Pope Benedict XVI last year announced a Year of Faith to begin on 11 October 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Moreover, the theme of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that the Pope convened for October 2012 is "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith". Several articles in this issue of AD2000 address this theme from different perspectives.
The Pope has placed particular emphasis on the central role of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in giving effect to the Year of Faith.
"In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.
"The Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here, in fact, we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith.
"In this Year, then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith, especially for those concerned with the formation of Christians, so crucial in our cultural context. To this end, I have invited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by agreement with the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See, to draw up a Note, providing the Church and individual believers with some guidelines on how to live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelisation.
"During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the ‘pioneer and perfecter of our faith' (Heb 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart find fulfilment."
Extracts from Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, which launched the Year of Faith