The Enlightened Family: Why, It All Makes Sense!

Father and son

In paragraphs 52 and 53 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talks about the light that faith shines upon the family; and it's a light of considerable brightness.In normal human terms, a family arises when a man and woman marry and have children. It's the natural social unit larger than an individual by which people support each other, and in which children are raised and educated. But the light of faith reveals so much more:The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the … [Read more...]

The Terrible Contradiction of Staffing

Round pegs don't fill square holes

In Chapter 4 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis notes that the story of faith isn't simply the story of a journey; it's also the story of the building of a city, a place where all can live together in peace:In presenting the story of the patriarchs and the righteous men and women of the Old Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews highlights an essential aspect of their faith. That faith is not only presented as a journey, but also as a process of building, the preparing of a place in which human … [Read more...]

The Glorious Multiplicity of Creation


Two weeks ago I looked at paragraphs 48 and 49 of Lumen Fidei, and talked about the Glorious Multiplicity of the Magisterium. The truth of the faith is too large, I said, (using rather more words) for one bishop to encompass it all; thus, we have many, so that nothing may be lost.In that post I was speaking of revelation; but the same thing is true of all of creation. God is vast, unbounded; and everything that was, and is, and will be in all of creation exists to show forth some … [Read more...]

The Glorious Multiplicity of the Magisterium

The Magisterium: Handing on the whole world of faith.

The phrase "the magisterium of the Church" is simply a fancy phrase for the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. This teaching authority resides in the Pope and in the college of bishops speaking together, and is ensured by the Holy Spirit through the apostolic succession.In paragraphs 48 and 49 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis explains why it has to be this way.Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are … [Read more...]

Pope Francis on Fellow Travelers and True Believers

He's got the key to the whole thing.

Historically, the phrase "fellow travelers" was used of those who sympathized with the aims and goals of the Communist Party but chose not to join it. Though not members, they were traveling in the same direction. That doesn't mean they precisely shared the beliefs of the Communist Party—presuming that the members of the Party themselves had a precisely unified set of beliefs beyond that week's party line.We see something similar in every area where people band together to do something: t … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Ten Commandments, an Invitation to Love


The first thing that comes to most people's minds when you say, "The Ten Commandments," I think (aside from the obligatory nod to Charlton Heston for people of a Certain Age) is "Thou Shalt Not". The Ten Commandments are all of the things you aren't allowed to do: Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, Thou Shalt Not Even Covet. We see them as negative, as impinging on our American freedom to do whatever the hell we want to do.In paragraph 46 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Claiming the Community


In paragraph 45 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis makes a point about the Profession of Faith that I hadn't previously considered: the Creed isn't simply a statement of abstract belief, to which we give assent. In it, we are making claims about God and claims about our relationship to Him and to other Christians; and we are truly claiming a place in that community:The creed does not only involve giving one’s assent to a body of abstract truths; rather, when it is recited the whole of life is d … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Gift of Baptism

Baptism of Christ

 In chapter 3 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis is talking about the role of the sacraments in the life of faith. In paragraphs 41 through 43, he talks specifically about the sacrament of baptism, and makes several salient points.First, baptism is a communal thing: it is how the faith is passed on: Baptism makes us see, then, that faith is not the achievement of isolated individuals; it is not an act which someone can perform on his own, but rather something which must be received by … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Crystallized Love of God

St. Thomas and the Eucharist

In paragraph 40 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis repeats something that cannot be too often said: that Christian faith is not simply assent to a doctrine, but rather knowledge of and trust in the Living God.Faith, in fact, needs a setting in which it can be witnessed to and communicated, a means which is suitable and proportionate to what is communicated. For transmitting a purely doctrinal content, an idea might suffice, or perhaps a book, or the repetition of a spoken message. But what is … [Read more...]