1. In the introduction we announced that the subject of
evangelization, a real issue since Vatican Council II, had become lately a key
subject within the pastoral and theological task of the Church, and how as of
1983, the Holy Father speaks of new evangelisation. We treated then the study of
the genesis and the theological description of the Cursillo in Christianity, in
relation to the subject of evangelization, since the Movement, which right from
the first Cursillo, flows from the evangelizing dimension of the Church.
2. The ecclesial life of Spain in the Forties has as a general basic characteristic, an attempt at religious restoration through some forms of popular and personal devotions. Among the first of these, the popular missions stand out, together with the restoration of images and traditional celebrations, the consecrations to the hearts of Jesus and Mary of diocese and cities, and the religious float of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima. The forms of personal devotion include Catholic Action and the Spiritual Exercises.
3. The diocese of Mallorca participates like the rest of Spain in the mentioned forms of devotions. In the field of youth, however, a great vitality is perceived in its initiatives and accomplishments. All the apostolic activities that the Youth Diocesan Council of Catholic Action organizes in those years are centred almost exclusively in the preparation for the pilgrimage to Santiago, which was to take place in August 1948.
4. As historical precedents of the Cursillos of Christianity, we highlight the Cursillos for Advanced Pilgrims, propagated by the Superior Council, the fruit of which is: the apostolic mobilization of leaders, the incorporation of new young people and the seeding of apostolic restlessness. At diocesan level the Cursillos of Leaders of Pilgrims take place, the main fruit of which is to attract those distant from the Church, and to produce a great enthusiasm and joy in all the participants.
5. As ideological background, the fundamental lines of the ideological nerve should be highlighted as indicated by the initiators: triumphant concept of Christianity, dynamic vision of the militant apostolate, dissatisfaction, deep knowledge of the person, establishment of the inadequacy of certain methods and the search for new ones, conviction of the effectiveness of the encounter with Christ for conversion, effort to find suitable techniques and the conviction that the solution was simple and universal.
6. The immediate precedent to the birth of the Cursillo is the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in August 1948. During the Forties an intense preparation takes place, mainly spiritual. In this atmosphere of preparation we emphasize as the more outstanding events: the local Pilgrimages, the Congress of Lluch and the Diocesan Assemblies. In addition, some articles should be highlighted as ideological preparation —Stages of a pilgrimage— that Sebastián Gaya publishes in the “Proa” magazine and the pastoral that Bishop Hervàs dedicates to the young people exhorting them to take part in the pilgrimage.
7. The pilgrimage will be the last milestone prior to the birth of the Cursillo. The exhortation that S. Gaya gives in the balconies of the city council when he is inspired to speak to the aroused multitude on return from the pilgrimage is of special significance. His words mark a difference in historical direction and attitude. They have gone as pilgrims to Santiago. They have returned as apostles who must conquer the youth. The editorials of the following issue of "Proa" and the Xth Diocesan Assembly reflect a future projection. Among other activities, Cursillos are scheduled for the following course.
8. The first Cursillo in Christianity takes place from the 7 to the 10 of January 1949. It is first of those scheduled after the pilgrimage. It is prepared in line with the previous ones, but it results in a new and different Cursillo. Juan Capó points out the contributing factors to the innovation of this Cursillo: the pastoral change that had taken place with Bishop Hervàs; the convergence and collaboration of different people; and the subsequent apostolic enthusiasm for the pilgrimage to Santiago. As radical innovation, he indicates the change that the Cursillos acquire in the light of the mystical Talks, which are centred in the doctrine of grace. In our opinion, the main innovation of this Cursillo compared to previous ones is centred in its aim. It is no longer a question of preparing for pilgrimage, but to continue the apostolic spirit lived in it and to go forward to the conquest of young people for Christ.
9. As far as the paternity of the Cursillo and of the Cursillo Movement, it is not appropriate to speak of a single founder. It is the fruit of the work, the dream and the hopeful effort of a group of lay people and priests encouraged by their bishop. It is the fruit of the vitality of the Church, of the dynamism of Christian community. They themselves have preferred the word “initiators” to that of founders. Worthy of distinction within the group is Don Sebastián Gaya, spiritual director of Catholic Action and of the Diocesan Council for the Youth of Mallorca, where the adventure was developed and matured. Eduardo Bonnín, president of the said Council is also worthy of distinction. At a different level, as the shepherd who blessed and encouraged the works at every moment, Bishop Juan Hervàs.
10. The Cursillos in Christianity contribute innovation in the religious life of the moment in which they are born. This innovation is made specific in:
- a triumphant and hopeful concept of Christianity, as opposed to the bourgeois conformism that existed.
- a vision of apostolic militancy, not as a call to super generosity, but as a requirement of life, which constitutes the live operating ferment of the Church.
- the search for a lived religious experience applied to life and the apostolate.
- the conviction that those distant from the Church could have deep a religious experience if the encounter with Christ was made easy through a kerigmatic proclamation of the message. This would turn them into apostles.
- the conviction that the solution to the problems of humankind was simple and universal, since it aimed at the hearts of people.
11. In Chapter 6 of Part 1, we asked ourselves whether Cursillo was really an evangelizing Movement. To answer that question, we must first examine its essence, method and aim. We stated that it is a Church Movement that makes possible the experience and coexistence of what is fundamentally Christian by creating small Christian communities. The method has three phases: Precursillo, Cursillo and Postcursillo. The aim is to ferment environments with the Gospel and to help each person to discover his or her vocation to be realized within.
12. Secondly, we defined evangelisation and its contents based on the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. We also recognized the contributions of two theologians, Casiano Floristán and Josep Maria Rovira Belloso, and we concluded that the Cursillos in Christianity Movement is indeed an evangelizing movement since it adjusts to the elements raised and required for evangelisation.
This Movement, from its very soul, places itself as an instrument of the prophetic mission of the Church, and within this, in its kerigmatic mission. Its unique contribution is its focus on the evangelization of environments. It presents itself as agent of the environmental mission.
13. In Part 2 of this work, we have made a theological analysis of the contents of the Cursillo starting from the oldest materials we have been able to find. First we have considered the general doctrinal foundations; later the means and the technique. Subsequently we have proceeded to the core part of the work, the theological description of the Cursillo, ending with a critical valuation.
14. The work of Mons. Hervàs CCIRC, which presents the general doctrinal foundations, indicates clearly that there is no innovation in doctrine that is imparted in the Cursillo: the innovation is in the way of teaching it and in the order in which it is set out. The imparted doctrine can be summarized in the following points: Jesus Christ, Head of the Mystical Body; Grace, vital sap of the Mystical Body; the Holy Spirit, soul of the Mystical Body, and the Church and its sacred teachings.
15. The effectiveness of the Cursillo is based on the Grace of God, in the technique used and in personal response. We described the general principles of the technique and of the methodology. The first is the pedagogy of the Cursillo. Its aim is to create a climate that facilitates the encounter with the Lord. This climate is arrived at by means of the doctrinal structuring, the personal contact, the language used, an incisive and direct style and, finally, a climate of simplicity, sincerity, naturalness and joy.
16. In the Cursillo the kerygmatic and testimonial dimensions of the Church are lived. The message is proclaimed, the Good News is preached and life testimonies are also given Witness Talks accompany, illustrate and confirm the word as individuals, as team and as community. With simplicity and naturalness, with the awareness that they are gifts of God.
17. Basic rule of Cursillo is to respect the freedom of the person. The clear conviction exists that it is not necessary to resort to psychological tricks to obtain effectiveness. The Kerygma, the technique and the method, all come together respecting freedom, which is considered something sacred.
18. A special principle of the Cursillo is to accept heterogeneity, that is to say, the coexistence of the diversity that exists in the Christian community. In the team of leaders, in the participants and in the channels of living Christian life. Diversity in age, sex, social condition... in personal lives and community, which makes possible a greater complementary experience, a greater exchange and a greater personal enrichment. Besides, it creates the environment for Christ and his Spirit to bring about the coexistence and brotherhood of different people who are able to achieve a Christian community
19. Prayer is the main tool of Cursillo. The communities pray for the Cursillo. And as it progresses, its members become a community that prays. The Eucharist is the centre of the life of the Cursillo. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is also of very high importance. The figure of Mary, even when not having an exclusive Talk or Meditation, will be presented as mediatrix of all graces.
20. The elements that form the external structure of the Cursillo are the following: the team of leaders, composed of priests and laymen; the participants who are to become the future cursillistas; the Meditations and the Talks; the acts of piety; the place, the duration and the timetable; the spiritual and material preparation; the Service Sheet; the closing ceremony, as the final act of the Cursillo and expression of the new Cursillo community.
21. As the last general principle of the Cursillo technique, we considered the interrelation that exists between the people involved and the elements of Cursillo, and its development through phases that end up in a harmonious union. The introductory phase places the participant in the Cursillo by means of an initial welcome and a retreat. The second phase or proclamation phase raises the principal ideas that will serve as a foundation and as starting point for latter development. The third phase, development or growth, is a development of the proclamation of the previous phase, a contribution of elements to convert the ideal found into everyday life, the life that is to grow through Christ in the Church. The fourth phase is the projection of the new Cursillistas into the world aiming to give society a Christian backbone or to ferment environments with the Gospel.
22. The main point of Part 2 consisted in the theological description of the Cursillo. The subject of Grace has always been considered as the axis of the doctrinal synthesis of the Cursillo. Here we have described the doctrinal axis in four points: Jesus Christ, Grace, the Church and the World. We have connected all the Talks and Meditations into that axis, preceding it by an anthropological gateway.
23. Man is a rational and free being who has to organize his life so that it grows continually in freedom and personalization. He is the superior being of creation having been gifted with intelligence, will and freedom. These three faculties have to orientate his life towards an ideal. The ideal gives sense to life, it fills it; therefore the wisdom of giving oneself to the noblest of ideals.
24. The Cursillo is deeply Christ-centred. It presents an alive and near Christ. It presents Christ as God-Man, Word Incarnate, perfect God and Man. and separates The presentation is given in five sections: human nature, complete and perfect because He is true man with whom I can establish an authentic and deep personal relation; heart full of mercy, in which all human emotion finds echo; intelligence, that penetrates the interior; power, manifested in miracles; character, that integrates firmness with attractive goodness. He is the perfect man who reveals his own mystery to the human being.
25. Jesus Christ redeems, he offers His life and His friendship, and calls for collaboration in the extension of that life. He saves and offers the possibility of collaborating in the salvation of other people, with a mission that will produce abundant and lasting fruit. The initiative is always God’s.
26. The doctrine of the Sacraments is clarified: they centre around the figure of Christ. The Sacrament of Marriage shines especially as sanctified, elevated and confirmed by the presence of Christ and as an ordinary way towards sanctity, according to God’s plan.
27. The Cursillo centres its proclamation in the doctrine of Grace. A fundamental innovation is understanding the doctrine of Grace through the personal experience of acquiring it. The lesson on Habitual Grace is the foundation of the Cursillo.
28. Grace is defined as a supernatural gift, interior and permanent, that God grants us to sanctify us, to divinize us and to make us part of His family. The whole dissertation on Grace will consist in the development of this definition in the three indicated aspects - supernatural, inner and permanent gift - and in the three recorded objectives: to sanctify, to divinize and to make us brothers and sisters of Christ.
29. The conclusion establishes that this new life does not consist in acting one way or another, but consists in being. To be son or daughter of God, brother or sister of Christ and temple of the Holy Spirit. Acting will be a consequence of this being.
30. The talk on Actual Grace emphasizes the absolute necessity of Christ. It also stresses the point of having available Actual Graces (supernatural, interior and transitory aids with which God enlightens the understanding and fortifies the will), the super-naturalization of Christian life that can be obtained through them and the force of prayer to attain them. It also emphasizes the responsibility of the Christian to live a life of Grace, and the consequences of rejecting it. It reaffirms the relationship between Habitual and Actual Grace, the first giving us the being, the second granting us the will for action.
31. The life of Grace is received, maintained and increased by the Sacraments. These give us Habitual Grace, the sacramental Grace, and three of them—Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders—imprint character.
Baptism initiates Christian life. Confirmation is the Sacrament of the militancy of Christ. Reconciliation reinstitutes and increases lost life. Extreme-unction regains complete incorporation into Christ. Marriage gives the grace to fulfil state duties. The Eucharist is the sacrament of the transformation in Christ through love.
32. The Talk that deals with the obstacles to the life of Grace, that is to say, sin, emphasizes by contrast possible difficulties. It is not a question of discouraging; it is always given in a positive way. The goal is to present the life of Grace from the angle of its loss.
33. Some means exist to live in Grace orientating our existence totally to God; they are practices that preserve and fortify it. The main ones offered in the Cursillo are: daily offerings, Meditation, Mass and Communion, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, rosary, examination of conscience and spiritual direction.
The piety of the cursillista has characteristic notes: naturalness, courage, strength and joy. This piety should not be self-centred and closed, but rather open to the apostolate.
34. In addition to piety, Christian life consists of study. Study focuses the intelligence, it helps discover authentic Christianity, it seeks knowledge of oneself and of God. Study prevents piety from falling into sentimentality and preoccupation with the unimportant.
35. The third pillar of Christian life is action. Apostolic action is an expression and projection of the life of Grace and thus becomes the perfection of piety. It is necessary in three dimensions: for oneself, for others and for the Church. It requires elements, qualities and methods. The elements are: head, will, arms and knees. The qualities: rationality, decision, courage, conviction, enthusiasm, perseverance and that it be supernatural and apostolic. The methods are three: to make friends, to be friends and make them friends of Christ.
36. Grace is not to be lived individually but in community, in the Church. The Church is the society that Christ institutes to implement His redemption: it is Christ in history. The solution to the evils of the world is in the Church because Christ is in it. Its task is to transform people by giving them Grace and transforming the world through those who live in Grace. The first corresponds to priests and the second to the laity. We are all Church and we all have to collaborate, each one playing his role.
37. The proper mission of the lay person is the consecration of the world incarnating Christ in all circumstances of life. This mission has these characteristics: being persons of strength, supernatural, apostolic and hierarchical. Every member of the Mystical Body has a personal responsibility that is not transferable. We are all responsible for the transformation of the world, and therefore, we must all be leaders.
38. The leader has to have natural qualities among which stand out: knowledge of reality and the ideal vision, discipline, kindness, initiative and generosity. He must also have supernatural qualities which are: living faith, true humility, hope and charity.
39. The life of Grace, shared in the Church, is not a mirage that lasts three days on a Cursillo, but a growing and dynamic process that projects beyond the Cursillo. Perseverance is based on contact with Christ and with Christian community: with Christ through the life of Grace, which is intensified through prayer and the Sacraments; with Christian community through the Group Reunion, which opens horizons of friendship and apostolate.
40. Perseverance has three dimensions: what the cursillista has to be, what he needs to have and what he needs to know. He must be Christian, continuing the work of Christ, His witness to others. He must have a clear conception of reality and of the ideal vision in order to transform it. He must know he works within the Church, collaborating with the hierarchy.
41. The main means of perseverance is the Group Reunion, which serves as the second support of the Cursillo Movement. It is more than just a means of perseverance. It is the circumstance which enables the experience of friendly coexistence and sharing of life. Constitutive notes are: regularity, reliability, discretion and sincerity.
42. We reach the fourth item on the doctrinal axis of Cursillo, the world, considered as humanity, as a united group of specific individuals that make up the different environments. Environment is the specific group of people, ideas and circumstances, that come together at a particular time and place.
43. To win the environments a plan of action with three fronts is required: oneself, companions and the environment. To conquer oneself, will, prayer, intelligence and heart are required.
44. Companions can be classified as: Catholics who believe in God, love God and want to do good; Catholics who believe in God, love God and want to be well; Catholics who believe in God, but nothing else; those who do not believe because they ignore God; those who do not believe because they hate God. In order to conquer this second front the same elements as in the first are required, but in reverse: targeting the heart, the intelligence and the will. With all three conquered, they will give themselves up to God.
45. The conquest of the third front is produced by the work of the two previous ones. In order to transform the environments we have to work from the Church, from Christianity in action, i.e., groups of Christians living in Grace, who coexist and spread the Gospel. We cannot work individually. The object of this coexistence is to maintain the life of Grace, to persevere in the pilgrimage and to promote the apostolate.
46. A Christianity in action operates at individual level, at small group level and at community level. The efficiency is incalculable as it is the power of Christ acting through his apostles. That is why it is logical to conceive Christianity with joy and hope.
47. Part 2 ends with a critical assessment of the theology of the Cursillo in the beginnings, following the schematic sequence of the theological description.
48. On the first point —Jesus Christ— we value as a general positive note the Christocentricity of the Cursillo. This focus manifests itself in: the personal presentation of the figure of Jesus Christ, the initiation of the religious experience from within a personal relationship with Him, His initiative in the calling and sending and, finally, the presentation of a marked Christocentric sacramental way of thinking.
On the negative side we highlight a certain reductionism in the talks, which rely heavily on textbooks of neo-scholastic theology, and the absence of the treatment of Christological aspects, such as the Kingdom, the Beatitudes, etc.
49. On the subject of Grace, the great contribution consists in the presentation of religion, faith... first of all as life. The Sacraments tie in with the life of Grace: they are encounters with God, channels of Grace. This life of Grace orients the whole existence to God, integrating the dimensions of Piety, Study and Action. This life of grace does not consist in acting in one way or another, but above all consists in being. Sin would be to block this life.
On the downside at this point we stressed that the talks on Grace and Sacraments again become excessively dependent on the neo-Scholastic manuals, with the danger of excessive distinctions and the absence of a more biblical, existential and personal view of relationship with God. Also noted: Excess of piety practices, and excessive worry that the participants will fall within the forecast schedules.
50. On the point in relation to the Church, the growth in the awareness of being Church that occurs in the laity must be highlighted positively. Of being live and operating members, considering the apostolate as a requirement of Christian life. The ecclesiology of the Mystici Corporis is assumed and spread, collaborating to promote the passage from a legal conception of the Church to a theological one. A task of re-Christianization of society by pointing to the essential is proposed. A means of perseverance is enabled: The Group Reunion. Heterogeneity is lived joyfully as communitarian characteristic.
We only found two negative details in the valuation of the doctrine of the Church: that ecclesiology remains in practice exclusively focused on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, and the paradox that with the previous ecclesiology. Another negative detail regarding the coexistence of hierarchy and legal style.
51. The last point, that deals with the world, is the one which shows less doctrinal consistency. The mission of the laity as consecration of the world is to be highlighted on a positive note. Also considering the world not as an enemy of the soul, but as humanity created by God and called to salvation. It is not a question of distancing oneself from it, but rather to re-Christianize it.
It is necessary to present some truths to the world from life itself and with hopeful willingness. Personal vocation is realized in the world, and the conversion of the world is related to personal conversion. It is about projecting the apostles to the world. Reality is moved more by environments than by the structures that have always been considered (social classes, cultural, etc.)...
On the negative side, we stressed how the presentation of Christianity sounds as a somewhat closed world view. This is the consequence of the conventional and scholastic theology, in use in Spain in those years. We also noted the lack of deepening in the causes in the description of environments.
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