In a message to the leaders of new lay movements, Pope Benedict XVI has saluted the groups for their "missionary commitment, for your increasing formative efforts among Christian families, and for the promotion of vocations to the priestly ministry and to consecrated life." At the same time, the Holy Father strongly cautioned that the new movements have a duty to accept the hierarchical authority of the Church.
The Pope's message, dated May 22, was made public by the Vatican press office on May 31, as 300 leaders of new lay movements gathered outside Rome for the 2nd World Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.
In his lengthy message, written in Italian, the Pontiff remarks that the Christian faith has always been "communicated and spread thanks to the novelty of the lives of individuals and communities who were capable of providing an incisive witness of love, unity and happiness." Today, he said, new movements can give the Church the same new vigor and enthusiasm that will spread the Gospel.
Pope Benedict urged the movements to act as "schools of communion," building up the Body of Christ and encouraging unity among the faithful. Above all, he said, they should spread the Word of God. "Carry the light of Christ into all the social and cultural environments in which you live," he urged them. "Illuminate the darkness of a world confused by the contradictory messages of ideologies."