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September 16, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 176
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION THREE or SECTION ONE
Appreciation of the Roman Curia
Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the great treasuries of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. We continue with the Hierarchy - today introducing the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Church and the highest of those offices: the Secretariat of State. For the twelfth installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
THE ROMAN CURIA part one
The Roman Curia is the organization of various bodies to which the Pope has delegated the exercise of his jurisdiction. Almost all the heads of the bodies in the Roman Curia are cardinals. The Roman Curia is the papal court; it is the core of the government of the Church. The Holy Father possesses complete and absolute power over the government of the Church; but it is not possible for him to exercise his authority personally and directly over every detail in the world-wide Church. It is akin to Congress or Parliament.
This network of the Church's central administrative agencies, also called dicasteries serves the Vatican and local churches stemming from the full authority granted by the Sovereign Pontiff. The Curia came about from the advisory assemblies or synods of the clergy who had assisted the Popes in Church affairs during the first millennium into the first century of the second. It originally was called the Apostolic Chancery which was established in the fourth century in order to disseminate documents to the clergy and, in turn, to the people. The various offices were not truly defined until the Council of Trent.
In 1963, soon after he was elected the 262nd successor of Peter, Pope Paul VI ordered a four-year study to revamp the Curia. The results were published in his Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae published on August 18, 1967 and took full effect the following March. Twenty years later, Pope John Paul II issued his Apostolic Constition Pastor Bonus released during his Consistory of June 28, 1988 in which he modified many of the curial offices, expanding, condensing some and changing the names and duties of many.
An Overview of the Roman Curia
In his final reform, which the Holy Father made effective March 1, 1989 there were:
- The Secretariat of State:
- First Section and Second Section
- The Sacred Congregations:
- Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
- Pontifical Commision for Biblical Commission*
- International Theological Commission*
- Congregation for Bishops
- Pontifical Commission for Latin America**
- Congregation for the Clergy
- Congregation for the Oriental Churches
- Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
- Congregation for the Causes of Saints
- Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
- Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
- Congregation for Catholic Education
- Apostolic Penitentiary
- Apostolic Signatura
- Roman Rota
- Pontifical Councils:
- Pontifical Council for the Laity
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews***
- Pontifical Council for the Family
- Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
- Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"
- Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants
- Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers
- Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts
- Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
- Pontifical Council for Culture
- Pontifical Council for Social Communications
- Apostolic Chamber
- Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
- Administration of the Patrimony of hte Apostolic See
- Other Curia Agencies:
- Prefecture of the Papal Household
- Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff
- Vatican Press Office
- Vatican Information Service
- Central Statistics Office
- Commissions and Committees:
- Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church:
- Pontifical Commision for Sacred Archeology
- Pontifical Commision for Biblical Commission*
- Pontifical Commission for Latin America**
- Pontifical Commission for the Revision and Emendation of the Vulgate
- Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"
- International Theological Commission*
- Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews***
- Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims****
- Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses
- Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
- Committee for the Grand Jubilee of the Holy Year 2000
- Vatican II Archives
- Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia
- Fabric of St. Peter
- Office of Papal Charities
- Council of Cardinals for Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See
- Commission for the Protection of the Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See
- Institute for Works of Religion
- Labor Office of the Apostolic See
The Secretariat of State
The Secretariat of State office is the right hand of the Sovereign Pontiff, providing assistance in the care of the universal Church. This most vital of bodies is composed of two sections, the First Section for General Affairs which assists the Vicar of Christ in carrying out the daily business of the Holy See.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano is in charge of preparing drafts of all documents as the Pope deigns and is also responsible for coordinating the Roman Curial day-to-day operations, consulting with the various Prefects and Presidents. He supervises the Vatican Press Office and L'Osservatore Romano, the Central Statistics Office and the accounts of the Church recorded in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Annuario Pontificio. He is the one who issues the encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations, Letters and Constitutions and few can get to the Pope without going through this office.
The Second Section of the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Sodano also oversees but regular day-to-day duties are given over more to the Secretary for Relations with States who presently is Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, a very important office in these times of global impact. He answers directly to Cardinal Sodano who, when push comes to shove, takes full responsibility for governing the Vatican Diplomatic division. Lately Archbishop Tauran has been on the move so much from Kosovo to Africa to Asia to the Holy Land to Indonesia that Cardinal Sodano has been working overtime in relations with civil governments, especially at this time with the grave situation in East Timor and Rwanda. Attached to the Second Section is a Council of Cardinals and Bishops which act as an advisory board.
The Secretariat of State was first created in its primitive form after the Council of Trent. In the 1793 Pope Pius VI reorganized it as the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs and Paul VI restructured it as the Pontifical Council for Public Affairs of the Church in 1967. John Paul II set it apart from all other offices by giving it singular status above the rest.
Friday: the Roman Curia: Sacred Congregations
Events that happened this day in Church History
Today is the anniversary of the death of three Popes - Pope Saint Martin I 1,355 years ago; Pope Valentine, 100th in the line of Peter 1,172 years ago; and Pope Blessed Victor III who died 912 years ago. Also, 535 years ago Pope Paul II was elected the on this date in 1464. Cardinals today wear the red-hat or three-cornered red beretta thanks to this 211th successor of Peter. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for September 16:
Death of Pope Saint Martin I, 74th successor of Peter who ruled for six years. During his pontificate he condemned the Eastern bishops who enjoyed the protection of the Byzantine Emperor. Imprisoned and exiled, he died of suffering and hardship on the island of Cherson. It was during his papacy that the Church began celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Virgin.
Death of Pope Valentine, 100th successor of Peter who ruled for just over two weeks. He was beloved by the people, the nobles, and the clergy for his goodness and charity and exhibited great piety.
Death of Pope Blessed Victor III, 158th successor of Peter who had fled to Montecassino four days after his election on May 24, 1086. But the people clamored for him to be Pope and he was forcefully brought back to Rome and consecrated. He excommunicated the antipope Clement III and took up residence on the fortified Tiber island.
Death of the antipope Clement VII who had turned against Pope Gregory XI and undermined Pope Urban VI. As the first antipope of the Great Schism of the West, Clement initiated the great split that would last from 1378 to 1417.
Venutian-born Cardinal Pietro Barbo is elected by the College of Cardinals as the 211th successor of Peter, taking the name Pope Paul II. He would go on to be the Pope who decided that only Cardinals would wear the red beretta. He also reduced the benefit of a special pardon to 25 years so that each generation could benefit.
SIMPLY SHEEN: The character of truth
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".
"One of the most dangerous effects of reducing education to the amassing of knowledge rather than the acquisition of truth, is that it forgets the relationship between truth and character."
Today is the Feast of the martyrs Pope Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian, bishop while tomorrow is the Twenty-fourth Friday in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine, bishop, religious, and Doctor of the Church. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes for these feasts, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Thursday, September 16, 1999
First Reading: 1 Timothy 3: 12-16
Psalms: Psalm 111: 2, 7-10
Gospel Reading: Luke 7: 36-50
FEAST OF THE MARTYRS POPE SAINT CORNELIUS AND SAINT CYPRIAN, BISHOP
This feast recognizes two martyrs of the Church in the 3rd Century - Pope Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian. The former was the 21st in the line of Peter, being elevated to the papacy in March 251 during the height of the Roman persecutions under the wicked Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus, better known as the terrible terror - Roman Emperor Valerian. Though his rule lasted only two years, he is remembered for defending the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) against the heretic Novatian who bitterly opposed Cornelius, claiming opposite poles in respect to how public sinners and apostates should be reconciled with Holy Mother Church. In 253 Valerian exiled Cornelius to Civitavecchia, which was then the port of Rome, and where he died for his faith in June of the same year.
St. Cyprian was a rhetorician and lawyer prior to his conversion at the age of 25. In 249 he was appointed bishop by Pope Saint Fabian, Cornelius' predecessor who had been martyred by the Roman Emperor Decius. Decius was murdered by Valerian shortly after killing Fabian. Cyprian had been placed in charge of about 150 other bishops as the Metropolitan of Northern Africa by Cornelius and joined with the Pope in his stance that baptism performed by heretics was invalid. After Cornelius' martyrdom Cyprian continued to uphold this viewpoint through the time of two more pontiffs Pope Saint Lucius I and Saint Stephen I; the latter ruling against the thinking of Cornelius and Cyprian. Because Cyprian was so influential with the Christians from his position as Metropolitan Bishop, Valerian targeted him for execution, first exiling him and then ordering that the saint be beheaded on September 14, 258. Rather than discouraging Christians everywhere by this action, it backfired on Valerian for indeed the blood of the martyrs replenished a flourishing Church. Cornelius and Cyprian are listed together in the Roman Canon of the Mass.
Friday, September 17, 1999
Friday September 17:
Twenty-fourth Friday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Religious and Doctor of the Church
Green or White vestments
First Reading: 1 Timothy 6: 2-12
Psalms: Psalm 49: 6-10, 17-20 and Matthew 5: 3
Gospel Reading: Luke 8: 1-3
FEAST OF SAINT ROBERT BELLARMINE, BISHOP, RELIGIOUS AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Born into a noble family in 1542 in the village of Montepulciano, Italy shortly after the Protestant Revolt through Europe, Saint Robert Bellarmine joined the Jesuit seminary at the age of 18, studing at the Roman College in Padua and at Louvain until being ordained in 1570 with his first assignment being professor at Louvain until 1577. Because of poor health, which became his cross througout his life, he transfered to the Pontifical Gregorian University where he taught theology for another eleven years. During this time he not only wrote four volumes of his work Controversies which came under heavy attack from Protestant sympathizers who had infiltrated the Vatican. Because of this assault on his writings they were almost placed on the Index of Forbidden Books but Pope Sixtus V intervened because of his loyalty to Robert and Robert's close association and invaluable assistance to the Vatican. In 1588 Robert was chosen spiritual director for the University which was then called the Roman College. One of his charges who he guided was a young seminarian named Saint Aloysius Gonzaga who died during his deaconate in 1591 shortly before being ordained. Three years later Robert became head of the University and subsequently provincial for the Jesuits' in Naples. In 1599 Pope Clement VIII elevated him to Cardinal, much to his objections for Robert did not feel worthy, but Clement knew he would make a great cardinal and enlisted him to help solve the dispute between the Jesuits and Dominicans regarding predestination. Three years later Clement appointed Cardinal Bellarmine Archbishop of Capua. Three years later Pope Paul V recalled him to Rome where was appointed the official theologian for the Holy See and became a constant companion to the pontiff, being positioned as a member of almost every Congregation of the Holy Office. Ironically it was Robert who called on to silence Galileo in 1616. In 1621 at age 79 Robert retired to St. Andrew's Novitiate, the Jesuit house near the Quirinale where he was visited and blessed by Pope Gregory XV just before Robert breathed his last breath reciting the Creed on September 17, 1621. In 1930 he was canonized by Pope Pius XI and declared a Doctor of the Church a year later. Throughout his life he was a staunch defender of the truths in refuting Protestant heresy and reconverting thousands who had fallen prey to the Protestant Reformation.
The clarion sounds as a wake-up call to Catholics as we provide a review of all past articles on the Church today
Like our other feature series, we present installments 1 through 105 of this series which is a set blueprint for Catholics everywhere to take up the banner of truth in defending Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as we prepare for this glorious event - the second coming of Christ and the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Second Pentecost, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the Advent of Peace. To read any of the over one-hundred previous installments in this long on-going series, click on the Archives ofWHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?
Finally the long-awaited books "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." and THE HIDDEN WAY are NOW available!
With the messages completed, you can now order the book that contains ALL the messages. This much-anticipated 224-page book of ALL the messages to the world imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart from the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a lasting gift that will inspire you in your faith, and all God asks of us. You can acquire your own handsome, coffee-table top copy of "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." containing all 632 messages or the THE HIDDEN WAY containing 100 inspirational Meditative Lessons from Our Lord and Our Lady on Church Doctrine by clicking on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." or THE HIDDEN WAY or both books at BOOKS
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September 16, 1999 volume 10, no. 176 DAILY CATHOLIC