Liturgical Season 12/22/04 World News
New Resources  Marian Events  Mary in the Secular Press
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Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Liturgical Season

To celebrate the season of Christmas with Mary:

Marian Commemoration Days

Mary Page offers a variety of resources inviting study, reflection and meditation.  We also list important Marian dates for each month of the year.  Please see Marian Commemoration Days for the month of January.

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New Resources

A section on Marian Dogmas has been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was The Immaculate Conception. Expect more articles to follow.

A section on Marian Spiritualities has been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was a paper by Sr. Marie Azzarello on Visitation-Pentecost Spirituality in the Congregation of Notre Dame.  Expect more articles to follow.

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has also been added to our Resources index.  The latest updated was United States.  Expect more countries to follow.

A section on Mary and Women is now under construction in our Resources index.  The latest addition was Bibliography.  Expect more articles to follow.

We have also posted A Christmas Carol, a poem by G. K. Chesterton.

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  News from the Marian Library

Marian Screen Savers!

The Marian Library has been selling Marian PC screensavers.  You may buy one (on CD) for $3.00 or two for $5.00.  You may purchase these screensavers at The Marian Library, which is located on the 7th floor of U.D.'s Roesch Library.  The Marian Library is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, closed on holidays.

The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute (ML/IMRI) has created two different Marian PC screensavers in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

The first is called "Symbols of Grace" and is a series of 11 classical emblems symbolizing the Immaculate Conception.  The emblems evoke a sense of mystery, with scenes of people, angels, animals, and nature representing God's supreme gift of grace to Mary.  Each emblem is accompanied by the Bible verse which inspired it.

The second is entitled "Visions of Grace" and is a collection of 13 different art pieces, ranging from 17th century Mexican to modern Chinese to classical European.  Each piece is a unique artistic interpretation of The Immaculate Conception, and is accompanied by a Marian verse from the Bible.

These lovely screensavers will inspire meditation on the mysteries of God all year long, and make nice "stocking stuffers" at Christmas time.

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Current Exhibits

Sacred Dolls: Re-Imaging Our Lady, a display by Dianne Marlene Hargitai, is currently being exhibited at The Marian Library Gallery. 
For more information call 937-229-4214 or click here to see a virtual exhibit.

Crèche Exhibit Schedule

Marian Library
University of Dayton
7th floor of Roesch Library
300 College Park, Dayton OH
On display: Nov. 29, 2004 through Jan. 7, 2005
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Closed on Dec. 23, 24, 27, 30 and 31.

St. John Gallery at the Bergamo Center
4400 Shakertown Road, Dayton, OH
On display: Nov. 28, 2004 to Jan. 5, 2005
Hours: Noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday or by appointment

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral
325 W. 8th Street, Cincinnati, OH
On display: Nov. 28, 2004 to Jan. 2, 2005
Hours: Weekdays: Noon to 2 p.m.; Saturdays: 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays Nov. 28 and Dec. 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
All other Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Special arrangements may be made for groups.

Dayton Art Institute
456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, OH
On display: Wed., Nov. 24, 2004 through Jan. 6, 2005
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (including holidays); 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays

For more information, and to see samples, click into udnativity.org.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Fall 2004 semester concluded on November 19.  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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Marian Events

Painted Prayers: Books of Hours from the Morgan Library
Location: Saint Louis Art Museum
Date: October 8, 2004 - January 9, 2005

Some of the most important artists of the late medieval and Renaissance periods are represented in this extraordinary exhibition of Books of Hours from the Morgan Library.  These exquisite prayer books, produced in Europe from 1259 to 1550, were intended to inspire personal devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Lavishly designed, illustrated, colored, and gilded, Books of Hours were the "bestsellers" of their day, and no expense was spared in their production.  Two of the books in the exhibition--the "Hours of Catherine of Cleves" (c. 1440) and the "Farnese Hours" (1546)--are acclaimed to be among the greatest works of art ever produced.

For more information on the exhibit, click into slam.org.  Also, click here for more information on illuminated manuscripts.

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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Prayer Corner Requests

You are invited to help us pray for our Prayer Corner intentions.  Please take a look!  This site has been updated and enhanced and now allows users to directly submit prayer requests or to volunteer as a prayer partner for these intentions!

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News from Around the World

From Zenit

Not posted this week.

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Mary in the Secular Press

The director and editors of Mary Page under the auspices of the International Marian Research Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events and ideas expressed in this feature. Our sole purpose is to report on items about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing the secular press.

RELIGION; Pope & dagger [Source: The Advertiser, 11/27/2004]

A startling new biography of the Pope has split the Catholic world by suggesting John Paul II has done more harm than good. BEN ENGLISH meets the man the Vatican is branding a heretic.

AS he lay in Rome's Gemilli Hospital, fighting for his life following his 1981 shooting in St Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II issued a special, secret request. "Bring me the Secret of Fatima," the pontiff rasped. One of the most closely guarded secrets of Christianity was duly brought to the pontiff: the 1917 messages of the Virgin Mary, allegedly delivering the word of God to three peasant children from the Portuguese village of Fatima. What the messages revealed, and what John Paul concluded from them, would transform his world view and alter the course of history. So says a controversial new papal biography which argues that despite his monumental role in defeating totalitarianism and a tireless evangelism that has made him the most popular pope in history, John Paul has a darker side that has left Catholicism in a worse state than when he arrived.

Author John Cornwell says the pontiff's failures can be linked to the premature death of his mother combined with a bizarre relationship with the Holy Mother, Mary. With a polemic that has sparked uproar stretching from the Vatican around the Catholic world, the Cambridge don and veteran Vatican chronicler contends John Paul is also blatantly anti-women. More explosively, he claims the Pope has encouraged the Islamic fundamentalism that underpins terrorism. "Although I believe that he is a great man, that we all sleep more safely in our beds because of what he did about communism, and although he is a man of immense integrity, there is nevertheless a debit side," says Cornwell. "Yet nothing has been said about that because there tends to be a taboo against criticising popes."

Cornwell's biography, The Pope in Winter: The Dark Face of John Paul II's Papacy, commits the rare additional sin of criticising a living pope. Already, supporters of the pontiff have come out swinging, branding it "baloney'' and full of "groin-kicking intolerance". But Cornwell remains unrepentant. "The other major biography of the Pope is just pure hagiography--total hero worship. That needed to be balanced," he says. "My beef is that there has not been much to praise--particularly more recently. "John Paul has emerged as an intransigent authoritarian who is leaving his church in a far worse state than he found it 26 years ago."

Central to his failure, says Cornwell, is John Paul's obsession with a narrow set of ethical issues surrounding sex and bioethics that has rendered him blind to far more sinister developments. "While the Catholic Church has been suffering from a catalogue of calamities ..." he writes in the book, "... not least the pedophile-priests crisis, the defections of the young, the incursions of evangelical Protestantism in South America and the admixtures of native religions in Africa, he has focused, virtually exclusively, not only on abortion but on what he sees as the mortal sins of contraception, sex before marriage, divorce and remarriage, couples living together outside marriage, in-vitro fertilisation, homosexuality and the use of condoms as a safe-sex strategy." "Nobody expects the Pope to condone sexual permissiveness but his unforgiving, excluding rigidity has driven away countless millions."

But perhaps Cornwell's most sensational claim is that the Pope, a man who has survived the twin tyrannies of Nazism and communist totalitarianism and emerged as a passionate advocate for peace, has made the world less safe since September 11, 2001. "I'm sticking my neck out with this," admits the 64-year-old author of Hitler's Pope and A Thief in the Night. "But he could never have foreseen the political, social and cultural landscape post 9/11. He's too old. He's too enfeebled. My point is that this pope, by being very, very harsh on pluralism and democracy, has offered solace to the Islamic fundamentalists. "That's because what he says about the way the West operates would give them (fundamentalists) the impression that pluralism is every bit as degenerate as they suspected it was."

The roots of this rigidity, Cornwell says, can be traced far, far further back to the Pope's traumatic youth. Having lost his brother, the mother he idolised and his father in his teens, Karol Wojtyla found himself alone in the world, a slave labourer in Nazi-occupied Poland. "He was surrounded by a tidal wave of genocide and brutality," explains Cornwell. "And after the war, he went to Rome and returned to a Soviet communist regime: brutal, sterile, atheistic. He developed the 'big question' at this point: How can human beings who are made in the image and likeness of God, create Auschwitz and the gulags? "And by the time he's become Pope, it's quite clear that he believes that in the 20th century we are living in a very special period, which he calls the Culture of Death. And so he begins to make connections between every thwarting of human life, whether it's a single act of contraception--one person using a condom--and all these terrible things, genocide and the rest of it. This is his great vision. "

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he began to turn his attention in a new direction: civic and cultural pluralism, democracy and secularism. In other words, the West. "He began to see freedom itself as degenerate and dangerous unless it is freedom in pursuit of 'the truth' and the truth for him, ultimately, is obviously Christianity as expounded by the Catholic Church and protected by the popes." Cornwell says John Paul's battle with the West has focused on a radically reactionary approach to sexual issues that argues, for instance, that contraception is morally akin to abortion. "Which, when you think about it, is quite horrifying," he says. But while sharpening his knife against the sexually permissive society, he says, the Pope presided over a period of scandalous abuses by pedophile priests. Cornwell says the Pope helped cultivate the corporate culture of denial from the Vatican down by centralising power. More than any time in history, bishops look over their shoulder to Rome before making local decisions. For that, John Paul has much to answer for, despite being shocked to the core and "heartbroken" by the revelations.

Cornwell contends the Pope has "taken a bit of the Iron Curtain with him" to the Vatican to mould a rigid, overly authoritarian papacy. He has also, says Cornwell, developed a "medieval patriarchalism" towards women on issues ranging from female ordination to the pill. It is something of a paradox to those who knew the young Karol Wojtyla, the athletic, handsome young man who got on so easily with women,

According to Cornwell, the change may be explained by the Pope's astonishing relationship with the Virgin Mary. Cornwell says the Pope's world view was radically and irrevocably changed by the 1981 attempt on his life in St Peter's Square, in which he "miraculously" survived two close-range gunshot wounds. The first two secrets of Fatimah were said to concern the first two world wars, but the third had long remained a Vatican secret. It was said to concern a "bishop clothed in white" being shot. John Paul concluded it was about him. The Vatican concurred, announcing in May 2000, that Mary had predicted the shooting. The Pope went one step further, believing that Mary had changed the course of the bullets to ensure they missed his vital organs.

It's a conviction, Cornwell says, that beggars belief but explains much of his papacy. "It's extraordinary that you would think the Virgin Mary would take time out of eternity to come down in 1917 in order to foretell something as important as this about this particular man," he says. "But he has this relationship which is very personal, very unique--all to do with him. "And this has big political consequences for the church because he believes that he has been saved for a purpose which kind of sanctifies all of his agenda. Everything he does is right because she saved him. "He will not resign because it is all intended, it is all written, it is all meant. It plays a huge part in his psychology and it does go back to the mother thing."

The Pope in Winter: The Dark Face of John Paul's Papacy, Penguin, RRP $49.95. Available February, 2005.

Romanian police [Source: The Times (London), 11/27/2004]

Romanian police are investigating claims that a woman stole a "miraculous" tear that appeared on an icon of the Virgin Mary. The 62-year-old woman, who has not been named, is said to have taken the tear during a visit to a church in the village of Parcovaci. "I went to the icon and tried to steal the tear with my lips while kissing it," she explained. "But I couldn't, so I used a tissue to wipe the tear and take it with me."

Tenants face eviction after paying rent in advance: Caretaker collected money, they say. But he has moved, and property owner says the rent was not paid [Source: The Gazette (Montreal), 11/22/2004]

Less than a year ago, believers and the merely curious beat a path to the door of Abderezak Mehdi, a St. Laurent resident who said he had found a Virgin Mary icon that shed tears of oil. Mehdi has since moved, and tenants now wonder what happened to the man they knew as their building caretaker and to the thousands of dollars they say they paid him, in cash, in advance rent. The property owner, Raoul Blouin Ltd., has taken about 40 of the tenants to the Quebec rental board for non-payment of rent and problems with their leases--issues that came to light about the time Mehdi left in September.

The rental dispute involves three high-rise apartment buildings on Deguire Blvd. and neighbouring Quintin St. Patricia Gamliel, a lawyer representing 29 of the tenants, said police told her she could not file complaints about the missing money until the rental board makes a ruling. If the tenants win, there has been no fraud--against them, at least. "We don't know who the victim is in all this," said Sgt. Sylvain Francoeur, of the Montreal police fraud division. The rental board would have to clarify the validity of the tenants' leases and rent payments before police intervened, he said.

Hafida Daoudi said she and her neighbours in the apartment block are the losers in this bizarre tangle--they are out of pocket for rent, and could find themselves out of their homes. Daoudi said she gave Mehdi $10,555 in cash in February for a few extras--two rent-free months and free garage space--at her Deguire Blvd. apartment. She knew Mehdi--he started coming around to fix things and collect the monthly rent, either in cash or by cheque, soon after her family moved in four years ago--and she trusted him. "He was very nice and he kept the place spotless," Daoudi said.

When friends were looking for an apartment last winter, Daoudi suggested they talk to Mehdi. Daoudi said that was when she heard about the special deal: Pay rent in cash, a year or two in advance, in exchange for freebies. "I saw that other people were doing it, so why not? It represented $2,000 to $3,000 in savings for me," she said, adding that Mehdi gave tenants receipts. Gamliel said some of her 29 customers--many of them new immigrants--borrowed money from their families or emptied their savings to take advantage of the rent offer. Mona Rabbath, a tenant, said her husband forked over $6,900 for rent. That was most of the cash the couple had on them when they arrived in Montreal from Lebanon in June. "It's not unusual in Lebanon for people to ask for rent in advance," she said. While Quebec landlords cannot demand more than a month's rent in advance from their tenants, there is nothing to prevent tenants and landlords from reaching such a deal, if it suits both parties, a Quebec rental board spokesperson said.

All went well for Daoudi and her husband until September, when they received an overdue-rent notice. They sent the building owners a copy of their receipt, which stated that the rent was covered until May 31, 2005. (Daoudi said she had Mehdi's word that they could stay on an extra two months beyond that, rent-free.) But the owners complained to the rental board that the rent was unpaid, as of September, and they wanted the family out. Rabbath said she was notified Oct. 5 that her rent for September and October was overdue. Five other tenants--not represented by Gamliel--did not show up at a first series of rental board hearings in October to contest the landlord's complaint and lost by default, Gamliel said. Danielle Blouin, the apartment building manager, refused last week to discuss the tenants' complaints. "It's going to the rental board, and that's it," she said.

The date of the next board hearing--to tackle most of the pending cases--has yet to be set.

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