Friday, July 05, 2013

Lumen Fidei

Pope Francis's first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, is now available. It was begun by Benedict XVI and finished by Francis, in much the same way that (if I recall correctly) Benedict XVI's first encyclical on charity was begun by John Paul II and finished by Benedict.

Faith, in fact, needs a setting in which it can be witnessed to and communicated, a means which is suitable and proportionate to what is communicated. For transmitting a purely doctrinal content, an idea might suffice, or perhaps a book, or the repetition of a spoken message. But what is communicated in the Church, what is handed down in her living Tradition, is the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion. There is a special means for passing down this fullness, a means capable of engaging the entire person, body and spirit, interior life and relationships with others. It is the sacraments, celebrated in the Church’s liturgy. The sacraments communicate an incarnate memory, linked to the times and places of our lives, linked to all our senses; in them the whole person is engaged as a member of a living subject and part of a network of communitarian relationships. While the sacraments are indeed sacraments of faith, it can also be said that faith itself possesses a sacramental structure. The awakening of faith is linked to the dawning of a new sacramental sense in our lives as human beings and as Christians, in which visible and material realities are seen to point beyond themselves to the mystery of the eternal.


  1. awatkins696:57 AM

    I really liked this new encyclical from Pope Francis. I feel it had many good insights. Among them are faith as being grounded in God's proof of his own reliability (for us Christians, this proof is the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ), the need to include love with faith, and the distinction between 'hearing' and 'sight'. Maybe these aren't novel teachings, but in the encyclical they felt fresh to me.

  2. branemrys7:15 AM

    I think it's well-organized and doesn't simply go through topics to get them in, which is usually one of the weaknesses of modern encyclicals. Because of it, the format of the encyclical doesn't get in the way of what it is teaching, and that helps an immense amount.


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