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Kiko Argüello’s Address at Vigil

“The Church Is Always in Combat Against the Beast”

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2006 Here is a translation of the commentary on Psalm 146 given by Kiko Argüello, founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, on Saturday at Benedict XVI’s meeting with ecclesial movements and new communities.

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Most Beloved Father:

Thank you for the opportunity given to me to speak.

We have heard Psalm 146 in which we are invited to praise God because “the Lord builds up Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem and above all its temple was rebuilt by Zorobabel and Joshua, a layman and a priest. Before them, Moses and Aaron did so, then Peter and Paul, who are the two witnesses of whom Revelation speaks. We can say: charism and institution. Charism and institution, united, are co-essential to the mission of the Church, said Pope John Paul II at Pentecost in 1998.

Referring to the feast of Pentecost that we celebrate today, Pope John Paul II said in the Symposium of European Bishops in 1986: “To carry out an effective work of evangelization, we must again be inspired by the first apostolic model. We contemplate this model, which serves as foundation and is paradigmatic, in the Cenacle: The apostles are united and, with Mary, persevere in waiting to receive the gift of the Spirit. Only with the effusion of the Spirit does the work of evangelization begin. The gift of the Spirit is the first incentive, the first source, the first breath of authentic evangelization. It is necessary, therefore, to begin evangelization invoking the Spirit and seeing where the Spirit blows (cf. John 3:8).

“Some symptoms of this breath of the Spirit are certainly present today in Europe. To find them, to support and develop them, it is necessary at times to put aside atrophied schemes to go where life begins, where we see fruits of life produced ‘according to the Spirit.'”

Pope John Paul II said this to European bishops after having spoken of the destruction of the family and the secularization of Europe, affirming that the Holy Spirit has already given the answer. He is giving the answer: Here we are, Holy Father, the new charisms, the new realities that the Holy Spirit brings about to help priests, parishes, bishops, the Pope. “The Lord builds up Jerusalem.” The Church is always in combat against the beast. Only an adult faith of Christians who bear in their bodies the death of Jesus will save the world.

But, Holy Father, how difficult it is for institutions to understand that they are in need of the charisms! That is why we need the ecclesiology of Vatican II to be applied, an ecclesiology of communion, of the Church as body. In a word, what is more urgent today than ever is the application of the Second Vatican Council.

In this way, is understood why Pope John XXIII, in the apostolic constitution “Humanae Salutis” (1961), with which he convoked the council, began saying: “The Church witnesses a crisis today taking place in society. While humanity turns towards a new age, tasks of immense gravity and breadth await the Church, as in the most tragic periods of history. Efforts must be made to confront the modern world with the vivifying and lasting energies of the Gospel.”

Pope John XIII was able to prophesy the “New Age,” postmodernity, visible atheism, in which we are submerged. We must understand that only the beheaded lamb conquers the beast and that for Christians to become that lamb, they are in need of charisms, of an adult faith, of Christian initiation: This is the mission of the Neocatechumenal Way.

Holiness, I will end by saying that the Neocatechumenal Way, along with many others that are present in this square today, is a sign of the application of this Psalm: “The Lord builds up Jerusalem.”

I hope that this fact, in these admirable vespers of Pentecost of 2006, be for you and all of us a great consolation.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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