What are the so-called "ecclesial movements"? How should they insert themselves in the local Church? What can the People of God can learn from them? How should they live their own charism as a service to all?
In these pages the reader will find a balanced explanation and definition of what lay associations and ecclesial movements are today. As new realities, they deserve to be known better and understood in their contemporary characteristics. They have become and are becoming ever more relevant in the task of new evangelization. This is a result of both the maturating process that the ecclesial movements have passed through and of the support and accompaniment by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
The first four sections of this work give an adequate theological framework for assessing the topic. In that part of the book, the notion of the Church as an “organic and missionary” communion is given a key role, and a “theology of charisms” is developed. Moreover, a set of “criteria of ecclesiality” for lay associations and movements is also explained. Section Five focuses on the topic of the insertion of these realities, with their own specific charisms and identities, in the particular Church. Different aspects of this issue are analyzed taking into account a good number of real life experiences, without putting aside the tensions that sometimes arise, but also taking into account the ways in which the latter were or could be resolved. Section Six moves on into the missionary identity of lay associations and movements, linking their apostolic nature with the call for a new evangelization. The last section is a summary of the main ideas in the text, articulated around the notion of “hope”.
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