The Goals of Lumen Fidei

Pope mentions Lumen Fidei in Angelus AddressOn Sunday, July 8, 2013, two days after publishing his encyclical on Faith, Pope Francis revealed a brief indication of the goals of Lumen Fidei. In his weekly Angelus address, he stated:

I offer it with joy to the whole People of God: in fact, especially today, we need to go to the essentials of the Christian faith, to deepen it, and to measure current issues by it. But I think that this encyclical, at least in some parts, can also be useful to those who are searching for God and for the meaning of life.

Pope Francis, Angelus Address, 7/8/13

This was one of the first times the Holy Father has mentioned his encyclical on the theological virtue of faith, a project begun by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Although his statement is brief we can break it down in the following ways:

The Goals of Lumen Fidei:

  1. Review the essentials of Christian faith. 
  2. Deepen Christian faith.
  3. Measure current issues in our cultures and society by faith.
  4. Help those searching for God and the meaning of life.

It is this last goal that is most interesting. Though the encyclical is addressed toward the bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people of the Church, Pope Francis also hopes to reach out to those who are either fallen away or do not yet know Christ. In other words, this encyclical on faith is meant to be a key resource in the New Evangelization–a central theme of the Year of Faith.

This is clear throughout the text of the encyclical. Pope Francis uses a variety of different images to show that faith is not only essential to the lives of Christians, it is also essential to society itself. Faith is not something personal, it is something communal. It is a gift and it is shared. Faith contributes to the common good of society. Now, more than ever, faith is relevant to our lives today and the lives of all people in every society. To quote the encyclical itself:

As an experience of the mercy of God the Father, it sets us on the path of brotherhood. Modernity sought to build a universal brotherhood based on equality, yet we gradually came to realize that this brotherhood, lacking a reference to a common Father as its ultimate foundation, cannot endure. We need to return to the true basis of brotherhood.

Lumen Fidei, 54

Read the full text of the Pope’s Angelus statements about Lumen Fidei at the Vatican News website.

Find out more about the Angelus prayer at theangelusprayer.com.

(photo credit: vatican.va)

About Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher, a website with resources for Catholic educators, and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator and a new study guide with commentary and reflection questions to help adults read, understand, and live the encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith).