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Vatican to issue recommendations for celebrating Year of Faith

By on Thursday, 5 January 2012

In an effort to help Catholics have a better and correct understanding of their faith and become authentic witnesses to Christ, the Vatican is issuing a list of pastoral recommendations for celebrating the Year of Faith.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will release a “note” on Saturday outlining the aims of the special year and ways bishops, dioceses, parishes and communities can promote “the truth of the faith,” the congregation said in a written statement.

It also announced that within the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation a secretariat would be set up to suggest and coordinate different initiatives. The new department will be responsible for launching a special website for sharing useful information on the Year of Faith.

Pope Benedict XVI wanted the Year of Faith, which runs from October 11 this year to November 24 2013, to help the Church focus its attention on “Jesus Christ and the beauty of having faith in him”, it said.

“The Church is well aware of the problems facing the faith” and recognises that without a revitalisation of faith rooted in a personal encounter with Jesus, “then all other reforms will remain ineffective,” it said, citing the Pope’s address to the Roman Curia last month.

The year is meant to “contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the risen Lord, capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the door of faith,” the statement said.

Critical to renewing one’s faith and being a credible witness is having a firm and correct understanding of Church teaching, it said.

Because the year’s start, October 11, coincides with the anniversaries of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 and the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992, it would be an auspicious occasion to make the work of the council and the catechism “more widely and deeply known”, it said.

The congregation said the Pope “has worked decisively for a correct understanding of the council, rejecting as erroneous the so-called ‘hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture’ and promoting what he himself has termed the ‘hermeneutic of reform,’ of renewal in continuity” with the Church and tradition.

The catechism “is an integral part of that ‘renewal in continuity’” by embracing the old and traditional while expressing it “in a new way, in order to respond to the questions of our times,” it said.

The note will offer pastoral recommendations aimed at aiding “both the encounter with Christ through authentic witnesses to faith, and the ever-greater understanding of its contents”, it said.

Among the initiatives will be various ecumenical events at the Vatican aimed at restoring unity among all Christians, including “a solemn ecumenical celebration in which all of the baptised will reaffirm their faith in Christ,” it said.

Some recommendations for bishops, dioceses and parishes include ensuring there be better quality catechetical materials that conform to Church teaching, promoting Catholic principles and the significance of Vatican II in the mass media and art, hosting events that bring artists, academics and others together to renew dialogue between faith and reason, offering penitential celebrations and putting a focus on liturgy, especially the Eucharist, it said.

The congregation said it wanted to promote the recommendations because the office’s “specific functions include not only safeguarding sound doctrine and correcting errors but also, and foremost, promoting the truth of the faith.”

The congregation’s note, drafted on the orders of Pope Benedict, was written in consultation with other Vatican offices and with the help of the Year of Faith preparatory committee. The committee, which operates under the auspices of the doctrinal congregation, includes US Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

  • Anonymous

    ““The Church is well aware of the problems facing the faith” and
    recognises that without a revitalisation of faith rooted in a personal
    encounter with Jesus, “then all other reforms will remain ineffective,”
    it said, citing the Pope’s address to the Roman Curia last month.”

    ## That does sound more than a little clericalist – the Catholic Church is the entire body of the Catholic faithful; not just the very few (though not unimportant) members of it who are clerics. As for being “well aware” – a lot of clergy do not give this impression. Encounter with Christ cannot be used as an instrument by the Church – it has to be allowed to challenge and unsettle and upset the Church, just as Jesus did the religious types of his own day; otherwise it is probably no more than the reflection of the Church’s own ego. Jesus causes trouble. But do the SCDF or the Pope realise this ? The disturbing Jesus of the gospels does not fit very well into the present Pope’s authoritarian model of the Church.

    And why have a Year of Faith ? Isn’t every moment of the Christian’s life meant to be one lived in faith ? Why have “years of” things that are meant to be, or that are, part of life ?  Do Catholics really need any help beyond what they should be getting as a matter of course ? The whole thing seems to be little more than an excuse for yet more Vatican junketing like the meetings of ARCIC & its progeny – a bit like the freeby trips taken by MPs that allowed them to say in five-star hotels while supposedly taking part in some arcane conference: costs being paid by the tax-payer. Except that this junket praises the Great Leaps Forward that are ecumenism, Vatican II & the CCC.

    Good article – pity about some of the content. 5/5.

  • Neodecaussade

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.