Authentic New Movements: Tradition and Freshness

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko FAITH Magazine November-December 2006

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity made the following appeal in Colombia last year

"Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20).

The great novelty brought to the Church by ecclesial movements and new communities obviously raises frequent questions and causes a certain confusion with regard to the established way of doing things at the day-to-day pastoral level. As John Paul II said, "When the Spirit intervenes, we are always surprised. The Spirit causes events whose newness startles us." As we have repeated so often, the movements represent a challenge and a healthy invitation to which the Church must respond by vocation.

With their overflowing passion for the mission, the movements also challenge our preconceived notions of "being Church" which are perhaps too comfortable and too adapted to the spirit of the age. A few years ago Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made reference to "a gray pragmatism in the Church's daily life (…) in which everything appears to be "business as usual," but in which faith is actually eroded and cast into confusion.

The "calm conservation" vision of the Church which is so prevalent in certain circles today comes under direct challenge by the movements' vision of a missionary Church courageously projected toward new frontiers. This latter vision ought to help diocesan and parish pastoral programmes recover a much needed prophetic, militant element. The Church of today is greatly in need of this. It must

be open to the newness produced by the Spirit: "I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:19).

Faith Magazine

November - December 2006