A “Year of Faith,” announced by Pope Benedict XVI for the universal Church and Bishop Lennon for the Diocese of Cleveland began on October 11 and was introduced here at St. Victor last weekend. The date of October 11, 2012 was appropriate because that marked the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which was intended to reform and reinvigorate the stasis and rigidity that had overtaken the Church since the Council of Trent in the mid-Sixteen Century. The Year of Faith will be observed for about thirteen and a half months, concluding on the Feast of Christ the King on November 2 4, 2013.
The first emphasis of the Year of Faith is on the Apostles’ Creed, which is the statement of the most basic shared beliefs of the People of God. As mentioned last weekend during the homily, there are areas of discussion and disagreement within the Church on a wide variety of topics, but the Creed is a kind of “least common denominator,” a statement of everything that we can confidently and enthusiastically say that we all agree with.
I hope everyone, including all the children, picked up one of the wallet-sized cards from the ends of the pew in church that contain the words of the Apostles’ Creed. I am speaking to everyone, including myself, when I say that we really could do a much better job proclaiming the Creed at church during mass, right after the homily. Please join me in making an effort to proclaim the Creed more mindfully and forthrightly. Also, Pope Benedict and Bishop Lennon are encouraging every Catholic to recite the Creed every day during the holy year. This can be done either individually or in a group.
A second emphasis during the Year of Faith will be a careful review of the documents of renewal which were the product of the Second Vatican Council. It is important that at all levels this process will be open to the workings and influence of the Holy Spirit. In some quarters it has become fashionable to pretend that the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with the Council and to speak derisively of the “Spirit of Vatican II,” as if this earth shaking event never took place. Such is a dangerous reaction to the reforms envisioned by Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. Those who would seek to reverse the reforms of Vatican II need to remember the admonitions of Jesus recorded in Matthew 12:32, Mark 3:29 and Luke 12:10 regarding blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
That being said, a renewal of the Spirit of the Second Vatican Council must begin not with nebulous feelings about what any one of us would like the Holy Spirit to do if we were the Holy Spirit. In fact, the renewal of the Council must begin with a careful review of the documents themselves. Sixteen documents were produced, with two of them being “dogmatic constitutions,” which are of the very highest level of authority.
During the Year of Faith we will be taking some time to review some of the documents of the Council, especially the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. We hope to be rebuilding the parish website in the near future, and once we do we will post resources for the Year of Faith including the Council documents.
Allen F. Corrigan, Pastor