Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pope Benedict XVI's letter on February 22, 2007

Below is a letter written by Pope Benedict XVI on February 22, 2007, which is about a year before the Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way was approved.  Father Gerardo Raul Carcar who was the Vicar Cooperator of the Parish of San Girolamo at Corviale asked the Pope for advice on how he can fit the ecclesial movements and new communities such as the Neocatechumenal Way to develop a real ministry of unity for the universal Church.  Below is the response of Pope Benedict XVI (the bold is mine): 

So I see that I must be briefer. Thank you for your question. I think you mentioned the essential sources of all that we can say about Movements. In this sense, your question is also an answer.  
I would like to explain immediately that in recent months I have been receiving the Italian Bishops on their ad limina visits and so have been able to find out a little more about the geography of the faith in Italy. I see many very beautiful things together with the problems that we all know.  
I see above all that the faith is still deeply rooted in the Italian heart even if, of course, it is threatened in many ways by today's situations. 
The Movements also welcome my fatherly role as Pastor. Others are more critical and say that Movements are out of place. I think, in fact, that situations differ and everything depends on the people in question.  
It seems to me that we have two fundamental rules of which you spoke. The first was given to us by St Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians: do not extinguish charisms. If the Lord gives us new gifts we must be grateful, even if at times they may be inconvenient. And it is beautiful that without an initiative of the hierarchy but with an initiative from below, as people say, but which also truly comes from on High, that is, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, new forms of life are being born in the Church just as, moreover, they were born down the ages.  
At first, they were always inconvenient. Even St Francis was very inconvenient, and it was very hard for the Pope to give a final canonical form to a reality that by far exceeded legal norms. For St Francis, it was a very great sacrifice to let himself be lodged in this juridical framework, but in the end this gave rise to a reality that is still alive today and will live on in the future: it gives strength, as well as new elements, to the Church's life.  
I wish to say only this: Movements have been born in all the centuries. Even St Benedict at the outset was a Movement. They do not become part of the Church's life without suffering and difficulty. St Benedict himself had to correct the initial direction that monasticism was taking. Thus, in our century too, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, has given us new initiatives with new aspects of Christian life. Since they are lived by human people with their limitations, they also create difficulties.  
So the first rule is: do not extinguish Christian charisms; be grateful even if they are inconvenient. 
The second rule is: the Church is one; if Movements are truly gifts of the Holy Spirit, they belong to and serve the Church and in patient dialogue between Pastors and Movements, a fruitful form is born where these elements become edifying for the Church today and in the future.  
This dialogue is at all levels. Starting with the parish priest, the Bishops and the Successor of Peter, the search for appropriate structures is underway: in many cases it has already borne fruit. In others, we are still studying.  
For example, we ask ourselves whether, after five years of experience, it is possible to confirm definitively the Statutes for the Neocatechumenal Way, whether a trial period is necessary or whether, perhaps, certain elements of this structure need perfecting.
In any case, I knew the Neocatechumens from the very outset. It was a long Way, with many complications that still exist today, but we have found an ecclesial form that has already vastly improved the relationship between the Pastor and the Way. We are going ahead like this! The same can be said for other Movements.  
Now, as a synthesis of the two fundamental rules, I would say: gratitude, patience and also acceptance of the inevitable sufferings. In marriage too, there is always suffering and tension. Yet, the couple goes forward and thus true love matures. The same thing happens in the Church's communities: let us be patient together.  
The different levels of the hierarchy too - from the parish priest to the Bishop, to the Supreme Pontiff - must continually exchange ideas with one another, they must foster dialogue to find together the best road. The experiences of parish priests are fundamental and so are the experiences of the Bishop, and let us say, the universal perspectives of the Pope have a theological and pastoral place of their own in the Church. 
On the one hand, these different levels of the hierarchy as a whole and on the other, all life as it is lived in the parish context with patience and openness in obedience to the Lord, really create new vitality in the Church. 
Let us be grateful to the Holy Spirit for the gifts he has given to us. Let us be obedient to the voice of the Spirit, but also clear in integrating these elements into our life; lastly, this criterion serves the concrete Church and thus patiently, courageously and generously, the Lord will certainly guide and help us.


  1. Diana, can I go cry now? This post was very eye-opening.

  2. The Neocatechumenal Way - "It is a Trojan horse in the Church"

    1. Dear Anonymous at 6:56 pm,

      I know that you obtained this information from the jungle and brought it here. The weblink below is my response:

  3. How do we go about requesting for a financial report from the Concerned Catholics movement? I believe that they have been in operation for over a year now and I havnt seen them reveal their report as is required for all non-profits. I just want to know how my money is being spent.

    1. Why do you say that it is your money? You are not a contributor to the CCOG...

    2. "You are not a contributor to the CCOG..." How do you know?