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October 2, 1987     The Message
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October 2, 1987

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October 2, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I Lay Catholic movement to be major issue By GREG ERLANDSON NC News Service VATICAN CITY (NC) -- The relationship of "new" lay Catholic movements with local churches, bishops and tradi- tional Catholic associations is one of the major issues facing delegates to the 1987 synod on the laity Several of the movements' founders, officers and critics will be among the delegates, observers and "experts" at the synod The so-called "new movements" have been par- ticularly active and controver- sial in Europe. They have pro- #ided spiritual formation for 'their members and enthusiatic workers for local parish pro- jects. .Exact membership figures are hard to pin down, but hundreds of thousands of Catholics are said to be affiliated with the movements worldwide. Because of their international character, extensive lay leader-" ship and dedication to specific ! charisms or ideals of their founders, some movements have clashed with local church authority The synod's general secretary, Archbishop Jan Schotte, said there are two con- cerns about the movements likely to attract the attention of the synod fathers: the "new models of Catholic apostolic associations" vs. the "tradi- tional Catholic Action model"; and the relationship between lay associations and organiza- tions and their pastors. Groups identified as "new movements" include charismatic renewal, Focolare, Cursillo, neo-catechumenate, Schonstatt and Communion and Liberation. They have emerged in the past few decades with international followings. Traditional lay associations such as Catholic Action, sodalities and confraternities have official status and longstanding institutional ties with the church. THE NEW MOVEMENTS often have looser organization, less clerical supervision and more lay leadership than tradi- tional groups While many bishops welcome the movements in their dioceses, there have also been clashes between local church authorities and the groups in several countries. The friction has been over issues ranging from episcopal authority to church teachings. The laity synod's working document, the "instrumentum laboris," acknowledged these difficulties when it declared bishops must discern the soundness of such movements and enforce the "communio" of the church while "neither stifling nor forcing the charisms involved." In other words, said a church official familiar with the pro- blem, the "underlying ques- tion" for the church is: What sort of unity does it demand of the new movements, and what sort of diversity does it allow? - Traditional European- founded lay associations such as Italian Catholic Action began in the 19th or early 20th cen- turies, often in response to anti- clerical or anti-Catholic social environments. They became in- volved in politics or social issues to defend the rights of Catholics and to practice the church's social teachings. Because of the strong papal support it received, perhaps the best known was Italian Catholic Action, which was viewed as the lay arm of the bishops in social and political issues. The "Catholic Action Pope," Plus XI, defined the association in 1922 as "the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the church's hierarchy." Bishop Paul Cordes, vice president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and author of several essays on the significance of the "new spiritual movements," said Focolare, Communion and Liberation, the neo- catechumenate and charismatic renewal, among others, em- phasize "personal conver- Why don't you right-to-lifers go away, and leave us alone? It isn't that we want to bother you. But, we must. If we d,m't speak out for unborn children, who will? Before 1973, there wasn't such a thing as a right-to-life movement because there was a right to life. Americans, and our government, helieved in the right to life for all human beings. Young people, old people, middle aged people, babies in the womb. People. Then, things changed. On Jam|ary 22, 1973, the Supreme Court shocked the country, ruling that abortions were legal, leaving unborn children unprotected for the first time. Today, an enormous abortion industry has taken hold (look in the Yellow Pages). Doctors have switched from doing deliveries to doing abortions full-time because the profit's better, and the liabilities are fewer. Gibson County Right to Life 119 West Street Haubltsdt. Indiana 47639 (812l 768-6768 In China, they're a step ahead. Abortions are forced on women discovered pregnant with a second child. And, because Chinese couples prefer baby boys, baby girls born as first children are sometimes killed hy suffocation upon delivery. If you wonder what the world is coming to, so do we. That's why right-to-lifers will not just go away, any more than your conscience can just go away. So, don't ask us to go away. In fact, why don't you go our way? We can change things. Posey County Right to Life P.O. Box 26 Mr. Vernon, Indiana 47620 1812) 985-3843 . , L' Right to Life of Vanderburgh County 65S Tenni s lane Evsn|ville. Indiana 4771S 18121 473-8033. .-,': .! .., . ,  i : i: :''!.i   : pL si0n." While social issues may be of major importance to them, the new movements "discovered the spiritual dimension of human existence as primary," he added. This "very personal, very spiritual" perspective of the movements received a major boost from the Second Vatican Council, which spoke of the universal call to holiness, the common priesthood of the bap- tized and the necessity of evangelization. The council fathers also spoke of the laity's right to form associations -- a right subse- quently written into the new Code of Canon Law. They no longer saw lay associations as an arm of the hierarchy. FOLLOWING THE council, many traditional organizations such as Catholic Action lost members and energy, while the new movements, in the words of the synod's working docu- ment, spread "with particular vigor." At times .this growth has sparked conflict. For instance, the Communion and Liberation movement, based in Milan, Italy, has had an edgy relationship with Car- dinal Carlo Martini of Milan. Recently church officials criticized some of the move- ment's members for calling for new leadership in the Christian Democratic Party. The move- ment also has a highly publicized rivalry with Ita:ian Catholic Action. i Communion and Liberation,  a renewal movement which began on Italian high school and university campuses in the 1950s, is based on small groups called "schools of communi- ty." Its members also publish magazines and books, run worker and student cooperatives, and have a strong political movement loosely af- filiated with the church-allied Christian Democratic Party. Local church authorities and movements have also clashed when movements assert their ties to the pope are closer than their ties to the local church. While acknowledging there are problems, Bishop Cordes said tensions between the local churches and the movem6nts can be "necessary and very fruitful." The movements help in- vigorate the local churc h, he said. At the same time 91 local church forces the movenient to make its charisms evident in concrete situations. _  ----- _ HUNTINGBURG i Buehlers I.G.A. "The ThriftyHousewife's Source of Savings" QUALITY FOODS, MEATS ! HUNTINGBURG i Compliments' ' I i N ass & Son In; - I FONERAL Huntlngburg, Ind.