Thursday, May 18, 2006

Catholics and First Friday Mass, the Da Vinci Code dud of a movie, was Pope John Paul the Fatima Pope, rising on-line evangelization & more

The Da Vinci Code movie opens today, Friday, but already critics unanimously agree that the movie is a dud! But before we get into it, you're probably asking yourself about the above headline regarding our obligation to attend First Friday Mass? You will find the answer at the bottom of this email.

Getting back to the Da Vinci Code, ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion sinks his teeth into the controversy and offers an alternative read that's more exciting with more drama: the Bible. Medieval historian and writer Jeri Westerson gets into the real story behind the Knights of the Templars and the Holy Grail. You have to read this!

In "Who's afraid of the Da Vinci Code," an Opus Dei member tackles the so-called "facts" mentioned in the book and movie. We also have a direct response from the Opus Dei to director Ron Howard's remarks against those who are protesting the movie.

Why are we running all these articles about the movie? Because the threat to the Christian faithful is real. Polls suggests that people are twice as likely to believe that Jesus Christ fathered children after reading the Dan Brown blockbuster and four times as likely to think of the Catholic organisation Opus Dei as a murderous sect.

Let's now move from fiction to fact. In this profile, St. Peter is described as "occasionally naive and fearful, yet honest and capable of repentance." He was not perfect but Jesus still chose him to be the first in a continuous line of Popes who were to lead God's Church on earth.

Was Pope John Paul the Fatima Pope? We have the article that tries to make this case. We also have an account of an inexplicable cure that might facilitate Pope John Paul II's canonization. On this week's 25th anniversary of the assasination attempt on John Paul's life, his successor Pope Benedict echoed the Fatima message, emphasizing a note of hope for the world. The Pope also invited the faithful to pray the rosary, in order to better understand the key moments of salvation history and to help with "spiritual growth."

And the signs to spiritual growth look good. Recent studies show more women, including Ivy League career women, are opting to be stay-at-home moms. And more young people are finding fulfilment in monastic life.

The Pope preached this week that Marriage is the only foundation strong enough to support a society “that can be home to all human beings.” He also speaks out against In-Vitro Fertilization and his household preacher delivers a wonderful meditation "He Prunes Every Branch that Bears Fruit."

A Catholic group reports the abortion industry is dying. Thanks to the efforts of people like Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue. He converted to Catholicism last Holy Thursday. We have his story.

Media News! Sirius Satellite Radio and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York are launching a round-the-clock Catholic Channel. This comes at the heels of reports that pastors everywhere are turning to the Internet to save souls, renew faith, inspire hope — and, not incidentally, to fill their pews.

But Modern “Christian music” faces a different conundrum. This author says it's neither good music nor good Christianity. One writer says the Church is going to be ripped off even more by greedy attorneys with newly passsed laws in California and other states.

Get inspired. "THE SNEEZE," "THE HEART" are warm heart-tuggers you will surely enjoy. A mother explains love and marriage to her son. And here's the tearful lesson many baby boomer parents are facing today: it's the Fine Art of Letting Go.

And finally, remember the First Friday Mass question mentioned above? Here's the answer. Catholics are not really obliged to attend First Friday Mass but millions of people worldwide nevertheless observe this as part of their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Paul Dion explains how this pious devotion got started.

Have a wonderful week. God bless.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

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