Today, one short section and one long footnote.
6. The Year of Faith was inaugurated on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. This is itself a clear indication that Vatican II was a Council on faith,[*] inasmuch as it asked us to restore the primacy of God in Christ to the centre of our lives, both as a Church and as individuals. The Church never takes faith for granted, but knows that this gift of God needs to be nourished and reinforced so that it can continue to guide her pilgrim way. The Second Vatican Council enabled the light of faith to illumine our human experience from within, accompanying the men and women of our time on their journey. It clearly showed how faith enriches life in all its dimensions.
*”Though the Council does not expressly deal with faith, it speaks of it on every page, it recognizes its living, supernatural character, it presumes it to be full and strong, and it bases its teachings on it. It is sufficient to recall the Council’s statements… to see the essential importance which the Council, in line with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, attributes to faith, the true faith, which has its source in Christ, and the magisterium of the Church for its channel” (Paul VI, General Audience [8 March 1967]: Insegnamenti V , 705).
So we have a Vatican II connection. And each of the last two popes embraced the vision that Vatican II was a Council of Faith. (What does that say about those who reject it? Maybe we don’t want to go there.) The Council was intended to shed new light on faith, and to allow that faith to strengthen those who believe.
Unfortunately, I think we do take the gift of faith for granted. We lean pretty heavily on the non-prevailing forces of hell. But honestly, things like this go in cycles, even for large institutions. The constant is God’s invitation to faith and grace. The constant is that someone, somewhere, is seeking. The level of support for seekers may well vary place to place and from time to time.