NEWS:  November 11, 2000

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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães

RELIGIOUS WAR – The events in the Middle East overstep the temporal sphere into the religious ambit. The recent turmoil began when Israeli leader Ariel Sharon resolved to "visit" Temple Mount, a site is venerated by both Jews and Muslims. Until now, the media has not fully explained what it was that Mr. Sharon did there. Be it what it may, it was considered highly offensive to the Muslims.

The Jews are well aware that in the past this was the site of Solomon's Temple. After its destruction, a second Temple was built by Esdras and Hehemias, and reformed by Herod. The two Temples were destroyed by the Babylonians and Romans respectively. In the 4th century, Julian the Apostate tried to rebuild the Jewish edifice in order to prove that the destruction was not a divine chastisement. Fire and earthquakes prevented his plans from being realized. The Jews weep at the absence of the temple at a wall that properly speaking did not make up part of the building, but seems to have been only an exterior protective wall that kept the surrounding mountain ground from sliding into the valley.

In this same open space, the Muslims built two mosques: the mosque of Omar, known as the golden Dome of the Rock, which was constructed upon the rock from which the Arabs believe Mohammed ascended into heaven and back. The other mosque, called Al-Aqsa, is considered the third most holy place of Islam, after Mecca and Medina. It was at this site, where the angel Gabriel supposedly brought Mohammed during a dream, that he would have received a part of his revelations.

It has been reported that the Jews are making plans to rebuild their ancient religious edifice on its original site. For example, Time magazine (October 16, p. 72) says: "Rabbi Haim Richman, who works at the Temple Institute in the Jewish quarter, explains: 'When the Temple is rebuilt, it goes right here and only here.' Richman's researchers have re-created the priestly garments and tools that will be needed in the 'Third Temple': a silver mizrak to collect blood from sacrificial animals, even a million-dollar menorah."

However, in order to reconstruct the Jewish temple, it seems that it will be necessary to destroy the aforementioned mosques. According to a Palestine website (, there is an Israeli TV documentary "showing that Al-Aqsa would soon collapse as the result of an earthquake which will strike the area within two years. Moreover, the [Jewish] excavations will help in this process, having already weakened its foundations, and because geologists have confirmed that the area is one of the most active for earthquakes to take place." If this program has indeed been shown on Israeli TV, it is curious to note the exact forewarning of the destruction that a future earthquake would make.

With these presuppositions set out, one understands that the base of the present-day convulsion in the Middle East is a religious question. Will the Jews renounce the reconstruction of their temple? Will the Muslims permit the destruction of their mosques? There will only be a lasting peace if the Jews renounce the construction of the temple or if the Arabs permit the destruction of their mosques. At the moment, nothing points to either solution. On the contrary, animosities are becoming more intense than in the past. Which is to say, we seem to be witnessing the bloody beginning of a religious war, which issues from a historical incompatibility between the descendents of the two sons of Abraham: Ishmael and Israel.

The atmosphere that results from this religious exaltation and the augment of bloodshed naturally tends to spread through all of Islamism (more than one billion followers) and all of Judaism.

Let no one forget that Islam has more than 15 million immigrants in Europe, who are potential guerrillas of a new intifadeh. If the wick were lit close to this powder keg, everything leads one to believe that an order given from Muslim headquarters against Christian Europe could destabilize the beautiful continent, so jealous of its peace and its good life. A significant detail: a large part of the world's petroleum is in the hands of Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, which uses its gold to finance the religious guerrillas.

Let no one also forget that the Jewish financial power block controls a good part of the Western banking system.

Thus, it is verified that the "visit" of Mr. Sharon had the magic touch of transforming the international ambience. The climate changed to that of war between two old religions, supported by two economic giants.

In this climate, the doves' peaceful plans for a new world order and the progressivists' plans for a pan-religion begin to be disrupted.

CATHOLIC PATRIARCH'S FLAMED STATEMENT – In this tense atmosphere a new factor worthy of attention appears. Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the principal Catholic Prelate of the Latin rite in Jerusalem, made a pronouncement. He said that the only way to prevent the conflict is to create a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Here are his words: "These sorrowful and painful events prove to all that there is no choice but to have justice for the Palestinian people, who must be given back their entire freedom and their own independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. This will lead to real stability for both Israelis and Palestinians and the entire region" (National Catholic Reporter, October 13, p. 10).

Now, it is known that the Jews unilaterally declare Jerusalem as their capital, and admit no compromise on this point. Thus this pronouncement of the Catholic Patriarch is a clear-cut position against this Israeli pretension because if the words of the Prelate transcribed by the press are correct, he is suggesting that in the Palestinian state, the city of Jerusalem should be the capital exclusively of the Palestinians. It is a new idea, quite provocative, of the type to pour more gasoline on the fire.

CATHOLIC CARDINAL'S PEACEFUL STATEMENT – The head of the U.S. Bishops' International Policy Committee, Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston, called on Palestinian and Israeli leaders to exercise "moral leadership" and to "unequivocally" condemn mob violence as a first step to resolving the crisis in the Middle East. Cardinal Law called for such actions in an October 16 statement titled "Wounded Peace: Conflict in the Holy Land."

"This is not the time for blame and recrimination," the Cardinal said. "It is time to break the escalating cycle of violence, and to uncover the embers of hope that remain for a just peace" (The Tidings, October 20, 2000, p. 2). This statement proposes a solution which is the exact opposite of that given by Patriarch Sabbah. Why this difference in orientations in the highest level of Catholic Prelates? Would we have a dispute between the doves and the hawks in the Church? Or would these Prelates have only the aim of adapting themselves to the dominant opinions in their particular areas of influence? We hope to see facts revealed that would permit a response to these questions.

STATISTICS – According to statistics released at the Vatican October 14, the most traveled Pope, John Paul II, has visited 123 countries and made 138 trips within Italy, and 291 visits in Rome. He has written 13 encyclicals, created 157 Cardinals and proclaimed 447 saints (The Tidings, October 20, 2000, p. 19).

ENTRUSTMENT – Many hoped that on October 8 Pope John Paul II would finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Our Lady requested at Fatima. However, this did not take place. He did not make an act of consecration, but an act of entrustment. He made no mention of either Russia or the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In entrusting the world to Mary on October 8, Pope John Paul II purposefully did not use the word "consecrate," a top Vatican official said. Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the Pope's decision underlined the fact that he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in March 1984. The act of consecration "was done .... so we do not need to repeat it," Archbishop Bertone said in an interview with the Portuguese Catholic radio, Radio Renascença. "The Pope himself," stated Bertone, "wanted to modify the key term of this act, preferring to speak of an act of entrustment to Mary" (The Tidings, October 13, 2000, p. 24).

However, according to the words of Sister Lucy, Our Lady gave the exact form that She wanted: The consecration of Russia must be explicitly mentioned, and it must be made by the Holy Father in union with all the Bishops of the Catholic world. The full conditions were not met in the 1952 consecration of Pope Pius XII (without the union of all the Bishops in a public act). Nor were they met in the May 1982 act of offering and consecration by Pope John Paul II, in which he confided "the world to the Mother's heart…" or in the March 1984 renewal of the consecration of the world to "Mary, Mother." This recent "entrustment" was further still from meeting the conditions placed by Our Lady for consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

THE ECUMENICAL DOMINUS JESU – The discussion over the Declaration Dominus Jesu seems to be coming to a close. After having been exalted by some as a new Syllabus of errors for our days, the party is over for the pseudo-conservatives and for the hoopla of the press. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself, who is responsible for the document, took upon himself the charge of clarifying the question. In an interview in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, whose principal parts were reproduced in L'Osservatore Romano, Ratzinger explained that Vatican II did not use Pius XII's expression according to which "the Roman Catholic Church is the only Church of Jesus Christ." Instead, it preferred the expression "the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church ruled by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him," because, he said, it wished to affirm "that the being of the Church as such is a larger identity than the Roman Catholic Church." But this does not mean that it is so in a partial or lesser way, the Cardinal added. (Zenit Internet Dispatch, October 8).

With this explanation, no doubt remains that when the document refers to the "Church of Christ," it does not intend to refer to the Catholic Church. This is what was said in an article published in The Remnant soon after the document's release (A Conversion? September 30, p. 2).

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