DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     October 5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 189


To print out entire text of Today's issue,
      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.


Non-curia institutes: Commissions and Committees part two

        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 Committee for Historical Sciences

       This office, headed by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, was instituted by Pope Pius XII on April 7, 1954 as a continuation of a commission dating back to 1883 during the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII.

  • Committee for the Grand Jubilee of the Holy Year 2000

       This office is headed by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray and was instituted by Pope John Paul II on November 15, 1994 in preparation for all the events leading up to and including the Jubilee Year in addition to helping with Tertium Annum and the immediate three year preparation dedicated to the Holy Trinity - Jesus, God the Son in 1997, the Holy Spirit in 1998, and God the Father in 1999.

  • Vatican II Archives

       This office, headed by Monsignor Vincenzo Carbone as Director, is a standard office that was established by Pope Paul VI to preserve the documents of the Second Vatican Council in addition to other archives. This is separate from the Vatican Archives itself.

  • Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia

       This office, headed by Bishop Mario Francesco Pompedda is exactly what it says, serving to oversee discipline for members of the Curia who would overstep their boundaries. Hopefully the bishop is not too busy.

  • Fabric of St. Peter

       This office, headed Cardinal Virgilio Noe, the Archpriest of the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica and President, was established in the 1600's and is in charge of the administration, care and preservation of St. Peter's Basilica exterior and interior. This includes the complete restoration of the exterior of the grand basilica which was dedicated and blessed this past Friday with the official unveiling of the new look basilica now bathed in light, bright pastels rather than the old dirty, dusky browns and earth tones caused by centuries of pollution.

  • Office of Papal Charities

       This office, headed by Bishop Oscar Rizzato as almoner distributes alms and aid to those in need in the name of the Pope. It dates back centuries and has always been more of a ceremonial office since the coffers for this are quite limited. This has nothing to do with "Peter's Pence."

  • Council of Cardinals for Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See

       This office is composed of approximately 15 cardinals from countries throughout the world including Cardinal John J. O'Connor and Cardinal Roger Mahony and is more of an advisory capacity. It was establed in 1981 by Pope John Paul II.

  • Commission for the Protection of the Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See

       This office is headed by the head of the Fabric of Peter Cardinal Virgilio Noe to maintain the statues and paintings of the Vatican. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1923 and reorganized by Paul VI in 1963.

  • Institute for Works of Religion

        This office is headed by a commission of cardinals which includes the Secretariat of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal John J. O'Connor. It was instituted by Pius XII on June 27, 1942 to invest and administer funds for works of religion. It replaced the earlier administration established by Leo XIII in 1887. Pope John Paul reorganized it on March 1, 1990 with his chirograph.

  • Labor Office of the Apostolic See

       This office, headed by Cardinal Jan Schotte, was instituted by Pope John Paul II with his Motu Proprio of January 1, 1989 with its functions reaffirmed and efinitive text of statues approved by the Holy Father with his Motu Proprio of September 30, 1994. This office has competence in regard to all those who work fo rthe Apostolic See. It is charged with settling labor issues. Leo XIII in 1879. On February 11, 1986 Pope John Paul II made it a pontifical committee with new statutes.

    There are other committees and commissions, but these are the major ones headquartered in Rome.

      tomorrow: The role of the priest

October 5, 1999       volume 10, no. 189


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