Some positive points in Lumen Fidei

August 14, 2013
Source: District of the USA

While Lumen Fidei certainly promotes subjectivism and is ambiguous about faith and charity in general, nonetheless, there are some good points to be gleaned from this papal document.

We must of course agree with the analysis that DICI recently made of Lumen Fidei, the first encyclical of Pope Francis, which contains much subjectivism and confusion between faith and charity, thus rendering the message on the ‘light of faith’ rather obscure and truncated.

This being said, some paragraphs are worth reading over in which the pope(s) connects the Faith with day-to-day life, especially in light of the recent judicial-political events in the United States. These passages strike as being much of the focus of attention for many American Catholics. For us especially, these lines recall the always true aphorism that ideas have serious consequences, and hence when man plays God by doing away with His Creator, he is bound to be sorry! Here are the paragraphs (in edited form) which are worth our consideration.

52. The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.... Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person. So it was that Sarah, by faith, became a mother, for she trusted in God’s fidelity to his promise (cf. Heb 11:11).

53. In the family, faith accompanies every age of life, beginning with childhood: children learn to trust in the love of their parents. This is why it is so important that within their families, parents encourage shared expressions of faith which can help children gradually to mature in their own faith. Young people in particular, who are going through a period in their lives which is so complex, rich and important for their faith, ought to feel the constant closeness and support of their families and the Church in their journey of faith.

54. At the heart of biblical faith is God’s love, his concrete concern for every person, and his plan of salvation which embraces all of humanity and all creation, culminating in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without insight into these realities, there is no criterion for discerning what makes human life precious and unique. Man loses his place in the universe, he is cast adrift in nature, either renouncing his proper moral responsibility or else presuming to be a sort of absolute judge, endowed with an unlimited power to manipulate the world around him.

55. When faith is weakened, the foundations of life also risk being weakened [Quote from T.S. Eliot].... If we remove faith in God from our cities, mutual trust would be weakened, we would remain united only by fear and our stability would be threatened. In the Letter to the Hebrews we read that 'God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them' (Heb 11:16). Here the expression 'is not ashamed ' is associated with public acknowledgment. The intention is to say that God, by his concrete actions, makes a public avowal that he is present in our midst and that he desires to solidify every human relationship. Could it be the case, instead, that we are the ones who are ashamed to call God our God? That we are the ones who fail to confess him as such in our public life, who fail to propose the grandeur of the life in common which he makes possible? Faith illumines life and society."

In a time when religious pluralism (the denial of all creeds) is fast becoming the rule, it is refreshing to hear the voice of the highest Church authority remind us of the importance of the practical engagements of our Catholic Faith: in the family vows and duties towards life, in the public duties towards Christ. Adveniat Regnum Tuum!