I am presently about a third of the way through the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium.
In a previous post, I mentioned what appears to be a certain fascination with all things new that Pope Francis shares with his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Even at this point in my reading of Evangelii Gaudium, this particular theme is unmistakeable.
With this in mind, I took a look at the footnotes to this 50,000+ word document, and lo and behold, of the 217 references, a grand total of 20 predate Vatican II.
Think about it. More than 90% of the footnotes in this document are anchored in a “rich inheritance” of just 50 years, in a Church that boasts nearly 2,000 years of sacred Tradition through which countless popes, Saints and Doctors of the Church transmit the immutable Faith that comes to us from the Apostles.
For comparison, I took a look at the first pre-conciliar encyclical that came to mind, Immortale Dei of Pope Leo XIII. The footnotes to this document overwhelmingly reference Sacred Scripture, with a number of references from Church Fathers and just one reference to the encyclical of his immediate predecessor, Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, a document for its part that is footnoted almost entirely to the Church Fathers.
Could it be that the sources cited in Evangelii Gaudium indicate the very “unchecked passion for novelty” (Pascendi 13) that Pope St. Pius X warned about?