Vatican Official Assails a Myth About New Church Movements

Sees Them as Committed to Social and Charitable Work

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FORTALEZA, Brazil, JULY 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The idea that the new ecclesial movements, particularly the communities that stem from Charismatic Renewal, are not committed to social and charitable endeavors is not true, says a Vatican official.



Archbishop Paul Cordes, the president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," made that observation while visiting Brazil. He is attending activities organized by Shalom, a community founded in 1982 by Moses Louro de Azevedo Filho together with a group of university students.

The archbishop highlighted the spirit of evangelization of Shalom, which has started prayer groups and "does extraordinary work with young people, especially street children."

The archbishop heads the Vatican's organization that promotes and coordinates the Church's charitable works. He was invited by Shalom to attend the meetings and offer suggestions to address the challenge of poverty.

"The Shalom community is proof of how spirituality is able to inspire commitment to assist human beings in a concrete manner and to change society," Archbishop Cordes told ZENIT before departing Rome to attend the event.

"I know members of these new realities -- such as Emmanuel Community, Communion and Liberation, the Neocatechumenal Way, the Opus Dei Prelature -- which go to difficult places, sometimes with their families, to create models of how a family lives in unity," he said.

"They can be seen in neighborhoods of the poverty belts of the cities of the Third World. In the midst of houses, which are not worthy habitations, with no separate rooms ... by their example, they indicate the way to build a healthy family," the Vatican official said.

"Perhaps it wasn't the first objective of these communities, but it is a consequence," he added. "And the force of witness is worth more than what is taught."