Tag Archives: Communion and Liberation

St Peter is the “absolute and reliable rock,” Fr Giussani told us

together with the pope.jpg

Today in Rome members of the various Catholic lay ecclesial movements
like Focolare, Sant’Egidio, Catholic Action and Communion and Liberation are
gathering in Rome as a sign of prayerful solidarity at the Regina Coeli address
of the Pope in Saint Peter’s Square. Indeed, in a sign of friendship and
obedience to the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. And as a sign of
this worldwide communion with the Pope, members of Communion and Liberation are
gathering in cities around the world in prayer for the Pope and the Church.

According to news about the event, about 150,000 people flooded Saint Peter’s Square. The Pope said that he was comforted by the “beautiful and spontaneous show of faith and solidarity.”

Here in New York, for example, CL is attending the Mass at Saint Patrick’s
Cathedral with Archbishop Timothy Dolan and will pray the rosary together.

understand these pious and fraternal gestures of CL, here are some thoughts of
Monsignor Luigi Giussani that may give a fuller appreciation of the
companionship of faith and brotherhood we all share.

father and daughter.jpg

Christianity is an
irreducible event, an objective presence that desires to reach man; until the
very end, it means to be a provocation to him, and to offer a judgment of him.
Jesus said to the Apostles after his Resurrection, “Behold, I am with you always,
even to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).

Christianity will have a dramatic and
decisive bearing on man’s life only if it is understood in accordance with its
originality and its factual density, which, two thousand years ago, had the
form of a single man. Yet even when He was still living, he also had the face
of people whom he had brought together, and then sent out two by two, to do
what He had been doing, and what he had told them to do; they came back
together and returned to him. Later, united as one, this people went out to the
entire known world to present that Fact. The face of that single man today is
the unity of believers, who are the sign of him in the world, or as Saint Paul
says, who are his Body, his mysterious Body – also called “the people of God” –
guided and guaranteed by a living person, the Bishop of Rome.

If the Christian
fact is not recognized and grasped in its proper originality, it becomes
nothing more than a ponderous occasion for all sorts of interpretations and
opinions, or perhaps even for works; but then it lies alongside of or more
often subordinate to all of life’s other promptings.

(Religious Awareness in
Modern Man, Communio, vol. XXV, n.1, Spring 1998, pp. 134-135)

The supreme
authority is the one in which we find the meaning of all our experience. Jesus
Christ is this supreme authority, and it is His Spirit who makes us understand
this, opens us up to faith in Him and His person. “Just as the Father has sent
me so do I send you.” (See John 20:21) The apostles and their successors (the
Pope and the bishops) constitute, in history, the living continuation of the
authority who is Christ. In their dynamic succession in history and their
multiplication throughout the world, Christ’s mystery is proposed ceaselessly,
clarified without errors, defended without compromise. Therefore, they
constitute the place, like a reliable and effervescent spring, where humanity
can draw on the true meaning of its own existence, probing ever deeper. 
genius is to the cry of human need, what prophecy is to our cry of expectancy,
so the apostles and their successors are to announcing the response. But just
as the true answer is always perfectly specific and concrete with respect to
the expectancy which is inevitably vague and subject to illusions – so are
they, like an absolute and reliable rock, infallible: “You are Peter and on
this rock I shall build my Church.” (Matthew 16:17ff.)

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Their authority not only
constitutes the sure criterion for that vision of the universe and history that
alone explains their (i.e., the universe’s and history’s) meaning; it is also
vital – it steadfastly stimulates a true culture and persistently points to a
total vision. It inexorably condemns any exaltation of the particular and
idealization of the contingent; that is, it condemns all error and idolatry.
The authority of the Pope and bishops, therefore, is the ultimate guide on the
pilgrimage towards a genuine sharing of our lives [convivenza], towards a true

Where that authority is not vital and vigilant, or where it is
under attack, the human pathway becomes complicated, ambiguous, and unstable;
it veers towards disaster, even when on the exterior it seems powerful,
flourishing, and astute, as is the case today. Where that authority is active
and respected, the historic pilgrimage is confidently renewed with serenity; it
is deep, genuinely human, even when the expressive methods and dynamics of
sharing lives are roughshod and difficult.

Still today it is the gift of the
Spirit that allows us to discover the profound meaning of Ecclesiastical
Authority as a supreme directive on the human path. Here is the origin of that
ultimate abandonment and of that conscious obedience to it – this is why it is
not the locus of the Law but of Love. One cannot understand the experience of
that definitive devotion that binds the “faithful” to Authority without taking
into consideration the influence of the Spirit, and that devotion often affirms
itself on the Cross of a mortification of the drive of our own genius or our
plans for life.

(The Journey to Truth Is an Experience, Montreal:
McGill-Queen’s University Press 2006, pp. 73-75)

“Why I am a Catholic?” is a good question to ask

McGill University professor of History John Zucchi, Canada’s national leader for Communion and Liberation, asks the provocative question in a brief essay, “Why I am a Catholic.” John is a great guy, he’s serious about his faith and he’s sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, but no one would claim he’s a mediocre follower of Christ. The claims of faith in Christ, Zucchi tells us, have to have two criteria borrowing from Luigi Giussani: faith in Christ has to be reasonable and it has to broaden my humanity, a gift given by God Himself. Reason and humanity lead to and exude Mercy. Paraphrasing Cardinal Ratzinger in God and the World, to be a Christian means that you are sympathetic toward one’s humanity that of another; a Christian is accepting of one’s injuries and within these wounds a deeper healing is found.

I highly recommend you read, and re-read God and the World (2002),Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s conversation with Peter Seewald. It’s more than right on target….

A new Vatican office: Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization?

Writing for il Giornale.it today, veteran vaticanista Andrea Tornielli, speaks of a new pontifical council to be created specifically for the work of the new evangelization, a term coined by Pope John Paul II in 1979 while visiting the Poland’s Nowa Huta. Pope Benedict is expected to release an Apostolic Letter soon. The idea comes to fruition because of the diligence of Venice’s cardinal-archbishop, Angelo Scola, and Josef Cordes and the inspiration of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. A new council with this work is seen as keenly central to the work of Benedict’s papacy. The first head of the new council is expected to be according to Tornielli, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the current head of the Pontifical Academy of Life and the rector of the Lateran University.

Andrea Tornielli’s article is here.

Recognizing what Pope Benedict has done for the Church … Julián Carrón

This coming Monday is the fifth anniversary of the election
of Pope Benedict XVI. Communion and Liberation is encouraging people to attend
Mass, pray a Rosary, or attend Eucharistic Adoration on that day to pray for
the Holy Father, in thanksgiving for his witness to Christ.

The following
letter is from Father Julián Carrón, the President of Communion and Liberation,
sent to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica (April 4, 2010).

Let Us Return,
Wounded, to Christ

Father Julián Carrón

Julian Carron.jpg

None of us has ever been as dismayed
as we are in front of the heart-wrenching story of child abuse. Our dismay
arises from our inability to respond to the demand for justice which springs
from the bottom of our hearts.+The request to assume responsibility, the
acknowledgement of the evil committed, the reprimand for the mistakes made in
the handling of the affair – all of this seems to us to be totally inadequate
as we face this sea of evil. Nothing seems to be enough. And so we can
understand the frustrated reactions that have been coming forth at this time.

has all served the purpose of making us stand face to face with our demand for
justice, acknowledging that it is limitless, bottomless – as deep as the wound
itself. Since it is infinite, it can never be satisfied. So the
dissatisfaction, impatience and even the disillusionment of the victims are
understandable, even after all the injuries and mistakes have been admitted:
nothing can satisfy their thirst for justice. It’s like entering into an
endless struggle. From this point of view, the ones who committed the abuse are
paradoxically facing a challenge similar to that of the victims: nothing can
repair the damage that has been done. This in no way means that their
responsibility can be lifted, and much less the verdict that justice may impose
upon them; it would not be enough even if they were to serve the maximum

If this is the case, then the most burning question, which no one can
escape, is as simple as it is unavoidable: “Quid animo satis?” What can satisfy
our thirst for justice? This is where we begin to feel all our powerlessness,
so powerfully expressed in Ibsen’s Brand: “Answer me, God, in the jaws of
death: Is there no salvation for the Will of Man? No small measure of
salvation?” In other words, cannot the whole force of human will succeed in
bringing about the justice that we so long for?

This is why even those who
demand it most, those who are most insistent in calling for justice, will not
be loyal to the depth of their nature with its demand for justice if they do
not face this incapacity that they share with all men. Were we not to face it,
we would fall prey to an even crueler injustice, to a veritable assassination
of our humanity, because in order to keep on crying out for the justice that we
formulate according to our own measurement, we have to silence the voice of our
hearts, thus forgetting the victims and abandoning them in their struggle.

is the Pope who, paradoxically, in his disarming boldness, has not fallen prey
to reducing justice to any sort of human measure. To begin with, he admitted without
hesitation the gravity of the evil committed by priests and religious, urged
them to accept their responsibility for it, and condemned the way certain
bishops in their fear of scandal have handled the affair, expressing his deep
dismay over what had happened and taking steps to ensure that it not happen
again. But then, he expressed his full awareness that this is not enough to
respond to the demand that there be justice for the harm inflicted: “I know
that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed
and your dignity has been violated.” Likewise, even if the perpetrators serve
their sentences, repent, and do penance, it will never be enough to repair the
damage they did to the victims and to themselves.

Benedict XVI’s recognition of
the true nature of our need, of our struggle, is the only way to save our full
demand for justice; it is the only way to take it seriously, to take it fully
into consideration. “The demand for justice is a need that is proper to man,
proper to a person. Without the possibility of something beyond, of an answer
that lies beyond the existential modalities that we can experience, justice is
impossible… If the hypothesis of a ‘beyond’ were eliminated, that demand would
be unnaturally suffocated” (Father Giussani).

So how did the Pope save this
demand? By calling on the only one who can save it, someone who makes the
beyond present in the here and now, namely, Christ, the Mystery made flesh.
“Jesus Christ … was Himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, He still
bears the wounds of His own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your
pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including
your relationship with the Church.”

Calling on Christ is not a way to seek a hiding
place to run off to in the face of the demand for justice: it is the only way
to bring justice about. The Pope calls upon Christ, and steers clear of a truly
dangerous shoal, that of distancing Christ from the Church, as if the Church
were too full of filth to be able to bear Him. The Protestant temptation is
always lurking. It would have been very easy to give in to, but at too high a
price – that of losing Christ. Because, as the Pope recalls, “it is in the
communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ.” And so,
aware of the difficulty both the victims and the guilty have “to forgive or be
reconciled with the Church,” he dares to pray that, by drawing near to Christ
and sharing in the life of the Church, they “will come to rediscover Christ’s
infinite love for each one of you,” since He is the only one able to heal their
wounds and rebuild their lives.

This is the challenge facing all of us who are
incapable of finding an answer for our sins and for the sins of others: agreeing
to take part in Easter, which we celebrate during these days, as the only way
to see the re-blossoming of hope.

MedConference: Medical Care and the Person: The Heart of the Matter

MedConferenc banner.jpgThe MedConference is a three-day medical conference open to physicians, nurses and students of medical and nursing schools.

The theme of the 2010 MedConference will highlight the central role of the ‘person’ in medical care and will focus on the complex need of the patient, including the need to be healed and the need to find a meaning for their suffering.
Medical Care and the Person: The Heart of the Matter
July 16-18, 2010
Hyatt on the Hudson
Jersey City, NJ
Visit the website to see the preliminary program and to enroll (keep in mind that places are limited): 2010 MedConference

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]yahoo.com.
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