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November, 1997



<><+++TOTALLY CATHOLIC E-ZINE+++><>

November Issue, 1997

Welcome to Totally Catholic E-zine, the newest Email magazine designed specifically for traditional Roman Catholics. This forum will provide informative articles and commentary on issues related to the One True Faith. UPDATE (4/27/98)T.C.E. is no longer available in the e-mail format.



+++++++++One Saint's Intercession++++++++++++

We have four boys, and the third down the line is Andrew; he was five in 1996. For three years, we had been watching the growth of a tumor in Andrew's penis. As it grew larger and he began to experience pain, we were referred to Cardinal Glennon Children's hospital in St. Louis.

We were very happy to have a good Catholic doctor who seemed very concerned yet determined to take care of it. His name was Dr. Steinhardt. He told us he would need a month to research the condition, as it was not something he was accustomed to, even as a Pediatric Urologist. We trusted him and left it in God's hands.

The surgery date arrived, and we had been prayerfully awaiting the outcome. As I sat in the O.R. waiting room, I was thumbing through some back issues of Catholic Digest. I found an interesting story about a little boy who was comatose and was not expected to live. His parents were puzzled to find a St. John Neumann medal attached to the boy's pillow. Even with extensive questioning of the nurses who took care of him, they never found out who placed the medal there. After a while they took it as a sign, and just left it there. Then one day, a picture of a young boy was found taped haphazardly to the wall across from the sick boy's bed. Oddly, it was right at the level of a child. Again, the parents and staff were puzzled. The picture remained, and meanwhile the parents had begun to invoke the help of St. John Neumann. One day, the boy miraculously awoke, and upon seeing the picture, exclaimed, " He came to visit me while I was sleeping!" Imagine the parent's surprise when they learned it was a photo of St. John Neumann as a boy!

This story stayed with me, and I began wishing inwardly, that I had a medal or relic of St. John Neumann, or even just a holy card. Of course, with Andrew still in surgery, it was impossible to get one at that point. I resigned myself to that fact and began chatting with the nun who took care of the O.R. phone. Soon we were notified that Andrew was coming out of surgery. I went to his side, and Dr. Steinhardt pulled me aside and told me that it had been worse than they had originally thought, that is, they had to remove more penile tissue than they had expected to. He also told me that Andrew would be sent home in a cast of sorts, and would need to wear a catheter for a week. We still didn't know if the tumor was cancerous or not. We would find out in a day or so.

As Andrew lay in his recovery bed, I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet silently. It was three o'clock. My husband Mike had stepped out to the coffee shop for a few minutes. As I finished the prayer, Andrew woke up, and tears began streaming down his face. I asked him if he was in pain, since the doctor had warned me that the catheter would cause painful contractions for some time. Andrew said no, his eyes were just watering. His bravery made me want to cry.

I took his hand and held it, whispering words of reassurement. Soon Mike returned to the room, and reaching into his pocket, he said to me, " Oh, by the way, hon, as I was down there sipping my coffee, I picked up a Catholic Digest, and look what fell out?" In his hand was a St. John Neumann holy card, containing a third class relic, still wrapped in cellophane! I cried. Mike was puzzled at my reaction, since he knew nothing of my silentprayer request. This was our answer to prayer, that everything was certainly in God's hands and His will would be done. All those months, so many prayers, seem to culminate in this moment. I knew it would be okay.

We learned later that the tumor was benign, and Andrew made a full recovery. They were not able to remove the whole mass, but he is as normal as his three brothers. We thank God for his merciful love. And we thank Him for sending us Dr. Steinhardt, who possesses such great knowledge and skill.

If you need any medical records verifying this story, or would like a picture of Andrew, anything, please let us know! In Christ, Kelly and Michael Hudson ( kelhudson@aol.com) 88 Oakdell, Oxford, MI 48371 ( 248) 969-2174.

by Kelly Hudson




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Science on the Side of the Holy Shroud of Turin

by Michael S. Rose (stjoseph@erinet.com)

[this article first appeared in the Sept 1997 issue of St. Joseph Messenger]

Until 1988, most historians, artists and scientists who had studied the Shroud of Turin considered it to be the genuine burial cloth of Jesus. Then came a carbon-dating test which claimed to place the origin of the shroud sometime in the 12th Century. The carbon dating was accepted without question and all previous evidence was discarded. Critics claimed it was a Medieval forgery.

The Shroud of Turin is a 14 ½ by 3 ½ foot linen cloth that is reputed to be the burial cloth that covered Jesus after the crucifixion. Its geographical path throughout history has been traced by identification of at least six pieces of pollen only found in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, embedded in the linen. There are also eight burn marks, four on each side, shaped like a wedge which have appeared in icons that have been dated to the early centuries of Christianity.

Photographic Negative

In 1898, the Church in Turin, Italy, was about to relegate the Holy Shroud to a museum. A picture was taken of the cloth for catalog purposes by Secondo Pia. He found that the image of the Shroud was, in fact, a photographic negative: it looks exactly like a typical negative of a black and white photo. A medieval forger could not possibly have conceived of producing a detailed negative, substituting lights for darkness, with all the subtle variations involved. Historically no other picture of any subject has ever been discovered with these same photographic qualities. Scientists are in general agreement that they would be unable to produce such an image with today’s technology. Because of this photographic evidence, the Church decided to keep the Shroud in a chapel at Turin.

Anatomy Lesson

The image contains graphic details of death by crucifixion with anatomical precision. This is apparent in the rivulets of human blood running from the feet, wrists and side. The Shroud also shows clear evidence of more than 160 wounds from a severe scourging with a weighted whip, a large wound in the side of the chest as from the thrust of a spear, and streams of blood in the hair and on the brow from a crown of thorns which was a unique torture invented to mock Christ. We therefore have a picture with photographic accuracy which shows in detail the Passion of Jesus, which parallels the Gospel accounts of the Passion in every detail.

Scientific Experiments

Scientists at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs were stunned when they placed a photograph of the face of the Shroud in a VP8 computerized image enhancer that had been designed for the Mariner Space Program. The Shroud picture mysteriously contained encoded information which produced an uncanny three-dimensional image. It is therefore possible that the image of the Shroud contains X-ray information. This is not possible with any ordinary photographic technique and certainly could not be duplicated by a forger, medieval or contemporary.

These relief pictures reveal the existence of two small disks on the man’s eyelids. These disks have been identified through high magnification as coins which were minted by Pontius Pilate in Palestine between October, 28 A.D. and October, 31 A.D.

Investigators working with computers from the Viking Space Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California established that the image was not made by pigments, and appears to be strictly a surface phenomenon similar to a scorch. Because of this, scientists theorize that the image resulted from a very brief but intense burst of radiant energy called “flash photolysis,” of unknown origin but certainly like no other. It somehow emanated from the body under the cloth. The Resurrected Christ is usually pictured in just such a transcendent light. Scientists now believe the Shroud is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus; thus it appears the picture was formed at the very moment of the Resurrection. If the body in the Shroud had decayed in the normal manner, or even remained in the Shroud for more than a few days, the Shroud would have been discolored and eventually itself have decayed.

Professor Max Frei, Director of the Scientific Laboratory of the Swiss Police, detected and identified 48 classes of pollen on the fibers of the Shroud. Some belong to plants, long extinct, which flourished in first century Palestine; some to plants from Syria, Anatolia, Constantinople; some from France and Italy. Thus, the new branch of micro-botanics, called Palinology, has fixed the date and itinerary of the Holy Shroud in its origins and migrations.

Carbon Dating Test

Carbon dating of the Shroud is now being reevaluated because of the many problems that can throw the results off by thousands of years. The findings of the 1988 carbon dating are now generally dismissed by scientists as unreliable. It is clear that the lack of methodological rigor used during these dating tests has resulted in its losing credibility. The scientists who conducted the Carbon tests will not even defend their findings any longer. Some even contend that the carbon dating tests were fraudulent from start to finish.

Questions for our generation

The Holy Shroud presents us with two key questions to ponder: “What do these marks show us?” and “Was the Holy Shroud meant to convince our technological generation—the first generation with the capacity to understand its totally unique existence?”

St Joseph Messenger
a Catholic family reader
407 Vine Street, Ste 298
Cincinnati OH 45202





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++++The Spirit of Poverty++++++

by Kevin Christensen

Two years ago I was praying the Rosary on my commute into work, as was my practice. As I began the third Joyful Mystery, I asked the Blessed Virgin to pray with me for understanding regarding the spirit of poverty. In the past I had spent this time trying to be thankful for the lessons in poverty that I've experienced or trying to figure out what exactly one does in poverty that would be desirable. Praise Jesus! After a year and a half I received a gift of understanding, at least for my family and our situation. I have always understood poverty to be a punishment or at least a lesson we are given to learn in order to make up for a past wrong doing, or to develop some virtue. My error was viewing poverty as a negative thing. The popular view of poverty is filth and squalor, homeless people and starving children. Yes, those things exist, but looking at poverty in the historic sense, it seems to me to be synonymous with simplicity.

Let's look at those whom we call saints. What did many of them have in common besides an unadulterated love of God? Poverty. With few exceptions, our holy brothers and sisters lived lives untainted by the desire for worldly goods. In this respect, as well as others, they were near perfect imitators of Christ, as we are all called to be. The saints knew that to serve God more fully, the things of this world must take a back seat. There were those saints that had abundant personal wealth or position, but most used these gifts to improve the conditions of those less fortunate. We are all called to live a life of Christ - like simplicity. Sounds like a cliche', I know, but imagine what our lives could be like if they were uncluttered by the material shackles by which we are now bound. What the Blessed Virgin has helped me to see is that the Spirit of Poverty is something we can and should "acquire" by distancing ourselves from material belongings. By distancing, I don't mean that everyone should get rid of everything they own, the Lord obviously intends some in this world to have more abundant material possessions than others, but our belongings shouldn't be allowed a higher place in our lives than they deserve. Like the old saying goes, there can come a point where we don't have things, but things have us.

Many times in the past I have held a newly acquired possession in my hands and felt a burning desire to share the fact with someone. Very seldom did I have the same desire to share some aspect of my growth in faith. Looking back, there were many years when I didn't really even have a faith to speak of. Oh, I went to Mass ...or maybe I went fishing, depending on the weather. In my case, my failure to see and therefore understand my faith was due to gluttony. At that time I counted fifteen hobbies that I actively pursued. Each hobby required "things" with which to pursue them, lots of things. At that point in time, my hobbies and possessions had become spiritual cataracts, not totally blinding me to my faith but most certainly clouding my vision. I quite simply had no spare time for God. It was at this time I felt a need to whittle down my hobbies to a mere...four, or five. This "surgery" wasn't for spiritual reasons. I felt that with fewer hobbies I would have more time and then be able to perfect my skills in the hobbies I kept. The Lord at this time did bless me with spare time, but with it a desire to study the Word and my Faith. Having discovered how it works, I have ever since continued to pare down my possessions, and in doing so have acquired more and more time. In my case, I had to get rid of these things. There were just so many distractions and intrusions into my life that there was no time left for scripture study, prayer, or even quiet time with the family.

To paraphrase the Documents of Vatican ll (chap 7 art. 238), 'the saints show us by example, a safe path in this world by which we can arrive at a perfect union with Christ'. For me, simplicity, from this perspective then, is not just a 90's kind of fad, something I'll seek after I've "made it' in this world -- it is a mandate from Almighty God. We are called to follow the example of Christ, and Christ lived a simple life. We can, too.

Simplicity is more a state of mind than a state of being. As with so many other things in this world, there can and will be many different expressions of this gift from our Lord. May the Lord bless you as you seek His will, in simplicity.

Kevin, with of his wife Carla, and daughter Chantry publish "Full of Grace", a simpleliving newsletter with a Catholic perspective. They pursue the simple life on a 40 acre homestead in North Central Montana. To receive a sample of their newsletter send $2.00 to Full of Grace, P.O. Box 457, Valier, MT 59486.







++++++++On Discerning Marian Apparitions - Guidelines++++++++++

by Maria Compton-Hernandez, T.C.E. Editor

The explosion of modern day Marian Apparitions seems to indicate that we are living in a most crucial time in our history. While I do tend to believe some of the reported apparitoins are real, common sense and scripture warns us that there must be many false ones going on as well. Even during the time of St. Bernadette's approved apparitions at Lourdes hundreds of 'copycat apparitoins' popped up all over Europe. A book by the late William Reck, former head of The Riehle Foundation, shed great light on this whole discernment process for me. The book is entitled "Dear Marian Movement - Let God be God" and is available for a $6 donation from the non-profit Riehle Foundation.

Here is a brief synopsis of some of the general guidelines for discerning Marian Apparitions as discussed by Mr. Reck in his excellent book:

Some of the criteria to determine authenticity of an alleged seer/apparition he includes are:

* Manifest error as to the fact or facts presented
*Doctrinal error
*Immoral or other sinful actions by the seer or persons involved.
*Evident seeking of financial advantage
*Lack of humility, obedience to the Church, and in turn, seeking fame or publicity.
*Any form of mental illness or psychosis.

Some RED FLAGS we should be aware of when reading messages:

*Messages that oppose priests, bishops, and aspects of Church doctrine or liturgies. Included are those that claim to introduce new doctrines, or additional revelation to be added to Scripture * Messages that seem to be based on sensationalism, with too much purification and chastisement references....Messages that suggest Our Lady or Our Lord are calling us names, threatening us, putting down our faith and efforts....

*Messages that specifically address politicians, important dignitaries, or that give economic and social advice, including philosophy, commerce and elections.

*Messages that specifically identify third parties (other visionaries) and either condemn them or endorse them...

*Messages that promote the visionary by providing indications of power, status, profit, position, publicity, promoting pride instead of humility.

*Messages that appoint people to positions in certain ministries or that give people certain titles and authority.

* Messages that seem to indicate the end of God's Mercy and that Jesus' salvific mission was a failure.

* Messages that create confusion and dissention within their own circle, parish, prayer group, etc...

*Messages that show consistenct contradictions...ie. one message saying, 'Go spend all your time with your children', while the next page says, "Spend all your time with me, Only I am important."

* Messages that promote new devotions and such an abundance of prayer so as to make your normal day impossible.

*Messages that seem to be overly stressing the publication of books, distribution of messages, regardless of what position the Church might take. Messages that indicate the publication of a book is the most important, not the seeking of a spiritual advisor or the blessing of the Church.

*Messages that are too caught up in outside interests: books, films, buy land, build a refuge center, a new community, move here, go there, start this organization, etc....

*Messages that add new dimensions to Jesus and Mary - where they seem more interested in their own accomplishments than the promotion of God. Such as their announcements of "My books, My farm, My house, My ministry, authority power"...etc....making it appear that Jesus and Mary are more interested in building up an earthly impire.

*Any message that seems likely to strip a visionary of humility and obedience and replace it with ego and power.

*Coupling apparition sites and events to specific messages. There may be a need to stay away from those that seem to have a message from Jesus or Mary for every single decision and action that happens.

*Messages that are geared toward prophecies of doom and destruction, suggesting dates or places, but are repeatedly wrong. Many times they cover the fact that their prophecy didn't happen by a later message saying that the predicted event was postponed due to much prayer and fasting, etc...conveniently making it easy to explain away why their prophecy didn't occur.

I found all this to be really helpful to me in working through some of the confusion out there. If you'd like more information, you may wish to order the book and read the entire and more thorough explanations yourself.





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+++++On "Nothing Sacred" ++++++

By Robert Siml I'm not sure how many of the T.C.E. readers are aware of the Catholic League's fight against Disney/ABC's anti-Catholic series "Nothing Sacred."

Here are some of the comments that the president of the Catholic League, William A. Donohue, made after reviewing the pilot:

"It's nothing sacred alright - it's a frontal assault on Roman Catholicism."

"Here's what's in store. Father Ray tells his parishioners that it's time to "call a moratorium on the sins of the flesh," informing them that the Church's teachings on abortion, promiscuity, homosexuality and contraception can be ignored. He boasts that he will no longer be a "sexual traffic cop" and advises those who want such a priest to go elsewhere. He also tells a girl in the confession that she has to make up her own mind about abortion."

"The leading priest, Father Ray, .... thinks of his vocation as merely a job, admits that he isn't sure of the existence of God, violates his duty as a confessor and rejects the Church's teachings on sexuality. But he loves the homeless, ponders a love affair with an old flame and tells his adversaries to `go fax yourself.' Quite naturally those Catholics who accept the teachings of the Magisterium are portrayed as cold-hearted, selfish,and tyrannical persons.

"There are two major objections to `Nothing Sacred': a) the show promotes the most positive stereotype of Catholics who dissent from Church teachings while fostering the most negative stereo type of those who remain loyal to the Church and b) the show deliberately denigrates the official teachings of the Church by unfavorably contrasting them to the trendy positions of dissent Catholics."

"This Disney/ABC show is nothing more than a political statement against the Catholic Church. The goal is to put a positive spin on Catholic priests who prefer Hollywood's libertine vision of sexuality to the moral teachingsof the Church. This propaganda is fodder for dissenting catholics and anti-Catholic bigots alike."

In effect, Disney/ABC have declared a political propaganda war against the Catholic Church. If you doubt that, here's what the writers have to say:

"One of our goals is to subvert people's expectations as to the nature of a priest's or nun's life in the contemporary world."

"(My aim) is to create dialogue where not very much exists."

So clearly, the writer is being disingenuous. He wants to cause dissention within the Church.

It's also interesting that Michael Eisner publicly claims that the pilot was reviewed favorably by five priests, yet refuses to release the names, addresses, or phone numbers. Clearly Disney/ABC has sought out only liberal priests, if any at all.

What's truly frightening to me, are companies like Disney/ABC, which are willing to destroy their corporate image to push their own moral and political agenda. In fact, Walt Disney's daughter has come out publicly against the direction that Michael Eisner is taking the Disney corporation.

The Catholic League is the organization that defends our Catholic religious and civil rights. They publish a monthly newsletter called the "Catalyst." T.C.E. readers may be shocked to find how much anti-Catholicism is really out there.

The Catholic League has called for a petition drive against Disney/ABC and boycott of the sponsors of the program. The response has been spectacular. Ovaltine, Dairy Queen, Mutual of Omaha and Telecom*USA have announced that they will no longer advertise on the ABC show, "Nothing Sacred." There are now 23 companies that have pulled sponsorship of the program.

As the famous quote goes: "The only thing it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to stand by and do nothing." I know everyone is busy, but now is a good time to defend your faith. First, The Catholic League is asking that we circulate petitions and then send them back to the league so they can drop the whole thing on Michael Eisner's doorstep. If you don't have copies of the petition you can make your own up or write your own letter of protest. Besides mentioning the series "Nothing Sacred" for all of it's anti-Catholicism, it wouldn't hurt to mention Disney's movie "Priest" for an anti-Catholic portrayal of priests, and the sitcom "Ellen" for promoting homosexual behavior. Letters and petitions can be set to

Catholic league
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10126-1444

Secondly, follow through with the boycott and let the sponsors know why. I talk to lackadaisical Catholics all the time who feel they can't change the world or simply not buying a manufacturer's products is enough. A very traditional Catholic statement is: "Every man can make a difference and every man should try."

Visit The Catholic League website to find the latest sponsors of "Nothing Sacred". http://www.catholicleague.org

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