ROME—Participants at the recent seminar on ecclesial movements have differing views about the place of movements in the Church. ZENIT news agency spoke with some of the participants during breaks at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.

Guzman Carriquiry, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity: Every time the floor is open for questions, dozens of bishops want to speak. There have been times when perplexity and problems have been expressed — one bishop even got angry — but in general, there is an atmosphere of fruitful dialogue. The tension that used to [arise] whenever movements were mentioned seems to have disappeared. Everything has unfolded in a relaxed atmosphere; the participants are keen to discern and go deeply into the debate. We are witnessing a real and profound reflection, in which the diversity of approaches does not limit the possibility of new positions.

Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, president of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar: The movements come from outside; they were born in an environment that is culturally and ecclesiastically different. How can these movements be integrated into the local Church, which by nature is also universal? The charism, in fact, is not the exclusive domain of movements. The gifts of the Spirit and particularity are also the heritage of the local Churches. …

From the theological point of view, matters are clear, but in practice, humility and a right disposition are necessary to accept what the Spirit has generated in a certain place. The movements maintain they are universal because the Pope has recognized them and, because of this, they expect total acceptance. But universality is not reduced just to this point. The universal Church is the communion of the Churches, which is experienced in unity. The Church is always universal, even when it is particular.

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague: The new springtime in the Church, forecast by John XXIII at the opening of Vatican Council II, took place in 1998 when John Paul II met with all the ecclesial movements in St. Peter's Square.

The Synod for the Laity was held in 1988; at that time, the movements were discussed. There were a number of criticisms and doubts expressed. The movements were regarded with fear, uncertainty, and a degree of rejection by some bishops. But 10 years later, everything has changed, because, exactly on the 10th anniversary of the Synod for the Laity, the Holy Father convoked a meeting of the movements and stated clearly that they are ‘the fruits of the Holy Spirit.’

The commitment of the leaders of these movements to get to know one another, to come closer to each other, and to act together seems to me an authentic sign of their genuineness. Unity is the sign of the Church. If the movements can achieve this, it means they have overcome their own limits and expressed a sign of their authenticity, because the Holy Spirit favors unity in the Church, even in diversity….

I am convinced that the movements are a result of Vatican Council II. If you study the characteristics of some of the movements and read what the Council requested, you will see the harmony. In my opinion, both phenomena — the council and the movements — are phenomena encouraged by the Holy Spirit.