Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What CL Holds Most Dear

Veteran readers will recall B16's affinity for Comunione e Liberazione (CL) -- the Italy-based global movement that, by his own admission, "changed [his] life"... and has quietly become the most influential of his pontificate.

Eight weeks before his election, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made a rare turn as a papal legate -- even rarer, an assignment given at his own request -- to preach the Milan funeral of CL's founder, Msgr Luigi Giussani. From the Apartment, the pontiff (shown above with CL-folk earlier this year) remains a participant in the weekly "School of Community" expected of the cielini -- its Vatican version led, as before, by one of the four women of the movement's branch for consecrated laity the Memores Domini, who comprise the Pope's live-in household staff.

What's more, last year Benedict gave the movement its first bishop, naming 47 year-old Paolo Pezzi -- a member of the order of priests founded by Giussani -- to the politically-sensitive archbishopric of Moscow, and Don Giussani's successor as CL's helm Fr Julian Carrón remains a frequent caller (and key backchannel) to the Pope.

All that as prologue, the movement's New York-based American branch has released an election statement of its own which -- given CL's significant echoes in the reign of Papa Ratzi -- is worth noting.

Here it is in full, emphases (and text-sizes) original...
As the Holy Father taught in Deus Caritas Est, “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful” (no. 29). This duty is more critical than ever in today’s political environment, where Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the Church’s comprehensive commitment to the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. Yet this is not a time for retreat or discouragement; rather, it is a time for renewed engagement. (“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)


As lay Catholics struggling to be faithful to the call of our bishops, we have arrived at the following judgments.

Fr. Giussani taught us that in front of life’s real problems and challenges, what we hold most dear surfaces. Thus, within the privacy of the voting booth we will see “whether faith is really in the foreground, whether faith truly comes first, whether we really expect everything from the fact of Christ or whether we expect what we decide to expect from the fact of Christ.”

We welcome the opportunity to vote as an educational one that will allow us to witness to what we hold most dear. We do not hope for salvation from politics or politicians. Yet we understand the critically important role that politics plays in our common American life.

For this reason two concerns matter most to us and we will vote according to which candidates and parties demonstrate an authentic care for these concerns.

First: Freedom of Religion. Political power must recognize faith’s undeniable contribution to the defense and broadening of human reason and its promotion of authentic human progress. This is a guarantee of freedom for everyone, not only for Christians. And this freedom must include the freedom to speak, convince, act, and build in the public square; religious freedom relegated to one’s private life is not religious freedom at all.

Second: The Common Good. Those who hold political power must do so as a service to the common good of the entire nation.

We consider the recognition and defense of three self-evident truths regarding human beings the minimum commitment to the common good: the right to life from conception to natural death; the irreplaceable value of the family, founded on the marriage between a man and woman; and freedom of education.

For the common good, we further seek politicians and political parties that value subsidiarity, a partnership between the public and private sectors facilitated by a robust non-profit sector. At the same time, we seek persons engaged in politics who recognize that subsidiarity can never annul the solidarity we owe to all our brothers and sisters living in this nation. There is no care for the common good that ignores basic human needs of millions in our nation.

These judgments will determine our support for particular candidates and political initiatives in the upcoming elections.
Released in September, the statement's de facto imprimatur came from no less a competent authority than the cardinal-archbishop of Boston, who ran it on his blog.