Communion and Liberation's "Crossing of the Desert"

Monsignor Camisasca Talks of Key Moments for the Movement

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ROME, MAY 9, 2003 ( The Communion and Liberation movement had two intense periods: its origins and its recovery.

And between them was a “crossing of the desert,” says Monsignor Massimo Camisasca. The monsignor was one of the first followers of this ecclesial movement, founded in Milan by Luigi Giussani in 1954.

On Thursday, Monsignor Camisasca presented two books on the history of Communion and Liberation. The first describes “The Origins” (1954-1968), while the second is concerned with “La Ripresa” (The Renewal) of the movement (1969-1976).

What happened between 1965 and 1969, the years when Monsignor Giussani was separated from the movement he founded?

Monsignor Camisasca, superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of the St. Charles Missionaries, a society of apostolic life that receives the priests of Communion and Liberation, revealed that “although the founder himself has not written anything or spoken on this subject, it is known that it was the archbishop of Milan at that time who sent him to America to study theology.”

The purpose was for Monsignor Giussani to forget his complete commitment to the movement, and return to his teaching post in theology in Milan.

Those years without Giussani heading the movement coincided with the revolutions of 1968 and with internal crises. He returned to his post in 1975 and redirected the movement, which recovered its vitality immediately, a vitality that it continues to enjoy today.

Monsignor Camisasca describes the moment as “the movement’s rebirth.”

“CL is a real movement: Monsignor Giussani is always in constant movement toward other people, awakening in them what he calls ‘fundamental experiences,'” he said.

Monsignor Camisasca explained that, “thanks to Giussani’s aesthetic sense, much importance is given to literature, to music, and to images in the movement.”

“CL’s founder has two great passions: Christ and man,” he said.

Replying to the question on the type of influence that Communion and Liberation has had on Italian culture, Monsignor Camisasca replied that “preference has been given to the formation of professors, journalists and workers,” thus pointing out three areas of great influence.

The talk and presentation of the books was organized by the chaplaincy of the University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

According to its Web page, Communion and Liberation aims to bring its members to Christian maturity and to collaborate in the mission of the Church in all walks of contemporary life.

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