The Jewish rulers are generally said to have convicted Our Lord through malice, but St. Peter says (Arts 3, 17) they did it through ignorance. How la this discrepancy explained? (P. F.)
That the Jewish leaders did not realise that the man whom. they were doing to death was the long-awaited Messiah,the Son of God, we know not only from this text, but from St. Paul's words to the Corinthians (I. Cor., 2, 8): " For if they had known it, they would never have cruci fied the Lord of Glory." This does not, however, conflict with their having brought about His death through malice. Christ many times openly declared their ignorance to he gravely culpable. It was jealousy and hatred of the New Prophet and Teacher that prevented the Priests and Scribes from accepting the abundant proofs His words and actions gave of His claim to be the Messiah. They did not believe because they did not want to believe. The ignorance which brought about our Lord's death was begotten by malice.
Should the ordinary layman attempt to read the Bible without a commentary? (J. F.) If the layman is reading the Bible for exegetical or apological purposes he should use an approved-commentary in order to avoid mistakes in interpretation. If his purpose is purely spiritual there is no reason why he should not read Sctipture without the aid of a commentary.
Approximately how many Catholics are there in the world in comparison with adherents of the main sects? M. M. IL) Vatican radio rather than those given in Whittaker's Aknanack (the usual source of reference), since the Vatican figures will• be much more accurate on account of its acess to the figures of missionary countries. In dealing with this matter it should be noted that no figures can be really accurate. Many sects number themselves according to nominel adherence rathel than by the test of religious practice. Thus in 1939 the official number of Anglicans given was 25,800.000, while the official number of Easter communicants was 2,382.857.
Vatican figures: Catholics, 389,277,000; Non-Catholic Christians, 382.516-000, Made up of : Protestants, 201,863.000; Greek Orthodox, 161,105,000; Orientals, 19,348,000.
Whet is the meaning of the letters and symbols inscribed on the hack of pictures of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour? (M. M. IL) These are Greek letters forming abbreviations of the words Mother of God, Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel.
Why could not Isaac give a blessing to Esau considering that his brother Jacob had got the blessing by fraud? Could not Isaac have given a blessing to each? (N.) Isaac evidently regarded his last blessing as irrevocable, even though he had been misled into giving it to Jacob instead of Esau. Why he so regarded it we do not know with certainty ; commentators suggest different explanations. He did also give Beau a blessing but it was necessarily a lesser one since he had already made his younger son the lord of his people.
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