Pope says lay movements must accept authority

In a message to leaders of new lay movements, Benedict XVI has saluted the groups for their missionary commitment, formative efforts and promotion of priestly vocations, but warned that the new movements must obey the Church's hierarchical authority.

Catholic World News reports that the Pope's message was released by the Vatican press office yesterday, as 300 leaders of new lay movements gathered outside Rome for the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.

In his lengthy message, written in Italian, the Pontiff remarks that the Christian faith has always been "communicated and spread thanks to the novelty of the lives of individuals and communities who were capable of providing an incisive witness of love, unity and happiness."

Today, he said, new movements can give the Church the same new vigour and enthusiasm that will spread the Gospel.

"Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live," he urged them. "Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies."

In a world that faces "the advance of barbarism," the Pope asked the new ecclesial communities to build "a better world, according to the ordo amoris in which the beauty of human life is expressed."

The Pope's cautionary message to the new lay movements came as he stressed their place in "the living structure of the Church." He pointed out that Catholics are obligated to follow the leadership not only of the Pontiff, "but also of bishops in the various local churches who, together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity."

"I trust in your ready obedience," the Pope told the lay leaders. He closed with an appeal for the new groups to maintain a spirit of profound communion" with the Church and "adherence to legitimate pastors."

Pope Benedict said that he looked forward to his own encounter with the members of lay movements on Saturday, when 300,000 people are expected to join him in a prayer vigil on Pentecost eve.

The lay movements included in this week's conference include many groups that sprang up during the 1970s, inspired by the message of Vatican II to bring new lay activism into the Church. These young groups will join with other groups founded earlier in the 20th century, emphasising the lay apostolate, in the conference held in the south Rome suburb of Rocca di Papa.

Representatives of about 100 different groups are participating, including Focolare, the Neocatechumenate, Communion and Liberation, Regnum Christi, San Egidio, the Catholic charismatic renewal, and the Chemin Neuf, Emmanuel, L'Arche, and Christian Life Communities.

Lay movements must accept authority, Pope notes (Catholic World News 31/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Second World Conference of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities
Pontifical Council for the Laity

Laity Council hosting ecclesial movements meeting (CathNews 30/5/06)
Second World Conference of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities
Pontifical Council for the Laity

Benedict XVI recalls his apostolic trip to Poland (Vatican Information Service 31/5/06 - temporary url)
Ecclesial Movements: Builders of a better world (Vatican Information Service 31/5/06 - temporary url)
Other Pontifical Acts (Vatican Information Service 31/5/06 - temporary url)
Pope calls on end of violence in East Timor (Pravda/NU 31/6/06)
The Pope the Press Catholic Communications Network of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, London, May 24, 2006 (Catholic Church in England & Wales)
Pope's 'Take Back Europe' tour seeks to revitalize Christian roots (National Catholic Reporter/Catholic Online 31/5/06)
Pope appeals for calm, peace in East Timor (Catholic News Service 31/5/06)
Benedict welcomes ecclesial movements as "a sign of hope" (Catholic News Agency 31/5/06)
Pope moved by visit to Poland (Catholic News Agency 31/5/06)
Pope reviews trip to Poland, message of Auschwitz (Catholic World News 31/5/06)
Pope urges peace in East Timor (Catholic World News 31/5/06)
Oliver Kamm: Pope still thinks in a square (The Australian 1/5/06)
Benedict XVI General Audience - text (31/5/06)
John Paul II Left Lots of Private Writings, Says Ex-Aide (Zenit 30/5/06)

1 Jun 2006