16 December 2011

We are pleased to share with you a fragment of the third Advent sermon to the papal household, delivered by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa on December 16th, 2011. In it, he refers to the important work of the CCR in the task of evangelization within the Church, taking the Latin American continent as an example. Let’s praise the Lord together and rejoice for having such a great minister of the Holy Spirit at the very heart of the Church! Read below:

“In one of his documents, John Paul II said that the proliferation of sects forced us to ask why, to ask what is lacking in our pastoral methods. My own conviction, based on experience — and not only in Latin American countries — is as follows. What is attractive outside the Church are not certain alternative forms of popular piety, which the majority of other churches and sects reject and fight against. It is a proclamation, partial perhaps, but powerful, of the grace of God, the possibility of experiencing Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Saviour, belonging to a group of people who personally take care of your needs, who pray over you when medicine has nothing more to say. ”If on the one hand we can rejoice that these people have found Christ and have been converted, it is sad that in order to do so they felt they had to leave their Church. In the majority of churches where these brothers and sisters end up, everything revolves around first conversion and the acceptance of Jesus as Lord. In the Catholic Church, thanks to the sacraments, the magisterium, and the wealth of spirituality, there is the advantage of not stopping at that initial stage, but one can reach the fullness and perfection of the Christian life. The saints are proof of this. But it is necessary to take that conscious and personal initial step, and this is precisely where we are challenged and stimulated by the evangelical and Pentecostal communities. ”In this respect, the Charismatic Renewal has proved to be, in the words of Paul VI, ‘a chance for the Church.’ In Latin America, the pastors of the Church are realising that the Charismatic Renewal is not (as some believed at the beginning) ‘part of the problem’ of the exodus of Catholics from the Church, but is rather part of the solution to the problem. Statistics will never show how many people have remained faithful to the Church because of it, because they found within its ranks what others were looking for elsewhere. The numerous communities that have sprung up from within the Charismatic Movement, albeit with the limitations and at times the drifting that one finds in any human venture, are at the front line of service to the Church and of evangelization.”

If you want to read the full sermon, visit Fr. Cantalamessa’s website.

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