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August 15 is here. So what? Well, for Catholics it is the ancient feast of the Assumption, the belief that Mary was carried bodily into heaven when she died. In 1950 (!), Pope Pius XII gave it doctrinal status in the bull Munificentissimus Deus, obviously in an attempt to stop the rot of secularism.

The Costa Ricans whom Jaqui saw trudging toward Cartago were going to that feast. In more "advanced" countries I have seen not one reference to the miracle. Oh yes, in Catholic countries it is a holiday, but it is being celebrated in different ways, mostly secular.

Those with automobiles drove for the best part of a day to a resort, putting up with traffic jams as long as 100 km (!), except for those who had to put up with being killed. After a day or two in their infernal paradise, they would head home again, where they could have enjoyed a quiet weekend.

In the Basque provinces, ETA continued its killing and bombing, and staged in Bilbao a meeting in which they mourned the death of ETA "heroes" who had accidentally blown themselves up. French television ran a startling program of ETA members meeting in their favorite bar, decorated with pictures of ETA "heroes". Sitting around a table drinking beer, they boasted that they were freedom fighters. They were young middle class kids, many university students. They showed no compunction about killing innocent people.

In Barcelona, a man stabbed to death his wife (or companion) who had gone the police to complain of mistreatment by him. It was the 46th such case in Spain in this year of grace. May the 46 victims be assumed to a better life.

Thousands of young people from all the world, 50,000 for Spain alone, went to Rome for the fifteenth international festival of youth. They celebrated mass as they went toward Rome. Particularly touching was a couple of young men on a tandem; the rear cyclist was blind. In Rome, the ceremonies would culminate in a mass in the Colosseum, now free of the international gathering of homosexuals which recently assembled here. Ave Maria. Laus Deo. But the alleged miracle did not make the news.

In Moscow the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church met in secret conclave to discuss the misdeeds of their Church under Communism. The believers who suffered death under it, including Nicholas II and his family, were proclaimed holy martyrs. Rasputin would not qualify. not having been a victim of Communism. Can Marta Weeks or someone enlighten us about the Orthodox celebration of the Assumption?

Ronald Hilton - 8/13/00