Monday, October 15, 2012

A Year of Faith

Pope Benedict's has noted of late that many Catholics misunderstood or ignored the Second Vatican council's teachings under the influence of secular culture and "embraced uncritically the dominant mentality, placing in doubt the very foundations of the deposit of faith, which they sadly no longer felt able to accept as truths." he said He went on to add in a homily: "Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual 'desertification.'" Fifty years ago, history offered glimpses of a "life or a world without God," he said. "Now we see it every day around us. This void has spread." Yet, the pope said, a "thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life" is still evident in "innumerable signs," including the growing popularity of religious pilgrimages. "How come so many people today feel the need to make these journeys?" he said. "Is it not because they find there, or at least intuit, the meaning of our existence in the world?"

Calling for a revival in the church of the "yearning to announce Christ again to contemporary man," the pope stressed that any new evangelization "needs to be built on a concrete and precise basis, and this basis is the documents of the Second Vatican Council."

Having completed a book on a spiritual war as being behind a “spirit of Vatican II,” I am encouraged that the Holy Father reaffirmed past statements rejecting any expansive notions of a "spirit of Vatican II" that might be used to justify innovations diverging from traditional doctrine.

"I have often insisted on the need to return, as it were, to the 'letter' of the council -- that is to its texts -- also to draw from them its authentic spirit," the pope said. "The true legacy of the council is to be found in them."

The pope also reiterated one of his most prominent teachings about Vatican II, that it must be understood in continuity with the church's millennial traditions, not as a radical break with the past. "The council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient," he said. "Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change."