‘Lumen Fidei’ at a glance

"The Second Vatican Council enabled the light of faith to illumine our human experience from within, accompanying the men and women of our time on their journey," says the encyclical "Lumen Fidei" ("The Light of Faith") from Pope Francis. Pictured is a procession of youths making its way to Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's Church in Mutungulu, Kenya. (CNS file photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
“The Second Vatican Council enabled the light of faith to illumine our human experience from within, accompanying the men and women of our time on their journey,” says the encyclical “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”) from Pope Francis. Pictured is a procession of youths making its way to Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s Church in Mutungulu, Kenya. (CNS file photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Here at a glance are the main points of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”), released July 5.

  • Christian faith is the guiding light of a “successful and fruitful life,” illuminating “every aspect of human existence.”
  • The opposite of faith is idolatry, according to which man worships the “multiplicity of his desires.”
  • Salvation is impossible through our own good works but requires faith, as acknowledgement of the “primacy of God’s gift.”
  • By virtue of his humanity, Jesus Christ is not only the object of faith but the ultimate model and mediator for all believers, and faith is a “participation in (Jesus’) way of seeing.”
  • Faith is not individualistic but by its very nature takes place within the communion of the church.
  • The unity and continuity of the faith are ensured by the apostolic succession, hence the pope and the bishops in communion with him stand as its authoritative teachers.
  • The fullness of faith is transmitted above all through the sacraments, which “communicate an incarnate memory, linked to the times and places of our lives, linked to all our senses; in them the whole person is engaged as a member of a living subject and part of a network of communitarian relationships.”
  • Faith offers access to truth through love, since love is a “form of shared knowledge, vision through the eyes of another and a shared vision of all that exists.”
  • Faith dispels philosophical relativism and encourages scientific research by affirming the “inherent order” and harmony of the material world, and “stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation.”
  • Faith is essential to the promotion of “justice, law and peace” because it reveals the true basis of men’s brotherhood as children of God.

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service