The Process Of Catholic Renewal

By Amanda Baird

Catholic renewal is a term that describes the defining changes that were experienced in the Roman Catholic Church especially from the Twentieth Century onwards. The change involved pivotal individuals and church decisions with a permanent effect. Some had began early but exploded at this time. They caused a dramatic turn of events that would change the future of a church that was regarded as conservative.

Three areas were the genesis of this change and opened up the church for a revival. One issue was the position of the bible among Catholics. It was translated, not from the Latin vulgate as before, but from the original text. This gave more people an opportunity to access information that was previously held by the clergy. The hierarchy in within the Catholic Church lost control over information.

The liturgy opened up participation to lay people and drastic change was introduced in practice. Mass would be celebrated in native languages as lay people moved closer to the center of liturgical proceedings. The doors opened wider and allowed previously prohibited practices. The clergy lost crucial duties that were preserved for them. They could be performed by lay men and women.

Catholics worshiped in a legalistic and formal manner, a trend that still permeated into their daily lives. This would change with the inclusion of an individualistic approach to faith. This called upon the faithful to experience Christ in a more personal way. The previous approach was general and guided by strict rules and regulations. This move saw communities and individuals introduce personal and unique features in their mass celebrations. This is evident from one diocese or community to the other.

It is under the watch of Pius the Twelfth that biblical revival accelerated. The document that paved the way for this change was titled Divino Afflante Spiritu. It opened the way for translations of the bible to be made from original scripts. Other documents including Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation would follow as a result of deliberations made during the Second Vatican Council.

Revival would pick pace after the Second Vatican Council allowed more freedoms within the hierarchy. It was decided that the bible should be translated in all mother tongues possible in order to reach more people. Information that was exclusively available to the clergy and those who knew traditional church languages was now available to the masses. This placed the bible at the center of Christian life.

Many other documents would arise from the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council. They gradually and permanently altered the destiny of Catholic faith. There was increased attention of the role of catechism among the faithful. Some dioceses and parishes picked up prophesy, faith healing and worship outside mass. The charismatic renewal thus gained roots.

The results of Catholic renewal have seen unity within the church face a major challenge. Charismatism is considered a misinterpretation of scripture in some quotas. Others view it as return to the early church that had mystical powers attributed to gifts of the Holy Spirit. There is increasing uniqueness as one moves across dioceses. This dynamism is one challenge the papacy has to confront.

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