Catholic World News

Faith answers 'unrelenting questions' that secular culture ignores, Pope says

October 24, 2012

“What is faith?” Pope Benedict XVI asked that rhetorical question at the beginning of a short discourse at his public audience on October 24.

At his regular weekly audience the Pope continued his new series of talks on faith. He also stunned Vatican-watchers with a surprise announcement that he was calling a consistory in November, to elevate six new members of the College of Cardinals. (See today’s separate CWN headline story for a report on that announcement.)

In the 2nd discourse of his series on faith, the Pope observed that material progress has not solved the problems of mankind. “Despite the greatness of the discoveries of science and the breakthroughs of technology, today man does not seem to have truly become freer, more humane; there are still many forms of exploitation, manipulation, violence, oppression, injustice,” he observed. He added that the question of faith has increasing urgency at a time when the number of people who feel disoriented is growing and, in seeking to go beyond a purely horizontal reality, they are willing to believe anything and its direct opposite.”

More and more people are asking fundamental questions about the meaning of life, the Pope said, and finding that the prevailing culture gives them no satisfactory answers. “These unrelenting questions reveal how the world of planning, of exact calculation and experimentation, in a word, the knowledge of science, while important for human life, is not enough.”

Faith enables believers to find meaning in life, the Pope said, through “a confident trust in a ‘You’—that is, God.” He emphasized: “Faith is not a mere intellectual assent to the special truths of God, it is an act by which I entrust myself freely to a God who is our Father and loves me, it is adherence to a ‘You’ that gives me hope and confidence.”

Faith also provides a path to salvation, the Pontiff continued. He reminded his audience of the sobering words of Christ near the conclusions of St. Mark’s Gospel: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Pope Benedict added to his audience: “I invite you to reflect on this.”

“Faith is a gift of God, but it is also a deeply human and free act,” the Pope said. Faith is a gift from God, but requires a response from man: “a going beyond ourselves, our securities, our thought patterns, to rely on the action of God who shows us the way to achieve true freedom, our human identity, true joy of heart, peace with everyone.”


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