Synthesis September-October 2012

FAITH Magazine September - October 2012

In this issue we introduce a new column entitled Continuity and Development: Notes and Quotes from the Year of Faith.

In this column we hope to chronicle some of the statements and initiatives that, by the grace of God and in accordance with ideas articulated by the Second Vatican Council, are aimed at the "New Evangelisation" of our culture. One of the most important of these initiatives is the Year of Faith, which begins on 11 October - a date chosen by Pope Benedict as it falls exactly 50 years after the opening of the Council and 20 years after the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Blessed John Paul

During this Year of Faith the texts of the Council and Catechism will be central to our efforts as Catholics to rediscover and share with others the gift of Faith entrusted to the Church. Dudley Plunkett kicks off our new column with a description of the attitude of supernatural trust and realistic engagement that we are called to bring to this year.

Archbishop Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, recently stated that the primary purpose of the Year of Faith is that "in the face of the dramatic crisis of faith which touches many Christians, [the Church] will be able to show once again and with renewed enthusiasm the true face of Christ".

In this regard the Lineamenti, or outline notes, for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New Evangelisation affirm that Our Lord "will give his Spirit and provide the force to announce and proclaim the Gospel in new ways which can speak to today's cultures".

The Lineamenti point out that, through recent projects such as the Courtyard of the Gentiles, Pope Benedict has tried to promote that respectful engagement with secular opinion-formers that Vatican II encouraged so strongly in Gaudium et Spes, one of the concluding - and most controversial -documents of the Council.

Given the interplay of knowing and loving which defines the spiritual life, we must indeed pray for - and expect God to provide - the "force to announce and proclaim the Gospel in new ways". In these times of spiritual crisis, we look to the Holy Spirit to lead us to that deeper truth and deeper loving called for by Vatican II. For without such a developed vision of the faith, our attempts to evangelise the culture around us cannot bear fruit.

Our editorial draws upon the thought of Cardinal Newman to outline the character of authentic doctrinal development. And Canon Luiz Ruscillo's piece shows how recent magisterial development of scriptural interpretation is leading us, through the Spirit who guides us into all truth, to a deeper and more unified understanding of the mystery of revelation.

Our new column flows out of and replaces our Road from Regensburg column, which began in autumn 2006 shortly after the Pope's speech in Regensburg on the interplay of faith and reason today. That column has drawn together numerous insights from the magisterium on the need to harmonise modern intellectual and social development with the life of faith; many of these insights have come from Pope Benedict's addresses to cultural leaders during his international journeys.

Keith Barltrop's review of Alain de Botton's new book brings out the bankruptcy of an alternative, humanist approach, in which Christian ideas, cut free from their Christian roots, are appropriated by non-believers in their pursuit of an ideal secular society. We pray that Pope Benedict's inspiring work may bear much fruit in the lives of all people of goodwill in this world and the next.

Faith Magazine