evangelise the Third World by listening to the opposition of Latin American church leaders to the charismatic plans.
Charismatic link causes confusion
SOME officials of the international Catholic projects Evangelisation 2000 and Lumen 2000, described over the past three weeks, are irked by questions concerning the projects' links to the international charismatic movement, Evangelisation 2000's Latin American director, Jose Prado Flores, said too much is made of the fact that the projects grew out of the movement. "I don't know why it's being treated as if it were the 'original sin'," said Prado, a member of Mexico's charismatic movement.
The projects' founder, US Redemptorist Fr Tom Forrest, has said the project leaders are Catholics first and charismatics second. He hoped the charismatic connection would not stereotype the projects.
But some bishops and others within the Latin American Church have expressed concern about those ties. They say the projects have too great a charismatic "flavour".
Among the leaders with charismatic credentials are: Fr Forrest, founder of the projects and now international director of Evangelisation 2000 who served as director of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal office in Rome from 1978 to 1984; Piet Derksen, the Dutch Catholic businessman-millionaire who finances the projects and who has been active in the European charismatic movement in groups such as the French "Fraternity of Jesus" since the early 1980s; and Bobbie Cavnar, featured in my first article, Lumen 2000's North American director who joined a charismatic group after a 1970 religious experience in which he said he "spoke in tongues" and who in 1973 cofounded the charismatic Christian Community of God's Delight in Dallas.
In addition to those ties, Evangelisation 2000 and Lumen 2000 depend to a degree on the charismatics' infrastructure. For example: Prado in Mexico directs Evanglisation 2000's Latin American activities from offices on the premises of Cornelius House, the headquarters of the charismatic movement in Guadalajara; Cavnar directs Lumen's North America operations and coordinates the Third World training centre on the grounds of the charismatic Christian Community of God's Delight in Dallas.
Many Evanglisation 2000 and Lumen officials are frank about being charismatics.
Cruz, director of promotions for Lumen-Mexico, said LumenMexico was a mediaevangelisation ministry of the local charismatic movement, prior to merging with the Lumen international project in 1986. He also said the Mexico project is supported by 120 charismatic businessmen and professionals "whose principal apostolate is Lumen." In addition, Lumen 2000 projects in the Netherlands, Colombia and France have grown out of charismatic groups, Cruz said. During the three-year period of Lumen's formation from 1983-86, Lumen business was sometimes carried out at international meetings of charismatic renewal, he said.
But some Latin American church officials said Evangelisation 2000 was not as candid about its charismatic links in the beginning. Fr Jorge Navarro, executive secretary of the Mexican bishops' conference, said Prado and another Evanglisation 2000 official downplayed those ties in a presentation to the bishops' conference last year. "We see nothing wrong with the charismatic movement," Fr Navarro said. "So why in the beginning did they deny their links to it?"
Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez of San Salvador wrote in a report on a May 1988 regional meeting of Evangelisation 2000 that Latin American bishops in attendance felt the project appeared "to be intimately related to charismatic renewal, which could inhibit many Catholics desirous of working in evangelisation."
Nevertheless, Prado insisted that although charismatic renewal was the "cradle" of Evangelisation 2000 and Lumen, the projects are becoming "increasingly independent" of the movement.
Evangelisation 2000, he said, is constantly evolving and "integrating people from other organisations and movements within the Church," he said. Four out of 11 directors of regional and national schools of evangelisation in Latin America are not charismatics, Prado claimed. The evangelisation projects no longer hold events in conjunction with charismatic renewal, he said.
Prado, who spoke before 25,000 Catholics at a 12-hour annual charismatic prayer meeting in Mexico City last November, said Evangelisation 2000 and the Mexican charismatic movement have agreed their officials should be barred from speaking at each other's public events.
In its operations report on the Guadalajara office for the first six months of 1989, Evangelisation 2000 noted that Mexico's charismatic renewal movement had distributed two letters relating to that issue. One said the movement would not promote or participate in events patronised by Evangelisation 2000.
The same report showed that Prado planned to preach at the national charismatic conference in Argentina on December 8-10. The southern regional directors' meeting for Evangelisation 2000 will be in Argentina from December 6-7.