Friday, 12 September 2003

Rome (Fides Service) – A special meeting of Catholic Action Italy (ACI) opened on 12 September at Domus Pacis, Rome. Over 800 delegates and 171 auditors and from all over Italy have gathered to discuss changes in the statutes of the Italian branch of this lay Association which has 370,000 members (131,000 children, 71,000 adolescents and 168,000 adults). On the occasion of the event, Fides Service spoke with Ernesto Preziosi, vice national president of ACI adult section.

Why has ACI decided to revise its statutes approved in 1969 under the leadership of Vittorio Bachelet?
It is opportune to avoid a misunderstanding: ACI is undertaking this revision not because it is in crisis, or because its members are decreasing in numbers, but because it feels it has something to say to be a lay resource, a useful tool for growth in the life of the Christian community of a mature laity which knows how to express its subjectivity. ACI feels, at this particular time in history the responsibility to be, through the life of each one of its members, a small but convincing sign which can serve to render the Christian laity active and participant in the life of the Church and the animation of society.

How would you define renewal for an Association such as Catholic Action?
This renewal is simply an ongoing effort to live contemporaneity with time as it flows. It is commitment of every ACI member to adapt to the changing times, or better, to gauge, more than our finalities, the methods of organisation and expression of our Association. In order to renew themselves the lay members of Catholic Action must view carefully the horizon of new evangelisation, and confront themselves seriously together with the entire Church, with the secularist drift which often involves lay Christians as spectators, at times as victims more or less conscious.

What challenges face a renewed ACI and in general all lay Catholics in Italy?
The challenges are first of all rampant secularisation and the loss of reliable political reference points for the Catholic world, weakening of the democratic culture with relative crisis in lay participation in the social and civil life of our country, the relaxing of a certain cultural tension. These are only some of the processes with which ACI must confront itself and build itself as a privileged place and tool of formation and discernment and a training ground for democratic participation. LM (Fides Service 12/9/2003 EM lines 43 Words: 411)