Readers, I’m off to the Nativity liturgy momentarily, but I have a bleg for you. Do any of you know anything about the Catholic Integrated Community (Katholische Integrierte Gemeinde), an international lay-clerical community founded by German Catholics in the wake of the Second World War? According to Catholic Online:
The Catholic Integrated Community was established in Munich in Germany, under the name “Junger Bund” immediately in the wake of the Second World War and the tragic events linked to it.
Under the leadership of Herbert and Traudl Wallbrecher, a group of young people began to reflect on the reasons why Christians fail to oppose the emergence of ideologies and dictatorships that sow death, or to contribute to solving social injustices affecting men and women; in other words, why baptized Christians are unable to become a people whose existence and lifestyle make God’s project for the world visible.
Communities like this would become the place in which the Christian faith is lived as history in which we can always play a part, based on the conviction that God is acting among us today as he did at the time of Abraham.
In 1968 the group changed its name to “Integrated Community,” and in 1996 it was given its present name. It was approved in 1978 by the archbishop of Paderborn and recognized that same year by the then archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Identity: In a world estranged from God and where people no longer believe in his saving presence in history, KIG sets out to retrace the biblical experience of the covenant between God and his people and to recover the substance of the Catholic faith.
Its members endeavor to make the Gospel present in all the dimensions of daily life in a way that enables even the most distant to find or rediscover access to the Church. The specific dimensions of the formative process for its members are the experience of the Christian message lived in unity, theological reflection on history, on the Old and the New Testaments and the history of the Church, and the proclamation of the Gospel message in contemporary society.
Formation covers a period of six years, of which three are the catechumenate, in which members and associates play an active part in the life of the community.
The preferred spheres of action are the world of labor, education, politics, health care, art, crafts, and missionary commitment. KIG is subject to the authority of the local churches in whose parishes it operates. Individual communities are established at the diocesan level and taken together they constitute the Confederation of Catholic Integrated Communities. In the pursuit of its objectives, KIG cooperates with the community of priests and the community of unmarried women and unmarried men that place themselves at its service.
Organization: Membership of KIG is open to members, co-workers, aspirants and friends. Each community elects a management council which coordinates and is responsible for the life and for the pursuit of the objectives of the community.
Each community is under the spiritual direction of a diocesan priest who is a member of the community of priests at the service of the Catholic Integration Communities, appointed by agreement with the local bishop.
Membership: KIG has about 1,000 members in seven countries, in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Works: Members or groups of members of KIG have taken the initiative under their own personal responsibility to set up Catholic schools, a small clinic and nursing activities. In 2003, KIG inaugurated The Academy for the Theology of the People of God at Villa Cavalletti (Grottaferrata, Rome).
I will be traveling next month to Norcia for a short retreat with the Benedictines, on which I will be interviewing some of them for the Benedict Option book. A reader of this blog has tipped me off to the KIG, which sounds very much like what I conceive of as a Benedict Option community. Anything you readers can tell me about the KIG would be much appreciated. Perhaps I will have time to visit one of them while I’m abroad. I need to know soon, though, because I’ve got to buy plane tickets next week.
Off to church. Merry (Slavic) Christmas!