The International Forum of Catholic Action after the decree of acknowledgement
Giuseppe GERVASIO

On June 29th 1995, by a decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the International Forum of Catholic Action was acknowledged by the Holy See as an international Organism of pontifical rite.
So the Catholic Church has formally recorded this new subject which was set up at international level in order to persue ecclesial aims, which were highly appreciated; for this reason the Normative Document was approved and the Forum was conferred the private juridical person according to the current canon laws (can 116 CJC).
The decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity therefore is a sign that the Holy See considers the presence of the Forum useful and suitable for the journey of the Church in this time and judges positively the aims persued by the Forum within the great pastoral lines that the Church is proposing at the light of the Vatican Council II.
The aims in questions - clearly pointed out in the normative document - are resumed in the decree as follows:

  • being a place where concerns and solidarity for the Catholic Action of different countries, regions and continents, can find expression;
  • analysing the worldwide dimension of the great problems that contemporary society poses to the Church and to Catholic Action;
  • animating and promoting the new evangelization with full respect for the different contexts and the different methods of organization of each Catholic Action.


The decree, with regard to the International Forum of Catholic Action, recalls explicitly the characteristics of this peculiar form of associated apostolate directed to the plantatio ecclesiae and to the implantatio evangelica in close union with the Ecclesiastic Hierarchy.
In this perspective, the facts of being recognised and given the juridical person strengthen the necessary relationship of close cooperation and effective dialogue between the Forum and the Pastors; a relationship which is to be cultivated and developed in two directions: towards the Episcopate and therefore towards the Bishops Conferences and the Bishops of those particular Churches where Catholic Action is present and acting or who wish to start this specific form of associated lay apostolate; towards the organisms of the Holy See - first of all the Pontifical Council for the Laity - in order to give a meaningful contribution in drawing up and carrying out those pastoral lines and those initiatives concerning the formation and the different forms of ecclesial commitment of the laypeople.
Besides, the close link among evangelization, inculturation of the faith and christian animation of the society, leads the Forum to open in a fruitful relationship not only with the other International ecclesial associations, but also with the International Catholic Organizations which are acting mostly in the field of culture and human promotion and which - as Organizations Non Governative - are developing a specific function towards the International Institutions.
The decree of acknowledgement enables the Forum to start also this qualifying relationship.

II ORDINARY ASSEMBLY - Buenos Aires, September 11-14th 1997
Christ, the one Saviour yesterday, today and for ever
IN DIALOGUE WITH GOD, IN THE CHURCH,WITH THE WORLD AND THE CULTURES