Front the Revd Dr Ian Ker Sir, I was delighted at the prominence you have given (April 13) to Cardinal Winning's important endorsement of the new movements. The Cardinal is following the lead of the Pope, who wrote in 1998: "From the beginning of my Pontificate I have given special importance to the progress of the ecclesial movements."
May I draw the attention of your readers to the Pope's use of the word "ecclesial"? He sees them as
Church not lay movements — the
word your report uses. This is very significant because they are indeed movements of the whole Church — bringing together in a common if differentiated endeavour all the baptized — not only the laity but also bishops, priests, and religious.
Theologically, this is very important because ii is consistent with the definition of the Church with which the Vatican 11 Constitution of the Church opens, when it teaches that the Holy Spirit "bestows upon her varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts ..." In other words, it doesn't speak of the Church as consisting of clergy and laity but rather as consisting of the baptized who have different functions and gifts within the unity of the Body of Chsrtispi Paul didn't define the Church,
either, as being comprised of clergy and laity. but told the Corinthians, "Now you together are Christ's body; but each of you is a different part of it. In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers ..." and so on. The Vatican II Constitution echoes this when it goes on to stipulate: "Among these gifts the primacy belongs to the grace of the apostles to whose authority the Spirit himself subjects even those who are endowed with charisrns."
This ecclesiotogy is reflected in the movements, which is why they are such an exciting development and represent something so different from the pre-Vatican II clericalized Church and the post-Vatican II laicized ("We are Church") Church. They arc al Icireshingly distinct from the ii.lborative ministry" model ill i hurch, which, interestingly, cam ies both
the old clericalism and the s laicism. The movements are town)/ loyal to the Pope and have the highest respect for the sacrament of holy orders. But they are not ciesicalized. Nor an they laicized. They follow the ecclesiology of St Paul and Vatican II.
Yours faithfully. IAN KER Burford.
Images of Christ
From Sister Hilda R.A.
Sir, It occurs to me to wonder whether "images of Jesus of Nazareth would have abounded shortly after his death" as Father Richard Barrett suggests (April 6). The parallel with Lourdes suffers from a 19 century gap in time and a marked cultural divide. The first generation Christians who had actually seen Jesus were for the most part Jews for whom representational art offended against the command of God. For archaeologists working on Roman period remains here in the Holy Land, one of the criteria for distinguishing between Roman and Jewish buildings is that while non-representational paintings, carvings and ceramics might belong to either, anything which is representational is very unlikely to be Jewish. Your readers from other Christian traditions can probably throw more light on reasons for having bare crosses but I understand from one of my Anglican friends that an empty "Resurrection cross" witnessed that Jesus is no longer dead. Alleluia!
Yours faithfully, SISTER HILDA Saint Peter in Gallicante