Although Pope Benedict follows John Paul II in his devotion to conservative Catholic renewal groups carrying out the “new evangelization,”–from Opus Dei to the Legion of Christ — it is particularly the Italian-based movement, Communion and Liberation (CL) that has inspired the current pontiff. The Tablet (June 17) reports that CL’s influence on the pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, has remained strong since the 1970s.
Like Benedict, the movement started on the theological left but after the late 1960s veered to the right, stressing a personal encounter with Christ and Catholic orthodoxy. Among the first priests to be ordained exclusively for CL was the current Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, now one of the pope’s closest advisors. Other CL connected leaders with close ties to Benedict are Cardinal Carlo Caffara, archibishop of Bologna, and cardinals Marc Ouellette of Quebec and Christoph Shonborn of Vienna. The magazine adds that the Vatican’s recent world congress on renewal or “ecclesial” movements was dominated by speakers from CL or those close to the group, and the “pope’s homily at the mega Vigil of Pentecost resonated with the writings of [Luigi] Giussani,” the founder of CL.
(The Tablet, 1 King Cloisters, Clifton Walk, London W6 0QZ UK)