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A. Essence, purpose and method of the Cursillos in Christianity.


To study this point we shall start at the beginning, examining the Movement’s most significant publications, from The How and Why, which is the oldest study, up to Fundamental Ideas, which is the most recent one available.


The initiators who took part in the Why and How understand that the essence of the Cursillos consists of the living and vital content of them, the fundamental of that which is specific and unvarying in them, the essential core which is at the same time its reason for being, the cause of its effectiveness, and the origin of its characteristics. In this sense, the essence of the Cursillo Movement is but the essence of Christianity, the living content of the Christian, the soul of Christianity which encourages and informs all the Cursillos acts and all its moments[125].


Later on, they will come across the difficulty of defining what the essence of Christianity consists of, but they will receive incomparable help from Romano Guardini, who skilfully summarises the question: Christianity is not, ultimately, neither a doctrine of truth nor an interpretation of life. It is that too, but nothing therein constitutes its core essence. Its essence is made up of Jesus of Nazareth, because of his existence, his works, his concrete fate; in other words, because of an historic personality[126].   


At the time of breaking down the essential elements of the Cursillo[127], we find that the Cursillo exposes a perfectly structured doctrine, with a solid dogmatic base from which will sprout a well-founded Christian criterion. The doctrine being exposed is none other than that of the Mystical Body of Christ. Now then, this is not a cold revelation of dogmatic and moral truths but a dynamic preaching, orientating itself at all times, on how life unfolds.


This organic construction is preached with simplicity, sincerity and boldness, and becomes an uplifting and luminous presentation of Christianity, a presentation the centre of which is the Person of Christ. It is not an illustrative presentation, but rather a communication of life implying an invitation to take part in that very life, the life of grace, and it is achieved through human elements, which shall be the instruments of the said communication.


Being Christian, this communication could not be anything else but joyous and triumphal.  The fundaments of this triumphal concept do not stem from human abilities or possibilities, but rather from the knowledge and experience of the love of God, who is all powerful. He feeds the hopes that generate apostolic boldness.


Basing himself on the aforementioned documents and writings, Mons. Hervàs sets a definition: The Cursillo is a short and intense course which by means of various natural and supernatural mechanisms intends to achieve, and with the Grace of God, ordinarily and generally achieves, the following:


a) To impress deeply, as if with fire, a few fundamental truths of our sacrosanct Catholic Religion, the core or axis of which is Jesus Christ and his Grace, with a panoramic, luminous and intense vision of Creation’s divine plan, the Redemption and Sanctification of man, whose most exact expression is stereotyped in a formula which has been repeatedly reiterated by the teachers and intensely taken in and experienced by those attending: “We are children of God, brothers of Christ, heirs to heaven and living temples of the Holy Spirit”.


b) As a result of imparting a doctrine based on life and a dynamic preaching, to make one live for three days in a jubilant atmosphere of true Christianity, given shape as a life of faith and grace, of happiness and charity, sagaciously directed and lived intensely in its two main currents of love towards God and love towards one’s neighbour.


c) To instil total confidence, based on God’s grace, in that maintaining contact with Christ (inside life) and contact with one’s brothers (team spirit, solidarity and discipline), one can continue to live the same life already begun (truly Christian life) in which he/she has been practically initiated, detail by detail, indicating and placing at his/her disposal the appropriate means.


d) To awaken, as a demand of charity and Christian life, a fervent apostolic wish for all, especially relatives, friends and workmates, to know the real Christian truths and to live a life of grace such as they have known and lived themselves, with everyone contributing afterwards, as a team and in unison in holy Christian friendship, together with the Hierarchy —through its priests— towards the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom.


The elements used to obtain these medium-term and immediate objectives, from which one expects all the Cursillo’s effectiveness flourish are, mainly:


a) God’s grace, requested —in an atmosphere of intense fervour, both by the leaders and candidates of the Cursillo, and by the Cursillo’s attendees at the Centre, Parish, Diocese, cloistered convents and the faithful in general— by means of the Sacraments, prayer, and sacrifices at a major scale.


b) A solid theological instruction, perfectly adapted from a psychological and pedagogical point of view.


c) A technical organisation, in which, according to what is humanly possible, everything is foreseen and organised with a view to a better and greater use, which sets out to cover both the Cursillo’s collective atmosphere and the personal situation and reactions of each of the attendants.


d) And all this within a climate of intimate co-operation between teachers and Cursillo attendants, in which a most intense and intimate active participation is encouraged by adequate means[128].


In this definition given to us by Mons. Hervàs we find the same essential elements which we were introduced in The How and Why, although structured in two blocks. One, with the objectives which the Cursillo intends to achieve, and the other, with the elements used to achieve that effect. But within this clearer and more defined structure, we find the same four essential elements: it is a doctrinal presentation, which entails a communication of life with an invitation to take part in it, through certain human elements with a technical organisation, and with a jubilant and triumphal tone.


The book titled Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement, which was produced as an aspiration of the III World Encounter in Majorca on the 21st April 1974 and which meant an updating and re-directing of the movement 25 years after its birth, offers us a description of the Cursillos as a Movement of the Church which, by a method of its own, allows one to experience what is essential in Christianity, in order to create Christian core groups that  will ferment the environments with the Gospel, helping one to discover and realise ones personal vocation within itself[129].


Outlining this condensed description, we find five fundamental elements which constitute what is essential in Cursillos:


·       The fact that it is a Movement.

·       A “Church” Movement.

·       Which has a method of its own.

·       That it allows one to experience and coexist within the fundamentals of Christianity, creating Christian core groups.

·       With a view to fermenting the environments with the Gospel, so that every one may discover and achieve one’s vocation.


Leaving aside for a later analysis the Cursillos’ purpose and method —elements which are certainly essential— and taking for granted that it is a Church Movement, we shall consider and focus the Cursillos’ essence in ones’ experience of and coexistence with, the fundamentals of Christianity.


The Cursillo Movement, in line with the Church, places an emphasis above all on these great truths of Christian Fundamentals:


a)             In Christ, in whom God the Creator and Saviour reveals himself, and in whom man meets with God the Father.


b)             In grace (...) In Grace all conversions, encounters with Christ, and Christian Communities are achieved. It is God’s gift which Christ and the church as an extension of Christ in history offers to the whole world. Every Christian apostolate consists in offering the love of God the Father.


c)              In faith (in the spiritual experience of Baptism brought about by grace). God has revealed Himself to all men through Christ made man. (...) Man’s reply to God who reveals Himself  through Christ is faith.


d)             In the Church, the only place in which, according to Christ’s plan, He is found and, through Him, the Father.


e)             In the Sacraments, in which God again becomes world in order to meet us; that in which our religion incarnates itself without interruption, and remains human-divine[130].


Here lies an integral and integrating formula of what is fundamental in Chritstianity: God reveals himself to man and saves him through Jesus Christ, and offers him to live the life of grace within the Church. Man’s reply is faith, the encounter with God through the sacraments and to work apostolically offering God’s love.


The experience of Christian fundamentals has four aspects in the Cursillo Movement:


a)            An encounter with God, which in itself also brings a confrontation with oneself;

b)             Friendship with Christ;

c)              The brotherhood community;

d)             Apostolic responsibility throughout the world[131].


God creates man and calls him to a life of communion with him. He creates him in his image and likeness, redeems him through Christ and fills him with life through the Spirit in the Church. God calls each specific man to a specific vocation, and respects every man’s free reply. The experience of the Christian fundamentals entails a vital option as a reply to God’s call and as a compromise of wholeness.


The essence of Christianity is obviously Christ, as we saw before. The Cursillo is above all, an encounter with Christ, and the Cursillo candidate’s formation is directed from his  knowledge of Christ. Through Christ we reach the Father in the Holy Spirit. Through Christ we are reunited as a family, in the Church, and we shall be sent out to the world.


God has called us as a family to form his nation, to establish his Church. The Christian experience of basic Christian life means living and co-existing always in community. God calls man to live life in community with Him and fellow brethren. God, Who is community (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), calls man to live in community, in similarity to divine life. Man, who has been created to live in that dimension, cannot be totally fulfilled without the exercise of community life, living the mutual enrichment and unity in diversity, avoiding both individualism and communitarism. The aim is to live one’s specific personal vocation in communion with our brothers and sisters.


Always aware of the apostolic mission that springs from baptismal reality itself. God’s call to a life in communion with Him, living in unity with Christ, co-existing and sharing with our brothers in Christ, also means a call to apostleship. Apostleship is esential to Christianity and the Church, and consequently forms part of the essence of Cursillos[132].


Secondly we are going to analyze the purpose of the Cursillos.


The How and the Why which transmits the most genuine thought of the initiators in the beginnings, starts by posing the “apostolic problem”, followed by the solution to this problem based on the directions of the last Roman Pontiffs, later analyzes three concepts of apostleship and finally choose the third —vertebrate Christianity— explaining how the Cursillos in Christianity are a way to achieve such construction[133].


The apostolic problem lies in the fact that many of those baptized live in sin. That is where the main difficulty lies, which brings about the rest as a consequence. Although at the level of external manifestations we seem to live in a Christian society, it is necessary to realize that life is not Christian at all, and that Christianity does not have any influence in life[134]. At the time of pointing to possible solutions, the initiators clearly see that in order for any apostolic solution to be effective, it will have to direct its sights to that objective, that is to say, towards the human life that demands to be baptized again. It is not enough therefore, to direct our performance towards the personal reform of the individual (..) What we need is not a partial and individual solution, but a transformation of the environment that will reach everyone everywhere (…) (135)[135].


The aim is to get the particular individual to live in grace, but the solution is not to be found merely at the individual level, rather must be complete and harmonious with the individual’s environment. Faced with this problem, the apostolic activity which is generally carried out can be contained in three different concepts: those that believe the solution lies in saving souls, directing their better efforts in that way. Those that place their confidence in the organisations and channel their energies through them, and finally those who work in the construction and spreading of Christianity because they believe that there lies the key to the solution of the problem[136].


It is precisely in the expression to vertebrate Christianity, that the Cursillos find their genuine and exact expression, their specific and precise purpose, its area of activity and the possibilities of success, since Cursillos do not tend to increase the number of practising devotees (…), nor do they convert the incredulous or cretins, nor tend to save lost souls or increase the charts of existing organisations, nor even create a new organisation, but to vertebrate Christianity through those practising Catholics who, with their testimony of life, give the Christian tonic to a life that has ceased to exist.


To vertebrate Christianity will be nothing other than to place human resources at the service of the divine, so that Christ’s criteria penetrates in society and allows His “doctrine and law to renew and shape it entirely”[137].


How is this task of the spreading of Christianity achieved? The work involves two basic tasks: to search for and sahpe the essential and necessary pieces, later placing them in their right place and tying them organically to allow them to yield efficiently[138]. The Cursillos in Christianity are a useful way to achieve this spreading of Christianity.  Its purpose consists in the conversion of the individual, in his supernatural transformation by the power of Grace, later placing him in the right place so that he can work with others in the spreading of Christianity for the transformation of the world[139].


Mons. Hervás gathers the doctrine of The How and the Why. He points out[140] how the team of Spiritual Directors and Leaders of the Diocesan Council of Young People of Catholic Action studied the reality as a starting point of their apostolate, promoted by the Hierarchy. They discover that life has ceased to be Christian in the whole. They study the pontifical doctrine, specially the Mystici Corporis, where they find the right characteristics which will later become their conception of apostolic action.


According to Hervás, this “making Christianity” had to include a threefold objective:




·       to tie them organically to each other so that they would perform efficiently both inwards and outwards[141].


In his Pastoral Letter the Bishop gathers the ideas of the initiators and there does not appear to be any new development in its formulation. Where they proposed the task in two steps: firstly to look for and to shape the pieces, to later  locate them in their place and tie them organically, the Bishop proposes the same but unfolds the second task in two steps, thereby the reason for his three point plan.


The point that is really new, although in line with the whole evolution of thought, is the affirmation of the need to study the encyclical Mystici Corporis of Pius Xll. They judged that within the doctrine of the Mystical Body there had to be the proper characteristics of the apostolic conception, towards which they were being pushed by the present historical reality, with its demands and its already mature ascetic mentality[142].


Fundamental Ideas contains the original idea of The How and the Why emphasizing that Cursillos find their expression, their purpose, fields and possibilities, in the idea to vertebrate Christianity[143]. It echoes that the word “Christianity” could be confused because of the medieval connotations it carries and because it responds to that worldview. However, Fundamental Ideas carries a definition of the 1st Latin- American Encounter of Bogotá, according to which Christianity is the living of life in Grace by a group of Christians, in a conscious and increasing way, thereby fermenting the Gospel in their environments[144]. It also emphasizes that to vertebrate a material or moral thing at its roots is just the same as organizing it with consistent and articulated elements, allowing it to receive firmness and flexibility[145].


Bearing in mind the concepts “vertebrate” and “Christianity” clean of pejorative connotations, and searching for its more genuine sense, the spreading of Christianity pre-supposes:


a)   The creation of cores of Christians.

b)   The living of Grace in a conscious and increasing way.

c)    The penetration of the Gospel in the environments[146].


Fundamental Ideas places within its first point the creation of cores of Christians, the fundamental works we saw before, which were highlighted by the initiators and the Bishop: to search for and shape the pieces, to place them adequately and link them to each other.


The second point is conditioned sine qua non to enable these cores to be effective. They have to live Grace in a conscious and increasing way. That is to say, they have to live their personal conversion, which is a process that lasts a lifetime. An element which had been taken into consideration from the beginning therefore stands out: it was seen as important even though it stood out and pointed towards environmental transformation. To my understanding, here lies this dimension of the living of Grace and personal conversion, not as a first aim joined to the next, which is global, but as a condition so that the aim of general transformation that reaches to everything and everyone can be achieved.


The outcome will be such that the environments will be penetrated, fermented in Gospel. Through the change in the lives of people, a favourable change in the environments will be achieved, ending by spreading Christianity or fermenting them in the Gospel.


Today the preferred expression is to ferment the environments in the Gospel instead of the spreading of Christianity, because although they both mean the same from two different angles, the first is more Biblical. It is one of the pictures that Jesus uses to express the similarity with the Kingdom of Heaven.


In order to reach its purpose the Cursillo Movement works with a method that encompasses three parts or phases: the Pre-Cursillo, the Cursillo and the Post-Cursillo. It is in our interest to pause specially in the second phase —the Cursillo—; therefore we will deal briefly with the Pre-Cursillo and the Post-Cursillo. Notwithstanding, we should not lose sight of the fact that all three phases link together as a unit.


The Pre-Cursillo is defined as the search and selection of people and environments and the preparation of the candidates for the Cursillo, with a view to achieving a greater effectiveness in the Cursillo, and specially in the task of the Post-Cursillo[147].


For its part the Post-Cursillo is defined as the community method —group reunions, ultreyas, etc.— meant to increase and promote the conversion and the experience of Christian life initiated in the Cursillo, in order for the individual and group restlessness created within to finally ferment the Church, human communities and temporary structures through the Gospel[148].


As the Pre-Cursillo looked for environments and people, and above all got involved in the preparation of each candidate in order to eliminate difficulties and stimulate hope, the Post-Cursillo oriented itself in the consolidation of the fruits obtained in the Cursillo, in order to offer channels of ecclesiastic introduction and collaboration in the evangelical fermentation of society.


The Post-Cursillo reaches its aim through community instruments: the Group Reunion and the Ultreya. The Group Reunion is a group of people with two basic characteristics: they are friends and they are Christian; and they meet to grow in friendship and in Christian life. The Ultreya is a community that becomes present and visible at a meeting. It is the reunion of the Group Reunions[149].


The Cursillo, according to the definition that is given and explained in the Preliminary Reunion, is a brief, intense, and concentrated course. Generally speaking, we could say that a Cursillo is a means to study and approach man’s current problems, and of finding a way to its true solutions, in other words the Christian way[150].


The Cursillo tries to shed light and orientate life from the light of the Gospel. The good news of the Gospel is proclaimed both by word and personal experience, from personal and community testimony. It is not about theoretical lessons, but of a live communication of life itself, with an evident jubilant and enthusiastic character[151].


It is done from a specific education that tries to facilitate a favourable encounter with the Lord, without the use of any type of psychological manipulation[152]. Doctrinal structuring is considered as the main element of the Cursillo technique. Other basic elements are the personal communication during the Cursillo and the sincere and realistic style the leaders must have[153].


The joyful communication of life is shown, and this is very important, from a peculiarly personal and educational technique, but with absolute respect to personal freedom[154].


In essence, the aim of the Cursillo is the conversion of the individual. An integral conversion that leads him to a total Christian option, giving life to a vital reality from within faith and from within a sanctifying community circumstance, to later place him and her in his own environments to ferment them evangelically[155].


Four elements are distinguished in the Cursillo: preparation, proclamation of the message, conversion, and the insertion or projection into the world[156].


B. Evangelisation


After examining the essence, purpose and method of the Cursillos in Christianity, we will now do the same with the Evangelisation, its purpose and contents. After comparing the two, we will be able to conclude whether the Cursillos in Christianity Movement is an evangelising movement or not.


On 8th December 1975, as a consequence of the fruits obtained at the Bishops’ Synod of 1974, Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi saw the light. It was one of the most significant documents of this Pontiff and is a text that marks an important and enlightening milestone in the subject of evangelisation.


We will base ourselves on this apostolic exhortation at the time of defining the evangelisation and its contents. The first chapter starts from Jesus Christ – first evangeliser – who proclaims the Kingdom of God, the nucleus and centre of which is a liberating salvation. He carries out this evangelisation through untiring preaching and signs of salvation. Evangelisation is the Church’s own vocation[157]. This chapter therefore starts with Christ the evangeliser and ends in the evangelising Church. This has a logical relation since the Church is inseparable from Christ.


The second chapter, after highlighting some important elements in the pastoral action of the Church, such as announcing Christ to those who do not know Him, by preaching, through catechetic, by the administration of the Sacraments —all elements that tend to be identified with evangelisation— gives us a descriptive definition of her: For the Church, evangelising means bringing the Good News into all the environments of humanity, transforming and renewing them through its influence from within: “Now I am making the whole of creation new.” But the truth is that there is no new humanity if there are no new people in the first place who have been renewed by Baptism and who live according to the Gospel. The purpose of evangelisation is therefore precisely this interior change, and if it had to be expressed in one sentence, the best way of stating it would be to say that the Church evangelises when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities to which they are committed and their life in precise environments[158].


The following number emphasizes the point that is not only a matter of preaching the Gospel in ever wider geographical areas or to ever greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind’s criteria of judgement, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation[159]. In summary, what needs to be evangelised takes shape in the culture and cultures of man (…) always taking the person as the starting point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God[160].


Testimony has a first place in the proclamation of this Good News. A personal and communitarian exemplary life that draws attention, posing questions to those that contemplate it. A clear and explicit announcement through the word of life lies next to testimony. There is no complete and true evangelisation unless the mystery of Jesus Christ God and man is announced, His person, His Kingdom, His doctrine[161].


This announcement does not obtain its full dimension until it is assumed and produces adhesion of the heart. A conversion of the heart that allows adhesion to the Kingdom and facilitates the entrance to form part of a community, the Church, where participation in the Sacraments takes place[162].


He who has been evangelised becomes an evangeliser. It is unthinkable for someone that has welcomed the Word and has given himself up to the Kingdom with generosity, not to become an evangeliser who gives testimony of that in which he believes and lives[163].


In respect of the contents of evangelisation, a distinction is made between the essential and secondary elements. Firstly, to evangelise is to give testimony of the God revealed by Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. This God is Father. The centre of the message consists in the proclamation that in Jesus Christ salvation is offered to every man as a gift of grace and mercy from God. A salvation which is realised in the communion with God that begins in this life and culminates in eternity.  Evangelisation also has to announce hope in a future life beyond the present, the love of God, our love for God and for our fellow brothers and sisters, good and evil, prayer, the Church and the Sacraments[164].


A message that affects all personal and community life internationally, both within the family and socially. A message of liberation[165].


A message that demands a conversion of the heart in the specific persons, in order to construct more just and humane structures[166].


Evangelisation therefore, consists in taking the Good News to all environments, transforming humanity by transforming man. Its aim is the conversion of man and humanity. Transforming by and with the force of the Gospel —we could say— man’s circumstances: criteria, values, centres of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration, models of life, ultimately, man’s culture.


I consider it interesting to bring up two elements that will be of use to us from the field of theology, to complete the magisterial contributions. First, the definition that Casiano Floristan gives schematically in his updated treatment of pastoral Theology. It says thus:


a)    To evangelise is to testify to the Good News.

b)    Good News from Jesus in relation to the poor.

c)     By means of words and acts.

d)    With the aim to promote conversion and liberation.

e)    In the present cultural conditions[167].


It coincides with the definition of the Evangelii Nuntiandi as a whole, although this is not a descriptive definition, but examined more conceptually.


Josep Maria Rovira, asking himself about the effects that evangelisation produces, makes a distinction between collective and personal results. We present them in schematic form:


a) Collective results:


b) Personal results

It announces a new meaning to man’s life.

This meaning can penetrate in the existence and psychology of man as


·        Liberation

·        Joy

·        Hope

·        Renewed capacity to love[168].


As a provisional conclusion on this point, I believe I can state that the Cursillos in Christianity Movement is an evangelising movement that fits in with the ingredients we have examined from the point of view of evangelisation. Its very essence tends to evangelisation, since whoever lives and shares the basics of Christianity certainly tends to testify to it. Its purpose adapts to the definitions presented, specially to that of the Evangelii Nuntiandi since the pontifical exhortation told us that to evangelise is to take the Good News to all the environments. That the purpose is to transform humanity by transforming man, ultimately converting both man and humanity. We have seen that the purpose of Cursillos was personal conversion and the evangelical fermentation of the environments.


Another element of adaptation is found in the welcoming of the converted within the Church thereby converting him into an evangeliser. It is a method that we find in the Exhortation and in the method of Cursillos. Similarly, we can see adaptation between the effects that Rovira emphasises as fruits of evangelisation in general, and the effects ordinarily produced in a Cursillo.


We end this point by noting the current subject of evangelisation and the way in which the Cursillos in Christianity Movement stands in relation to the general pastoral of the Church, from within its own internal reflection.


The Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, promulgated on 7th December 1990, begins by stating that the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from being completed. As the second millennium after Christ’s coming draws to an end, an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service…[169].


It is not a question of whether evangelisation is a fashionable subject, but rather that by making numerical and temporary calculations, we find ourselves in the beginnings of the mission. It is not therefore just a totally current question, but rather that it continues to be the central task, the main one of the pastoral action of the Church and furthermore, the most urgent[170].


Evangelisation is the first stage or first half of the ministry of the Word, consisting fundamentally in proclaiming God’s word of salvation in order to waken the listener’s faith and loyalty. But what used to be seen as a distinguished plan, logically and even chronologically, today remains more intercommunicated.


According to the Ad gentes decree of the second Vatican Council, since the whole Church is missionary, the work of evangelisation is a basic duty of God’s people[171]. It presents the continued participation of the Church in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is important to emphasize the fact that the whole Church is missionary, since the mission is an essential dimension of the Church. But this mission is better understood in the face of non-believers.


The Evangelii Nuntiandi signifies an advance by not only referring evangelisation to the non-believers and non-Christians, but also to Christians themselves. It is necessary to evangelise the environments, to convert man, humanity and culture. The Church is evangeliser and evangelised[172].


The Redemptoris Missio notes that today’s religious framework is complex, diversified and ever changing. The previous distinctions and categories hardly serve to define and highlight the mission of the Church[173]. Within a single mission of the Church due to varying circumstances, three situations can be distinguished: First, there is the situation which the Church’s missionary activity addresses: peoples, groups, and socio-cultural contexts in which Christ and His Gospel are not known, or which lack Christian communities sufficiently mature to be able to incarnate the faith in their own environments and proclaim it to other groups. This is mission “ad gentes” in the proper sense of the term.


Second, there are Christian communities with adequate and solid ecclesial structures. They are fervent in their faith and in Christian living. They bear witness to the Gospel in their surroundings and have a sense of commitment to the universal mission. In these communities the Church carries out her activity and pastoral care.


Third, there is an intermediate situation, particularly in countries with ancient Christian roots, and occasionally in the younger Churches as well, where entire groups of the baptised have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and His Gospel. In this case what is needed is a “new evangelisation” or a “re-evangelisation”[174].


The third chapter of Fundamental Ideas is titled The Cursillos in Christianity Movement in the pastoral action of the Church[175]. The object is to define what the proper and characteristic function of this Movement is within the pastoral action of the Church. From a reflection that considered the contributions made by the 50 nations which this Movement has established in the five continents, the final writing states that the essence, purpose and method of the Cursillo Movement determines with clarity its specific function, placing it within the general action of the Church as follows:


·        as an element and instrument of the Prophetic Pastoral, and within the Prophetic Pastoral, in the Kerygmatic Pastoral.

·        and as an efficient agent with its own function, in the evangelical fermentation of the environments[176].


We will not repeat what this Movement understands by the kerygmatic form of the proclamation of the Word, since they are common concepts to be found in treaties of Pastoral Theology. We will however conclude with the expression that reflects the purpose of fermenting the environments evangelically, typical of Cursillos, also expressed by the definition of the Evangelii Nuntiandi when it said that to evangelise is to take the Good News to all the environments. Besides presenting the Cursillo Movement to us as agent of the kerygmatic pastoral, we are presented with it as agent of the Environmental Pastoral and, within it, of the Pastoral work realized through the people of greater human influence in the environments[177].


What is the meaning of Environmental Pastoral? It means the work of lay groups that work as change agents, making sure that the fast profound changes that society carries out by itself in its process, are oriented from the Christian point of view towards a greater humane and liberation change.


To impregnate the environments with the Gospel through people and groups that have an influence in them would be the purpose of this environmental pastoral towards which the Cursillo Movement feels called to, and in which by its essence, purpose and method, it has its own characteristic function. This contribution and task of the Cursillo Movement does not involve any new special development, but lies in the essence of the mission of the Church itself, instrument of salvation to all men, which becomes a visible and efficient sign through life itself and through the activities of the small communities that comprise it, which have to be the yeast, salt and light of the world[178].


In relation to the third of the situations that Redemptoris Missio describes, we conclude this point, together with the first part of the work, with a text that makes reference to the conscience of the Movement in its evangelising mission in the present times. It is a text taken from the project Basic Agreements of the European Working Group on the Cursillos in Christianity Movement. It says thus: In the historical moment that Europe is presently living, the Cursillo Movement is committed to assist the European dioceses in the new evangelisation of Europe exactly as it is presented and exhorted by the Holy Father, bearing in mind both the method of the Movement, which we understand is valuable to this end, and the peculiarities of European circumstances – complex and variable, with many possibilities and limitations – within the environments and with the people to work for the Cursillos in Christianity Movement[179].


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[125] CPSNE, p. 56.

[126] R. Guardini, The essence of  Christianity, Madrid 1945, p. 12.

[127] Cf. CPSNE, pp. 57-65.

[128] CCIRC, pp. 57-59.

[129] IF, p. 38. The definition is taken from the I Latin American Encounter of National Delegates of Cursillos in Christianity, Bogota, 1968; Published in "Cursillos de Cristiandad", Bulletin of the National Secretariat of Spain, 59 (1968) p.13.

[130] Ibid. pp. 47-48.

[131] Ibid. p. 52.

[132] Ibid. pp.52-59.

[133] CPSNE, pp. 45-55.

[134] Cf. CPSNE, p. 46.

[135] CPSNE, pp. 46-47.

[136] Cf. CPSNE, p. 49.

[137] CPSNE, pp. 51-52. The internal quote is of Pius XII, Exhortation to the Roman faithful, 10/2/1952.

[138] CPSNE, p. 52.

[139] Cf. CPSNE, pp. 53-55.

[140] Cf. CCIRC, pp. 65-70.

[141] Cf. CCIRC, p. 70.

[142] Cf. CCIRC, p. 68.

[143] Cf. IF, p. 60.

[144] IF, p. 62, gathered from the I Latin American Encounter, conclusions V, e): "Trípode" (Tripod), 51 (1968) 44.

[145] Ibid. p. 62; cf. CCAAF, pp. 175-176.

[146] Ibid. p. 62; cf. CCAAF, pp. 62-65.

[147] Ibid. p. 62; cf. CCAAF, p. 113.

[148] Ibid. p. 62; cf. CCAAF, p. 123.

[149] Ibid. p. 62; cf. CCAAF, pp. 136-140.

[150] MD, p. 95.

[151] Cf. IF, pp. 149-150; CPSNE, pp. 58-65.

[152] Cf. IF, p. 152; CPSNE pp. 73-74.

[153] Cf. IF, p. 153; CPSNE, p. 77.

[154] Cf. IF, p.154; CR p. 350.

[155] Cf. S. Gayà, The Cursillos in Christianity, in "Cristo al Mundo [Christ to the World]", special issue, Vol. XXIII, n. 6 (1978), p. 398.

[156] Cf. IF, pp. 183-185.

[157] Cf. EN, ns. 6-17.

[158] Cf. EN, n. 18.

[159] Cf. EN, n. 19.

[160] Cf. EN, n. 20.

[161] Cf. EN, ns. 21-22.

[162] Cf. EN, n. 23.

[163] Cf. EN, n. 24.

[164] Cf. EN, ns. 25-28.

[165] Cf. EN, ns. 29-30.

[166] Cf. EN, n. 36.

[167] C. Floristán, Teología práctica. Teoría y praxis de la acción pastoral [Practical Theology. Theory and praxis of the pastoral action], Salamanca 1991, pp. 377-379.

[168] J. M. Rovira, Evangelización al mundo. Evangelización en el mundo, en Fe y nueva sensibilidad histórica [Evangelisation to the world. Evangelisation in the world, in Faith and the new historical sensitivity, Salamanca 1977, pp. 366-370.

[169] RM, n. 1.

[170] Cf. C. Floristán, op cit., p. 361.

[171] AG, n. 35.

[172] Cf. EN, ns. 17-24.

[173] Cf. RM, n. 32.

[174] RM, n. 33.

[175] IF, pp. 69-90.

[176] IF, p. 82; Cf. II Enc. Mund., 168; Cf. I Enc. Lat. Am., CPSNE, (1968) 13; Cf. LBMCC, p. 77 ss.

[177] IF, p. 87.

[178] Cf. IF, pp. 87-90.

[179] ABGET, n. 40.

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