Role of New Communities in Implementation of Vatican II

Source: FSSPX News


On May 17, on the occasion of a seminar of study concerning new communities, Benedict XVI invited participating bishops to “closely accompany the movements and new communities with paternal solicitude.” Some of them need an “even more delicate and watchful accompaniment,” but always with corrections which are “the expression of great love.”

For the pope, “ecclesial movements and new communities are one of the most important novelties the Holy Spirit has generated in the Church in order to put Vatican Council II into effect.” In his eyes, they appeared precisely during the years  immediately following  the Council, a time filled with exciting promises, yet also characterized by painful trials.”

Benedict XVI mentioned “the new lay groups which, in various and surprising ways, restored vitality, faith and hope to the entire Church.” He also rejoiced over their strong missionary drive, and their desire to share with all the precious experience of meeting with Christ. However, he acknowledged that “such novelty  still needs to be correctly understood at the light of God’s design and of the Church’s mission.


Our Comment

After the second Vatican Council which had wished to put forth the importance of the role of the laity in the Church, many movements -- called “new communities” -- were founded. Among them are numbered the communities of the Emmanuel, the New Way and also the Beatitudes, to which we can add associations such as the Neo-catéchumenal Way or the Focolare, founded in 1943, and very much committed to ecumenical dialogue. The development of these movements, which are autonomous, but wish to become integrated into the life of the Church, is not easy. Their activities are perceived as competing, as it were, with parish life. For this reason, their integration into dioceses was often a source of difficulties.

Yet, the problems raised by these “new communities” are not only of a disciplinary but also of a doctrinal kind. Indeed, they are inspired by a charismatism of neo-Protestant origin which is opposed to traditional Catholic theology (“baptism of the Spirit”). Besides, it favors an effusive liturgical practice with the “speaking in diverse tongues” and more or less spectacular healings.

 See DICI n° 137, July 2006, Benedict XVI and Charismatic Renewal.