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Posts Tagged ‘Year of Faith’

Benedict XVI: Is It Rational to Believe?

In 07 Observations on 2013/02/28 at 11:11 AM

“As the Year of Faith progresses we carry in our hearts the hope of rediscovering our joy at believing and our enthusiasm for communicating the truth of faith to all. … This leads us to discover that our encounter with God brings value to, perfects and elevates that which is true, good and beautiful in mankind”, said the Pope in his catechesis during today’s general audience, held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Faith, he explained, “means knowing God as Love, thanks to His own love. The love of God … opens our eyes and allows us to know all reality beyond the limited horizons of individualism and subjectivism which distort our awareness”.

Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to the rationality of faith in God, emphasising that the Catholic tradition “has always rejected the so-called principle of ‘fideism’, that is, the will to believe against reason. … Indeed, although a mystery, God is not absurd. … If, in contemplating the mystery, reason sees only darkness, this is not because the mystery contains no light, rather because it contains too much. Just as when we turn our eyes directly to the sun, we see only shadow – who would say that the sun is not bright? Faith allows us to look at the ‘sun’ that is God, because it welcomes His revelation in history. … God has sought mankind and made Himself known, bringing Himself to the limits of human reason”.

“At the same time, God, with His grace, illuminates reason and opens up new horizons, immeasurable and infinite. Therefore, faith is a continuous stimulus to seek, never to cease or acquiesce in the inexhaustible search for truth and reality. … Intellect and faith are not foreign or antagonistic to divine Revelation, they are both prerequisites for understanding its meaning, for receiving its authentic message, for approaching the threshold of the mystery. … The Catholic faith is therefore rational and also nurtures trust in human reason. … Knowledge of faith, furthermore, is not contrary to reason. … In the irresistible desire for truth, only a harmonious relationship between faith and reason can show the correct path to God and to self-fulfilment”.

“A correct relationship between science and faith is also based on this fruitful interaction between comprehension and belief. Scientific research leads to the knowledge of new truths regarding mankind and the cosmos. The true good of mankind, accessible through faith, indicates the direction his path of discovery must follow. Therefore, it is important to encourage, for example, research which serves life and seeks to combat disease. Investigations into the secrets of our planet and the universe are also important for this reason, in the knowledge that man is placed at the peak of creation, not not in order exploit it senselessly, but rather to protect it and render it inhabitable.

“In this way, faith does not enter into conflict with science but co-operates with it, offering fundamental criteria to ensure it promotes universal good, and asking only that science desist from those initiatives that, in opposition to God’s original plan, may produce effects which turn against man himself. Another reason for which it is rational to believe is this: if science is a valuable ally of faith in our understanding of God’s plan for the universe, faith also directs scientific progress towards the good and truth of mankind, remaining faithful to that original plan.

“This is why it is vital for man to open himself to faith, and to know God and His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ. The Gospel establishes a new humanism, an authentic ‘grammar’ of humankind and reality”, the Holy Father concluded. “It is rational to believe, as it is our very existence that is at stake”.

VIS 121121

BREAKING NEWS from Pope Benedict

In 13 History on 2011/10/17 at 9:48 AM

Excerpts from the APOSTOLIC LETTER   

VATICAN CITY, 17 OCT 2011 (VIS) – Made public today was “Porta fidei”, the Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio data” with which Benedict XVI proclaims a “Year of Faith”….  

  “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 to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace”.

 “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. … 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”.

 “In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith”….

 

“It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers. … I would also like to emphasise strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: ‘if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church’….

 

 “A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with Him. This ‘standing with Him’ points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. … Profession of faith is an act both personal and communitarian. It is the Church that is the primary subject of faith. In the faith of the Christian community, each individual receives Baptism, an effective sign of entry into the people of believers in order to obtain salvation”.

 

 “Evidently, knowledge of the content of faith is essential for giving one’s own assent, that is to say for adhering fully with intellect and will to what the Church proposes. Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God. The giving of assent implies that, when we believe, we freely accept the whole mystery of faith, because the guarantor of its truth is God who reveals Himself and allows us to know His mystery of love….. 

  

 “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of Vatican Council II. … It is in this sense that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. … The Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith”.

 

 “In this Year, then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith, especially for those concerned with the formation of Christians, so crucial in our cultural context. To this end, I have invited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by agreement with the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See, to draw up a note, providing the Church and individual believers with some guidelines on how to live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelisation…. 

   

 “One thing that will be of decisive importance in this Year is retracing the history of our faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin. While the former highlights the great contribution that men and women have made to the growth and development of the community through the witness of their lives, the latter must provoke in each person a sincere and continuing work of conversion in order to experience the mercy of the Father which is held out to everyone”…. 

    

“Having reached the end of his life, St. Paul asks his disciple Timothy to ‘aim at faith’ with the same constancy as when he was a boy. We hear this invitation directed to each of us, that none of us grow lazy in the faith. It is the lifelong companion that makes it possible to perceive, ever anew, the marvels that God works for us. Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end”.