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Lumen fidei claims to be in continuity with all that the Churchs magisterium has

pronounced; thus there is an explicit referencebut only in a footnoteto Chapter 3


of the Constitution Dei ilius of the irst !atican Council "no# $% note $&# 't is also
about the faith (that is) recei*ed from +od as a supernatural gift "no# ,&% and it
specifies that faith is a theological and supernatural *irtue gi*en by +od "no# $&#
-imilarly we read. -ince faith is one% it must be professed in all its purity and
integrity "no# ,/&; not a single article of the Creed can be denied; there is a need for
*igilance to ensure that the deposit of faith is passed on in its entirety "no# ,/&# 0ut
those are the only traces of the traditional teaching#
1ll the rest of the 2ncyclical buries these all3too3rare allusions in a context that is 4uite
foreign to them# 5his context connects the idea of faith with the idea of experience and
personal encounter% which establishes a relation between man and +od% without ma6ing
it clear whether this is the intellectual relation of 6nowledge(7) or the affecti*e relation
of lo*e#(8) 9or is it *ery clear whether this personal encounter corresponds to the
profound re4uirements of nature or whether it surpasses them by introducing man into a
specifically supernatural order#(3) 5he problem is compounded by the failure to cite the
classical notions of natural and supernatural in describing this relation. it is abo*e all a
4uestion of existence#(,)
5he central idea is that faith is first of all existential% the product of an encounter with
the li*ing +od that re*eals lo*e and leads to communion "no# ,% no# /&# 't is essentially
dynamic% openness to the promise of +od and memory of (that promise about) the
future "no# :&% openness to lo*e "no# 87% no# 3,&% attachment to the source of life and of
all fatherhood "no# 77&% an experience of lo*e "no# ,$&;# 't consists of the willingness
to let oursel*es be constantly transformed and renewed by +ods call "no# 73&#
5here is no definition of what a theological *irtue is% and the reader will search in *ain
for a specific definition of the three theological *irtues% which conse4uently are mixed
up# 9e*er is faith related to the authority of +od who re*eals "the word authority
appears once% in no# <<% but in reference to another sub=ect&# 5he re*ealed deposit of
faith is mentioned only in no# ,/% but it is not definedparticularly the fact that it was
completed at the death of the last apostle#
9o# 7/ recalls that Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the >ord and his bodily
resurrection; it is faith in a +od who is so close to us that he entered our human
history# 0ut it must be admitted that it is 4uite difficult to recite the act of faith on the
basis of the considerations proposed here% according to which faith relies not on the
authority of +od who can neither decei*e nor be decei*ed% but rather on the utter
reliability of +ods lo*e "no# 7$&% and on the reliability of ?esus based; on his di*ine
sonship "ibid#&# 'n other words. ' belie*e in +od because he is lo*e and not because he
is truthful#
>e find in footnote 83 an excerpt from Dei !erbum that spea6s about (willing assent)
to the re*elation gi*en by +od% which re4uires the grace of +od% anticipating it and
assisting it% as well as the interior helps of the @oly -pirit% who mo*es the heart and
con*erts it to +od% and opens the eyes of the mind and ma6es it easy for all to accept
and belie*e the truth "no# 8:&# Aet further on the 2ncyclical reads. 5he creed does
not only in*ol*e gi*ing ones assent to a body of abstract truths; rather% when it is
recited the whole of life is drawn into a =ourney towards full communion with the li*ing
+od "no# ,<&#
5he necessity of faith in order to be sa*ed is presented in a non3directi*e manner. the
beginning of sal*ation is openness to something prior to oursel*es% to a primordial gift
that affirms life and sustains it in being "no# 7:&# Br else. aith in Christ brings
sal*ation because in him our li*es become radically open "no# 8C&# 5his is far from the
+ospel clarity. +o ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to e*ery creation#
@e that belie*eth and is baptiDed shall be sa*ed. but he that belie*eth not shall be
condemned "Ear6 7F.7<37F&# Bn the contrary% no# 3, says. 5he light of lo*e proper
to faith can illumine the 4uestions of our own time about truth;# 1s a truth of lo*e% it
is not one that can be imposed by force; it is not a truth that stifles the indi*idual# -ince
it is born of lo*e% it can penetrate to the heart% to the personal core of each man and
woman# Clearly% then% faith is not intransigent% but grows in respectful coexistence with
others#
'ncidentally% one might wonder about the catechetical effecti*eness of the definition of
the Decalogue gi*en in no# ,F. 5he Decalogue is not a set of negati*e commands% but
concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self3enclosed ego in
order to enter into dialogue with +od#
'n short% faith% as it is presented in Lumen fidei% is first of all an experience of life and of
lo*e% fully realiDed in the encounter with Christ "no# 3C&. aith 6nows because it is
tied to lo*e% because lo*e itself brings enlightenment "no# 8F&# ?esus is said to be the
one sa*ior because all +ods light is concentrated in him% in his Gluminous life which
discloses the origin and the end of history "no# 3<&;#
't is much too early to propose% based on a first 2ncyclical% a 6ey to reading the teaching
of Hope rancis; the next 2ncyclicalwhich is said to be dedicated to po*ertywill be
more personal and will enlighten us more precisely# >e will simply be so bold as to
point out that Lumen fidei is indeed in line with post3conciliar teaching# !atican ''
wanted to open up the Church to the modern world% which is characteriDed by its
re=ection of the argument from authority# 5hus the Council claimed to be pastoral%
a*oiding all dogmatic definition so as not to gi*e the impression of coercing
contemporary minds# rom this perspecti*e% the considerations on faith in Lumen fidei
are somewhat reminiscent of what the immanentist philosopher Eaurice 0londel wrote.
'f faith increases our 6nowledge% it is not initially and principally inasmuch as it
teaches us certain ob=ecti*e truths by authoriDed testimony% but rather inasmuch as it
unites us to the life of a sub=ect% inasmuch as it initiates us% through lo*ing thought% to
another thought and another lo*e# "E# 0londel in 1# Lalande% Dictionnaire techni4ue
et criti4ue de la philosophie (Haris. HI% 7:F/)% 3FC% emphasis added#& 't is not learning
ob=ecti*e truths% but becoming united to the life of a sub=ect and being initiated by
lo*ing thought to another thought and another lo*e# @ence a problem arises. how can
one be content to propose to modern minds% which are smitten with autonomy% what the
authority of di*ine re*elation imposes on usJ 1nd how can we do this without gi*ing
the impression to those minds that the authority of di*ine re*elation is contrary to their
aspirations to autonomyJ 1nd without diluting the re*ealed deposit itself either or
diminishing its authorityJ 5hese are the difficulties with which the Eagisterium has
been struggling for fifty years#
'n a recent article% r# ?ean3Domini4ue% B#H#% recalls the interest with which the
Hrotestants of 5aiDK welcomed the non3dogmatic teaching of !atican ''. 5he
Councils intention is to drop an excessi*ely static and notional language so as to adopt
resolutely a dynamic% li*ing language# 5his whole magnificent document (Dei !erbum%
the conciliar document on Le*elation2ditors note) will consider Le*elation as the
li*ing >ord that the li*ing +od addresses to the li*ing Church composed of li*ing
members;# 5his whole document on Le*elation will be dominated by the foundational
e*angelical themes of word% life and communion# 5he >ord of +od% is the li*ing Christ
whom +od gi*es to man6ind so as to establish between him and them the communion
of the -pirit in the Church# 5hus the Church ga*e up spea6ing about the acceptance
of re*elation in terms of submission to authority so as to spea6 primarily about a
personal faith that accepts +ods re*elation "Loger -chutD and Eax 5hurian% La
Harole *i*ante au Concile (Les Hresses de 5aiDK% 7:FF)% $$3$/% cited by r# ?ean3
Domini4ue% Concile ou rK*olutionJ in Le Chardonnet (?uly 8C73). F&#
5his intention no longer to resort to dogmatic definitions is deplored by the Declaration
of the bishops of the -ociety of -aint Hius M dated ?une 8$% 8C73. >e are truly
obliged to obser*e that this Council without comparison% which wanted to be merely
pastoral and not dogmatic% inaugurated a new type of magisterium% hitherto unheard of
in the Church% without roots in 5radition; a magisterium resol*ed to reconcile Catholic
doctrine with liberal ideas; a magisterium imbued with the modernist ideas of
sub=ecti*ism% of immanentism and of perpetual e*olution according to the false concept
of a li*ing tradition (which is also found in the writings of Eaurice 0londel2ditors
note)% *itiating the nature% the content% the role and the exercise of ecclesiastical
magisterium# "-ee D'C' no# 8$/% dated ?uly <% 8C73&#
"D'C' no# 8$: dated ?uly 7:% 8C73&
(7) Lecall. aith is defined as the adherence of our intellect to the truths re*ealed by
+od% because of the authority of +od who re*eals them# 5he spiritual life has faith as
its principle% which recei*es from re*elation its properly intellectual and therefore
conceptual 6nowledge of the mystery# >ithout denying the fact that faith must be
enriched by charity and flourish in lo*ing 6nowledge% we must firmly maintain that% in
order to be united in the actual spiritual life% faith and charity must remain formally
distinct in their definition% in the eyes of the Eagisterium and of theology#
(8) 0elie*ing means entrusting oneself to a merciful lo*e which always accepts and
pardons% which sustains and directs our li*es% and which shows its power by its ability
to ma6e straight the croo6ed lines of our history "no# 73&# aith transforms the whole
person precisely to the extent that he or she becomes open to lo*e# 5hrough this
blending of faith and lo*e we come to see the 6ind of 6nowledge which faith entails% its
power to con*ince and its ability to illumine our steps# aith 6nows because it is tied to
lo*e% because lo*e itself brings enlightenment# aiths understanding is born when we
recei*e the immense lo*e of +od which transforms us inwardly and enables us to see
reality with new eyes "no# 8F&# aith transforms the whole person precisely to the
extent that he or she becomes open to lo*e# 5hrough this blending of faith and lo*e we
come to see the 6ind of 6nowledge which faith entails% its power to con*ince and its
ability to illumine our steps# aith 6nows because it is tied to lo*e% because lo*e itself
brings enlightenment# aiths understanding is born when we recei*e the immense lo*e
of +od which transforms us inwardly and enables us to see reality with new eyes "no#
38&#
(3) 5he life of faith% as a filial existence% is the ac6nowledgment of a primordial and
radical gift which upholds our li*es# >e see this clearly in -aint Hauls 4uestion to the
Corinthians. G>hat ha*e you that you did not recei*eJ "7 Cor ,.$& "no# 7:&# Does this
refer to the gift of creation or to the gift of graceJ 'n accepting the gift of faith%
belie*ers become a new creation; they recei*e a new being% as +ods children; this is
well put% but it does not specify whether this newness is part of the natural order and in
continuity with creation or whether it surpasses it#
(,) 5he light of faith is uni4ue% since it is capable of illuminating e*ery aspect of
human existence "no# ,&# or those early Christians% faith% as an encounter with the
li*ing +od re*ealed in Christ% was indeed a Gmother% for it had brought them to the
light and gi*en birth within them to di*ine life% a new experience and a luminous *ision
of existence for which they were prepared to bear public witness to the end "no# <&#
5he -econd !atican Council enabled the light of faith to illumine our human
experience from within% accompanying the men and women of our time on their
=ourney# 't clearly showed how faith enriches life in all its dimensions "no# F&# 5hus
wonderfully interwo*en% faith% hope and charity are the dri*ing force of the Christian
life as it ad*ances towards full communion with +od "no# $&# 0elie*ing means
entrusting oneself to a merciful lo*e which always accepts and pardons% which sustains
and directs our li*es% and which shows its power by its ability to ma6e straight the
croo6ed lines of our history "no# 73&# 5he beginning of sal*ation is openness to
something prior to oursel*es% to a primordial gift that affirms life and sustains it in
being "no# 7:&# 5hose who belie*e are transformed by the Lo*e to which they ha*e
opened their hearts in faith# 0y their openness to this offer of primordial Lo*e% their
li*es are enlarged and expanded "no# 87&# 5he realiDation that +od is light pro*ided
1ugustine with a new direction in life and enabled him to ac6nowledge his sinfulness
and to turn towards the good "no# 33&#