1. Introduction

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The second part of the work consists of a theological analysis of the contents of the Cursillo, beginning with “Talks” and original Meditations. We have seen in the Genesis of the Cursillos how they were born after the Pilgrimage to Santiago and on the basis of previous Cursillos that prepared that pilgrimage.

Use was made of previous material, but texts were not available that had been developed in detail. On the contrary, an evolution and enrichment has taken place since the preceding experience, and now what matters is not the availability of complete texts but the presence of the idea and the content within the whole. What was available was freedom for personal contributions in the form and also in the content, provided the doctrinal nucleus was always respected.

However, this detail which says much as far as the spontaneity, effervescence and   maturity of the Movement from within life and the Church, makes it that more difficult to find processed “Talks” in the early beginnings.

Tracking the little data that has been   left by the protagonists of those times, we are left with the conclusion that there is ample material which was passed on to Cursillos that has not survived (...). This is material that was handed down from the old Cursillos and that barely exists in a single typed volume that few have today, an almost complete copy of which Eduardo Bonnín possesses…[180].

Capó speaks of systematisations that he made in 1951, in 1952 at an exhibition for the students of the Pontifical University of Salamanca, in 1953 to the students of the Spanish School of Rome, and later in Lérida, in Majorca, and the principal one to the priests of Ciudad Real in 1955 [181].

The purpose of these systematizations was to present the developing movement in certain dioceses with a view to introducing it; and also the presentation to the future “clerical intellect", to the students of Salamanca and Rome, priests who would presumably occupy significant places in their respective dioceses when they had finished their studies.

Quite apart from these “systematisations”, which were meant to explain to “those outside” what the Cursillos in Christianity were, it is interesting for us when he speaks of “compilations". Referring to mystical Talks and the Meditations which he prepared with Guillermo Payeras for the first Cursillo, he says that the whole process was nevertheless constituted firmly in 1950, on which date, still to be determined, the first complete compilation is fixed[182]. This first official compilation was carried out by the Diocesan Council during 1950[183]. Some pages later, resulting from the fact that there was no systematization at the beginning and there was therefore  a margin of improvisation, helps to confirm that the first compilation took place in 1950, which then remained as definitive[184].

However, there is no doubt that they were compilations intended for internal use and with little diffusion. Speaking of the materials, Capó recognizes: we were reluctant about the publication of those we knew because it was difficult to learn from all its wealth; it was difficult to summarise the concept in the dry scheme of a written explanation[185].

Cesáreo Gil, in his explanation of the expansion of Cursillos outside Spain, treating with its dissemination in Colombia, when he describes the way in which some problems were solved at the beginning, in passing says that after a revision of the Talks (the first edition of the talks was made in Bogotá; in Majorca there were only outlines)[186]. But he does not explain anything about that first edition, referring to it only obliquely. Capó mentions the notes that we compiled for doctor Hervàs on the occasion of the introduction of the Cursillos in Colombia and that in the collection that I possess gives the date of binding as 1955...[187].

It is to be assumed that this compilation effectively served to introduce the Cursillos in Colombia and that the editing of Talks was later carried out there. Gil does not give a date. As far as I am concerned, I only have the reference, but I have not found the mentioned Talks.

In summary, we can say that at the beginning the Talks were given with a margin of freedom, each one had its outlines, although all conformed to the essential. But everyone jealously kept his own material. It was private and personal material. There were fundamentally two reasons for this:

-             that of not giving a definitive consistency to the Talks, thus leaving them open to continuous improvement.

-             the idea was to give above all, contents based on the life and personal experience of each one of them.

It was necessary to open one’s life when giving a talk. Therefore, although it was the same Talk, it was different according to the person who gave it.

As a consequence of this there was a tendency of not putting the development of Talks in writing. The general idea was given, and at the most, an outline. Thereby the difficulty in finding a complete collection of the original Talks, with the developed topics.

The first recap of developed Talks which we have was made between 1956 and 1957, in Castilian and published in ciclostat. This circumstance may be regarded as providentially curious.

Father Gabriel Fernandez T.O.R. was sent to Texas at the end of 1954. He wished to introduce there the Cursillos he had known in Majorca. Precisely at the end of 1956 two Cursillistas arrived in Texas: Bernard Vadell of Majorca, and Agustín Palomino of Ciudad Real. They went there to extend their military studies. Between the three they prepared and gave the first Cursillo in the United States on the 27th May 1957[188].

F. Forteza notes that before being transferred to Texas and knowing the situation and wishes of Father Fernández to introduce the Cursillos there, Vadell carried out a deep and intense preparation of the methodology and other aspects, and took with him abundant material[189].

Father Fernández, with the help of Vadell and Palomino, made this compilation of Talks with notes, synthesis, script and development of each Talk.

Later, in 1962, they acquired official status when Mgr Hervàs published the Leaders’ Manual. Hervàs justifies this Manual in the introduction, arguing the necessity of its publication in order to offer an authentic and authorized text, and to assure the integrity and purity of the method[190]. According to him the documents on Cursillos were either transcribed in loose leaves or in multi-copied pamphlets, with diverse editings and sometimes serious imperfections that raised the serious danger of surreptitiously introducing errors in the doctrine and inappropriate uses in the execution. Some of them totally strange to the method and evolution of the Cursillos in Christianity[191].

This publication was not made hastily, but after more than sufficient time for experimentation and comparative study: after a long decade of work and sorting of materials in a great diversity of places, the moment seemed to have arrived to publish the doctrinal outlines and the practical norms, thus forming a kind of “manual” that brings together a method and a kind of “directory” that teaches the correct use of it[192].

What does this Manual offer us? The readings and meditations are given only in outline (...) above all we think that this will be the best system for our object, since the words in themselves are dead and it is necessary to give the warmth of life to them.  This is achieved better if the lecturer or speaker flavours the outline scheme with his own style and personality, conserving unchanged the doctrinal content and the orientation that corresponds to the established pedagogical objectives[193].

We see, then, that the Leaders Manual does not offer us developed Meditations and Talks, but only outlines; ample, but still outlines.

For our study, therefore, we will have the two sources as reference. The collection from Texas in ciclostat is made up of the Director’s Guide, the Initial Talk and the ten lay Talks distributed in the three days. Neither the five mystical Talks nor the five Meditations are contained therein.

As a consequence of this, the study of Meditations and mystical Talks will be based on the Leaders’ Manual, which contains the oldest material that we possess. The rest we will base on the Texas collection; that is to say, on Talks published by the Diocesan Secretariat of Cursillos in Christianity of the Diocese of Austin, Texas. That is as they appear officially.

This second part will consist of four sections. In the first we will study the doctrinal foundations of the Cursillo. That is to say, the doctrine that is taught, considered “statically" and from general principles. In the second, we will consider the means and the technique of the Cursillo. In the third, considering both previous points, we will draw up a theological description of the Cursillo. In the fourth, finally, we will make a critical evaluation of Cursillo theology.

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[180] J. Capó, o. c., p. 71.

[181] Cf. Ibid., pp. 72-74.

[182] Ibid. p. 20.

[183] Cf. Ibid., p. 22.

[184] Cf. Ibid., pp. 27-28.

[185] Cf. Ibid., p. 71.

[186] C. Gil, o. c., p. 557.

[187] J. Capó, o. c., p. 24.

[188] C. Gil, o. c., p. 558.

[189] Cf. F. Forteza, o. c., p. 151.

[190] Cf. MD, p. 11.

[191] Ibid. p. 11-12.

[192] Ibid. p. 13.

[193] Ibid. pp. 13-14.