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Faith in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
In preparation for the Year of Faith, Dr Alan Schreck reviews how the beginning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church answers basic questions about the virtue of faith. Pope Benedict XVI, announcing the up-coming ‘Year of Faith,’ begins his apostolic letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith): ‘The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church’ (PF1). However, he notes we can no longer assume that people in traditionally Christian lands believe in God: ‘because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people’ (PF2). The Catechism begins (Part I, Section I, Chapter I, subsection one) ‘The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God, and God never ceases to draw man to Himself’ (CCC27). Even people who are hardened against the concept of God experience that ‘restlessness’ that St. Augustine speaks of at the very beginning of his Confessions. Of course, some would deny or fail to recognize that this ‘restlessness’ in their hearts or spirits has anything to do with God, or try to ignore, suppress, or ‘sublimate’ it, but nonetheless it is there. Often, it appears that this inchoate desire or restlessness is the only way that God can ‘hint at’ His presence, when the beauty of creation or of art or music, or rational arguments for God’s existence have no apparent effect.