Communion and Liberation is back, wielding an ‘armed beauty’

(Crux.  John L. Allen Jr.).

New lay movements arguably represent the most distinctive and consequential contribution to Catholic life of the 20th century, from Schoenstatt and Sant’Egidio to the Neocatechumenal Way and the Focolare. When one of them changes course, therefore, inevitably it has consequences across the board. Such would appear to be the case today with Communion and Liberation, once among the biggest and boldest of all the movements, and now struggling to shake off a decade-long period of crisis and retrenchment. The fact that a new CL is taking shape was recently announced in a 17-page manifesto for the future issued May 18 by David Prosperi, the Milan-based biochemist and nanomedicine expert who’s led the group by Vatican edict since November 2021. It came in an address to cultural centers in Italy associated with the movement. (Unfortunately, for the moment the text is available only in Italian.) The heart of Prosperi’s new vision – which, in some ways, amounts to an attempted return to the old vision associated with the movement’s founder, the late Father Luigi Giussani – came in the arresting image of an “armed beauty.”

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