.

Give us true shepherds; give us wise shepherds; give us holy shepherd, Lord.

Give us shepherds like Pope John Paul II.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 11- "On talkativeness and silence"

6. The silence of Jesus put Pilate to shame; and by a man's stillness, vainglory is vanquished.

July 20, 2002



The sanctification of the family was a great conviction of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a convinced supporter of the principle according to which " love begins at house."

'Mother Teresa was aware of the frantic rhythm of that the life that today's world imposes, but precisely for this reason she invited parents to give attention to their own children, to make their own home a place where everyone can experience love, peace and joy" said Cardinal Saraiva Martins, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints.

"She considered it very important to everyone dedicate time to others, for people to be present for others, to spend time together." She moreover believed "that many of the problems of today's world stem from this lack of love and attention to the people who are closest to us" and after all "saints always know how to point the things that count."


The fruit of silence is
The fruit of prayer is
The fruit of faith is
The fruit of love is
The fruit of service is

Mother Teresa Official Webpage
Quotes of Mother Teresa
A tribute to the "Saint of the Gutters"
Biography of Mother Teresa


Albania: Vatican Considering Beatification For Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa's Beatification Cause Advancing
Priest says Mother Teresa could be beatified within a year


"When we want to learn to love like Jesus, we need to listen to what He wants us to do - through prayer and meditation.  And many times we will have to do things which, we ourselves don't want to do: to forgive someone who really hurt us deeply, to start over when somebody very close really disappointed us, to continue serving even after a great deception.  All this things hurt.  But this is the kind of forgiving and unselfish love God is calling us for."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 11- "On talkativeness and silence"

5. The friend of silence draws near to God and, by secretly conversing with Him, is enlightened by God.

July 19, 2002




Reflection by Father Ted, Catholic Chaplain - San Francisco General Hospital
July 15, 2002

First Reading: Isaiah 1:10-17 Gospel: Matthew 10:34--11:1

My dearest Lord Jesus, today in the gospel You surprised the Apostles by Your comments.  You have surprised many of us today as well.

You also surprised the people of Jerusalem, or should I say shocked them, by the comments Isaiah made to them under the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit as given to us today in the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.

Sometime You and Your Father seem rather harsh.

Yet, in reality, You are not.

You speak strongly to us, because of the incredibly profound love that You have for us.

When Isaiah spoke those words that we heard this morning – calling the leaders of the Jerusalem "princes of Sodom" and calling the people of Jerusalem "people of Gomorrah" he was reminding them that they were living as immorally as did those of Sodom and Gomorrah who perished because of their unrepentant immoral behavior.

Isaiah, Your holy spokesman, was calling them to repentance.  For they had stifled Your love and mercy by their behavior.

And Your Apostles - they needed to learn about the reality of the opposition that they were to face, as You did, even from among their own kin.

But also You were reminding them of the most important responsibility each of them had, as do all of us - "To love You and the Father and the Holy Spirit above everyone else."

No one can be more important than the Three of You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Moreover, You were reminding them that this self-giving love, the reflection of the self-giving love of the Father, and of You, and of the Holy Spirit, is essential.

And that love is reflected in the Cross - the Holy Cross.

That Cross is the Tree of Life - for upon the Cross You laid down Your live - or should I say, as You said that You were lifted up to draw all men to You.

Again, today, You teach us how to live.  Love is the Way.  And that love is a tough love.  For Your love is a tough love – expressed through Your embracing Your Cross.

Dearest Jesus, thank You for always loving us.

Thank You for even speaking with tough love.  Now, help us to listen to You and to accept what You say to us.

May we listen to You as You speak to us through Your prophets today - especially through our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.

May we respond to Your words as he has – who has such love for You and for Your Mother.

Holy Mary, pray for us too.  Keep us under your holy mantle, that we may always do the Will of the Father.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 11- "On talkativeness and silence"

4. He who has become aware of his sins has controlled his tongue, but a talkative person has not yet come to know himself as he should.

July 18, 2002

(2Ki 25:3-4)  On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city; the king with all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king's garden, though the Chalde'ans were around the city. And they went in the direction of the Arabah.


Starting Wednesday evening, Jewish people worldwide mark a day of fasting and mourning known as Tish B'Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, to remember the destruction of the First and Second Temple and other national calamities.

Numerous tragedies have befallen the Jewish people down through the ages on this day, which many trace back to the time when 10 of the 12 Israelites sent by Moses to spy out the Promised Land returned with a bad report (see Numbers 13).

Since then, the following are among the national tragedies for the Israelites that have occurred on Tisha B'Av:

In 586 BC, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and the Kingdom of Judah went into exile.

In 70AD, the Romans led by Titus destroyed the Second Temple, beginning the second Exile.

In 135 AD, the Romans crushed the army of Jewish rebel leader Bar Kochba in the city of Betar.

In 1095, Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews.

In 1290 AD, King Edward I ordered the expulsion of all Jews from England.

In 1492, King Ferdinand issued the eviction edict from Spain and launching of the Inquisition.

Other historic events that fell on Tish B'Av include the outbreak of World War I and the deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Nazi concentration camps.

To mark Tish B'Av, as many as 100,000 Jewish people were expected to honor an ancient tradition Wednesday evening by marching around the walled Old City of Jerusalem.

LATEST: Suicide Bombers Kill Three in Tel Aviv, Police Say

MORE: Israeli Chief Rabbis Pray For Peace

(Zec 8:18-19)  And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love truth and peace."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 11- "On talkativeness and silence"

3. Intelligent silence is the mother of prayer, a recall from captivity, preservation of fire, an overseer of thoughts, a watch against enemies, a prison of mourning, a friend of tears, effective remembrance of death, a depicter of punishment, a delver into judgment, a minister of sorrow, an enemy of freedom of speech, a companion of stillness, an opponent of desire to teach, increase of knowledge, a creator of divine vision, unseen progress, secret ascent.

July 17, 2002

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "It is essential therefore, that religious people and communities should in the clearest and most radical way repudiate violence.  There is no religious goal which can possibly justify the use of violence by man against man."


At an Islamic school in Peshawar, Pakistan, Maulana Sami ul-Haq exhorts the 3,500 students at morning assembly to continue their fathers' struggle to abolish the Jewish state of Israel and establish a Muslim nation stretching from the Mediterranean to the Pacific.

"Like the Prophet, Sheik bin Laden and our Taliban brothers, you are to fight a battle that began centuries ago," the school's chancellor declares.  Students at the Dar-ul-Uloom Haqquania madrassa shout in response, "Allahu Akbar," God is great.  "We accept our calling."

"Religion is the most unifying and dividing force on the Earth," Haq tells a visitor later. "Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya — all of the world's battles have religion at their core.  Who would have thought that we in the 21st century would be fighting battles over ancient religions?"

To the alarm of U.S.  policymakers, a world that has become more accessible through jet travel and more intertwined through a globalized economy and the Internet has also become more riven by religious wars.  The bloodiest and most dangerous disputes today, from fundamentalist Islamic terrorism to Palestinian suicide bombings to a threatened nuclear showdown over Kashmir, are wrapped in religion.

These days, the United States is dealing with religious conflicts that span the globe:

"Religion is the powder keg of the world," says Aaron Blumstein, 41, a Jerusalem elementary school teacher.  He, for one, is prepared to fight.  "Our forefathers waged war for the land of Israel," he says, "and I am ready to do the same."

RELATED: Seven Dead in West Bank Violence

COMMENTARY: Kids in the Hell- The Conflict's Forgotten Victims

MORE: Palestinians Suffer Under Curfew

(Rev 6:4)  And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 11- "On talkativeness and silence"

2. Talkativeness is the throne of vainglory, on which it loves to show itself and make a display. Talkativeness is a sign of ignorance, a door to slander, an inducement to jesting, a servant of falsehood, the ruin of compunction, a creator and summoner of despondency, a precursor of sleep, the dissipation of recollection, the abolition of watchfulness, the cooling of ardour, the darkening of prayer.

July 16, 2002


VIA Virginia Sperlazzo: The following articles are excerpts out of the booklet, "From the HouseTops", Serial No. 29, 1987, page 56, 57. The booklet was written by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Benedict Center, P.O. Box 142, Still River, MA 01467.

Slaves Held Washington, Died Baptized Catholic!

From The Denver Register, February 24, 1957

New York----It was a long tradition among both the Maryland Province Jesuit Fathers and the Negro slaves of the Washington plantation and those of the surrounding area that the first President died a Catholic. These and other facts about George Washington are reported in the Paulist INFORMATION magazine by Doran Hurley.

The story is that Father Leonard Neale, S.J., was called to Mount Vernon from St. Mary's Mission across the Piscatawney River four hours before Washington's death. Tradition also holds that shortly after Washington's death Father Neale sent a heavily sealed packet to Rome. If this be true, it may yet turn up in the Vatican archives, or it may have been lost during the Jesuits' hidden years.

Washington's body servant Juba is authority for the fact that the General made the Sign of the Cross at meals. He may have learned this from his Catholic lieutenants, Stephen Moylan or John Fitzgerald. At Valley Forge, Washington forbade the burning in effigy of the Pontiff on "Pope's Day." Several times as President he is reported to have slipped into a Catholic church to hear Sunday Mass.

From The Denver Register, May 11, 1952


Washington (Special)---A picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and one of St. John were among the effects found in an inventory of the articles at Mount Vernon at the death of George Washington, first president of the U.S.A. The Rev. W. C. Repetti, S.J., archivist at Georgetown University, reports he has discovered this information in an appendix to a biography of Washington. The book is a LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON by Edward Everett, published by Sheldon & Co. in New York in 1860. Appendix No. 2, pages 286-7, lists an official "inventory of articles at Mt. Vernon with appraised values annexed. Taken by sworn appraisers after the decease of General Washington," the list includes:

1 Likeness of St. John 15.00
1 Likeness of Virgin Mary 15.00

"The fact that he had a picture of the Blessed Virgin is rather unexpected, and, to the best of my knowledge, has not been brought out," says Father Repetti.

The long report among slaves of Mount Vernon as to Washington's deathbed conversion would be odd unless based on truth. These were not Catholic Negroes; it is part of the tradition that weeping and wailing occurred in the quarters that Massa Washington had been snared by the Scarlet Woman of Rome, whom they had been taught to fear and hate. Supposedly, Father Neale was rowed across the Piscatawney by Negro oarsmen; and men often talked freely when slaves were nearby, confidently ignoring their presence.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 11- "On talkativeness and silence"

1. In the preceeding chapter, we spoke briefly of how extremely dangerous it is to judge others, or rather, to be judged and punished by one's own tongue, and of how this vice steals into even the most apparently spiritual people. Now we must show the cause of this vice, and give a proper account of the door by which it enters, or rather, goes out.

July 13, 2002



The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). It notes that "this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1031).

The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.


Purgatory Apologetics Index Page


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

My dearest Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me this past weekend of the tremendous needs of our brothers and sisters who are being purified in Purgatory.

Thank You for reminding me of how important are my prayers and those of my brothers and sisters who still are struggling on earth to do Your will – especially for our brothers and sisters who are in Purgatory.

These brothers and sisters of ours know that they are not ready to be with You and the Father and the Holy Spirit in Heaven.

They love You – more than we can imagine.

They know that You love them – more than we can imagine.

They realize that because You love them so much that they cannot yet experience the fullness of Your love in Heaven.

They are most grateful that You are allowing them to be purified in Purgatory.

For only when they are completely pure can they enter into Your Most Holy Presence.

Only when they are completely pure do they want to enter into Your Most Holy Presence.

This they know.

That is why they are most grateful to be in Purgatory where they can become purified.

Their love for You is so great – yet that they cannot be with You now is also their greatest pain. For they have seen You - they have seen Your magnificent beauty. They did so at the moment of their death when they experienced their particular judgment.

It was for just a moment – one glorious blinding moment.

That is why they know that they cannot be in Your Presence right away.

They know that they are not pure enough. They also know that You have given us their brothers and sisters many opportunities to help them to become as pure as they want and need to be in order to be with You forever in Heaven.

They know that we can help them through our prayers and other sacrifices.

They need our help. They want our help.

May we, dearest Jesus, give to them that help. May we pray for them – especially by having Holy Masses offered for their sake.

That You Jesus, for allowing us to do just this in the past.

May we do so more often in the future.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord. May perpetual light shine of them forever. Amen.

SEE ALSO: Purgatory Project

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

11. The demons, murderers as they are, push us into sin. Or if they fail to do this, they get us to pass judgment on those who are sinning, so that they may defile us with the stain which we ourselves are condemning in another.

July 12, 2002


Pope John Paul nominated a new cardinal on Thursday to oversee the powerful Milan archdiocese, making him the leading Italian candidate to succeed the ailing Pontiff.

The Vatican said in a statement that 68-year old Dionigi Tettamanzi would replace Carlo Maria Martini as cardinal of Milan -- one of the largest Catholic archdiocese in the world with some five million faithful and 1,000 parishes.

Tettamanzi is currently cardinal in the northern city of Genoa and it is the first time in recent history that a Pope has transferred a cardinal from one Italian diocese to another. The unusual move represents a promotion and has marked Tettamanzi out as a favorite of Pope John Paul, strengthening his position as a possible future head of the Catholic Church.

"This is a nomination which might open the door to the papacy," La Stampa newspaper said on Thursday, anticipating the news of his appointment to Italy's richest diocese. "Tettamanzi is in pole position among the Italian candidates to take on the future heavy inheritance of John Paul II."

VERY INTERESTING Q & A: The politics of papal elections: John Allen, Jr.


"Peaceful unification of South and North Korea is a special concern of the Pope. The Vatican has been sending delegations to North Korea since several years ago," said the minister of the congregation for the evangelization of Peoples of the Vatican.

"The Holy See has been making efforts to approach the issue on the level of the evangelization rather than diplomatic level. I believe that the dream will be realized when carrying out evangelistic solidarity with courage, endurance and firm belief towards the God," said Cardinal Cresecenzio Sepe, 59, through a Korean interpreter in a press conference at Myongdong Cathedral, downtown Seoul, last Thursday.

The cardinal visited Seoul on July 3-6, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Korean Catholic Church's independence as a regional parish from the Vatican.  Sepe is ranked third in Vatican hierarchy, following the pope and the secretary of state. He has the power to appoint priests, including bishops, in most of the missionary world, including Asia, Africa, Oceania and parts of Europe.

"Korean churches have shown dynamic and rapid growth. I have been here to experience the full-blown Korean church directly," he told reporters.  "The dynamism of the Korean churches has influenced all aspects of Korean society and has fed its moral, social and cultural growth," said Sepe.  "Now, all the believers' should work toward evangelization outside of Korea. So far, Koreans have received much from outside. Now is the time to give back to the people in other countries," he emphasized.

In his discussion with President Kim, Sepe said that Pope John Paul II is still considering a visit to North Korea.

OF INTEREST: England's smallest church reopened for first Mass in 500 years

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

9. Listen to me, listen, all you malicious reckoners of other men's accounts! If it is true (as it really is true) that 'with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged (Matt 7:2), then whatever sins we blame our neighbour for, whether bodily or spiritual, we shall fall into them ourselves. That is certain.

July 11, 2002

Cardinal Clancy, retired Archbishop of Sydney: “Over 2000 years the Church has gone much closer to demise that it is in the present time. You’d have written it off once or twice, but it has always come back stronger than ever. If you look at it in the context of 2000 years of history, you can look forward with hope and reassurance to the future. The pattern was set by Christ himself when he died on Calvary and rose on the third day. Every Calvary is followed by a resurrection. And while it’s difficult going at the present time, I have no doubt that there are golden days ahead; that there’ll be a renewal of the Church and of faith.”


Catholic Clout Is Eroded by Scandal
Insurance a Worry for Catholic Church
Filipino Church Admits Abuse
New Mexico Priest Retreat To Close


VIA Brother Anthony: I have found this approach help during my short life when facing incredible odds against the things God has called me to do -- and I share what someone sent me yesterday as an example of what God has called all of us to do when we are called by to do something for God -- God be with you as you read this and put it into practice.


A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin.

The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down; his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: "you have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't moved." Thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough." And that is what he planned to do, until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in Your service, putting all my strength to do that which You have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. Now I, My friend, will move the rock."

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong ... just P.U.S.H.! When the job gets you down ... just P.U.S.H.! When people don't react the way you think they should... just P.U.S.H.! When you feel alone and discouraged ... just P.U.S.H.! When people just don't understand you ... just P.U.S.H.!

P= Pray U= Until S= Something H= Happens

(Phi 4:6) Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

8. Fire and water are incompatible; and so is judging others in one who wants to repent.  If you see someone falling into sin at the very moment of his death, even then do not judge him, because the Divine judgment is hidden from men.  Some have fallen openly into great sins, but they have done greater good deeds in secret; so their critics were tricked, getting smoke instead of the sun.

July 10, 2002


VIA Reader: I read Tribulation Times everyday and enjoy the updates on the world from a Catholic point of view.  I did have a little difficulty with your posting of the "Vision and Prophecy" attributed to George Washington.

From all that I have read about George Washington, he is a mason.  As you probably know being a mason takes you out of the realm of Christianity.  I believe that old George may have had a vision, but I question whether it came from heaven.

If you do some research on this and find that I am wrong please let me know.

EDITOR'S RESPONSE: After you alerted me to this possibility, I did research the topic and it appears that you are absolutely correct.  I apologize for my ignorance and present the following information for others who may be unaware of this masonic connection in American history.

George Washington and Freemasonry
George Washington’s Masonic Life A Chronology
George Washington Masonic Memorial
Do you know if George Washington was a freemason?


Catholicism vs. Freemasonry- Irreconcilable Forever
by Rev. Robert I. Bradley, S.J.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

7. Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: 'Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?' In this way you will achieve two things: you will heal yourself and your neighbour with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to the forgiveness of sins; I mean, not to judge. 'Judge not, and ye shall not be judged(Luke 6:37).'

July 9, 2002

(Deu 30:19) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live...


The European Parliament has recommended that abortion be made legal across the European Union and has called for both member and candidate EU states to lift sanctions against women who have the procedure.  In a resolution last Wednesday calling for 'legalised, safe and accessible' abortions, EU lawmakers nonetheless warned that it should not be promoted as a birth control method.

The call drew fire from Poland, a conservative Catholic country which - along with Ireland - has the strictest abortion laws in Europe.  Ireland allows abortions only in cases where a mother's life is at risk.  Poland allows abortions in the first trimester only in cases of rape, incest, a grave deformation of the foetus or a health risk to the mother.

Diplomats in Warsaw charged with overseeing their country's EU candidacy denounced the pressure from the parliament, saying it 'violates sovereign states' rights to protect the common good and life of their citizens', the PAP news agency quoted their declaration as saying.  The resolution, which has no real legislative power, recommends the creation of an overall EU policy on abortion, which has been legislated differently by individual member countries.

RELATED: Fury in Britain over fast-track abortions


Two executions set for this week were put off Monday by the Florida Supreme Court so it can consider whether the state's capital punishment law is constitutional.

The stay gives the state justices time to consider the impact of the U.S.  Supreme Court ruling last month in an Arizona case that the death penalty laws there and in four other states were unconstitutional.

The court ruled that juries and not judges must decide facts needed to warrant death penalties, but it was silent about similar laws in Florida and three other states where juries play limited roles but judges make the final decisions.

Word of the indefinite stays came six hours before the scheduled execution of Linroy Bottoson by lethal injection.  Amos King had been scheduled for execution Wednesday.

Abe Bonowitz, director of the Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said he was en route to the prison when he got word of the stay.

"It's always good to be on the way to a killing and turn around," he said.


‘Cruel and Unusual’ High Court: Executing the Mentally Retarded Is Unconstitutional
Judge reaffirms decision to throw out federal death penalty
Bishops reject resumption of death penalty

(Rom 12:19) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

6. I have known a man who sinned openly and repented secretly. I condemned him as a profligate, but he was chaste before God, having propitiated Him by a genuine conversion.

July 4, 2002




Various accounts of George Washington's vision and prophecy all agree in content.  There have been only minor variations in some details as the story was repeated over the years by those to whom it was related by General Washington.

The place was Valley Forge, in the cold and bitter winter of 1777.  Washington's army suffered several reverses and the situation was desperate.  Food was scarce.  The Continental Congress was not sending supplies or money.  Some of the troops did not even have shoes to wear in the snow.  Many soldiers were sick and dying from disease and exposure.  Morale was at an all-time low and there was great agitation in the Colonies against continued effort to secure our freedom from England.  Nevertheless, General Washington was determined to see the struggle through.

These are the words of a first-hand observer, Anthony Sherman, who was there and describes the situation: "You doubtless heard the story of Washington's going to the thicket to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation."

"One day, I remember it well, when the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shown brightly, he remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon alone.  When he came out, I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual.  There seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance.  Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters who was presently in attendance.  After a preliminary conversation of about an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone commanded, related the event that occurred that day."


"This afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb me.  Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful female.  So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence.  A second, a third and even a fourth time did I repeat my question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a slight raising of her eyes.

"By this time I felt strange sensations spreading through me.  I would have risen but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible.  I assayed once more to address her, but my tongue had become useless, as though it had become paralyzed.

"A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me.  All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my unknown visitor.  Gradually the surrounding atmosphere seemed as if it had become filled with sensations, and luminous.
Everything about me seemed to rarefy, the mysterious visitor herself becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my sight than before.  I now began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined accompany dissolution.  I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move; all were alike impossible.  I was only conscious of gazing fixedly, vacantly at my companion.

"Presently I heard a voice saying, `Son of the Republic, look and learn,' while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly, I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold.  This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a stranger scene.  Before me lay spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the world - Europe, Asia, Africa and America.  I saw rolling and tossing between Europe and America the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia and America lay the Pacific.

"`Son of the Republic,' said the same mysterious voice as before, `look and learn.' At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing or rather floating in mid-air, between Europe and America.  Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand, while with his left hand he cast some on Europe.  Immediately a cloud raised from these countries, and joined in mid-ocean.  For a while it remained stationary, and then moved slowly westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds.  Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.

"A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean, and sprinkled it out as before.  The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean, in whose heaving billows in sank from view.  A third time I heard the mysterious voice saying, `Son of the Republic, look and learn,' I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them.

"Again, I heard the mysterious voice say, `Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn.' At this the dark shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill omened specter approach our land.  It flitted slowly over every town and city of the latter.  The inhabitants presently set themselves in battle array against each other.  As I continued looking I saw a bright angel, on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was traced the word `Union,' bearing the American flag which he placed between the divided nation, and said, `Remember ye are brethren.' Instantly, the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons became friends once more, and united around the National Standard.

"And again I heard the mysterious voice saying `Son of the Republic, look and learn.' At this the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth, and blew three distinct blasts; and taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia and Africa.  Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene: From each of these countries arose thick, black clouds that were soon joined into one.  Throughout this mass there gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America.  Our country was enveloped in this volume of cloud, and I saw these vast armies devastate the whole county and burn the villages, towns and cities that I beheld springing up.  As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of sword, and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I heard again the mysterious voice saying, `Son of the Republic, look and learn.' When the voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast.

"Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America.  At the same moment the angel upon whose head still shone the word Union, and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descended from the heavens attended by legions of white spirits.  These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who I perceived were will nigh overcome, but who immediately taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle.

"Again, amid the fearful noise of the conflict, I heard the mysterious voice saying, `Son of the Republic, look and learn.' As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America.  Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious!

"Then once more I beheld the villages, towns and cities springing up where I had seen them before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried with a loud voice: `While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last.' And taking from his brow the crown on which blazoned the word `Union,' he placed it upon the Standard while the people, kneeling down, said, `Amen.' "The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld.  This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I had heard before, said, `Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three great perils will come upon the Republic.  The most fearful is the third, but in this greatest conflict the whole world united shall not prevail against her.  Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land and the Union'.  With these words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown to me the birth, progress, and destiny of the United States.

This ended General George Washington's vision and prophecy for the United States of America as told in his words.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

5. He who wants to ovecome the spirit of slander should not ascribe the blame to the person who falls, but to the demon who suggests it. For no one really wants to sin against God, even though we all sin without being forced to do so.

July 3, 2002


Israel's new security fence around the West Bank could prove to be the final straw for the already crippled Palestinian economy while having a minimal effect on Israel, analysts said.

The fence, aimed at preventing suicide bombers and car bombers from entering Israel, will also stop thousands of Palestinians from working in Israel and earning badly needed cash, representatives of donor countries and the United Nations said.

Shaun Ferguson, head of the economic unit at UNSCO (United Nations Special Coordinating Organization) in Ramallah said the fence would lead to a sharp rise in unemployment in the West Bank which some sources estimate at more than 60 percent.


Thousands of unemployed Palestinians demonstrate in Gaza
Jerusalem fence to be erected in months
Arab-Israeli Barrier Has Both Sides Divided


A psychological study of 1,300 children shows that 70 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and 30 percent of children in Jewish settlements are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of months of bloodshed.

Children taking part in the study said they suffered from nightmares, eating disorders, anxiety and a sense of loss - all symptoms of the disorder, according to Tamar Lavi, a psychologist who conducted the research last summer as part of her thesis for Tel Aviv University's Adler Center.

Israeli and Palestinian children have been exposed to steady suicide bombings, missile strikes and shootings since the current round of violence erupted in September 2000.  Some children in Lavi's study said they had seen attacks, been injured and lost relatives.  Some Palestinian children had been arrested.

Lavi fears the current level of tension could contribute to a cycle of violence that will be even more difficult to break.  "People who make decisions that lead to violence and conflict have to realize that these things don't just pass by children," Lavi said.  "The children here are paying a very, very high price."

COMMENTARY: The Greatest Mideast Challenge

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

2. Slander is an offspring of hatred, a subtle yet coarse disease, a leech lurking unfelt, wasting and draining the blood of love. It is a simulation of love, the patron of a heavy and unclean heart, the ruin of chastity.

July 2, 2002


Pope John Paul II, whose frail health has been of great concern to Catholics, has thanked the faithful for their prayers during his moments of suffering.  The 82-year-old pontiff did not refer directly to his health in remarks to those gathered for his weekly address in St.  Peter's Square, Vatican City.

But he did say that it was the prayers of others that helped keep him going.

"My ministry is supported by the incessant prayer of the people of God: By so many people unknown to me - but very close to my heart - who offer to the Lord their prayers and their sacrifices according to the aims of the pope," he said.

"In the moments of great difficulty and suffering, this spiritual force is real help and an intimate comfort."

RELATED: Pope ends resignation rumours


The Roman Catholic diocese where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez was raised has banned him from speaking at its churches because of his support for abortion rights.  The Corpus Christi Diocese ban also applies to John Sharp, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Both Sanchez and Sharp are Catholics who say they personally oppose abortion but support a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.  "That's being schizophrenic about it," Bishop Carmody said Monday. "That's saying, 'In my own home, I respect life, but when I'm in public office, I'm going to go with the pack.'"

Under guidelines in effect in the south Texas diocese since 1999, Catholics who declare themselves in support of abortion rights cannot hold church positions or speak at any Catholic institutions in the region.

The issue could be important because the Catholic Church is influential in many Hispanic communities, and Democrats' chances this year may depend on their ability to attract a record number of Hispanic voters.  Texas Hispanics have historically supported Democratic candidates, almost all of whom have favored abortion rights.  Republican Gov. Rick Perry said he believes abortion should be legal only in cases of rape or incest, or when a pregnancy threatens the woman's life.

RELATED: 'Abortion boat' gets licence

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 10- "On slander or calumny"

1. No sensible person, I think, will dispute that slander is born of hatred and remembrance of wrongs. Therefore it comes next in order after its forebears.

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