New Humanity Movement

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Benedetto Francesco

 

What is Faith’s contribution toward the building of a society whose priority is the common good? Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, answers this question; it shows that there exists a close bond between Faith and the life of a city.

The encyclical was published on July 5, 2013; it is Pope Francis’ first encyclical and, at the same time, we could say that it is also Pope Benedict’s last one. In fact, it was Benedict that did much of the preparatory work on the document, which his successor then brought to completion. 

It is a relatively short document, made up of just four chapters and six paragraphs. It starts with the history of the Christian Faith (Chapter 1, “We have believed in love”); then it deal with the relationship between Faith and reason (Chapter 2, “Unless you believe, you will not understand”). This is followed by an exposition about the Church’s role in transmitting the Faith throughout history (Chapter 3, “I delivered to you what I also received”), and lastly, it shows Faith’s contribution toward the building of a society whose priority is the common good (Chapter 4, “God prepares a city for them”).  

It is precisely this last part that the Movement ‘New Humanity’ finds particularly inspiring for its endeavor.

When Cardinal Marc Oullet was officially presenting the encyclical to the press, he said: “Subjectively, Faith is openness to the Love of Christ; it’s a welcome, a decision to have a relationship that extends the ‘I’ dimension to that of ‘we’. The encyclical develops considerably further the relevancy of the Faith to the social life, to the building of the city in peace and justice, thanks to the respect of all persons and their freedom, thanks to the resources of compassion and reconciliation which it offers for the consolation of sufferings and conflicts”.     

There is, therefore, a golden thread that binds Faith to the life of the city, of society; this idea can be found throughout the encyclical, and it is spelled out in the fourth part: authentic faith fills with joy and “enlarges the horizons of existence” (n. 53), “the light of faith must not make us forget the sufferings of this world” (57); indeed, it makes us aware of an “accompanying presence, of a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light” (57). It is only the light that comes from God – from the incarnate God who conquered death – that is capable to offer a trustworthy hope when one is faced with every form of evil.

In other words, the encyclical wants to affirm once again, but in a new way, that faith is good for humanity: “Faith is truly a good for everyone; it is a common good. Its light does not simply brighten the interior of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter; it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope” (n. 51).

It is in this context that Pope Francis invites every person to rediscover the true meaning of brotherhood: 

“Absorbed and deepened in the family, faith becomes a light capable of illumining all our relationships in society. As an experience of the mercy of God the Father, it sets us on the path of brotherhood. Modernity sought to build a universal brotherhood based on equality, yet we gradually came to realize that this brotherhood, lacking a reference to a common Father as its ultimate foundation, cannot endure. We need to return to the true basis of brotherhood (…) Faith teaches us to see that every man and woman represents a blessing for me, that the light of God’s face shines on me through the faces of my brothers and sisters. How many benefits has the gaze of Christian faith brought to the city of men for their common life!” (n. 54).

You can read the whole text of the encyclical from this website.

 

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