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September 29, 2001



Roman Catholic bishops will meet with Pope John Paul II in Rome from Sunday to discuss their role in a changing world reeling from the shock of terrorist attacks and a widening gap between Christianity and Islam.

Close to 300 ecclesiastic scholars and bishops representing more than 4,000 bishops in the Catholic Church worldwide will convene for the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will continue to October 27.

The synod will address how bishops should confront their changing role in the world, according to a Vatican preparatory document.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please join me in praying for the health, safety and special intentions of our beloved Pope!!


The Blue Army (Catholic Organization) is asking people to get together to pray fifteen decades of the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament if possible as a Novena from the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, September 29 (Saturday) through October 7 (Sunday) the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

Also, on October 7, we are asking that the Rosary will be recited before or after each Mass. It's a Sunday, this year, thank you dear Jesus! Maybe you can just get your prayer group or family to do it.

For those of other faiths you can go to your houses of prayer and ask God to intervene for mankind in your own words.


VIA Helen Arata:

I would like to respond to Our Blessed Mother's request that we pray the Rosary for Peace in this critical time by suggesting that your readers think about forming block Rosary Prayer Groups. Back in the 1950's we did this all over the country. We had all the neighbors come to someone's house and we all gathered to pray the Rosary. You can start small, maybe one other family with you and then watch and see how quickly it will grow.

The Blessed Mother will lead you in forming the group. It may be done once a week or whenever is right for you. You can start out with 5 decades until people are used to praying together and then the complete 15 decades. Invite the kids too. It's a great way to pray and to build Catholic community and teach families to pray together as a family. Coffee and fellowship can follow the prayers. There's no other formula, it's very easy. Just ask the Blessed Mother to lead you and she will. All it takes is a willing heart. The world needs our prayers right now and what a wonderful way to give God glory.


The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

65 (cont.). But for our part we shall not cease to trust in God 'until He has mercy upon us' (Ps. 123:2), and those that devour us are driven far away. We shall not cease to trust in God, until He commands our tempters to depart, and we are given new life through patience and steadfast dispassion. For 'the life of man is a time of testing' (Job 7:1). God, who watches over the contest, often allows us for some definite period of time to be trampled underfoot by our enemies; but it is the mark of a courageous and noble soul not to despair in adversity.

September 28, 2001

VIA Father Joseph L. Iannuzzi: The brief summary of my book presented below is indeed accurate.  Please forgive my delay in responding due to frequent travels.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We look forwards to future works by experts in the field of Catholic eschatology such as Desmond Birch and Father Iannuzzi. We pray that through collaboration and study the sometimes conflicting conclusions in this difficult field of study can be made clear to the Catholic faithful.

VIA Frank M.  Rega, SFO:

Just what is the Millennium and is it an acceptable part of Catholic teaching?

"The Triumph of God’s Kingdom in the Millennium and End Times"
A Proper Belief from the Truth in Scripture and Church teachings by Fr.  Joseph Iannuzzi, OSJ St.  John the Evangelist Press, Havertown PA.  1999.

What follows is a brief summary of Fr.  Joseph Iannuzzi’s landmark book.

The book clears up two points that are very relevant to the current dialog among Christians regarding the end times - Jesus does not come in the flesh to usher in the Millennium, nor does the Rapture begin the Millennium.  Fr.  Iannuzzi asks the question: "Did the Apostolic Fathers ever mention an ‘era of peace’ or an intermediary reign of Christ on earth?" (p. 10).  He shows unequivocally that the answer is yes.  The first half of the book is a rather difficult, slow read, since Fr. has to prove that the Fathers of the Church did in fact leave a legacy of writings that gives a specifically Catholic understanding of the Millennium.  He shows that the proper concept of the Millennium is consistent with Catholic teaching, and can be traced back to the earliest Church Fathers.  This view is derived solely from Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium.  No visionaries or private revelations are cited (making this book unique in Catholic circles among books that discuss the end times).

To summarize very briefly, there will be two tribulations, two triumphs, two remnants and two kingdoms.  One set of these events occurs at the beginning of the Millennium, and the other at its end.  Fr.  Iannuzzi makes no predictions as to actual dates and times.  However, in salvation history, four thousand years preceded Christ, and two thousand years have followed upon his birth.  The next thousand years would be the seventh thousand, or the seventh day, the Sabbath day rest. Hence this period may very well be the millennial period. After the end of the seventh day, comes the eighth or eternal day of God’s everlasting kingdom.  However, we do not know for sure if the thousand years is to be taken literally, nor for sure when it will begin.

In scripture, the Day of the Lord refers to the whole seventh day, or the whole thousand-year period.  The Millennium is the period of peace which marks the peak of this Day.  The defeat of Antichrist will herald the beginning of the Millennium, or thousand year spiritual reign of Christ.  The binding of Satan for a thousand years is also at the beginning of the Millennium.  The reign of Jesus during the Millennium will be a Eucharistic reign.  Jesus will not come in the flesh to begin the Millennium, but will come in spirit and power.  To say that Jesus will come in the flesh for the thousand years is the heresy of Millenarianism.  To say that He will come in the flesh for a thousand years and establish a ‘sensual’ kingdom of carnal banquets is the heresy of Chiliasm.  The end of the Millennium is marked by the final defeat of Satan (Gog, Magog period).  The Rapture or gathering up with Christ refers to the final judgement, and will be at the end of the millennial period, not at its beginning.  The end of the seventh day is the end of time, and the beginning of eternity, or the eighth day of eternal rest, the eternal kingdom of God.

Thus there are then two separate tribulations, one at the beginning of the day (Antichrist), and one at the end of the day (Satan), the ‘great’ tribulation.  There are two remnants, the Christian survivors of each of the two tribulations.  There are two triumphs - the first triumph heralds the Temporal Kingdom and the second triumph heralds the Eternal Kingdom. The book goes into detail about the characteristics of these two Kingdoms, the information coming from the same sources he uses throughout: Scripture, Church Fathers and Doctors, and the Magisterium.

Disclaimer: This review is a good faith sharing from my own personal notes, and is not to be construed as a 100% accurate representation of the book’s contents.  I am merely carrying out Fr.  Iannuzzi’s wishes for this book as expressed in the Epilogue (p.  169): "Please share it with others for God’s glory.  If you found this book to be helpful or valuable, please recommend it to your friends and family." Personally, I cannot think of a better book on this topic.

Frank M.  Rega, SFO-

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

65. The demons say to themselves: 'Let us rise up, and fall upon a people that lives in hope and stillness; come, let us go and speak to them with words of spiritual deceit, seducing them from the truth over to our side' (cf. Judg. 18:27; Isa. 7:6). So they sharpen the sword of temptation against us who have chosen the life of stillness, and continue their attacks up to the last moment of our life. The more fervent our devotion and love for God, the more savage are their assaults; they urge us on to acts of sin, making war upon us in ways that we coannot endure, trying in this manner to deprive us of our faith in Christ, of prayer and every hope.

September 27, 2001

(1 Pet 3:15)  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Pope John Paul II to the youth of Kazakhstan-

"The Pope of Rome has come to say this to you: There is a God who has thought of you and given you life. He loves you, personally, and he entrusts the world to you. It is he who stirs in you the thirst for freedom and the desire for knowledge."

"Allow me to profess before you, with humility and pride, the faith of Christians: Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God made man 2,000 years ago, came to reveal this truth to us, through his person and his teaching," the Pope said. "Only in the encounter with him, the Word made flesh, do we find the fullness of self and happiness," the Holy Father added. "Religion itself, without the experience of wondrous discovery of the Son of God and communion with him, who became our brother, becomes a mere set of principles that are increasingly difficult to understand, and rules that are increasingly hard to accept."


China and the Vatican are preparing to bridge the historical differences between them and may even pave the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations, the Far Eastern Economic Review said Wednesday.

Quoting diplomatic and church sources, the magazine said the healing of relations will begin on October 14 when Catholic scholars from around the world gather in Beijing for a conference to mark the 400th anniversary of the start of Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci's mission to China in 1601.

The weekly said a similar ceremony will take place in Rome later in that month, where Pope John Paul will offer some form of apology for historical wrongdoing by the Catholic Church in China, primarily its close connection with European imperialism.

"According to the schedule worked out by both sides, relations between the two states will be much improved by the end of next month," the magazine said.

For the Vatican, an official relationship with China would mean the potential to enlarge its following among the 1.3 billion mainland Chinese, the magazine noted.

(Mat 28:18-20)  Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

64. If someone launches a fierce and determined attack on the demons through his self-control, prayer or any other form of holiness, they retaliate by inflicting deeper wounds upon him. Eventually he is reduced to despair, and feels in his soul that he has received a spiritual death-sentence. He is even brought to say: 'Who will deliver me from the body of this death? For I am compelled against my will to submit to the laws of my adversary' (cf. Rom. 7:23-24).

September 26, 2001

(Phil 4:6-7)  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

by Trib Times Contributor

The US is facing formidable obstacles in conducting a "ground war" in Afghanistan. Consider the following problems to US Forces both militarily and politically:

1.There are ten million land mines in Afghanistan placed by the Russians in 27 of 29 provinces and nobody knows where they specifically located. Over one hundred Afghans are killed each week by landmines.

2.Saudi Arabia is denying US Air Force use of its airspace and the very modern Sultan airbase. King Faud has fled to Switzerland with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defense. Crown Prince Abdullah now controls Saudi Arabia and he is a fundamentalist Moslem who has been supporting the Taleban according to WorldNetDaily.

3.Iran has over two hundred thousand troops massed on the border with Afghanistan from an incident where the "Taleban" killed an Iranian diplomat. Iran also has over 3 million refugees from the last ten years of war in Afghanistan. British talking to Iran as to what role they can play – Iran remains a wild card with ballistic missiles and developing a possible nuclear capability. British talks with Iran about their role is upsetting Israel. US may try to bring in Syria, Iran and Palestinians (a lot of terrorists) who for their own convenience want to ride the wave. Iran could easily mass more than five million Moslem troops to attack somebody. US appears ready to cooperate with "Iranian terrorists" and hence all the rhetoric by Sec of State Colin Powell that we may have to enlist these people to fight terrorism!?.

4.There are no well-defined military targets in Afghanistan. The major cities are in rubble and there are only ten paved airports. Taleban has a few jet planes (Mig-21s) and about 200 Soviet made tanks. US will have to make major ground troop commitments against different warlords to attack the "Taleban".

5.Afghanistan produced about 39% of the world’s opium for years (US and NATO countries did nothing about opium production for years as Taleban fought the Russians?) until the Taleban "supposedly" stopped opium production last year as against Islamic rule.

6.The Afghan eastern border is shared with Pakistan. The US gave billions to Pakistan to recruit and train the Taleban against Soviet Union. Pakistan Government may not be able to control major dissension by numerous Moslem factions in Pakistan against the US.

7.The Northern border of Afghanistan is bounded by three (Central Asian) former Russian states that are fundamentalist Moslem states. Putin says he would support the US in "operating from airbases" in Ubekistan or Turkmenistan. One or more of these provinces may have retained the nuclear tactical weapons of the former Soviet Union.

8.Evidence is mounting that Osama bin Laden and Iraq set-up chemical and biological labs in the Sudan in 1998 and they may have been in production since 1999 with intent of using these weapons against the US population and armies. According to WorldDailyNet, President Bush warned Congress last week that there are credible threats against the US with chem-bio weapons of mass destruction. US has grounded all crop-spraying planes today to prevent their use in spraying anthrax while checking out owners and pilots.

9.Iran is one of the main backers of the Hizbullah party (army) in Lebanon. Hizbullah remains ideologically opposed to Israel’s very existence. Israel being given no major overt role in fighting terrorism. US will use Israeli "intel" for planning campaign.

10.The "Kyber Pass" in Afghanistan leads to Mongolia. The Soviets tried to bring tank divisions over the Kyber Pass and were ambushed. In six weeks it will be winter in Afghanistan with freezing cold and rain starting. No time to ramp up a major ground attack until next spring!?

11.The Taleban is destroying the women in Afghanistan. Women are not allowed to work, receive medical care, or walk on the streets without being accompanied by male family member. Basic human rights do not exist for these people. Expect a US media blitz on this subject as another moral justification for war.

12.The so-called KLA in Kosovo (set-up by the US) is yet another example of this failed US policy of arming fundamentalist Moslem terrorists groups to fight against a "presumed" enemy (in this case "Christian Serbs" in Yugoslavia). This area can easily erupt once US troops are on the ground in Afghanistan.

13.It is a thousand miles from the Indian Ocean to reach Afghanistan. There are no safe bases for the US to operate and fighters will have to be refueled in both directions. In Desert Storm there were over 60,000 air to air refuelings required in 45 days. The logistics of this operation are huge with no oil refinery next door. Saudi has trumped the US hand and is forcing the US into a bad position at the outset.

Bottom Line: Afghanistan is a powder keg which can ignite the Moslem world against the US/NATO. Osama bin Laden’s demands are clear – all Americans/NATO out of the Persian Gulf and Mideast or we will carry out a jihad. Most Moslem states agree secretly with this principle but not necessarily the tactics used by bin Laden. NATO countries have no allies in these Central Asian countries. We are the "infidels" in the Persian Gulf (see how fast Saudi Arabia turned on us because part of the Royal family may have been supporting the Taleban – and there is nothing the US can do about it). If the US places major ground forces in "harm’s way" in Afghanistan - get ready for the dogs of war to turn on us. Congress has done nothing to protect the American people against chem-bio weapons or other forms of terrorism. Congress has cut the US military by over 50% in the last ten years. In the an undisclosed location, an Iraqi Head of State smiles and waits for the next chess move – the chess clock is running and it is the US turn to move.


Soviet veterans warn United States that war in Afghanistan hopeless, deadly
Arab League says US strikes on any members "unacceptable"
Top Shi'ite Cleric Bans Muslims From U.S. War
Kenyan Muslim Youth Claim US Declared War on Islam
Indonesians Sign Up for Holy War in Afghanistan
New call to arms by bin Laden organization


REVIEW ARTICLE: Islam and Apocalyptic -

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

63. Often God takes away His blessings from us, just as He deprived Job of his wealth: 'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away' (Job 1:21). But it is equally true that God will also remove from us the adversities He has brought upon us. 'Both blessings and adversities come from God' (Ecclus. 11:14); He has caused us to suffer adversities, but He will also give us eternal joy and glory. 'As I watched over you,' says the Lord, 'to destroy and afflict you, so will I build you up again and will not pull you down; I will plant you and will not uproot you' (cf. Jer. 31:28; 24:6). Do not say: 'It's just my bad luck'; for the Lord, who changed our situation for the worse, can unexpectedly alter it again for the better.

September 25, 2001


Pope Urges Dialogue Not War on Debut Kazakh Visit
During Mass in Kazakstan, Pope prays Christians, Muslims work together for peace
Pope calls for religious tolerance and a civilization of love following attacks
Pope John Paul II calls on faithful to rebuild the Catholic Church in Central Asia
Pope Pays Tribute to Victims of Soviet Atrocities


VIA Michael J. Coppi:

Americas New Religiosity: "God Bless America, But Don't You Dare Tell Us To Repent!" by James White

Christians are unpopular folks today. I mean by that, anyone who takes seriously biblical truth and biblical principles will find himself on the sharp end of angry stares if we dare speak the truth in the midst of today's national crisis.

To what do I refer?

America has all of a sudden gotten very religious. There are vigils and candlelight prayer services on every corner. People who hadn't said "God" except in profanity for years are all of a sudden very pious and reflective.

Radio personalities who were focused upon tax cuts or some other political issue on Monday, September 10th are now mulling over the role of "evil" in our world. The past week has turned the landscape upside down in many ways, to be sure.

Lest anyone think this new religiosity is a reason for rejoicing for Christians, it most surely is not. Oh yes, we are hearing old Christian hymns being sung. Ostensibly Christian churches were full this past Lord's day. But there is no such thing as "partial Christianity". And surely, there is no Christianity that does not speak of repentance from sin.

The new religiosity of America has two basic foundational pillars:

1) There is one God, unknown, but addressable under any variety of religious epithets, who has revealed absolutely nothing of objective value regarding His will regarding worship or human behavior.

2) This God has no wrath; knows nothing of sin or judgment; and hence, any person who dares to say that God would punish a person, or a nation, is a glowing heretic to the new American religiosity.

The problem is easily seen: Christians believe, fundamentally, of necessity, that there is one true God. Our God went to great lengths to differentiate Himself from all the gods of the peoples and religions that surrounded His ancient people, and that for a purpose He Himself proclaimed: He seeks true worship, worship based upon a knowledge of who He is in reality, based upon His revelation to man.

He does not grant to man the freedom to worship Him in a manner that pleases the creature rather than the Creator. God is particular about His worship.

His worship is intimately, vitally connected to truth. Without truth, there is no worship of the Christian God. And the truth revealed by the Christian God in the Scriptures is without question when it comes to the matter of His law, sin, rebellion, punishment, wrath, and judgment.

One of the most amazing things to observe is the willingness shown by "evangelicals" to jump right onto the "we shall never utter a word about wrath or sin or punishment" bandwagon.

Is the remnant so small that almost no voices will be raised to cry out against this foolishness?

To withhold the truth about sin and judgment out of fear of man's opinions and feelings is to make the Cross of Jesus Christ a travesty! There is no Cross, there is no sacrifice, where there is no sin, no offense that demands forgiveness be wrought through His perfect sacrifice! The person who refrains from speaking of sin and judgment to "win" a person over is doing so through unfaithfulness to the very gospel itself!

And to what has such a person been won over? Where is the gospel when there is no sin to be forgiven at Calvary? But it is right here that the new American religiosity clamps its hands over its ears and refuses to hear.

America wants God's blessing. America wants God to protect us from more horrific visions of airliners flying purposefully, relentlessly into our national monuments. We want God to be near us as we board our aircraft. We want Him to protect us from the horror of thinking about what it was like when the towers collapsed. We want Him to guide our military and allow us to flex our muscle and launch our missiles with impunity. We want a blessing God, a caring God, who simply panders to our wants and whims.

This is the "God" of the new American religiosity. But what America does not want is a God who is holy, who is just, and who has revealed His will concerning how we, His creatures, are to live. America is a land soaked in blood. We glory in violence.

We are so selfish, so bound in our avarice, fornication, and sexual lust, that we murder our own offspring in the womb (or at birth as in partial-birth infanticide).

Our hands are covered in blood, and yet we think lighting a candle and lifting them up while mumbling "God Bless America" is going to bring Gods favor? Listen to the words of God to another nation that likewise was "religious" but refused to hear the word of repentance:

"So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood." (Is.1:15).

Is America so arrogant, so utterly self-absorbed, so diseased by religious liberalism and philosophical subjectivism, that she thinks she can ignore all of history itself and demand from God blessings when she refuses to repent of her evils?

Do we really need to be reminded that Planned Parenthood has killed more little children in our land [125/hour] in the week since the attacks than died in the attacks themselves?

Are we so blind? Surely the scourge of abortion would be enough to warrant the unleashing of the wrath of God, but there is so much more! We are a nation on a "crusade", a crusade to wipe from our history books every vestige of our former religious past.

The religion of scientism, with its chief idol in the person of Darwin, has become enshrined in our very governmental policies. There is no creator, we are told, to express His law for us in the first place. We want to banish God and His law from our courtrooms, our schools, our every public institution.

If God says it is wrong, we celebrate it. Every form of sexual debauchery is found in the land. The airwaves are filled with programs that exalt fornication and adultery. Major film stars are lauded for the most sinful lifestyles. Homosexuality is not only turned into an acceptable "lifestyle," it is made a political right, a political force, a test-case for being properly "tolerant."

The list goes on and on and on. The widow and orphan is oppressed, while the nation indulges in every creature comfort, sits back in its luxury, looks about upon the bounty of the land, and says, "Ah, what the labor of my own hands, my own intelligence, my own insight, has accomplished."

Religious liberals may mock our "literalistic" reading of the Bible at this point, preferring to simply label us "fundamentalists" and ignorant, but the fact of the matter is, they know they could never win a scholarly debate on whether the Bible actually teaches that these things are sins which must, inevitably, bring God's judgment upon a people.

They know that is exactly what the Bible teaches. They are just embarrassed by it, and hence seek to suppress that truth.

As I said, Christians who believe the Bible are an unpopular lot today. If they speak in accordance with the Word they may well find themselves being called "unpatriotic" and "judgmental." In fact, given that the new orthodoxy demands of us the confession "Everyone is Gods child" over against such clear biblical teaching as John 1:12 (remember how Christians refused to say "Caesar is lord" and died as a result?), we must be ready to "count the cost" in engaging in formal, cultural "heresy" by speaking the truth.

We need to realize: this new American religiosity can take on the same kind of fanatic zeal that kept the hijackers hands steady all the way to their end.

May God grant His people the strength to proclaim loudly Gods demands upon a wicked nation, and may He be pleased to bring repentance and revival in a land where darkness reigns.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

62. Peter was first given the keys, but then he was allowed to fall into the sin of denying Christ; and so his pride was humbled by his fall. Do not be surprised, then, if after receiving the keys of spiritual knowledge you fall into various evil thoughts. Glorify our Lord, for He alone is wise: through setbacks of this kind He restrains the presumption that we tend to feel because of our advance in the knowledge of God. Trials and temptatons are the reins whereby God in His providence restrains our human arrogance.

September 22, 2001


(Col 3:5-6)  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

EDITOR'S NOTE:Part 1 of this series was posted on September 11 but subsequent events had preempted the posting of the second and final installment of this article until today.  For a quick reminder visit and scroll down to Sept. 11.


A few days later, Heart Attack and I are in central Taiwan, and I'm learning a lot more about the business. There seems to be an absolute lack of consistency in the attitudes of inspectors working for us.

"Everybody has their own focus," John tells me. "Like, there are some who I call eye-wash inspectors. They can go into the worst factory in China and head straight for the first-aid kit. They'll ignore all of the other violations, and write three paragraphs in their report about how there was no eye-wash in the kit. Then they come back home and brag about how they can do five factories a day." I ask him why these eye-wash inspectors don't get fired for incompetence. He smirks and rubs his thumb and forefinger together in the universal symbol for payola. "This company cares about quantity, not quality," John says. We approach the factory, a place producing belt buckles for Calvin Klein. The facility has been under inspection for quite some time, and not by slacking eye-wash inspectors. This place has been thoroughly raked over.

"Look at this last report!" Heart Attack hands me the previous inspection team's violation list. It has some pretty damning violations:

There is a tacit agreement that what we write in our reports will be read by the manufacturers, who are supposed to pull out of those factories found to be continually in violation of their codes of conduct. Were this truly the case, we would not even be here: This factory has been on the high-risk list for two years. I ask Heart Attack if he thinks the client will pull out of this factory soon, and he snorts derisively.

"We've been here five times already, and every time the factory gets a high risk," says Heart Attack. "Calvin Klein won't pull out of this factory until we find 9 year-olds chained to arc welders and strung out on speed. The boss knows that we're only paper tigers." Nonetheless, I try to convince the boss to mend his ways. Heart Attack is a crude man, a rare breed of sinophile, able to speak Chinese without an ounce of Chinese manners.

I, on the other hand, have spent much of my adult life in Asia. I understand the use of polite shaming. I appeal to the boss's sense of patriotism and reputation.

"News crews might come here one day," I tell him, switching from Mandarin Chinese to the native Taiwanese dialect. "The poor conditions we've found here might cause a loss of face to both you and the Taiwanese business community. Mainlanders will look at you and tell the world that the Taiwanese have no heart."

The boss nods politely, promises to make the improvements suggested in our report, and invites us to have dinner with him. We decline, explaining that it goes against our own company's code of conduct. We are forced to give this factory yet another high-risk rating. The owner signs our findings sheet without a glance.

Two weeks after our swing through Taiwan began, Heart Attack and I are trying to get all our reports in before returning to America. We have been awake for 30 hours straight. He tells me we've had a successful trip. Of the 23 factories on our list, we found 22 of them, and were only denied access to one. Tallying up our profit and loss sheet, we figure that we've earned the company more than $20,000 profit. I've been working 13-hour days for two weeks, and am looking forward to reaching San Francisco for some R&R.

While I am excited by my new job, I'm beginning to wonder just whose needs I'm serving. Am I helping the industry clean up its dirty laundry, or just to bury it a little further from the noses of the American consumer?

There is a long trench with imposing razor ribbon fences on either side, and one bridge running across it. This is the path that leads from Hong Kong to China. This is where I'll be spending the next three weeks.

It's my second trip as a sweatshop inspector, and my first trip into mainland China. Before leaving the office in L.A., one of the senior inspectors took me aside and told me that "no factory in China should ever get a low-risk rating." It was explained to me that all factories in China were so far against the clients' stated codes of conduct that if one were to be given anything other than a high-medium risk, whoever reviewed the report in the office would assume the on-site inspector hadn't really looked. I naively asked him why we even bothered inspecting factories if we knew that they'd fail; the senior inspector looked at me like I was nuts.

It is also the first trip for my Hong Kong partner, Jack Li. Despite the fact that I've been on the job only one month, I will be training him. Before I leave the office, I'm given a chunk of cash to pay Jack's salary. His pay is half of my own, with no overtime pay. His per diem food allowance is $6 less than mine. How ironic, going overseas to uncover disparity in the workplace while committing it myself on my employer's behalf.

I feel disgusted with myself, and decide to split the difference of our per diems between us.

Jack and I inspect a typical Chinese factory a couple of days later. We find almost every violation in the book. The workers are pulling 90-hour weeks. The place has no fire extinguishers or fire exits, and is so jammed full of material that a small fire could explode into an inferno within a minute. There are no safety guards on the sewing machines, and the first-aid box holds only packages of instant noodles. Most of the workers are from the inland provinces, so I conduct the employee interviews in Mandarin while leaving Jack to grill the owners in Cantonese.

With the bosses out of earshot, I fully expect the workers to pour out their sorrows to me, to beg me to tell the consumers of America to help them out of their misery. I'm surprised at what I hear.

"I'm happy to have this job," is the essence of what several workers tell me. "At home, I'm a drain on my family's resources. But now, I can send them money every month."

I point out that they make only $100 a month; they remind me this is about five times what they can make in their home province. I ask if they feel like they're being exploited, having to work 90 hours a week. They laugh.

"We all work piece rate here. More work, more money."

The worst part of the day for them, it seemed, was seeing me arrive. "I don't want to tell you anything because you'll close my factory and ruin any chances I have at having a better life one day," one tells me.

Jack and I tell the owner that she needs to buy fire extinguishers, put actual first-aid supplies in the first-aid kits, install safety equipment on the sewing machines, and reduce worker hours to below 60 per week. We figure if she takes care of the first two tasks, we've helped to make the world a slightly less ugly place.

It's too late to hit another factory, so we sit down for some tea with the owner. We've just finished faulting her for just about every health, safety and payroll violation in the book, but she remains an excellent host.

"Thank you for caring so much about our poor Chinese factory workers," she tells us. "But really, it's all about profit. If I paid my workers more money, I'd have to raise the price to my buyers, the people who are sending you here to inspect my factory. Do you think they would accept that?"

I try to explain to her that a new consciousness is developing among American consumers, and that all of the American garment producers are trying their best to clean up their factories.

"Gua yang tou, mai gou rou," she replies, quoting an old Chinese proverb.

Translated: "Hang a sheep head but serve dog meat."

"Calvin Klein, Wal-mart, Kathie Lee: They all want the same thing. Chinese labor, the cheaper the better," she smiles, pouring the tea. "They all want to project a smiling face, to appear to be caring and compassionate, because that makes people feel better about buying the products that have their names.

"But we both know that all they care about is money," she continues. "If I did all the things you told me to do, my clothing would become more expensive to the manufacturers. Then they would just use a cheaper factory, one in Vietnam or someplace even less regulated than China."

Finally, it hits me. I understand why my employer doesn't care if we do a good job or not. We aren't here to help change anything; we're only a PR prophylactic. Hiring an industry-friendly "independent" inspection company is the most cost-effective way for the manufacturers to maintain their profits while claiming to care about the people on whose sweat their profits depend.

Jack and I finish our tea, thank the owner for her hospitality, and head back to our hotel, just a couple of sheep heads working for the dog-meat man.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

61. Never form a close friendship with someone who enjoys noisy and drunken feasts, or who likes telling dirty stories, even though he may have been a monk for many years. Do not let his filth defile you; do not fall under the influence of people who are unclean and uncircumcised in heart.

September 21, 2001

EDITOR'S NOTE: As many veteran Trib Times readers know Desmond Birch is the accomplished author of Trial, Tribulation & Triumph and an occasional and very welcome contributor to the Trib Times.


An excellent commentary by Desmond Birch regarding the role of Islam in approved Catholic prophecy remains online at Given the current crisis it may be more timely today than when it was originally written.


I would like to make the following post timely - but probably from a much different perspective than some who know me might expect.

I was on a 'couples retreat' with my wife Jean - from Friday Night till late Sunday Night. We all prayed hard for all of the people who have been impacted by events of Sept. 11, 2001 - from the dead, to the physically injured, to the devastated friends and relatives, to the Nation as a whole.

We had no TV, new Radio, no news, no Internet. Instead we had prayer and reflection. The conclusions we came to were virtually universal among the attendees of the retreat. And the couples came from virtually every walk and station of life.

We all agreed - and many made specific observations about it - that violence has become a way of life - in movies - on TV - and peoples views of how to seek resolution to problems.

The older ones amongst us - observed that the problem of violence has escalated wildly during our lifetimes. We were not speaking just of war. We were speaking of even within families. Yes, much domestic violence went unreported in years past. But we also agreed that the commonality of domestic violence has also genuinely increased dramatically.

That trend began about the same time that the divorce rate began to soar out of sight in the West - not just in the U.S. - but particularly here. That is concomitant with violent sounding words spoken between spouses - even Catholic spouses - who are supposed to be not just living within a Sacrament - but actually a living Sacrament of One Flesh - which they are to become. These things - all of us older couples commented on. [And I will give more of our observations towards the end.]

I saw husbands and wives who just looked like 'couples' at the beginning of the retreat - acting and looking like honeymooners by the end of it - clinging to each other for dear life - in love. I found my own view of my relationship with my wife transformed. I have always loved her - from the first moment I saw her - even before we spoke a word to each other, or our eyes even met.

I felt that way again - even more deeply, by the end of the retreat - and so did the the vaste majority of the rest of the couples.

Normally at 'couples retreats' in the past - after a while - men often have tended to congegate at times with the men during 'free time' - and the women with the women - as they discuss common areas of spirituality and problem solving within marriages.

I did not see any of that - NOT THIS TIME. I saw couples looking like they were 'One Flesh' - whether they were in the Chapel, or in meetings, or walking outside. I saw substantial numbers of them looking at each other as if they had just been married - both younger and even elderly couples were acting like this. It was one of the most moving experiences of my adult life.

Part of the reason was the trauma of what happened last week - and the fact that we were dedicating our retreat to and for all those who had been terribly affected.

The priest reminded us of how short and unpredictable life is. He said: "Look at your spouse! He or she might be dead an hour from now. They could trip on the stairs and die from a head injury. You could be in an accident on the way home - and only one of you die. Or your spouse could be on a highjacked plane in the next year - headed for a fiery end."

The priest asked:

"Would the one who survived be able to look back on their marriage - believing and knowing that their spouse died comforted with the knowledge of their spouses unconditional and absolute love? If you're not sure - it is not too late."

That was the beginning of the transformation of many of us couples. We all think that transformation will last - if we work on it.

One last observation: By the end of the retreat - we all agreed that the worst violence of our time is that of abortion. Why? Because it is the murder of our own children. The violence is everywhere - but nowhere is it more horrific than in parents murdering their own children. We could not think of a thing better calculated to breed further violence than that.

We agreed that we had to do as couples - in the future - whatever it took to make all forms of murder once again illegal in our land.

But - there was one further observation/question which superceded them all!

God has revealed to us that the relationship between a husband and wife is like the relationship between Christ and His Church!

How much is the relationship between my wife and I like Christ and His Church? If it is not very much like that relationship - I am missing out on a lot of the joy and happiness which Christ intended for me. And it is undoubtedly in large part my fault - not just my spouses - MINE.

If all of us faithful Catholics 'spouses' were taking greater steps than we are to transform our 'one flesh' relationship into one as holy as Christ's with His Bride, the Church, we doubt that abortion would be the problem it is today. Because if we were all doing that - the world would see and want the happiness and joy that we have in each other.

When my spouse walks into the room - do I have eyes only for her? How about the football game? How about anything else?

If my wife and I were on one of those highjacked flights headed for a fiery end - would we have eyes or thoughts for anything else but God and our spouse. Those of us at the retreat doubed it.

Since that retreat, my wife's and my relationship has truly been transformed. We now see an additional way (besides our strong efforts to outlaw abortion) to end abortion. We will fight it with our love for each other.

[BTW - our kids are even looking at us strangely - and smiling. They think mom and dad are acting like a couple of kids - like honeymooners. Thank God they are right. And seeing our new level of love - it has been much easier to speak to them in a 'balanced' (yet firm) Christian way about our response to the events of Sept 11.]

Jean and I wish you love - the love of God - which surpasses all understanding.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

60. The Psalm says of those who are tempted by thoughts of pleasure, anger, love of praise and the like, that the sun burns them by day and the moon by night (cf. Ps. 121:6). Pray, then, to be sheltered by the cool and refreshing cloud of God's grace, so that you may escape the scorching heat of the enemy.

September 20, 2001


Pope John Paul urged world leaders to seek peace and justice on Wednesday, in the latest of a string of appeals following last week's attacks in the United States.

"I invite you to pray in these days that almighty God will guide the minds and hearts of world leaders so that the ways of justice and peace may prevail," he told thousands of people in St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience.

The 81-year-old Pope, who leaves this Saturday on a trip that will take him to Kazakhstan and Armenia, has said he was "heartbroken" about the attacks and has called them one of humanity's darkest days.

He has also urged the United States to shun the temptation to respond with hatred and more violence.

RELATED: Vatican sources advise that the US government has informed the Pope there will be no invasion of a central Asian country prior to his trip to Kazakhstan and Armenia this weekend

SEE ALSO: Nobel Peace laureates use cyberspace to discuss terrorist attacks


EDITOR'S NOTE: The Catholic Reference Desk mentioned below is a service of the new Roman Catholic News Yahoo newsgroup which is run by Catholic clergy.  To join visit

VIA Dr. Richard Hubbell: Here is the response to a question posed to the Catholic Reference Desk in regards to the "Just War" doctrine:

Moral ethics on justifiable retaliation, force, or corporal punishment, tells us that its use is just and appropriate when executed with propriety through use of utmost diligence in virtuous and ethical use of judgment.  The examples are numerous and familiar to all through experience and common sense.  If someone or social group behaves with harmful and dangerous behavior that threatens the welfare, rights, dignity, freedom, and life of another or other social group, the natural law allows the victim(s) to fight for their right of survival.  The question is to what extreme, or how far force is taken?  If an enemy can be subdued without killing them it is the first order of action.  However, if an enemy cannot be subdued to cease and desist without use of extreme force then it is allowable even if it causes their death.  The difficulty in this as it poses itself to political action of a social group is to ascertain if all possible means have been exhausted before using extreme force.

In the case of the war on terrorism the cause is clear that the first order of action is political and economic sanctions against nations that have served as hosts to known international terrorist organizations.  Political dialogue must be implemented to reach agreements of global cooperation to keep peace and implement procedures to guarantee peace and cooperation in United Nations efforts.  When this fails then the next order is to implement a rigorous campaign that may include the destruction of property, usually called "collateral," as a punishment.  This, of course, must be done in a manner in which the host nation has fair warning to evacuate staff and personnel, to avoid the needless and unethical taking of human life.  A just war that punishes host nations follows this form of practice and policy.  An unjust war strikes indiscriminately killing and wounding innocent populations.  An unjust war on terrorism is fueled and driven by a policy of reaching the goal of peace at any cost.  An unjust war policy has as its moral directive that "the end always justifies the means".  The moral end of peace cannot be achieved with propriety by the use of any and all means.  How peace is achieved is of critical moral importance.  Catholic moral teaching has always taught that "the end does not always justify the means".  Catholic moral teaching affirms that not every means to bring about peace are legal or morally licit.  So, utmost caution and care must be given by the Multinational Coalition in deliberation on policy and practice prior to taking any initiative to achieve it.

As for the actions taken against terrorists themselves, the first order of action is to subdue them to cease and desist by arrest.  All possible morally just means must be used to apprehend all prisoners taken into custody.  As we all realize this often involves use of extreme force when the prisoners targeted are known to use defensive extreme force to escape and avoid imprisonment.  The likelihood of physically apprehending terrorists as prisoners presents the clear and strong possibility that some, many, or all might die, in some cases for attempts to arrest members of an isolated group, since they would use extreme force to prevent apprehension resulting in their own deaths.  An unjust means of arrest is the appearance of attempting apprehension when the real agenda is to go in and kill the enemy.  President George Bush, Jr.  has announced: "I have instructed intelligence forces to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the attack and bring them to justice." This statement is a classic political statement since it is ambiguous.  This could mean two things: (1) arrest the terrorists and bring them to trial for justice; (2) bring them to justice in the field by execution.  It is the first meaning that is just, and the second which is not.  A just initiative would take a similar approach using every means possible to arrest rather than kill, as a top priority.  In cases like this, for example, gas is used to render the enemy unconscious, smoke bombs to impair their vision, or hosing them down by very high water pressure rendering them incapacitated.  Taking appropriate precautionary initiatives can reduce the deaths of enemies in an altercation using extreme force in their apprehension.

MORE: Online Catechism: Search for 2302-2317 (particularly 2309)

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

59. The Law says about a bull which is given to goring other bulls: 'If men have protested to the owner and he has not destroyed the animal, he shall pay' (Exod. 21:36). You should apply this to your thoughts and impulses. Sometimes during a meal the impulse of self-esteem springs up inside you, urging you to speak at the wrong moment. Then angelic thoughts protest within you and tell you to destroy this impulse to speak. If you do not resist the impulse by keeping silent as you should, but allow it to come out into the open because you are puffed up by delusion, then you will have to pay the penalty. As a punishment you will perhaps be tempted to commit some grave sin; alternatively, you may experience severe bodily pain, or be involved in violent conflict with your brethren, or else suffer torment in the age to come. We shall have to give account for every idle and conceited word spoken by our ill-disciplined tongue. Let us guard our tongue, then, with watchfulness.

September 19, 2001

(1 Cor 12:7-11)  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

EDITOR'S NOTE: God speaks to all of us in prayer.  My problem is that 98% of the time I am not listening and most of the rest of the time I don't trust my ears. Several months ago, while in prayer, He spoke loud enough that I couldn't help but hear.  Almost audibly, I heard: "Christina Gallagher has a very important message from Me".

Most Trib Times veterans know how carefully I tread about modern day visionaries. True, I have previously posted items with regards to Christina, but not at all frequently.  The most impressive posting can be found in the archives at (scroll down to the August 2 entry).  Briefly it describes an ecstatic experience as witnessed by an Irish physician.  But even to my often "tone deaf" ears, I felt God had clearly spoken to me.  I immediately contacted Christina's webmaster, Marita Wojdak, to explain what had occured to me and to inquire about any new messages.  She very promptly sent me the latest available message and offered to keep me up to date. I decided not to immediately act upon the information and quite honestly let the whole episode slip into the vast recesses of my subconscious.  In other words, I forgot about it.

This week, however, I was reminded by several posts I received from Trib Times readers.  After receiving them I sent them to Marita for verification.  In her usual kind and prompt manner she sent back a "verified version" which I will now post.  Before doing so I would like to emphasize that this is a private revelation and as such need be given none of the deposit of faith that Catholics reserve for the Public Revelation we have been given through the Church and God's Scriptures.

16th JULY 2001

The following is the message given by Our Lady to Christina on 16 July 2001. It was read aloud on three occasions to all present at Our Lady's House on that day but was not permitted to be written down. Due to insistent calls it is now being released- but only in part. The portion referring to the Holy Father and the Church is not being released at this time.

My children, I am pleased to see you here at My House. How long it has taken for your response! Even today many of you are here only for sensation,- in God it does not exist. When you search for sensation you enter the shadow of darkness. It will lead you far from God, Light and Truth. In My House you will find Truth. You have deserted My House once; do not desert it again. I invite you to come to My House and pray with Me while you still have time. Short is your time before the world is drawn into conflict of war, The Justice of God is at hand and there are so many of My children who are far from Me, drawn into darkness in great deception and sin. Pray with Me in My house for My many lost children. I desire to draw many of My children to My House for healing of soul. Pray with Me for the many within God's Church who are not in the true Spirit of God. I desire that My children respond to My call for their salvation. The world will experience the Justice of God and the Wormwood (Comment on the word 'Wormwood' by Dr. Mc Ginnity: The star of Apocalypse (8:11) named Wormwood falls from the sky and renders water poisonous. It is interesting to note hat the Russian word for Wormwood is Chernobyl). How many will experience the sting of the Locust (Christina was shown what Our Lady referred to) - thus, that which looks like locusts but is not of the world. Oh, the calamity that is to befall the world and all its people! My House will be the safe refuge for all those I have called. The Third World War is in its permittance . How blood will flow and run red upon the earth! Hunger cries will be heard in the heavens. The Vicar of Christ ................... ............... Those who seek signs and wonders in falsity of evil will follow and turn away from God and Eternal Life. Then My Triumph will be, as God will purify the earth in His Justice. Fire will fall from the sky; many will lie upon the earth, their corpses will be eaten by wild birds - that which is not burnt in the fire. God's Church has entered its purification, as God's Truth is suffocated and denied. But God says "Woe unto him who will take away from Truth!" In My House Truth will be. It will be upheld before the world and in all tribulation, disaster and war nothing will touch My House or this little island (Christina understood Our Lady to refer to the little island of Achill) because the Hand of God is upon it. You who receive the Truth will return to Light in My House and help. There will be signs as God will permit for the weak, to strengthen them on this journey of preparation for God's Justice. Be at peace, my child. In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Irish Mystic Prophesised Destruction of Twin Towers by Dan Lynch

Exactly two years before The Attack on America, on September 11, 1999, I stood with Irish mystic Christina Gallagher in Battery Park, New York City at the tip of Manhattan Island in the shadows of the World Trade Centre. I remarked on the enormity of the Twin Towers as a symbol of America's economic might and our reliance on the priority of power over prayer. As I said this, Christina waved her arm towards the Twin Towers and prophesised, "Dan, if Americans don't turn back to God, all of this will be destroyed!" Both of us were speakers at a Rosary Rally for Peace. After Christina had received an invitation to speak at this conference, Our Lady told her She desired her to go there and speak about Her message. Christina some years before had been shown not only the destruction of the Twin Towers but destruction in many parts of the United States. What she has been shown and the knowledge given concerning future happenings is a heavy cross for Christina to bear. Our Lady desires the people of the world, especially the youth to go to Her House of Prayer on Achill Island and receive the gift of Solace and Eternal Life.

Christina's webmaster, Marita Wojdak.
Christina Gallagher's web site can be found at:

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

58. Guard yourself from the witchcraft of Jezebel (cf. 2 Kgs. 9:22). Her most powerful spells are thoughts of delusion and vainglory. By God's grace you can overcome such thoughts, if you regard yourself as worthless and despicable, casting yourself down before the Lord, calling upon Him to help you, and acknowledging that every gift of grace comes from heaven. For it is written: 'A man can receive nothing, unless it is given him from heaven' (John 3:27).

September 18, 2001

(1 Tim 2:1-4) First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.


Analysis: War on 'Terror' Faces Weight of History
US strikes on Afghanistan could light regional tinder-box
Allies Supportive but Wary Over U.S. Response
Chinese police official urges caution on armed attacks that infringe on state sovereignty
Southeast Asia Cautions U.S. on Retaliation
Iran Leader Advises U.S. Against Attacking Afghans
Taliban leader: Prepare for holy war

EDITOR'S NOTE:Please join me in praying that the Taliban will turn over Bin Laden so that justice may be served and unnecessary bloodshed avoided!


VIA Rick Keating: A view from Afghanistan that I received from a friend that I pass on to more friends who may be thinking about the coming war that Bush and 63.9% of the rest of the US wants so badly.

Tamim Ansary is an Afghani-American writer.

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan-a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban-by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand.

What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

(1 Cor 1:18)  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

57. Sin itself drives us towards God, once we repent and have become aware of its burden, foul stink and lunacy. But if we refuse to repent, sin does not drive us towards God. In itself it holds us fast with bonds that we cannot break, making the desires which drive us to our own destruction all the more vehement and fierce.

September 17, 2001


Pope John Paul said on Sunday he was "heartbroken'' by the terror attacks in the United States but urged the American people to shun the temptation to respond with hatred and more violence. Although the Pope has expressed condemnation and condolences since the attack, it was the first time he personally spoke of the concern about a possible U.S. military response.

"May (the Madonna) give comfort and hope to those who are suffering as a result of the tragic terrorist attack which has deeply wounded our beloved American people in these last few days," he said, speaking in a clear but sad voice.

"I direct my heartbroken thoughts to all the children of that great nation. May Mary welcome the dead, console the survivors and sustain the families that have been particularly hit," he told some 40,000 people.

"I pray that the Virgin Mary might help them not to fall into the temptation of hatred and violence but rather to commit themselves to justice and peace," he said.


Cubans moved by the terror attacks on the United States joined with American and other foreign diplomats on Sunday at a memorial Mass for victims in Havana Cathedral held by the local Roman Catholic Church.

In a sermon, Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega called for a return to godly values rather than revenge in response to the deaths of thousands when hijacked jets hit New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon near Washington on Tuesday.

"Injustice always causes indignation, but justice cannot be re-established with hatred or vengeance at the risk of entering an uncontrolled spiral of vengeance," Ortega told the packed Cathedral during a somber and emotionally-charged Mass.

SEE ALSO: SpiritDaily Exclusive- Maria Esperanza Warns U.S. Not to Go to War


VIA RBAnthony, CSAP: The hatred and killing of innocents is no doubt one of the ways in which God separates the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff -- the balancing, the great judgment -- the issue of Love versus hatred.

Those who hate are condemned.

We must never be caught up in hatred, even though there is certainly a place for justice and judgment -- given Romans 13.

Yet, our goal is never hatred -- never arrogant vengence... it must become only a matter of the protection of the innocents. Governments are tasked with awesome responsibility -- life and death issues for which they must answer to God.

Jesus will surely be the Ultimate Judge (Zech 14, Daniel 12 (et al) cf. Rev. 12 and 19)-- and those the bear the sword (our government and others) have a terribly great responsibility before God -- in the their defense of the innocents of the world around them.

We are as a people under the uncompromizing obligation to repent -- to repent of our own past wrongs and hatreds, the battle within before we engage any external enemy in the protection of the innocent we claim to represent.

America weeps, now, but we are resolved to mount up with wings as eagles as many seek the Lord fully and repent from our own evil deeds to serve and love Righteousness and God in all things.

I believe the call for Christians everywhere, given the terrible stakes in the coming years is to make it our contant prayer to repent and become a people of God again as a Nation!

Righteousness exalts a nation, but, sin is a reproach to any people!

Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, and shall mount up with wings like eagles, shall run and not be weary shall walk and not faint -- Is 40:31

The reading for September 11th -- in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) expressed a passage that struck me as quite prophetic for the day of infamy we have experienced for 2001's September 11th.

It is from a sermon by Saint Bernard, the Abbot in speaking about the spiritual warfare and the need to have open hearts to God -- it has something to say to us regarding our nation's response.

{"Hear also the prophet Habakkuk. Far from hiding the Lord's reprimands, he dwells on them with attentive and anxious care. He says: ["I will stand upon my watchtower and take up my post on the ramparts, keeping watch to see what he will say to me and what answer I will make to those who try to confute me."] I beg you my brethren, stand upon our watchtower, for now is the time for battle. Let all our dealings be in the heart, where Christ dwells, in right judgment and wise counsel, but in such a way as to place no confidence in those dealings, nor rely upon our futile defenses."}

This makes sense from a spiritual and practical viewpoint forus, I believe and we dare not forsake the words of God through Habakkuk.

Romans 13 appears to give governments the right to just warfare against evil.

But we must rely upon God first -- for only through righteousness will we prevail and become the examples to the world God wants us to become.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For those who prefer to read an opposing viewpoint, the following link summarizes it well:

(Rom. 12:19-21) Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

56. The Lord can be robbed and made to grant salvation, not only by speech- as in the case of the thief who cried out from the cross (cf. Luke 23:42)- but also by thought. The woman who suffered from a hemorrhage merely thought within herself: 'If I can but touch the hem of His garment, I shall be healed' (Matt. 9:21). Another example is Abraham's servant, who spoke inwardly to God about Rebekah (cf. Gen. 24:12-28).

September 15, 2001


FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Dr. Stephen A. Rinehart:

Road Warrior

You can travel down a highway several thousand times and every thing is pretty routine and then one day it can all change in the blink of an eye. The following is my short story of three recent days in my life as a Road Warrior.

Sunday, Sept 03: We had driven our SUV 100 miles to Pensacola, FL and find there is a nail in the left rear tire and leaking air (new radial tire). The nail has gone thru the sidewall and the radial cannot be repaired and must be replaced. There is a lot of construction all along I-10 West. We get the spare out and it is an old rusted rim with a passenger tire and not an SUV tire. I remember the spare tire/rim as being a gold Jeep rim with a new Bridgestone tire but this tire is somewhat worn and is a passenger tire size. Somebody has switched spare tires/rim (possibly a car wash or mechanic shop over the years). Nobody has the right SUV tire in stock in Pensacola but the old rim fits on the Jeep and we decide to go home on the spare on Monday (Labor Day).

Monday: Cindy and I are heading home on I-10 East [from her 40th high school reunion] and the sixty miles from home white smoke begins pouring out the front of the car and I pull off in a narrow right lane [orange barrels closing it off] which is fortunately closed for construction. There is no shoulder [all torn-up from major construction]. Oil and smoke is coming off the front axle (engine ok) and oil is dripping out the front CV joints.

I look down the road and there is nothing in sight but this narrow one lane that is open on both sides of the highway. We use our cellular phone to call for a tow. Car is towed in and we have wait until Tuesday to find out the front axle (4WD) is burned-up since dealer is closed for Labor Day. Since it is a four-wheel drive (Jeep) vehicle the cost to replace the axle is $2700. We rent a car and drive home on Tuesday. Jeep dealer says the spare on the left is fine and has nothing to do with front axle problem.

Wednesday: I am driving to work in Southbound lane of a two-lane state road at about 40 mph (speed limit 45 mph) with a lot of traffic on both lanes. I hear a "crash" in the Northbound lane and suddenly from behind a van this Honda comes flying into my lane [across a double yellow line] right in front of my car (found out later the Honda had been rear-ended by another driver). I only have time to jerk the wheel to the right to prevent broad-siding the Honda (about 0.3 sec). The Honda hits my left front fender and I go off at a 45-degree angle into a six-foot ditch. As I hit the ditch at about 35 mph, my shoulder belt does not lock and I hit the steering wheel violently and I am knocked unconscious.

When I wake-up, my car is lying on its left side in the ditch and someone seems to be knocking periodically on the windshield. At first I cannot see anything [everything is absolutely black] but gradually some vision returns but is blurry, my head and neck hurt and there is no feeling in my left hand and arm. I look at my right hand and there is a Rosary in it. The man knocking on the windshield was directly behind me but somehow he missed me and avoided going into the ditch. I tell him I am not all right. I tell him I was knocked-out and I am hurting. He says I am trapped in the car and will have to wait for help (fortunately there is only about a foot of water in the ditch). I think I passed-out again. I wake-up later when someone cracks open the door on the passenger side and says I can hold the door open but trees and briars are blocking the door. I can only see his hand but no face or body. I ask him to see if he can hold the door open and I am going to try and get out. I turn off the car ignition and again have blurred vision. There is still no feeling in my left hand and right hand starting to go numb. My left eye really hurts also.

I do not know how I got out of the car because I picked-up a lap top computer in my right hand but felt to weak to move and just sat there. Then it felt as if someone was lifting or pushing me up very strongly towards the passenger door (I weigh 270 pounds) and I literally remember stepping-out (not crawling) of the car (at a 60-degree angle in the ditch) and "walking thru the briars and tree branches blocking the car door" as if passing thru some kind of a "white cloud". I felt very calm and peaceful and just wanted to "walk away" from the car. [Later, I find there were no scratches of any kind on my face and only one small scratch on my right arm from walking thru all these briars and branches]. I remember looking down the road at the accident site and was surprised to see two cars already on wreckers and four police cars with police all around. The man who opened the door and helped me looked like a young construction worker with blonde hair and was wearing a "hard hat". He helped me to walk thru a field to an ambulance and kept smiling at me and I was very relaxed. I felt no pain when I had his arm. Two paramedics rushed up and took my blood pressure. When the paramedics came running up, the construction worker who had my arm seemed to disappear and was replaced by a paramedic. The paramedics seemed to be absolutely amazed my blood pressure was perfectly normal. I looked around to get name of the "construction" worker who had helped me but he was gone; nowhere in sight. There were only some old men and a large crowd standing back about ten to fifteen feet away and everybody was just staring at me. Both of my hands were numb after the construction worker left.

At the Emergency Center of the Hospital, I am wearing a neck brace and lying on a stretcher. The doctor says to take immediate x-rays of my neck and spine and I am wheeled into the x-ray room. I tell the nurse I have no feeling in my hands but my legs were ok. They started taking all kinds of x-rays of my neck, chest and spine in all kinds of positions. After taking about ten x-rays, the x-ray technician came out and said all my x-rays had some kind of "bright light" in them and that I was wearing a "necklace". I tell him it is called a "Miraculous Medal" and it is the reason I was able to walk away from the accident . I took the Medal off [so they can take their x-rays] and held it in my left hand. I immediately felt the Medal with my left hand and my neck stops hurting and the pain starts to subside in my head. I tell the technician the x-rays will not show anything and I am going to walk out of the Hospital. I take the neck brace off and stand up by myself. I will never forget the look on his face.

An hour later I walked out of the Hospital; the x-rays did not show any nerve or spine damage and I had a normal feeling in both hands. I wave to the x-ray technician and he gives me a thumbs up. There is no bruise over my left eye. As I am walking out, this lady comes up to me; it was the lady who was in the Honda. "Are you all right?" she asks. She introduces me to her husband who thanks me for swerving out of her way. Her x-rays show no broken bones either and she is fine. She was very concerned because she had a back operation two years earlier and her back was hurting after the accident. She says none of the other people were seriously injured in the accident either [but everybody's car was totaled].

Thursday: I awaken and hear a voice within me saying: "Stephen, over a period of three days you were shown the Nail which symbolizes the floodgates of My Mercy and Grace [now] being released to the World, a Narrow Road you must travel to come home and a Tomb of Darkness with only your Rosary and your complete trust in Me for your aid. Go tell the others to place their absolute Trust in My Mercy. Ask them to believe My Renewal is Coming [In a time I shall choose]."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

55. Outwardly men follow different occupations: there are money-changers, weavers, fowleres, soldiers, builders. Similarly, we have within us different types of thoughts: there are gamblers, poisoners, pirates, hunters, defilers, murderers, and so on. Rebutting such thoughts in prayer, the man of God should immediately shut the door against them- and most of all against the defilers, lest they defile his inward sanctuary and so pollute them.

September 14, 2001


Over the past two days the Trib Times has attempted to emphasize the calls for prayer from church leaders, particularly the Pope and his Bishops.  What follows is a short meditation on the fruits of my own prayer.

Why shouldn't we live like there is no tomorrow?  So often we find ourselves planning or reviewing rather than living each moment to its fullest.  Rather than listening to God, or listening to our neighbor, we walk about in a daze created by the incessant clamoring of our own thoughts.  Like the Pharisees we strain out the gnat but swallow the camel (cf.  Matt 23:24).  How many opportunities have we missed to accomplish the Lord's Will?  How could we have made a difference in the real world rather than wallowing about in the world created by our imagination?

How should we live if there was no tomorrow?

We should love.  We should care.  We should be attentive.  We should spread the Good News through both actions and words.  We should lift up both the Lord and those around us.  We should receive strength from the source of strength; the source whose supply will never end.

In my heart, I believe that the shocks that the world will provide are far from over.  The greatest shocks are soon to be revealed.

How will we face them?  Like people whose citizenship is in heaven?  Or like those of this world, deriving courage and strength from that which will pass away.

Only we can choose.  And only through the Grace of God will we make the right choice.

(1 John 4:18-19) There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us.


US President George W.  Bush has designated Friday as "a national day of prayers and remembrance," for the thousands of victims of the attacks on New York and Washington, the White House said Thursday.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president will attend a prayer service here Friday to honor the estimated thousands of victims of the attacks Tuesday, and was "calling on Americans during their lunch hours" to take time to attend prayer services "to pray for our nation."

Americans should "attend prayer services at churches, synagogues, mosques, other places of their choosing to pray for our nation, to pray for the families of those who were victimized by this act of terrorism," Fleischer told reporters.

MORE: John Paul II perseveres in prayer


READER: I, for one, feel like my heart is turned to stone.  In my mind, I know that the emotional and spiritual needs of this nation are great, and yet - in my exhaustion - I find that my actual capacity for prayer has decreased!  I am deeply disturbed by the prophetic words of Christ "Evil will go on increasing, but the hearts of most men will grow cold." (Matthew 24:12)

I think I need to turn off the T.V., turn off the computer, pick up some Holy Books - and do my best to reverse this chilling effect within my soul: for I find that I my heart is growing cold.  I would have imagined that at times of the greatest need - I would increase in my prayers.  I have been busy to the point of exhaustion.  Yet I am not meeting my duties for prayer.  I ask for the prayers of you, and yours, that I might be able to draw close to God - that he might draw close to me.  I don't want to continue to fulfill the prophetic words of Our Lord about most men's hearts growing cold.  But, at this point, I fear that is my lot.  I promise that I will repay your prayers with my own.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

54. Just as there is 'a cup of calamity and a goblet of wrath' (Isa. 51:17), so there is a cup of weakness which, at the proper time, the Lord takes from our hands and puts into the hands of our enemies. Then it is no longer we but the demons who grow weak and fall.

September 13, 2001


This is a day of national tragedy.  Though we do not yet know its full extent, we mourn those who have lost their lives and pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families.  We pray for the living victims that they may know that God is with them in their sufferings.  We pray for those who are rescuing and ministering to the injured, that God may strengthen them in their heroic and often heartbreaking work.  We pray for our national community that we will be of support to one another in the days ahead as we come to grips with the enormity of what has happened.

We express our support for our President and other government leaders, both national and local, who bear the tremendous responsibility of dealing with the aftermath of these unbelievable events.  They are in our prayers in a special way.  If, as seems likely, this tragedy is the result of acts of terrorism, then we pray also for those whose hatred has become so great that they are willing to engage in crimes against our common humanity.  May they realize, at last, that such violence creates not justice but greater injustice.

On Friday and Saturday, we celebrate the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross and then honor our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows.  These are particularly apt days for Catholics to reflect on the ways in which we are called to take up the cross and follow our Lord.

We call upon all our fellow citizens to renew their trust in God and to turn away from the bitter fruits of the kind of hatred which is the source of this tragedy.  Especially let us not engage in ethnic, religious, or national stereotyping for what may be the acts of a few irrational terrorists.  As the Catholic Bishops of the United States, we unite in prayer to the Lord our God in the words of the Psalmist:

"In you, O Lord, I take refuge...  Incline your ear to me, and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety." (Psalm 71)

MORE: Prayers and Readings for This Time of Crisis


In Berlin, as well as in London and other cities, stunned Americans laid candles outside their embassies into the night. Others gathered in churches and more religious services were planned for Wednesday.  At the American School in Paris, children sobbed in groups when the news broke late in the day Tuesday.

"It's hard to be away from home at a time like this," said Tracy Langerud, a 26-year-old intern pastor from Minnesota working at the American Church in the German capital. "We have had an impressive response here in Berlin, with people laying candles...and spontaneous church services."

The American Church in Paris planned a service for the thousands of victims who died when hijacked airliners were flown into the World Trade Center in the Wall Street business district and the Pentagon defense headquarters in Washington.

In Frankfurt, Germany's high-rise financial capital and a hub of the big U.S.  military presence in Europe, dozens of people streamed to a site set up near the American consulate to sign a book of condolence, to light candles and pray.


VIA Ana Eugenia del Villar: I am saddened to know this terrible attack to you all.  Please accept my condolences and prayers for all victims and their families, friends and loved ones.  Human dignity suffers today as we get to know what hate is ready to do, transforming a human heart into a stone heart.

Many in the world are mourning with you. Please accept this sorrowful message of solidarity,love and friendship.

I am willing what ever is necessary to help you through this time of grief.

May God bless America. Love, Ana

VIA Ana Sego: We are deeply wounded and shocked with yesterday's catastrophy.  Consecrate yourselves every day to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and you will be protected as in Noah's ark.

God bless you always Love & Prayers Your sister in Christ, Ana

SEE ALSO: Israel declares day of mourning for US attacks

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

53. If Christ is our 'wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption' (1 Cor. 1:30), it is clear that He is also our rest. As He Himself says, 'Come to Me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Matt. 11:28). He says also that the sabbath - and 'sabbath' means 'rest' - was made for man (cf. Mark 2:27); for only in Christ will the human race find rest.

September 12, 2001


Pope John Paul II condemned the "unspeakable horror" of the terror attacks in New York and Washington, saying Tuesday he was praying for the victims and their families.

"Commending the victims to almighty God's mercy, I implore his strength upon all involved in rescue efforts and in caring for the survivors," John Paul wrote in a letter to President Bush.

"I beg God to sustain you and the American people in this hour of suffering and trial."

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, dedicated its entire front page to the attacks, headlining its delayed afternoon editions "The madness of terror." It said the strikes were the work of "diabolic minds" intent on plunging humanity into an unimaginable climate of war.

The Vatican said the pope received constant updates on the attacks and was praying "for the eternal rest of the numerous victims and to give courage and comfort to their families."

"The Holy Father expresses his condemnation for this violence, which achieves nothing," a Vatican statement said.

World Reacts With Revulsion to U.S. Attacks
Attacks celebrated in West Bank
Chaos sweeps across world's financial markets


VIA Jean Marie Paparelli: "Little did we know what was on the horizon for today.Maria Esperanza's words about the twin towers in New York ringing in my ears . My son is in DC and we can't reach him so much suffering. No mention of War. Are the biological attacks next? Rally the prayer warriors for who knows what lay ahead..."

VIA Ann Gabriel: "When I turned on the news this morning I had know idea that I was going to be witnessing live the 2nd plane crashing into the world trade center tower...words cannot even begin to explain the horror and shock at seeing what has unfolded in front of our eyes this day. I believe the tragedy is worse than Pearl Harbor which was so horrible. I want to join in prayer with each of you for our country,for those who lost lives, lost loved ones, living with the trauma of this tragedy, and for all of us. God have mercy on us all".

VIA Alan A Trombetta: "To fully understand the events of today the Nation, the Church and Israel must switch from politics to prophecy. The End IS Near. We are witnessing the the Last Days. But they will not listen. Instead those who trouble themselves with prophecy will be taunted... as if they are part of the problem. And yes, it is time to both Look UP and Look out".


The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

52. When already well advanced in years, David offered thanks to God for choosing him, and he said this about the final fruits of God's blessing: 'Now has Thy servant found his own heart, so as to offer this prayer' (2 Sam. 7:27). This he said to teach us that a great effort and much time are needed in prayer, before through struggle we can reach a state in which our mind is no longer troubled, and so attain the inward heaven of the heart where Jesus dwells. As the Apostle says, 'Do not you know that Jesus Christ dwells within you? (cf. 2 Cor. 13:5).

September 11, 2001

(Ezek 22:29-31)  The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD."


World markets slide again; 17-year low in Japan
European markets plunge
LatAm follows Dow lower
Job cuts top 1 million


VIA Richard: The following article is enlightening. The human cost of our consumer society is staggering. In all fairness God must hold us accountable for these injustices. This is economic slavery.


Halfway over the Pacific it dawns on me that I have no idea what my job is.

It's October 15, 1998 and twelve hours ago, I was in the southern California offices of an independent monitoring company that inspects factories for safety violations and human rights abuses throughout the world. I had been hired over the phone a few days before. My sole qualification for the job? I speak Chinese and have a friend already working for the company. I assumed that there would be some sort of lengthy training process to teach me how to be a human rights inspector. There wasn't.

Arriving in Los Angeles, I'm taken to Denny's by another inspector, then back to the office, where I putter around for a few hours before being driven back to the airport to catch my plane to Taiwan. I tell my manager that I feel a bit unprepared for the task ahead.

"Don't worry, you'll do fine," he tells me, handing me a suitcase full of folders containing the names and addresses of 23 factories in Taiwan and $26 a day for meals.

"You'll meet your partner in Taiwan, he'll show you the ropes," he says, passing me the company handbook. "You can learn about OSHA regulations and the manufacturers' codes of conduct on the airplane."

My partner's name is John, but everybody calls him Heart Attack. I find him sprawled on the floor of our Taipei hotel room early the next morning. Pieces of reports, violation sheets and photographs of factories are scattered over the floor. John is rooting through the mess, whining that he'd been awakened by a call from Marty at 4AM, something about a "failure to assess back wages in Saipan." Heart Attack looks extremely tense. "Back wages, John," he babbles in a mocking falsetto. "Assess the back wages, don't forget the back wages." I introduce myself, telling him I'm to be his partner, and he's supposed to train me. He looks up at me, eyes wide with loathing.

"Training you?! Me? They're going to fire me over this Saipan thing, but first they want me to train my own replacement, right? I'm not going to dig my own grave, no thanks!"

Things are tense, and I haven't even dropped my suitcase yet. I try to defuse the situation by offering to buy him a cup of coffee in the hotel lobby, assuring him that I know nothing about Saipan, or of any plans to fire him. Heart Attack seems to relax.

"Sorry about that," he says, getting up to shake my hand. "Nobody trained me to assess back wages, you know."

Not even knowing what he means by "back wages," I nod dumbly. I'm to spend the next two weeks learning how to be an inspector from Heart Attack. Despite his apparent neurosis, he has the instincts of a bloodhound, and proves himself an excellent inspector. On the job just over three months at the time, he's already considered a veteran at the company.

"This company has a turnover rate higher than most burger joints," he warns me over coffee.

I'm learning from Heart Attack how this business works. Inspectors go into factories all over the world looking for signs of worker exploitation, egregious safety violations, child labor and quota violations. We are paid by our clients, major manufacturers whose stores and products are household names. On a good day, our company earns thousands of dollars from a few international inspections. The inspectors themselves are paid minimal hourly wages, with no benefits. Inspectors are expected to work 70-hour weeks, and to be on call 24 hours a day for calls from the L.A. office. The worse a factory is, the more often inspectors are sent, and the more money the company makes.

My first day on the job, Heart Attack and I perform two surprise inspections. The first factory is a re-audit of a factory producing goods for Kmart.

"Man, the last guy they sent really botched this inspection," Heart Attack says. "Look at this report." The report is for an inspection performed a year ago. It's written so generically that the writer could easily have been describing half of the medium-sized cookware factories in Taiwan. The factory had been given a low risk assessment, ending with the often-used line, "The inspector was unable to find any violations that would be considered a risk at this medium-sized factory." I think that maybe we were at the wrong facility, because the one we are in is an unmistakable hellhole -- a dark basement factory with poor ventilation and dangerous equipment. There's no first-aid kit, and the fire extinguishers expired around the same time as Chiang Kai-shek.

We interview the workers. They tell me they're paid only half of what they had been promised by contract, and one of the Thai workers confides in me that he wants to run away, but the boss keeps all his documents locked in a safe. I ask them why they didn't tell this to the last inspector, and they stare at me blankly.

"A foreigner visited last year, but he didn't talk to us. Was he from your company?"

I bring these problems up to the factory manager, and he looks at me as if I'm insane.

"What problem?!" the manager says. "Last guy say everything OK! I sign paper, he leave! Why you bother me again!?" Later I call into our office and ask a manager just how the previous inspector could have given this sweatshop a low risk rating. "That guy didn't work out," I'm told.

TOMORROW: Confessions Of A Sweatshop Inspector by Joshua Samuel Brown (Part 2)

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

51. The enemy lurks like a lion in his den; he lays in our path hidden traps and snares, in the form of impure and blasphemous thougths. But if we continue wakeful, we can lay for him traps and snares and ambuscades that are far more effective and terrible. Prayer, the recitation of psalms and the keeping of vigils, humility, service to others and acts of compassion, thankfulness, attentive listening to the words of Scripture- all these are a trap for the enemy, an ambuscade, a pitfall, a noose, a lash and a snare.

September 8, 2001


(Job 42:1-3) Then Job answered the LORD and said: I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.  I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.


Scientists at Texas A&M University unveiled on Wednesday a menagerie of cloned animals unrivaled in academia and said they could help answer some of mankind's most puzzling questions.

The school, located about 80 miles northwest of Houston, said it had become the first to clone three different animal species -- cattle, goats and pigs -- but that it was still struggling to produce a cloned dog in the much-ballyhooed ''Missyplicity Project.''

One thing the researchers said they had learned was that it was far too early for anyone to think about cloning human beings, as some groups have proposed. Although they had produced multiple animals from the same genes, each clone came out differently and there were a high number of abnormalities.

"We still have a lot to learn about the process,'' said Jorge Piedrahita, a professor at Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine.  "We don't know what we're doing to these animals.''



A tiny change in a virus that causes flu can turn it from an unpleasant annoyance to a killer, a team of researchers has found.

A change in just one of the virus' 10 genes switched a form of flu in chickens to a strain deadly to humans four years ago in Hong Kong, they discovered. Authorities were forced to kill more than a million chickens in that city to block spread of the flu, which killed six of the 18 humans that it infected.

"What this tells you is that the avian influenza virus can become the virus that causes the disease in humans at any moment,'' said Yoshihiro Kawaoka, one of the research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The Wisconsin team's report also indicates that small changes can transform a disease generally confined to the respiratory system to one that infects the vital organs including the heart and brain.

The findings are published in Friday's issue of the journal Science.


The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

50 (cont.). In other words, if we persevere in unceasing prayer and the other virtues, there will come upon us a mighty force, infinitely stronger than any we can exert.  This force cannot be described in human language; in its great strength it overcomes our worse faults of character and the malice of the demons, conquering both the sinful inclinations of our soul and the disordered impulses of our body. 'There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing violent wind' (Acts 2:2); and this force from heaven drives out the evil that is always forcing us to sin.

September 7, 2001

(2 Tim 3:1-4) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--


Sudan's Catholic Bishops accused foreign oil companies on Thursday of complicity in brutal human rights abuses committed by the Khartoum government during the country's civil war. In a statement released at the end of their week-long annual plenary meeting in Kenya, the bishops said the war had intensified in the last three years, thanks in part to the government's profits from oil exports.

"In Sudan, the companies are profiting from gross and systematic violations of human rights," they said.  "They are complicit as they accept the protection of regular troops and militia who commit human rights abuses with impunity." The bishops accused the government of displacing civilians en masse in the south of the country to make way for oil exploration, a charge which has also been made by international human rights groups and some aid agencies.

"We witness displacement of our flocks from their homelands, driven away by helicopter gunships, Antonov bombers and government troops and militias in order for oil companies to work in relative security," they said.

Sudan's 18-year civil war pits the mainly Christian and animist south against the Muslim, Arab north and has cost an estimated two million lives through conflict and famine.


Christianity has almost been vanquished in Britain, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told a gathering of priests yesterday.

Christ was being replaced by music, New Age beliefs, the environmental movement, the occult and the free-market economy, the Archbishop of Westminster said.  In a candid and unscripted passage of his speech, the Cardinal also spoke of the damage and shame brought to his church by the scandal of paedophile priests.

His analysis of Britain’s spiritual decline echoed the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, who last year said: “A tacit atheism prevails.  Death is assumed to be the end of life.  Our concentration on the here-and-now renders a thought of eternity irrelevant.”

(Mat 16:18)  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

50. How can we ovecome the sinfulness that is already firmly established within us? We must use force. A man labours and struggles, and so by the use of force he escapes from destruction, always striving to raise his thoughts to holiness. We are not forbidden to resist force with force. If in any acetic task we exert force, however slight, then, 'remaining in Jerusalem', we can wait for the 'power from on high' which will come down upon us (cf. Luke 24:49).

September 6, 2001

(Eph 6:12)  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


Senior church officials in Calcutta acknowledge Mother Teresa had an exorcism performed on her in the latter years of life.

The exorcism took place in a hospital where she had gone for cardiac problems, said Archbishop of Calcutta Henry D'Souza.  The archbishop himself had been hospitalized at the same facility and shared the same doctor as Mother Teresa.

He said he noticed that while Mother Teresa was calm during the day, at night she appeared "extremely agitated." D'Souza said Mother Teresa would pull off wires and other monitoring equipment stuck to her body.

He said that is when he believed Mother Teresa "might be under the attack of the evil one." He offered to arrange for an exorcism for the elderly nun.  She agreed.

"So I said let's do the prayer of exorcism over her.  So I called one of the priests who was a holy man in Calcutta," D'Souza said.  "I told him, 'Please say the prayer of exorcism over Mother Teresa.' And he got a shock and said, 'Shall I pray and should I drive out the devil if it's there?'"

"I said, 'Yes, you do.' But he says, 'What will the devil do to me?' I said to him, 'You command the devil to go if he's there. In the name of the church, as archbishop, I command you to go and do it.'"

After the exorcism was over, the archbishop said Mother Teresa "slept like a baby."

He emphasized that other great religious leaders faced similar challenges.

D'Souza said the revelations about Mother Teresa show that she was "both holy and human," making her even more special.

EDITOR'S COMMENTS: It is my opinion that there is an error in terminology within this report. The experience described above does not appear to be a case of possession requiring exorcism, but instead an episode of intense demonic attack or oppression.  The latter is considered much less serious than possession and can be resolved through prayer rather than a formal exorcism.  According to Gabriele Amorth, the renowned chief exorocist of Rome, external persecution of this sort does not affect the soul.

Nevertheless, the important point is that we are ALL subject to the attacks of the evil one, regardless of our level of spiritual purity.  History is replete with examples of such attacks towards holy individuals.  These include Saint Paul of the Cross, the Cure of Ars and Padre Pio.  How much easier targets are those of us who have not reached the intimacy with God that these Saints enjoyed?

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

49. If we truly wish to please God and to enjoy the grace of His friendship, we should present to Him an intellect that is stripped bare- not weighed down with anything that belongs to this present life, with any skill or notion or argument or excuse, however highly educated we may be in the wisdom of this world. God turns away from those who approach Him presumptuously, puffed up with self-esteem. People who suffer from futile conceit we rightly describe as bloated and puffed up.

September 5, 2001


What is scientifically possible is not always moral, says John Paul II in a message for World Day of the Sick 2002.

"The search for new and effective ways to alleviate suffering is right, but suffering continues to be a fundamental fact of human life," the Holy Father points out in his message. "Research and medical care do not completely explain or remove suffering altogether," he notes.

"To discover the fundamental and definitive meaning of suffering, we must look to the revelation of divine love, ultimate source of the meaning of all that exists," the Pope states in the text. "The answer to the question on the meaning of suffering has been given by God to man in the Cross of Jesus Christ. Suffering, the consequence of original sin, takes on new meaning: It becomes a sharing in the salvific work of Jesus Christ."

John Paul II points out that "the Church insists on the principle that not all that is technically feasible is morally admissible." "The recent, enormous progress and the capacity of medical science give all of us great responsibility as regards the gift of life, which God offers us and which is always so in all its conditions," the Holy Father says in his message.

In this connection, he urges Catholics and men of good will "to be vigilant against any violation and suppression of life." "We are ... the custodians of life, not the proprietors," the Pope emphasizes. "From the moment of conception, human life involves the creative action of God and remains forever in a special connection to the Creator, source of life and its sole end."

IN THE NEWS: Embryo stem cell research bombshell


VIA Larry Behr: I write to ask if you can perhaps see your way clear, to make mention in Tribulation Times of our newly launched Project, to construct the world's tallest monument, a triumphal arch hailing and commemorating the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The shrine will include an International Shrine of the Holy Innocents, to send the world a clear message of our commitment to pursuing full legal protection for the unborn.

Thanks for considering this request, and for anything you may be able to do to help us get the word of our Project out. We have begun receiving donations from individuals in all parts of the country, who are thrilled with this Project. We firmly believe that it will become a reality once it has been made sufficiently known, to the faithful who will make this great tribute to Our Lady, Our Lord, and to the sanctity of human life.


The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

48 (cont.). It is God who provides food both for those who eat much and for those who eat little. Bearing this in mind, anyone among you who has a capacious appetite should in future set his faith entirely in God, freeing his intellect from all worldly distractions and anxieties. 'Be no longer faithless but have faith' (John 20:27).

September 1, 2001



VIA Population Research Institute Weekly Briefing:

America's Frozen Population- Wild-eyed scientists threaten life-saving funds
by Steven W. Mosher

How many people are there in the U.S. today? That depends on whether you count America's frozen population. Current estimates hold that somewhere between 200,000 and 1,000,000 human embryos are “in storage”--frozen in vats of liquid nitrogen--at fertility clinics nationwide. Whether they are awaiting the date of their liberation, or of their destruction, will be determined by the outcome of the national debate on stem cell research that is currently underway.

Biotechnology companies, which stand to profit, claim that these human embryos are not really life. Renowned scientists who hope to reduce these embryos to their constituent cells dismiss them as merely "potential" life. Some, to dehumanize them even further, call them pre-embryos, instead of the more scientifically accurate term "embryo." They hold out the hope of miracle cures for those with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or diabetes.

The trouble with these pie-in-the-sky promises is that embryonic stem cell research to date has yielded not one single cure. In fact, not only has the research not shown any therapeutic benefit, but fetal tissue trials – involving cells taken from aborted children – have actually had harmful effects on victims of Parkinson's. Current reports confirm that stem cell lines may not even be able to sustain themselves, much less be used to cure diseases. (Ceci Connolly and Rick Weiss, “Stem Cell Colonies’ Viability Unproven,” Washington Post, 28 August, 2001, A1). Despite these and other setbacks, many a wild-eyed scientist continues to destroy life, promising that their experimentation will someday bear much fruit.

The truth is that these frozen embryos will only bear fruit if they are implanted into a mother's womb. If women come forward to adopt these embryos, a few years from now these former frozen embryos would be graduating from high school and college, and entering the work force.

Some 2,100 human embryos were destroyed in establishing the 60 stem cell lines that exist at present. Had these human embryos been adopted and implanted, instead of destroyed for speculative science, a few decades from now we would have approximately 500 doctors, lawyers and other professionals entering the work force. (U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey,” March 2000, Special Population Division). Were any budding Nobel Laureates among the tiny human beings who were destroyed? We'll never know.

What is the real potential of America's frozen population? To be dissected for science? Or to live, grow and participate in American democracy?

Population Research Institute homepage:

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

48. One who is enslaved to greed may perhaps object: 'I eat a great deal, and since this involves me in heavy expenses, I am inevitably tied up with all kinds of worldly business.' Such a person should think of the huge whales that feed in the Atlantic Ocean: God gives them plenty to eat and they never starve, although each of them swallows daily more fish than a highly populated city would consume. 'All thing wait upon Thee, to give them their food at the proper time' (Ps. 104:27).

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