Faith and evangelization: fifty years on from Vatican II

Pope John XXIII signs the bull convoking the Second Vatican Council on 11 October 1962

The year 2012 brings with it a very special anniversary. Fifty years ago, on 11 October 1962, John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council. Thirty years later, 11 October 1992, the same date was chosen by John Paul II for the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Again on 11 October there is the beginning of the Year of Faith, announced by Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explains it in these terms: ‘This year will be a propitious occasion for the faithful to understand more profoundly that the foundation of Christian faith is “the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” Founded on the encounter with the Risen Christ, faith can be rediscovered in its wholeness and all its splendour. “In our days too faith is a gift to rediscover, to cultivate and to bear witness to” because the Lord “grants each one of us to live the beauty and joy of being Christians.’

For the Roman Catholic Church the issue is fundamental. This was shown by Benedict XVI’s decision to create, on 20 September 2010, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. Circumstances and issues come together in the first major event of the Year of Faith, namely, the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from 7 to 28 October 2012. Its focus will be: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Christian Faith.

Three theologians were asked for their reflections on the theme of the Synod:

Piero Coda, wrote a short piece entitled Vatican II and the New Evangelization – a Single Kairós. In it he considers  roots of the new evangelization in the decisions of the Second Vatican Council.

Julie Tremblay wrote a piece called The Quality of Our Faith. It emphasizes the essential condition  for the Synod’s theme of new evangelization: living the Gospel in a new way.

The Anglican theologian Callan Slipper in his piece The ‘New Evangelization’ from an Anglican Perspective emphasizes how the direction taken by the Roman Catholic Church is of interest and helpful to other Churches which share the same difficulties. An ‘exchange of gifts’ between the Churches could be extremely useful in this context.

To read their reflections in the original Italian, go to Nuova Umanità online

The editorial is introduced and edited by Antonio Maria Baggio in the three monthly cultural journal Nuova Umanità.

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