The Door of Faith

"In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith". This is what Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his apostolic letter "motu proprio data," Porta Fidei - Door of Faith, announcing this event which will begin on October 11, 2012*.

But, what did Benedict XVI highlight?

In his letter dated October 11, 2011, the Holy Father first stated that the "Door of Faith," in reference to the Acts of the Apostles, ushers us "into the life of communion with God" and offers "entry into his Church." He added that this door "is always open for us."

The Pope then wrote, "[i]t is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace." For the believer, "[t]o enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime," beginning with baptism, "through which we can address God as Father," and ending "with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22)."

He then observed that, what may seem evident for those who are Catholic, is no longer so for the rest of society. Benedict XVI believes that the "unitary cultural matrix" is no longer formed by Christian cultural values, and this, "because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people."

Like Paul VI

Benedict XVI was not the first pope in the history of the Church to have proclaimed a Year of Faith. In reference to Paul VI's promulgation of a Year of Faith in 1967, Benedict XVI wrote that he had done it "as a 'consequence and a necessity of the postconciliar period,' fully conscious of the grave difficulties of the time, especially with regard to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation."

In that sense, Benedict XVI considers that the 50th anniversary of the opening of the II Vatican Council  - October 11, 2012 - "would provide a good opportunity to help people understand ... the [conciliar] texts," while deeming it necessary that they "be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition."

Furthermore, he views the Council as having been "the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century," a "sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning."

In his letter, the pope also put emphasis on the invitation to an authentic conversion to the Lord as "the one Saviour of the world," and on the revelation of the Father's love in the death and resurrection of his Son.

Interpretation: the Catechism

"In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith," the pope insists on turning to the Catechism, "a precious and indispensable tool." According to him, it is "one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council." We recall that the Catechism was revised under John Paul II, the new version launched on October 11, 1992, on the occasion of the Council's thirtieth anniversary.

He stated, "It is in this sense that that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."
According to Benedict XVI, the "structure" of the Catechism "follows the development of the faith right up to the great themes of daily life," as it is understood through the guidance of the light of the liturgy and the sacraments.

Lastly, Benedict XVI invited Catholics to intensify charitable acts this year, stating, "Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt. Faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path."

*The Year of Faith will begin on October 11, 2012 and end on November 24, 2013 with the Feast of Christ the King. Its launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the II Vatican Council as well as the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that was revised under John Paul II.

To read this Motu Proprio in its entirety,
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20111011_porta-fidei_en.html - _ftn1

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