18Oct Pope Benedict on the Year of Faith


Pope’s letter explains urgent need for ‘Year of Faith’
By Benjamin Mann
Vatican City, Oct 17, 2011 / 01:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope XVI Benedict says the Church’s “Year of Faith,” starting October 2012, comes in response to a “profound crisis of faith that has affected many people” and left them searching for answers.
“Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ,” the Pope wrote in his letter, “Porta Fidei” (Door of Faith), announcing the yearlong initiative.
“The ‘door of faith’ is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into His Church,” he reflected. “It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace.”
The Year of Faith will begin Oct. 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. That same date is the 20th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text Pope Benedict said was meant to show “the power and beauty of the faith.”
It will conclude on Nov. 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King.
October 2012 will also be the occasion of the Church’s next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme of “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” This event, the Pope noted, “will be a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”
Next year’s celebration is not the Church’s first “Year of Faith.” In 1967, Pope Paul VI presided over an observance on the same theme, which that Pope described as a response to the “disturbance” and “perplexity” surrounding the faith after the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Benedict explained that the new Year of Faith gives an opportunity to show how that council’s documents support the historic traditions of the Church, when properly understood. He encouraged believers to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church during the upcoming year, saying the text was “one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.”
By studying their faith, believers can learn to explain it in light of new circumstances driving others to doubt or disbelieve.
“To a greater extent than in the past, faith is now being subjected to a series of questions arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and
technological discoveries,” Pope Benedict observed.

“Nevertheless, the Church has never been afraid of demonstrating that there cannot be any conflict between faith and genuine science, because both, albeit via different routes, tend towards the truth.”
The Pope said it would be a matter “of decisive importance” for Catholics to look back on the history of their faith during the 2012-2013 year, to gain an understanding of how the Church continues Christ’s mission of redemption.
“In him who died and rose again for our salvation,” he said, “the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light.”
Pope Benedict has asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to draw up more specific guidelines on how to “live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelization.”
He cited the words of the Virgin Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, on the occasion of their visitation before Christ’s birth, as he asked Catholics to “entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed ‘blessed because she believed.’”
Copyright © CNA

8 Responses

  1. Fr S

    If the Synod of Bishops is as successful as the 2005 Synod, (its remit was to find ways of making the Eucharist more readily available to the poor), we needn’t get over excited.

    They refused to discuss the permanent diaconate, Eucharistic Ministers, a married clergy and, God forbid, human beings lacking male genitalia becoming priests. They voted instead for the status quo but suggested that it might be an idea to re-open Junior Seminaries.

    Details can be found in The Tablet from the following week.

    You’ll also find a copy of the menu, a veritable and sumptious feast. And Benedict’s speech on that occasion, “It was not without intention that Jesus chose the imagery of a banquet as presaging Heaven…”

    The poor who dont have ready access to bread – let alone the Eucharist – must have been so impressed. I wasnt.

  2. Soline Humbert

    ” The poor who don’t have ready access to bread -let alone the Eucharist-must have been so impressed. I wasn’t.”
    Nor am I impressed by the €10 ticket charge (for each woman,man and child)to participate in the Eucharistic Congress Mass in Croke Park next June
    Is that the price of Communion with God and each other (the theme of the Congress)?

  3. patrogers

    The Year of Faith is due to start this time next year. It’s an aim that I imagine all users of the ACP website would heartily subscribe to, even if we’re not always enthused by what comes from Rome in the name of faith or faithfulness.

    Here’s a thought: Let’s do our best to ensure it’s also a Year of Dialogue, when the voice of the faithful is more clearly heard by the hierarchy, as well as vice-versa. We need to do whatever we can to help those in magisterial office not to totally lose touch with those of us in more humble ecclesial vocations. And – if our catholic faith is to be renewed without rupture or schism – we critical catholics will need to listen with some measure of sympathy to leaven our recent caustic distance, to whatever magisterial utterances are made about the faith, leading up to that year and during it.

    I think – or at least I hope – that there are some bishops out there who feel just as much anguish as we ordinary priests do, about the painful gap that seems to be widening between the Vatican and the views and concerns of the rank and file in the catholic church here in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe.

    On the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, let’s have an honest, wide-ranging dialogue about what that Council meant, and can still mean. Come, Holy Spirit!

  4. Fr S


    Read the comments from Australians in the blog after the article. It’ll tell you what many feel about “dialogue” with the Vatican. The Vatican dont dialogue! And from what I’ve seen in Ireland, neither do the Irish Bishops.


    There are some superb points made by bloggers there and the frustration felt by many is palpable.

    Bishop Morris has suffered a real evil. They tried to nail him for allowing general confession. His diocese is the size of Germany and is staffed by 18 ageing priests. Are these people in Rome mad?!!!

    The fact that Benedict personally sacked this pastoral, well loved Bishop – while he continues to do nada against Bishops who have committed crimes – tells me all I need to know. These people will not dialogue. They want power and they will not relinquish it. (Doesn’t it make your blood boil, Pat, that a man like Bill Morris who has possibly the largest Diocese on the planet and works his heart out, is sacked, while Cardinal Law struts the corridors of the Vatican?) Dont you see something very dark and malevolant about that?

    However, you are right about the Holy Spirit. The kingdom will be taken from them and given to those who will produce its fruit.

  5. MM

    “Pope Benedict explained that the new Year of Faith gives an opportunity to show how that council’s documents support the historic traditions of the Church, when properly understood”.

    This should be interesting and revealing.
    “When properly understood” sounds like we have been getting it wrong all these years. Silly us.
    “historic traditions of the Church” sounds like getting back to the way it was before the Council.
    Maybe it would be better to call it ‘The Year of Revisionism’.


  6. Fr S


    Yes, I’m tired of being told that what Vatican II actually meant is the opposite to what it actually said.
    Was it Hitler or Goebbels who stated that the bigger the lie, the more people are likely to believe it?

  7. Mangy Donkey

    Where a ‘year of faith’ is mentioned, one must necessarily have some context.

    Fifty years ago, ‘faith’ expressed by the ‘faithful’ was pretty much of the order of ‘do as you are told’ without questioning. Faith then, was punctuated more by ‘order’ and less by ‘participation’. It was about corralling the church militant into fine lines of distinct single hue colour.

    There seemed to be a dictatorial element there, whereby the faithful were told, ‘your Church has the truth, now ye therefore behave as your Church dictates’.

    But this of course did not allow for the action of a sense of free spirit among the people who actually make up ‘the Church’.

    I remember when I was much younger, coming home from a trip to the local swimming pool one night, and my mother asking me did I say the rosary that night.

    When I told her that I did indeed meditate upon the mysteries of the rosary whilst in the steam room of the local swimming facility, I received an angry response. (Nakedness and holiness, sadly were not bedfellows in her book).

    On another occasion she admonished me physically for blessing myself with my left hand, (I am left handed), and told me to do it properly with the ‘right’ hand.

    It is from this historical base of ‘belief by dictate’, we progress, and I submit that these examples are typical of the way we have historically ‘progressed’ faith in Ireland, and therein lies the reasons for the disfunctionality we now reap in so many ways.

    Where ‘faith’ is concerned, unless we remake the connection between the ‘in body’ experience, and the truth of what it means to be human in the first place, then I submit we are doomed.

    It was not lost on me to read in The Irish Catholic this week of the celebrations surrounding the exoneration of Fr. Reynolds.

    Stop press, “Catholic Pastor did not father child.”

    There is actually something profoundly wrong with this cause of ‘celebration’.

    If the centre of a universal faith is not about human fertility, then it is about death!

    Good bye.

  8. Martin

    ‘Mangy Donkey’: Father Reynolds was falsely accused of sexual abuse which, it was claimed, led to the girl becoming pregnant. However, this was not true, and Father Reynolds was cleared of any wrongdoing. I think you must not be familiar with the case!

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