Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Catholic Q&A: Part 27

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Who was King James and why is there a Bible version named after him? I think it's kind of ironic that Protrestants give Catholics grief for honoring saints and yet they have a Bible named after someone.

Haha, good point! I guess I never thought of it that way. To have a Bible named after you is a tremendous honor, isn't it! King James received this honor because he was the one who initiated the endeavor to create a new English translation of the Bible. He did this in 1603 (almost as soon as he became king) at the Hampton Court Conference, which was convened to ease tensions between various factions of the Church of England. You can read more about the King James Version at the Bible Researcher website and, of course, Wikipedia and New Advent.

How did the set number of prayers in the rosary come about? 10 Hail Mary's, 1 Our Father etc.

For the answer to this question, see Q&A #9 from my parish website: "What is the history of the rosary?"

Why do we have both the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed? Both prayers are similar, why didn't the early church just modify the already existing prayer?

There have been many creeds formulated throughout the history of the Church. The AC and the NC are simply the most prominent ones. The Catechism is helpful here:
192 Through the centuries many professions or symbols of faith have been articulated in response to the needs of the different eras: the creeds of the different apostolic and ancient Churches, e.g., the Quicumque, also called the Athanasian Creed; the professions of faith of certain Councils, such as Toledo, Lateran, Lyons, Trent; or the symbols of certain popes, e.g., the Fides Damasi or the Credo of the People of God of Paul VI.

193 None of the creeds from the different stages in the Church's life can be considered superseded or irrelevant. They help us today to attain and deepen the faith of all times by means of the different summaries made of it.

Among all the creeds, two occupy a special place in the Church's life:

194 The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is "the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith" (St. Ambrose, Expl. symb. 7).

195 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed draws its great authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381). It remains common to all the great Churches of both East and West to this day.

The statement of faith from the Council of Chalcedon is another prominent creed (more on that here). The Apostles' Creed is the most ancient one. We find remnants of it from as far back as the middle of the second century, and reference to it from even earlier. The Nicene Creed came later, at the councils of Nicaea (325 AD) and Constantinople (381 AD), out of the need to respond to various heresies and make clarifications about the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit that are not present in the Apostles' Creed.

For more information, see New Advent: Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed.

Why isn't embalming someone desecrating the body? There is removal and destroying of organs.

I'm not really sure. Perhaps since the intention is to preserve the body, to perform a good service toward it, embalming would not be considered desecration.

Are exorcists the only ones that can perform exorcisms?

I should say right off that I am no expert on this, and I feel a little out of my league in addressing it. But, from what I understand, we have to first make a distinction between major and minor exorcisms.

The actual expulsion of a demon takes place through a major exorcism. Normatively speaking, this is the faculty only of priests who have received special training and permission by the bishop to perform major exorcisms. A minor exorcism, which is basically a prayer for protection from sin and temptation, can be performed by any priest or, outside of a liturgical setting, by any Christian. Minor exorcisms are performed, for example, at a person's baptism, and for the catechumens during the Catechumenate stage of the RCIA process. They are much more common than major exorcisms are.

I said that the normative minister of a major exorcism is a properly delegated priest because one can't deny that exceptions exist within the Body of Christ. There are instances of many very holy saints of the Church who were not priests but who had the power to expel demons. Even some non-Catholic Christians have been known to possess this power. But, God gave this power first and foremost to His Church, specifically His priests, and so it is them that we should always turn to first if we have reason to believe that a major exorcism is needed.

I should state again that this is how I understand it based on my reading of the subject. But, I am not an authority on the matter, and I invite correction from anyone more knowledgeable than myself on this subject.

Pax Christi,

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