Ecclesial movements and new communities, with their profound “sense of communion,” are a sign that the Spirit is acting in the Church, says theologian Archbishop Bruno Forte.
Members of these movements and communities will meet with Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square this Saturday, on the eve of Pentecost. Pope John Paul II convoked a similar meeting at Pentecost 1998.
“The flowering of movements has represented a sign of the renewed presence and action of the Spirit in the Church,” Archbishop Forte, 56, said on Italian radio.
“They are community expressions of charisms that the Spirit inspires and gives to the Church, … [and] as such must be read in the perspective of a theology of the Spirit, of a theology of charisms,” he said.
Archbishop Forte of Chieti-Vasto is a member of the International Theological Commission.
He said that the “presence and vitality” of the new movements and communities “is a sign that the Spirit is working in the Church and wills to enrich her with ever new gifts.”
This aspect is joined to the fact that these movements and communities “exist for common benefit, as with all charisms, their profound meaning is to be in the communion of the Church, at the service of her growth,” the prelate added.
“It means, therefore: in communion with the pastors, beginning with the bishops, and in the communion of the universal Church, with reference to profound communion with the Successor of Peter,” he said.
“This wealth, this wonderful expression of possibilities that the Spirit inspires, must result in what is the proper fruit of the Spirit, which is unity,” Archbishop Forte stressed.
The Second Vatican Council was decisive in the history of the new ecclesial movements and communities, since “its ecclesiological reflection … stimulated the Church to rediscover the wealth of the charisms and ministries within her,” he recalled.
And the Popes have always stressed, the archbishop added, “that, to be truly fruitful, this wealth must be well integrated in the communion of the People of God.”