Rorate Caeli

Vatican approval coming slowly for the Neocatechumenal Way

Vatican, Apr. 11, 2008 ( - The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Bishop Josef Clemens, has said that a definitive approval of the statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way will take some time, the online Italian news agency Petrus reports.

The Catholic lay movement’s statutes were approved on an ad experimentum basis, for a period of five years, six years ago. But questions about the Neocatechumenal Way-- and particularly the group's liturgical practices-- have persisted, slowing the progress toward full acceptance. The Petrus report indicates that are also questions about how fully the Neocatechumenal Way has adhered to the norms issued in December 2005 by the Congregation for Divine Worship to correct liturgical abuses by members of the lay movement.

The "Way" has supporters as well as critics within the hierarchy. The Petrus article recounts that last month, 170 bishops and nine cardinals from Europe visited the Neocatechumenal Way’s Domus Galilaeae in the Holy Land.

The Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way were approved on an ad experimentum basis for five years in June 2002. The five year period expired last July, 2007. Meanwhile, the group has been busy expanding, with a Neocatechumenal Redemptoris Mater seminary for the Melkite Catholics set to be instituted this year.
The last paragraph of the report alludes to a mass meeting of cardinals and bishops last March 24 - 29 at the Neocatechumenal Way's Domus Galilaeae International Center on the Mount of Beatitudes. In that meeting -- which included Christoph Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna and which received the greetings and blessings of Pope Benedict XVI through Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone -- the Neocatechumenal Way was praised as "an answer of the Holy Spirit" to the secularization of Europe. Zenit's report on that meeting can be found here.

Short videos of Neocatechumenal "liturgies" here and here. The Internet is not exactly lacking in proof of Neocatechumenal liturgical abuses. Cathcon has a few more.

A video of the Neocatechumenal celebration of Passover 2008 (!) at a basilica in the Philippines can be found here.
With an estimated one million members in 20,000 communities and with 73 Redemptoris Mater seminaries that have produced some 1,200 priests, in addition to thousands of priests and religious who are affiliated with or who serve it, the Neocatechumenal Way is by far the largest of the "new movements" in the Catholic Church.