PORTA FIDEI Benedict XVIon the Year of Faith11 Oct 2012 to 24 Nov 2013 A Commentary by Dr. Raul Nidoy Doctor of Theology Parents for Education Foundation
Outline (hyperlinked) 1. Need for Year of Faith: rediscover 2. Timing: Vat II/CCC 3. Renewal of the Church: conversion 4.Commitment to new evangelization 5.Reflection on faith 6. Content and act of faith: unity 7. CCC as indispensable tool 8. Retrace history of faith 9. Intensify witness of charity 10.Relationship with Christ Annex
Color code • Green with relay baton-actual words of PortaFidei (faith and transmission of faith) • Blue slides/yellow text - commentary • White slides –Teaching Faith in the Family: Some guidelines from Blessed JosemariaEscriva by Michele Dolz
The door of faith: always open The door of faith is always open for us, -ushering us into the life of communion with God and -offering entry into his Church.
It is possible when… • It is possible to cross the threshold when • the Word of God is proclaimed and • The heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace • Example: Fr. Penacoba, a Protestant and confession
Setting out on a journey • To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. • Begins with Baptism – we address God as Father • Through Death to eternal life • To profess faith in Trinity is to believe in one God who is Love • God is love: Everything must start from here and everything must lead to here, every pastoral action, every theological treatise. – Benedict XVI 22 April 2007
Rediscover the journey of faith:Joy and enthusiasm • So as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ • Lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God
Profound crisis of faith • Christians - more concerned for social, cultural, political consequences • Past: unitary cultural matrix with appeal to the content of the faith • Warren Carrol: Europe is in apostasy • Christian matrix in the Philippines is being corroded by the influence of the West
Philippines: Vanguard of Christianity needs vast re-evangelization • Sexual sins • RH – supported by 100 lawmakers, abetted by Catholic theologians; Catholic universities receive pro-RH funding • Porn use – top 8 in the world (revenues) • Homosexuality – accepted • Many sensual billboards – public incitement to sin
Philippines: Vanguard of Christianity needs vast re-evangelization • Sunday Mass Attendance • 15% are church-goers (2012 rough estimate of Frank Padilla, CFC-FFL) • 48% (2006) down from 56% (1995-2000) – adults who say they attend Mass "once" or "more than once a week.“ (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate: http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/intmassattendance.html)
Philippines: Vanguard of Christianity needs “vast re-evangelization” • Leaders whose faith and Christian moral doctrine (natural law=reasoned ethics) is divorced from their public & company policies • Corruption – 129th/182 (TI 2011) • Superstition and ignorance of faith New Evangelization targets: Baptized Non-believers; Non-practicing, immoral Catholics New ardor, methods (JPII)
Ratzinger: Root issue is truth Two aspects: • Dictatorship of relativism (no truth) --> no true religion • Self-limitation of reason to scientific facts (truth outside of science cannot be known) --> no need for faith in invisible reality --> amputates and dishonors reason
Strengths to build on • 94% of Filipinos always believed in God (2012 survey) • 98% against abortion (2010 survey) • Only country without divorce law • “Last country standing” without nationwide contraception law
We cannot accept • That salt should become tasteless or light be kept hidden. • People of today can still experience the need to go to the well • We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God and on the bread of life. • Teaching of Jesus resounds with the same power
Jesus’ teaching is about reality True False REALITY MIND God and Eternal Law Man and Moral law World and Physical laws Nothing is truer than the words of Truth
Begin: 11 Oct 2012 • 50th Anniversary of Opening of Vatican II • 20th Anniversary of CCC – power and beauty of faith • General Assembly of Synod of Bishops: New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith • End: 24 Nov 2013: Christ Universal King
Good opportunity Good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particularreflection and rediscovery of faith Opportunity -favorable time for doing something -chance to improve something Seize it and not waste it (Carpe annum!)
Paul VI and YOF 1967:exact knowledge of faith to reinvigorate it • Necessity: grave difficulties of the time • Whole Church: authentic sincere profession of same faith • Own again “exact knowledge of faith so as to reinvigorate, purify it, confirm it and confess it.”
Theology of the body:JPII’s sexual revolution • Purpose: Exact explanation of Church teaching on sexuality so as to turnaround the proliferation of sexual sins and lead people towards redeemed sexuality (total self-giving love) • Importance of transmitting this papal teaching • St Josemaria: faithfulness…requires opportune doctrinal developments in the exposition of the riches of the deposit of faith.
TOB thesis: only the human body is capable of making visible what is invisible • Sex is sacred icon, language, responsibility, worship • Not a plaything to be trivialized, profaned • Human bodies are persons to be loved, served and saved • Not things to be used – for selfish ends • Man is created for love: self-giving with self-mastery and reason
Renewal of the Church Through Vatican II texts and Renewed conversion
Renewal and Vatican II: Year of Faith 2012-13 • JPII: Texts have lost nothing of their value and brilliance • Need to be read correctly, to be widely known, taken to heart as important and normative texts of Magisterium • Great grace bestowed on the Church • B16: powerful for renewal of the Church
Renewal through witness of lives of believers • LG8: Church follows path of penance and renewal…is given strength to overcome its sorrows and difficulties so that it may reveal the mystery of its Lord. • YOF: Summons to authentic conversion to the Lord • Reveal fullness of Lovecall to conversion new life: faith working through love (new criterion of action)
Renewal greatly depends on…. • To a great extent, the renewal of the Church throughout the world depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspires and accomplishes. • The liberating power of this sacrament needs to be rediscovered and owned once again by every Catholic. • Benedict XVI, in the United States
Dolz: Teaching faith in the family in St. Josemaria Faith is a search for holiness, complete identification with Christ It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me: Christian moral activity is consequence of the life of Christ in his soul “Christian, recognize your dignity” (start of CCC on morality, Life in Christ) Make people and children aware of this
High goal of holiness – not to be lowered (“failure of Christ in Christian families” when they refuse the vocation to celibacy) JPII: never hide the radical demands of the Gospel Core of Christian education: Leading someone to be a soul of prayer and to the sacraments (expressions of divinized person) Teaching faith in the family
What impels us to evangelization • Caritas Christi urget nos: It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts that impels us to evangelization. • Jesus convokes Church • Mandate: proclaim the Gospel • Need: stronger commitment to new evangelization to rediscover joy of believing and enthusiasm for communicating the faith.
Teach the last commands of Christbecause he commanded us to teach them Two parts of Christ’s last words: • Go and make disciples of all the nations… • Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded 2nd command contains teaching the first command Why are the Protestants more zealous evangelizers? Perhaps because they teach the Great Commission!
How missionary commitment and faith grow • Rediscovering Jesus’ love How to reconcile with Paul VI”s “exact knowledge of the faith to reinvigorate it”? This is the exact essence of the faith itself! • Faith grows when • it is lived as an experience of love received and • it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy
Rediscovering Jesus’ love:experiencing love received • Strategy of Benedict XVI: Deus caritas est/Jesus of Nazareth-friendship with Christ/ Sacramentum Caritatis/Spe salvi • Dom Chautard: When the love of Jesus is preached by a true missionary who is able to make his hearers share in the sentiments with which he is filled, it is a guarantee of success.
Jesus’ love • As the Father loves me, so I love you. • Greater love than this no one has than he who lays down his life for his friends. • I have chosen you. • Gift of all created things, Gift of our freedom and intelligence, Gift of grace – his own Divine Life (!) through the sacraments, Gift of his sacrifice on the Cross, Gift of the enduring presence of his self-oblation in the Eucharist, Gift of his continuous mercy and tender gaze towards us.
God’s supreme gift is his eros • God’s supreme love: The revelation of God’s eros man is the supreme expression of His agape [gift of self] – Benedict XVI, Lent 2007 • Eros=passionate yearning and begging for union with us I thirst
Experience of love receivedCommunicated as experience of joy • This happens in the apostolate of friendship: love of benevolence • Friendship is an experience of love received and communicated, full of joy • Source of the greatest pleasure; nothing more prized on earth than friendship – St. Thomas
St. Augustine: believers strengthen themselves by believing • No other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one’s life apart from self-abandonment into hands of a love that grows constantly because it has its origin in God.
Bishops: Recall the precious gift of faith • Intensifying reflection on faith • Believers to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel at a time of profound change.
Goal of formation: moral consciousness and interior freedom “conscious willing for love of God, independent of emotional states, environment, difficulties”
We want this year to: • Arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and renewed conviction (public profession of faith) • Intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, esp in Eucharist • Make believer’s witness of life to grow in credibility • Make believers rediscover content of faith and reflect on the act of faith
Good news: 94% of Filipinos always believed in God • 94% of Filipinos “always believed in God” -- highest in 2012 international survey, 30 countries (NORC, Chicago) • Build on this strength to make them firmly believe in Jesus and in everything Jesus teaches through his Church and put them into practice
Belief in God: yes to everything he teaches through his Church Faith is: • first of all a personal adherence of man to God. • At the same time, and inseparably, it is afree assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. (CCC 150 quoted by Vatican Note)
Workshop: how to build on Filipinos’ stable belief in God to make them firm practitioners of Catholic faith and morals and zealous evangelizers
Belief in God: yes to everything he teaches through his Church • Credibility of Jesus: Nothing is truer than the words of Truth • Credibility of the Church: on this Rock I will build my Church; He who hears you hears me • Connect the truths to Jesus’ Word
Creed: daily prayer of the early Christians • St. Augustine: Creed: words on which the faith of Mother Church is firmly built • Keep it present in minds and hearts • Repeat in beds • Recall in public square • Not to forget during meals • Watch with your hearts when asleep
CCC outlineI believe. We believe • Man’s Capacity for God • Desire, natural knowledge of God • God comes to meet man • Revelation and its transmission (Bible, Tradition, Magisterium) • Man’s response to God • Faith - assent to God the revealer. CCC 143
Heart is opened by grace • St Paul: Man believes in his heart and so is justified/ He confesses with his lips and so is saved. • Heart: faith is God’s gift, action of grace • “The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” • Knowing content is not sufficient unless heart is opened by grace
Primacy of the prayer and grace • Without me you can do nothing - Jesus • Stupidity: • The illusion of the apostle that he could produce the slightest trace of supernatural life without borrowing every bit of it from Jesus Christ would lead us to believe that his ignorance of theology was equaled only by his stupid self-conceit. (Soul of the Apostolate) • Pray: Increase our faith! Help our unbelief!