Thc CharismatiC Renewal is making rapid strides in England and Wales, as was evident at a six-day conference held at Ampleforth College last week entitled "And the greatest of these is love."
The recent appointment of Bishop Langton Fox as Ecclesiastical Advisor to the renewal is most significant, for the hierarchy do not make appointments to things of which they do not approve.
The spirit of the conference was a successful blending of the freedom and joy of St Francis and the prayer of St Benedict. There emerged, However, a very serious call to action, especially to the evangelisation of the poor and to the core of the underprivileged, the deprived, the unclubbable and the hitherto unchurchable.
The new Abbot of Ampleforth, Dom Ambrose Griffiths, said: "If you say you are Charismatic, men will turn away from you. If you show the fruits of the Holy Spirit, men will follow you."
A tape-recorded message
from Cardinal Suenens, giving support and encouragement, also gave the information that further documents from Malines were to follow the first one which was entitled "Pastoral and Theological Orientations of the Charismatic Renewal." Among them would be one written by himself in collaboration with Archbishop Helder Camara on "Prayer and Social Action."
Fr Sean Conaty, a parish priest from Newcastle-uponTyne, dealt with holiness and its problems. He said the following of Christ in the details of modern living was not easy. "What priest would allow a homeless vagrant to sleep the night in the parish house?" He asked: "If Christ came today would we accept him?" In a talk on Wednesday, Sister Mary McAleese of the Community of Parish Mission Sisters, made the most explicit call to the apostolate. She gave an account of some of the work she had carried out among the under-privileged of Liverpool, where she had worked side by side with her people as a sort of "worker-nun," not unlike the "worker-priests" of France. She had herself experienced the descending spiral. of dehumanising labour, bad housing and bad health.
She spoke of the urgent need to accept the poor exactly where they were, to realise that the "in" language of church people was unintelligible or offputting to the majority of them. Many indeed saw the Church as irrevelant in their hard lives in which the dice seemed always to be loaded against them.
Cardinal Suenens on 'charismatic spring'
Cardinal Leo Suenens Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Ohio, told some 700 nuns gathered at the College of Steubenville, that the Charismatic Renewal Movement was "the beginning of a soringtime" in the Catholic Church and in Christianity at large.
The Cardinal was the principal celebrant and preacher at a Mass marking the opening of the first National Charismatic Conference for Religious Women in the Church.