Page 5, 19th October 1956

19th October 1956
Page 5
Page 5, 19th October 1956 — OXFORD GROUP HAS A `GENTLEMEN'S ACTU has AGREEMENT' a job

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Locations: Lausanne, Geneva, Fribourg


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for AGROUP of theologians representing Bishop Charriere of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, have reach a " gentlemen's agreement " with the Moral Rearmament movement — the " Oxford Group " — concerning Catholic participation in the movement in his diocese.

According to Orientierung, weekly published by the Instilute of Apologetics of the Swiss Catholic Action organisation, Bishop Charriere believes that it the conditions outlined in the Agreement are strictly observed. .o-operation between Moral Rearmament and Catholic generally might be made workable. In accepting the eight-point declaration of the movement not to infringe on the mission of the Church, the Bishop Charriere emphasised that it is not his intention to speak for the Universal Church nor to contravene any decisions of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.

The Moral Rearmament movement has been criticised by Bishops in various countries as being tainted with indifferentism.

In 1951 the Holy Office issued a a document making it clear that priests and religious are forbidden to participate in Moral Rearmament meetings without the special permission of the Holy See, and that laymen are discouraged from accepting " posts of responsibility " in the movement.


The statement agreed on by Bishop Charriere amounts to a bill of limitations on the part of Moral Rearmament for Catholic co-operation in the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg.

It was drawn up after a meeting to which representatives from the Moral Rearmament headquarters at Caux and Catholic theologians had been invited to discuss mutual problems in Bishop Charriere's presence. ' Orientierung says the following were the points agreed on : I. Moral Rearmament will refrain from using Christian terms such as Church, Holy Ghost and Cross of Christ in its official vocabulary

2. It considers itself "a gateway" to the Church. It will therefore not convey any impression that it is a solid unit self-sufficient in its structure. It will not attempt to take the place of the Church by

giving religious instruction. On the contrary, it will continue to encourage all Catholics among its members to strengthen their ties with the Church and submit to its directives.


3. The mission of the Christian transcends the mere earthly goal, even though " remaking the world" Ian M.R. tenet] is a noble task. 4. The " periods of silence " and of "communication " (practices customary among M.R. adherents] cannot convey an absolute certainty about the will of God. They must therefore never be used as means of pressure to bring abouta change of mind or some other vital decision. They must always be a humble and loyal search for God's will in a spirit of absolute selflessness.

5. M.R, teams will always take into consideration the special calling of every member and exercise no pressure, even indirectly, to influence any member in favour of M.12, 6, The Church does not want to see Catholics submitted to the jurisdiction of non-Catholics in spiritual matters. The Catholic " permanent members " of M.R. should therefore never be isolated individually, but organised as groups. Wherever there are Catholics, their instruction and training should be secured through priests who are responsible to the Bishop of Fribourg. M.R. will encourage such training and instruction,

7. Catholics should never be used for propaganda purposes in connection with missionary activities of M.R., either on a worldwide or merely continental (European) plane. 8. The only way to avoid difficulties for M.R. in Catholic countries is for M.R. not to undertake anything without the approval of the proper Bishop,

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