Skip to main content


Ecclesial Movements Called Church's 'New Wine'

Already in 1985, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger referred to movements as a "new generation in the Church."


ROME (Zenit) - Young ecclesial movements are "new wine" for the Church, and there is still time to put them into "new wineskins," affirmed a professor at an Opus Dei university in Rome.Luis Navarro spoke of the ecclesial movements and the recent magisterium in an address last week during the inauguration of the academic year at the Pontifical University Holy Cross.

Bishop Javier Echavarría, chancellor of the university and prelate of Opus Dei, attended the event.

Navarro noted that already in 1985, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger referred to movements as a "new generation in the Church. He said a renewal was "tranquil, but effectively on the way."

"This was profound and prophetic ," Navarro said, "in a moment in which few could think, to use an expression coined by John Paul II, of the new Pentecost at the end of the 20th century," given that then a "winter in the Church" was spoken of.

In the following decades, he added, Cardinal Ratzinger "stayed close, accompanying these groups, and he sought, through theological reflection, to make them understood and loved."

The professor presented the magisterium of Benedict XVI regarding the ecclesial movements, dividing his address into four parts: general characteristics of the papal magisterium, the role of the Holy Spirit in movements, the ecclesial value of movements, and the relationship between pastors and ecclesial movements.

Never easy

Regarding the first point, he stressed that current pontifical teaching is in continuation with that of Pope John Paul II. Navarro also looked at Benedict XVI's awareness "of the positive and negative reactions brought about by the movements, and in particular, their difficult insertion into the particular Churches and parishes."

The Holy Father, in fact, "does not hide that the new forms of Christian life have always been uncomfortable in their beginnings, and are not easily understood," Navarro added.

Regarding the Holy Spirit and his role in movements, the link "is particularly intimate," Navarro contended. On various occasions, he noted, the Pontiff has indicated that movements are gifts of the Spirit and, thus, neither an initiative of the hierarchy nor of the faithful, but of God.

This charismatic origin implies the need of being at the service of the Body of Christ, such that "each movement has its reason for being in the building up of the Church, inasmuch as the very movement forms part of it," he continued. "If the movements do not adequately insert themselves in the universal Church and the particular Churches, they do not serve, they do not build up. The movements live for and in unity."

Effective evangelizing

Speaking of the ecclesial value of the movements, the professor said it is already substantial. He cited numerous vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life fostered within these ecclesial realities. In the "highly secularized and relativistic world in which we live," they constitute "a privileged instrument of evangelization in every sector of society."

In this context, Navarro added, the relationship between pastors and movements is an "indispensable" goal, especially since "there is no conflict between the institutional and charismatic aspects of the Church."

The Pope, he said, asks pastors to have a "deeply paternal attitude" and the movements to have a "readiness for discernment."

Regarding the canonical aspects of these movements, Navarro affirmed that in the first place, it is necessary to recognize "the right to life for these new realities in the Church," according to their particular charisms.

"The whole Church, pastors and the rest of the faithful, should respect this right," he said. "The directors and members of the movements have the right and the duty to be faithful to their own charism."

Navarro said movements have "the grave obligation to let themselves be known as they are in daily life. To offer a partial vision implies to falsify their identity and impede the ecclesiastical authorities from being able to make a declaration according to the truth of the ecclesiality of the reality."

Ecclesial recognition of the movements, therefore, "is not just a simple formal process, which requires an examination of the statutes or norms, but rather an ecclesial event, by which a declaration is made to the entire Christian community that such and such a group is truly in the Church and for the Church," he explained. "The reality is recognized, not a piece of paper."

Recalling the words of Jesus, "People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved," the professor concluded that "in the case of the movements and the related magisterium of the Pope, we are still in time to put the new wine in new wineskins."

"This," he affirmed, "will be possible if all of us have our minds and hearts open to these gifts of the Spirit to his Church."

Keywords:



NEWSLETTERS »

E-mail:       Zip Code: (ex. 90001)
Today's Headlines

Sign up for a roundup of the day's top stories. 5 days / week. See Sample

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 3 of 3 Comments

  1. Joy
    4 years ago

    We so often forget what we have in the Catholic church. We have Jesus present- body, blood, soul, and divinity! He could not have been more clear in John chp. 6 when he said, "You should eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood", then repeated himself and said, "Truly I tell you, my body is real food, and my blood real drink, whoever does not eat my flesh and drink my blood has no life in him." Then, many followers began to leave him because he was talking about canabalism. We know that when God the father looks down on us he TRULY sees his son. We are given "soul grafts" so to speak, and his body and blood nourish our precious immortal soul. We must eat food and drink liquid for our physical bodies or we will die. How much more true is that statement when regarding the food for our souls, the bread of angels!

  2. Marianne Shibilski
    4 years ago

    I have been walking in the Neo Catechumenal Way since last Spring, when I experienced a conversion of heart during a catechesis in a nearby parish. I now look at life in light of eternity and continue to grow in the realization of the depth of God's love for us. It is a very intimate love from the Father. My goal is to spread the Good News to everyone I come in contact with so they, too, can experience this great joy.

  3. Josue Gonzalez
    5 years ago

    The Neo Cathechumenal Way is a wonderful charism, I have walked in my own community since age thirteen and if it was not for the way I would have left the church. Throught the way and the various steps I have fallen in love with God and my church. Even in my rebellious times in which I stepped away from the church and went to look other places I rediscovered and continue discovering my MY GOD, HIS SON, MY CHURCH and the true meaning of my baptism through my experience in the WAY.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Find your Path Now