Rorate Caeli

How the Neocatechumenal Way defended their liturgy in 2004

Ultima Cena [The Last Supper], a painting by Kiko Argüello, founder of the Neocatechumenal Way

(For further reading: the 2006 Rorate article on the Neocatechumenate's defiant response to papal commands to drop most of their liturgical peculiarities.)

Towards the end of 2004, a priest of the Neocatechumenal Way, Don Piergiovanni Devoto, published a book entitled: "The Neocatechumenate: A Christian Initiation for Adults". It was printed by the Chirico publishing house in Naples and utilized then-unpublished texts by the Neocatechumenal Way's founders (Francisco "Kiko" Argüello and Carmen Hernández). Sandro Magister, in a column published on January 24, 2005 has the following description of, and excerpts from, the book (emphases mine):


The book is an open apology for the Neocatechumenal Way, in response to the criticisms advanced up to now, even by authoritative bishops and cardinals, before and after the approval of the statutes. Lending weight to this apology is the ardent preface written by Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the pontifical council "Cor Unum," and even more so the innumerable attestations of esteem made by John Paul II, which are compiled in the second part of the book. 

But there is one point upon which this apology remains weak. And it regards the liturgical practice of the Way...

...

The book "authorized" by Fr. Devoto seeks to defend the Way from some of the recurrent accusations: in particular, that it obscures the sacrificial nature of the mass and minimizes the permanent real presence of Christ in the consecrated bread. 

And to justify the liturgical praxis of the Way, the author refers to unpublished texts by Kiko and Carmen, in which they recount to their disciples their own highly particular history of the mass, according to which the great merit of the Way is that of restoring the celebration of the mass to its original purity. 

But this historical reconstruction – with the practices which are derived from it – is itself the most questionable point of the apology. 

Here by way of example are some passages taken from pages 71-77: 

"Over the course of the centuries, the eucharist has been fragmented and crusted over, repackaged to the point at which we did not see anywhere in our mass the resurrection of Jesus Christ"... 

"In the 4th century, with the conversion of Constantine and the entry into the Church of pagan masses that neither understood nor lived Easter, Christianity became the official, and thus protected, religion of the empire. The emperor and his court also went to church to celebrate the eucharist: thus were born the rites of entrance solemnified by songs and psalms which were eliminated over time, leaving only the antiphon, which constitutes a real and true absurdity"... 

"Analogously, place was made for offertory processions, in which there emerged the conception of natural religiosity, which tends to placate the divinity through gifts and offerings"...  
   
"With the passage of the centuries, private prayers were inserted into the mass in notable quantities. The assembly was no more, and the mass had taken on a penitential tone, in stark contrast with the paschal exultation from which it had emerged"... 

"And while the people lived out the privatization of the mass, the erudite elaborated rational theologies which, although they contain the essence of revelation ‘in nuce,’ are wrapped in philosophical garments foreign to Christ and the apostles"... 

"So it is understandable why Luther emerged, making a clean break with everything he believed was a purely human addition or tradition"... 

"When what a sacrament is, what a memorial is, is lost from sight, one proceeds to give philosophical definitions which not only cannot exhaust the reality that they contain, but are not even necessarily linked to the philosophy used to express them. Thus Luther, who never doubted the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, rejected 'transubstantiation,' because it was bound to the Aristotelian-Thomistic concept of substance, which is foreign to the Church of the apostles and the Fathers"... 

"The rigidity and fixity of the Council of Trent generated a static mentality in the liturgy, which has persisted to our day, quick to be scandalized by any change or transformation. And this is an error, because the liturgy is life, a reality of the Spirit living among men. For this reason, it can never be bottled up"... 

"Having emerged from a legalistic and rigid mentality, we witnessed at Vatican II a profound renewal of the liturgy. The cloaks that had covered the eucharist were removed from it. It is interesting to see that originally, the anaphora [the prayer of consecration] was not written, but was improvised by the presider"... 

"The Church has tolerated inauthentic forms for centuries. Thus it is seen that the 'Gloria,' which was part of the liturgy of the hours recited by the monks, entered into the mass when a single celebration was made of the two actions, and that the 'Credo' emerged with the appearance of heresies and apostasies. Even the 'Orate Fratres' is a culminating example of the prayers with which the mass was stuffed full"... 

"The celebration of the eucharist on Saturday evening is not intended to facilitate Sunday recreation, but to go back to the roots: the day of rest for the Jews begins with the sighting of the first three stars on Friday, and the first vespers of Sunday for the entire Church have always been on Saturday evening"... "On Saturday, we join the feast with our whole being, to sit at the table of the Great King and taste even now the banquet of eternal life. After the supper, the day concludes with a cordial and friendly celebration"...

30 comments:

P.K.T.P. said...

This all sounds very professional. But like all liberal claptrap, there is just one problem with it: its assertions are false.

P.K.T.P.

Tperegrinus said...

I once attended the opening sessions of the NCW's "Kerygma" catechesis. They emphatically stated that the idea of (1) a fixed place for worship; (2) a fixed and separated priesthood; and (3) a propitiatory sacrifice to appease God, were "pagan accretions" which made their way into the liturgy after the Edict of Milan, and which have now been removed by the Second Vatican Council.

On a separate occasion, I brought up these points with a NCW priest - ironically on the steps of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney - and I testify that he agreed with all those points above, and further, stated that there is no ontological difference between an ordained priest and a layman because we are all part of the "priesthood of all believers".

At the Mass, particles of the Blessed Sacrament were being flicked on the floor after the ablutions. "Crumbs" were everywhere.

When questioned about these things, some leading members of the NCW literally ignored me, got into a car , and drove off.

All these things speak for themselves.

Kevin said...

Ahistorical Protestant nonsense. Offensive to our forebears - particularly those saintly heroes of the monastic vocation - who carried the Light of Faith throughout the "Middle Ages" (itself a snide and derogatory term dreamt up by self-righteous Protestants and "Enlightenment" proto-secularists).

Cunjo said...

This Jesus looks like Kiko doesn't He?

In all Kikos icons Jesus looks like Kiko....interesting...

Basilius said...

Brick by brick

Anagnostis said...

Unfortunately, it isn't ALL "claptrap" - if it was, it would be easier to sweep it aside without compromising the force of counter-arguments. Some of it is agenda-laden nonsense, yes; but it also makes a number of very serious points which it ought to be possible to acknowledge, however uncongenial to Trad sensibilities.

"A truth that's told with bad intent,
Beats all the lies you can invent"

In order to give force to the bad intent, it's necessary only to deny the truth it has misappropriated.

LeonG said...

I had a prolonged sociological interest in this radical movement which I observed and experienced from within for several years some years ago.

This is certainly not a Roman Catholic movement. It is a Judeocentric sect which is the byproduct of absolute disenchantment with the Novus Ordo. It is almost entirely against the Novos Ordo and there is fundamental dislike of Sacred Tradition especially The Latin Mass of All Times which has been condemned for several reasons. It is heretical in many of its perspectives - especially liturgically.

The current papal "deal" with this movement is first and foremost one of a liberal modernist complexion in that the post-conciliar church has become one of diversity based on primacy of conscience. It is also one of convenience because The Neo-Cat way is expanding relatively rapidly in some places while the NO is in the process of ultimate implosion. Who could afford to let go of an expanding and radical sect which threatens the contemporary "party line" in Rome with its vigorous spirituality and lack of fear to criticise what it deems as the unacceptable face of institutionalised official religion?

Anyone with a proper knowledge of their Roman Catholic Faith who has been to a complete N-C W. catechesis and who has attended a variety of its functions liturgically and pastorally could not fail to understand it does not hold with either the pre- or post-conciliar ecclesiastical models. Rather, it is for a total overturn of the current regime for its own very particular paradigm.

Prof. Basto said...

I read the passages in bold two times and yes, it does seem to me that this book by the Neocatechumenal Way indeed rejects the Dogma of Transubstantiation, and implies that Luther was right.

Pure heresy! The fact that those Neocatechumenal heretics are praised by high-ranking Catholic hierarchs just goes to show the sorry state of adherence to the Doctrine of the Faith within the ranks of the Hierarchy itself.

P.K.T.P. said...

I in no way wish to approve of this latest advance for the Neo-Catatonics. However, if there is a silver lining here, it is that this hierarchy typically employs tit for tat strategy. Instead of respecting the truth, it treats various groups of (nominal) Catholics as if they were rival spoiled brats: if one gets something, the others must too. So this may mean that there's something good coming for the S.S.P.X or the Traditional Latin Mass--likely the former.

P.K.T.P.

Rick DeLano said...

The emphasized sections of the excerpts are, precisely, the Protestant heresy repeated.

If this movement is predicated upon such hell-spawned evil, and if the Pope does not extinguish it, then we will have been unjustly deprived of our inheritance, and of our legitimate expectation that the Faith will be protected and defended in Rome.

The SSPX will have been proven right in its main thesis.

It will fall to us to keep the Catholic Faith, as we can, in our homes.

May God grant us Faith to destroy from our hearts and minds the slightest acceptance of, apology for, participation in, this heresy and evil.

Let us begin with Anagnostis. He claims:

"Unfortunately, it isn't ALL "claptrap" - if it was, it would be easier to sweep it aside without compromising the force of counter-arguments"

>> It is all claptrap, and has just been swept aside without compromising the force of the counter argument.

The counter-argument is that, if any of this claptrap were true, then the Catholic Church was the mustard seed, while the greatest of bushes is not.

If this claptrap were true then what has grown from the seed is not the Catholic Church.

This is an ontological error, the characteristic error of the Primitivist heresy which devastated our liturgy after the Council.


Anagnostis again:

"Some of it is agenda-laden nonsense, yes; but it also makes a number of very serious points which it ought to be possible to acknowledge, however uncongenial to Trad sensibilities."

>> How strange it is, then, that you should not identify a single one.

If you attempted to do so, then you would be advancing one or another of the hell-spawned heresies which represent the total content of the clap-trap; that is, the total content of the apologia for heresy published at the top of this thread.

Anagnostis:


"A truth that's told with bad intent,
Beats all the lies you can invent"

>> And the point..........?

Perhaps the point is:

"A man convinced against his will,
is of the same opinion still".

Anagnostis:

"In order to give force to the bad intent, it's necessary only to deny the truth it has misappropriated."

Then let us begin, Anagnostis, with a request that you identify the "truth" you assert belongs to the exercise in Protestant heresy published at the top of this thread, rather than merely waving your hand in a vague, sweeping assertion that it is there.

I do not see it.

Do you?













May God have mercy on us.

Anil Wang said...

Does anyone have an idea how a lay person got the authority to design an entire liturgy?

Anagnostis, what isn't "claptrap" in the presentation? Have a look at the Liturgy of St. James which existed while St. Paul was alive. This liturgy is long, taking several hours to complete and is by no means simpler than TLM. You don't need to do a lot of research to show Kiko's history is fiction, pure and simple.

Brian said...

"Thus Luther, who never doubted the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, rejected 'transubstantiation,' because it was bound to the Aristotelian-Thomistic concept of substance, which is foreign to the Church of the apostles and the Fathers"

Substance, and thus "transubstantiation," is foreign to the Church of the Apostles and Fathers?

They condemn themselves.

Prof. Basto said...

This kiko thing in my opinion is a cult of the worst kind.

Unfortunately, the fact that Popes and high-ranking Church hierarchs praise and approve the doings of this cult is just proof of the corruption of the present-day Hierarchy.

Either one has any real concern for the Docrtrine of the Faith and for the decorum of Divine Liturgy, or one approves of the NeoCats. You can't have both.

If Pope Benedict goes ahead with this proposed new rite, it will be a huge disappointment. The Holy See should dissolve "The Way"; they merit suppression, not a personal Rite.

Tradical said...

Greetings and a Happy and Holy New Year to all.

I agree that if this 'rite' is approved by Pope Benedict XVI, it gives the Society a clear indication of the mind of the Pope.

ie Tread carefully, they are still very confused about the crisis in the Church and have ears itching for novelties.

sjgmore said...

I'm no theologian and don't claim to be, but I don't know how any Catholic can possibly read a text like this and deny it's anything other than outright heresy. This, in short, is what I gathered from this "apology":

The mass is a memorial! Christ is "really present" but Transubstantiation is a Greek pagan idea, so Luther is righter than Thomas Aquinas! The anaphora should be extemporaneous! The Gloria and the Creed and the Orate Fratres and the Propers (and apparently any and every formal prayer in the mass) are accretions! The mass is just a reflection of Roman Imperial pomp! It has become focused on penitence! Etc. etc.

I can't help but end each sentence with an exclamation point, lest anyone miss the "paschal exultation" of my summary.

How anyone can read this garbage and not realize it's right up there with Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret", or Scientology, or Mormonism is beyond me. All it does is state things that sound vaguely true (but aren't, or are only half-true) and then cast aspersions on the things that actually are true and the people who say true things.

Either that or I'm just willfully blind to reality and these "Neocatechumens" are here to help me see the truth. In which case, how fortunate we are that Kiko - who appears to have no taste, no scholarship, few convictions, and a healthy ego - is here to set right the faith that no one else in the past 2 millennia could do justice to! Why, without him, we might see fewer hindrances and a more rapid return to - gasp! - Tradition!

Gratias said...

Señor Kiko has spawned a new sect. They deny transubstantiation as do the Lutherans and Modernists. As it is a growing movement the church wants to include them. Same thing as with the Anglicans. The Kikos have been in negotiations for years and have been told they must follow the NO texts. Probably they have signed on to some type of preamble. The Opus Dei also has found a modes vivendi inside the Churchx. This is what the SSPX is expected to do now. Just join and once inside the different strands do Catholicism will have to fight it out from inside. (Perhaps something similar may have happened in the 13th Century with the foundation of the Dominicans and Franciscans, who in retrospect renwed the Church). Tradition will prevail eventually, but the battle will be long. The SSPX cannot expect V2 to be overturned just to get them in. We have to live with a smorgasbord of options, with Benedict XVI trying to show by example how to make the reform of the Reformed Mass more reverent.

Joe Potillor said...

They need to submit, end of the argument

Mike B. said...

Frankly I am stunned that John Paul II encouraged this movement that aligns itself with 'hyper-Bugnini' liturgical malpractice.
After reading the abuses of the Neocatechumanecal Way, Kiko's alignment with modernist heresy becomes self-evident.
This movement would destroy the purpose and meaning to 'Reform of the Reform.'

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Florida

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Where novelty is required for "reverence," the end result is only elevation of the clique, exactly as Fr Knox depicted in "Enthusiasm" (with far more generosity than the occasion warranted, IMO).

Mike B. said...

Frankly I am stunned that John Paul II encouraged this movement that aligns itself with 'hyper-Bugnini' liturgical malpractice.
After reading the abuses of the Neocatechumanecal Way, Kiko's alignment with modernist heresy becomes self-evident.
This movement would destroy the purpose and meaning to 'Reform of the Reform.'

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Florida

Anagnostis said...

Rick Delano

Let me first of all make clear where I’m in absolute agreement with you: as Prof Basto puts it, “This kiko thing in my opinion is a cult of the worst kind” – parasitic, sinister, theologically warped, personality-driven, primitivist, unquestionably neo-Protestant. I agree also that the intent of this aliturgical “apologia” in total is to empty objective Tradition of all force and content. There are however, embedded in it, a number of things that it isn’t so easy to dismiss; but the reason for my circumspection is that I don’t think the Traditional movement, still lodged in the dualistic narratives of post-Conciliar collapse and pre-Conciliar perfection, is yet ready or able to hear them. Two things in particular stand out for me as being unquestionably true, even when bent to an untruthful agenda. They are, however, very delicate questions, not adaptable to combox soundbytes, and definitely more liable to detonate rancorous partisan accusations than serious comment, I fear. I hope I’m wrong. Here they are, without any additional commentary from me:

“...we did not see anywhere in our mass the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

and -

“while the people lived out the privatization of the mass, the erudite elaborated rational theologies which, although they contain the essence of revelation ‘in nuce,’ are wrapped in philosophical garments foreign to Christ and the apostles”

Delphina said...

It is not just Kiko and Co.

How about Focolare?

And that other weirdo group - San Egido (not sure of the spelling)?

Something for everyone in the novus ordo. Just like Bishop Fellay said years ago - the novus ordo church is a big zoo with assorted cages. He didn't want the SSPX to just become another cage in the novus ordo zoo.

Rick DeLano said...

Thank you for your substantive reply, Anagnostis.

A: “...we did not see anywhere in our mass the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

>> Do you see the resurrection of Jesus Christ anywhere in the First Mass, said at the Last Supper, Anagnostis?

I do not see Jesus Christ commanding us to commemorate His Resurrection.

I do see Paul, in the Sacred Scriptures, commanding us to commemorate the Lord's *death*, until He comes.

May I suggest that your observation here stems from a false assumption; to wit, that the p[urpose of the Mass is to proclaim the Resurrection?

The purpose of the Mass, instead, is to make present on our altars the Sacrifice by which the merits of Christ are sacramentally infused in His people.


A: "“while the people lived out the privatization of the mass, the erudite elaborated rational theologies which, although they contain the essence of revelation ‘in nuce,’ are wrapped in philosophical garments foreign to Christ and the apostles”

>> How could this possibly be the case? Oh, I think I see. You go looking for a mustard seed and insist it must have been perverted, when you find in its place the greatest of bushes.

Instead, the mustard seed has, faithfully, actualized its potential.

This very actualization, is then advanced as an argument for its corruption, by those who do not understand the promise of Christ to infallibly preserve His Church from such error as you assume....

or else believe that Kiko has understood these matters better than the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Doctors, the Councils, and the Popes.

I am honestly mystified, Anagnostis.

Upon what possible objective basis could you even harbor a suspicion that the latter might even possibly be true?

Damask Rose said...

This NeoCat Way is the child of the Novus Ordo with its Paschal-ness, "Easter People", no discipline and "we can do what we like now".

Excellent comments from LeonG (11.15) and Ralph (18.52).

Rick says "It will fall to us to keep the Catholic Faith, as we can, in our homes."

Yes, my Catholic faith is due to my mother than my Catholic primary school. I had the same parish priest for 30 years and he (now in his 80s), once a year always made sure to say to parents (I remember, much to some parishioners consternation) bringing up their children "Don't leave it up to the Catholic schools". He could see it coming. Held out against girl altar servers for as long as he could... It's all down to catechesis.

Anil Wang asks

"Does anyone have an idea how a lay person got the authority to design an entire liturgy?"

Yes, it's called the Parish Liturgy Committee.

Either it's Universalism or Pope Benedict has read the Third Secret of Fatima, knows we're in the Last Times and wants as many Catholics as possible to be under the watchful eye of Peter. So many souls to be saved. Too many people follow the NeoCat Way.

Perhaps another pope will do another Trent.

Long-Skirts said...

Rick DeLano said:

"May I suggest that your observation here stems from a false assumption; to wit, that the p[urpose of the Mass is to proclaim the Resurrection?"

You go guy!!

P.K.T.P. said...

Thank you so much, Mr. DeLano:

Keep in mind, though, that the method of liberal sciolists is always the same. They sport long beards and try to look intellectual. They try to write in sophisciated and alembicated ways. They hope to mesmerise whom they can, to entrance a audience. They are often intoxicated by the complexity of their own prolixity.

Usually, their errors are rather simple, and you have pointed to some of them. The error of archæologism is one of the most popular among liberals; another is their subjectivism. On the first point, like the Puritans of old, they seek to restore what we know little about, and fill the lacuna in knowledge with noble-sounding claims that are plausible but are rarely true. Even if they were true, however, the assumption is false that we should return to a primitive simplicity. What followed under the direction of the Holy Ghost was not only valid but necessary; it is a part of the unfolding revelation of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Liberals try to suck people into long debates over minutiæ. When they are soundly trounced, they typically ignore the disproof and the correction and simply move on to different audiences. After a time, one tires of arguing with them. As one commentator here wrote so rightly, When you see the particles of the Blessed Sacrament all over the floor at their Masses, that tells you all you need to know.

P.K.T.P.

M. A. said...

anagnostis: “...we did not see anywhere in our mass the resurrection of Jesus Christ” _________________

I see it at every Mass:

1.)when His Body is mystically re-united with His Blood,i.e., the priest drops a part of the consecrated Host into the chalice

2.)after Communion at the "Dominus vobiscum"

3.)at the post-Communion.

Your assertion is strange, indeed because even a children's traditional first Communion missal will denote the parts of the Mass which re-present the Resurrected Christ.

John Fisher said...

Cardinal George Pell, Archbsihop Hickey all ignore the obvious when dealing with the Neocatechumanal sect. If you were from Spain or South American would'nt you like a trip to another exotic country and a sense of belonging? Would'nt you want gurus to follow. The founders of the NCW are like those Anarchists who fought the Church in Spain but are now within!

Prof. Basto said...

Dear John Fisher,

I'm sorry, but I sincerely failed to understand the point you were trying to make. I'm a little bit worried, but I'll ask nevertheless: Could you please explain?

Abaigeal Daly said...

I was raised in the Neocatechumenal Way. My parents joined when I was 5 and I eventually disassociated myself with it after 16 years. For me, the reason I left was because of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but the reason it was a struggle to leave was because of the liturgy of the Word. The Way's Eucharistic Celebration is not a fitting way to carry-out the Mass. But the reason that it is sweeping the world at such a high rate is because it does fulfill one call of the Second Vatican Council very well; namely, the call to educate the people in Sacred Scripture. The Way's method of communal Lectio Devina is phenomenal! What the Church needs, in my opinion, is for a movement which embodies the traditional Mass as well as the method of the NCW's Lectio Devina. Any takers?