Pontiff Calls Movements Gifts to the Church

Lauds Cardinal Cordes for Helping Them Grow

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is praising a cardinal who welcomed the inspiration of new movements in the Church, and is highlighting the positive contribution they have made.



The Pope affirmed this in a letter he sent last week for the 75th birthday of Cardinal Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

"I no longer remember when we first met," the Pontiff said, as he recalled a long history of friendship with the cardinal, including a shared membership in the German bishops' conference before both were called to serve in the Roman Curia.

"With courage and creativity at the beginning of your work in Rome you opened up new roads to lead young people to Christ," the Holy Father affirmed. "You also made a contribution to the genesis and the growth of the World Youth Days."

He underlined the prelate's "pastoral involvement" and "commitment to the movements" in his role in the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

"The charismatic movement, Communion and Liberation and the Neocatechumenal Way have many reasons to be grateful to you," the Pope said.

"While at the beginning the organizers and planners in the Church had many reservations in regard to the movements," Benedict XVI stated, "you immediately sensed the life that burst forth from them -- the power of the Holy Spirit that gives new paths and in unpredictable ways keeps the Church young."

Integration

He continued: "You recognized the pentecostal character of these movements and you worked passionately so that they would be welcomed by the Church's pastors.

"Certainly, with respect to organization and planning, there were often good reasons to be scandalized as they brought new and unforeseen elements that could not always be integrated easily into the existing organizational structures."

The Pontiff acknowledged the cardinal's ability to see that what is "organic is more important than what is organized."

He affirmed the prelate's vision that "here were men who were deeply touched by the spirit of God and that in such a way there grew new forms of authentic Christian life and authentic ways of being Church."

The Holy Father continued: "Of course, these movements needed to be ordered to and brought within the totality; they needed to learn to recognize their limits and to become part of the communitarian reality of the Church in her proper constitution together with the Pope and the bishops.

"Thus they need a guide and purification to be able to reach the form of their true maturity."

"They, nevertheless, are gifts to be grateful for," Benedict XVI said. "It is no longer possible to think of the life of the Church of our time without including these gifts of God within it."

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