After writing an editorial, "Throwing Down the Gauntlet of Faith"
(July 8th), about the encyclical, Lumen Fidei
, I wrote a longer and more thorough piece, "Unity and the Light of Faith"
for Catholic Pulse. Here is some of the opening:
In a unique way, Lumen Fidei brings to completion the papal project, if you will, begun with Pope Benedict’s 2005 encyclical Deus Caritas Est
(“God is Love”): a detailed and vigorous set of encyclicals focused on
the three theological virtues. That this new encyclical is presented and
authored by Pope Francis only reinforces the constant and important
emphasis within this newest encyclical on unity: unity of
faith, unity in truth, unity in the Church, journeying in unity, the
unity of the divine plan, and the unity of the Godhead. The cooperation
of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict is, I think, a sort of quiet
rebuke to those who would fret over and fixate upon the differences
between the two men to the point of agitation. Comparisons are normal;
they can even be helpful. But the very production of this text which
is bold, humble, direct, nuanced, intellectually demanding, and
spiritually challenging is a reminder of what the papacy is and what
it is meant to do. “The Successor of Peter,” writes Pope Francis (having
acknowledged that he had merely “added a few contributions” of his own
to Benedict’s draft), “yesterday, today and tomorrow, is always called
to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the priceless treasure of that
faith which God has given as a light for humanity’s path” (#7).
Rather than be concerned or bothered by how obviously different Popes
Benedict and Francis are in many respects, we should rejoice in how
faith in the One God, who is a perfect communion of three Persons, so
beautifully unites the people of God and calls all men into the saving
union and communion of the Church. While the world speaks endlessly of a
“diversity” that is often dull, coerced, and thoroughly homogenized,
the Church demonstrates a unity that is possible precisely because it
flows from God, is rooted in truth, is revealed in love, and is
expressed in joy: “This is also the great joy of faith: a unity of
vision in one body and one spirit. Saint Leo the Great could say: ‘If
faith is not one, then it is not faith’.” (#47).
In my previous Catholic Pulse essay, “Love, Hope, and Truth: Benedict XVI’s Three Encyclicals,” I sought to show how Deus Caritas Est (on Christian love), Spe Salvi (on Christian hope), and Caritas in Veritate
(on integral human development) together provide “a cohesive,
integrated understanding of the person of Jesus Christ (Christology),
the nature and mission of the Church (ecclesiology), and salvation and
the last things (soteriology and eschatology).” It seems fitting to
consider the same “-ologies” within Lumen Fidei, keeping in mind that there is no substitute for reading and prayerfully contemplating the entire encyclical!
Read the entire essay at CatholicPulse.com.