The Holy See did NOT approve NeoCat liturgical variants for Mass

The other day I posted about a certain approval given by the Holy See to some thing the NeoCats do.

At the time, I speculated that this was NOT an approval for the NeoCat liturgy, which many were (rightly, I think) worried about.

Despite my warning observations, some readers of the more traditional stripe out there staged a little nutty.

It seems, however, I was right.  The Holy See did NOT approve the NeoCat variants for Mass (Deo gratias).

Read this on CNA:

Vatican approval for Neo-Catechumenal Way only applies to non-liturgical catechesis

Vatican City, Jan 21, 2012 / 05:15 pm (CNA).- The Vatican’s approval of the Neo-Catechumenal Way’s forms of “celebration” only applies to non-liturgical prayers within their catechesis and not to the Mass or other liturgies of the Church.

“With respect to the celebrations of the Holy Mass and the other liturgies of the Church,” communities of the Neo-Catechumenal Way must “follow the norms of the Church as indicated in the liturgical books – to do otherwise must be understood to be a liturgical abuse,” a Vatican official told CNA on Jan. 21.


In this process, “the Neocatechumenal Way obtained no new permissions whatsoever,” said the official, who is familiar with the approval process for prayers and liturgies.

“Essentially, the Pontifical Council is only approving these things that are found in the Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way, and in no way touches those things contained in the liturgical books.”


coffeeYou can read the rest over there at CNA.

And those of you who were worked up about this can relax and have a WDTPRS mug filled with soothing Mystic Monk Coffee!

Better make that decaf, okay?  Or herbal tea?  Maybe “Peaceful Monk”?

Try the Universae Ecclesiae mug.

UPDATE : 23 Jan 01:55 GMT:

I am getting love notes from NeoCats now.

One of them reads:

New and varied liturgical forms are good for the church.

You are an idiot and a mental retard.

Varied liturgical forms like this?

I respond: We need Summoum Pontificum.

You know… this hurt my feelings soooooo much. I think you should all buy some Mystic Monk Coffee or Tea to make me feel better!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Frank H says:

    Whew! Praise the Lord!

  2. davidn says:

    Praise the Lord indeed. Some NeoCats taught the parish marriage prep class for my wife and I a few years ago. It was their “come join our movement” class re-branded as marriage prep, and we “got” to see their liturgical abuse first-hand. Truly sad.

  3. amfortas says:

    But will the authorities do anything about the continued liturgical abuses? I guess not.

  4. ttucker says:

    “make that decaf”
    I think the folks at Rorate Caeli need to stay on decaf!

  5. jhayes says:

    The NCW version of the Mass (Eucharist) was approved in 2008. It did not need any further approval now.

    Note that the Pope said the NCW Mass must use the liturgical books but with the variants included in the NCW “Statutes of the Way” (approved by the Vatican in 2008).

    “the liturgical books — which are to be followed faithfully, and with the particularities approved of in the Statutes of the Way”

    “the particuliarities approved of in the Statutes of he Way” are:

    Art. 13 [Eucharist]

    § 1. The Eucharist is essential to the Neocatechumenate, since this is a post-baptismal catechumenate lived in small communities. In fact, the Eucharist completes Christian initiation.

    § 2. The neocatechumens celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in the small community after the first Vespers of Sunday. This celebration takes place according to the dispositions of the diocesan bishop. The celebrations of the Eucharist of the neocatechumenal communities on Saturday evening are part of the Sunday liturgical pastoral work of the parish and are open also to other faithful.

    § 3. For the celebration of the Eucharist in the small communities the approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite are followed, with the exception of the explicit concessions from the Holy See.* Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining at their place.

    § 4. The celebration of the Eucharist in the small community is prepared under the guidance of the presbyter, by a group of the neocatechumenal community, in turn, which prepares brief monitions to the readings, chooses the songs, provides the bread, the wine, the flowers, and takes care of the decorum and dignity of the liturgical signs.

    *See Benedict XVI, Speech to the Neocatechumenal Communities on January 12, 2006, in Notitiae 41 (2005), 554–556; CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter of December 1, 2005 in Notitiae 41 (2005), 563–565; “Notification of the Congregation for Divine Worship on celebrations in groups of the Neocatechumenal Way,” L’Osservatore Romano, December 24, 1988: “The Congregation consents that among the adaptations foreseen by the instruction “Actio Pastoralis”, nn. 6-11, the groups of the above-mentioned “Way” may receive communion under two species, always with unleavened bread, and transfer “ad experimentum” the Rite of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful.

  6. Centristian says:

    I wouldn’t actually be so quick to say that “The Way” has had its balloon deflated in this approval (this event was an approval and an affirmation of the NeoCats, after all). I’m not sure it matters if the Pope came out and told them that they must celebrate the Tridentine Mass exclusively, in Latin, and receive Communion kneeling. The way The Way worships is bizarre enough, but their esoteric Church-within-a-Church aspect coupled with their belief that the Catholic Church was in stasis from the time of Constantine until the Second Vatican Council is of serious concern to me. Many things about The Way apart from their liturgy are of serious concern to me.

    For whatever its worth, one NeoCat posted his reaction to these recent events at the blog Rorate Coeli:

    “Helenio Ortiz said…

    After Jesus Christ, no one is greater than Kiko Arguello. He was sent to save the Church – and HE DID!

    The Neocatechumenal Way at the Vatican will ensure that you so-called Latin Lovers will soon go to where you belong – a footnote in the history of the Church.

    The Neocatechumenal Way at the Vatican will ensure that very soon Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate liturgy according to Our Rite – and it’s not a Roman Rite but a Universal Ecumenical Rite for the selected ones.

    I honestly hope that you Latin Lovers will join us before it is too late.

    Remember that Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have already celebrated our Rite. But your Rite has been concealed and will not re-surface. No Pope will repeat past mistakes.

    I doubt whether you Latin Lovers will show this comment. In any case, WE WON!!!”

    Well, whether that quote came from an authentic NeoCat or not, from everything I’ve read–and I have read alot about them, lately–this seems to be their attitude in any case…that they are “selected ones” who enjoy a greater enlightenment from the Holy Spirit than do other Catholics who cling to the doctrines, attitudes, and forms of worship that arose from the Church’s dark period beginning with the time that Constantine liberated and exalted the Church within the Empire.

    Furthermore, the NeoCats are all in agreement that their Kiko and Carmen are modern day heroes and prophets and that they, together, have renewed the Church. They have given a new revelation that surpasses everything else the Church relies upon. Only in The Way is the true Christian Church found in her original and authentic expression. Anything else is a passing sad reminder of the days when the Church was in slumber (in other words, the Holy Spirit neglected the Church during the better part of her history).

    How does a group that bases its very existence on such nonsense enjoy the warm embrace of the Holy See?

    “Helenio Ortiz said…

    New Catholic

    I am very serious. And we are consistent not like you Latin Lovers! After all why do you use the pseudonym “New” when you’re a bunch of hopeless people licking something that belongs to the dustbin of history.

    We follow Kiko and Carmen – the true light that is guiding the Holy Father to take the right decisions. We are the concrete fruit of the Vatican Council II.”

    They’re concrete fruit, alright.

  7. Tony from Oz says:

    Isn’t this just the very acme of post-conciliar Vatican imprecision: the fact that the Vatican itself needs to issue a clarification immediately after a major announcement?

    To add to the muddiness, which shall surely be exploited by the already demonstrably duplicitous Kiko-ites, the term ‘Eucharistic celebrations’ is used. Excuse me, but isn’t ‘the eucharist’ also known as the Mass? Last time I looked a ‘celebration of the Eucharist’ connotes the Mass, and certainly does not constitute some kind of para-liturgical, catechetical exercise. And even if, somehow this is true – what sort of message does this send to it’s NCW participants?

    Given the already duplicitous behaviour of the Kiko and Carmen – agreeing to one thing in a ‘roman’ document and doing the opposite in practice (continuing to receive communion seated being a classic indicator) – it is completely delusional for folk to take a strict constructionist approach to the Pope’s pronouncement here. The NCW certainly won’t!

  8. ContraMundum says:

    I don’t know anything about the NeoCats, but I *do* like the line, “They’re concrete fruit, alright.”

  9. Denis says:

    An unnamed “Vatican official” has ordered the Neocats to follow the ‘norms of the Church? They’re bringing out the big guns now, aren’t they? In all seriousness, the Neocats will have no trouble at all satisfying the ‘norms of the Church’ as actually interpreted and implemented in the majority of parishes in the world, where ‘the black and the red’ are sort of like the code of marine law on an Italian cruise ship–nice in theory, but not something you worry too much about on a practical level.

  10. bmccoy says:

    Father, would you happen to have a blessing for nuts?

  11. John Nolan says:

    They’re heretics, pure and simple. [I don’t think it is that pure and that simple at all. Let’s be careful when flinging around the word “heretic”.] I would not endanger my immortal soul (beset enough as it is) by attending their ceremonies. The liturgy and sacraments of the Catholic Church, when properly observed, are what we have to cling to in this vale of tears.

  12. Centristian says:

    I’ve come across a very lengthy but fascinating essay from a Catholic who had first hand knowledge of the Neocatechumenal Way. It’s an interesting read that may be found here:

    As I say, it’s quite lengthy, but here are some interesting excerpts…

    “There are some logical conclusions from joining the Way which I doubt if many have thought through. You see, if you embrace the Way, you must logically accept that the Church for the last sixteen centuries has got most of her doctrines hopelessly wrong, including redemption, Our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, the sacrifice of the Mass, individual confession, the Real Presence, the nature of man, sin, sanctifying grace, the nature and purpose of the Catholic priesthood etc. But if you accept that the Church was hopelessly wrong for so long on all these matters, you cannot possibly hold that the Church is infallible in matters of faith and morals. But if you do not believe the Church is infallible in matters of faith and morals, there is no logical compelling reason to remain a Catholic; for any other sect or indeed religion could be just as right or even more right than the Church. Kiko of course, like his father in faith, Luther, falls back on scripture, or rather his private interpretation of scripture.”

    “According to Kiko, Christ’s death on the cross was not a propitious sacrifice. That idea is, according to Kiko, a pagan notion imported into Catholicism after the Peace of Constantine. God is not offended by sin, in Kiko’s theology, for that would imply that God could be damaged by human beings, which is absurd. Thus a sacrifice to appease the offence is meaningless. Christ died, according to Kiko, because God wanted to demonstrate that he loves us in spite of our sin and that the ‘death’ of sin could be vanquished by a spiritual resurrection.”

    “On page 17 of the of catechists’ typed notes for their 1988 National Convention in England one finds this piece of primitive Lutheranism, “Jesus Christ has given his life for the sinners. He has loved the sinners and this is a great revelation because this means that when I commit a sin or when I commit thousands of sins I know that Jesus Christ does not reject me at all since my sins cannot separate me from God. Your sins do not have the power to separate you from God.”

    “According to Kiko, the history of the true Church founded by Christ came to an end with the Pax Constantinia and does not resume its course until the 20th century with the Second Vatican Council, having remained frozen for about 1600 years.”

    “The Neocatechumenate’s ‘Mass’ contains serious omissions from the normal public liturgy of the Church. For example, on Kiko’s orders the creed is not recited – one can make one’s own guess at the reasoning behind this order. The Orate, Fratres is omitted on Kiko’s orders, because it mentions sacrifice and Kiko denies the Mass is a sacrifice. The Agnus Dei has similarly been suppressed by him because of the reference to taking ‘away the sins of the world.'”

  13. jbas says:

    If only Catholics looking for the “small group” experience would join the Legion of Mary, I think they would be satisfied and there would be a great increase in the performance of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. I know this sounds quaint and boring these days, but the understated humility of the Legion is a sign to me of the holiness of the group.

  14. Tradster says:

    It is probably a safe bet to assume no such clarification (for whatever it may be worth) would have been issued if not for the Trads’ little nutty. So the efforts were not wasted.

    That said, without any teeth in the decree the door is always open for creeping abuses. Liberals have always been better at the “brick by brick” strategy than have conservatives.

  15. Elizabeth D says:

    Regarding the “Statutes of the Way”, if the NeoCat style Mass “takes place according to the dispositions of the diocesan bishop” then it would seem the bishop has a right to say that in his diocese they must celebrate Mass according to the Roman Rite liturgical books without any deviation.

  16. Prof. Basto says:

    Be that as it may, this CULT – that has for a founder the HERETIC Kiko, a man that publicly holds that transubstantiation is wrong [?!? Really? I was unaware. Could you chime in once again with a link which can shed a little light on this?] and innadequate to describe what happens during the celebration of the Eucharist, and that has practices of idol-worship towards the founders typical of the worst kinds of CULT – a cult that, for just reason, the Bishops of Japan intended to ban, was given a papal seal of approval when, in fact, the NCW should have received NOTHING.

    The approval they received at this time may be restricted to extraliturgical practices, and it comes in the wake of the definitive approval of the Statutes of the Way, also granted under Benedict XVI, but the fact remains that the NCW should have received NO APPROVAL AT ALL. What they merit is dissolution, canonical suppression, abolition.

  17. Tom Piatak says:

    Thanks very much for publicizing this clarification, Father.

  18. Luke Whittaker says:

    Some verses from chapter two of St. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians come to my mind regarding so-called ‘groundbreaking’ leaders of a Catholic movement: “Be built up in Christ and see that no one leads you into captivity by means of ‘philosophy’ or the empty deceptions of human tradition…or based on things they claim to receive from God. Such people have become puffed up without reason by relying on their own world-centered minds rather than relying on Christ, through whom alone we derive growth from God.” (Col 2:6-23 paraphrased). Christ chose to teach and guide through his Church.

    “Man is the being created as the hearer of the Word, and only in responding to the Word rises to his full dignity. He was conceived in the mind of God as the partner in a dialogue.” One question that it would be healthy for us to ask ourselves from time to time: Is my mind in accord with Scripture and the teaching of the Church, which is to say, is it in accord with the teaching of Jesus himself? (Lk 10:16) Am I responding to the Word or am I leaning on my own ideas?

    Jesus invites us through the Church to what Hans Urs von Balthasar refers to as “the beatific shudder of self-surrender which every believer is basically disposed to experience and which the mystic actually experiences already here on earth. This is the experience of leaving one’s own house on a dark night, and of the arrow that burns into the center of the ego, there to implant the Thou” (Glory, I, pg 193).

    If we allow ourselves to be deceived by worldly thinking and human traditions, maybe wrongly believing that our particular prophet or leader will become the guide who enlightens the Holy Father, then we have not taken up that invitation to the obedience of faith and love. Many of the practical difficulties of faith as an intellectual act are solved once the deeper level of Christian love is reached. Every lesser response dissents from true faith.

  19. jhayes says:


    The article ou linked is quite old. The most recent date in it is 2002, which was six years before the Statutes of the NCW were approved by the Vatican in 2008. It was the Statutes that authorized the differences between the NCW Eucharist and the OF Mass.

    Regarding the theology of the NCW, from what I have read, thousands of changes were required by the Vatican before the text of the Catechetical Directory was approved.

  20. jhayes says:

    Here is a photo inside the NCW chapel in Israel showing the square table in place of the usual altar. This was taken during a Euharistic at which four seminarians were installed – two as acolytes and two as lectors.

    “Lo scorso martedì 24 maggio, nella chiesa degli Apostoli e dei Discepoli della Domus Galilaeae, Mons. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Vescovo Ausiliare e Vicario Patriarcale per Israele, ha presieduto la liturgia eucaristica, all’interno della quale due seminaristi del Seminario Redemptoris Mater della Galilea, sono stati istituiti lettori, Carlos Ceballos Medina (Bolivia) e Leandro Setuval (Brasile), mentre altri due hanno ricevuto il ministero dell’accolitato, Cristian David Carreño Hinestrosa e Juan David Aragon Bueno (entrambi della Colombia). I quattro seminaristi, termineranno l’anno prossimo, a Dio piacendo, il primo ciclo di studi teologici.”

  21. jhayes says:

    Euharist = Eucharist

    For more of the text see:


  22. Rob Cartusciello says:

    New and varied liturgical forms are good for the church.
    You are an idiot and a mental retard.

    One thing is true. You can’t argue against that logic.

    Ten rules for dealing with crazy people:

    1. If you don’t have to deal with a crazy person, don’t.
    2. You can’t outsmart crazy. You also can’t fix crazy. (You could outcrazy it, but that makes you crazy too.)
    3. When you get in a contest of wills with a crazy person, you’ve already lost.
    4. The crazy person doesn’t have as much to lose as you.
    5. Your desired outcome is to get away from the crazy person.
    6. You have no idea what the crazy person’s desired outcome is.
    7. The crazy person sees anything you have done as justification for what she’s about to do.
    8. Anything nice you do for the crazy person, she will use as ammunition later.
    9. The crazy person sees any outcome as vindication.
    10. When you start caring what the crazy person thinks, you’re joining her in her craziness.

    [Ohhhh yahhh.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  23. Stu says:

    “You are an idiot and a mental retard.”

    I had visions of that in some new liturgical worship.

    -“Peace be with you.”

    -“You are an idiot and a mental retard.”

    [I don’t think it is part of any NeoCat ceremony. I admit I haven’t been to any, so this is only theoretical knowledge rather than experiential knowledge.]

  24. tcreek says:

    But why O why did not the pope emphasize CLEARLY in his statement that — “The approval of the forms of “celebration” of the Neo-Catechumenal Way DOES NOT APPLY to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass or other Liturgical prayers.

  25. Centristian says:

    “Peace be with you.”

    “You are an idiot and a mental retard.”

    I like it; it expresses in a very honest and succinct way the actual disposition of the worshipper in many liturgical settings. It is, of course, derived from “Pax tecum.” “Bliteus belua es, abi igitur! Te Iuppiter dique omnes perdant!!” in the Extraordinary Form.

  26. wmeyer says:

    I just this afternoon read Michael Davies’ short volume Liturgical Shipwreck.

    It is nice to know now that there is some limit to the innovations which will be approved.

  27. NoTambourines says:

    I would reply to the cranky emailer:

    “Yeah, well, I’m part of the Body of Christ, too, so you’re stuck with me and my soul-cooties for all eternity! So nyaaaah!”

  28. Warren says:

    Enough with innovation, improvisation, inanition. And, the neocats had best reign in their feral types before someone else clips their claws.

  29. CharlesG says:

    I am grateful that these outre rites were not approved. The whole episode however points out some of the more distasteful aspects of Rorate Coeli/SSPX traditionalism — the eagerness to find any excuse to bash the Magisterium and the duly constituted authorities of the Church, and the complete unwillingness to give any sort of benefit of the doubt to them. Actually, I saw on NLM that one aspect of the NeoCats’ mass was approved — moving the sign of peace to before the Offertory. I thought that the Pope was polling the Bishops about that issue for the mass generally. Whatever happened to that issue?

  30. CharlesG: one aspect of the NeoCats’ mass was approved — moving the sign of peace to before the Offertory

    Right, though I believe that even that depends on permission of the local bishop. NeoCats can’t just do that without regard for the permission from the bishop of the place they are in.

  31. If I’m not mistaken, there’s also some talk in more traditionalist circles with regards to the sign of peace. Laszlo Dobsay suggested in “Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite” that (using the 1962 missal as a starting point) the people’s peace could be inserted before the Offertory, and if I remember correctly he also suggested a form of that peace very different from the free-for-all handshaking we have right now, while the celebrant’s Pax would remain where it is.

  32. tzard says:

    I never bought into the idea that approval would be coming on the predicted date. It’s just not how I’ve ever seen Rome work. Same thing with the supposed “approval” – if it doesn’t say it’s approved, it isn’t. If there’s a need for clarification, it’s because some people need it. Just like rearing children – some might need firmer correction than is initially given. It’s a technique of parenting.

    Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian unity.

    This includes all Christians, whether they consider themselves inside or outside the Church.

    Of course he’ll not scandalize some of the faithful immediately and slap them down – driving them away. He’ll be firm but patient like God the Father. He’ll do things in the right season and in the right time. For he is wise where I am not.

  33. Tom Esteban says:

    “Isn’t this just the very acme of post-conciliar Vatican imprecision: the fact that the Vatican itself needs to issue a clarification immediately after a major announcement?”

    Bingo. I was one of those of those saying that it certainly was not approved, but my optimism wasn’t all that optimistic. What does it matter that the Kooky Rite wasn’t approved, really? 98% of Roman Rite parishes worldwide have their own Rite depending on the feelings of the priest and the congregation. The Kooky Rite is just one expression of that.

  34. “New and varied liturgical forms are good for the church. You are an idiot and a mental retard.”

    Dear NeoCat: What Would Jesus Do? Not call a holy priest with a consecrated soul an idiot and mental retard. You have just commited the sin of Trolling on the Internet. Dont feed the Uber-trads.

  35. Puget says:

    I fully understand that the Vatican’s approval on this occasion was not concerned with the Mass. However, the abuses associated with the NewCat mass are well documented, and ANY approval — even of non-Eucharistic liturgies/celebrations — simply fans the zealous flames of an organisation that denies essential truths as taught by the Church immemorial. Haven’t you on occasion commented that a priest’s improper intent results in an invalid mass, not just an illicit one? Perhaps I am mistaken, but if a priest does not believe in the Real Presence, how can his mass be valid? Is it just a matter of saying the right words regardless of what you believe? I truly am confused and would appreciate your insight into what I think is a fundamental issue with the NewCats that transcends this latest approval. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but the Vatican’s continuing support for the NeoCats has broken my spirit. Brick by brick? What are we building?

  36. I hardly had any expectation that the NeoCat Rite would be approved, considering out Holy Father’s writings on the Liturgy. Let us pray for the health and wisdom of Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

  37. Clinton R. says:

    How can person who sent you this vile message in any way be considered Catholic, Father? What is good for the Church is obedience to the Lord and respect for His servants. It is one thing to disagree with a priest and it is a whole other matter to fling insults at one of the Lord’s chosen ones. Let us disagree with one another respectfully.

  38. truthfinder says:

    You are an idiot and a mental retard.
    Fr. Z, I am surprised that the PC police haven’t swooped down on this sort of language, I mean both the ‘i’ and ‘r’ words. /sarcasm
    God Bless!

  39. jdh says:

    Fr, say I got an email from some traddy nut calling me a tambourine-bashing spastic – do you think it would be right for me to post that on my blog so that it will look like people who go to the old mass are horrible people? Living in Rome I’m sure you meet lots of neocats and I’m sure you find that most of them are normal people. Most of your readers probably don’t, though.

    Also, as someone else said, the neocat Mass variations were approved 4 years ago. People probably didn’t notice it at the time because Sandro Magister didn’t write an article about it, because he only writes articles about the neocats when he can imply that they’re in trouble with the Pope.

  40. Phil_NL says:

    @Centristian : to be honest, that Ortiz lady sounds so over the top I wouldnt be suprised if it was a troll or a spoof. Then again, at Mahoneyfest you see a couple of things that are pretty far out there, so you never can be quite sure….

    @ Rob Cartusciello : brilliant!

    In general:

    As said before, the real issue is how all this will be translated on the practical and local level. I’ve got no experience with the NeoCat Way guys myself , but you hear plenty of conflicting reports, ranging from outright heretic to good, solid priests coming out of seminaries with a NeoCat affiliation. Probably both extreme points are there, with everything in between as well, and undoubtedly much depends on the group of people (NeoCat Way guys, that is) you’re actually dealing with. It reminds me in a sense (and please, don’t take this comparison further than its meant to go) of Opus Dei: they too have a tendency of attracting fierce criticism and unquestioning praise alike. Such a situation doesn’t say much about the organisation as a whole, except perhaps its tolerance for extremism within the club.

    Sadly, the NeoCat Way seems to have extremists that are prone to liturgical abuse and questionable theology, if not downright disobedience. And that means that some bishops will need stiff backbones to prevent abuses (if memory serves me, the Japanese bishops had severe problems) while others will have little to worry about. Yet the ones who do, will face stiffer opposition, since any approval – even if nothing new was really approved – will be spun as a complete endorsement of any particularity people fancy. It will be most interesting to see how those cases evolve.

    And we must pray for our bishops, clearly. They are the ones who have this on their desk right now.

  41. Prof. Basto says:


    I’m responding to your request for a link that could shed light on the theories of Sacramental Theology regarding the Eucharist that are prevalent in the NCW:

    Emphasys on this passage:

    “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”…

    And just finally, this one dealing with a different point, that of the connection between Archbishop Bugnini and the founders of the Way:

  42. levi1991 says:

    The problem is not that the Holy See approved the variants for mass, the problem is:
    i) The Holy See did not disapprove them or the movement for that matter
    ii)The ‘not approval’ is couched in such ambigous language that as Rorate Caeli stated it will mean whatever the movement wants it mean, Kiko in an interview has interpreted it as wholesale approval of the movement. (you can read the interview on rorate caeli)

  43. John Nolan says:

    I’m old enough to remember arguing with so-called charismatics of the 1970s in the local pub. I am as certain now as I was then that if the Church put her message across and celebrated her liturgy properly the lunatic fringe would remain just that.

  44. crjs1 says:

    I am glad their ‘rite’ has not been approved, but will it make any difference in practice? As posted today on Rorate the founder of the Way celebrates: “Kiko Argüello Shares Impressions of Papal Audience”: “It was really wonderful that the celebrations that mark all the stages of Christian gestation that the Way has created, have been confirmed. We were waiting for this moment, and finally the Church has confirmed the Neocatechumenal Way as a Christian initiation, in its doctrine, liturgy and its stages. (In the original Italian: Aspettavamo questo momento, e finalmente la Chiesa ha confermato il Cammino Neocatecumenale come iniziazione cristiana, nella sua dottrina, nelle liturgie e nelle tappe — Augustinus) What is important, above all, is the fact that the Pope has reiterated that the communities can celebrate the Sunday Mass as a community.”

    I cant see them conforming to the liturgical norms of the NO anytime soon…. Very depressing

  45. Prof. Basto says:


    In response to your request for links regarding Kiko’s opinions against transubstantiation, I this morning wrote a new post and included a few links, but it appears that my comment has been blocked (perhaps because it contains links, I believe).

    Have you received my reply?

    [See above.]

  46. Prof. Basto says:

    Kiko’s reaction to the “approval” received in the January 20 Papal Audience is very interesting, too. It seems that NCW “saved” the New Evangelization effort. The founder of the NCW further boasts:

    “finally the Church has confirmed the Neocatechumenal Way as a Christian initiation, in its doctrine, LITURGY and its stages”.

    So, it is his understanding that the LITURGY of the Way has been approved. Interesting also to note that the Neocatechumenal Way has its proper “doctrine”…


  47. acardnal says:

    For the FIRST time and at your suggestion, I have just purchased two bags of Mystic Monk coffee beans through your link on this site! [Well done! I am starting to feel better already.] Let us pray for the ignorant.

  48. Inigo says:

    I think that the initiative is not bad at all. I mean the basic idea behind the NCW. I think the Church needs a way to initiate people who convert as adults. And it should be formal, ceremonial, and liturgical and mostly: traditional. What trads and ultra-mega-giga trads should consider is to revitalize the cathechumen-rites and everything that accompanies them, and to revitalize the state of cathecumenate. Tradition has a solution too: send them out before the Creed!

    The trick about the initiation is mainly to give the person a new identity. Kiko’s bunch gives a new identity to their followers although not a capital ‘C’ catholic one, but this is what makes them succesful. Even the ultra-mega-giga trads give some kind of new identity. But if you go to a regular parish, the only thing you will get is not a new identity, only an affirmation that religion is for women.

    Traditional minded Catholics have the means to do what is good about the NCW with really tradtional forms and rites. This would be a great way I think for example to get the permanent deaconate to take root in trad-minded groups. Could you imagine a better person to instruct adults on a new Catholic identity, than someone who leads an ordinary life, has a family, has to combat everyday problems just like lay people, but is ordained, and has the mark of the Holy Spirit on him, to teach and preach the Gospel? He could perform the cathecumen rites, lead the Bible-study and cathechesis, and the parish priest would baptize them solemnly on the Easter Vigil.

    And it’s all traditional, pointing not toward a man, but to God through the traditions of Holy Mother Church, with the good fruits of the Second Vatican Council and the Council of Trent!

  49. Ike from Sweden says:

    The stuff pointed out by Prof. Basto and others seems very alarming indeed… but FWIW, the Neocats I have met here in Sweden were all staunchly orthodox as far as I could tell. I guess there are local variations? But yeah, it’s hard to explain away those really iffy quotes on Sacramental Theology. :(

  50. John Nolan says:

    I think meerkats are a lot nicer.

  51. irishgirl says:

    Thanks for the clarification on this, Father Z!
    And shame on the person who called you names! That’s not nice at all!
    ‘Kiko’-what a weird name. When I first heard of Arguello’s first name (I know it’s a nickname), I thought it sounded Japanese. I didn’t know he was a Spaniard.
    Did anyone see the picture of the Holy Father with ‘Kiko’ and Carmen? Carmen looked like she was wearing a track suit-it had a very visible logo of a well-known athletic wear brand.
    If they were going to an audience with the Holy Father, why didn’t she wear a long dress, at least?

  52. digdigby says:

    Inigo – “The trick about the initiation is mainly to give the person a new identity. Kiko’s bunch gives a new identity to their followers although not a capital ‘C’ catholic one, but this is what makes them successful.”

    This is very astute. We moderns have a very primitive sense of our own sinfulness. We are anxious to get out of ‘religion’ that binds and chafes us and into something comfortable – the sooner the better (a loose, flowing caftan of beliefs if you will).

  53. leonugent2005 says:

    I think with Kiko Arguello added to the list everyone now has his own candidate for the person who was sent to save the church. You would think he would at least be an archbishop!

  54. Tom Esteban says:

    @ Inigo, don’t you think it’s sad that the NCW gives people a new identity… as if becoming a Catholic doesn’t? As if confirmation doesn’t? As if Catholicism isn’t enough – that we need something else (and in this case, something lutheran and something new age). It’s the same kind of patronizing idea behind themed Masses; as if the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass isn’t enough, let’s add a theme to entertain! All these things are bad for authentic Catholicism. One can tell that just by looking at the name, looking at it’s self-branding. Just plain old Catholicism isn’t enough for the modern man apparently. Catholic identity is not built on bizarre circus pseudo-liturgical practices and extra-Catholic cult behavior.

  55. Capt. Morgan says:

    Well the original, then redress from the Vatican said one thing, but apperantly Kiko heard another:
    Interview with kiko post Jan 20th Papal meeting;

    “Argüello: Fantastic! It was really wonderful that the celebrations that mark all the stages of Christian gestation that the Way has created, have been confirmed. We were waiting for this moment, and finally the Church has confirmed the Neocatechumenal Way as a Christian initiation, in its doctrine, liturgy and its stages. (In the original Italian: Aspettavamo questo momento, e finalmente la Chiesa ha confermato il Cammino Neocatecumenale come iniziazione cristiana, nella sua dottrina, nelle liturgie e nelle tappe — Augustinus) What is important, above all, is the fact that the Pope has reiterated that the communities can celebrate the Sunday Mass as a community. It is a sociological fact of immense importance, which means that the small community is the salvation for the New Evangelization. The Eucharist, in fact, creates and forms the Christian community, it makes it stable, unites it.

  56. Well, it looks like whoever knows this Kiko Argüello ought to get the message to him. From the Creative Minority Report:

    Not So Fast NeoCats

    Well it turns out that the approval of the Neocatechumenal rites was not exactly what everyone thought. Not even close.
    . . . . . . . . . .
    The article sums it up this way. . . . . “This means that the rituals approved on this occasion do not in any way concern the liturgy of the Mass or the administration of the sacraments, but only the celebrations within the Way that mark the principal stages of the long catechumenate of each of its members.”

    That is quite different than what we have been hearing.

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight except this. Anything that upsets the hippies at the NC Reporter make me happy and I am sure this will upset them. I know this may seem a strange way on which to judge things, but I assure you it is 99.9% accurate.

  57. amfortas says:

    I agree with Father Z. We need to be careful about bandying about the H word. The Neo-cats certainly have permission to exchange the peace before the offertory. Nothing radical here as it’s what happens in the Ambrosian Rite.

    As a former seminarian I came into contact with lots of Neo-cats. They all seemed impeccably orthodox if a little intense. They have a house of formation in my diocese (Westminster, England) and if it were not for ‘The Way’ we would have far fewer ordinations each year. As priests the neo-cats go on to celebrate the liturgy according to the proper rubrics.

    Having said all this I recall being censured by the liturgical theology lecturer at my seminary – a Neo-cat – for views which now, thanks to Summorum Pontificum, are acceptable again in polite society. I was told that my views were ‘borderline heresy’. Now that I’m hearing more about the Neo-cat interpretation of the mass I have to say his remarks make sense.

    The Neo-cat liturgy is strange. Full of abuses but not invalid. In my view it invents a past by claiming to be based on early Christian liturgy. Like all attempts to reify the practice of the early Church it ends up recreating history in its own image (in eggect, it invents history), which is quite at odds with Newman’s notion of the development of Christian doctrine.

  58. amfortas says:

    In ‘eggect’? I meant in ‘effect’ of course!

  59. Inigo says:

    @Tom Esteban
    The sad part is, that many catholics don’t have a religious identity, and that the only sources which provide them with something like this are groups like the NCW. The reason is that the NCW knows that forming a religious identity should be the main focus of cathecumenal formation.

    Obviously, “bizarre circus pseudo-liturgical practices and extra-Catholic cult behavior”, which they base on “traditional early Church practice”, gives the members of the NCW an identity, which they think is authentically Catholic. All I am saying is, that the it could be achieved with the rites and customs flowing from authentic Catholic tradition, with the leadership of an ordained servant, that a truly authentic Catholic identity be formed.

    What do you propose as a source for authentic Catholic identity?

  60. leonugent2005 says:

    I should say at the start that I know almost nothing about the NeoCat’s and have no desire to attend one of their liturgies but with reference to the Pope’s approval or disapproval of them this seems to be some of what what he said……The celebration in the small communities, regulated by the Liturgical Books, that are to be followed faithfully, “””and with the specificities approved in the Statutes of the Way”””, has the goal of helping those who walk on the neocatechumenal itinerary realize the grace of being inserted in the salvific mystery of Christ, who makes possible a Christian testimony capable of also assuming signs of radicalness.

  61. Supertradmum says:


    Are you serious? “What do you propose as a source for authentic Catholic identity”, you asked om Father Z’s blog? The Traditional Latin Mass is the answer.

  62. Supertradmum says:

    oops on not oms here

  63. dominic1955 says:

    Judging by the “fruits”.

    What I dislike about that argument is that there is really no discernible and solid “proof” to back up such a claim. It is, as it is often used today, based in the sacrosanct and unassailable fortress of personal experience and emotionalism. I’ve known nothing but “good” (and I’m using this in a very technical way) fruits from Mormons-both in personal experience and by hearsay. It would seem to the ignorant that Mormonism and the practice thereof is rife with good fruits. Would it be accurate to say that, judging upon this criteria, Mormonism is the true religion, the true way? Of course not! Regardless of all the “good fruits” (which can be attributed to merely natural causes) and personal experience of God and such in their lives, objectively, the Mormon religion is an apostasy and parody of true Christianity, which is Catholicism.

    Plus, correlation does not imply causation. Most people do not make good use of their critical reasoning skills. If good thing A happens while I am part of group B, the average person will often attribute to B, A. God can certainly write straight in crooked lines and he can even use all sorts of profound imperfection to bring about conversion and his will but one cannot attribute to that mortally imperfect thing some sort of infallible divine approval.

    This is all compounded even more seriously by the current Church being so wishy-washy in their statements. As the Good Book says, let your yes be yes and your no be no. There is no longer the intellectual and literary clarity that once reigned from Rome in times past. One wonders what something like the NeoCat movement would have garnered in “pre-Conciliar Rome”.

    I personally think that after the destruction wrought after VII, those in charged grasped for whatever straws they could to try to justify this disaster. I see most of these new “ecclesial movements” as those straws. “Fruit of VII” and supposedly stars of this “New Evangelization” but what certainly appear at best as clumsy reinventions of the wheel and at worst something detrimental to the true Faith.

  64. Inigo says:

    I was asking Tom Esteban.

    Your answer is of course good, but I would widen the spectrum: Traditional liturgy. And to really appreciate traditional liturgy, you need men who are trained to explain, and to lead you deeper and deeper into the mystery of Holy Mother Church’s liturgy. Something like what Father Z. does, but in person and in a parish community.

    Mass is what nourishes our identity, but our identity is lived in the world, not at mass. We don’t need the Catholic identity, to show it to Jesus: He is the one we are getting it from. We need to show it to the world. But if you are not prepared, you don’t take with you knowledge about mass to mass, you won’t get any authentic identity out of it regardless of the rite or form.

  65. John Nolan says:

    Tom Esteban and Supertradmum, you are spot on.

  66. AnnAsher says:

    What is happening in the photo with all the giant Jesus bobble heads?

    The unkind words – idiot and mental retard- are so outrageous and rediculous that I laughed out loud! Number 11. Things to do with a crazy person, laugh hysterically.

    The neocats deny doctrine

  67. Wade says:

    AnnAsher, the giant puppets are from a Call to Action thingy (don’t know what else to call it). As far as I know the NW refrains from using giant puppets.


  68. Denis says:

    That ‘unnamed Vatican official’ and his canonese must have really made an impression on the NCW: in an interview with Zenit, don Kikote announced that ‘the Church has confirmed the Neocatechumenal Way as a Christian initiation, in its doctrine, liturgy and its stages.’ I have no idea what he means by the NCW’s ‘stages’–are they like the stages in the life-cycle of the butterfly? OTOH, I’m pretty sure I know what he means by the NCW’s ‘liturgy.’ The protestantizers have been playing this game ever since VII: word your documents and statements so that they give the appearance of continuity while at the same time permitting revolution; then, when the revolution has already happened–when the changes are the new status quo status quo–pretend that you are surprised.

  69. Prof. Basto says:

    Father wrote:

    “I am getting love notes from NeoCats now.

    One of them reads:

    ‘New and varied liturgical forms are good for the church.
    You are an idiot and a mental retard’.”

    Well, if that’s how they speak to a Priest of the Lord when questioned, imagine the kind of language they will use in discussions with a layman.

    Directly addressing a Priest as an idiot and mental retard takes a special kind of lack of respect for the ministerial priesthood.

  70. Centristian says:

    Denis said: “I’m pretty sure I know what he means by the NCW’s ‘liturgy.’”

    Me, too…

    It’s always the same: tambourines and dancing to Kiko’s own music, a table decorated with flowers along the perimeter, the pulpit behind the table, in the center, and always an Icon painted by Kiko. It would seem, really, to be all about Kiko: Kiko’s music, Kiko’s art, Kiko’s tastes, Kiko’s decor, Kiko’s ideas of worship.

    I’m not aware of a precedent within the Church for the leader of a movement who so thoroughly imposed himself upon his movement, styled it so much after his own personality, and micromanaged it. Now, groups with leaders like that form OUTSIDE of the Catholic Church all the time…and there’s a word for such groups.


    “But if you are not prepared, you don’t take with you knowledge about mass to mass, you won’t get any authentic identity out of it regardless of the rite or form.”

    Your whole comment was written beautifully and I concur. I just don’t seem to be convinced that Kiko’s Way does what you propose. I think it prepares its followers for something like a disorientation; a delusion, in fact, that there are actually two Catholicisms: one Catholicism for the “mental retards” and another more authentic Catholicism for themselves, for those fortunate, more sophisticated “selected ones” who follow “the Way”.

    When I see a NeoCat liturgy, however, versus a genuine Christian liturgical expression in all its beauty and majesty, there is no question for me as to which of the two is damaged and which is authentic. One is clearly in harmony with Kiko. One is clearly in harmony with the Divine (whether the rite be Latin or Eastern).

  71. jhayes says:

    Prof. Basto, the first article you linked in your 23 January at 4:39 am post has the title: “How the Neocatechumenal Way defended their liturgy in 2004”

    Much has happened since 2004.

    In 2008, the Vatican approved the “Statutes of the Way,” which granted derogations from the OF Mass for use by the NCW in its Saturday night Eucharists.

    In 2011, the Vatican approved the “Catechetical Directory” of the NCW, which formalized the course of formation for laypersons, including the NCW ceremonies other than he Eucharist.

    In 2012 (last week) the Holy Father confirmed that the ceremonies in the Catechetical Directory and the Statutes are approved.

    Discussing the theology and liturgy of the NCW on the basis of statements or practices prior to 2008 ignores the long discussions that led to the 2008, 2011 and 2012 approvals by the Vatican and the changes NCW was required to make to obtain the Vatican’s approval.

  72. Me says:


    I commend you on your sane reporting. If only Rorate caeli showed the same restraint.

  73. leonugent2005 says:

    Supertradmum if you want a good source for Catholic identity try this……The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, obedience to the Pope even when you “know he’s wrong” and holy abandonment to the will of God. Now, when I mentioned the mass I didn’t specify EF, OF, TLM, NO mostly because they give me a headache.

  74. Inigo says:

    @ Centristian

    I only proposed that their formula works, not that they actually deliver a true Catholic identity.
    They teach their followers about what they think the mass is, after this they go to a mass which is celebrated in the way they think it should be, and what corresponds to their idea about mass, and viola, people get an identity which they think is authentic. I’m just saying that the formula is working, not that the results are good.

    Try looking at the subject from the viewpoint of an adult, who just recieved divine grace and said yes to it for the first time, and stepped on the road of conversion. I converted as an adult three years ago, and I know it was a hard and long process. And I converted first to the guitar-tamburine cafeteria crowd, because they were the only ones who provided a systematic way to teach someone how a catholic should behave, and what catholics do. It was a long process how I eventually realised that something is wrong with the NO mass, and finally got to an EF mass and stayed with that community. But if I hadn’t studied religion end methaphisics at the time, I know I would have eventually left the Church again, because of the feminine athmosphere.

  75. Prof. Basto says:


    In sending Father the links above, I was not exactly concerned with the format of the NCW liturgy. I know that some changes were introduced, at least in theory, but I also know that some Communities insist in sitting for Communion when the Vatican-revised norms call for standing. But that was not the point.

    The reason why I sent the links is this. There is this book ,”The Neocatechumenate: A Christian Initiation for Adults”, written by Father Piergiovanni Devoto, of the NCW. This book was authorized by the founders of the Way. In writting this book, Fr. Devoto uses and makes public passages from until then unpublished writtings of the Neocatechumenal Way’s founders (Francisco “Kiko” Argüello and Carmen Hernández).

    This book, and the passages that correspond to writtings of the founders of the Way, contain not only absurd inventions regarding liturgical history, but also statements that can be considered heretical, such as praise for Luther’s view regarding the Eucharist, and criticism of transubstantiation, deemed in the writtings as and inadequate “invention” to describe what happens during Mass, because the idea of transubstantiation, according to the writtings, proceeds from “the Aristotelian-Thomistic concept of substance, which is foreign to the Church of the apostles and the Fathers”.

    Then the writtings of the Way, before criticizing the introduction of the Gloria and the Credo in the liturgy, proceed to trash the liturgical rigidity of the Council of Trent as an “error”: ”

    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”.

    So, my concern in sending the links was to expose the liturgical IDEAS of Kiko, and, especially, those ideas regarding the DOGMA of transubstantiation that seem to deny the same dogma, and that thus provoke legitimate concern, as the founder of the NCW appears to hold a heretical view of the Eucharist.

    The liturgy may have changed at the (much ignored) direction of the Vatican, but have Kiko’s ideas changed? Or is it not allowed to question the dear leader?

  76. Alexis says:

    The Holy See DID approve NeoCat liturgical variants for Mass – way back in 2008.

    Thus the Holy Father’s mention that the NeoCats are to abide by the liturgical norms of the Roman Rite “with the specificities approved in the Statutes of the Way.”

    Well, yes. That is precisely it! The specificities approved in the Statutes of the Way are exactly what are so devastating and worrying.

    The Holy See has given its official imprimatur to celebrations of Mass in the Roman Rite that centers around a small, gnosticlike coterie of initiates, wherein these Catholics – with full approval by the Holy Father himself – have Holy Communion brought to them where they are, where much of the liturgy consists of sitting in a circle, where “monotions” by laypeople are endured before each reading, and fulfill their Sunday obligation on Saturday night, as a rule. And these official, by-the-books practices are, from all accounts, less worrying than what is practiced de facto by the NeoCats.

    This is just as much a part of the Roman Rite as is the Traditional Mass. For this reason alone I fail to see how this state of affairs is entire debilitating.

    Lord, have mercy!

  77. Alexis says:

    That should be: “I fail to see how this state of affairs it *not* entirely debilitating.”

  78. Centristian says:

    @Prof. Basto:

    “The liturgy may have changed at the (much ignored) direction of the Vatican, but have Kiko’s ideas changed? Or is it not allowed to question the dear leader?”

    Right. Why was “The Way” founded by Kiko and Carmen if not to promote their peculiar interpretation of a fantastic transposition of the Early Church into the modern day, a vision which imagines that the Church was dead for 1600 years but is now resurrected by the Holy Spirit at Vatican II and perfected by Him through “The Way”? A vision which involves a sort of elite Church-within-a-Church, with its own catechism and its own seminaries and its own liturgy, and its own music, and its own art, all wholly designed by Kiko and Carmen? A movement that will one day, according to their aspirations, capture the whole Church and actually replace it with a “renewed” Church after Kiko’s own heart? They’ve given all that arrogance up, now, and are just normal Catholics like the rest of us, having been corrected? Well, if so, then Kiko should just join a parish like the rest of us, take his seat in a pew, and find his place there…with everyone else…because that’s all he is…one of everyone else.

    Jesus Christ is “The Way” and it is sufficient to belong to the Catholic Church to know God, to love God, and to serve God, in this world and the next. That Catholic Church that was supposedly dead for 1600 years managed, somehow, to produce countless saints between the 4th century and the 20th, all without the aid of an esoteric communion that needed its own special catechism and its own special rites that reflected only the peculiarities of its founder.

    All the great religious orders that appeared by through the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the efforts and enthusiasm of the saintly founders who responded to His call were established in harmony with the (apparently dead) Church, by very humble saints–saints who focused their lights on Jesus Christ, pointing to him, not to themselves. They didn’t demand a position for life so that they could micromanage their communities. St. Francis, for example, was eager to abdicate his authority over the Friars Minor. They didn’t need specially designed and furnished churches to accomodate unique liturgies that suited their peculiar tastes. They did not behave as if they were indispensible. They were humble Christians who sought, in some cases, to reform real corruption in the Church. They did not seek, however, to refashion the Church in their own images.

    Inigo, pardon me if I misunderstood you. To a degree, one can admire, at least, the energy of the NeoCats and something about their strategy and imagine that something similiar could be adapted by which new Catholics could be genuinely energized and encouraged, although I have to imagine that such groups may already exist that do not have about them the atmosphere and the behaviour of a cult, the way the Neocatechumenal Way has. Minus all the cult-like aspects, yes, of course, one could certainly welcome some authentic movement by which the Church’s more sure-footed pastors–men like Father Z, as you say–unite in a common, regulated missionary effort to reach out in ministry in favor of rearing a more liturgically well-attuned laity. In pre-Conciliar times, what you suggest may have been expressed by “Catholic Action”.

    What such an effort as you describe shouldn’t ever be, however, is a surreptitious, infiltrating thing sent forth by a guru via his disciples into this diocese and that, into this parish and that, causing rupture and division here and there, the way the Neocatechumenal Way seems to. That isn’t how the Holy Spirit works in his Church. There’s another spirit who works that way. I don’t care who embraces this movement, I know enough to know that much.

    But, devoid of all the NeoCatecreepiness, you might, Inigo, be onto something. Have you developed this idea at all, by any chance? If not, perhaps you should. I’d certainly be interested in hearing more. I bet Father Z would, too. Perhaps you should contact him.

  79. Wade says:

    I know very little about the NW. I do know one priest and one transitional deacon from the Redemtoris Mater seminary in our diocese. Both appear to be very solid men. I have heard nothing from either of them that I would consider heretical and I have not heard either of them challenge the authority of the Church. Neither of them has ever, in any way, mentioned to me the NW or tried to proselytize me in the “Way.” I have never attended a NW Mass (if there is such a thing). I have assisted at NO Mass maybe 50 times when the NW priest was celebrant. I wish our pastor would give the same detail to the rubrics, vestments, etc., that this NW priest does. Yesterday during his homily, while discussing the March for Life, the evils of abortion, etc., the NW priest stated unequivocally that artificial contraception was a sin, against the teachings of the Church, and part and parcel of the culture of death. He also stated that, no matter what we might hear about it being a matter of our own conscience and no matter who it was that said differently, we were not free to pick and choose which of the Church’s teaching we would follow and which we would ignore.

    I have seen some shocking things written here and other places about the NW. I have no independent knowledge of the NW to either confirm or to rebut what has been written. I do find the negative things that have been written to be out of character with the NW clergy that I know. The NW seems to be on the right side of the issues (such as marriage, sanctity of life, ordination of women, etc.) that “liberal catholics” push. And, it is obvious that there is a tremendous missionary zeal within the NW as well as a commitment to priestly vocations.

    The NW has been around since the 60s. Its founders are in their 70s. During the last decade it appears that the Church has been working hard to correct doctrinal errors within the NW and to try to integrate the NW communities into parishes. And, it appears that the NW has accepted correction during this time period instead of breaking from the Church. I am willing to give the Vicar of Christ the benefit of the doubt on what is transpiring. It is my fervent hope that the Church is shepherding this group towards greater orthodoxy while seeing the Holy Spirit at work in its missionary zeal.

  80. jhayes says:

    Prof. Basto, my undetanding is that the “Catechetical Directory” approved by the Vatican in 2011 and 2012 is a revised version of the “then [2002] unpublished writtings of the Neocatechumenal Way’s founders (Francisco “Kiko” Argüello and Carmen Hernández)” describing the content and ceremonies of the NCW’s course for theq formation of lay Catholics as neocatechumens.

    From what I have read, the Vatican required over 2000 changes in the text before approving it. therefore, I think Fr. Devoto’s book is probably not a reliable source for the current teachings of The NCW.

    I do not havewant connection with he NCW.

  81. jhayes says:

    Havewant = have any

  82. leonugent2005 says:

    Not only did our Holy Father approve this NeoCat way but he also created two forms of the mass. I never would have guessed that Cardinal Ratzinger would have turned into such a liturgical experimenter!!

  83. Wade says:

    leonugent2005, you have peeked my curiosity. Please explain in greater detail your statement that “our Holy Father . . . created two forms of the mass.” Preferably with a link two the texts you refer to.

    Thank you.

  84. Wade says:


  85. Centristian says:


    “Not only did our Holy Father approve this NeoCat way but he also created two forms of the mass.”

    Well, that’s overstating things, I think. It looks to me that the Holy See simply grants them use the Ordinary Form of Mass according to the Roman Missal with a few quirks. The exchange of peace is moved, for one thing, and communicants have the Eucharist brought to them at their seats; they do not approach the celebrant to communicate in the typical fashion. It is also pemitted that “monitions” be presented by initiates concerning the readings, apparently.

    The rest of what is different could be done by any parish or community, really: they don’t use the exsisting altar, if there is one, they use a table set up in front of the altar (almost every church in the world has already been doing that since Vatican II, of course), only the NeoCats table is bigger and is appointed in a unique way, according to Kiko’s specifications. The bread is not the typical small manufactured host but rather something akin to a pita, placed on large patens, with the wine, all about the altar, to make it look like a banquet table. The ambo, instead of being at the “Gospel side” is located behind the table, dead center. Behind that, an icon painted by Kiko. The music is also by Kiko and is performed by any number of guitar-strumming and tambourine-slapping worshippers. However, despite all of that…uniqueness…they use the Roman Missal.

    Now, why on earth a Pope who is leading the rest of the Church in one liturgical direction should approve for this group something so entirely in the opposite direction is beyond me and causes me a great deal of confusion, to be honest. I don’t pretend to understand any of it. But, no, the Holy Father hasn’t created another form of the Roman Rite…he has merely permitted “The Way” to employ their bizarre interpretation of that Rite, contrasting everything that he, himself, has shown us of late.

  86. Supertradmum says:

    Sigh, and the SSPX remains at the gate..

  87. wmeyer says:

    Supertradmum, the injustice is, to borrow a word, ineffable.

  88. Wade says:

    I guess the measure of how great the injustice is, depends on one’s perspective as to which side has barred the gate.

  89. leonugent2005 says:

    Wade perhaps he didn’t create the two forms but since Summorum Pontificum 2 forms exist unfettered. I think you and I would both agree that the situation that exists now is somewhat nontraditional. Let us both look forward to the day when we can stop calling the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass a NO mass or an EF mass and just call it the mass.

  90. leonugent2005 says:

    I would add to this though that the 2 forms don’t exist side by side because OF and EF indicate a hierarchy, exactly like the hierarchy that exists with ordinary ministers of Holy Communion and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. [I think you have fallen into the trap of using words equivocally.]

  91. Centristian says:

    “Sigh, and the SSPX remains at the gate..”

    Well, yes, but by their own choice, remember. The Lefebvrists have been invited by the Holy See to take steps to be regularized but they elect to remain outside the gate for now. The Pope can’t force them to come back in from the cold, after all, but they are invited: the door is open. Problem is, they see the open door as a trap. They don’t trust the post-Conciliar Church, at all. They’ve endured alot of hell from the Holy See and they have, likewise, put the Holy See through alot of hell. So it shouldn’t be presented, really, as a scenario in which the poor, innocent SSPX is cruelly being left out starving in the cold while kooks like the NeoCats are invited inside to suckle at Rome’s breast. That isn’t the situation, at all. The Lefebvrists choose to maintain their distance because they refuse to suckle at the same breast as groups like the NeoCats.

    I’m sure the Holy Father would embrace the Lefebvrists just as warmly as he has embraced the NeoCats (probably even more so) if only they would humble themselves and quit their insistence that the entire Church revert to the pre-Conciliar rites, exclusively, abandoning all of Vatican II and the Ordinary Form of Mass, to boot. The NeoCats can be embraced because they aren’t demanding that the whole Church do what they do. The NeoCats just want the right to do the things they do, regardless of what the rest of the Church is doing. They have submitted, accepted some modifications, and may now go their merry way retaining the essentials of what they are all about (for whatever that may be worth to the Church). The Lefebvrists can’t be satisfied with the same deal, however. They need the whole Church to conform to their ideal before they’ll cooperate with Rome again.

  92. wmeyer says:

    Yes, the SSPX stands outside by their own choice. On the other hand, were they to simply rejoin Rome now, without discussion and negotiation, it would be as much as to say that their concerns of conscience had been as nothing.

    A comparison between the SSPX and the NeoCats is of the nature of apples and oranges. The SSPX is fighting for continued support for tradition; the NeoCats for substantial abandonment of tradition.

    It seems to me that the NeoCats are tolerated for the same reasons as liturgical abuses of the NO seem to be: the alternative is to further reduce the population of the Church.

  93. Supertradmum says:


    This makes me so sad. I cannot yet believe this fringe group’s activities are being accepted with little changes, (and I have read all the documents, including the Neo-Cats own, since this all began many years ago), and the SSPX is not accepted. You may be correct in saying apples and oranges, but why not a reduced population in the Church for the sake of clarity and continuity? Also, despite all the reading and studying I have done of this group from various angles, I also have that good, old gut reaction that tells me something is not right.

  94. wmeyer says:

    Supertradmum, I am not arguing against cutting dissidents loose — far from it. I was only observing that it appears as though this may be the reasoning.

    As to something being not right, I think that dates from at least the time of the Ottaviani Intervention.

  95. Supertradmum says:


    I agree with you 100%.

  96. leonugent2005 says:

    Father you’re right not only am I using them equivocally but maybe even a little uncharitably. I got to hear “the great council of Trent” this morning in a homily by someone who is very dismissive of Vatican 2 so maybe I’m a little sensitive right now. I appreciate your forbearance and I enjoy your blog!

  97. Poimier says:

    Father Z,

    Please forgive me, I could well be so wrong, but do I get the impression you are trying to avoid condemning Kiki and what’sisname ?

    Because : Just to take one point :

    “Right, though I believe that even that depends on permission of the local bishop. NeoCats can’t just do that without regard for the permission from the bishop of the place they are in.“

    So, does Papa Ratzi, with all his knowledge of “Catholic” bishops truly believe all Catholic bishops will give the necessary permission ? And that, more importantly, according to me, these people will oblige their followers never to move the sign of peace to before the Offertory ?

    Yes, I’m very biased, because, you see, the “Kiss of Peace” and the way it was imparted used to endanger my faith grievously. Luckily I have had the TLM at hand on Sundays for many yuears and I thank the Good Lord for it always.

    Best wishes to you,


  98. abdiesus says:

    I have only one question: Why is revisionistic “resourcement” ok when done by Bugnini & co. to produce a NO with all of it’s inherent discontinuity and, apparent prone-ness to abuse, and yet not ok when done by Kiko & co. to produce a NCW Liturgy with all of it’s inherent discontinuity and apparent prone-ness to abuse? Of course someone will say: but Bugnini & co. got a Pope to approve and promulgate it! Well, I think if I’m not mistaken, that’s just what Kiko & co. are trying to do – just in stages.

    You see, the big thing that separates a Catholic understanding of human history from that of all the other variant forms of Christianity is the fact that it doesn’t try to have progress “on the cheap” – bypassing human effort, and human history. Rather Catholicism says that God himself incarnates into human history and as a divine-human and through this divine-human effort accomplishes salvation in the midst of human history – and then establishes his Church within human history to extend and complete the victory he accomplished in principle throughout the rest of human history. And because this is so, human history and human effort are transformed into the history of, and the effort of, Christ’s own body, extended in time, continuously, from generation to generation, until the consumation.

    On the other hand, the variant forms of Christianity *must* all presume that God does not value human history, becuase they are ALL predicated on the meaninglessness of that human history between some arbitrary date (the death of the last apostle, the ascension, the edict of Milam, etc.) and when their own founder happened upon the scene – and then the Holy Spirit “woke up” and started acting again. This principle of devaluing human history is the principle behind a-historical “resourcement” which seeks to get progress “on the cheap” – bypassing, negating, rejecting, & deprecating, the living stream of Tradition in order to “get behind” it and “get back to” some presumed (invented) purity. This is not how God works – because God, miraculously and unimaginably, actually values human history so much that he became part of it, personally. And since God himself will not save us “on the cheap”, he did not establish a Church to continue his salvific plan “on the cheap” either. Which means that historical continuity does matter. And it also means that ALL forms of a-historical “resourcement” are gravely mistaken, and un-Catholic, in principle.

    So in light of this, it seems to me that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you must have a Bugnini, you cannot refuse a Kiko. Which is probably why the Pope must procede as he has proceded. If he is not ready yet to repudiate Bugnini’s child, he cannot in principle repudiate Kiko’s child. Anything less would be the pot calling the kettle….um….what’s the correct phrase… “separated white”?

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