Movements Reflect on Dealing With Wayward World

At a Congress of New Ecclesial Entities

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ROCCA DI PAPA, Italy, JUNE 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- How can the beauty of Christ be presented in a society that seems to live as if God did not exist?



That question was tackled by Church representatives at the 2nd World Congress of ecclesial movements and new communities, held near Rome.

The question was addressed Thursday at the round-table discussion that focused on the theme "To Give Reasons of the Beauty of Christ in the Contemporary World's Settings."

Father Bernard Peyrous, of the Emmanuel Community, focused on sects and New Age.

He called the New Age "a phenomenon that had spread throughout the world, through organized ways, but also as a great market of beliefs, in which a generic form of spirituality finds room, from which all can obtain elements, even in contradictory ways."

The speaker further described New Age as "a great escape from reality," fruit of the itinerary initiated in the 19th century, according to which "God did not exist or had nothing to do with man," and which burst in the 20th century with the failure of man to obtain happiness on his own.

Father Peyrous invited his audience to "take up the interesting aspects of the 20th century, the novelties and discoveries that must be acknowledged" and, at the same time, not forget that it was a century that witnessed God's constant intervention through "the gift made to men and women of having the courage to be Christians in a difficult world."

Education

Luis Fernando Figari, of the Christian Life Movement, addressed the topic of the education of young people. "The subject of Christian education," he said, "is the complete human individual, wounded and at the same time saved."

Figari spoke of the spiritual pedagogical itinerary that young people must be invited to follow, and suggested two key dimensions of faith: "faith in man's heart and faith in the mind."

In regard to the first dimension, the speaker said: "It is not enough to accept faith in a cognitive way but it must be experienced as gift, in which affection arises for the one who proclaims Christ."

The second dimension, Figari insisted, is the "rationality of the faith," in which there is "real respect of freedom."

For his part, Dino Boffo, editor of the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire, began with a reference to the Second Vatican Council and spoke about the presence of Catholics in society.

Quoting section No. 32 of "Lumen Gentium," Boffo suggested emphasizing the passage in which the laity is asked "to illuminate and order all temporal things," living immersed in daily reality.

"The spirituality to which we, the laity, are called is not an escape from the world, but an appreciation of the world and its beauty," he said.

Peace

Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, spoke about Christ's testimony in situations of poverty and violence.

"A Christian is presented with a grave question in the face of war, violence and sorrow, because they are situations in which almost always one fears being affected by the sadness and sufferings of others," Riccardi said.

"Prayer for peace is the great strength of believers and expression of the certainty of faith," he said. "We are all called to communicate from heart to heart the beauty of peace."