Porta Fidei 5: Correct Interpretation and Correct Reading

Pope Benedict values the input of his predecessors.

5. In some respects, my venerable predecessor saw this Year as a “consequence and a necessity of the postconciliar period”,[Paul VI, General Audience (14 June 1967): Insegnamenti V (1967), 801] fully conscious of the grave difficulties of the time, especially with regard to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation. It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church’s Tradition … I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning.”[Novo Millennio Ineunte 57] I would also like to emphasize strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: “if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.”[Address to the Roman Curia (22 December 2005): AAS 98 (2006), 52.]

“Correct” is used twice here. This quality occurs when innumerable people discern spiritually and pastorally, the urgings of the Holy Spirit, and the needs of the people of the times. The Magisterium has a role, and a vital one, naturally. But at some point, pastors, catechists, parents, and regular believers must lead and live the life of faith in their own surroundings. Life is so complex; no institution can possibly hope to provide all the easy answers in all situations.

Ideally, believers are given tools to apply church teachings to their life. What would these be? Methods of prayer. Messages of encouragement. Aspects of culture that uplift the mind and heart.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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