Saturday, August 27, 2005

Getting to know Communion & Liberation

If you are not familiar with the ecclesial movement known in English as Communion & Liberation (CL), be sure to take a look at what John Allan had to say yesterday regarding the Movement's annual meeting in Rimini, which took place this past week. CL, founded by the recently-departed Fr. Luigi Giussani in Milan in 1954, "is an ecclesial movement whose purpose is the education to Christian maturity of its adherents and collaboration in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life." Fr. Giussani himself described the essence of the charism of CL as three-fold: (1) the announcement that God became man (the wonder, the reasonableness, the enthusiasm for this): “The Word was made flesh and dwells among us"; (2) the affirmation that this man – Jesus of Nazareth dead and risen – is a present event in a “sign” of “communion,” i.e., of unity of a people guided, as a guarantee, by a living person, ultimately the Bishop of Rome; (3) only in God made man, man, therefore only in His presence and, thus only through – in some way – the experienceable form of His presence (therefore, ultimately only within the life of the Church) can man be truer and mankind be truly more human.

"The aim of life in CL is to propose the presence of Christ as the only true response to the deepest needs of human life in every moment of history. In the person who encounters and adheres to the presence of Christ there is generated a movement of conversion and witness, which tends to leave its mark on the environment in which he or she lives (family, work, school, neighborhood, society, etc.). Born in the schools as a proposal to young people, CL today extends its call to everyone, irrespective of age, occupation, or social position." Excerpted from CL: A Reality in the Church.

As Allan points out, the Movement was popular with Pope John Paul II and the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. In fact, members of Benedict's household include female members of Memores Domini, an association of celibate lay men and women consecrated to the charism of the Movement. In addition, Ratzinger, in the absence of an ailing John Paul II, was the homilist at Fr. Giussani's funeral earlier this year. The homily shows a deep respect and affection for CL and its founder. Though not as well-known in the United States, CL continues to grow here, as well. Get to know CL, as this movement and others like it will play an increasingly important role in the Church as we seek to understand ever more deeply the vocation of the laity to live their personal and professional lives in the service of Christ and the Gospel.

Veni Sancte Spiritus! Veni per Mariam!


Anonymous fr. bob said...

Is some kind of CL advertisement or what? Where's the objectivity?

3:14 PM  
Blogger vaticanisti said...

Advertisement? Not exactly. The vaticanisti exist to provide information so as to educate our readers. Look at the links; get to know something about this movement. The vaticanisti's tag line says it all--we have the pulse on all things papal. As Allan and others have pointed out previously, CL is important to this pontificate, so getting to know something about this movement might prove worthwhile if you want to know something more about Pope Benedict XVI.

Another thing: the vaticanisti aren't sure what objectivity is purported to mean in this context. Regardless, the vaticanisti haven't ever promised objectivity anyway--we are unapologetically devoted to the Bishop of Rome and the Magisterium, much to the dismay of some of our readers (see, e.g., comments on some of our other postings by Paul in SF and Mariette, among others). Objectivity might be a laudable goal for news services, but discussions such as the vaticanisti are trying to encourage are a lot more interesting when the interlocutors have a position from which to argue.

Finally, just to reiterate, CL and other movements like it (such as Neocatechumenal Way and Focolare) represent a new reality in the Church that certainly existed prior to the pontificate of JP II, but really gained ground during his reign. Of course, on a related note, we also cannot ignore the growing prominence of the personal prelature, Opus Dei.

Part of understanding the new landscape in Rome and elsewhere is understanding the role of these new ecclesial realities, as well.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous fromheretoeternity said...

Yah, yah, movements, new ecclesial realities. Its all quite wonderfully dull. I do have to credit CL. They have their programme together. Wish I could say the same for the others. Question: why do all these movements have their origin in either Spain or Italy?

8:06 PM  
Blogger mariette said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:05 AM  
Blogger mariette said...

I see that the vaticanisti have removed their response to my initial criticisms, along with my very trenchant remarks in reply, easily exposing their errors. I assume this is a retraction in the face of my undeniable lacerations of their impoverished views. I note - for the record - their silent withdrawl of their feeble foray into written combat with the undefeated heavy weight champion of this blog.

1:10 PM  
Blogger vaticanisti said...

Mariette -

We genuflect before no mere mortal...even the pope. We are the intellectual heavyweight champion of this blog...because we own it. Might makes right. Your existence is contingent on your continuing to amuse us. Think of yourself as the court jester...a fool for Christ.

1:42 PM  
Blogger mariette said...

I can see that the Vaticanisti are finding us a tad frustrating.

In their flustered state, they have blundered their way into admitting the truth, for once. As Acton and Dollinger understood, the ultramontanes and the machiavellians were essentially the same. They both believed that might made right. The ultramontanes believed this about the church, the machiavellians about the state. Both subordinated truth to power in the interest of expediency. I am pleased to see that the Vaticanisti have for once admitted their intellectual pedigree and assumptions.

2:03 PM  
Blogger vaticanisti said...

We can hardly be a student at the feet of one whose interests are writing erotica for niche markets, guilt-free sex, and unusual positions and whose favorite books are Pascal's Pensees and Augustine's City of God. Talk about internal inconsistency...well you do list Alan Bloom's work as a favorite its beginning to make sense. Ah, and The Crying Game as well. Yes. For sure.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Salvacion said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm glad you brought that up, Vaticanisti.

2:27 PM  
Blogger mariette said...

When one is cornered and all else has failed - the Vaticanisti find the weapon of last resort: the ad hominem.

The Vaticansiti are running scared. Can they afford much longer to allow to linger on their blog the comment that gives everything away? You heard it here folks, "might makes right" - in the church and in the world. Now what do you think Jesus of Nazareth would have to say about that?

I've got your number Vaticanisti!


3:00 PM  
Blogger mariette said...

oh, and - salvacion - i'm glad to see you've been peeking. You too vaticanisti. Keep it up. I want to show you something.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous fromheretoeternity said...

Vaticanisti was not engaging in ad hominem. Though it is well deserved. Instead they were trying to show the utter absurdity of this whole dialogue...and the parties involved.

3:20 PM  
Blogger kelley sterling said...

...and I got your number, Mariette (and looks like Vaticanisti does too!). And I won't be calling anytime soon.

3:25 PM  
Blogger mariette said...

For the record: Yes, the Vaticansiti do have my number, No, Kelley Sterling does not - despite her insistent requests that she be given it. That is, unless she has obtained it by means of the public records. In that case, please fell free to call, Kelley. Or have I upset you in some way?

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mariette's blather gives me a headache, and his constant thread hijacking is ill-mannered and childish. Though you are quite polysyllabic, Marriette, that doesn't make up for bad form. Clean up your act.

3:23 PM  
Blogger mariette said...

Anonymous is merely angry because I won't perform for her any longer. The other night he wouldn't allow me to stop thread hijacking. So I know she likes it, really.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is CL in any way connected to Liberation theology? I've only recently learned about CL. There seems to be a group forming at the Notre Dame Law School.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No connection to liberation theology in any way. In fact, CL is diametrically opposed to liberation theology, which is little more than Marxist ideology couched in some Christian vocabulary.

"Liberation" as used in the name Communion & Liberation refers to the freedom that each person exercises in his decision to follow Christ in a real community (sc. the Church) and the true liberation that results therefrom. The CL website describes it this way: "It [i.e., the name Communion & Liberation] synthesizes the conviction that the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of the authentic liberation of man." The Church is the communion of the faithful with their local bishop, who is, in turn, in communion with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ.

This real communion of human persons with Christ is the source of true liberation; not some political ideology, as in liberation theology. Of course, this is not to say that Christians shouldn't be involved in political debate and action (see Vatican II, Gaudium et spes and JP II, Christifideles laici on this point). However, such action must rest in the foundation of an encounter with the risen Christ, out of genuine love for Him. Christian charity will grow out of this love. Furthermore, as an exercise of this love, participation in political activities will show respect for the freedom of the other person, as well.

Liberation theology, on the other hand, resulted from theologically misguided soteriological and eschatological vision of political action in this world. The liberationists worked out a theology whereby Christ's message was reduced to nothing more than political action and social justice now. As with some of the confused people in Christ's time, they believed that the Kingdom of God would be created by them in this world.

While liberation theology, at least as presented in its more radical forms, has been rejected and corrected by the Church (in particular by the former Cardinal Ratzinger while at CDF), Communion & Liberation has been embraced by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In fact, the women who care for Pope Benedict XVI in his private residence are members of Memores Domini, the lay association referred to in the main post.

An excerpt from John Paul II's message at Fr. Giussani's funeral reads, "I thank the Lord for the gift of his life, spent unreservedly in coherent adhesion to his priestly vocation, in constant attention to the needs of contemporary man and in courageous service to the Church. His whole apostolic activity could be summarized in the frank and decisive invitation, which he was able to address to all who approached him, to a personal encounter with Christ, the complete and definitive answer to the deepest expectations of the human heart."

In the homily at Fr. Giussani's funeral, Cardinal Ratzinger said, "Fr Giussani always kept the eyes of his life and of his heart fixed on Christ. In this way, he understood that Christianity is not an intellectual system, a packet of dogmas, a moralism, Christianity is rather an encounter, a love story; it is an event."

5:48 AM  
Blogger Peregrino said...

Congratulations for your blog!

4:45 PM  
Blogger alison said...

I just wanted to thank you for your blog and that I am a member of CLU (Communion and Liberation University) here in the United States. In simplest terms, CL allows one to find the reality of life and enable us to go deeper into finding the meaning of life. Come and See!

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7:48 AM  
Blogger Erica Markert said...

Dear Members of Communion and Liberation,
As a fellow Catholic, I'm curious to know how this movement has influenced/changed your lives?
Thank you!

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