VALENCIA, Spain, JULY 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Representatives of various movements introduced their charisms at the Theological-Pastoral Congress being held in the context of the 5th World Meeting of Families.
Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Meeting on Saturday and Sunday.
Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, was introduced by Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, archbishop emeritus of Boston, Massachusetts, who said that the Knights of Columbus have 1.7 million members worldwide and that last year they carried out charitable works amounting to 128 million dollars and 62 million hours of voluntary work.
Anderson, philosopher and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, centered his address on “the family beyond ideology.”
Addressing 6,000 participants, Anderson made a historical analysis of Marxist ideology and liberal traditions, which consider the family as something that impedes progress and should disappear, he stated.
However, Anderson rebutted, “the relationship of living together in the family makes each person more human and more fully a person. It is a natural institution that arises from man and woman. It is an inalienable relationship born from concrete human reality and not from ideologies.”
Cardinal Jaime Ortega, archbishop of Havana, Cuba, presided at a panel in which founders and representatives of the several ecclesial lay movements participated.
“At this time, when the family has been threatened, the voice of the Church has not been wanting in warning about the dangers of the present wave of paganism,” noted Cardinal Ortega.
Salvatore Martinez, coordinator of Italy’s Renewal in the Spirit, said that this movement is present in 204 countries. He said that the family must be the subject and object of renewal.
He highlighted two initiatives of his movement in favor of the family: in Loreto, it welcomes and evangelizes families, offering 20 courses on spirituality. In Caltagirone, Sicily, the first city has been created dedicated to prisoners and their families, where they attend a three-year course before leaving prison.
He affirmed that “the Christian family continues to be the best laboratory of hope for humanity.”
Three thousand members of this movement have arrived in Valencia.
On introducing Kiko Arguello, founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that 200,000 members of the Way are going to Valencia to meet with the Pope.
Arguello explained that his movement seeks “to offer couples a Christian initiation, living in a small community, in the image of the family of Nazareth.” He highlighted the domestic celebration of the Word in Neo-Catechumenal families, where the faith is transmitted to children.
Andrea Riccardi, founder of Sant’Egidio Community, explained that this new ecclesial reality is present in 60 countries.
He focused his address on the problem of loneliness which afflicts present-day society. “The vertigo of loneliness makes life unfruitful; we live it every day in a world sick with loneliness and without family,” he said.
“Our community affirms everywhere that the family cannot be left alone and that the Church is a family of families. We must experience the Church as a family; there is a consubstantial link between the family and the transmission of faith.”
Graziella De Luca, of the Focolare Movement, presented New Families, “a widespread world movement of married couples of all cultures, races, ages and social levels that, thanks to the spirituality of unity, see how their love is strengthened every day more.”
Alberto Marxuach, international president of Crescendo, presented this organization which, he said, is not a new movement but “a coalition of organizations and congregations, each one active according to its charism, in the field of aging.
“Its creation as a network was announced on the occasion of a congress in Rome in the context of the Jubilee of the Elderly, seen as one of the fruits of the Jubilee” of the year 2000.