The Road from Regensburg

FAITH Magazine January – February 2012

THE YEAR OF FAITH 2012-2013

11 October: From the Motu Proprio Porta Fidei declaring a Year of Faith from 11 October 2012.

2. 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... It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society.... Whereas in the past it was possible to recognise a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.

4.  My venerable Predecessor the Servant of God Paul VI announced [a Year of Faith] in 1967 ... [that] the whole Church could reappropriate "exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it". ... so as to bear consistent witness in historical circumstances very different from those of the past.

5.  ... the texts bequeathed by the [Second Vatican] Council Fathers ... need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition ... "if we interpret and implement guided by a right hermeneutic".

12. In this Year, [then], the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith ... 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.

THE NEW EVANGELISATION

1 December to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

The new evangelisation depends largely on the domestic Church. In our time, as in times past, the eclipse of God, the spread of ideologies contrary to the family and the degradation of sexual ethics are intertwined. And just as the eclipse of God and the crisis of the family are linked, so the new evangelisation is inseparable from the Christian family.

20 November, Benin, at signing of Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus.

There is also an urgent need to work for the new evangelisation in Africa, especially among people who have distanced themselves from the Church or who do not behave in a Christian fashion. African Christians, and in particular the clergy and consecrated persons, are likewise called to support new evangelisation in secularised nations. This is an exchange of gifts, because African missionaries are already at work in countries which once produced missionaries who went forth to announce the Good News in Africa.

From the preface to the Lineamenti for the 2012 International Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation. Issued 2 February 2011.

In recent decades much has been said about the urgency of the new evangelisation ... today [it] has not been sufficiently accepted to result in the Christian transformation of persons, families and societies. Though these situations were duly treated in the Special Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops of a continental and regional character, which were celebrated in preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000, the subject still remains a great challenge for the entire Church. For this reason, ...[the Pope] decided to convoke the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from 7 to 28 October 2012 to discuss the topic: The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith ... to examine the ... new methods and means for transmitting the Good News to people in ourworld today ... to bring forth things new and old from the precious treasury of Tradition (cf. Mt 13:52). ... At the end of each chapter some questions appear which are aimed at generating discussion at every level of the Church.

Some representative questions from those at section ends: The Introduction: Q2. In the process of discerning events in history, what should be shared with the universal Church, so that, by mutually listening to these happenings, the universal Church can recognise where the Spirit is leading her in the work of evangelisation?

Chapter 1: Time for a "New Evangelisation": Q8. What have been the principal obstacles and the most challenging efforts to raise the question of God in today's discussion? What have been the results?

Chapter 2: Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
In response to the Second Vatican Council, many episcopal conferences, in recent decades, have undertaken the work of reorganising the programming of catechesis and the revision of catechetical texts:

Q11. What benefits have resulted in the process of transmitting the faith? What work was entailed and what obstacles have been encountered?

Chapter 3: Initiation into the Christian Experience:
Q2. Do Christian communities plan pastoral activity with the specific aim of preaching conformity to the Gospel and conversion to Christianity?

Q16. How have parish communities avoided the temptation of leaving the work of instruction in the faith to other agents of religious education (for example, their passing the responsibility to schools, thus confusing instruction in the faith with possible cultural forms of religiously oriented education)?

In our Churches, the challenge of education is a true and proper emergency:

Q18. Is the presence of Catholic institutions in the academic world an assistance in responding to this challenge? What changes in these institutions are of interest? What resources are available to respond to this challenge?

Faith Magazine

January - February 2012