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Brotherhoods help us look at our roots

by Michele Pennisi


... keep it going



To fulfill this mission, the brotherhoods - Pope Francis said on 5 May 2013 on the occasion of the World Day of Popular Piety - must articulate their existence around three fundamental principles: evangelism, ecclesiality and missionary spirit. They cannot stop to keep ancient traditions alive but are called to renew these traditions, bearing witness to being an outgoing Church animated by a missionary spirit. The manifestations of popular piety must be preserved from secularistic drifts that reduce them to folklore or from ambiguities of various kinds in order to keep them in mature and authentic forms.

Even the works of charity, which are part of the history of the Confraternities, must today be renewed according to the needs of the new times. The members of the brotherhoods are called to experience the richness of authentic fraternal relationships, the ability to effectively witness the Gospel in society, showing coherence between the Gospel and daily life. In the new season of aggregation of the lay faithful, traditional associations continue to be relevant to the extent that it is capable of renewing its presence in the Church and in society. In this sense, brotherhoods together with other ecclesial aggregations such as Catholic Action and the new Movements can continue to be privileged instruments of pastoral action if they are capable of renewing themselves in offering effective collaboration within the Christian community, conceived not as a club. of a select few, but as a popular reality that weaves fraternal relationships in the various areas of ordinary life. For Pope Francis, Europe is called to rediscover its humanistic soul founded on a relational vision of the person, inserted in a community. In a tired and aged Europe, compared by Francis to an old sterile grandmother, the memory of the past must be conceived “as the lifeblood that waters the present. A new protagonism of lay Christians willing to walk together in a climate of fraternity "will be able to restore the pure water of the Gospel to the roots of Europe" and transform it into a fruitful mother, the cradle of a new humanism.

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