DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     September 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 173

APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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    INTRODUCTION
      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.

    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.

THE BISHOPS - THE SUCCESSORS OF THE APOSTLES

        A bishop rules over that part of the Church, an organized territory called a bishopric, diocese, or see, assigned to him by the Pope. The word “bishop” is a translation from the Greek episcopos, which means “overseer,” a term first applied during apostolic times.

        A bishop administers the temporal possessions of his diocese, and gives an account of their administration to the Pope. He provides for the education and training of candidates for the priesthood, and the religious education of his whole flock. He gives faculties to hear confessions, censors books on religious subjects, and has many other powers for the proper administration of his diocese.

        The bishops are the major-generals in the vast army of the Church. They command the different divisions of that army, subject to the authority of the commander-in-chief, the Bishop of Rome. As the Pope is the successor of St. Peter, so the other bishops are the direct successors of the other Apostles. Bishops are called “Princes of the Church.” To them Our Lord spoke: “He who hears you hears Me.” They and their vicars general are termed ordinaries, because they have ordinary, or immediate, jurisdiction over the diocese. The Pope grants to bishops their jurisdiction. They are obliged to go to Rome at stated intervals, to report on the state of their dioceses in what are called ad limina visits.

        A bishop is shepherd of his flock. He appoints and supervises parish priests to help him. In governing his diocese, he is assisted by a number of “canons,” or by diocesan consultors. A coadjutor or auxiliary bishop is commissioned to assist the bishop of a diocese. Usually a coadjutor bishop is one with the right of succession.

        The Pope addresses a bishop Brother, because as bishops they have the same rank. Bishops wear a miter, and carry a crosier as a sign of their office of pastor. They wear a pectoral cross. They have a ring, as a symbol of their union with their diocese. The faithful kiss it in token of obedience and respect.

        A Vicar Apostolic is a bishop who rules over a territory that is not yet fully organized, called a Vicariate Apostolic. When the territory is first organized, it is usually placed under the care of a priest, and not a bishop. This priest is called a Prefect Apostolic and his territory is an Apostolic Prefecture.

        A titular Bishop or Archbishop is one to whom a special work is given, but who does not have jurisdiction over a diocese, as nuncios, apostolic delegates, auxiliary bishops, vicars apostolic, and retired bishops. He is given the title of an ancient and extinct diocese where once the faith flourished, but where there are now few or no Catholics.

        An Archbishop or Metropolitan is a bishop who has certain powers of jurisdiction granted by the Pope over neighboring dioceses composing his province. Archbishops wear a pallium, a white strip of wool, on the shoulders, as a symbol of gentleness. They act as first judges of appeal from a decision of their suffragan bishops.

      Tuesday: the Hierarchy and the Sacred College of Cardinals

September 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 173
GREAT DEPOSIT OF FAITH

DAILY CATHOLIC

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