Global Religious Leader to Speak to Students about Divinity of Christ
Joanna Gardner, Tower Staff
January 14, 2012
Filed under News
The leader of a Catholic movement that spans the globe and inspires thousands worldwide will speak on campus next week, leading a discussion on how modern man can accept the divinity of Christ.
Reverend Julián Carrón heads Communion and Liberation (CL), an ecclesial movement born in Italy in 1954 that has since spread to 76 countries. The movement was officially recognized by the Vatican in 1982.
The lecture, scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Caldwell Auditorium, will begin with a short talk and then will open to discussion, which organizers hope will be extensive. The Offices of the President and Campus Ministry and the student group Radius are sponsoring the event. The topic, “Can a Modern Man Believe in the Divinity of Christ?” is one they hope will resonate with a range of students.
“I think it’s very good that [Carrón] is coming to campus because being at Catholic University there’s already the assumption that we believe in the things Christianity says, and because the culture here is so Catholic we don’t look at the most basic fact: if Jesus is real or not,” said freshman Ginamarie Shaffer. Part of Shaffer’s decision to attend CUA was based on the fact that the campus has an active Communion and Liberation community. “First we have to verify in our own experience, in our own lives, that he is real and present.”
Carrón was originally invited to campus to speak during University President John H. Garvey’s Inaugural lecture series on virtue last year. When he was unavailable, the invitation was extended to this academic year.
Carrón is the first successor of CL’s founder, Fr. Luigi Giussani, who died in 2005. In addition to his leadership of CL, Carrón is a prominent scholar, specializing in the historicity of the Gospels and the origins of Christianity, and has served as consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Laity since 2008.
“Because the Communion and Liberation spirituality addresses the many challenges of living the Faith in our times, I believe Fr. Carron’s presentation will address our students’ need to experience God’s love and redemption in their daily lives,” said Reverend Jude DeAngelo, University Chaplain. “His talk specifically answers the question of how a person’s lived experience verifies the saving mission of Jesus. This is a message all people need to hear.”
The Communion and Liberation movement is active on CUA’s campus, attracting many members of the community, including faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. A central aspect of the movement are frequent, generally weekly, meetings, called School of Community, where participants meet for discussion and catechesis.
Tobias Hoffmann, a professor in the School of Philosophy and a long time participant in Communion and Liberation explained how the School of Community meetings, which take place every Friday for the CUA community, help the participants encounter Christ through sharing their own personal encounters in daily life and study of a particular text.
“It’s a concrete way to live the church, a continuous education where then I can also personally meet the presence of Christ…in the mystical way in which he disguises himself under the faces of the Christians that I meet,” Hoffmann said of the CL movement. “I can pay attention to how Christianity becomes incarnate in life through the witness of other people or even through my own understanding that I witness to others.”
For Hoffmann, the topic of the discussion is one that addresses the most fundamental aspect of Christianity and examines the enormity of the claim made by Jesus Christ.
“Without [Christ] I do not understand the reality I have in front of me… So then the whole question is, did Christ rise from the dead or not. But if he did, then in fact I can no longer look at life and death without having that in mind, without having in mind Christ who won over death…I cannot say that reality is absurd, because death doesn’t have the last word,” he said.
The talk will also examine whether the modern man can accept this claim. For Hoffmann, the answer involves the core of Communion and Liberation’s spirituality: seeing the transforming power of Christ in others and in daily experience.
“If I can meet people who are transformed by Christ and if Christ therefore can be present to me and if he can transform my life, then I can verify that he is here today.”
Participants in Communion and Liberation on campus have weekly School of Community meetings on Fridays at 6:30. Contact Father Pietro Rossotti (email@example.com) for more information.