Communion and Liberation and Pope Francis

I have many friends in Communion and Liberation, a movement founded by Fr. Luigi Giussani.  Every year in Ottawa, they organize a Way of the Cross on Good Friday, and for the past four years, I have been in the schola, and make the rehearsals part of my Lenten observances.

A CL young peoples’ group uses our church basement for meetings.  One of our young men is active in CL.   I attend from time to time some of their social gatherings.  Fr. Giusanni’s writings I find difficult to follow, and they don’t “speak to me” the way Cardinal Robert Sarah’s do, or Pope Benedict XVI.

That said, I found it interesting to read this piece at Crux this morning—an interview with the leader of CL,  Father Julian Carron.

It’s title is:

‘If you don’t think Francis is the cure, you don’t grasp the disease,’ CL head says

So, I read this article as I had my coffee this morning.  Then I responded thus on Facebook.

That was interesting. I still think, though, that this method of “encountering” people and not beating them over the head with doctrine is old. It’s still stuck in the 1970s in a way. On one hand, I agree in the power of the attraction of a Christian life, of Christ within us, of how we can be ambassadors of His love because He is in us. But, through hard experience, I have learned one needs sound doctrine to get to that place. [Of being able to attract with our Christian life] Otherwise, we risk making things up as we go along and our Christian witness will be wobbly at best.

Credo ut intelligam. There’s been a huge, huge vacuum in terms of teaching Catholics what is is exactly the Church teaches and helping people conform their lives to it. Maybe at the initial stages of evangelization, you love people, you don’t insist on anything, you don’t expect them to pull themselves up by bootstraps they don’t even have, but at some point—-one has to be formed in the faith, or else it will become a shipwreck. I speak from experience. I kinda agree in this—that one does not try to reach post-modernists with rational arguments that might sway a modernist. But what’s missing from this is the notion of beauty in liturgy, in worship. Young people today are not attracted to the big mega church, pop music worship music that appealed to Baby Boomers. They find it off-putting. Yes, they are attracted to what’s real in relationships, in authenticity of Christian life, not finger-wagging moralism, but they are also attracted to what’s real in worship–what is awe-inspiring, beautiful, and mysterious.

4 thoughts on “Communion and Liberation and Pope Francis

  1. Spot on! On the other end of the Catholic universum, the same is very true.
    (i) A group of young people involved in a formation group in our parish (nothing traditonalist, a slightly charismatic, if anything) has recently found a diocese-sponsored event off-puting right because of that pop music worship style, which they termed “infantile”.
    (ii) At the initial evangelisation (or even pre-evangelisation) effort, we must certainly focus on the positive message of the Good News and on positive ideals, but then an effort to change ‘pagan’ habits and attitudes must follow in any well-conceived formation.


  2. I do feel both interviewer and interviewee evade the key question being currently debated: Is there serious error in Amoris Laetitia? The whole excellent dynamic concerning those CL married couples would have been radically undermined if the couples had been taught serious error about marriage.


    • We must remember that an “encyclical” is, by definition, a document whereby the pope expresses his personal opinion, rather than an official decision of the magisterium, on a theological or moral issue. This has several implications.

      >> 1. A theological or moral statement in an encyclical does not become infallible simply because it appears therein. Of course, this does not preclude such a document from restating or explaining doctrine that’s already established as infallible by another source.

      >> 2. It is theoretically possible, albeit unlikely, that an encyclical does contain a theological or moral error. The pope has the best team of experts in the world on theological and moral issues, who normally vet such documents very thoroughly well before publication.

      >> 3. One should not cavalierly disregard anything in an encyclical. Nevertheless, an encyclical does NOT have binding force. Having studied an encyclical carefully, one can disagree with its conclusions, even to the point of acting based upon that disagreement, and still be a member of the Catholic Church in good standing.

      In reading Catholic ecclesial documents, I never cease to be impressed by just how nuanced the language therein may be, and this is often true of encyclicals as well as of other documents. Before claiming that an encyclical contains a doctrinal error, I would read it more carefully to ensure that I had not missed some nuance.



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