Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Lays Out Vision for Church in America

Carl Anderson's speech in Mexico City draws attention to the important role of the laity, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis and 'Southern Christianity' in the New Evangelization

New Haven,Connecticut (I-Newswire) December 7, 2013 - As Pope Francis directs the Church's "New Evangelization," Carl Anderson, the leader of the Church's largest Catholic fraternal group suggested that the Holy Father is doing so in a way that reflects the increasing importance of the American continent, the Global South and the most transformative religious event in the continent's history - the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"The conversion of our hemisphere was unique. …America was converted through a miracle - through the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She intervened in history and attracted millions to conversion," said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson to a gathering this week at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

"There is a connection between Pope Francis and the model of Our Lady of Guadalupe in attracting people to the fullness of faith by highlighting love, forgiveness and reconciliation," said Anderson. In this, Anderson argued, Pope Francis has continued the teachings of his recent predecessors and key Church documents, especially Ecclesia in America, which was published by Blessed John Paul II following a special synod of bishops from throughout the Americas.

Sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Knights of Columbus, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos, the conference entitled "Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization on the American Continent," examined and encouraged the notion of the churches of North, Central and South America engaging in a collaborative effort to strengthen Christianity throughout the hemisphere, and providing the depth of Christianity found here to the rest of the world.

"The present and future of our Church looks much like Mexico in 1531," Anderson noted in his speech. "[Our Lady of Guadalupe's apparition] is the model for cooperation among Catholics of our hemispheres, within each country and between countries. It is a model based on love, on charity and on concern for the spiritual and physical well being of all those with whom we share the American continent."

Anderson quoted the work of well-known theologian Philip Jenkins who has chronicled the massive rise of Christianity in the southern hemisphere.

Perhaps the most impressive indication of this, he said, was the election this year of a pope from the continent, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

"As we see someone from Buenos Aires assume the papacy, we can see the Old World beginning to look to the New," said Anderson, adding, "like our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis understands a Church of the poor and of Southern Christianity to the future."

Anderson explained that the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was instrumental in conversions in southern Mexico and California and far to the south, for example, in the Church of San Ignacio in Buenos Aires there is a painting of the evangelization of Argentina by the Jesuits, who hold in their hands the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"From Alaska to Argentina, her image is known and venerated because she has transcended borders, language and culture," said Anderson. "She announces the path to communion and collaboration for Catholics throughout this hemisphere."

Anderson added that Mary asks the Church to put at the center of our work for evangelization the domestic Church, the family, and the evangelization of and by the family.

"When we speak of the relationship and cooperation among the Churches of this hemisphere, we therefore must include prominently in our analysis the relationship and cooperation among the domestic Churches of this hemisphere," Anderson noted. "Our popes have repeatedly told us that the family is the cornerstone of society, and if the laity is largely responsible for the future of evangelization in America, then it is no accident that Our Lady of Guadalupe appears with such an emphasis on the domestic Church. She appears as our mother - and is recognized as such around the hemisphere."

The conference was held from Nov. 16 to 19 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Pope Francis addressed the group via a video message, and other speakers included prominent cardinals, bishops, and lay people from throughout North and South America.

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December 7, 2013

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