Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fired up

Provincial Ultreya
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Just home from a Cursillo gathering in Falkirk, I realise how important meetings like this are for the health of the church - and for individual Christians. Just as the TeachMeet in Edinburgh revived my enthusiasm for teaching, because I met with people buzzing with excitement for the new ideas they are trying out, so this meeting of Christians from all over Scotland has, once again, revived my enthusiasm for the whole idea of corporately living the message of the Gospels.

Cursillo doesn't suit everyone as a way to rejuvenate their faith, but it is a matter of disappointment to me that there are church people prepared to condemn the organisation on the basis of ignorance and hearsay. It is especially discouraging to lay people when the ones doing the condemning are professionals, who can seem to put personal prejudice before the possible benefit to their flocks.

However, this evening I feel hopeful again - because I've spent the day with people who were filled with joy, who were not being sceptical or disapproving of one another, who shared hopes and fears, disappointments and successes with one another and who joined in the closing Eucharist with total commitment. We relit some torches today.



  1. Anonymous10:49 PM

    I'm delighted you had such a good day, and thankful that so many people have been encouraged in their faith by what they find at Cursillo.

    But I'm not sure you are being fair to the 'religious professionals' who aren't so keen on Cursillo. Sometimes it is about personal prejudice. But sometimes it is because of first hand experience of those who went ill prepared to Cursillo, and came back damaged. And before you say it -- yes I know much has changed, and you are all working to address it.

    I think what would convert me most to Cursillo would be a softening of boundries. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all one saw was the enthusiasm for Christ, and it was neither here nor there whether it came via Cursillo, Spring Harvest, a fine liturgy or an Ignatian Retreat?

  2. Of course it would. But this was where it was, today, in the eyes and voices and souls of ordinary people confessing to their love of Christ and his presence in their lives. There were no boundaries - this was merely a bunch of people seeking to serve Christ and one another. And Cursillo happened to be the catalyst - not exclusively, but inclusively. It would be a big mistake to imagine that no-one there had had other catalysts in their faith lives. Of course they have. And no-one there would dream of denying the validity of any other route to renewal. Indeed, many today were testifying to other powerful experiences *away* from Cursillo, moments which had enriched their faith. And in each case, what was visible was exactly what you envisage: enthusiasm for Christ.

  3. Anonymous8:06 AM

    I am sorry I missed it but a day spent tidying my study and moving furniture left me with a sore back and a sleepless night.

    I agree with Mother Kimberly's comments about religious pro's who seem to be agin it. I know of one who was pestered (and I do mean pestered) by a Cursillista on a weekly basis when he was doing an attachment with a certain church. And told that you are not a 'proper' Christian until you have been on Cursillo. The same Cursillista used to sponsor the most inappropriate people, none of whom ever got the Fourth Day at all.

    I also know other clergy who know all about Cursillo (and I mean ALL) because they have had to deal with fall-out or crises from those who shouldn't have gone. Sometimes they have gone into a parish where a clique exists - and yes, I know that we all say it shouldn't but I'm afraid it does sometimes.

    And of course there are some who reckon its not for them and feel resentful at people telling them they ought to put their own feelings aside for the sake of their little flock. Giving up a weekend is a big thing for clergy.

    Having said all of that, I do still believe that Cursillo has a place in our church. And much as I would like many more people to encounter Christ in a new way through Cursillo, I will not keep trying to convince reluctant clergy that they ought to go. I shall leave that to the Holy Spirit.

    It has just occurred to me that there are quite a few clergy who are definitely not suitable candidates for sponsoring for many of the same reasons that lay people sometimes shouldn't go.

    I will end the rant here!

  4. "there are quite a few clergy who are definitely not suitable candidates for sponsoring " ...

    Ruth: what do lay people do, then, given that the application form needs to be signed by their priest? When incumbents change and there is a Cursillo group with the potential to grow? Does that group just have to stagnate? And how do lay people necessarily know that their new priest isn't going to be a suitable sponsor? After all, they're not all as pushy as me :-) and not all as savvy about clergy ;-)) ... so I think it's hard on them.

    And it may indeed be tough to give up a weekend for work - but in my profession that's what people do, only it's not just weekends (eg free time) but also pupil-contact time that they give up to go on in-service so that they are .. fired up? (See my blog on |TeachMeeto7) And that can have enormous implications in terms of preparation and backlog - but its positive effects, by and large, outweigh the negative.

    Last thought: Some of the clergy I'm thinking of would be far too young for Cursillo if they were lay people. They shouldn't yet be the "tired Christians" that one Cursillista so eloquently described. So yes, I think there's a different set of perameters for clergy.

  5. Anonymous12:59 PM


    I've always found the attitude of the Cursillo movement to clergy who have not been on the weekend very hard to understand.

    The movement has made a rule that you cannot go unless a clergy person signs the form. I think it is the case that you cannot go unless your bishop has gone. If Cursillo makes those rules, I don't see any alternative to sticking to them with smiles upon your faces and heads held high.

    Blaming clergy who are not part of a Cursillo for the rules of Cursillo seems very odd to me indeed.

  6. "Blaming clergy who are not part of a Cursillo for the rules of Cursillo seems very odd to me indeed."

    Erm... I don't think I was, actually. What seems very odd to me is that there is this conflict at all. I'd have given my eye teeth for such enthusiastic pupils - if you can supply the rest of the analogy so that I can go for lunch! :-)

  7. Anonymous4:30 PM

    "When incumbents change and there is a Cursillo group with the potential to grow? Does that group just have to stagnate?"

    I think that is a problem for Cursillo to solve, rather than primarily a problem for an incumbent.

  8. Two points: (a) I wasn't talking about my own diocese (just so's you know) and (b)yes, we do need to address this particular problem. It would, however, be helpful if we didn't have to contend with gratuitous bad mouthing - and again, I'm not talking about this conversation.
    Actually, conversation would be a good idea. One of the curses of the bog post is the need for the soundbite - or should that be the blogbite?

  9. Anonymous5:13 PM

    As a member of the clergy who was dragged kicking and screaming to Cursillo, (I was told that I had to go as a condition of my taking up my present post),I have to say that I was pleasantly surpried by the experience. The problem with so many clergy is that they have already made up their minds about Cursillo, as I had, and approach the whole movement with closed minds at worst, and extreme caution at best. If this movement is so divisive or damaging, it beats me why the College of Bishops and particulaly our Primus endorses it, and in fact encourages its growth! Or am I being thick?

  10. Anonymous12:00 AM

    Kimberly, you're right in that it's the enthusiasm for Christ that's the important point and not where that enthusiasm comes from. I also agree Ruth that good sponsorship is paramount - but that's why it's necessary to work in partnership - clergy and laity. However that partnership doesn't work when a priest tells his congregation "not to touch Cursillo with a barge pole." This priest had never been to Cursillo so didn't have first hand experience on which to base his argument. A loss for members of that congregation who may have found enthusiasm for Christ through Cursillo. I feel this attitude is more damaging to the church than someone who found Cursillo wasn't for them. I cannot believe however that anyone could come back from Cursillo damaged. Any priest or lay person preaching in a SEC has the potential to damage. We are all open to potential damage from reading the newspapers, watching the TV, surfing the net etc but as, hopefully, responsible adults we can absorb what is presented and make informed choices. Perhaps we shouldn't get out of bed if we want to avoid the risk of being damaged - though, with physio hat on now, that's the worst thing for your back! Hope yours is recovering Ruth.

  11. Anonymous11:32 PM

    Christine, I invited our new Rector (Cursillo - less) to an Ultreya in Feb / Mar 07. He enjoyed himself, spoke to our Diocescan SA and left it at that. I spoke to him about Cursillo 2 weeks ago and he said that although he might never go he is quite happy to sign the form which allows participants to go, saying that he thinks that anything that is seen to enrich the Christian faith and help them on that journey can only be a good thing. Positive thoughts from a member of the clergy yet not a Cursillista himself - RADICAL HUH?