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January 03, 2006



From the linked article: "At least one Sunday per month, the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way must participate in the Holy Mass of the parish community. "

Can someone please clear this up. Does this go for all of us, that Saturday Masses fulfill Sunday obligations, but that we should still go at least one Sunday per month?

Is anticipation of the possibility/probability of being ill in the mornings (due to an unpredictable but chronic condition that's especially troublesome in the mornings) a valid reason to plan going to Saturday evening Masses exclusively?

Back to NW, it doesn't look like NW have an "experimental" time frame to me either. It looks to me like they get 2 years to buy an altar and set it up and that they have to change most of their practices.

Venerable Aussie

This response by the NW rep in the US is very disappointing. It's what we normally get from liturgical dissenters in the Church who, in Cardinal Arinze's comments to Raymond Arroyo last year, see themselves as "masters of the mysteries not servants".

Cardinal Arinze's note is clearly designed in letter and spirit as a rejection of the liturgical "innovations" of the NW. His use of the phrase "pending further instructions" is an indication that further reigning in will occur.

This NW spin-doctoring is troublesome and must be repudiated by the NW.

Phil W.

Karen: I'd suppose Saturday evening does fulfill the demands of the letter if it's a mass of the parish community and not of the NW.


The Saturday evening masses do fulfill your Sunday obligation. The NW are being told that they must celebrate at least once per month in their parish, instead of privately in their small groups. They could attend Saturday evening, so long as it is it were in their parish church.

Ed Peters

Jimmy, the reaction of NW to these directives is, to say the least, disturbing.

One note to Shane: there is no obligation whatsoever to "celebrate [Mass] at least once per month in [one's own] parish". The failure to do so is not actionable under canon law, and an order to do so is unenforceable.


It is for this group, because it's been laid down.

They are, after all, members of their parish and ought not to maintain their Communion separately.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

Rationalizing disobedience is the Number One way to submarine any religious renewal movement. Thanks to the likes of the SSPX & other similar schismatic groups legitmate Traditionalism is often met with suspision. If the NW people don't get their act together they will suffer the same fate.

John Paul II let them do one thing. Fine. But John Paul II isn't Pope anymore He now belongs to the ages & by the Grace of God to Heaven. But Benedict XVI is running the Show so obey Benedict. No "ands" "ifs" or "buts" like Nikki just do it.



The instruction to celebrate Mass as a part of the parish community can be enforceable with regards to individual NW communities because (as I understand it) every NW group has a parish affiliation.

However, rather than offering mass at the regular times offered by the parish and held in the church, these communities generally celebrate their own masses in the church basement or another room on church property on Saturday evenings. Often, these masses are said by a NW priest not affiliated with the parish.

The instruction by Cardinal Arinze is simply to mandate that the NW communities not schedule mass for EVERY Saturday night (as is the usual custom). A once-a-month requirement is generous on the part of the Vatican, because NW communities often cause rifts in a parish between regular members and NW members.

I am disappointed that Cdl. Arinze did not require that the creed be spoken at NW masses.

Ed Peters

Somebody, show me some text. In the meantime, Canon 1248.1 says "A person who assists at Mass celebrated ANYWHERE in a Catholic rite ... satisfies the obligation." Anywhere means anywhere, not anywhere-as-long-as-its-your-parish once a month.

Jimmy Akin

Ed is, of course, correct.

There is *no* canonical obligation for a person to attend Mass in his parish once a month or with any other frequency.

What there is is a requirement that Neocatechumenal groups NOT have a separate Neocatechumenal Mass every single weekend of the month.

This is a requirement established to prevent a particular group from establishing what is effectively a parallel parish organization running alongside and within the parishes that the Church has established.

It says *nothing* about individuals and where they may fulfill their Sunday obligation.


Thanks for helping, guys. The wording they'd used in their letter had me a little confused--the way it read "one Sunday..., instead of "one Sunday or Saturday evening...".


Jimmy, thanks for saying what I was trying to say


Hi all.

I am from Malta, and am in the Neocatechumenal Way, together with my wife, my children, my parents, my wife's parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, etc.

What do you want me to tell you? That we are heretics? That we are celebrating satanic ceremonies?

If you want to hear that, sorry, you're mistaken. If our acts were not liturgically correct, the Vatican would i) not have approved the NCW's statutes, and ii) not have given the NCW 2 years to, as you suggest, "clean up their act", but either close the NCW down or tell us to "clean our act" with absolutely immediate effect. The Vatican WOULD NOT LET masses being celebrated WITHOUT the proper liturgical compliance for two years ...

I truly believe that the NCW is inspired by the Holy Spirit and Mother Mary. It is a charisma that is helping the Church to reach out wherever God is either not known at all, or willingly abandoned.

We still remain sinners, but we know that there is a Church that can heal us. The NCW gave us a new life, and a reason to live. God loves us - and the NCW is helping us to discover this. And by discovering His love, we can love others - that's why the NCW has given to birth more than 60 Seminaries belonging to the Dioceses - in the 6 continents - full of seminarians.

That is also why families, with numerous children, leave their land, their belongings, and go to wherever they are sent, to sow the seeds of Christianity. They all come back saying that although they pass from hard times, God is with them and with their mission.

The NCW is serving the Church, serving God. We are not above the Word, nor above the Church, or the Vatican. We obey, as we have obeyed in the past.

Ah! By the way ... does anyone of you know that we, in the NCW, receive the Body and Blood of the Christ in the same way as the early Christians used to? Are we heretics???

Regards and peace,



This is my concerns with the NW members.

A NW member tells me to join the "New Mass" and he went on say that I'm not a practicing catholic until I join "The Way"

Another NW member tells me that the bread and wine consecrated in Sunday Mass is not the "Real Presence of Christ" only at a NW mass that it is consecrated and experience the "True meaning of the Eucharist".

In conclusion, all NW members, seminarians, priests, and sad to say our bishop display this "Negative Attitude" towards others who are not a part of NW. These concerns are true because almost every parish in our diocese see these things happening and people are upset and disgusted including myself of how these NW members present themselves as "High Class" and "know-it-alls"

Perhaps the NW should have never been introduced in our diocese.

Tim J.

"Are we heretics???"


That depends. Will you, and other members of NCW follow the "liturgical books"?

Will you gather around an altar?

Will you follow the command of the Pope?

If you believe that the Mass lacks any essential that the NCW provides, you may be a heretic.


"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same..." CCC 2089 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm#2089)

Even if someone does not follow the "liturgical books"...that does not make them "heretics....You might say they are desobedient, but not heretics ;)

Openly and knowinly denying, say, the Real Presence would make someone a heretic.
Obviously this is not what is going on in the NCW. Even when some practices might need "correction" from church authorities, they are performed to strengthen the faith in the sacrament...and not to deny the Real Presence.

May charity and understanding prevail...specialy from among us catholics.

Tim J.


I did not say that failure to follow the "liturgical books" = heresy.

I said;

"If you believe that the Mass lacks any essential that the NCW provides, you may be a heretic.".

For instance, anyone who believed that Jesus' true Body & Blood is not really made present in the Novus Ordo Mass.

It's the temptation (that many such groups struggle with) to think that they are the Real True Catholics, and that every other mode of Catholicism is deficient.

Failure to obey the Pope in such matters comes very close to denying his authority, which would also be heresy.


Well im glad to see that some one is from the Neocatechumenal Way here.. hehe.. For starters ive been in the NCW since i was 2 years old with my family and i am now 18. I strongly agree with what the brother from Malta had to say. But to the other guy that said and i quote,
"people are upset and disgusted including myself of how these NW members present themselves as "High Class" and "know-it-alls"
Well im sorry to say that we do not act like that. The ones who seem to act like they "know it all" are the ones with every lil negative comment about the Way. We are not High Class if anything (speaking for myself on my behalf) i personally think the ones outside of the NCW think they are more "high class" or "know-it-alls". Apparently they think they know what is "BEST" for the NCW,saying that we are not "involved", that we are "secretive" and keep away from the rest...But that is allllllllllll wrong.. During the catequesis YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND! they do not reject you because you are a sinner, a liar, prostitute, theif etc if anything you are MORE THAN WELCOME TO ATTEND THE CATEQUESIS...theres a series of steps you take.. many are like kindergardners who right away want to jump into 6th grade ...lacking the knowledge or a baby whos crawling that wants to run right away. Its impossible you wont understand, thats why babysteps are taken. but then again lets not forget the majority of the ones who respond to this have never been in the WAY... or maybe just sat in a euchrarist one time. But thats just not enough. Yes your catholic, Yes you attend mass...but where do you put the word to practice? What do you do with your talents/gift/DON? Many just keep the Good News To themselves. the NCW has intinerants, catequist, seminarians, FAMILY in mission, cantors, etc that present the Good News to those who are searching for God, looking for answers, if you want to know more about your faith...married, single, elderly whatever. And if they are giving the NCW a 2 year GRACE PERIOD.. for doing something they "dont approve of" just seems kind of odd to keep going on like that .. if we are "doing worng"
But you know what brothers i strongly encourage you to attend the neo catechumenal catequesis at your parish when available. Look at how many times God has asked you to come and listen to his Good News and you just turn your head and say NO thank you! and go back to easily critizing the unknown to you. Many dont like the Way as i can...but thats just because they are easily scandalized because they hear the truth and they do not like what they hear. in the beginning one does not concretely recognize themselves as a sinner, no one has enemies, we all have BAGS OF FAITH and are VERY LOVING. that is exactly what a person outside of the NCW is like. but the big word is called CONVERSION. and Conversion takes time, faith, and acceptance. but AS for now i ask you brothers and sisters to pray for me and i for you. Have a blessed day.


Thomas Hennigan

What needs to be judged is not the good will of the vast majority of NW members or the good that is being done. No duobt, non Catholic groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses do much good to many people, but that is not a criterion for judging their orthodoxy. An objective examination of the doctrine taught by the founders of the NW, Kiko Arguelles and Carmen Hernández does leave one rather perplexed in that they seem to reject outright the teaching of the Council of Trent, the doctrine of the Mass as a sacrifice, the doctrine of transubstantiation which they consider "aristotelianism". and a whole lot more doctrines. It would appear that Kiko is a neolutheran in that he thinks that it is not possible to free oneself from sin, and he seems to hold presdestination like Calvin. These and other doctrines have been kept secret from bishops and others until they were discovered by Italian theologians in the mid nineties. It would appear that this is the reason why the Directory of the NW, mentioned in the Statutes approved ad experimentum in 2002 for five years, has not been approved. Kiko and Carmen are probably not formal heretics, but they have taught heresy and confusing, erroneous doctrine. Besides this problem, another one is the sectlike nature of NW. All NW members with whom I have spoken tell me about the positive experiences they have. That is not the matter, but the objective problems which do exist. Some 30 Italian bishops, including several Cardinals have expressed reservations about NW. The approved Statutes do not approve the liturgical abuses they have practiced up to the present. For these to have been approved some written decree would have been necesary. None was given, so they were not approved. Reading between the lines of Cardinal Arinze's interview in the Vatian Radio, one could expect some intervention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to clear up this dogmatic problem.


"It would appear that Kiko is a neolutheran in that he thinks that it is not possible to free oneself from sin, and he seems to hold presdestination like Calvin. These and other doctrines have been kept secret from bishops and others until they were discovered by Italian theologians in the mid nineties."

ha ha ha!!! very interesting... have you tried sending this inspirational stuff to dan brown?



In all the discourse and dialogue, one thing is more true than anything...

In the spirit of Love, sincerity and truth, the dialogue must take place.

Misunderstandings can be cleared up with sincere and diligent dialogue and a pursuit to discern the truth behind these situations. Worries about doctrinal and theological error, liturgical guidelines, interpretations of how these should be implemented, tones of letters, attitudes, etc.
must be scrupulously studied and examined.

Obviously someone real powerful does not want understanding to prevail. I have observed miscommunication and misinterpretation on both sides: those in the Neocatechumenal way and those outside.

Let us dialogue in a spirit of truth, peace, and love. Seek sincerely and diligently identifying areas of concern (on both sides) those in the WAY and OUT.

The Gospel of JEsus Christ must be preached. In his name are we one; holy, catholic & apostolic.

May our Saviour bring us unity- understanding and peace.

May those who sincerely work (on both sides) towards reconciling and amending,fixing and abiding, building the church, keeping in accordance with her teachings and faithfully serving be blessed 10-fold by our Lord.

All things that are new must be tested, tried and refined in the furnace. May those in the Way be humble to accept correction. May those outside work diligently maintaining respect, and upholding the dignity of their brothers whom, with sincere intentions seek to do and carry out that which is right as they seek to be faithful to the church and her teachings.

Christ will see towards the reconciliation of this conflict. Viva Christo Rey! Christ risen rises victorious! May we ascend with him.

May the power of God's love resound in those who sincerely, earnestly and diligently seek to reconcile this conflict.

Let us pray for one another and God's intervention in this matter.

In Christ- Michael


Anyone that criticizes the Way without having listened to the catechesis is blowing hot air...



This post was discussing the "PURE SPIN" of Giuseppe Gennarini about the letter issued by Cardinal Arinze about NW and not their catechesis.

Take care and God bless,


Inocencio, you mean that Gabriel didn't understand the post and was blowing hot air?


A new letter has been sent to the NeoCatechumenal Way by the leading bishops of the various rites in the Holy Land. I think many might be interested in reading this letter so I am including an 'ad hoc' translation, until someone can aquire an official or authoritative english version. Sorry, but its the best I can do!

ENTIRE NeoCat Letter from Holy Land Bishops

[Text of the Entire Letter from the Bishops of the Holy Land to the NeoCatechumental Way translated from the SPANISH TO ENGLISH using Google, and minor translation clarifications made by A. Williams. Obviously this is not a perfect translation, due to it being based primarily on the Google program, and then with some overlays from the Zenit translation'quotes' above, and then some additional 'un-professional' clarifications from myself. Again, it's not perfect but it is still intelligable and better than the deficient ENGLISH 'summary' of the letter given by ZENIT on Feb.27, 2007. Maybe this will 'help' until an authentic translation can be made in the Engish of this important letter.
Code: ZS07022703
Date publication: 2007-02-27

* * *

Welcome and indications of the catholic bishops of Holy Land to the Neocatecumenal Way

Letter to the Neocatecumenal Way in the Holy Land

Brothers and sisters of the Neocatecumenal Way:

1. The peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be always with you.

We, Ordinaries of the Holy Land, directed this letter to you at the beginning of Lent, within the framework of the common Pastoral Plan for this year, whose subject is catechesis and religious education in the parish.

Brothers and sisters of the Way: you are welcome in our dioceses. We give thanks to God for the grace that the Lord has given you and for the charisma that the Holy Spirit has instilled in the Church through your ministry of the post-baptismal formation. We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for the preaching of the Word of God, for the help given to our faithful in deepening their faith and in rooting them into their own local church, in “a synthesis of kerigmatic preaching, change of life and liturgy” (Statutes, art. 8).

Following the Letter that Pope Benedict XVI directed to you the 12th of January of 2006 [v. Zenith, 12 January 2006. Ndr], and the one of the Congregation for the Divine Cult of 1st of December of 2005 [v. Zenith, 1 January 2006. Ndr], we request to you that you occupy a place in the heart of the parish in that you announce the Word of God, avoiding to make a group aside. We would wish that you could say with St. Paul: “For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. ” (I Co 9, 19).

The principle to that we must all together remain faithful and to inform our pastoral action would have to be “one parish and one Eucharist”. Your first duty, therefore, is to root (the faithful) in the parishes and in their own liturgical traditions in which they have grown for generations

In the East, our liturgy and our traditions are very important to us. It is the liturgy that has contributed much to conserve the Christian faith in our towns throughout history. The rite is like an identity card and not only a way among others to pray. We request that you have the charity to include, understand and to respect the attachment of our faithful to their own liturgies.

2. The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity in the parish and not of division. We request therefore that in the eucarístic celebrations, in all the Eastern rites, and in addition in the Latin rite, they are always presided over by the parish priest, or, in the case of the Latin rite, in the heat of agreement with him. You celebrate the Eucharist with the parish and according to the way of the local Church. “There where is the bishop, is the church”, wrote St. Ignatius of Antioch. You teach to the faithful the love by its liturgical traditions and put your charisma to the service of the unit.

3. We request in addition that you seriously study the language and the culture of the people, in a sign of respect towards them ...understanding its soul and its history, in the context of the Holy Land: religious, cultural and national pluralism. In addition, in our countries, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, all are in the search of peace and justice, a search that integrally comprises our lives as Christians. All preaching would have to orient to the faithful the concrete attitudes that there are in the diverse contexts of life and in their own situation of conflicts that continue in Palestine: attitudes of pardon and love towards the enemy, on the one hand, and by another one, exigency of their own rights, especially dignity, freedom and justice.

We request that you preach a Gospel incarnated in the life, a Gospel that illuminates all aspects of life and roots itself to the faithful in Jesus Christ Revived and all his human atmosphere, cultural and eclesial.

We request that God overwhelms your hearts with His strength and His love, and that He grants grace to you so that you can overwhelm the hearts of the faithful with its love and its strength.

Jerusalem, 25 of February of 2007

+ Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
+ Elias Shakour, catholic greco-melquita archbishop of Acri, Haifa, Nazaret and of all Galilea
+ George El-Murr, catholic greco-melquita archbishop of Filadelfia, Petra and of Jordan
+ Paul Sayyah, maronita archbishop of Haifa and Earth Santa, and exarca patriarcal maronita of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan
+ Fouad Twal, Latin coassistant bishop, Jerusalem
+ Kamal Bathish, Latin auxiliary bishop, Jerusalem
+ Selim Sayegh, Latin patriarcal vicar for Jordan
+ Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin patriarcal vicar for Israel
+ Pierre Melki, exarca patriarcal siro-catholic of Jerusaén, Earth Santa and Jordan
+ George Bakar, exarca patriarcal catholic greco-melquita of Jerusalem
Rafael Minassian, exarca patriarcal Armenian catholic of Jerusalem, Earth Santa and Jordan




The Lenten Season of the ‘Way’: Double Penance, in Rome and Jerusalem
First the pope, and then the bishops of the Holy Land level two stern warnings at the Neocatechumenal Way. Here’s how, and why
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, March 5, 2007 - In the span of three days, the Neocatechumenal Way has received two weighty admonitions: the first from the pope, and the second from the bishops of the Holy Land.

The Neocatechumenal Way, founded in Spain in the 1960’s and directed by the laypersons Kiko Argüello (in the photo) and Carmen Hernández, and by Fr. Mario Pezzi, is one of the most flourishing Catholic movements. It counts 20,000 communities in 6,000 parishes, in 900 dioceses on all the inhabited continents, with 3,000 priests and 5,000 religious sisters. It has an international network of 63 “Redemptoris Mater” seminaries. Its expansion is fostered by many families that go on mission in faraway countries.

With results like these, it is natural that the Way would receive the support of many bishops and cardinals. But it has also received, and continues to receive, many criticisms that are just as authoritative, which have been detailed in previous articles from www.chiesa.

In December of 2005, the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments ordered the Neocatechumenal Way to correct the ways in which its communities celebrate the Mass. And the following January 12, 2006, Benedict XVI urged the Way to “observe attentively” the prescribed norms. Obedience to both of these admonitions has been far from complete, both at the time and afterward.

Another controversial point concerns the catecheses that the Way preaches in its communities. The texts for these are still largely secret, and some of them have raised objections from various Vatican congregations, including the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

Finally, there are doubts surrounding the reconfirmation of the statutes of the Way, which the Holy See approved “ad experimentum” on June 29, 2002, for a five-year period that will expire in a few months.

Benedict XVI has stated in person that the definitive approval of their statutes is in question:

“It is being considered whether, after five years of experimentation, the statutes for the Neocatechumenal Way should be confirmed in a definitive manner, or if more time for experimentation is needed, or if perhaps some elements of this structure should be modified.”

It was February 22, the first Thursday of Lent, and the pope was speaking to the clergy of Rome. His remarks were prompted by a priest belonging to the Schönstatt community, Gerardo Raul Carcar, who asked the pope about the relationship between the Church and the movements.

And on the following February 25, the first Sunday of Lent, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and the other Catholic bishops of the Holy Land weighed in on this same topic of the turbulent relationship between the Neocatechumenal communities and the parishes and dioceses in which they operate.

Their comments came in a joint letter addressed to the members of the Way, a letter courteous in form but stern in content.

The bishops of the Holy Land reprimanded the Neocatechumenals for making themselves a group apart, for celebrating the Mass separately from the parishes, for not observing the liturgical rites, for remaining aloof from the language and culture of the local people.

The bishops have formed these criticisms through their direct experience. The Neocatechumenals have an extensive presence in the Holy Land. Their citadel is a sprawling complex on the slopes of the Mount of the Beatitudes, west of Lake Tiberias, called “Domus Galilaeae” and inaugurated on March 24, 2000 by John Paul II in person, in the presence of 50,000 Neocatechumenals who had gathered there from over the world.

The architecture and decoration of the “Domus,” with its bizarre hodgepodge of Christian and Jewish allegories, is the work of the founder of the Way, Kiko Argüello.

To the numerous communities they have established in the Holy Land is added a ceaseless flow of Neocatechumenal pilgrims, who are carefully separated from the other visitors. Even the Masses are celebrated separately. And the procedures for their rituals are identical to those in any other part of the world, including the songs composed by their founder and supreme leader, Kiko.

Moreover, in the realm of politics the Neocatechumenal communities do not conceal a markedly pro-Israeli outlook, contrary to the Christians living there, almost all of whom are Arab and pro-Palestinian.

Here, then, are the pope’s words concerning the Neocatechumenals and the letter sent to them from the bishops of the Holy Land, the former on February 22 and the latter on the 25th.

1. The words of Benedict XVI

From a conversation with the clergy of Rome on February 22, 2007

[...] In these months, I am receiving the Italian bishops on their “ad limina” visits. [...] Some of them are critical, and say that the movements are not assimilating. [...] It seems to me that we have two fundamental rules. The first rule was given to us by Saint Paul in the first letter to the Thessalonians: do not quench the Spirit. If the Lord gives us new gifts, we must be grateful, even if they are sometimes inconvenient. And it is wonderful that new forms of life should be born within the Church, as they have in all ages.

All of them were disconcerting at first: even Saint Francis was very troubling, and it was very difficult for the pope to give a canonical form to a reality that was much broader than the juridical regulations. For Saint Francis, it was a tremendous sacrifice to let himself be boxed up within this juridical framework, but in the end a reality was born that is still alive today, and that will continue to live in the future: this brings strength and new elements to the Church’s life.

Movements have been born in every century. [...] They are not incorporated into the Church’s life without suffering and difficulty. Saint Benedict himself had to correct the initial direction of monasticism. And thus also in our age the Lord, the Holy Spirit, has given us new initiatives with new aspects of Christian life. As they are lived out by human persons with their limitations, they also create difficulties.

So the first rule is not to extinguish the charisms, to be grateful even if they are disconcerting. The second rule is this: the Church is one; if the movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are incorporated and serve the Church, and in the patient dialogue between pastors and movements there is born a form [...] that is constructive for the Church of today and tomorrow.

This dialogue takes place on all levels. The priest, the bishop, and the successor of Peter all participate in the search for the suitable structures. In many cases, this search has already borne fruit. Other cases are still under consideration: for example, it is being considered whether, after five years of experimentation, the statutes for the Neocatechumenal Way should be confirmed in a definitive manner, or if more time for experimentation is needed, or if perhaps some elements of this structure should be modified.

In any case, I have known the Neocatechumenals since the beginning. It has been a long journey, with many complications that still exist today, but we have found an ecclesial form that has already greatly improved the relationship between pastors and the Way. And so we continue forward! The same holds true for the other movements.

I would sum up the two fundamental rules this way: gratitude, patience, and acceptance of the inevitable sufferings. In marriage, too, there are always suffering and tension. And nonetheless [the spouses] move forward, and so it is that true love ripens. The same thing happens in the communities of the Church: let’s have patience with each other! The various levels of the hierarchy – from the pastor to the bishop to the supreme pontiff – must also hold a constant exchange of ideas, they must promote dialogue in order to find, together, the best path. The experiences of pastors are fundamental, but the experiences of the bishop and the universal perspective of the pope also have their own theological and pastoral place in the Church. [...]


2. The letter from the bishops of the Holy Land

Jerusalem, February 25, 2007

Brothers and Sisters of the Neocatechumenal Way:

1. May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always. We, ordinary Catholics of the Holy Land, address this letter to you at the beginning of Lent, in the context of the common pastoral plan for this year, the theme of which is catechesis and religious education in the parish.

Brothers and sisters of the Way, you are welcome in our dioceses. We thank God for the grace that the Lord has given you and for the charism that the Holy Spirit has poured out in the Church through your ministry in post-baptismal formation. We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for your preaching of the Word of God, for the help you offer our faithful in understanding their faith more deeply and rooting themselves in their local churches, in “a synthesis of kerygmatic preaching, lifestyle changes, and liturgy” (Statutes, art. 9).

Pursuant to the letter that Pope Benedict XVI addressed to you on January 12, 2006, and the one from the congregation for divine worship on December 1, 2005, was ask you to take your place in the heart of the parish in which you proclaim the Word of God, avoiding making yourselves a group apart. We would like you to be able to say with Saint Paul: “ I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

The principle to which we must all remain faithful, and which must guide our pastoral action, should be “one parish and one Eucharist.” So your first duty, if you want to help the faithful grow in faith, is that of rooting them in the parishes and in their own liturgical traditions in which they have grown up for generations.

In the East, we care a great deal about our liturgy and our traditions. It is the liturgy that has contributed greatly to preserving the Christian faith in our countries throughout history. The rite is like an identification card, and not only one way of praying among others. We implore you to have the charity to understand and respect the attachment of our faithful to their own liturgies.

2. The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity in the parish, and not of fragmentation. And so we ask that the Eucharistic celebrations, in all the Eastern rites as well as in the Latin rite, be presided over always by the pastor, or in the case of the Latin rite, in full agreement with him. “Where the bishop is, there is the Church,” wrote Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Teach the faithful to love their liturgical traditions, and put your charism at the service of unity.

3. We also ask you to undertake a serious study of the language and culture of the people, as a sign of respect for them and as a means of understanding their soul and their history, in the context of the Holy Land: religious, cultural, and national pluralism. Moreover, in our countries – Palestine, Israel, Jordan – everyone is searching for peace and justice, a search that is an integral part of our Christian life. All preaching should guide our faithful in taking concrete stances in the various contexts of life and in the continuing conflict in Palestine: an attitude of forgiveness and of love for one’s enemy and, on the other hand, demand for one’s rights, especially dignity, freedom, and justice.

We ask you to preach a Gospel incarnated in life, a Gospel that illuminates all aspects of life and roots the faithful in Jesus Christ Risen and in their entire human, cultural, and ecclesial environment.

We ask God to fill your hearts with his power and love, and to grant you grace that you may fill the hearts of the faithful with his love and power.

+ Michel Sabbah, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem;
+ Elias Chacour, Melkite Greek-Catholic archbishop of Acri, Haifa, Nazareth, and all Galilee;
+ Georges El-Murr, Melkite Greek-Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia, Petra, and Jordan;
+ Paul Sayah, Maronite archbishop of Haifa and of the Holy Land, and Maronite patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan;
+ Fouad Twal, Latin coadjutor bishop, Jerusalem;
+ Kamal Bathish, Latin auxiliary bishop, Jerusalem;
+ Salim Sayegh, Latin patriarchal vicar for Jordan;
+ Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin patriarchal vicar for Israel;
+ Pierre Melki, Syrian-Catholic patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem, the Holy Land, and Jordan;
+ Georges Bakar, Melkite Greek-Catholic patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem;
+ Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem, the Holy Land, and Jordan.


Bianca Lisa

Thank you for throwing the first stone.

I understand that there have been misconceptions encircling the Neocatechumenal Way. Also, some of these criticisms are either rumors or isolated problems that reflect certain people, not the group as a whole. If you want to be further educated, and not just ignorantly opinionated, I suggest reading the book "Dayenu, los origenes de la eucaristia". This will explain many aspects of the Eucharist of which we celebrate. Also, I suggest reading real articles, not just wikipedia. I also present to you a solution: if you are really determined in your battle against the Neocatechumenal communities, please attend some catechesis, or even actually go to a Eucharist and, for the first time, experience what you so hate, so that you may either understand our beliefs or perhaps even properly have evidence to oppose us.

Regardless of your attacks, you are still in my prayers in the hopes that you will one day accept all brothers and sisters in Christ, and remove the blindfold of hate you have against a way of life you have not researched.


Yeah! How dare Pope Benedict issue "a series of decisions designed to pull back the NW from a number of liturgical abuses that have routinely characterized masses celebrated under its auspices." That stone-throwing hater!


The Way of the Neocatechumenals Is Still Rocky
Vatican approval for its new statutes is on the way – but not for the catechisms of the founders. And differences over the liturgical rites persist. Relations are also mixed with the Greek Melkite Church, and with the patriarchate of Moscow
by Sandro Magister 

ROMA, June 14, 2007 – At the beginning of Lent this year, speaking with the priests of his Rome diocese, Benedict XVI said in regard to the Neocatechumenal Way: 

“It is being considered whether, after five years of experimentation, the statutes for the Neocatechumenal Way should be confirmed in a definitive manner, or if more time for experimentation is needed, or if perhaps some elements of this structure should be modified.” 

Now it appears that the pope has resolved his doubts. On Saturday, May 26, he received in audience the founder of the Way, Francisco “Kiko” Argüello, who was accompanied by co-foundress Carmen Hernández and by the priest Mario Pezzi, and assured them – according to a statement Kiko made two days later to the Spanish daily “La Razón” – that the definitive approval of the statutes is near at hand. 

Authorized by the Holy See in 2002 “ad experimentum” for a period of five years, the current statutes of the Way expire on June 29. It will be interesting to see what variations will be contained in the new statutes as compared with the earlier, experimental ones. 

The Neocatechumenal Way, founded in Spain in the 1960’s, is one of the most vigorously flourishing Catholic movements. With 20,000 communities in 6,000 parishes in 900 dioceses on all the continents, with 3,000 priests and 5,000 religious. It has an international network of 63 “Redemptoris Mater” seminaries. 

Again according to Kiko’s statements to “La Razón,” Benedict XVI extended his compliments for the missionary activity that the Way carries out in all the continents, and particularly in Asia. 

Nevertheless, the Way is also the object of reservations and criticisms on the part of the Church hierarchy. 

The anthologies of the catecheses that have been delivered to the members of the Neocatechumenal communities have for many years been under examination by the Vatican authorities, but their definitive approval still seems a long way off. 

These texts, contained in multiple volumes under the title “Cammino Neocatecumenale. Orientamenti alle équipes dei catechisti [The Neocatechumenal Way: Guidelines for the Teams of Catechists],” collect the oral tradition of the movement’s initiators, and in particular of Kiko and Carmen Hernández. They are not public, and the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith has made their approval dependant upon a lengthy series of corrections. 

There are other reservations about the ways in which the liturgy is celebrated in the Way. 

On December 1, 2005, cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments, addressed to the heads of the Way a letter requesting six corrections. 

The most important correction concerned the manner of receiving Eucharistic communion: not seated around “a cloth-covered table placed at the center of the church ,” but either standing or kneeling after a procession to the altar, as prescribed for all the faithful by the liturgical books. 

Arinze gave two years for adoption of the correct way of receiving communion. And on January 12, 2006, at an audience with thousands of Neocatechumenals, Benedict XVI insisted that they obey. 

But as of today, in many Neocatechumenal communities all over the world, communion is still received as before, seated. 

Confirmation of this disobedience comes from the frequent reminders that the bishops address to the Neocatechumenal communities present in their dioceses. 

In Italy, the latest reminder of this kind was issued by the bishop of Avellino, Francesco Marino. The document bears the date of March 26, 2007, and attached to it is the letter from cardinal Arinze dated December 1, 2005. 

Last February 25, in a collective letter to the members of the Way, the Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and the other Catholic bishops of the Holy Land also reproved the Neocatechumenal communities for making themselves a group apart, for celebrating the Mass separately from the parishes, for not observing the liturgical rites, for ignoring the language and culture of the local people. 

On the other hand, the Neocatechumenals have a strong presence in the Holy Land, which the region’s bishops would like to channel and capitalize upon. 

Proof of this is the letter that the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth, and all Galilee, Elias Chacour, addressed March 30, 2007, to Fr. Rino Rossi, director of “Domus Galilaeae,” the edifice on the Mount of the Beatitudes, inaugurated by John Paul II in 2000, that is the general headquarters of the Neocatechumenals in the Holy Land. 

Archbishop Chacour proposed to the Neocatechumenal Way, already active “with excellent results” in various parishes of his diocese, that they “graft one of their branches onto our Church and adopt the Melkite Catholic rite.” 

But the prospects for this union remain to be seen. In October of 2006, Kiko, Carmen Hernández, and Fr. Mario Pezzi, on a visit to Moscow, made a proposal in the opposite direction to the Russian Orthodox Church: they proposed teaching the Orthodox priests the system of evangelization used in the Neocatechumenal communities, and then “equipping” some of them to doing the same. 

A dispatch from the news agency Zenit on October 22 presented as already in effect “the agreement” between the Way and the patriarchate of Moscow. 

But it wasn’t that way. The patriarchate of Moscow was afraid that the Neocatechumenals wanted to proselytize among the Orthodox priests, and denied the existence of any sort of agreement with the Way, which it described as “a very contradictory organization.” 

There was nothing left for Kiko to do but release a statement of apology. 


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