Tag Archives: Communion and Liberation

“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

More questions result from media persecution of Pope

In the School of Community Sunday evening –the weekly catechetical meeting for members & friends of Communion & Liberation– we discussed Traces‘ April editorial, “Greater than Sin.” The editorial is an attempt to put words to an experience and to remind ourselves of the workings of grace and sin.

The more I look I these accusations of sexual misconduct and other sinful behavior by priests (and even the laity), I am inclined to say that it’s more than a question of homosexual priests or affectively retarded individuals who have had positions of pastoral authority in the Church, and much to do with our faith in Christ as the answer to limited humanity. In other words, there has been a significant lack of faith in the Incarnation and Christ as the answer to my nothingness. For some, this assessment makes no sense because if you are ordained a priest or a vowed religious, one expects that you would have an intimate experience of the workings of God and His love. BUT this can’t always be assumed. The more I sit with the problem I am curious to know the depth of relationship with God existed with those who committed these sexual crimes and the church leaders who had oversight. Could it be that those who abused children or scandalized the faithful in other ways didn’t have a living faith in Christ who is alive today, right now? Could it be that for some of these people God is dead in the conscience? More questions surfaced than I have answers for. For example:

Are we certain about the Catholic faith we are living? Are certain about what we are saying?
What has been happening with the sexual abuse crisis is the direct result of a lack of certainty of faith in Christ. We the Church, laity and clergy, have demonstrated a real lack of faith in the saving promises of Christ than in the offer of communion with Him. Our sense seems to indicate that the hundredfold Christ speaks of is a complete fabrication.
Key to understanding our Catholic way of living is that we have a different standard of measuring things: justice, mercy, forgiveness, love are the measures. Priesthood is a total, permanent change in a man’s being, a permanent change in character, not a career, not something temporary, not something magical, not something esoteric; the priesthood means being configured to Christ in a permanent way.
In our discussions we asked the Christological question: who is Christ and how does Christ act in my and how do I know Him. Do we believe Christ is for all people? Do we believe Christ is alive right now, in front of us, in the person next to us? Is Christ recognizable? Do we believe that Christ redeemed us through his death and resurrection?
The question of forgiveness surfaced in our School of Community based on the fact that Christ tells us to forgive and He himself is the pattern of reconciliation. Is forgiveness possible? Is it possible to live in an attitude of forgiveness? Is forgiveness familiar to me (us)? Do we have an experience of forgiveness? Can we hold that what we believe as true –Jesus Christ– is for everyone?
The we dealt with the problem that for many people it is impossible to accept the Church as a mother who cares for her children, educates her children, who disciplines her children but doesn’t throw the problem child under the bus. The Church’s maternity seems not only to be less understood today if not completely rejected by many of the faithful and the media. Maternity is reduced to giving birth and completely neglecting the moral motherhood. The Church, since Christ founded her, has neither said nor indicated that she was a perfect mother. She is divinely instituted but populated by sinners trying to be holy and at times missing the mark. The Church like the rest of the world is daily pursuing justification in Lord’s cross and resurrection.
The attacks the whole Body of Christ –the Church– is facing these days attempts to pervert people’s faith and confidence in the Church and therefore to prevent the Church from caring for all her children –the victims, the perpetrators, bystanders, etc.
An answer to some these questions is ‘yes’ if we know that only with Christ is forgiveness, conversion possible.
We need to understand ourselves in action, in concrete ways, in the ways in which Providence has deemed to give us the grace to live…otherwise we live in the abstract and God, therefore has no real bearing on our life.
Beautiful words don’t save us, Jesus does, who is alive right now.
So, I think the Pope is correct in recommending a spiritual renewal program (see the Letter to Ireland) to regain, or just to establish for the first time a real relationship with the Christ. His aim is to ask the question, do you know Christ? if so, do you know how to live according to the pattern of Christ’s sacrificial love?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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