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Posted April 25, 2003

Book: The Ecclesial Movements in the Pastoral Concern of the Bishops
Author: Pontificium Consilium Pro Laicis
Pontifical Council for the Laity: Piazza San Calisto, 16, 00120 Citta del Vaticano
E-mail: pepl@laity.va

Excerpt from Message of His Holiness John Paul II:

You have come to Rome from countries on every continent to reflect together on your concerns as Pastors for ecclesial movements and new communities. . . .Thank you for coming and for your commitment to this important work. . . .

The seminar, which has occupied you over the last few days, happily belongs to an apostolic project very dear to me, which stems from my meeting with the members of over fifty of these movements and communities in St. Peter’s Square on 30 May last year.

. . . One of the most important fruits produced by the movements is precisely that of knowing how to release in so many lay faithful, men and women, adults and young people, an ardent missionary zeal, which is indispensable for the Church as she prepares to cross the threshold of the third millennium. However, this objective is only achieved where “these movements humbly seek to become part of the life of local Churches and are welcomed by bishops and priests within diocesan and parish structures.

What does this really mean in terms of the apostolate and pastoral action? This was precisely one of the key questions posed at our seminar. How should this special gift which the Spirit offers to the Church be received at our time in history? How can it be welcomed in all its importance, in all its fullness, and in all its dynamism? Answering these questions in a satisfactory way is your responsibility as Pastors. Your great responsibility is not to impede the Spirit’s gift, but, on the contrary, to make it bear ever greater fruit in service of all Christian people.

Excerpt from Book:

The family and the parish are fundamental communities of initiation and growth in the Christian faith. They touch many more sectors of the baptized than do movements. They can never cease to have a priority importance in the ever patient and persevering pastoral work of initiation, education and regeneration of the Christian people.

But the same realism demands that due account be taken of the fact that the number of children from broken homes is multiplying today and the educational responsibility of parents is be progressively reduced. Only a minority of baptized, moreover, participate regularly in parish life and many of them reduce it to a “station” that provides more or less sporadic ritual services. The real influence of Christianity on people’s situations --- is meagre. What supports the faith and changes life is the concrete experience of communion (in the family, in the parish, in the association, in the movement), not isolation or the diaspora, not the episodic participation in religious services, not the maintenance of the facade, not the functional activism in impersonal collectives, still less the mere label of Catholic. What happened with the first Christian community ought to happen today too: each community experience in the Church ought to arouse the exclamation: See how they love each other!” (why do they live like this?), since it is an unexampled testimony of unity, of more genuine, reconciled,. Brotherly human relations, full of humanity, miracle aroused by the Spirit of God for the conversion and transformation of the world. The appeal of the movements’ community life prompts a renewed consciousness and experience of the sacramental, eucharistic source as the only one capable of building the communio that the world by itself, is unable to create (its utopias end up, on the contrary, as real hells). The experience of the movements only confirms the fundamental precept of Christifideles Laici, in affirming that to reconstruct the fabric of human society what is needed first of all is to remake the Christian fabric of ecclesial communities themselves.

Table of Contents:

Foreword: James Francis Card. Stafford
Message of His Holiness John Paul II

I. The Reality of the Movements in the Church
The Event of 30 May 1998 and its Ecclesiological and Pastoral Consequences for the Life of the Church, Bishop Stanislaw Rylko

The Ecclesial Movements in the Religious and Cultural Context of the Present day, Gazman Carriquiry

Charisms and Movements in the History of the Church, Fidel Gonzales Fernandez, M.C.C.I.

II. The Movements in the Life of the Local Churches
Introduction: Lucas Card. Moreira Neves
Pastoral Experiences of the Bishops
The Movements “Salt of the Church”, Adrianus Johannes Card. Simonis
The Spirit Crosses the Frontier, Miloslav Card. Vlk
The Gift of God and the Task of the Bishop, Jean-Marie Card. Lustiger
The Breath of the Spirit, Archbishop Robert Sarah
Accompanying the Movements, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick
The Movements and the Nihilistic Challenge of the West, Archbishop Carlo Caffarra

Testimonies by the Movements and Communities
Emamanuel Community, Gerald Arbola
Focolare Movement, Chiara Lubich
Communion and Liberation, Msgr Luigi Giussani
Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Arguello
St. Egidio Community, Andrea Riccardi
Renewal in the Holy Spirit, Salvatore Martinez

III. Charism and Discernment by the Pastors, Juridical Aspects
Freedom of association in the Church, Msgr. Liuis Martinez Sistach
Criteria of Ecclesiality for the Recognition of the Ecclesial Movements, Gianfranco Ghirlando, S.J.
The Ecclesial Movements and the Tasks of the Diocesan Bishop, Giorgio Feliciani

IV. The Movements, The Church, The World,
Dialogue with Joseph Card. Ratzinger