Movements Fuel a Missionary Drive, Says Prelate

Key Meeting Under Way in Latin America

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BOGOTA, Colombia, MARCH 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The new movements and communities within the Church are the Holy Spirit’s timely response to the needs of the age, says a Vatican official.



Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, made this point in an interview with Vatican Radio. The occasion was today's opening of the first meeting of ecclesial movements and new Church communities in Latin America, convoked by the Vatican and the Latin American bishops' council (CELAM) in Bogota.

To highlight the meaning of the Bogota meeting, Archbishop Rylko told Vatican Radio that "with this congress we want to reflect together on what it means to be disciples of Christ in Latin America today."

"Today there are many false teachers who hide behind shallow promises of happiness," he said. "The ecclesial movements and new communities, as pedagogical guides of adult Christian formation in the faith and as guides in the discovery of Christ as only Teacher and Lord, are the Holy Spirit’s timely response to this great challenge of our days."

The objective of the Bogota meeting is to prepare for the general conference of Latin American and Caribbean episcopates, which Benedict XVI plans to open in Aparecida, Brazil, in May 2007.

The Bogota meeting, which ends this Sunday, has gathered 170 representatives from 45 movements and new communities, as well as a number of bishops. It is focusing on the main theme of the 2007 assembly, "Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ Today."

Imagination

The meeting opened with the intervention of Archbishop Rylko, and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, president of CELAM.

In his interview, Archbishop Rylko said: "The movements and new communities, as John Paul II taught us, and as Benedict XVI teaches us today, bring a very strong missionary drive to the Church. They have incredible missionary imagination and courage."

"They also offer educational environments of great persuasive force in which authentic disciples of Christ are formed. Formation and proclamation are two great challenges that the Church must address in our days."

Addressing the "delicate question" of harmony between the movements' charisms and the institutional Church, Archbishop Rylko explained: "John Paul II taught us that institution and charism are not in opposition, but are co-essential in the life of the Church.

"Pope Benedict XVI noted that the relationship between charism and institution is not a simple dialectic of principles, as the charism needs the institution to be confirmed and to last in time. On the other hand, the institution needs the charism if it is not to lose its soul."

"Therefore, there is no opposition"; rather, they are complementary, said Archbishop Rylko.

To the question "How can these two dimensions of the Church be harmonized?" Archbishop Rylko responded: "John Paul II indicated a masterful way: that movements be able to integrate themselves, with humility, into the fabric of the local Churches, with the spirit of service and collaboration, and that pastors be able to welcome them with cordiality and support them with paternal love."

Benedict XVI has convoked, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the second meeting of ecclesial movements and new communities this Pentecost, in Rome. The first such meeting was held with Pope John Paul II on Pentecost 1998.