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September 30, 2000

Looking to the future of relations between Christians and Jews, in the first place we appeal to our Catholic brothers and sisters to renew the awareness of the Hebrew roots of their faith.  We ask them to keep in mind that Jesus was a descendant of David; that the Virgin Mary and the Apostles belonged to the Jewish people; that the Church draws sustenance from the root of that good olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild olive branches of the gentiles (cf. Romans 11:17-24); that the Jews are our dearly beloved brothers, indeed in a certain sense they are "our elder brothers." --Pope John Paul II

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO OUR JEWISH ELDER BROTHERS IN THE FAITH

The object of Rosh Hashana is to crown God as our King. Tekiah -- the long, straight shofar blast -- is the sound of the King's coronation.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam's first act was to proclaim God as King.  And now, the shofar proclaims to ourselves and to the world: God is our King.  We set our values straight and return to the reality of God as the One Who runs the world...  guiding history, moving mountains, and caring for each and every human being individually and personally.

RELATED:
ABCs of Rosh HaShana
Historic sunset in Jerusalem, marking end of Jewish year 5760
Palestinians, Israelis do bloody battle on holy site

FROM THE MAILBAG

Editor's note: The following post refers back to a terrible event first reported on the Trib Times in May.  Please click here and scroll down to the May 11th entry before reading the "end of the story" below.

VIA Maureen Braun: I just needed to share the awesome kindness of God with you.... The power of prayer can be miraculous.  An ongoing miracle is unfolding in my life since the flood.  Not only have I been re-done by the hands of the Father, but His answers to my prayers have been more clear and more positive.

We had put done a contract on some land.  Our offer was low.  We were embarrassed about it, even.  The land has a beautiful pastoral spot for a home, ON A HILL. We had been waiting for the answer of whether we would get a counter offer...and when we did, how high would it be?  Our realtor said to expect a counter offer. Well, the contract expired without word from the owners.  The realtor was told that they had been too busy to look over the contract with their representative. During this time of protracted agony, the kids and I have been going to church to adore The Blessed Sacrament....and praying for His Grace and Mercy...as well as garnering prayers from every place possible via the internet.

Yesterday, was my anniversary.  My husband, Michael, took me to a resturant that has candle light and is very beautiful.  While we were there, I asked him to be sure his phone was on, just in case.  I had given the realtor his cell phone number in case there was a counter-offer.  But, disappointment set in when we realized there was NO SIGNAL. Yet, some heavy stone walls didn't stop the phone from ringing....our eyes met and our mouths dropped open.  It was our realtor. Lo and behold, God gave us the anniversary present I begged him for:Our original offer was accepted!!  No counter offer.  We meet tonight to sign the contract. Interestingly enough, right after he hung up with the realtor, the phone still reported No Signal and it wouldn't work to call the folks with the good news....

We prayed a prayer of Thanksgiving right then and there.  My husband even led it.  Another miracle. We finished our dinner with smiles and discussed how awesome God has been to us since the flood.  We wondered what got God's attention...our prayers?  The Blessed Mother's, St.  Therese?  Strangers who prayed for us through Trib Times...St.  Vincent DePaul who's Day our anniversary is on....the prayers of the contemplative nuns off the Archdiocese's site...some other discussion groups who read about us??.....Or is it a conglomeration of each and every prayer? Oh, what a wonderful anniversary.

We now are bothering God for the resolution of the buy-out of the flood property.
We need the state to choose our appraisal instead of the city's, which was 20,000 less...then our lives can go on in the usual counter-cultural way of being a Catholic family only with a home.  I can't wait.  But God is truly in control.  I'll wait...His way usually turns out superior anyway.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

193. Purification of heart, through which we acquire humility and every blessing that comes from above, consists simply in our not letting evil thoughts enter the soul.

September 29, 2000

St.  Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of Battle; Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.  May God rebuke Him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world, seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

HELPLESS VICTIMS OF THE SPIRITUAL WAR- CAN JUDGMENT BE FAR BEHIND?

U.S. FDA approves abortion pill RU-486

"This decision is unprecedented.  Never before has the FDA approved a drug intended to kill people.  The FDA's mission is to promote health, not facilitate the taking of life.  Sadly, the FDA has approved a drug that will kill an unborn child and put mothers at grave risk.'' - Rep.  Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

"Bill Clinton got the legacy he was looking for.  On his third day in office, he issued an executive order to get the ball rolling on the approval of the abortion pill.  Nearly eight years later, President Clinton got what he wanted, and the losers in his victory are women and children across the country.  This is a sad day for America.'' - J.C. Watts Jr.  of Oklahoma, House Republican Conference chairman.

"For the days will surely come when people will say, 'Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne, the breasts that have never suckled!  Then they will say to the mountains 'FALL ON US!' ; to the hills 'COVER US!!" --Jesus, while carrying the cross up Calvary: (Luke 23:29)

POPE RECALLS HOLY YEAR MUST BE INTENSELY EUCHARISTIC

"The earthly revelation of divine glory reaches its apex in the events of Easter...  The Paschal mystery, expression of the 'perfect glorification of God,' is perpetuated in the Eucharistic sacrifice, commemoration of death and resurrection entrusted by Christ to the Church, His beloved bride." The Holy Father highlighted that "today the most exalted celebration of divine glory is undoubtedly the liturgy.  ...Christian Worship is the most vital expression of the encounter between divine glory and the glorification that arises from the lips and heart of man."

MORE:  The Eucharist, a humble celebration of divine glory

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

192 (cont.). Because of our arrogance and vanity, instead of imitating the Lord in humility, we embrace His enemy, the demon of pride. It was with reference to this that the Apostle said: 'For what do you have which you did not receive?' (1 Cor. 4:7). Did you create yourself? And if you received from God both soul and body, from which and in which and through which every virtue comes into being, 'why do you boast as if you had not received?' (1 Cor. 4:7). For it is the Lord who has given you these things.

September 28, 2000

(Isa 51:12-13)  "I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?

REPORT GRADES EVOLUTION TEACHING

Nineteen states got D's or F's in a report that evaluated how public schools teach evolution, raising a new issue in a continuing dispute between science and religion. Kansas, whose standards were described as "disgraceful,'' got the lowest grade.

Linda Holloway, former chairman of the Kansas State Board of Education, said the report was deceptive and "very unfair.'' "Clearly they have an ax to grind about evolution,'' she said in a telephone interview.

Kansas last year rekindled the issue of teaching evolution in public schools when the state board of education, led by Holloway, approved science teaching standards that minimized the importance of evolution and omitted the big-bang theory of the origin of the universe.

MORE:  Sign size does not change 'In God We Trust' lawsuit

MIDDLE EAST HEADLINES OF NOTE

Clinton says hopes for early Middle East deal
Israelis, Palestinians Begin Talks in United States
Mubarak, Assad to discuss Middle East peace
Israel's Netanyahu Cleared of Corruption Charges

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Deb: The FDA deadline is this Friday for the abortion pill?  This Friday is also the feast day of the Archangels, SS Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  I think we should all pray and ask for them to intercede for us before God and ask that he block the approval of this deadly drug!  God have Mercy on us.

VIA Alan A Trombetta: 'RU 486' is a fascinating product name.  In order to better understand its origins simply add the three numbers together, 4+8+6 = 18 and divide by 3.  What did you get?  RU 666?  (Are You 666?) The point is this: Behind every issue having to do with death is the imprint, the name or number of Satan and his anti-christ, which the Holy Spirit told us about in Rev. 13:16-18.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

192. If every virtue comes into being through soul and body, and soul and body are the creation of God, how shall we not be utterly mad if we boast of accidental adornments of soul or body, and puff ourselves up, supported by our vanity as by a flimsy staff? Worst of all, how, through our extreme wickedness and folly shall we not rouse against us God who transcends us so infinitely? 'For God ranges Himself against the proud' (Jas. 4:6).

September 27, 2000

FDA FACING DEADLINE ON ABORTION PILL APPROVAL

This week the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration faces a deadline on whether to give marketing approval to the so-called abortion pill.  Advocates of the controversial pill have faced numerous roadblocks in trying to make it available to American women. The deadline for the FDA decision is Friday.

Now the ball lies in the FDA's court and the administration is expected to take one of three actions: deny approval; extend the regulatory review process; or grant marketing approval.  If approval is given, it could come with restrictions, such as requiring doctors to register if they perform abortions with the drug.  These physicians would also have to be able to perform surgical abortions and have hospital privileges within an hour's drive.

The journey to this week's FDA action has been a long one for the drug, whose medical name is mifepristone.  Twenty years ago, Roussel-UCLAF, a French company, developed the drug, also known as RU-486.  It was later made available to women in France, the United Kingdom and Sweden.  In 1993 the Clinton administration lifted a ban imposed by the Bush administration that prevented American women from importing RU-486.

MORE SCIENCE HEADLINES

Mutant rabbit raises controversy over genetic manipulation
Male couples could conceive child
Cloned mice show no premature aging after several generations
Genetically engineered foods causing some concern

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Helen Arata: I just read that St.  Januarius' blood liquified once more on the anniversary of his death on Sept.  19th in Naple, Italy.  I thought your readers might like to read about it at: http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=7187.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

191. The Lord said: 'Whoever humbles himself as this little child will be exalted; and whoever exalts himself will be abased' (cf. Matt. 18:4; 23:12). 'Learn from Me', He said. Do you see how this learning means humility? Thus he who is not humble has lost life and obviously will be found with its opposite.

September 26, 2000

POPE SAYS JUBILEE IS OCCASION TO REDISCOVER MARY

On a day marking two Marian events, John Paul said, "The Jubilee of the Son is also the Jubilee of the Mother." The events were the end of an international congress dedicated to Mary, and the Jubilee of Marian Shrines around the world.

During a Mass in St.  Peterís Square, attended by 50,000 faithful, the Holy Father spoke about the love that Christ's followers, and not just Catholics, should have for Mary. John Paul II cited a passage from St.  Mark's Gospel in which Christ embraces a child and gives him as an example to his disciples.  The Holy Father said it is a lesson given by the one who, although above all, did not hesitate to become "the least of all."

In this way, the Pope explained, one can understand better Mary's greatness, whose primacy is "rooted in humility," and whose privileged relation with the Holy Spirit "did not free her from the hardships of the human condition during her earthly life." "Mary totally lived the daily reality of so many families of her time," he said.  "She experienced poverty, pain, exile, misunderstanding.  Her spiritual greatness does not 'distance' her from us: She traveled our road and has been in solidarity with us in the 'pilgrimage of faith.'"

The celebration of 2000 years of Christianity, therefore, is also dedicated to the Virgin, the Holy Father said.  Hence, he added, the Jubilee is not just an opportunity to live with a stronger love for Christ, but also to experience "renewed Marian devotion."

RELATED: The Jubilee must give rise to a renewed evangelizing impulse

VATICAN CARDINAL PROTESTS TO BEIJING OVER ARRESTS

A top Vatican official said Monday he had lodged an "energetic protest" with authorities while in China last week over a recent wave of arrests of Catholic faithful and bishops loyal to Pope John Paul.  Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, one of the Pope"s closest aides, also said he regretted that he was not allowed to contact members of the underground Catholic church, which is not recognized by the Beijing communist government.

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA  Sue Taylor: EWTN maintains an excellent resource entitled "Frequently Asked Questions in the Expert Forums" that addresses many burning issues of the day.  It can be found at: http://www.ewtn.com/expert/expertfaqframe.asp?source=/ewtn/experts/conference.htm.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

190. The Lord said: 'Learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls; (Matt. 11:29).

September 25, 2000

(Eccl 1:9)  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Desmond Birch: Gandy's theme (see yesterday's Trib Times) that Jesus is a myth is anything but new. His theme is as tired as heresy is old. Many of the Gnostics tried to trot out that canard (in the third century) that Jesus was only a myth - only to have St. Irenaeus (and others) who had been trained by disciples of the apostles set them straight.

To quote Fr. Jurgens, the great 20th century Patristic scholar:

"I cannot recall any modern heresy that is really new; nor do I know of any ancient heresy that has been slain outright."

(The Faith of the Early Fathers" Vol. 3, A source-book of theological and historical passages from the writings of St. Augustine to the end of the Patristic Age, W.A. Jurgens, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1979, p. 198)

VIA M+G+R Foundation: Tragically, we cannot blame these lost souls (Gandy and his coauthor) for reaching such an erroneous, but apparently logical, conclusion. Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated: "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you for one another." [John 14:35]

What do the "outsiders" see? Deep hatred and division among those who claim to be Jesus Christ Disciples. Our Lord also said: I give you a new commandment:  love one another. As I d you, so you also should love one another." [John 14:34]

What do the "outsiders" see?  More hatred and division among those who claim to be Jesus Christ disciples. How in the Name of God do we expect anyone to believe in Jesus Christ if those who claim to follow Him  and crowd the Church benches blatantly ignore His most basic teachings? His so called disciples should not be surprised when they hear Him say: "Amen, I say to you, I do not know you." [Matthew 25:12]

That is precisely what He will mean. He will only "know" those who do the Will of the Father; a Will which the Son clearly explained to us: Love one another. As I d you, so you also should love one another.

Brothers and sisters - what part of the above is what you do not understand? May the Holy Spirit of God bring upon you Light and Peace, for then, you will Love too. In His Name we speak.

(1 John 3:10-11)  This is how we know who the are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

189. With your breathing combine watchfulness and the name of Jesus, or humility and the unremitting study of death. Both may confer great blessing.

September 24, 2000

(2 Cor 11:3-4)  But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

'THE JESUS MYSTERIES' OPENS A CONTROVERSIAL CAN OF WORMS

Timothy Freke, along with his lifelong friend Peter Gandy, is the author of "The Jesus Mysteries," a radical new look at Christian origins that suggests that Jesus the man did not exist at all.  Freke and Gandy pose the view that Jesus was a mythical character created in the mold of the mythological Osiris/Dionysus god-man character.  While the so-called "Quest for the Historical Jesus" is nothing new, the thesis in "The Jesus Mysteries" takes the mission one step further.

"The great tragedy of literalist Christianity, which focuses on the historical Jesus, is that it ends up dividing itself from everyone else and we end up with these horrendous religious divisions that have bedeviled the world," he continued. "Christians are not united. Baptists hate Methodists and Methodists hate Catholics and round and round it goes, because each one has their version of Jesus.  (But) once you understand it as a myth, everyone can have their version of Jesus because it's about finding a relationship with a mythic archetype, not arguing over history."

VATICAN REJECTS BEIJING CRITICISM OVER SAINTS

The Vatican Friday rejected Beijing's criticism of Pope John Paul II's decision to canonize Chinese martyrs on Oct.  1, the 51st anniversary of communist rule. The 120 martyrs -- 87 Chinese and 33 missionaries -- were killed between 1648 and 1930, most in the anti-foreign Boxer Uprising in the 19th century.

Chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the date of the ceremony, which will confer sainthood on the martyrs, was chosen exclusively for religious reasons. Besides being Chinese National Day, Oct.  1 is also the feast of St.  Teresa of Lisieux, patroness of missions. "The history of Catholicism in China is so inextricably linked to missionary activity that Oct.  1, feast of St Teresa, was the most appropriate date,'' Navarro-Valls told reporters.

(Rev 6:9-10)  When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

188. Noxious foods give trouble when taken into the body; but as soon as he feels the pain, the person who has eaten them can quickly take some emetic and so be unharmed. Similarly, once the intellect that has imbibed evil thoughts senses their bitterness, it can easily expel them and get rid of them completely by means of the Jesus Prayer uttered from the depths of the heart. This lesson, and the experience corresponding to it, have by God's grace conveyed understanding to those who practise watchfulness.

September 23, 2000

(Mat 19:14)  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

BRITISH COURT APPROVES SURGERY TO SEPARATE SIAMESE TWINS

Appeals judges ruled Friday that surgeons may separate 1-month-old Siamese twins an operation that would kill one to save the other despite the Roman Catholic parents" determination to submit the girls" fate to "God"s will." Doctors said the girls, identified only as Jodie and Mary, will die within months if they remain together, but that Jodie could survive on her own.  The ruling by the three judges of the Court of Appeal was unanimous.  The case may not be over, however the parents were permitted to appeal to the House of Lords, Britain"s highest court.  They were uncertain whether they would do so.  The twins, joined at the lower abdomen, were born Aug.  8 at St.  Mary"s Hospital in Manchester.

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA M. T. Melvin: Babies For "Research" Urge Your Senators to Oppose Federal Funding

In 1996, Congress outlawed federal funding for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to the risk of injury or death." However, before Congress adjourns, the Senate is expected to vote on the "Stem Cell Research Act of 2000" (S.  2015), sponsored by Sen.  Arlen Specter.  The bill would lift this funding ban and thereby legalize federal funding of research that kills human embryos.

NO JUSTIFICATION FOR KILLING BABIES

With technological advances in medicine, the heart of the research debate has moved to stem cells, which are cells that are not yet specialized and can develop into various body parts, such as bone, skin, organs, and nerves.  Stem cells are found in embryos, placentas, umbilical cords, and even some adult tissues.  Pro-abortion forces are pressuring Congress to lift the ban on killing embryos in order to federally-fund research on embryonic stem cells.  Note that the only way to obtain embryonic stem cells is to kill the baby.  They claim that embryonic stem cell research is the silver bullet to finding cures for a range of human diseases, such as cancer, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.  Yet, embryonic stem cells have yet to produce a single benefit for human patients.  Adult stem cells have already proved beneficial in treating brain tumors, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, anemia, strokes, and other diseases.  Embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary and immoral.

ACTION ITEMS

A close vote is anticipated and could take place at any time.  Senators are under significant pressure.  Even actors Christopher Reeve and Michael J.  Fox have paraded around Capitol Hill to lobby for lifting the ban.  Tell your Senators to Vote 'NO' on the Stem Cell Research Act of 2000.

Contact Congress! : http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ or by phone (202) 224-3121.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

187. Live us live every moment 'applying our hearts to wisdom' (Ps. 90:12), as the Psalmist says, continually breathing Jesus Christ, the power of God the Father and the wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:24). If, however, we are distracted by some circumstance or other and grow slack in our spiritual effort, the following morning let us again gird up the loins of our intellect and once more set to work forcefully. There is no excuse for us if, knowing what is to be done, we do not do it.

September 22, 2000

(Rev 6:8)  I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

ISRAEL FIGHTS MODERN-DAY PLAGUE OF WEST NILE VIRUS

An Israeli rabbi is seeking Divine intervention to smite a modern-day plague -- the West Nile virus that has already killed 13 Israelis.  Rabbi David Batzri, a spiritual leader in Jerusalem"s ultra-Orthodox community, said he would lead a midnight "anti-mosquito" prayer at the mountaintop grave of a Jewish saint, the Maariv newspaper reported on Thursday.  Batzri also asked synagogue-goers to recite a prayer which Jewish tradition says dates back to Moses and wards off the Angel of Death in times of plague, the paper said.  Meanwhile, worried Israelis jammed municipal switchboards on Thursday with requests for mosquito-spraying as officials tried to calm concern over what the Health Ministry described as an epidemic.

VATICAN SAYS MADE REPRESENTATIONS TO IRAN OVER JEWS

The Vatican said on Thursday it had made representations to Iran in favour of 10 Jews convicted of spying for Israel.  Chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement that the Vatican"s Secretariat of State had "several times, both directly and indirectly, mentioned the fate of the prisoners to Iranian authorities." Navarro-Valls said the Vatican had "always hoped for the respect of the right of the defendants to a fair and just trial as well as guarantees for the rights of prisoners." The spokesman issued the statement minutes after an Iranian appeals court reduced the the jail sentences on 10 Jewish defendants by between two and six years.  The Vatican has diplomatic relations with both Iran and Israel.

RELATED: Iran court cuts Jews' jail time in spy case

VIETNAM FLOOD TOLL SURGES, BUT HOPE OF RESPITE

The worst floods in decades swelled in Vietnam"s Mekong Delta on Thursday and the toll surged to at least 59, with another 30 deaths reported, but aid agencies hope the misery is nearing its end.  In neighbouring Cambodia the toll is more than 130 since July, but officials there said levels of the mighty Mekong River feeding the Delta floods had continued to fall, showing the worst was over, at least for that country.  The floods were also receding further upstream in north and northeast Thailand, where no fresh rains have been reported for several days, but thousands have been driven from their homes, and at least 30 killed.

RELATED:
Storm rips through Ohio town; 1 dead, dozens injured
Northern Italy hit by thunderstorms, flooding
Floods kill 59 people in eastern India

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

186 (cont.). And elsewhere he says: 'A man shall approach, and the heart is deep, and God shall be exalted' (Ps. 64: 6-7. LXX). Then we shall regard the attacks of the demons as stones thrown by infants.

September 21, 2000

(Rev 6:5-6)  When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

EUROPE-WIDE FUEL PROTEST SPREADS TO MIDDLE EAST

Farmers, truckers and fishermen launched fuel protests from the North Sea to the Mediterranean on Tuesday as crude oil prices sped to near 10-year highs.  The European demonstrations spread to the Middle East, with Israeli truckers mounting a "go-slow" protest along the main north-south road linking the ports of Haifa and Ashdod.  Crude prices scaled to near 10-year peaks on Tuesday, up to levels not seen since Iraq"s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

RELATED:
Oil Price Shocks on Macroeconomy an analysis by Dr Stephen A Rinehart.
IMF warns about effects of sustained Euro weakness
France seeks U.S./EU/OPEC oil price talks
Oil Prices Drive Record July Trade Gap

FROM THE MAILBAG

Ronald Barnabas Anthony, CSAP, M.S., M.Min, M.A.
Email: [email protected]

Bro. Ronald Barnabas Anthony is the founder of the Community of St.  Anthony Padua, St. Anthony's Retreat, in Florence, Montana, and a former ordained Southern Baptist and Nazarene Pastor.  He was converted to the Roman Catholic Church through a crisis of faith, following a series of personal difficulties in his life.  On September 29, 1999 (The Feast of Sts Michael et al Archangels) he took private vows as a hermit brother before a priest and another hermit brother in Iowa.  He was not aware when he took those vows in the evangelical counsels that that was the date of his original ordination as a Baptist pastor (September 29, 1985).

Bro.  Anthony is experienced in apologetics, evangelism, teaching, spiritual direction and homiletics and has a special interest in those "problems" of doctrine with which many Protestants have difficulty.  He holds a Master of Science in Environmental Health Science; a Master of Ministry in General Ministry; and, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry.  Bro.  Anthony has an apostolate of writing homilies and reflections on readings located at: http://homily-service.net/main/curley.htm.  These homilies are also sent out by email to approximately 850 priests and deacons all over the world.  Bro. Anthony's (Ronald Curley) homilies are hosted by the Homily Service of Father Daniel Meynen in Belgium.  Bro.  Anthony also has two grown children -- a son (Matthew) and a daughter (Elizabeth).

"Mary in the Wilderness: The Hermitage Within" reflects upon his own experiences and consolations in the "desert" of his own life as he relates more to our Mother, the Mother of the Church, and her role as our Sanctissima (Highest Example of Virtue).  This is related in God's desire for us to become like her through the path toward holiness in Christ that we are offered by God in this journey of Faith we have in Christ.  Cf.  II Corinthians 11:1-6 and II Corinthians 5:17.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

186 (cont.). Speaking of the intellect's investigation of itself in the course of the unseen war, and of the help given by God, he says: 'And a man will say, Is there a reward for the righteous?' Then giving the solution to this problem, he says: 'Truly he is a God that judges those in the earth' (Ps. 58:11. LXX)- that is to say, judges the wicked demons in the earth of the heart.

September 20, 2000

(Mark 1:15) "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

THE LAMB'S SUPPER

The best thing about traveling is that it gives me time to catch up on my spiritual reading.  Over the past three days I read a book that I highly recommend, The Lamb's Supper- The Mass as Heaven on Earth.  Written by Dr. Scott Hahn, this book provides not only an insightful look at the Book of Revelation, but a wonderful, penetrating look at the Mass.  I will warn all Catholic readers in advance that after reading this book, it will be difficult to not attend daily Mass.  And non-Catholic Christians, particularly those who have a sophisticated knowledge of Scripture, may find themselves enthusiastically visiting their Catholic brethren on Sundays. Heaven on Earth!!  Alleluia!!!

COMMITMENT TO ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE IS IRREVOCABLE

"Within the ecumenical movement, theological dialogue is the proper setting for us to face together the issues over which Christians have been divided and to build together the unity to which Christ calls his disciples," John Paul II said Monday morning, when he met with some 20 members of the Mixed International Commission for Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

"Our dialogue then becomes an examination of conscience, a call to conversion, in which both sides examine before God their responsibility to do all that they can to put behind them the conflicts of the past." For this reason, the Pope confirmed the Catholic Church's "irrevocable" commitment to the ecumenical dialogue.

Later, referring to the topic of the third phase of the dialogue being addressed by the Commission, and entitled "Church and Kingdom of God," the Pontiff said that recent history has witnessed the sufferings caused by ideologies that wished to substitute God and his Kingdom.  Therefore, at the beginning of the new millennium, it is critical that all Christians, "long separated from one another, feel deeply challenged by the Lord's exhortation: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the Gospel' (Mk 1:15)."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

186. He who with all diligence keeps purity of heart will have Christ, establisher of that purity, as his teacher, and Christ will secretly communicate His will to him. ' I will hear what God the Lord will speak within me', says David, giving expression to this (Ps. 85:8. LXX).

September 15, 2000

The next issue of the Trib Times will be on Wednesday, Sept. 20th.  Thanks for your patience.

(Mat 7:2) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

VIRGINIA EXECUTES BARNABEI OVER VATICAN PROTESTS

Convicted murderer Derek Rocco Barnabei, whose case drew a plea for clemency from the Vatican, was executed on Thursday in a Virginia prison for the 1993 slaying of his 17-year-ld girlfriend.  Barnabei, 33, had steadfastly maintained his innocence in the rape and murder of Sarah Wisnosky, but was further implicated in the murder when DNA tests conducted last weekend confirmed his blood was under the victim"s fingernails.  "I am truly innocent of this crime," Barnabei said before he was injected with a dose of lethal chemicals at the Greensville state prison.

RELATED:
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MOUSE GENES SHED LIGHT ON HUMAN 'BOOK OF LIFE'

Researchers rushing to read the billions of letters of code in the human genome are getting a boost from a humble source -- the mouse.  Scientists at Celera Genomics say they are burning the candle at both ends to decipher the genetic code that makes a mouse a mouse, and plan to compare this to the human genome to sort out the most important parts.  They hope to publish their findings later this year, at the same time that publicly funded researchers publish what they have been able to learn about the human genome.

RELATED:
Subcommittee hears testimony on stem cell research
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(Rev 20:12) And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

185. Both mental converse with evil thoughts and external encounters and chatter alike darken the soul. If we are not to injure the intellect, we must not spare either of these chatterboxes, whether they be our own thoughts or other people. And we must not spare them for a most cogent reason: because otherwise our intellect will be darkened and we will lose our watchfulness. If we are darkened by forgetfulness, we destroy the intellect.

September 14, 2000

(Rom 11:25-27) I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

VATICAN AIDE'S BOOK URGES ROMAN CATHOLICS TO BE MORE ASSERTIVE

The Vatican official in charge of overseeing Roman Catholic doctrine wants the church to assert itself more strongly against other religions, according to book excerpts published Sunday by a German magazine.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, considered close to Pope John Paul II, said the church's purpose "is not to find the most bearable compromise formulas, but rather to convey the entire greatness of God's word and will in a pure form," Focus magazine reported.

Ratzinger also said the Roman Catholic church has not given up hope that Jews will embrace Christianity. "We are waiting for the moment in which Israel too will say yes to Christ," he was quoted as saying.

"That does not mean that we want to impose Christ on them," he added, referring to Jews. "We also have to live the Christian community in such a way that this community does not stand against them anymore or would be unacceptable for them, but rather makes a rapprochement possible."

Ratzinger makes the comments in a book, "God And The World," to be published in Germany on Oct. 10, Focus said. The weekly published what it said were edited excerpts from the book, which records talks by Ratzinger with writer Peter Seewald.

The German cardinal also voices reservations about genetic engineering.  "There are ultimate borders that we cannot cross without becoming destroyers of creation," he is quoted as saying.

Ratzinger heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which issued a declaration this month that questioned what it said were efforts to treat all religions as equal.  The declaration was seen as a contrast with Pope John Paul's unprecedented efforts to improve relations with non-Catholics during his 22-year papacy.

RELATED: Storm in Italy over cardinal's anti-Muslim comment

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

184. Bring your works to the Lord, and you will find grace. Then the words of the Prophet will not be spoken of you: 'Thou art near in their mouth, O Lord, and far from their reins' (cf. Jer. 12:2). None but Jesus Christ Himself, unifier of what is disunited, can give your heart lasting peace from passions.

September 14, 2000

ASTEROID ALERT

Late last week the LINEAR robotic telescope in New Mexico discovered a bright Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) that will pass 0.03 AU from Earth on Sept. 17 (approximately 12 times farther from our planet than the Moon). The space rock, called 2000 RD53, is probably 300-400 meters across. There is no danger of a collision, but the close encounter offers astronomers a chance to study an NEA at close range. Amateur astronomers with 8 inch or larger telescopes can also monitor 2000 RD53. To find the asteroid in the sky, use this ephemeris.

RELATED: CANADA'S ASTEROID PROTECTION PLAN

UNDERSEA EXPLORER FINDS NEW EVIDENCE OF GREAT FLOODD

The first evidence that humans lived in an area now covered by the Black Sea -- perhaps inundated by the biblical flood -- has been found by a team of explorers.

Fredrik Hiebert of the University of Pennsylvania, the team's chief archaeologist, said the discovery "represents the first concrete evidence for occupation of the Black Sea coast prior to its flooding."

"This is a major discovery that will begin to rewrite the history of the cultures in this key area between Europe, Asia and the ancient Middle East," Hiebert said.

FROM THE MAILBAG:

Statement concerning Archdiocesan action regarding alleged apparitions to Gianna Talone-Sullivan in Emmitsburg, Maryland

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

183. Letters cannot be written on air; they have to be inscribed on some material if they are to have any permanence. Similarly, we should weld our hard-won watchfulness to the Jesus Prayer, so that this watchfulness may always be attached to Him and may through Him remain with us for ever.

Editor's note: Jesus Prayer refers to the following short prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner".

September 13, 2000

(Rom 8:19-22) The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the . We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

SUMMER OF FIRE AND ICE: BUSINESS AS USUAL?

In CNN's environment unit, we spent our summer watching the North Pole melt, the southern United States wither in drought and the West erupt in flames. And like much of the rest of the country and the world, we will be spending a lot more time trying to understand what it all means.

Whether we can limit the damage from climate change may depend on our ability to avoid what U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has called the "train wreck" of science, money and politics that marks so many environmental issues.

Either way, we may remember the summer of 2000 for fire and ice -- and a message from Mother Nature. That is, we can predict the weather as never before, and we can alter it with our actions, intentionally or otherwise. But in its impacts on our lives and economy, a once-popular bumper sticker was right: "Nature still bats last."

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FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA The M+G+R Foundation, Re: Yesterday's Trib Times: His Holiness Leo XIII precisely had this idea (deliverance for those oppressed) in mind when he had published a mighty prayer of exorcism for all to use - priests and laity alike. Such prayer may be found at: http://www.mgr.org/exorcism.html

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

182. If you really wish to cover your evil thoughts with shame, to be still and calm, and to watch over your heart without hindrance, let the Jesus Prayer cleave to your breath, and in a few days you will find that this is possible.

September 12, 2000

(Mark 9:26-29) And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

JOHN PAUL II HELPS POSSESSED WOMAN IN VATICAN

Last Wednesday, John Paul II came face to face with the devil's power. This was confirmed to the newspaper "Il Messagero," by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, exorcist of the diocese of Rome, who clarified what occurred.

When John Paul II imparted his blessing during the September 6 general audience, a pretty 19-year-old girl from a small town near Monza, Italy, began to shout uncontrollably. She was in one of the front rows, as her parents had requested that she be seated with the sick. Italian police came immediately to the scene and tried to calm her. However, she showed superhuman strength, and was able to repel the police. She shouted meaningless phrases in a cavernous voice, and insulted Bishop Gianni Danzi, secretary general of the Government of Vatican City, who tried to calm her with a crucifix.

When the Pope finished his customary "popemobile" tour of St. Peter's Square, greeting pilgrims from close up, he met the possessed girl in a separate area. He exorcized her and prayed for her for half an hour. Finally, he promised to offer his Mass the following day for her, so that she would be released from her possession. It seems the exorcism only gave the girl some temporary relief.

According to Fr. Amorth, "the Pope saw her, he called her, patted her, and treated her very affectionately for half an hour. He told her that the next morning, Thursday, he would offer Mass for her. Bishop Danzi was present at the exorcism. The following day, on Thursday afternoon, I exorcised her again, together with Fr. Giancarlo; it lasted 2 hours. Bishop Danzi also took part in this exorcism."

On this occasion, the diabolic voice alluded to the meeting with the Pope the previous day. "How happy the demon was," Fr. Amorth said. He had some laughs. He even had the girl say to me: 'Not even your boss (that is, the Pope) has been able to do anything with me!'"

The exorcist from the diocese of Rome said that the girl's case is dramatic, and he attributed it to a curse.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A CALL TO ACTION!!

This event highlights the grim reality of the existence of satan, an existence often denied by modern scripture "scholars".  I would like to ask anyone receiving this to join me in prayer and fasting today for the successful deliverence of this unfortunate victim of the spiritual war.  Please pass this request on to anyone who you feel might join.  But please realize that this particular struggle is a microcosm of the ferocious spirtual war that satan is waging against God's Church.  One does not enter a whirlwind expecting to exit with every hair in its place.  Likewise anyone entering this particular battle needs a focused, intense faith with total reliance on the power and will of God.  The ultimate victory will be His.

Let us finish this battle, arm in arm with our beloved Pope!

(Rev 12:12) Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

181. Since we are human beings, it is not in our nature to pursue birds through the air or to fly as they do. Similarly, without watchful and frequent prayer we cannot prevail over bodiless, demonic thoughts, or fix the eye of the intellect fully and intently upon God. Without such prayer, we merely hunt after earthly things.

September 11, 2000

PALESTINIAN LEADERS DELAY STATE DECLARATION

The Palestinian mini-parliament agreed on Sunday to delay a declaration of an independent Palestinian state for at least two months to allow more time for a peace deal to be reached with Israel. The 129-member Palestinian Central Council (PCC) said in a statement after a two-day meeting in Gaza that final preparations for statehood should be completed by November 15. The PCC should meet again by November 15 to consider when the statehood declaration should be made, it said.

RELATED:
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Sacred site exerts a powerful hold
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FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Mrs. Joyce Lang: On September 8, 2000 the Archdiocese of Baltimore directed that the Thursday night prayer group meetings, the site of the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Gianna Talone-Sullivan and Our Lady's public message for the world, held at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg, MD, be discontinued at this time. In response to this directive the following statement has been released:

This is a gift. Be at peace. Continue to pray. God's hand is in all of this. Watch and see!

Drs. Gianna and Michael Sullivan

POPE STILL WANTS TO VISIT IRAQ

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in an interview on Sunday that Pope John Paul still wanted to visit Iraq but the decision lay solely in the hands of the Baghdad government.

"The schedule for the rest of the year is already full but if the Iraqi authorities were to reconsider their decision, the Holy Father would find a way to go, if not this year then the beginning of the next," he said. The 80-year-old Pontiff had wanted to visit Ur, birthplace of the patriarch Abraham in southern Iraq, to kick off a series of Holy Year pilgrimages to retrace major events of the Old and New Testaments. The Pope in March made historic trips to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestinian-controlled territories. "The keys to the door are not in the hands of the Pope, so we can only hope that the Iraqi authorities will reconsider their decision," Sodano said.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

180. Every evil thought produces in the intellect the image of some material thing; for since the devil is an intellect he cannot deceive us except by making use of things we are in the habit of perceiving by means of the senses.

September 10, 2000

(Mark 1:15) "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ARGENTINA TO ASK PARDON FOR ROLE IN DICTATORSHIP

The top Roman Catholic official in Argentina said Friday the church would ask forgiveness for its role during the country"s military dictatorship and other past errors. The church plans to make the apology late Friday at the National Eucharist Congress, the central event of its Millennial celebration. The congress, which hopes to draw 100,000 pilgrims, takes place in Cordoba, Argentina"s second-largest city. "We want to confess before God everything we have done badly," Monsignor Estanislao Karlic, president of Argentina"s Episcopal Conference, told reporters. The Argentine church was known for its conservative stance during the 1976-83 dictatorship.

Karlic added that he hopes the apology would a starting point "for the reconciliation of all Argentines." The apology comes six months after Pope John Paul II asked for forgiveness for the church"s past errors _ including its role during the Nazi Holocaust and other acts of political and religious repression.

POPE SAYS SCIENCE PROGRESS MAGNIFICENT AND TERRIBLE

Pope John Paul, who last month condemned human embryo cloning as morally unacceptable, said on Saturday scientific progress created wonderful possibilities but warned of its terrible potential. The Pope, addressing university lecturers from around the world gathered at the Vatican to celebrate Roman Catholicism"s Holy Year, appealed to scientists to always weigh moral acceptability and the limits of science.

"The progress of science and technology today lies in the hands of man, possibilities which are magnificent but also terrible," the 80-year-old Pope told the academics assembled in a Vatican auditorium. "The knowledge of the limits of science in considering moral imperatives is not obscurantism, but safeguards research worthy of man and put in the service of life," the Polish Pontiff said.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

179. In this way the soul can attain in the Lord that state of beauty, loveliness and integrity in which it was created by God in the beginning. As Anthony, the great servant of God, said, 'Holiness is achieved when the intellect is in its natural state.' And again he said: 'The soul realizes its integrity when its intellect is in that state in which it was created.' And shortly after this he adds: 'Let us purify our mind, for I believe that when the mind is completely pure and in its natural state, it gains penetrating insight, and it sees more clearly and further than the demons, since the Lord reveals things to it.'

September 9, 2000

(Mat 25:37-40) "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

HAITI'S POOR CAN BARELY AFFORD TO EAT OR SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL

A 44-percent increase in gas and kerosene prices announced last Friday has Haitians anticipating the damaging social and economic consequences in a country that political dictatorship and instability has kept among the poorest on Earth.

The price increases and end to subsidies comes as Haitians are at their most vulnerable, borrowing and scraping together money to try to buy their children the education that they believe is the only way to save them from poverty. Minimum wage has remained unchanged at $1.70 since 1991 while the gourde has slumped from 7.5 to 21 to the dollar. Eighty percent of Haiti"s 8 million people live in absolute poverty, half the work force is jobless or gets by with odd jobs and the vast majority live with constant hunger pangs.

RELATED: Mandela urges end to poverty to spur peace

CHRISTIAN RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS ONLINE:
FOOD FOR THE POOR
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Anna Doyle: I did the consecration to the Immaculate Heart in 1994 and it was extraordinarily powerful. I recommend it very strongly. I have beads to make "Chaplets of Virtue" to go along with the Consecration prayers. Because the consecration asks Our Lady to come and give us her heart, the chaplets I make have a big heart in the center. I have been using the same one for six years now, and the heart, which once was red, has turned nearly pure white. (Immaculata, thank you!)

I would be willing to send a Chaplet to anyone who wants it.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

178. Whoever, then, watches out for the head of the serpent, and strikes it vehemently with all his power of rebuttal, will ward off the fight. By crushing the serpent's head he repulses a host of evil thoughts and actions.  The mind then remains undisturbed, God approving its vigilance over its thoughts.  In return it is given the ability to know how to overcome its adversaries, and how little by little to purify the heart from thoughts that defile the inner self.  As the Lord Jesus said,  'Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, and these are the things which defile a man' (cf. Matt. 15: 19-20).

September 8, 2000

(Mat 5:10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT SAYS 'RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE REMAINS FAR TOO COMMON' AROUND WORLD

In its second annual report on international religious freedom, the U.S. State Department cited China, Myanmar, Iran, Iraq and Sudan for persecuting people for their religious faith and practices.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, presenting the report to the media in New York on Tuesday, said much of the report made "grim reading." "The sad truth is that religious intolerance remains far too common in far too many places," she said.

The report noted that "much of the world's population lives in countries where the right to religious freedom is restricted or prohibited" despite the fact that 144 countries belong to an international covenant that acknowledges the right of all citizens to religious freedom.

RELATED: BISHOP OF UNDERGROUND CATHOLIC CHURCH ARRESTED IN CHINA

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Fr. Mark Kalwak, SVD: I hope I find you in good health and spirit on this feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary - don't forget about Her birthday. To celebrate this special day I prepared a page on our web site devoted to our Blessed Mother. You are very welcome to come and visit at: http://www.svd-ca.com/feasts/birth_of_mary.htm

Also we feature now a new theme "Celebrating and Learning our Faith" where you will find slide shows about the life of Jesus and other interesting and important topics. To visit click on the following link: http://www.svd-ca.com/faith/index.htm.

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

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

177. Every evil thought is subsumed in the eight principal evil thoughts and all take their origin from these eight, much as every accursed demon-god of the Greeks derives from Hera and Zeus according to their myths.  These eight approach the heart's entrance and, if they find the intellect unguarded, one by one they enter, each in its own time.  Whichever of the eight enters the heart introduces a swarm of other evil thoughts as well; and having thus darkened the intellect, it stimulates the body and provokes it to sinful actions.

September 7, 2000

(John 14:27) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

HOPES FOR WORLD PEACE AND PROSPERITY HINGED ON MILLENNIUM SUMMIT

Kings, generals, presidents and prime ministers are assembling in New York with the lofty goal of turning the 21st century into an epoch free of war, poverty, ignorance and disease. But they are also using the U.N. Millennium Summit _ the largest gathering of world leaders in history _ as a soapbox for issues in their homelands.

At the summit"s conclusion, world leaders are expected to adopt the so-called Millennium Declaration, which commits to eradicating poverty, promoting education and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Noting that more than 5 million people have lost their lives in wars during the last decade, the document says, "we will spare no effort to free our peoples from the scourge of war." A nine-page draft circulated Monday also vows to promote democracy and strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, "including the right to development" _ a key demand by Third World countries.

RELATED:
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FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA William Curtis: I just saw a wonderful program on EWTN tonight. The guests were some very dedicated folks who want to get the word out to as many of our fellow Catholics (or anyone else who wants to join us!) as we can to unite with our Holy Father on Oct. 7th as a candlelite procession takes place in Rome and our Pope, along with the Bishops of the world, pray the Rosary to honor Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary ( feast day - Oct. 7th). The following day, Pope John Paul II, along with all the Bishops who are gathered in Rome, will honor Our Lady's request at Fatima by consecrating the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother Mary. Please visit this website: http://www.immaculateheartofmary.net to read more about what we can do in our homes, our parishes and our dioceses all over these United States to unite our hearts in solidarity with our Holy Father! Let's not miss this opportunity!!

And if you share this message with anyone who tells you that they don't need Mary in their life, just remind them that - God did.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

176. Let us hold fast, therefore, to prayer and humility, for together with watchfulness they act like a burning sword against the demons. If we do this, we shall daily and hourly be able to celebrate a secret festival of joy within our hearts.

September 6, 2000

VATICAN RESTATES PRIMACY OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Asserting the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican issued a declaration Tuesday rejecting what it said are growing attempts to depict all religions as equal. The 36-page declaration accused some Catholic theologians of manipulating fundamental truths of the church to justify religious pluralism as a principle. The idea that "one religion is as good as another" endangers the church"s missionary message, the declaration said. "If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that, objectively speaking, they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the church, have the fullness of the means of salvation," said the declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican"s guardian of orthodoxy.

Regarding other Christians, the document said "there exists a single church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him." But it said "baptism" in other denominations "tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ."

RELATED:
DECLARATION "DOMINUS IESUS" ON THE UNICITY AND SALVIFIC UNIVERSALITY OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
WORLD RELIGIONS ARE NOT COMPLEMENTARY TO REVELATION
VATICAN STATEMENT FILLS A PASTORAL NEED

MORE ON "THE MARK"

VIA Mike F. Russo: St. Francis took Ezekiel 9:4 (quoted in yesterday's commentary) to heart. Please read the following online article: THE TAU CROSS IN THE FRANCISCAN TRADITION.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM THE EDITOR:Could a physical mark be necessitated by a future scenario in which commerce is tightly controlled by forces of evil? Certainly! But does that ever HAVE TO happen to fulfill Rev 13:16-17? Can those verses be fulfilled without a literal (but still real) mark? It is my opinion that they can, which was the point of yesterday's Trib Times commentary.

Would I, myself, ever consent to a subdermal microchip implant? I don't even let them stamp my hand in Disney World! :)

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

175. It is through unceasing prayer that the mind is cleansed of the dark clouds, the tempests of the demons. And when it is cleansed, the divine light of Jesus cannot but shine in it, unless we are puffed up with self-esteem and delusion and a love of ostentation, and elevate ourselves towards the unattainable, and as so are deprived of Jesus' help. For Christ, the paradigm of humility, loathes all such self-inflation.

September 5, 2000

MARK OF THE BEAST

READER: I have been hearing many news stories about subdermal microchip implants of late.  In addition several "visionaries" are warning that these chips constitue the "mark of the beast" and that their worldwide adoption is imminent.  Any thoughts?

EDITOR: First I must warn you that my own opinion on this topic differs markedly from that of most students of prophecy. It should be read only as one person's opinion- and far from an expert one.

The idea of an implantable microchip stems from a literal interpretation of the following verses:

(Rev 13:16 -17 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

(Rev 14:11) And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

The Old Testament refers to a sign on the hand and forehead on several occasions, however each time this reference is symbolic rather than literal.

(Exo 13:9) This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.

(Exo 13:16) And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand."

Paradoxically, it is interesting to note that observant Jews to this day literally wear phylacteries to comply with these verses. A phylactery refers to either of two small square leather boxes containing slips inscribed with scriptural passages and traditionally worn on the left arm and on the head by Jewish men during morning weekday prayers. Christians, however, have interpreted these particular verses in a spiritual rather than literal sense.

The Book of Ezekiel refers to the sealing or marking of the righteous by an angel of
the Lord prior to His judgement.

(Ezek 9:3-6) Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim,
where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who
grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." As I listened,
he said to the others, "Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or
compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but
do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple.

Likewise the New Testament refers to a similar event, the supernatural marking of
God's people to identify them as such.

(Rev 7:3) "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the
foreheads of the servants of our God."

(Rev 9:3-4) And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

My own personal conclusion from this study is that the "mark of the beast" is a symbolic reference rather than a literal one. Individuals who are not sealed by God, because of their faith in Jesus, will wear the "mark" of antichrist.  The "mark" will be their refusal to submit to God and their devotion to the world and its ways. Because of this they will be subjected to judgment. The danger of a belief in a literal "microchip-type" of mark is that one may not recognize the other legitimate signs of the times because of the absence of this mistakenly expected physical event.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

174. The single-phrased Jesus Prayer destroys and consumes the deceits of the demons. For when we invoke Jesus, God and Son of God, constantly and tirelessly, He does not allow them to project in the mind's mirror even the first hint of their infiltration- that is to say, their provocation- or any form, nor does He allow them to have any converse with the heart. If no demonic form enters the heart, it will be empty of evil thoughts, as we have said; for it is the demons' habit to converse with the soul by means of evil thoughts and so deceitfully to it.

September 1, 2000

The next issue of the Trib Times will be on Tuesday, September 5th. Have a safe holiday!

MUBARAK: MIDEAST PEACE MUST COME 'NOW OR NEVER

Mideast peace must come "now or never" and Israel needs to show willingness to make concessions, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview with a French newspaper.

"Arafat will never accept the maintenance of Israeli sovereignty over Islamic holy places. No Muslim would ever pardon him," he was quoted as saying. He also said that the time was right for a final agreement. "Peace is now or never," he said.

RELATED: Israel watching Iraq after U.S. puts Patriot battery on alert

HOLY FATHER'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR SEPTEMBER

The Holy Father's general prayer intention for September is: "That scientists and the academic world may find in the search for truth the way to God, the heavenly Father."

His missionary intention is: "That Muslim-Christian relationships may be marked by mutual understanding and respect."

(2 Cor 4:16-18) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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