The Vicar Emeritus of the Pope for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, encouraged the faithful last week to recover the sense of ecclesial belonging, that is, to experience anew “the joy and gratitude of being part of the Catholic Church.”
In an article published in L’Osservatore Romano after the Pope issued his letter to the bishops explaining the lifting of the excommunication of four Lefebrvist bishops, Cardinal Ruini expressed dismay that the sense of ecclesial belonging is being weakened and in some cases is extinguished.
“We must rebuild within ourselves that conviction of faith that has characterized Christianity from its beginnings, according to which the sense of the Church is an essential part of our belonging to Christ.” In the cardinal’s opinion, this is an essential part of our individual freedom, our personal relationship with God, even though other memberships seem to be more concrete and gratifying.
After noting that the Pope used his letter to describe how he acted with “love and communion among us” as his first priority, Cardinal Ruini explained that the need to recover the sense of ecclesial belonging should have as its root “the acceptance of the Magisterium of the Church and the effort to conform our lives to its teachings, as well as adopting an attitude in our sentiments that translates into spontaneous affection for those who are our fathers and brothers in the faith.”
If these sentiments “are alive in us,” the cardinal continued, there will be no room for the bitterness that comes from focusing on “the faults of our supposed adversary, who in reality is our brother.” The Pope sought to explain this situation in his letter “with honesty and sorrow.”