In a debut column for Catholic News Agency, professor and priest Fr. Gilfredo Marengo explores the faith behind the Second Vatican Council through the lens of Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei.
“In his first encyclical, Pope Francis does not fail to offer a quick, but no less interesting, reference to Vatican II,” he explains in his new column, “The Dispute on the Humanum.”
Fr. Marengo quotes Pope Francis as he states that the Second Vatican Council “enabled the light of faith to illumine our human experience from within” by demonstrating “how faith enriches life in all its dimensions.”
The Second Vatican Council and the Pope’s first encyclical complement each other in that they “hold together the concern to renew awareness of Christians of the novelty of the advent of Jesus Christ, the only Savior and to regenerate the impetus to witness and present Him in the world of our time.”
The intent of the Council, he explains, was to recover a “particular physiognomy,” or understanding, of the Church in the form of a “renewed approach to the contemporary world.”
By viewing Vatican II as a council “on faith”, Fr. Marengo writes, we are able to better understand its “pastoral dimension” in the Church.
Now, in the midst of the Year of Faith, we can see the renewal of faith within the “context of a strong insistence on the primacy of action of God in history.”
He uses the example of Pope Benedict’s opening prayer during the 2012 Synod of Bishops to highlight the continuation of such a renewal.
As Pope Benedict told his brother bishops, “only God can begin, we can only cooperate, but the beginning must come from God.” Benedict’s reflection “continues with the logic” of the total dependence on God in guiding his Church, Fr. Marengo writes.
Ordained a priest for the Diocese of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, Italy in 1979, Fr. Marengo has authored and edited several books and taught at universities around the world.
He earned his doctorate in Sacred Theology under the direction of Cardinal Angelo Scola from the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family where he is now a professor of Theological Anthropology.
Fr. Marengo has taught as a visiting professor at the Seat of Wisdom Catholic University in Lima and the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, U.K.
He has studied Church History at the Department of Medieval Studies at the University of Pisa and is a member of the Center for the Studies on the Second Vatican Council of the Pontifical Lateran University.
Fr. Marengo’s column can be read in full here.