In a message to new lay movements, meeting in Rome this week, Pope Benedict has praised them for their missionary commitment, formative efforts and promotion of priestly vocations, but said that they must obey the authority of the Church. The Holy Father said: "Over the course of the centuries, Christianity was communicated and spread thanks to the novelty of the lives of individuals and communities who were capable of providing an incisive witness of love, unity and happiness. This was the force that 'mobilised' so many people over the generations. ... Today also, Christ continues to make so many people's hearts ring with that decisive 'come and follow Me,' which can decide their destiny." He called on the ecclesial movements "always to be schools of communion. ... Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live. ... Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies. ... How much evil in the lives of men and nations can be produced by thirst for power, possession and pleasure! Bring to this troubled world the witness of the freedom with which Christ set us free." "Where charity is expressed as a passion for the life and destiny of others, radiating into the affections ... and becoming a force for creating a more just social order, there we build a civilisation capable of facing up to the advance of barbarism. Be builders of a better world, according to the 'ordo amoris' in which the beauty of human life is expressed." The Pope highlighted how ecclesial movements and new communities form part of "the living structure of the Church. She thanks you for your missionary commitment, for your increasing formative efforts among Christian families, and for the promotion of vocations to the priestly ministry and to consecrated life." The Church also thanks you, the Holy Father's Message concludes: "for the willingness you show in welcoming the operational guidelines, not only of Peter's Successor, but also of bishops in the various local Churches who, together with the Pope, are the custodians of truth and charity in unity. I trust in your ready obedience. ... The movements must face all problems with sentiments of profound communion, in a spirit of adherence to legitimate pastors." Representatives of about 100 different groups are participating in the week, including Focolare, the Neocatechumenate, Communion and Liberation, Regnum Christi, San Egidio, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and the Chemin Neuf, Emmanuel, L'Arche, and Christian Life Communities. Source: VIS
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