Friday, March 07, 2003

CL's charism

Sunday I posted a question, wondering about the charism of the (relatively) new Catholic religious movement Communion and Liberation, or CL for short. As I noted in that post, I'm somewhat familiar with the work and project of CL's founder, Italian priest Msgr. Luigi Giussani. What has been less clear to me is the charism of CL itself, as a religious movement within the Catholic Church.

Fortunately, a friend and member of CL put me in touch with a diocesan priest who is also involved with CL, and this week we had a very nice conversation about the movement. He was able to explain the group's charism in a very concrete way: CL's charism, as explained by this priest, is to promote the encounter with Jesus, especially through friendships. Now this in itself sounds like it is the charism of Christianity in general; what makes CL different -- in my opinion -- is the method by which it promotes this encounter: this encounter is fostered in the coming-together of members to discuss texts they are reading -- often Msgr. Giussani's works, but others as well -- and to reflect upon them with each other from their own experiences. Part of this involves a vocabulary which is somewhat unique to CL, in that Msgr. Giussani has a particular language he employs. The charism of CL also includes a critical openness to modernity, in which the true, good, and beautiful in modern society and culture is recognized and valued, while the rest is set aside.

Much of this is my own understanding, based on what this priest had to say, but I think it accurately portrays CL. In any case, the conversation was very helpful for me.

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