Friday, March 9, 2012

Is the Church relevant?

A great article at Crisis Magazine about the 'relevance' of the Church in general and Pope Benedict in particular.

Which brings us to another great “relevance” of Benedict’s pontificate: his desire to ensure that more Catholics understand the actual content of what they profess to believe.
It’s no great secret that Catholic catechesis went into freefall after Vatican II. It’s true that much pre-Vatican II catechesis was characterized by rote-learning rather than substantive engagement with the truths of the Faith. But as early as 1983, Joseph Ratzinger signaled his awareness of the lamentable post-Vatican II catechetical state of affairs in two speeches he gave in Paris and Lyons. Much to the professional catechists’ displeasure — but to the delight of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger and every young priest present — Ratzinger zeroed in on the huge gaps in the catechetical text-books then in vogue.

We've been battling this for 30 years but things have still not changed significantly on the ground (or in the pew). That's sad, but we are going in the right direction.

Hence, as one French commentator recently observed, at least one sub-text of Benedict’s Year of Faith is that “doctrinal break-time” for the Church is over. This point was underscored by the recent Note issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Along the other practical suggestions it gives for furthering the Year of Faith, the Note emphasizes “a profound bond between the lived faith and its contents” (i.e., true ortho-praxis can only be based on ortho-doxy). It also stresses that Catholics need to know the content of the Catechism and the actual documents of Vatican II (rather than, sotto voce, the ever-nebulous “spirit of Vatican II” that seems indistinguishable from whatever’s preoccupying secular liberals at any given moment in time).

Read it all. The conclusion is particularly uplifting.

h/t Deborah Gyapong, link on Facebook.

Read Pope Benedict's apostolic letter Porta Fidei here.

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