“To an Genuine and Renewed Conversion”: Vatican II and the Year of Faith (Element 1)

“To an Genuine and Renewed Conversion”: Vatican II and the Year of Faith (Element 1)

On October 11, 2011, in an Apostolic Letter entitled Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI declared a Calendar year of Religion from October 2012 by way of November 2013 to comemmorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Next Vatican Council. This Holy Calendar year, according to Benedict, “is a summons to an reliable and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one particular Savior of the world.”

“A Profound Crisis of Religion”

Why did Benedict XVI declare this 12 months of Religion? In his message to younger men and women gathered for Globe Youth Working day in Madrid, Spain, in August 2011, he noticed: “Now we are viewing a specified ‘eclipse of God’ using area, a sort of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nevertheless a denial of the treasure of our religion, a denial that could direct to the loss of our deepest identity.”

Benedict was conscious that, underneath the rising influence of a radically secularist ideology, Europe and the West currently are progressively getting rid of contact with their Christian identification and heritage, permitting God to fade into the history and grow to be more and a lot more irrelevant to social and political lifestyle. This insidious “amnesia” not only threatens to finally slash modern day Western civilization totally off from its Christian roots-with disastrous implications for the entire civilized planet-but has also started to subtly infect the minds and hearts of particular person Christian believers, weakening their faith and major them absent from Christ.

What better way to respond to this “‘eclipse of God'” and overcome this “amnesia,” this “denial of the treasure of our religion,” than to summon the full Church “to an authentic and renewed conversion” to her Lord Jesus Christ, “the pioneer and perfecter of our religion” (Heb. 12:2) and “the one particular Savior of the earth”? In other text, the Calendar year of Religion is intended to revitalize and reform the Church so that it can more properly have out its mission of proclaiming Christ to the whole planet.

The Holy Spirit obviously impressed our former Vicar of Christ to proclaim this 12 months of Faith in buy to answer to the requirements of the Church and the planet at this individual moment in human heritage. Benedict observed in Porta Fidei that whereas in the earlier the important relevance of religion in shaping human modern society and society was taken for granted, nowadays this is no lengthier the case. Radical secularism significantly confronts religious believers with the peculiar idea that religion is an solely personal and particular person make any difference that should not be authorized to shape or affect community lifetime in any way. This idea contradicts the intrinsic character of reliable Christian faith, which need to be publicly professed and shared with other people. “A Christian might in no way feel of perception as a personal act,” maintained the Holy Father, echoing comparable phrases of Pope John Paul II. “Faith is deciding on to stand with the Lord so as to live with him… Faith, exactly simply because it is a cost-free act, also calls for social responsibility for what just one thinks.” In light-weight of “a profound disaster of religion” that has gripped present-day human society and society, Benedict pointed out “the have to have to rediscover the journey of religion so as to shed at any time clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the come across with Christ.”

The Journey of Faith-An Encounter with Christ

For Christian believers, religion is an come across and a marriage with a Man or woman who loves us-Christ, the Son of God, who grew to become guy, suffered, died, and rose from the useless to take away our sins. This come upon and loving romance offers this means and path to our lives. The “journey of faith” starts with Baptism, which presents us a share in God’s Trinitarian life and incorporates us into Christ’s Mystical System, the Church it carries on with the help of the other sacraments and it “ends with the passage via loss of life to eternal existence” (Porta Fidei). Christ’s Resurrection from the lifeless-a authentic historical and physical event-is the basis of our Christian religion: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain” (1 Cor. 15:17).

Sadly, due to very poor catechesis, some Catholics right now watch faith as the grudging acceptance of a established of uninteresting, archaic dogmas imposed by an authoritarian hierarchy that unnecessarily burdens and constricts their lives. This minimalist, distorted version of faith is completely powerless in the life of its adherents and wholly unattractive to probable believers. These folks have under no circumstances expert religion as the remarkable journey and constructive liberating power that it is meant to be. There is absolutely nothing monotonous about an reliable own experience with Christ. These types of an come upon is a transformative, everyday living-transforming encounter that fills a human being with joy and motivates him or her to witness Christ to other individuals.