Charisms and Church Authority Aren't Opposed, Says Argüello

Founder of Neocatechumenal Way Comments on Parish Life

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ROME, NOV. 30, 2004 ( New movements within the Church must respect their own charism as well as the authority of bishops, “without being set against one another,” says the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way.

Kiko Argüello made that point following a Friday round-table discussion that focused on parish life, an event organized by the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The topic “Associations, Movements and New Communities in the Parish” brought together a number of founders and key figures in ecclesial groups. These included Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Christian Life Movement; Paola Bignardi, president of Italian Catholic Action; Andrea Riccardi, president of the Community of Sant’Egidio; and Giorgio Feliciani, vice president of Communion and Liberation.

Addressing the plenary assembly, Kiko Argüello said: “To the title proposed by the assembly, ‘Discover the Real Face of the Parish,’ must be added a subtitle, which in fact should precede it, ‘What Does It Mean to Be a Christian Today?’ because the parish is a means to help Christians. It is a critical question.”

“To be a Christian is something enormous, because it means participating in the nature of God. And how is this spelled out? This is the important point,” said Argüello.

The founder of the Neocatechumenal Way reviewed other points addressed during the assembly.

“For me, one of the most important addresses was the one on the parish as a community of communities and movements, given by professor Arturo Catteneo,” Argüello said. “He explained the need of the faithful to live in a Christian community in the face of a society that is broken, that breaks up the family. It is necessary to live the faith in community.

“The same is said of the movements, which have received a charism from God and recognition from the Church, and must be present in the parish, respecting the two realms, both the pastoral of the bishop as well as the movement’s own charism, without being set against one another — simply recognizing the role that each has within the Church.”

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