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Who is Chiara Lubich, And Why Should Anyone Follow Her?

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In 1943 a woman by the name of Chiara Lubich founded something called The Focolare Movement in Italy. Today this movement has 2 million adherents in 182 countries. The Pope has praised this movement as one of the signs of "the new springtime of the Church."

According to the Focolare website: "The Movement is made up of persons of all ages, races and walks of life. It is ecumenical. Members of the world's religions as well as persons of no religious affiliation also participate in the life of the Movement in varying degrees." Well, what exactly does "the Movement" do? If the website is any indication, Chiara and company are engaged in promoting a pan-religious utopia: a "New Humanity," "New Families" and, of course "world peace." This requires, naturally, a great deal of "interreligious dialogue" with everybody from the Animists to the Zoroastrians - essentially endless conversations with non-believers with no intention of making them converts. In short, Focolare is just another post-Vatican II substitute for the Church militant and the missions.

Just who is this Chiara Lubich? The Focolare web site tells us only that "Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement was born on January 22, 1920, in Trent, Italy, the first of four children of a working-class family. She was an elementary school teacher and always had a special interest in philosophy. In 1943 she decided to give her life to God. Before long, other young women joined her, and so the Focolare came into being. She is currently the elected president of the Focolare whose main thrust is to work for the unity of humankind."

Okay. So she was a schoolteacher, likes philosophy, never married. and now works for the unity of humankind - not mankind, mind you. But what are her qualifications for leading a worldwide movement with 2 million members that seeks to unify humankind? If her recent statement about "interreligious dialogue" is any indication, Chiara Lubich has no qualifications and is positively dangerous to the faithful. In fact, Chiara Lubich cannot even think straight.

In February 2001 Lubich was in India to "open channels of dialogue with Hinduism," according to the Zenit news organization. Here is what Lubich said about this "dialogue": "Dialogue means . . . putting aside our thoughts, our affections of heart, and our attachments; putting everything aside and ‘entering’ the other . . .This elicits reciprocal listening. Then common elements are perceived and, in the case of the dialogue that we are developing, to come to an agreement to live together. This dialogue makes universal fraternity a reality, in whose name we wish to act. Thus, it is possible to be united even with the most distant and different people."

So, according to Chiara Lubich, leader of 2 million Catholics, what Catholics should be doing is putting aside their own thoughts, affections and attachments - everything! - and "entering" Hindus and other non-Christians (whatever that means). Then we can discover what we have in common, and agree to live according to those "common elements." Simple! In this way we will be "united" even with those who do not accept Christ or the teaching authority of His Church.

But how can mankind be "united" without worshiping the same God? Lubich does not seem aware that her hazy notion of unity was expressly condemned by Saint Pius X in his letter on the pan-religious Sillon movement in France. Saint Pius denounced the utopian notion of an interreligious "brotherhood" as a sign of apostasy, leading toward "a One-World Church." He declared that "society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants."

Lubich is one of those dreamers referred to by Pius X. But instead of a dream, we have God’s own prescription for the unity of mankind. Our Lady of Fatima said: "You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart."

Somehow I do not think Chiara Lubich and her 2 million followers have any intention of establishing in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart in order to save Hindus and other non-believers from hell. I suppose the Message of Fatima is one of those "thoughts" and "attachments" we have to put aside in order to "work for the unity of mankind" through "interreligious dialogue."

From this Fatima perspective, that is precisely the problem with movements like Focolare and "leaders" like Chiara Lubich.