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Movement founder dies at 82

Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of the influential Italian Communion and Liberation movement, died yesterday in Milan at the age of 82.

Holy See Press director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would preside at tomorrow's funeral in St Peter's Basilica, in place of the Holy Father.

Although the movement is not well known in Australia, Catholics worldwide are mourning the passing of Monsignor Giussani, who founded Communion and Liberation in 1954.

The Communion and Liberation website describes the organisation as "an ecclesial movement whose purpose is the education to Christian maturity of its adherents and collaboration in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life". It is particularly well known and respected in Italy, where it exerts significant influence on politicians, intellectuals and Church leaders.

Last April, Pope John Paul II wrote to Monsignor Giussani in anticipation of the Movement's 50th anniversary, saying that it offers an "experience that profoundly changes people's lives, because it promotes a personal encounter with Christ."

Movement President Julian Carrón said: "Thankful for the life of Fr Giussani, let us ask that his faith, hope and charity become more and more our own."

It is well known that the Holy Father sees an increasing role for movements in the future life of the Church. The ecclesial movement that is best known and most represented in Australia is the Neocatechumenal Way.

The Pope's letter to Monsignor Giussani noted the role of new movements within the Church to counteract the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century and the more recent "widespread tendency toward relativism, skepticism, and nihilism." He expressed his hope that the anniversary celebration will help the members of Communion and Liberation rediscover "the enthusiasm of its origins," and thus prepare for "new apostolic duties of the third millennium."

Founder of Communion and Liberation movement dies at 82 (Catholic News Agency 22/2/05)

Communion and Liberation
Papal praise for Communion and Liberation (Catholic World News 20/4/04)

Italian study says 'New Movements' are not sects (CathNews 22/7/03)

Cardinal Ratzinger will preside over Father Giussani's funeral on behalf of the Pope ( 22/2/05)
Father Giussani, a father who inspired a commitment to mission ( 22/2/05)
Meeting Christ in every man is Father Giussani's legacy in Asia ( 22/2/05)
Founder of Communion and Liberation dies at 82 (Catholic World News 22/2/05)

23 Feb 2005