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Vatican wants to improve relationship between movements and hierarchy within the Church

2016-06-14

In ecclesiastical terms, the twentieth century saw the explosion of generically called "lay movements” or other "new communities.

They are solid proposals of Christian life and attractive paths of Christian formation that revolve around a central idea also called "charisma."

For example, the Focolare Movement proposes to rediscover brotherhood among people; Communion and Liberation proposes an educational method to know the faith in a more vital way; and the Community of Sant'Egidio, sets out to find the face of God by receiving the disadvantaged.

There are hundreds of "movements" or proposals which attract not only the laity, but also priests and religious.

Since they are very active and dynamic realities, they run into the danger of considering themselves the only valid proposals of Christian life, thus practicing their own values and not listening to or heeding the advice of their bishop. 

To avoid this, the Vatican has issued this document, The Church Rejuvenates. It was presented at the Vatican and was prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The text recognizes that these new institutions are a gift but lays the foundation for "a fruitful and ordered participation of the new groups in the communion and the mission of the Church.” 

CARD. GERHARD LUDWIG MÜLLER
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
"This is not to define whether the hierarchy or charisms are more important. This is what we want to overcome, we want to overcome this opposition. We are a missionary Church, so we must confront secularism and reach many people who know neither Jesus nor the Church ... This is what we have to deal with, not new battles."

CARD. MARC OUELLET
Prefect, Congregation for Bishops
"The purpose of this document is to improve the relations of communion within the Church, so that the mission of the Church has a greater impact and is more profound."

The text recalls that movements must be approved by the bishops, who "has received the gift to lead in the Church has also the responsibility of keeping watch over the good exercise of the other charisms, in such a manner that all contribute to the good of the Church and to its evangelizing mission."

For the first time, they established explicit criteria for approving a new movement. Among them is obviously the confession of the Catholic faith, but also "recognition of and esteem for the reciprocal complementarity of other charismatic elements in the Church.” 

The spirit of the background of the new text is a request to members of these movements to actively participate in the life of the diocese, serving the mission of the whole Church.


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