In paragraph 178, we ended with some concern on the part of bishops for base communities that have lost an “authentic feel” for the Church.
I mentioned in my comment on it that quite a number of groups might well be guilty of losing “authenticity” but retain an identification as “Catholic.”
The bishops offer some guidance. Here is an important checklist:
179. In the missionary following of Jesus, ecclesial base communities
- have the word of God as source of their spirituality
- and the guidance of their Shepherds to assure ecclesial communion.
- They deploy their evangelizing and missionary commitment among the humblest and most distant,
- and they visibly express the preferential option for the poor.
- They are source and seed of varied services and ministries on behalf of life in society and the Church.
Remaining in communion with their bishop and participating in the overall thrust of diocesan pastoral activity, ecclesial base communities become a sign of vitality in the particular church. By thus acting in conjunction with parish groups, associations, and ecclesial movements, they can help revitalize parishes, making them a community of communities. In their effort to meet the challenges of the contemporary age, ecclesial base communities shall take care not to alter the precious treasure of the Church’s tradition and magisterium.
In addition to the Word, a deeplink to the sacramental life of the Church:
180. As a response to the demands of evangelization, along with ecclesial base communities there are other valid forms of small communities and even networks of communities, of movements, groups of life, prayer, and reflection on the Word of God. All ecclesial communities and groups will yield fruit insofar as the Eucharist is the center of their life and the Word of God is a beacon of their journey and activity in the one Church of Christ.
For a deeper look, remember to check the English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.