Workshop 8: Vatican II and enrichment of faith

In session 8 of the summer workshop, Waldstein spoke about Wojtyla’s account of Vatican II in his book Sources of Renewal.  Find Waldstein’s chapter here.
“The implementation of the council consists first and foremost in enriching the faith.” Wojtyla said enrichment does not mean adding explicit formulations  of truths but receiving and realizing faith more richly in lived experience. As we noted previously, to lack receptivity: “What a world of
power unreported,” Rilke wrote.
Vatican II calls for the enrichment, or deepening, of the faith. Cardinal Wojtyla explained that the faithful must be formed in consciousness, that is, in awareness of faith, and in attitude, that is, the “Existential or moral aspect of a mature faith.”
Waldstein explains that “as a supernatural gift to the human person, faith has its origin in God.” The response to God is an act of self-abandonment. Thus “the notion of ‘self-gift’ is not far away.” Yes we accept the truth of propositions of faith, but also one becomes “aware of one’s vocation and meaning of ones existence.”

Waldstein argues against the idea put forward by Rocco Buttiglione, in hs fine book, on Wojtyla, that the key to the council is religious freedom,or freedom of conscience. Waldstein agrees that Wojtyla speaks about the importance of subjectivity; but first, as the capacity for appropriation of faith. Here the influence of St John of the Cross is clear. “In his turn towards the subject, Wojtyla draws on a carmelite source that sprang up authentically from within the normative Catholic tradition. He reads Vatican II in light of this authentically Catholic attention to the lived experience of personal interiority and subjectivity unfolded by John of the Cross.”

For example, here is a reference to consciousness in Redemptor hominis:

through the Church’s consciousness, which the Council considerably developed, through all levels of this self-awareness, and through all the fields of activity in which the Church expresses, finds and confirms herself, we must constantly aim at him “who is the head”, “through whom are all things and through whom we exist”, who is both “the way, and the truth” §7

Obviously, consciousness is paired with response to faith and the truth of Christ, not freedom of conscience or religious freedom as such. There is no ambiguity about the truth of faith:

Our response must be: Our spirit is set in one direction, the only direction for our intellect, will and heart is-towards Christ our Redeemer, towards Christ, the Redeemer of man. We wish to look towards him — because there is salvation in no one else but him, the Son of God.

As he learned from St. John of the Cross, Blessed John Paul II teaches us that “faith is to be personal, free and convinced, embraced with ones entire being, an ecclesial faith, confessed and celebrated in communion with the Church, a praying and adoring faith, matured through the experience of communion with God.” (Letter of John of the Cross, 1990, §7)

Thus Blessed John Paul II says that John of the Cross shows us the way to the “adult faith which the Second Vatican Council asks of us.” How mistaken it would be to think that an “adult faith” means the reduction of mystery so as to live more according to the standard of western consumerism and the facile reductionism of the intelligentsia. John of the Cross speaks of the dark night of intellect, affection and will, not of the endorsement of secular rationality, therapeutic satisfaction, or assertion of personal rights..

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