The following bulletin from the Diocese of Santa Rosa, entitled Opening The Doors of Faith, was issued last week.
My Dear People of God:
Last year Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic letter entitled, the “Door of Faith” announcing that the year, commencing on October 11, 2012 through November 24, 2013, would be a Year of Faith. The two dates chosen are both quite significant. The first, October 11 marks the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The second marks the end of the Liturgical Year celebrating as it does the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.
The title of the document is drawn from the Acts of the Apostles chapter 14, which recounts the return of Paul and Barnabas to Antioch after one of their evangelizing missions. In the 27th verse we read: “And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
For me, the important language of this passage makes it clear that it is God who acts. Thus they reported, not what they had done, but rather what God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith. Paul and Barnabas cooperated with God’s grace and call but they were clear that it was God who was at work. It was explicit in their preaching that the good works which they had done were done because of and in the name of God Himself. There was a perfect unity of faith and works with a great clarity that the works were a manifestation of their faith
The Holy Father points out in his Apostolic letter that: “It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied.” It seems to me that this is precisely what is presently happening in the United States with the attempt to separate the whole of one’s Christian faith from the various works through which that faith is made manifest and impacts on our society.
In effect, the claim is that medical care, social services and education are not ‘religious’ in and of themselves and therefore are not worthy of ‘religious freedom’ protections. This societal separation of faith from the works which express that faith, unfortunately, has been preceded by a form of this separation in the minds and hearts of our Catholic people. Not only is faith no longer a “self-evident presupposition” in society, it is even possible that it is no longer a “self-evident presupposition” in the hearts of the apostolic workers themselves.
There is a good and noble emphasis on the works of faith, which often take the form of works in the arena of social justice. Since these works seem to stand alone it is easy to lose sight of the faith, that super- natural motivation, which fosters and supports them. The Year of Faith offers an opportunity for each of us to make clear that which can no longer be taken for granted. While continuing all of the great social works done by the members of the Church we can, at the same time, make it explicitly clear that these are manifestations of our faith. These works then become the vehicle for God to open “the door of faith” to the world.
The Year of Faith can be, for all of us, a graced opportunity to reflect upon our faith more deeply and manifest it more ardently.
Asking every good grace and blessing of God upon you, I am, sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa Bishop of Santa Rosa
“The Year of Faith can be, for all of us, a graced opportunity to reflect upon our faith more deeply and manifest it more ardently.”
A good starting point would be the reemphisizing the Divine Presence of
the Eucharist (Jesus Christ,Body,Blood,Soul and Divinity) at Mass and in
I would say a good starting point would be a study of Baltimore catechism.
The average Catholic is basically a non-Catholic. This average person, who accademically would be a “C” student, does not believe in the divine presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, does not believe in the infallibility of the Pope, believes homosexual unions are fine, practices and promotes birth control, professes that abortion is a right, and is a champion for women priests. These average ‘CATHOLICS’ would have been excomminicated fifty years ago. Practically all of them voted for Obama, and are a scandal to the faith. Only by God’s grace can they be enlightened to follow the truth and give up their evil worldly ways. Hopefully this Year of Faith will be beneficial to the average, fallen away Catholic. I commend Bishop Vasa for his encouraging letter.
Fr. Karl, if what you say is true, it is your fault and that of your brother priests who do not teach the Catholic faith enough so that average people can get it and believe it. It’s not that the people are average, it’s that they have not been educated properly.
Bob one shouldn’t you have conveyed better or perhaps worded your question better? There are good priests but there are far many more who are not good. Father Karl is a good priest and he may be one of the few who actually preach the truth. Fr, Karl is here posting, and he is doing God’s work, I am grateful to hear his input because it gives me hope that there are still good priests who do speak up even in blogs!
We have a personal duty as well to learn our faith, share the faith and be of great witness.
Even more than a personal duty to learn true faith is the absolute joy that one can find in it.
JLS you are right!
ABECA, you are kind to think of karl as a “good priest,” but of course on the internet we don’t even know if he in fact a priestt at all.
what we do know is that he looks down on his fellow catholics and has judged them as being unworthy of the sacraments, painting the whole congregation with one, big, fat, ugly brush…
Most of them are unworthy, max. Don’t you ever see how they live and how they slander Catholic doctrine? Open your eyes.
Perhaps Bob One you need to understand modernist liberals like you have control of most of the seminaries in the this country that have been churning out weak priests for decades. Good Priests like Fr. Karl are usually banished or silenced by their bishops once they start teaching moral truths of the Church.
Bob One, it is not always the fault of the priest, sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Even the Lord Jesus had trouble with those “who have ears and they hear not and eyes and they see not.” Was the Lord Jesus looking down on people when he said that, or was he just telling the truth?
Bob, the reason the Lord Jesus gave for those people keeping their ears closed and eyes shut was that they would have to repent and change their lives, and they were not willing to do so. They wanted to cling to their sins.These are the people with whom every good priest has to deal. Others just do not understand, and therefore are not as culpable or are not culpable at all and are people with whom one can reason. I am sure Fr. Karl would be the first one to tell you that. I am sure he has dealt with both kinds of people. Often it is hard to tell which is which, and the person must be left to the Lord to educate through life’s experiences, and we have to just pray for them. I am not sure his statistics about the “average” Catholic is correct, but perhaps it is in his diocese from what he has experienced, so be careful yourself of judging him too harshly. Most all of us have fit that picture at times, but the closer one truly comes to God, the more grace and understanding one receives, and the further one goes from goes from God, the more clouded and unreasonable ones mind becomes. As St. Teresa of Avila said the closer one comes to the Lord, the more one sees the sinfulness of ones own soul as compared to the light of Christ and the more one wants to repent.
Bishops forbid it in large part, Bob One. Priests in orders have more freedom to preach and teach truth because they are not as much under the thumb of bishops. Also priests in parishes on private property have more freedom … Remember that diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty, and thus can be financially independent of the bishop. Some bishops even refuse to allow some religious orders to set up in their dioceses because they wouldn’t be able to dominate and hammer down their preaching and teaching to the common drivel they prefer.
They have not been educated properly, Bob One, because they do not want to learn the Catholic faith. Intelligent people who refuse to learn are “c” students. Stupid people are “d” and “f” students. Average people who study hard are “b” students, and bright people who hardly study are also “b” student. Bright people who study are “a” students. In spiritual warfare, the “c” student dies because they do not know what they are doing … but through their own fault, their own mortal and grave sins of sloth. But not to worry, they’ll have the bishops to encourage them as they take the subway to eternity.
There are many important Church teachings that are not self evident due to lousy catechesis for Church going Catholics over the past 40 years.
We have the gift of the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition” from the Magisterium.
This insures that we do not have take anyone’s word for what the Church does and does not teach, or human misinterpretations, or misquotes by others.
In “Porta Fidei” (Door of Faith) the Pope spent 3 paragraphs instructing us all to read the CCC.
From Father Gino Sylva – of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization –
“ There are two levels to the New Evangelization.
First is the FORMATION and EDUCATION of those who practice the faith, so they can be better witnesses and evangelizers in their own lives to those in their family, their neighborhood and their workplace.
The other level is to REACH OUT to the secular culture, to people who are away from the Church or who are seeking something better, and to put together arenas where they can feel comfortable coming to find something they are looking for. ”
On the internet go to: ” What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE ” for more info on the Pope’s instructions with no personal interpretations.
Direct quotes and links to the Vatican so we can read everything directly from the Pope, and a link regarding the Plenary Indulgence.
Christmas is coming up – looking for good gifts ?
Catholic Bibles and copies of the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition” are great gifts that may help someone get to Heaven.
There is no better gift for eternity.
” Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church … ” and was quoted again by Pope Benedict in “Porta Fidei”.
We should follow Pope Benedict’s instruction.
In the literate USA there are no excuses for not reading the “CCC 2nd Ed”.
We can do this in the comfort of our own homes.
We should each ask ourselves – when was the last time we read the CCC in ENTIRETY ? ? ?
When we are judged by Jesus – literate persons will have no excuse – that ‘we did not know’.
Because its all in the CCC which includes references to Holy Scripture.
“literate USA” … what? Being able to read a stop sign is literacy?
I try to picture someone sitting down and reading the Catechism in its entirety. It is a very good idea and would be a great teacing tool. But, who sits down to read any more. Nearly 75% of people in the 18-35 age group ( those who are raising families) don’t read a newspaper. Hopefully they are the ones who don’t vote. From a practical sense, the Catechism is a reference book, a teaching tool, not a novel. The church needs to get to the social media if it wants to evangelize the youn families and the kids. Sure, lots of old folks like to read newspapers ( I do) but we are not the norm anymore. The Bishops and priest need to boil things down to a level that will get the attention of the faithful. How many Bishops blog or tweet? How many can answer their own email? How many people even know that the diocese has a web site or can think of a reason to go to it? Just reading the Catechism won’t even begin to get the job done. But, we should be able to use it in some constructive and creative ways so that people pay attention or become interested.
Bless Bishop Vasa; one of the true Apostles of Christ.
People can not accurately share what they do not accurately know – and this includes our Faith.
Unfortunately Fr. Karl got it right in his post.
Read the CCC.
Great idea about Christmas gifts, Mike.
Join the St. Paul Street Evangelization team! A great way to spread the faith in this Year of Faith is to “take it to the streets”. As a member, I’m working on forming my local chapter to find team members. We’re going to stand on street corners and hand out rosaries as we preach the Gospel. Facebook has more information and pictures of our teams in action. Just type in “St. Paul Street Evangelization Team” and FB will direct you to the page. The team in Boise has had interesting conversations with Jehovah witnesses! Best to bone up on your apologetics first!
Once again, I hardly know where to begin in response to what I’ve read in CalCatholic, because its publisher really deals in profound issues so extant today, issues that would’ve been nearly unthinkable say fifty years ago. And approximately fifty years ago was the fourth year of the Second Vatican Council, which was to have so many negative repercussions due to the PROFOUND misapplications of so many of its fruits. IN FACT i WOULD SAY THERE HAS BEEN A KIND OF TEARING APART, A DIVISIVENESS that had not existed before. Some, like me, would call it diabolical, since the very word “diabolical” is derived from the Greek, “diavalos”,and means “tearing apart.” Am I wrong? Just look around,ponder the scene that wraps itself around us daily, the militant secularity of it, the atheistic fury engendered by merely stating that one is a believer in ,say, the DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST, then calling him TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN, and further, that ROMAN CATHOLIC Priests bring HIM daily onto the altars of the ONE TRUE CHURCH, in Holy Communion, for us to consume. In the RIGHT SETTING, that’ll be enough to set all the haters ablaze with their self-righteous indignation. We’re in a world of hurt, people, and it’s likely to NOT GET BETTER, even IF Romney’s elected; in fact that may be the pretext for some really evil people to RATCHET IT UP to the REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE zone. GOD BLESS ALL, MARKRITE .
The Year of Faith is not going to have very good results, without a Church that fully teaches, practices, and supports our Faith and Morals!! It has been also been extremely difficult for me, in post-Vatican II years, to volunteer for Church parishes and institutions (schools, hospitals, and charities; etc.) because so often, even lay and clergy leaders may ridicule you, if you are a true Catholic!! Even worse, to attend meetings of lay religious groups and organizations, or to attend their retreats, can be very painful, if you are a true Catholic, with very few exceptions!! It does no good, to have access to leaders in the Vatican, or even the Pope himself, and to discuss things and make your painful problems known. They operate by their own logic, and it cannot be changed. They will simply tell you all about how they wish the Church to be, and to be governed, by post-Vatican II concpets– and that is that!! No change!! Plus, they will tell you, that the lay people must now be leaders, and don’t I enjoy the post-Vatican II concept of “religious freedom,” along with lots of other ” baloney?” This “modern” age is immoral, they will say, so let it pass, and maybe later in history, things will get better! If things in the world were better, then it would be easier for the Church to function!! But let the leadership first come from the laypeople, not the cruel “dominance” of the Pope and clergy!! Later, when things in history are “better” for the Church, then the Church can function properly, all over the world. Insane, I think! The Pope and his clergy and nuns must be holy, and all the laypeople and their children, all over the world, should be taught to practice their Faith properly, and the Church must run their parish churches and all their institutions, all over the world, correctly!! All must be for the glory of God, not man’s silly ideas and follies! Sadly, no one seems to agree with me!
Linda Maria lets offer up prayers for your good intentions and lovely convictions in Christ. God hear your prayers and the prayers of all the faithful.
I wish to say one more thing, which I forgot to mention, in my above comments. All the top Church leaders whom I have questioned, in the past, about terrible Church problems, said that they believe their new, post-Vatican II ways of handling the Church, are “loving,” and this is the way they now wish to be: “loving.” That seems to be their final word on everything. I believe, on the other hand, that to truly love, calls for wisdom, responsibility, and sometimes a “hard medicine” for wayward Church members to take, when committing grave sins!! Catholic adults (clergy, nuns, and laymen) must be mature enough, to accept proper consequences for their sins!! This is a very serious matter!! Otherwise, better to leave our Church, and go do something else!
The visual ikons of the “loving” bishops of today, that people centuries from now will wonder about, will depict huge fat jolly men in the throes of giddy frolicking in luxury palaces, sort of like a large group of Buddha-like men tasting the best of Nirvana now while they can get it.
Robin, I am so delighted to read a bit about your spiirtual journey and found it very refreshing that you have have some appreciation, through your experiences, of the Catholic Church. Too many have a distorted view of the Church. One such is a former Catholic who posted that, as a Catholic, she could find no Biblical references. The truth is that at every Mass we read from Old and New Testaments, the Psalms, and the Gospels. The liturgy is almost entirely drawn from the Scriptures. Since you listen to Catholic radio, you must know this. It is so sad when Christians fight among themselves. After all, we love the same Lord. If you ever want to know more, look for any of Scott Hahn’s books. Below is a brief overview of our group Catholic Allies in Truth:’ [Although we are a Catholic group, those of other faiths may have similar issues and be able to utilize and adapt our information to their needs.]We began organizing May 2010. Although still a young group working primarily at the local level, we have also developed contacts and begun to network with other regions. Our aim is to promote the truth. A brief overview of our mission’ is as follows: We are concerned about the people turning away from God and looking to government for answers. Similarly, we are concerned about the expansion of collectivist political philosophies, which the Church has always opposed and which lead to loss of personal responsibility, freedom, and morality, thereby undermining human dignity and the common good. We stress the foundational principle of subsidiarity’ as an antidote to several of these challenges. We know that we must first keep ourselves informed and prayerful.Since our hope is to plant a seed and develop Catholic Allies in Truth (and help other allies) in as many parishes as we can, please let me know of any individuals who might want to work to address concerns similar to ours. If so, please give them our email address: . We do not yet have a website but, if others contact us, we will be sure to send our full Mission’ and Who We Are’ statements as well as ideas about how we can work both separately and together as a network to promote truth and counter-act deceptive attempts to subvert and distort that truth.Pope Benedict XVI (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger) warned: Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic. ( Truth andf Tolerance’)
Thank you Bishop Vasa for your enlightening article.