Posted June 2, 2006
Benedict XVI's Long Vision of the Movements
Archbishop Rylko Tells of Pope's Views
VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The new ecclesial movements and
communities, which will gather at the Vatican this Saturday, were a surprise
for the Church, which "no one had foreseen," according to Benedict XVI.
The relationship between Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope) and these new
ecclesial realities was discussed Tuesday by Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko,
president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The archbishop was commissioned by the Holy Father to organize the meeting
on the eve of Pentecost which is expected to attract 300,000 people to St.
"Pope Benedict XVI's relations with the ecclesial movements are
long-standing," explained the Polish archbishop at a meeting with
journalists in the Vatican press office.
"His first contacts with these realities, which later intensified and
deepened, becoming genuine friendship, go back to the mid-'60s, when he was
a professor at Tuebingen. It was the difficult period following the Second
Vatican Council, but to the eyes of the theologian, those new charisms were
revealed immediately as a providential gift."
Cardinal Ratzinger described their origin thus: "Behold, the Holy Spirit, so
to speak, asked to be allowed to speak. And in young men and young women the
faith was being reborn, without 'ifs' or 'buts,' without subterfuges or
excuses, lived in its integrity as a gift, as a precious gift that helps one
The then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made this
analysis on May 27, 1998, when opening the first world congress of ecclesial
movements in Rome, called by Pope John Paul II.
Benedict XVI "sees in the movements 'intense ways of living the faith,' ...
creative minorities" that, according to Arnold Toynbee, "are determinant for
the future of the world," explained Archbishop Rylko.
For Benedict XVI there is no opposition between the "hierarchical" Church
and a "charismatic" Church.
"The appropriate theological placement of movements in the Church must be
found in apostolicity, the dimension from which arises the particular bond
that unites them to the ministry of the Successor of Peter," clarified
In the 1998 conference Cardinal Ratzinger affirmed: "The papacy has not
created the movements, but it has been an essential support for them in the
structure of the Church and their ecclesial pillar. The Pope is in need of
these services and the latter need him, and in the reciprocity of the two
types of mission the symphony of ecclesial life is effected."
Now, as Pope, Benedict XVI is deepening this vision, according to Archbishop
On meeting German bishops in Cologne last Aug. 21, the Holy Father said:
"The Church must make the most of these realities, and at the same time she
must guide them with pastoral wisdom, so that with the variety of their
different gifts, they may contribute in the best possible way to building up
On that occasion the Pope added: "The local Churches and movements are not
in opposition to one another, but constitute the living structure of the