The World Needs "Fools For God"
"I used to go to Church and everything
was so boring and dull. No one sings. I go
to this new church and I always leave with
a good feeling." "The sermons in
your churches are so monotonous and tedious.
The preacher in our church is so vibrant
and alive and biblical." "Why do
you adore Mary?! You even put her statue
high up on the high artal in the Cathedral!"
"So many devotions and rosaries and
no Scriptures - that is what the Catholic
Church is all about..." And it went
on and on and on... A two hour discussion
with this local guy who has decided to leave
the Catholic Church and join this new church.
In his teens, he was an artal server.
went to a Catholic school. Later, his
left him. He claims, he did not find
support in the Catholic church. So
Now he reads the Bible every day. He
What a pity that he, like many others,
finding outside the Church what he
find inside the Church!
Seminar Between Bishops And Movements
This is why what happened in Rome just
few days ago is highly significant.
June 16-19, over 100 Cardinals and
from all corners of the globe met in
to participate in a seminar organized
Vatican to reflect on "The Ecclesial
Movements and New Communities in the
These new ecclesial realities are helping
ordinary Christians to put God as the
of their life in a century, ours, which
excluded God from its core.
The Holy Father believes that these
"are a real gift of the Spirit
Church at the end of the millennium,
one of the new signs emanating from
Six initiators of these new realities
handpicked to speak to the Bishops.
them Kiko Arguello of the Neocatechumenal
Way, Chiara Lubich of the Focolare
and Salvatore Martinez of Renewal in
Kiko Arguello revealed that the Neocatechumenal
Way came into being thirty years ago
help the parishes move from a sacramental
pastoral plan to one of evangelization
this de-Christianized society. A pastoral
plan according to the model of the
of the early Christians, where those
wanted to be Christians had first to
that is, they had to follow a path
Bishop Stanislaw Rylko's, Secretary
Pontifical Council for the Laity, stated:
"It is well known that in the
pastoral plans, the ecclesial movements
a special place."
Professor Guzman Carriquiry, under-secretary
of the Pontifical Council for the Laity,
did not hide his satisfaction over
and seriousness with which the bishops
the discussions. "The tension
to be elicited whenever movements were
seems to have disappeared. Everything
unfolded in a relaxed atmosphere."
Woe To Me If I Do Not Preach The Gospel
Cardinal Adrianus J. Simonis, Archbishop
of Utrecht, spoke of his experience
with the movements which are, in his
the "salt of the earth,"
where the Catholic faith is lived to
fullest in a secularized world.
"The problem is that in general
are seen with suspicion in the parishes,"
since the spiritual climate of some
has lost its potency and because some
it as competition. "It is unjustly
that the movements are more geared
sanctity than to the apostolate and
action. The first accusation is true,
second is false," the Dutch Cardinal
Archbishop Robert Sarah of Conakry,
spoke enthusiastically. "It is
to see that the Spirit is stronger
plans and that he acts in our Christian
as we would never have imagined it."
Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark,
New Jersey, was one of the two representatives
of United States. He spoke vigorously
the missionary thrust that characterizes
the Neocatechumenal Way, emphasizing
conversions and the number of vocations
the priesthood and the religious life
has awakened, "It is a great blessing
and a great gift to the Church in Newark,"
he affirmed. He explained that the
between the movements and pastors are
to a lack of knowledge of one another.
The Brazilian Cardinal Lucas Moreira
prefect of the Congregation for Bishops,
"As understood by John Paul II
VI, movements are an expression of
Church. They are born in a specific
but their horizon is the universe,
attempt to respond to the needs and
of the Church worldwide, and not of
one or a few dioceses. Their missionary
program and plans, their proposals,
formation and spirituality are universal."
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger led a lively
debate, answering questions from the
of Bishops and Cardinals.
He spoke about his meeting with the
who put Baptism back at the center,
very much forgotten sacrament in the
although it is the foundation of our
at a time when families and schools
not initiating people into the faith."
He also referred to his meeting with
in the Spirit: "I have had the
the grace to see young Christians touched
by the power of the Holy Spirit...
At a time
of exhaustion, when there was talk
winter of the Church,' the Holy Spirit
creating a new spring."
A Radical Faith
When asked "What is the importance
movements?" Cardinal Ratzinger
: "The Gospel is for everyone
movements can be of great help, because
have the missionary impulse of the
times, even in the smallness of their
and they can give impetus to the life
the Gospel in the world."
I believe we can learn a lot from our
He is a real saint. In response to
concern about his health, John Paul
he had "eternity" to rest.
Tobiana and Eufrosia, the Polish nuns
care for him at the Vatican, have tried
slow him down.
"I am worried about you, Your Holiness,"
Sister Eufrosia said, after a very tiring
trip. "I am also worried about my holiness,"
the Pope quipped.
Yes, only a faith, radically understood and
radically lived, can answer the many real
questionings of our contemporary man. These
new ecclesial realities will help us in this
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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