It is no accident that we have chosen June 29th, the feast (or in Church-speak “solemnity,” which means it is a feast of the highest rank) of the Apostles Peter and Paul, to launch this blog. Clearly these great Apostles were pillars of the infant Church, and that fact alone would justify the selection of this date. Yet, their connection to CUF runs even deeper than that.
Let me explain.
In 1967 Pope Paul VI called a “Year of Faith” to bear witness to the Church’s steadfast will to “guard what has been entrusted to [her]” (1 Tim. 6:20)—in other words, to manifest the Church’s commitment to defend Church teaching from attack or distortion.
But that’s not all. The Holy Father also called the Year of Faith to focus our efforts on bringing this faith to life in a rapidly changing world that brings with it new challenges to embracing and living the Gospel.
Hmmm. Defending the faith but also advancing the faith that has been taught by the Apostles and their successors for two millennia. Sounds strikingly close to CUF’s mission to “support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.”
At the conclusion of the Year of Faith, on June 29, 1968, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul as well as the 1900th anniversary of their martyrdom, Pope Paul VI issued the Credo of the People of God, which courageously sets forth for today’s men and women the faith of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ.
This remarkable document was an attempt to counteract the crisis of faith in our culture, as Pope Paul VI was painfully aware of the various agendas and currents of thought that were undermining Christian belief.
Here’s how Pope Paul VI himself described it:
“On this day which is chosen to close the Year of Faith, on this feast of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, we have wished to offer to the living God the homage of a Profession of Faith. And as once at Caesarea Philippi the Apostle Peter spoke on behalf of the Twelve to make a true confession, beyond human opinions, of Christ as Son of the living God, so today his humble Successor, Pastor of the universal Church, raises his voice to give, on behalf of all the People of God, a firm witness to the divine truth entrusted to the Church to be announced to all nations.”
For the entire text of the Credo, see http://www.vatican.net/holy_father/paul_vi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-vi_motu-proprio_19680630_credo_en.html
Only months after the issuance of the Credo, Lyman Stebbins announced the formation of Catholics United for the Faith as a means for lay people to visibly unite with the Holy Father in his efforts to defend and proclaim the faith of the Apostles, the faith in Jesus Christ, the one Savior of the world.
Pope John Paul II deliberately chose his name to build upon the work of Blessed John XXIII and Pope Paul VI in implementing the authentic renewal of Christian faith in the modern world which the Second Vatican Council sought to bring about. Taking their work to its logical conclusion, Pope John Paul II prophetically called for a “new evangelization,” which is all about defending and proclaiming the apostolic faith in today’s world.
And just yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI announced a “Year of St. Paul” at St. Paul outside the Walls Basilica in Rome. He did so to mark the 2,000th anniversary of St. Paul’s birth, as he is generally believed to have been born between the years 6 and 8 A.D. In choosing to focus on the “Apostle to the Gentiles” during the coming year, Pope Benedict is building upon the evangelistic and catechetical priorities of his immediate predecessors.
Sts. Peter and Paul have always been special patron saints of CUF. We ask their intercession for this new blog, and even more, for the missionary efforts of the entire Church during this new springtime of faith.