Home > Synod > 2010-10-13 17:42:41
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Intervention of Card. Stanisław RYŁKO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)

The greatest challenge facing the Church today is the formation of a laity that is mature in faith, and aware of their vocation and mission in the Church and the world. It is essential to form strong and convinced Christian identities, to reawaken the daring of a visible and incisive presence of the lay faithful in public life, a presence that operates according to the principles of the Church’s social doctrine.
In the field of forming the laity a vast space for action opens up for the dioceses and parishes, but also for Catholic schools and universities that are called on to look for educational means and methods that are increasingly responsive to the real needs of the faithful, following the teachings of the Christifideles laici, the Magna Carta of the Catholic laity. In a world marked by spreading secularism, faith can no longer be taken for granted, not even among the baptized. It is necessary therefore to get back to basics, that is, to urgently promote concrete itineraries of a real, true post-baptismal Christian initiation, considering that - as the Pope writes - “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus caritas est no. 1).

In our time, one of the great signs of hope for the Church is the “new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful” (Christifideles laici no. 29) that, after Vatican Council II sees the birth of so many ecclesial movements and new communities. A true gift of the Holy Spirit! These new charisms give origin to pedagogic itineraries of extraordinary efficacy for the human and Christian formation of the young and adults, and unleash in them an astonishing missionary urge of which the Church today has particular need. These new communities, obviously, are not an alternative to the parish, but are rather a precious and necessary support in its mission. In a spirit of ecclesial communion they help and stimulate the Christian communities to move from a logic of simple conservation to a missionary logic. Pope Benedict XVI, continuing the work of the servant of God, John Paul II, never tires of asking for ever-greater openness of the Pastors to these new ecclesial realities. In 2006, the Pope, addressing Bishops on an ad limina visit, affirmed: “I therefore ask you to approach movements very lovingly. Here and there, they must be corrected or integrated into the overall context of the parish or Diocese. Yet, we must respect the specific character of their charism and rejoice in the birth of communitarian forms of faith in which the Word of God becomes life” (Osservatore Romano, 19 November 2006).
It is therefore truly to be desired that the Churches of the Middle East should open up with growing faith to these new group endeavors. We must not be afraid of that novelty of method and style of announcement that they bring: it is a healthy “provocation” that helps overcome the pastoral routine that is always waiting in ambush to compromise our mission (cf Instrumentum laboris no. 61). The future of the Church in this region of the world really depends on our ability to listen in a docile manner to what the Spirit says to the Church today, through these new group endeavors as well.

[00050-02.02] [INO28] [Original text: Italian]


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