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Credo Catholics

24 Oct

As noted last week, the Church will observe a “Year of Faith” next year, which will coincide with a meeting of Church leaders in Rome to discuss the “new evangelization.”

The last so-called “Year of Faith” took place in 1967-68, at the request of Pope Paul VI. I don’t remember that “Year of Faith,” and I barely remember Pope Paul VI. But there are some things from that time that I do recall, which I think have some relevance to this new “Year of Faith” announced by Pope Benedict XVI.

I remember the year beginning with the Packers’ second straight Super Bowl victory and ending with Richard Nixon’s narrow victory over Hubert Humphrey and  George Wallace (I was allowed to stay up late and watch the election coverage). I remember Bobby Kennedy being shot only a couple miles from my house and the rioting that accompanied the Democratic convention.

Mostly, though, I was a chubby third-grader at St. Elizabeth’s in Southern California, oblivious to most of what was going on in the world and in the Church. Whether I was playing kickball in the schoolyard or humming “Kumbaya” as I crafted nifty collages from magazine scraps, I was largely shielded from the cultural changes going on in our society, from the civil rights movement and Vietnam to Woodstock and women’s  “liberation.”

On the whole, these were dark days for the Church. Today there’s the enthusiasm of the “new evangelization” and a significant influx of converts notwithstanding the scandals and other challenges. Back then, however, there were people jumping ship in unprecedented numbers. And not just priests and religious. All of us experienced the exodus of relatives, friends, and classmates from the Church.

Yet, amidst the turmoil, I think the “Year of Faith” planted seeds of hope for future generations.

One such seed was the issuance of the Credo of the People of God by Pope Paul VI at the conclusion of the “Year of Faith.” The publication of new, official expressions of the Catholic faith is a rare occurrence. Further, Pope Paul’s Credo (Latin for “I believe”) is much more detailed than the more familiar Apostles’ Creed or Nicene Creed. Continue reading