February 3, 2000
volume 11, no. 24

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    Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.

    It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices and from Old Testament Confraternity Edition and New Testament Confraternity Edition of the Saint Joseph New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible.

    Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. For points covered thus far, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

installment 102:

        By designating himself "the brother of James" (v. 1), the writer of this Epistle evidently wished to reveal himself to his readers. At the time the Epistle was written, there was no one of prominence in the Church having the name of James except the Apostle James the Less, Bishop of Jerusalem and author of the Epistle that bears his name. St. James the Less was one of the "brethren of the Lord" (Galatians 1, 19), and had a brother named Jude (Matthew 13, 55; Mark 6, 3). In the two lists of the Apostles given by Saint Luke (Luke 6, 16; Acts 1, 15), one is named "Jude of James." He is called Thaddeus by the other evangelists (Matthew 10, 3; Mark 3, 18). It is clear that Luke refers to Jude the brother of James. Little more is known of the life of this Apostle. According to tradition he preached the gospel in Syria and suffered martyrdom at Beirut. The Church celebrates the feast of Saints Simon and Jude on October 28.

        The author of this Epistle presupposes that his readers are familiar with the Old Testament and with Jewish traditions. It is likely, therefore, that it was addressed to converts from Judaism who also knew the Apostle James.

        The Epistle is both brief and practical. It was occasined by the teachings and practices of certain heretics within the Church. By their evil lives they were denying that Jesus is the only Lord and Master. They were opposed to all law and authority, and changed Christian liberty into unrestrained license. The Epistle is a warning to them.

        The Epistle was written between the years 62 and 67 A.D., as may be concluded from the following indications. The warnings from the past (vv. 5-7) contain no mention of the fall of Jerusalem. It was written before the death of Saint Peter. It was written after the death of St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, for on the authority of Hegesippus we know that the church in Palestine was free from heresies during his administration.

        The Fathers, and Catholic tradition in general, ascribe the Epistle to the Apostle St. Jude. St. Peter made use of it in the Second Epistle. The Muratorian canon enumerates it among the sacred books.

    Tomorrow: The Book of the Apocalypse/Revelation


February 3, 2000
volume 11, no. 24

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