Skip to content

Place and Role of Movements in the Church (Part 1 of 2)

Interview with Father Arturo Cattaneo, Professor of Canon Law

ROME, MAY 23, 2006 (Zenit) - The world congress of ecclesial movements, held in Rome in 1998, opened with an address of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

In his address the cardinal asked bishops not to "condescend to any pretence of absolute uniformity in pastoral organization and programming."

He said that the diocesan bishops must seek to harmonize "unity and variety" in itself and not "confuse unity with pastoral uniformity."

In this interview with us, Father Arturo Cattaneo, professor of Canon Law at the St. Pius X Institute of Venice, explains the need to not insist on uniformity in the Church.

Professor Cattaneo is author of "Unita e Varieta nella Comunione della Chiesa Locale" (Unity and Variety in the Communion of the Local Church), published by Marcianum Press of Venice.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Wednesday.

Q: Can you explain the reason for calling attention to the danger or temptation of uniformity?

Father Cattaneo: Uniformity is an impoverishment of unity. In the Church, unity is characterized by catholicity. Consequently, also in every local Church a plurality and diversification must be developed that not only do not disturb unity but enrich it and change it into communion.

Q: What do you understand by "catholicity"?

Father Cattaneo: It is one of the great rediscoveries of ecclesiology of the 20th century. In his work "Christians Disunited," Yves Congar described it as a "dynamic universality of the unity of the Church" or, in other words, as the "capacity that its principles of unity have to assimilate, perfect, exalt and lead to God, to unite in him the whole man and all men, as well as all values of humanity."

The Church "responds therefore to the law of the recapitulation of everything in Christ (Ephesians 1:10)." ("Chretiens Desunis, Principes d'Un Oecumenisme Catholique," 1937).

Q: And why do you consider catholicity so important for the integration of differences in unity?

Father Cattaneo: Catholicity, as the rest of the essential characteristics of the Church, is a gift and a task. The expression comes from the Greek "kata holon," which means "according to the whole" or "extended to the whole," indicating that the parts and differences must be in keeping with the whole, with a unity made of fullness, which must be continually realized and founded on the plenitude of the grace of Christ.

Q: Can you indicate the practical consequences that this has for the governance of the local Church?

Father Cattaneo: In pastoral governance, the diocesan bishop must take into account the catholicity of the local Church, and not confuse unity with pastoral uniformity at all costs, which makes difficult the fruitful insertion of the different charisms.

One cannot think that the only thing that is legitimate is what is organized by some diocesan organisms because then whoever does not submit to the decisions of such organisms runs the risk of being excluded from the paradoxically called "structures of communion."

Q: Don't you think that there must be limits to variety in the Church to guarantee unity?

Father Cattaneo: I think the question is incorrectly posed because it assumes as a given that unity and variety are necessarily opposed when, in fact, it is not so. Suffice it to think of the most holy Trinity that is a mystery of perfect unity in the diversity of the persons. The eruption of the numerous apostolic charisms, which give new life to our parishes and dioceses, has made the topic especially timely, of great importance also for ecumenism.

Q: But don't you think that at times there is tension between unity and variety?

Father Cattaneo: Indeed, the fact that these two aspects are not necessarily opposed does not mean that they are automatically in harmony. In fact, it is a challenge that the Church must address continually.

After dedicating an ample study to the local Church, I have been concerned many times with questions relating to the insertion in the parish and the diocese of the different ecclesial realities (personal pastoral structures, institutes of consecrated life, movements and various groups). I have brought together those studies in this book, some of which are still unpublished.

Q: The first great concentration of movements and ecclesial communities with the Pope was held in Rome in 1998. What are the reasons that impel Benedict XVI to repeat that meeting, programming it for Pentecost this year?

Father Cattaneo: Pentecost of 1998 was very special because that year was dedicated to the Holy Spirit -- part of the three-year period in preparation for the Great Jubilee of 2000. That Benedict XVI wishes to repeat it seems to me to be an eloquent sign of the interest and confidence that he also has in movements.

I think the reasons are the same as those that moved his predecessor, among them I would mention above all the desire to be able to count increasingly on them, in the urgent and enormous work of the new evangelization.

Q: What is Benedict XVI's vision of the movements?

Father Cattaneo: I have referred to the interest with which he views the Movements. I think it stems from his strong missionary yearning, from the conviction that one must be profoundly committed to re-Christianize our society, to, among other things, make Europe rediscover its Christian roots.

I would say moreover that the Pope's sensitivity to the charisms that have given rise to so many ecclesial movements is the fruit of his attitude of profound humility and at the same time of responsibility at the service of the Church that he himself manifested in the homily of the Mass at the opening of his Pontificate.

Benedict XVI said: "My true program of government is that of not doing my will, of not following my own ideas, but of listening, with the whole Church, to the word and will of the Lord and of letting myself be guided by him, so that it is he himself who guides the Church in this hour of our history."

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Movements, Church, Vatican, Cattaneo, Canon, Law

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.