Publication of pastoral guidelines for the Year of Faith

Source: FSSPX News

Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) published on January 7, 2012, the pastoral guidelines to be followed at the global, national, diocesan and local level during the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013).  According to the wishes of Benedict XVI, the Year of Faith will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

At the level of the Universal Church, three major movements will mark the Year of Faith:  the Synod in October 2012 on “the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith”, the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in August 2013 and the closing Mass that Benedict XVI will celebrate at the Vatican on November 24, 2013.  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also encourages Christians to go on pilgrimage to Rome, to the Holy Land and to Marian shrines.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for its part, will be in charge of promoting ecumenical initiatives on behalf of the restoration of unity among all Christians, which is “one of the principal concerns” of the Second Vatican Council.  A solemn ecumenical celebration “in which all of the baptized will reaffirm their faith in Christ” is thus planned as part of the program.

Thanks to a special Secretariat, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization will manage to coordinate the initiatives promoted by the different dicasteries of the Holy See “or other events relevant to the Universal Church”, and will suggest some initiatives.  The Secretariat will be in charge of a website specially created for this purpose.

The Year of Faith should be the occasion to rediscover the teachings of Vatican II and of the CCC.  Several international conferences will be organized, and seminarians will be invited to study these documents carefully.  Similarly, the CDF encourages a rereading of the homilies, catecheses, addresses and other texts by Benedict XVI.

Episcopal Conferences should do everything possible to publish and distribute the documents of Vatican II, the CCC and its Compendium, in a way that is economical and accessible, in new [electronic] formats and in new languages, especially the local languages of countries in mission territory.  This latter task will be the responsibility of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

All forms of communication should be employed to speak about the faith and the Council:  television or radio broadcasts, films and publications, “on the popular level, making these things available to a wider public”, the CDF Note explains, but also by means of the heritage of visual works of art in the region entrusted to the pastoral care of the dioceses.

The episcopal conferences will also ensure that the local catechisms and the various catechetical resources being used in the local Churches are in “complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church”.  Finally, they will be able to devote a study day to the theme of faith, personal witness to it and the transmission of the faith to younger generations.

At the diocesan level, the CDF invites Catholics to celebrate the opening and the conclusion of the Year of Faith.  Each bishop can dedicate one day to study of the CCC and compose a pastoral letter on the theme of faith.  The Vatican also hopes that in each diocese will hold “catechetical events … especially for the youth and those searching for the meaning of life,” and encounters with meaningful witnesses to the faith.  During Lent, the bishops can organize “penitential celebrations … in which all can ask for God’s forgiveness, especially for sins against faith.”

At the university level, the CDF hopes to encourage “a renewed creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities”.

Finally, at the local level, parishes, communities, associations and movements are also invited to participate in the distribution of the Catechism.  The CDF is counting particularly on the new communities and the ecclesial movements, which “in a creative and generous way, will be able to find the most appropriate ways in which to offer their witness to the faith in service to the Church”.  The faithful are called to communicate their experience of faith with members of other Christian denominations or other religions, but also with non-believers.

On January 21, 2012, Father Federico Lombardi declared in an editorial of the weekly newsletter of the Vatican Television Center that he directs:  “The theme of the new evangelization that escorts us toward the Synod of Bishops next Fall is intrinsically ecumenical, and the Year of Father announced by the Pope will likewise have an ecumenical dimension at the universal level.”  “The new evangelization can be more fruitful if all Christians announce the truth of the Gospel together,” he assured his readers, adding, “once again, it is clearly evident that ecumenical engagement is essential and intrinsic to the mission of the Church in the world of today and to the main lines of this pontificate.”  (Sources : VIS/Apic/Imedia/Zenit/CTV – DICI no. 249 dated February 3, 2012)