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22 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

which by men’s own efforts and even beyond their very expecta-

tions, are directed toward God’s superior and inscrutable design.”


Discover ways of teaching the faith more effectively



greatest concern of the ecumenical council is this: that the sacred

deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught

more efficaciously.”


Deepen the understanding of doctrine.

Authentic doc-

trine “should be studied and expounded through the methods of

research and the literary forms of modern thought. The substance

of the ancient doctrine and deposit of the faith is one thing, and

the way in which it is presented is another.”


Use the medicine of mercy.

“Errors vanish as quickly as they

arise, like fog before the sun. The Church has always opposed

these errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the great-

est severity. Nowadays, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use

of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She consid-

ers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating

the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnation.”


Seek unity within the Church, with Christians separated from

Catholicism, with those of non-Christian religions, and with all men

and women of goodwill.

“Such is the aim of the Second Vatican

Ecumenical Council which . . . prepares, as it were, and consoli-

dates the path toward that unity of mankind where truth reigns,

charity is the law and whose extent is eternity.”([Blessed] Pope John


Rejoice, O Mother Church


Gaudet Mater Ecclesia

], opening

address at the Second Vatican Council [October 11, 1962])

Pope John Paul II noted that the Second Vatican Council owes much

to the immediate past. He wrote the following:

The Second Vatican Council was a providential event. It is often

considered as a new era in the life of the Church. This is true, but

at the same time it is difficult to overlook the fact that the Council

drew much from the experience of the immediate past, especially

from the intellectual legacy left by Pius XII. In the history of the

Church the “old” and the “new” are always closely interwoven.Thus

it was for the Second Vatican Council and for the activity of the

popes connected with the Council, starting with John XXIII, con-