Catholic Action Prepping for ´02 Assembly

President Warns Members Against Secularization

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ROME, MAY 3, 2001 ( Catholic Action in Italy heard a bishop´s plea to remain «firm in the faith,» while its president exhorted members to resist «secularization.»

Catholic Action´s four-day national congress, which ended here Sunday, was held in preparation for next April´s national assembly, which will involve 8,000 parishes. With 500,000 members, Catholic Action is the largest lay movement in Italy.

Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary-general of the Italian episcopal conference, urged Catholic Action members to remain «firm in the faith at a time of change.» He said it is important that the laity «be capable of speaking about the Gospel, give the reasons for it, and be able to dialogue with today´s world.»

Next year´s national assembly will focus on topics including formation, the parish and diocese, the city, peace, solidarity, education and partnerships. Parish- and diocesan-level groups will study the themes prior to the national assembly.

Addressing the congress, Catholic Action President Paola Bignardi said: «The times reveal the fragility of our faith. We have realized to what degree it was connected with traditions and customs, and depended on a model.»

To be Christians today, Bignardi added, means especially to be able to resist the temptations of secularization and of «bureaucratization» of the faith, and meet the «positive stimulation» coming from the challenges of the day.

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