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

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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

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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...]

Lumen Fidei: It Ain’t A Game of Telephone

Telephone

In last week's selection from Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talked about how faith spreads from one person to another, as light spreads from one candle to another at the Easter Vigil mass. In paragraphs 38 and 39, he talks about this light spreads through time, from generation to generation:The transmission of the faith not only brings light to men and women in every place; it travels through time, passing from one generation to another. Because faith is born of an encounter which takes place … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Light That Spreads and Blazes

Candles

Chapter 3 of Lumen Fidei (yes, we've finally made it to Chapter 3!) is about the spread of the faith, which goes from person to person as light reflects from one surface to another.  Pope Francis describes it thus:It is a light reflected from one face to another, even as Moses himself bore a reflection of God’s glory after having spoken with him: "God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). The light of Christ shines … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Humility of Theology

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Theology, everyone knows, is the study of things divine, or, at least, the study of things human beings have called divine. More cynically, one might say that theology is what is taught in the theology departments of large universities, or in other words, things that men have made up about God in order to get tenure.But Catholic theology, properly understood, is no such thing. In Catholic terms, theology is the study of the God who is, a God who isn't merely a subject to be studied but a … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Pursuit of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful

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Continuing with Paragraph 35 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talks about those who seek God through the light of faith, even though they haven't yet found Him. He says,Because faith is a way, it also has to do with the lives of those men and women who, though not believers, nonetheless desire to believe and continue to seek. To the extent that they are open to love and set out with whatever light they can find, they are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith..... … [Read more...]


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