Thursday, May 1, 2008

What is Communion and Liberation?

Communion and Liberation is an ecclesial movement whose purpose
is the education to Christian maturity of its adherents and collaboration
in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life.
It began in Italy in 1954 when Fr Luigi Giussani established
a Christian presence in Berchet high school in Milan with a group
called Gioventù Studentesca (Student Youth), GS for short.
The current name of the movement, Communion and Liberation (CL),
appeared for the first time in 1969. It synthesizes the conviction that
the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of the authentic
liberation of man. Communion and Liberation is today present
in about seventy countries throughout the world.
There is no type of membership card, but only the free participation
of persons. The basic instrument for the formation of adherents
is weekly catechesis, called “School of Community.”
The official magazine of the Movement is the international monthly,
Traces – Litterae Communionis

The essence of the charism given to Communion and Liberation can be signaled by three factors.

  • first of all, the announcement that God became man (the wonder, the reasonableness, the enthusiasm for this): “The Word was made flesh and dwells among us.”
  • secondly, the affirmation that this man – Jesus of Nazareth dead and risen – is a present event in a “sign” of “communion,” i.e., of unity of a people guided, as a guarantee, by a living person, ultimately the Bishop of Rome;
  • thirdly: only in God made man, man, therefore only in His presence and, thus only through – in some way – the experienceable form of His presence (therefore, ultimately only within the life of the Church) can man be truer and mankind be truly more human. St Gregory Nazianzen writes, “If I were not Yours, my Christ, I would feel like a finished creature”. It is thus from His presence that both morality and the passion for the salvation of man (which is mission) spring up.

The history
The major milestones in a journey
From 1954 to now

Moments in the life of the Movement

CL around the world
Addresses and countries where the Movement is present

Documents By Luigi Giussani
Fr Giussani’s letter to John Paul II on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Communion and Liberation.
January 26th, 2004
Fr Giussani’s letter to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his Pontificate.
Panorama, October 30th, 2003
Fr Giussani’s letter to the Fraternity following the annual pilgrimage to Loreto.
June 22nd, 2003
Fr Giussani’s letter to the Fraternity for the twentieth anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
February 22nd, 2002
Fr Giussani’s testimony as presented at the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s Seminar, “Ecclesiastical movements and the new communities in the pastoral care of the Bishops”.
June 18th, 1998
Recognizing Christ
How a movement is born.

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."