DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     September 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 183


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.


The Pontifical Councils
part three

        Having covered the nine Sacred Congregations, and the three Tribunals in the Roman Curia, today we continue our four-part series on the Pontifical Councils with the third part, featuring the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. These councils or dicasteries oversee different aspects of the life of the Church and her relations with the realities of the world. The concept of Pontifical Councils is relatively new, having been introduced by Pope Paul VI but truly defined by our present Vicar of Christ Pope John Paul II.

  • Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers

       The responsibilities of this council, headed by Bishop Javier Lozano Barragan as President, are to stimulate and promote the work of formation, study and action performed by various international Catholic organizations in the health care field.

        This council is only 11 years old, having been established as a commission by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and made an official council on June 28, 1988 with his Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus.

  • Pontifical Council for Interpretation of Legislative Texts

       This dicastery, headed by Bishop Julian Herranz as President is responsible for the authentic interpretation of the universal laws of the Roman Church.

        The origins of this Council began on January 2, 1984 when John Paul II established this as the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law but was changed to its present title through the Holy Father's Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus on June 28, 1988 and its functions expanded. It was expanded even further in 1991 to include the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Church which was promulgated in 1990.

  • Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue

       The primary function of this council is to promote studies and dialogue with the intent of increasing a mutual understanding among Christians and non-Christians. Attached to this council is the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims which was instituted by Paul VI on October 22, 1974 with Cardinal Francis Arinze as President of both the Council and Commission. He has been a busy man what with the issues in Africa, his homeland, in the mid-east, and now in East Timor.

        This council began on May 19, 1965 when Paul VI established it as a Secretariat for Non-Christians and again, John Paul II gave it its current title and functions on June 28, 1998 with his Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus which, by and large updated all the councils.

      Tomorrow: the Roman Curia: Pontifical Offices part four

September 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 183


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