L’OssRom: Neo-Cat Stats approved by Holy See

I saw in L’Osservatore Romano‘s daily edition in Italian that the Pont. Council for Laity has approved the statutes of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.

In the past, the Neo-Cat Way has had some fairly serious liturgical aberrations as part and parcel of their practice.  I have for quite a while had some concerns about this particular movement, one of many new movements springing up to fill a clear gap and need in the Church.  One of my concerns focused on how the groups form a separate group within a parish.

I don’t have experience of the Neo-Cat Way myself and I have never participated in any event.  However, I know at least one priest whom I very much respect who is somewhat interested and favorably involved with them.  Thus, I am open to hearing more.

Furthermore, in his book long interview with Peter Seewald, Papa Ratzinger speaks about a trajectory for the Church in the future.  He thinks that parishes will remain the basic structure for the Church (interesting… parishes… not dioceses, no?) and that the movements will be also very important.  It is as if the Church will have two poles, in a sense.

Frankly, I think that ecclesial life which springs up as a fruit of Summorum Pontificum, and a new "liturgical movement" as Papa Ratzinger sought to inspire in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy might play a role in this.  But that is another matter.

So, this approval of the Neo-Cat statutes is fairly significant.

I don’t have time to translate this for you.  Perhaps a couple of you kind readers who know Italian could give it a shot in the comments.

Da parte del Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici
Approvato lo statuto
dei neocatecumenali

    Roma, 12. Il decreto di approvazione definitiva dello statuto del cammino neocatecumenale viene consegnato ai responsabili del movimento venerdì mattina, 13 giugno, nella sede del Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici.
    "L’approvazione definitiva dello statuto – si legge in un comunicato diffuso alla vigilia dal Pontificio consiglio – costituisce, senz’altro, un’importante tappa nella vita di questa realtà ecclesiale, sorta in Spagna nel 1964. Questo atto ha richiesto varie consultazioni a diversi livelli. Durante il periodo di approvazione ad experimentum dello statuto, il Pontificio consiglio ha avuto modo di constatare i numerosi frutti che il cammino neocatecumenale apporta alla Chiesa in vista della nuova evangelizzazione, mediante una prassi catechetico-liturgica accolta e valorizzata nei suoi ormai quarant’anni di vita. Pertanto in seguito a un’attenta revisione del testo statutario e all’inserimento di alcune modifiche che si sono ritenute necessarie, il Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici è giunto a concedere l’approvazione definitiva dello statuto".
    Nell’udienza accordata ai membri del cammino neocatecumenale il 12 gennaio 2006, il Papa ebbe a dire:  "La vostra azione apostolica intende collocarsi nel cuore della Chiesa, in totale sintonia con le sue direttive e in comunione con le Chiese particolari in cui andrete ad operare, valorizzando appieno la ricchezza dei carismi che il Signore ha suscitato attraverso gli iniziatori del Cammino".
    Più recentemente, il 17 maggio scorso, in occasione di un seminario di studio per vescovi, organizzato dal Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici, il Papa ha affermato che:  "I movimenti ecclesiali e le nuove comunità sono una delle novità più importanti suscitate dallo Spirito Santo nella Chiesa per l’attuazione del Concilio Vaticano ii", e volle ricordare come i servi di Dio Paolo vi e Giovanni Paolo ii "seppero accogliere e discernere, incoraggiare e promuovere l’imprevista irruzione delle nuove realtà laicali che, in forme varie e sorprendenti, ridonavano vitalità, fede e speranza tutta la Chiesa".
    In questa prospettiva, "è da auspicare – conclude il comunicato del Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici – che lo statuto del cammino neocatecumenale, approvato adesso in forma definitiva, possa essere un valido strumento al servizio di questa realtà ecclesiale, affinché essa continui a contribuire al bene di tutta la Chiesa".

(©L’Osservatore Romano – 13 giugno 2008)

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  1. Unfortunately, the liturgical aberrations have not been removed.
    Even after Cardinal Arinze’s letter denouncing the liturgical practices of
    the Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Way’s liturgies have not changed at all.

    The continuation of the Neo Catechumenal Way’s peculiar liturgical path has been amply
    documented by the Rorate Caeli blog.

    I agree that this is very significant — in that it opens up a new
    battlefront in the liturgical wars in the Catholic Church. Furthermore,
    with this approval, there is the necessity of the Holy See clarifying whether
    this also constitutes acceptance of the liturgical and catechetical teachings and
    and practices of the Neo Catechumenal Way — which are singular, to say the least. For
    certain, the definitive approval of the NCW’s statutes will make it much more difficult
    for Catholics to express criticism of the NCW’s practices.

    I find it significant that news of this comes so soon after the SSPX had
    signified its reluctance to enter into any agreement with Rome. This news can
    only harden the intransigence and fears of the SSPX as well as of not a few
    Catholic traditionalists in full communion with Rome.

    The NCW easily outnumbers the Traditionalist faithful, with more than a million members and
    some 60+ seminaries and 3,000 priests affiliated with it. Could the NCW represent
    the liturgical future of the Catholic Church? I shudder to think of it.

    Anyway, I’ll end this post with the following links:

    Videos of RECENT NeoCatechumenal Masses:

    Easter Vigil from Brazil:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjvwy65cEK0 (dancing around the altar)

    Pentecost Vigil from the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Batangas:


    Paschal Vigil Dance from Spain


    Eastern – Rite Neocatechumenal Mass


    Dance at the End of Mass:



  2. berenike says:

    Two years ago I went for a couple of days to a monastery, and happened on the neo-C, who were baking a great crusty loaf of leavened bread in the kitchen for Mass. I don’t see how in the Latin rite one can deal with the crumbs, as opposed to the Byzantine one which is designed, as it were for leavened bread.

    My parish priest is very keen on the Neo-C. All very well – they seem to have their own things held in the church at different times, or in the hall. Remarkable conversions etc. A little distracting when yodelling and drumming come up through the floor during watching at the Altar of Repose on Maundy Thursday night – still, it ain’t the litrugy, I might think it odd but they probably think the same of me, thank goodness we are all different, and so on.

    However it seems to have been decided that they couldn’t really have an Easter Vigil apart from the parish one. Rather than the Neo-C members merely joining in the common or garden liturgy, the Vigil mass was shorn of four readings and psalms, which were replaced by reflections, and songs performed by the Neo-C and their children.

    If it floats your boat, whatever. But I’d rather they formed a separate group within a parish than imposed their own unliturgical innovations on the parish.

  3. Gashwin says:


    The statutes of the Neocatechumenate approved by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

    Rome: 12. The definitive decree of approval of of the statutes of the Neocatechumenal way have been given to the leaders of the movement on th e morning of June 13 in the office of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

    “The definitive approbal of the statutes — reads a communique sent out by the Pontifical Council — constitutes, without doubt, an important step in the life of this ecclesial reality, which rose in Spain in 1964. This act has required various consultations at diverse levels. During the period of approval “ad experimentum” of the statutes, the Pontifical Council has had the opportunity to ascertain the numerous fruits which the Neocatechumenal way brings to the Church in view of the new evangelization, through a catechetical-liturgical praxis welcomed and valued in its nearly 20 years of life. Therefore, subsequent to an attentive review of the text of the statutes, and the insertion of some modifications which were determined to be necessary, the Pontifical Council for the Laity has arrived at the definitive approval of the statutes.

    In an audience given to the members of the Neocatechumenal way on June 12, the Pope said: “Your apostolic action intends to situate itself in the heart of the Church, in complete harmony with her directives and in communion with the particular Churches in which you walk and operate, valuing fully the richness of the charisms that the Lord called forth through the founders of the Way.”

    Most recently, last May 17, during a study seminar for Bishops organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pope affirmed that, “The ecclesial movements and the new communities are one of the most important novelties [new things] called forth by the Holy Spirit in the Church for the actualization of the Second Vatican Council,” and recalled how the Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II “knew how to welcome and discern, encourage and promote the unforseen irruption of the new lay realities which, in various and surprising forms, give again vitality, faith and hope to the whole Church.”

    In light of this, “It is hoped — concludes the communique of the Pontifical Council for the Laity — that the statutes of the Neocatechumenal way, approved now in a definitive form, can be a valid instrument of service for this ecclesial reality, so that it might continue to contribute to the good of all the Church.”

    L’Osservatore Romano, June 13, 2008.

  4. Romulus says:

    It will be interesting to see if the revised statutes make any provision for hierarchical oversight of the NCW. Up till now Kiko and Carmen have been a law unto themselves — maximum leaders for life. A breathtaking bid for power in a body that prescribes for its pre-catechumens “a time of kenosis in order to learn to walk in humility”.

    It will be interesting also to see if the NCW’s till-now secret Catechetical Directory is ever opened to the uninitiated.

    It will be interesting to see if the NCW — for many years accustomed to functional autonomy — will continue to be allowed to vest spiritual authority in persons who may be not ordained or subject to any vow of obedience to the hierarchy.

    As for liturgy — well, actions speak louder than words.

  5. Emil Berbakov says:

    History repeating itself. In 20 years, if not sooner, this will be the ordinary form of the liturgy.
    Guess we’d better get used to it or make for the Alamo.

    SSPX is looking better every day.

    God help us.

  6. Boko says:

    My quick glance at the Stautes (particularly the brief Articles 12-on the Easter Vigil and 13-on the Eucharist) didn’t detect any specific detailing of their illicit liturgical practices. There is a lot of typical post VII self-congratulatory pap and some mention of how great there praxis is, but I don’t think the acceptance of the Statutes must necessarily be considered an acceptance of the way (get it?) they “do” Mass. Still, that this silly (and dangerous) cult of personality (and just plain cult) was not nipped in the bud is a tragedy.

  7. Ottaviani says:

    This is really disastrous for the whole church.

    How is the “marshal plan” of Pope Benedict meant to be implemented, if he allows the approval of something so intrinsically opposite to what he wants to achieve?

    This is just like the issue of communion in the hand and altar girls. It began as a disobedient practice and then the Holy See legalised the abuse.

  8. Fr. Andrew says:

    Boko: My quick glance at the Stautes (particularly the brief Articles 12-on the Easter Vigil and 13-on the Eucharist) didn’t detect any specific detailing of their illicit liturgical practices.

    While I haven’t seen the statutes, I wonder if this is the case because the PCLaity is concerned with their constitution as a movement in the Church, i.e. who is in charge, their relationship with the local bishop, and most importantly their life of formation. Their particular exercise of the Sacraments would still fall under the CDW’s authority, right? So why wouldn’t Cardinal Arinze’s corrections still stand as necessary?

    …or am I too “midwest polite?”

  9. Fr. Andrew says:

    Further, regarding Fr. Z’s question on the interplay of Spirit of the Liturgy and Salt of the Earth, it is my opinion that the apostolic zeal of the NCW is what is most desired by Pope Benedict- and I think Fr. Z hinted at that. From personal experience in my seminary, the NCW is very intimate, sincere and convicted in the Mass- though malformed in their execution.

    While it is just to ask whether they will respond to the CDW’s formation, perhaps we should also ask, “Whither comes their apostolic zeal and why don’t more of us have that same zeal?”

  10. Johnny Domer says:

    I think that the reason why people are going to “movements” like this (Neocatechumenical Way, the “Charismatic Revival,” etc.) is because the “regular” Catholic liturgy is celebrated in a completely blasé, unserious, banal fashion 90% of the time. There’s no mystery to it, no sense of wonder, no sense of reverence. People are hungering for the sense of the supernatural on the emotional and physical levels in order to help them spiritually; because a beautiful liturgy is not supplying this to them, they start taking part in certain “movements” which are somewhat dubious in nature because these movements offer something of a “supernatural experience.” Have you noticed that none of these movements were present or popular before the liturgical changes?

  11. Prof. Basto says:

    One step forward, ten steps back.

    Quamdiu, Domine??????

  12. Boko says:

    Fr. Andrew,

    Yes, I think this should be read as approval of the governing structure and, perhaps, overall mission of NCW. (I hate to admit it, but I suppose this must be seen as approval, or at least acceptance, of their mission.) But it is in no way (get it?) a blanket approval of all that they do, is it? How can it be? I repeat what I read elsewhere: one hopes that when Kiko dies, his cult will die out soon thereafter. What a mess!

  13. Fr. Andrew says:


    I went to seminary with a co-joining Redemptoris Mater seminary (NCW) and though they are good men, they are certainly conformed around Kiko and Spanish culture from the 70’s. This lead to many interesting discussions in our classrooms. I do remember our Canon Law professor being very deliberate that NCW was not (at that time) fully approved (in whatever capacity) by the Church. She [an RSM sister from Alma, MI, great women] said that new movements are often given much leeway while their founder(s) are alive and their patrimony is not finished, after their death is when the Holy See forms them to herself. I’m not sure if that was a historical, canonical [probably not], or a personal statement, but it stuck with me.

    In their favor is their missionary zeal. Their seminaries are rooted in the missions- from what I remember in a presentation by Kiko, Pope JPII asked them to go out in mission in their small groups and families, they report back saying, “we need priests, we have young men who want to be priests, let us start an order.” The Holy Father said, no, their are too many orders, I’ll ordain your men as priests of the diocese of Rome and then send them out on mission. This is what they did, but with separate houses of formation so they could live the NCW life in the midst of Rome. Perhaps the problem of this separation or disparity between the NCW and the Liturgy began there, separate houses of formation?

  14. am most uneasy with this passage in the second paragraph:

    “During the period of approval “ad experimentum” of the statutes, the Pontifical Council has had the opportunity to ascertain the numerous fruits which the Neocatechumenal way brings to the Church in view of the new evangelization, through a catechetical-liturgical praxis welcomed and valued in its nearly 20 years of life.”

    If this does not constitute a positive appraisal of the NCW’s liturgy and catechesis, I don’t know what is.

    Interesting, since it is precisely the NCW liturgy and the NCW catechism which have been most controversial.

  15. Gashwin says:

    Whoops: translation blooper. That’s “during it’s now 40 years of life” in para 2, not 20!

  16. …. And what part of the so-called “Marshall Plan” (regarding the Liturgy) is this exactly?

    How will these Statutes help in the improvement of the way the Liturgy is celebrated?

  17. Habemus Papam says:

    I’m being to wonder whether the Pope’s Plan is to move the Church forward in unity or to establish “pockets of zeal” even where they are inimical. Smaller churches rather than a smaller Church. Its looking likely that the SSPX are wise to wait.

  18. VH says:

    I attend a parish that has had two different priests from Redemptoris Mater Seminary

    They are both on fire for the Lord and in their service to are parish,
    Orthodox, liturgically correct and supportive of the Holy Father. The one who is still serving at our parish goes visiting inactive members of the Parish with another priest to find out why they left and to invite them back. Maybe this is what the Pope wants
    to encourage. As an ex-bible Christian I certainly like what they offer.

  19. John says:

    For those here gripping about the ‘cult, charismatic, dishobedient’ NCW, how many have ever actually been a part of it before (ie gone to a catechesis?

  20. Daniel Canaris says:

    I think the Neocatechumenate is fine, except for the Vigil masses that they hold. Let them have their devotional guitar music for their midweek ‘liturgy of the word’ and catecheses. But their masses, which separate people from their own parish, really shouldn’t continue.

  21. From Zenit:


    “According to Arguello, the only significant change that the definitive statues introduced in regard to the liturgy affects the way of receiving Communion.

    “In keeping with the communities’ usual practice, Communion will continue to be received under both species and will be distributed by ministers in the assembly, instead of the procession of the faithful typical in the Roman rite.

    “This practice is kept in the definitive statutes, but for the reception of the Host, the faithful will stand before the minister. This is not the case in receiving the Chalice, which will continue to be received seated, to avoid spilling the precious Blood.

    “Moreover, the kiss of peace will retain its place following the Prayer of the Faithful and before the beginning of the Eucharistic liturgy, though procuring that this moment not break the order and recollection of the assembly.”

    So, there you have it… the NCW gets to keep its liturgical innovations.

    The reasoning for receiving the Precious Blood seated is, simply, specious.
    Christians have been receiving the Precious Blood standing or kneeling (but
    not seated!) since time immemorial.

  22. AR says:

    Interesting comment from Carlos Antonio Palad:
    “Christians have been receiving the Precious Blood standing or kneeling (but not seated!) since time immemorial.”
    I would like to know more. Can anyone point to any ancient Church records from the very beginning of the Church which mention that the Precious Blood was received standing or kneeling?
    I always understood that the ealy Christians celebrated the Mass more in keeping with the way Jesus celebrated the institution of the Eucharist. The Gospels do not say that the Apostles and Jesus were standing or kneeling.

  23. Rev. James Garcia says:

    There are four communities in my parish. They come to one Sunday mass a week so as to be visibly part of the parish. They are very obedient to my decisions, as are the other groups. One thing to recall. If the bishop doesn’t open the door in his diocese to this “pastoral service” which the Way provides, they don’t enter the diocese. If the local pastor doesn’t invite them to give catechesis or to establish a community, they don’t do it. And if a new pastor arrives on the scene where the Way exists but says, I want none of this in my parish…then there is no Eucharist for the Way. So why is everybody getting so upset and worried about some “take over”? Do your thing under obedience, and God will provide the rest.

  24. Anamaria says:

    Why are people worried? Because, at least in my diocese, the NC community is not happy just “doing their thing.” They are trying to influence other Masses, are giving a hard time to those who don’t share their views about liturgy, etc. This movement may(?) be ok if it serves its own communities and does not get a lot of power. Once it is in the position to make decisions also for those not in the movement, LOOK OUT…

  25. Mary says:

    I think the Vatican has not studied fully the Neo-Catechumenal Way
    celebrations. Here are few of them..as I am a member….
    -In the beginning there are about say 100 members who join in. Slowly by
    slowly the figures drop… like from 60 adults we have dropped
    to 20 to 25 and maybe in another 6 months there will be 15 to 20. For these
    20 members there should be a priest to celebrate the Eucharist. If the priest
    is late or busy somewhere the leader can start the liturgy until the prayer
    of the faithful and the kiss of peace which in Neo-Cat is done before the
    offertory. Then priest will come and take over the liturgy .. that is
    from offertory onwards.
    -In another group there are also 20 to 25 members and they also require another
    priest to celebrate the Eucharist. If priest not available the above procedure
    is followed
    -In another group there are also 20 to 25 members and they also require another
    priest to celebrate the Eucharist…………….
    -Again if a new group is formed again they require another priest
    -Means in a church if there are 100 groups formed, then they will require 100 rooms
    and 100 priests.
    -Is this possible………

    It is better for Vatican to study atleast the Eucharist part and try to change the
    celebration of the Eucharist, means if there are 1 group or 10 groups or 100 groups
    these 100 groups should celebrate the Eucharist together and in the manner it is
    celebrated in the Vatican and in all other churches.

    The Eucharist celebration must be studied throughly and changes must be done as
    soon as possible before the leaders start celebrating the Eucharist as there will
    not be 100 priests in any church.

    Eucharist is a very important liturgy and it must be celebrated with reverence
    instead as is done in the church and not the Neo-Catechumenal Way.

    Hope something will be done to this liturgy soon.

  26. Melisa says:

    The Neo-Cats (as they call themselves)Eucharist liturgy should be studied
    throughly by the Vatican. Specially the communion. First of all the communion
    is distributed when laity is seated. Secondly the crumbs are not taken care
    of by the individual. They are dropped on the floor or the individual is
    just not bothered what happens to these crumbs.

    What’s there for the Neo-Cats to have the Eucharist as is celebrated daily
    all over the world. Why they want it in their own way. Why must they celebrate
    it differently and also separately by each group. Where will they
    find a priest if there are 10 groups in one parish and when the Eucharist is
    to be celebrated only on Saturday evenings after 7 pm. What happens if there
    is only one or two priests available in a parish of 10 groups.

    The Eucharist part needs to be looked into throughly and given proper

    This type of celebration can be dangerous in the Catholic church

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