DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 188


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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.

    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.


Commissions and Committees

        Having covered the Curial offices, today and tomorrow we will finish up the non-curia institutes which assist in the work of the Holy See - the chief commissions and committees - before returning to teachings of the Church in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we cover the first ten, taken from the 1999 Catholic Almanac word for word:

  • Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church

       This office, headed by Bishop Francesco Marchisano, was established by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988 as the Pontifical Commission for Preserving the Church's Patrimony of Art and History and is attached to the Congregation for the Clergy. It was made autonommous and given its present title on March 25, 1993.

  • Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology

       This office is also headed by Bishop Francesco Marchisano and was instituted by Pope Pius IX on January 6, 1852.

  • Pontifical Biblical Commission

       This office, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and attached to his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was instituted by Pope Leo XIII on October 30, 1902 and completely restructured by Pope Paul VI on June 27, 1971.

  • Pontifical Commission for Latin America

       This office, headed by Cardinal Bernardin Gantin and attached to his Congregation for Bishops was instituted by Pius XII on April 19, 1958 and restructured by John Paul II in 1988.

  • Pontifical Commission for the Revision and Emendation of the Vulgate

       This office, headed by Benedictine Biblical Scholar Father Jean Mallet, O.S.B. was established by Pope John Paul II in 1984 to replace the Abbey of St. Jerome instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1933.

  • Pontifical Commission for "Ecclesia Dei"

       This office, headed by Cardinal Angelo Felici, was established by Pope John Paul II on July 2, 1988 to facilitate the return to full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians and religious who belonged to the fraternity founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and which was addressed in the Holy Father's document EcclesiaDei.

  • International Theological Commission

       This office, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, acts as an advisory adjunct of no more than 30 theologians to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Definitive statutes for this commission were promulgated on August 6, 1982 by Pope John Paul II.

  • Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews

       This office is headed by Cardinal Edward Isdris Cassidy and attached to his Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It was instituted by Pope Paul VI on October 22, 1974 to promote and foster relations of a religious nature between Jews and Christians.

  • Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims

       This office is headed by Cardinal Francis Arinze and attached to his Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. It was also instituted by Pope Paul VI on October 22, 1974 to promote, regulate and interpret relations between Catholics and Muslims.

  • Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

       This office, headed by Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, was established by Pope Leo XIII in 1879. On February 11, 1986 Pope John Paul II made it a pontifical committee with new statutes.

      Monday: The non-curial institutes: Commissions and Committees part two

October 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 188


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