Benedict XVI Signals Support for Ecclesial Movements

«With Paternal Affection,» Says Cardinal in Message to Charismatic Gathering

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 26, 2005 ( Benedict XVI will continue to guide «with paternal affection» the ecclesial movements, associations and communities, which were nurtured by Pope John Paul II, says the Vatican’s secretary of state.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano confirmed the new Pope’s intentions in a message sent Friday to the national congress of Renewal in the Spirit, which gathered 25,000 people in Rimini, Italy. That event ended Monday.

The letter, signed by Cardinal Sodano, included the Holy Father’s apostolic blessing.

The document expressed the Pope’s satisfaction to send, «at the start of the ministry of the Successor of Peter,» «a special thought» to all those gathered in Rimini for the occasion: bishops, priests who assist the movement’s groups, and numerous faithful from Italy and abroad.

«The beloved and venerated John Paul II, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit as he was, guided with great care the path of the ecclesial movements, associations and communities,» said Cardinal Sodano in his letter.

«With paternal affection, His Holiness [Benedict XVI] wishes to continue this service, so that the gifts that the Lord dispenses to his Church will be fully appreciated and oriented in the best way for the building of the Body of Christ which is the Church,» the Vatican secretary of state said.

Benedict XVI assured the meeting «of a special remembrance in prayer, invoking the heavenly intercession of Mary Most Holy» so that, «as [in] the first community gathered in the Cenacle,» she will preside spiritually over the «assiduous and harmonious» prayer of the participants, «obtaining a renewed effusion of the Paraclete,» the letter said.

With a strong call to unity, in remembrance of John Paul II, and with his thoughts focused on Benedict XVI, Salvatore Martinez, Renewal’s national coordinator, closed the meeting on Monday.

«Benedict XVI tells the truth: The Church is alive!» he said, recalling the Pope’s words on the eve of the solemn Mass for the inauguration of his pontificate.

Renewal «will never cease to cry out with the Pope that the Church is alive because it is inhabited by Jesus Christ alive and animated by the Holy Spirit,» Martinez added.

In Italy, more than 200,000 people in 1,800 communities and prayer groups share the spirituality of Renewal in the Spirit, an expression of the Catholic charismatic movement.

More than 100 million Catholics share the charismatic experience worldwide. The movement has a council, the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, that is recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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