With the Motu Proprio “Fides per doctrinam” that was signed 16 January and published today, the Holy Father modifies the apostolic constitution “Pastor bonus”, transferring responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. Following are ample extracts from the document.
“Faith,” the Pope writes, “needs to be supported by doctrine that is capable of illuminating the minds and hearts of believers. This particular historical moment in which we are living, marked among other things by a dramatic crisis of faith, requires an awareness that is able to respond to the high expectations that arise in the hearts of believers when facing the new questions that challenge the world and the Church. Understanding faith, therefore, always requires that its content be expressed in a new language, one capable of presenting the living hope of believers to those inquiring into its purpose.”
“On the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, while the Church continues to reflect on the richness of the teaching contained its documents and to find new ways of putting it into practice, it is possible to see the long path travelled over these decades in the area of catechesis. It has been a path, however, that in the years following the Council has not been without mistakes, even serious ones, both in method and in content. All of this has brought about profound reflection and led to the development of post-conciliar documents that represent a new wealth in catechesis.”
“The Council’s teachings and the subsequent Magisterium, as interpreters of the Church’s great tradition in this field, have connected the Catechism ever more closely to the process of evangelization. The Catechism, therefore, represents a significant step in the daily life of the Church, announcing and communicating the Word of God in a living and effective manner, so that it might reach all and that believers might be trained and educated in Christ to build His body, which is the Church.”
“In the Apostolic Letter, formulated as a Motu Proprio, ‘Ubicumque et sempter’ of 21 September, 2010, I instituted the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization to pursue ‘its own ends both by encouraging reflection on topics of the new evangelization, and by identifying and promoting suitable ways and means to accomplish it’. In particular, I wanted to assign the task of promoting ‘the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an essential and complete formulation of the content of the faith for the people of our time’ to the new dicastery.”
“Given all this, I believe it opportune that that dicastery assume as part of its institutional tasks the one of caring for, on behalf of the Roman Pontiff, the relevant instrument of evangelization that the Catechism, along with catechetical teaching in all its diverse forms, represents for the Church in order to bring about a more organic and effective pastoral outreach. This new pontifical council will be able to provide the local churches and the diocesan bishops an appropriate service in this area.”
“Accepting the agreement proposed by the heads of the dicasteries concerned, therefore, I have decided to transfer the competency for catechesis that the Apostolic Constitution ‘Pastor bonus’ had entrusted to the Congregation for the Clergy on 28 June 1988, to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, with the same jurisdiction in the matter as previously exercised by the Congregation as required by canon law.”