Category Archives: Communion & Liberation

Reasons for Hope: the New York Encounter

This weekend the National Diaconia of the Fraternity of Community & Liberation (an ecclesial movement in the Church) will be meeting in New Jersey with some events across the Hudson River in NYC. More than 200 people from the USA, Canada and Italy will be present. Father Julián Carrón, the President of the Fraternity will be giving several lessons and he will be a part of panel introducing a book recently published, Is It Possible to Live This Way: Hope. This book comprises talks the late Msgr. Luigi Giussani gave to the consecrated lay members of CL known as Memores Domini. Some of you may remember we had a similar event last year for the first volume by a similar title as the one being present this weekend, Is It Possible to Live This Way: Faith. The third and final volume in this series on Love will be released next year.

Over the next few days there are a series of events organized by the Communion and Liberation movement and the Crossroad Cultural Center in New York City. In addition to Fr. Julián Carrón, the other panelists include John Allen, National Catholic Reporter Correspondnet; Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, noted theologian and author; and Edward Nelson, Princeton professor of mathematics. The presentationis open to the public, will be held at the Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South, New York. A free ticket is required for admission, and they will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 2:00 pm.

More info on the New York Encounter

You should also subscribe to Traces, the monthly magazine of CL which is faithful to the objectivity of the Church.

Fr. Julián Carrón speaks of Christmas & Hope

Jeremiah Duccio.jpgI was struck by the readings that the Ambrosian Liturgy proposes for Monday of the third week of Advent. How must the members of the ancient people of Israel been disconcerted at the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “It will devour your harvests and your bread; it will devour your sons and daughters; it will devour your flocks and herds; it will devour the fortified cities in which you placed your trust” (Jer 5:17). He was telling them that another nation was going to conquer the kingdom in which they had put their trust. “Then, if they say: ‘Why has the Lord our God done these things?’, you will answer: ‘Just as you have abandoned the Lord and served foreign gods in your country, so will you serve foreigners in a country that is not yours'” (Jer 5:19).

It is as if this were said for us; today we see signs that make everyone afraid, it seems that what has supported our history is unable to withstand the test of our times: one day the economy, finance and work, the next day politics and the judiciary, then the family, the beginning of life and its natural end. So, like ancient Israel before a frightening situation, we, too, ask ourselves: “Why is all this happening?” It is because we, too, have been so presumptuous as to think that we can still get along after cutting the roots that supported the foundations of our civilization. In recent centuries, our culture has believed it could build a future for itself while abandoning God. Now we see where this presumption is leading us.


Now, what does the Lord do in the face of all we have brought upon ourselves? The prophet Zechariah tells us, speaking to his people Israel: “Look, I am going to send you my servant Branch” (Zc 3:8). Notice the name. It is as if before the crisis of a world, our world – the prophets would describe it with an image dear to them, that of a dried-up trunk – a sign of hope were springing up. The enormity of a dried up trunk cannot prevent the sprouting of a humble, fragile branch in which lies the hope for the future.


St Benedict3.jpgBut there is one drawback: we, too, when we see this branch appearing -like those before that child in Nazareth–can be scandalized and say: “How can something so ephemeral be the answer to our need for liberation?” Can salvation come from something so small as faith in Jesus? It seems impossible that all our hope can rest on belonging to this frail sign. The promise that only from this can everything be rebuilt seems scandalous. Yet men like St. Benedict and St. Francis started from that. They began to live while belonging to that branch that had grown through time and space–the Church, and in this way became protagonists of a people and of history.

Benedict did not face the end of the Roman Empire with anger, pointing the finger at the immorality of his contemporaries, but rather witnessed to the people of his time a fullness of life, a satisfaction and a fullness that became an attraction for many. This became the dawn of a new world, small as it was (almost a nonentity compared with the whole, a whole that was in total collapse), but a real world. That new beginning was so concrete that the work of Benedict and Francis has lasted through the centuries, has transformed Europe, and humanized it.

“He has revealed himself. He personally,” said Benedict XVI, speaking of the God-with-us. Fr. Giussani told us, “That man of two thousand years ago is hidden under the tent, under the appearance of a new humanity,” in a real sign that arouses the inkling of that life that we are all waiting for so as not to succumb to the evil in us and to the signs of the nothingness which is advancing. This is the hope that Christmas announces to us, and that makes us cry out: “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Julian Carron3.jpg(Father) Julián Carrón

President of the Fraternity of Communion & Liberation


Letter to the editor of the Italian daily La Repubblica,
published December 23, 2008



Pope Is “Decisive” for Communion and Liberation

Father Carrón Notes Commitment to Faith-Culture Dialogue

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2008 ( The current pontificate is decisive for the life and history of the Catholic lay Communion and Liberation movement, says its president.

Father Julián Carrón said this today after he was received in audience by Benedict XVI.

“We are always very attentive to what the Pope tells us to orient us along our way,” Father Carrón said. The priest is the successor of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation.

Father Carrón told Vatican Radio that he wanted to meet with the Holy Father to “tell him all that has happened and to share the fruits of the encounter” the group had with him a year ago.

“For our history, the relationship of Monsignor Giussani with then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been very significant,” Father Carrón added. “We, above all now, consider his magisterium to be decisive for our life as a movement, for our history.

“We are attentive to everything that the Pope says about the cultural presence of the faith.”

The president emphasized that the movement “very much appreciated” the “great discourse at Regensburg [and] the recent address that the [Holy Father] gave in Paris to the men of culture,” which was distributed to all movement members.

The fraternity, Father Carrón said, has committed itself to “spreading this perfection of culture that is born from belonging to the Christian experience, which is capable of engendering a humanity with a totally open rationality, as the Pope continually gives us witness.”

Pope Benedict on Religion and Politics: the influence of Communion & Liberation

November 26, 2008
Michael Sean Winters

America Magazine

Pope Benedict XVI greeted a group of pilgrims this past weekend with a short discourse on the Feast of Christ the King that has an obvious application to the political circumstance of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States in the wake of President-elect Obama’s decisive win among Catholic voters.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope told the pilgrims, “this is what interests God. The kingship of history is of no importance to him — he wants to reign in people’s hearts, and from these, in the world: He is the king of the entire universe, but the crucial point, the place where his reign is at risk, is our heart, for there God finds himself encountering our freedom.” Reign in the heart, then in the world. That is the proper order for political influence by the Christian Churches.

Unfortunately, political power inevitably invites that deadliest of the seven deadly sins, pride, and it is always tempting for those of us whose involvement in politics grows out of our religious motivations to conflate the two, to think that politics is about the Kingdom not the kingdom, to collapse our eschatons into our exit polls. And, this happens on both left and right.

But, Benedict is right. The primary means by which the Church should influence the realm of politics is by converting hearts and generating culture. This insight was the principal reason Don Luigi Guissani founded his movement, Communione e Liberazione and distanced himself from the Christian Democratic Party of his day. And, the Holy Father’s reliance on the insights of Don Guissani is well known.

So, as we Americans prepare to celebrate the quintessential American holiday, so soon after a tumultuous election, let us all remember that the kingship of history is less important than breaking bread with our friends. And, for those of us who are Catholic Americans, let us commit ourselves anew to the wonderful adventurous drama of the human heart where, as Pope Benedict said, “God finds himself encountering our freedom.”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! back on Monday with more analysis of the transition.

Communion & Liberation, in brief

Here is the description of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted], 2006).


Official name: Fraternity of Communion and Liberation; also known as: Communion and Liberation (CL)


Established: 1954


History: At the beginning of the 1950s, realizing the need to rebuild the Christian presence in the student world, Father Luigi Giussani, a professor at the Theological Faculty at Venegono, dedicated himself to teaching religion in schools.


The experience of a small group of students from the Berchet classical high school in Milan, which gathered around him, led to the establishment of Gioventù Studentesca (Student Youth). With the strong encouragement of the archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, Gioventù Studentesca spread to other Italian cities, and after 1968 it also began to involve undergraduates and adults.


This led to the establishment of Communion and Liberation which, in 1980, was to be canonically recognized by the Benedictine Ordinary (Bishop) Abbot of Montecassino, Martino Matronola. The first fraternity groups were set up in the latter half of the 1970s by CL graduates who, using a method based on communion, wished to strengthen their membership in the Church as adults, along with the responsibilities that this entails.


It was through their spread to various countries that the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation came about. On Feb. 11, 1982, (Our Lady of Lourdes) the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation as an international association of the faithful of pontifical right.


Identity: The essence of the CL charism is

the proclamation that God became Man; in the affirmation that this man — Jesus of Nazareth, who died and rose again — is a present event,

whose visible sign is communion, that is to say, the unity of a people led by a living person, the Bishop of Rome

in the awareness that it is only in God made Man, and hence within the life of the Church, that man is more true and humanity is truly more human.


In the educational proposal made by CL, the free acceptance by the individual of the Christian message is determined by the discovery that the needs of the human heart are met by the annunciation of a message that fulfills them.


It is the reasonableness of the faith which leads men and women who have been transformed by their encounter with Christ to commit themselves with Christian experience to affect the whole of society. This commitment strengthens their awareness of their own identity, enabling them to see their life as a vocation, and is supported by the experience of communion which makes the memory of Christ’s coming a daily reality.


The educational process,

nurtured by proclamation and catechesis

by attendance at retreats and spiritual exercises

and by the celebration of the sacraments,

gives pride of place to the dimensions of


1.   cultural work, as a means of deepening and expressing their faith and as a condition for having a responsible presence in society

2.   charity work, as education in service to be freely given to others and social commitment

3.   and the mission, as education in the sense of the catholicity of the Church and as a vocational choice.


Bearing witness to Christ

  • in schools and universities
  • in factories and offices
  • in the local neighborhood and in the city
  • takes place above all through work, which is the specific way in which adults relate to reality.


Organization: The life of the fraternity is lived through the free formation of groups of men and women of ail conditions and states of life, whose friendship and communion are based upon their common commitment to move forward together toward holiness, which they acknowledge to be the genuine purpose of human existence.


The association is guided by the president and by the Central Diakonia, of which all the international leaders are members.

[There are also] the officials in all the various areas in which it is present, and representatives of the other entities that have emerged from the CL charism:

·         the Memores Domini Lay Association (The life of its members (lay men and women who normally live in houses made up of either men or women, following a rule of group living and personal ascesis) is governed by the call to contemplation, understood as the constant memory of Christ, and of mission, especially in the workplace. The life is committed to the conception of virginity is based on St. Paul’s call to “possess as though not possessing.” It is not in order to give up something that one makes a sacrifice, but rather to possess reality completely analogous to the possession of Christ);

·         the priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo;

·         the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Assumption;

·         Fraternity of Saint Joseph (dedicated their lives definitively to Christ and the Christian life, while remaining in their current life situations; members of this fraternity are free of marriage bonds, because widowed or unmarried, according to the Gospel tradition: in obedience, poverty, virginity, which are dimensions of faith, hope, and charity).


ln the dioceses, the diocesan leader is assisted by a

Diakonia and by a spiritual assistant appointed by the local bishop acting on a proposal by the fraternity president.


Since 1997, the Communion and Liberation International Center has been operating in Rome, as the liaison center linking all the parts of the movement worldwide.


Membership: The fraternity has 47,994 members in 64 countries. More than 60,000 people share the CL experience.


Works: Individuals and groups belonging to the fraternity have taken the responsibility to establish cultural, charitable and entrepreneurial works linked together in the Company of Works which has offices in Italy and abroad.


These works of CL include

·         shelter homes for the mentally ill, drug addicts, the disabled, AIDS patients and the terminally ill

·         companies to provide employment for the disabled

·         nongovernmental organizations (AVSI in Italy and CESAl in Spain) to provide assistance and foster the development of poor countries

·         foundations such as the Food Bank, which provides daily food to more than 1 million poor people in Italy,

·         and the Pharmaceutical Bank

·         solidarity centers to assist the unemployed in seeking a job

·         welfare facilities in children’s prisons in Africa and America

·         and aid for needy families and finding homes for people in difficulty.


The initiatives that have emerged in the field of culture have become a special place for ensuring that the pooling of different experiences is an opportunity for every individual to communicate their own “proprium” regarding the Christian event:

·         cultural centers

·         schools (often established by parents’ cooperatives)

·         publishing houses, publishing and newspaper initiatives

·         foundations and academic institutions

·         and international conferences, such as the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples.(Rimini)


The Sacred Heart Foundation in Milan is directly dependent upon the Fraternity, as a nonprofit entity which manages schools, and works for the promotion and protection of free education, consistent with the Christian tradition and the teaching of the Church.


Publications: Traces Litterae Communionis, a monthly magazine in Italian, French, English, Polish, Portuguese/Brazilian, Russian, German and Spanish; Piccole Tracee, a magazine for children published every two months


Web site:

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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