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The Year of Faith

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Pope Benedict the XVI has published his "Motu Proprio" for the Year of Faith which will start next year, 11 October 2012 and end on the Feast of Christ the King, 2013. The beginning of the Year of Faith marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It will also coincide with the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops the theme of which will be "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."

Below is an outline of the Motu Proprio entitled "Porta fidei", "the Door of Faith".

  • Introduction:
    • The Door of Faith opens to the adventure of faith (1)
    • rediscovering the journey of faith (2)
  • The Year of Faith
    • the "work of God" is to believe in Him and in the one He sent (3)
    • The Year of Faith: 11 October 2012 – 24 November 2013 to mark the anniversaries of the opening of Vatican II and the publication of the Catechism (4)
    • In continuity with the desires of Paul VI and John Paul II (5)
    • A Summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord (6)
    • Believe so as to grow in faith (Augustine of Hippo, 7)
  • The Intended Fruits of the Year of Faith
    • intensification of reflection on the faith at all levels (8)
    • to arouse in each believer the desire to profess the faith in fulness and with renewed conviction (9)
      • The Creed, Symbol of the Mystery (St. Augustine, 9b)
      • "Believing in the heart" and "confessing with the lips" Rom. 10:10 (10)
  • The Means for Arriving at these Fruits
    • The Catechism of the Catholic Church during the Year of Faith — a tool for a concerted effort to rediscover and study the contents of the faith (11-12)
    • During the Year of Faith, we will retrace the history of our faith: from Jesus, to Mary, to the apostles, the first disciples, the martyrs, the consecrated men and women and all who lived the life of faith in fidelity to the Lord (13)
    • It will also be an opportunity to intensify the witness of charity (14)
  • Summary and Conclusion: That all may live in the fulness of faith (15)

To note in this "Motu proprio" are four citations from St. Augustine regarding faith and believing. One of the citations is from Sermo 215 on the "redditio symboli", two from the Confessions and another one from "Utilitate credendi", the Usefulness of Belief".

Another idea to note is Benedict XVI’s interpretation of Romans 10:10, very popular among evangelicals and fundamentalists.

The heart indicates that the first act by which one comes to faith is God’s gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.

The example of Lydia is particularly eloquent in this regard. Saint Luke recounts that, while he was at Philippi, Paul went on the Sabbath to proclaim the Gospel to some women; among them was Lydia and “the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14). There is an important meaning contained within this expression. Saint Luke teaches that knowing the content to be believed is not sufficient unless the heart, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface and to understand that what has been proclaimed is the word of God.

Confessing with the lips indicates in turn that faith implies public testimony and commitment. A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This “standing with him” points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us fit for mission and strengthens our witness, making it frank and courageous. (Porta fidei,10)

This understanding of Romans 10:10 takes away an interpretation that in the past evangelicals and fundamentalists have used to drag Christians from their Catholic faith.

The third thing to note is the role given to the Catechism of the Catholic Church as pastoral tool for a renewed and renewing faith. In the almost twenty years since its publication, one finds priests using the Catechism in preaching a rarity. I’ve also seen how it was rejected as an instructional tool in Religious Education. The Year of Faith should establish the Catechism of the Catholic Church as normative for the teaching of the faith.

Read Porta Fidei from this page.

Originally posted 2011-10-23 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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