Will the NeoCat liturgy obtain papal approval?

Sandro Magister reports:

“Placet” or “Non placet”? The wager of Carmen and Kiko

The founders of the Neocatechumenal Way aim to obtain definitive Vatican approval for their “convivial” way of celebrating the Mass. The document is ready. But it could be modified or blocked in extremis. The verdict on January 20


Read the rest there.


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  1. paterscotus says:

    This would be a disaster.

  2. Tony Layne says:

    Yikes. HH is the Pope of Christian unity … but I find myself hoping he sends the liturgy back to the drawing board.

  3. Tom Esteban says:

    I pray not. I wouldn’t know what to think.

    Also, if it gets approved, kiss reconciliation with the SSPX goodbye.

  4. Dr Guinness says:

    “Unfortunately, We find this ‘liturgy’ unacceptable. By Papal Mandate, all Neocatechumenal Way gatherings are now required to use the Extraordinary Form alone.”
    – The pope of my dreams…

  5. Nihilsubsole says:

    Call me cynical, but I suspect that even if the Neocatechumenal Way’s liturgy is rejected, they will continue to use it or something essentially the same but minimally compliant with liturgical norms. Barring an excommunication, which is unlikely in this case, the Church as no effective way to enforce a “no” decision.

  6. Mariana says:

    For heaven’s sake, ignoring the altar and sitting around a table (from Sandro Magister’s blog)!

  7. asperges says:

    Another 60’s nightmare surfaces. Why should any form of aberration like this even be countenanced? It makes SSPX-ers look like novus-ordo-ites in comparison.

    It convinces me more and more that most if not all of the liturgical reforms were an utter disaster. But perhaps we should have more confidence in the Holy Father’s good sense. We are not there yet.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Oh my goodness, and I am beginning to understand my friends in the SSPX more each day. The music of the Neo-Cats is horrible and not in keeping with liturgical music guidelines from either Blessed John Paul II or Benedict XVI. Why make an exception? The Charismatic influence in liturgy must be stopped, not encouraged. Even after this current Pope asked for the reform of the movement, and after there was a doctrinal review, causing the Neo-Cats to change some of their heretical views (such as the Mass not being a sacrifice), there is still confusion. To allow this liturgy would embody the errors of this movement forever.

    I cannot believe this will happen and I pray it will not. I was dealing for several months last year with some blatant disrespect and me-centered liturgical abuses of the Charismatics in both England and in Malta. I had to distance myself from some groups of friends because of this. I am convinced the liturgy of the Neo-Cats is Protestant in nature and simply cannot be approved.

  9. James says:

    This is perplexing and disconcerting to me. All of the “Neocats” whom I know are orthodox. I knew that they receive communion seated (which I’m not a fan of), but I had no idea about some of the other more radical elements of their liturgy, and the nonsensical and outdated historicist arguments of their founders.

  10. Why do so many of these new movements seem to want to make the Liturgy in their own image and likeness? I pray that the pope will sit down with them and instruct them according to the norms of his “Spirit of the Liturgy.”

  11. NoTambourines says:

    It will be approved on the feast of St. Facepalm.

  12. Maltese says:

    It’s a meal, not even remotely a Sacrifice.

    But the praxis and axis of the Church has shifted since VII, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this slithers through the Vatican like a greased pig.

  13. pinecone says:

    In my view, to ignore the altar is to ignore Christ. That is where we see Him offered for us, and it is where we are joined to Him. I think that they are Protestants, to tell you the truth- they sure do seem to protest enough, from what I read on Magister’s blog. I do not think that this liturgy will be approved, and I am afraid that the Neocatechumenal Way will break with the Church when it is disapproved.

  14. Inigo says:

    I’m hoping that the Holy Father, being the Pope of Christian Unity would figure out a way, to avoid both schism and scandal. I’m not quite sure how that is possible in a situation like this, mainly because (thank God) I’m not pope.

    I’m sure he will not give his blessings to it. That would be a solemn funeral for all his liturgical work.

  15. At this, one might wonder whether Pope Benedict still prefers the “leaner, smaller, purer Church” of Cardinal Ratzinger.

  16. martin.c says:

    If this liturgy is approved, then Benedict XVI will completely lose his intellectual authority in liturgical matters (and it seems that it is the only kind of authority that he wants to use, at least regarding liturgy). Most of the NeoCat liturgy is contrary to what he wrote in “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, specially regarding orient-ation, silent canon, kneeling, etc. Just to give an example, he wrote that “A liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core.”… but Kiko Argüello doesn’t even put kneelers in the churches and seminaries he builds. If the Pope approves this, as we say in Argentina, he will erase with the elbow what he wrote with his hand.

    Cañizares is another one whose intellectual authority is at stake. As Father Z reported, he said a few months ago that “the entire Church should receive Communion kneeling”. Let’s see what happens now… I don’t expect much of him, as it’s known that he is an unconditional supporter of the NCW.

    Let’s see if they are intellectually honest or not.

  17. haribo says:

    “I do not think that this liturgy will be approved, and I am afraid that the Neocatechumenal Way will break with the Church when it is disapproved.”

    I’m not sure this is the case. I’ve heard the Neocats are very orthodox, so they have to understand that schism is not an option. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this were approved. In the past, the Vatican has corrected inobedience by making it licit. Think of communion in the hand for example, which I believe started as an abuse. Right now, we have one rite which includes the Tridentine Mass on one end of the spectrum, and the current Neocat Mass on the other. Two radically different understandings of the Eucharist but both given the stamp of ecclesiastical approval and contained within the umbrella of one rite. Since the Vatican’s policy seems to be one of inclusiveness when it comes to liturgy, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vatican ends up giving this approval.

  18. Moscatelli says:

    Well, it would be the hermeneutic of reform (of the content) within the continuity of the subject (the hierarchy of the Church); as long as the transmitter is the same, what is transmitted is considered ok. If the preceding transmitter said something different, his point of view is seen in the light of the more recent transmitters motivations. Was this not the view of mgr Ocariz as expressed from the columns of Osservatore Romano some time ago?
    Anyway, as long as there is a distinction made between irreformable and reformable aspects of the liturgy, the only meter of appropriateness of a rite is its Papal approval.

  19. I’ve never met a parish priest in any country or on any continent having neo-Cats in his parish who didn’t despise them because of the deep division they immeditately bring to every parish. The neo-Cats, or at least the ones I’ve met, insist, despite everything, on never having Mass on Sunday, only Saturday night, and only in their own venues, apart from the other members of the parish family of faith, or at the least refusing to use the altar in the church. But, who knows, maybe there’s one priest who likes them… But why? The very last thing they seem to be interested in is unity.

    “But they’re catechists of the unchurched!” goes up the cry. I’ve never seen that. In my experience, they grab those who go to church already, those who know the faith. It seems that they are intereseted in nothing more than a hermeneutic of rupture regarding the Liturgy, and a hermeneutic of rupture regarding parish families. But maybe there are some neo-Cats who actually evangelize… I don’t know. The one thing they should be known for they are not know for, at least in my experience.

    The result of long and intense conversations with neo-Cats about the Mass and all the sacraments is that I am convinced that they have equated the validity of the sacraments with good emotions, including both the Mass and Confession. Perhaps not all neo-Cats think this way, but it seemed deeply, deeply engraved into the perspectives of the ones I spoke with at length.

    If a homily is not co-preached by the “group around the table”, it is said that it cannot mean anything to anyone. I was even told that until the neo-Cats, no homily ever preached in the entire history of the Church meant anything to anyone. I guess it’s the neo-Cats who bring salvation to the Church, at least in the perspective of the ones I met. So deeply engrained is this mentality, that when I brought up the homilies of Ambrose and Augustine, they insisted that only their neo-Cat way could possibly mean anything to anyone. Maybe there’s a neo-Cat out there who thinks otherwise. I’ve never met one, ever.

    That’s just my experience. Perhaps times have changed, recently, I guess, maybe…

  20. Jon says:

    What towering, patent nonsense. I can’t believe no one of influence is able to pick up a phone and get hold of someone near the Holy Father or at least the level of Archbishop DiNoia to express to them what a devastation this would be to the Church. It’s not enough to assume “they already know.” I’m not so sure they do. As for the ease of doing such a thing, a personal story:

    Back in 2003, when Summorum Pontificum was but a gleam in Josef Ratzinger’s eye, the hope of the Church was the implementation of Liturgiam Authenticam. This included, if you remember, not only the 2002 Roman Missal, but the accompanying GIRM. At that time I was a member of my parish liturgy committee. We were concerned as to when the new GIRM would be promulgated, so we could implement it quickly. We grew tired of waiting, so I decided to take matter in hand. I went to the Vatican web site, and there I found, to my surprise, the cell phone number of the man everyone at PrayTell loves to hate; Monsignor James Moroney.

    I called the number. A happy voice picked up. I explained quickly who I was and what I wanted. Monsignor replied, “You’re in luck! I’m in Denver, and am literally just walking out of a meeting with Cardinal Arinze. I just got the news that the recognitio’s been given, and promulgation will be in March. You’ve scooped everybody. Even the bishops!”

    I later had a few more communications with Monsignor, all equally as gracious.

    Now think of that. Here’s the man who is largely responsible for the language which the entire English-speaking Church will use at Holy Mass for probably decades, and he answered these questions from me, a layman from Pennsylvania, whom he didn’t know from Adam.

    It’s beyond me, given that experience, why no one much higher up the food chain than myself can’t get do the same thing in this situation and actually procure the right result. Have we learned nothing in 45 years? Perhaps the phones in Rome are ringing, as they used to say, off the wall, but some how I doubt it. Instead, we sit, biting our nails and waiting for Bugnini’s last shoe to drop.

    St. Athanasius, pray for us.

  21. frjim4321 says:

    Wow, their way of celebrating mass seems truly bizarre. To have so many simultaneous celebrations at the same time is absurd. And the “rank” you have in the organization decides which mass you go to? That’s crazy. I’ll bet if you scratch the surface of the NCW it doesn’t take long to find some really freaky behavior.

  22. Finarfin says:

    I pray that Pope Benedict will not approve such an outrage. I cannot see how these people could actually be orthodox – we already know that they are not orthodox on liturgy. But I trust the decision Pope Benedict will make: he is a holy man and has been a good leader these last 6 years of his Pontificate. But as for guessing what he will do, I doubt that “God’s Rottweiler” will give in to this nonsense liturgy.

  23. Darren says:

    I hope not. I don’t believe Pope Benedict XVI will approve this. It would shock me beyond all belief.

  24. The Astronomer says:

    NCW ‘Liturgy’ = the Revenge of Bugnini.

    What does this say about the mindset of His Holiness if he actually gives the green light here, Father? Approval would seem to be a fairly blatant ,de facto endorsement of the “hermeneutic of rupture”, no?

    The theology of the NCW seems to be off-the-charts according to examples posted on Rorate Coeli. Let’s all pray this gets buried, and quickly.

  25. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:
    To have so many simultaneous celebrations at the same time is absurd.

    I think the salvific benefits of the mass should be multiplied. Don’t you?

  26. robtbrown says:

    I would like to know what is meant by “the document is ready”. Does that mean that it’s been written and given to the Congregation? Or that it has been approved by the theological consultors? Or that it’s been approved by members of the Congregation?

    BXVI has been trying to rebuilt the Congregation, but I’m not so sure how much progress has been made.

  27. leonugent2005 says:

    I prefer the leaner, purer larger church. The problem with this is that it will take both liturgists AND pastors to bring it about. The good news is that our Papa is a pastor as well as a liturgist.

  28. irishgirl says:

    From what I’ve read about NCW and their weird ‘liturgy’, I hope this doesn’t get approved!
    And to quote Tom Esteban, ‘And, if it does get approved, kiss reconciliation with the SSPX goodbye’!
    Pray that our Holy Father will receive the wisdom to make the right choice, and turn this down!

  29. robtbrown says:

    should be “rebuild”

  30. rroan says:

    Folks: Pray, pray, pray that this is not approved.

    It would be a disaster for the church and open the doors (more widely) to all kinds of abuse and bizarre distortions of the liturgy and multiply the number of quasi-Catholic sects.

    The whole notion of rank within the organization determining status of what “service” you attend (as Fr. Jim notes) leads me to think of Scientology.

    Pray, pray, pray.

  31. John V says:

    Cardinals and bishops who believe “that the . . . excesses . . . are minimal and forgivable, in comparison with the fervor of faith of those who participate in them.” A “fiery supporter” in the Vatican curia. Anybody else here seeing parallels to the Legionaries of Christ debacle?

  32. ghlad says:

    We as blog commentators should refrain from stating ultimatims about what our Pope should or shouldn’t do. I’m not convinced that comment boxes are promised the same Charism as our Mother Church. I can agree that a return of the SSPX would seem to be made immediately more problematic by whole-hand affirmation of the NeoCat liturgy, however the Holy Spirit may require more trials and more sacrifices on the part of the Faithful to bring the SSPX back into the fold. For any mere layperson to paint the situation in absolute colors risks opening yourself up to demoralizing roadblocks in your child-like faith when that really isn’t necessary.

    In other words, if the NeoCat reforms are approved, if we begin to question our fidelity to Mother Church then we damage our own faith regardless of any “badness” of laxing standards within the Church. If we set ultimatims for our Church in terms of what we accept or expect, then our fidelity to the Church is already in peril regardless of the outcome of decisions such as here with the NeoCat, because if the decision matches our demands then it is a coincidence, whereas if it does not match our expectations it damages our fidelity to the Magisterium and the Church itself. Keep the faith and above all worry about yourselves if you are in any danger.

    Second, this is my first time to really read about the NeoCat community. It sounds like absolute nonsense and a disaster. I can easily understand the comments by priests and laity that indicate they are extremely disruptive wherever they appear. I had heard some groaning for years about the NeoCat way (especially following whenever some Vatican source seemed to say something positive or permissive about the group) but hadn’t really understood why it was objectionable to so many until some of the reading that Fr. Z’s post here prompted me to do.

    Finally, the majority of their argument for their peculiar method of celebrating the Eucharist seems to hinge on the lack of the “pascal element” as Magister and their founders put it… so very ironic that they should eschew and turn their backs on the Altar… Makes zero sense to me.

  33. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The description of the NCW liturgy is disturbing, particularly because I’m acquainted with two young priests who graduated the local NCW seminary. These two priests appear to be quite exemplary in many ways: both have increased opportunities for confession in their parishes and one has instituted public Morning Prayer and more frequent adoration in his parish and the other is an inspiring (and, to my experience, orthodox) preacher. They each conduct themselves with dignity in celebrating the OF Mass in their respective parishes. I hope they aren’t involved with any of the hinky practices described by Magister.

  34. Geoffrey says:

    Interesting. I have noticed that even among diocesan priests: orthodox in doctrine, completely off-the-wall when it comes to the Sacred Liturgy.

    I don’t understand why this movement would seek approval for their “creativity”, or why the Holy See would entertain the idea of doing such. If they belong to the Roman Rite, then that is what they should use, in either form. It almost sounds like they are asking for their own “rite”.

  35. Indulgentiam says:

    The NCW is just plain wrong. I was reading G.K Chesterton on Saint Thomas Aquinas wherein he makes mention of the fact that the Church has always battled heresy from without and within. Really our mortal enemy doesn’t have any new tricks this is just the same old tired recycled garbage. Pope Leo XII in his Encyclical “SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE” states something, well many things really, that i believe apply here namely; “14. But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. ” This is the same Encyclical where his famous quote “…Christians are born for combat” comes from. And indeed we are. Conflict is our natural habitat. At the risk of oversimplifying and please pardon me if i do. Any good parent knows that there are three, well you may have more, excellent weapons in our arsenal. 1. is Prayer; Rosary, Novenas etc..—2. More Prayer, Penances and the like and 3. “NO! you CAN NOT do that!!!” I pray that Holy Mother Church will regain Her authoritative tone. And that she will start pointing Her parental finger in the faces of these wayward brats while saying “NO, BAD, STOP IT!” or a good swat on the hand and a firm ” Nasty, Nasty, drop it”

  36. Centristian says:

    Perhaps I’m missing something. If the Holy See were to sanction this form of Mass would it constitute, somehow, yet another “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite? I cannot actually discern the Roman Rite of Mass anywhere in the description of the form described. What I’ve read describes something akin to a piece of interactive theatre loosely based on Christ’s First Eucharist.

    I don’t want to seem like the sort of Catholic who would be scandalized by the Last Supper, but is our public worship of today really meant to be a pretension to the intimacy of that singularly poignant gathering of Christ on Earth with His with His closest disciples just before His crucifixion? Of course our Mass is that very Eucharist, but our Mass is not that very moment under those very circumstances.

    The form of the Eucharist outlined here seems to pretend otherwise, however, ignoring altogether the forms of Christian Eucharistic worship that have developed across the centuries and in different cultures, none of which have the pretense of mimicking the very setting of Jesus Christ’s personal and intimate encounter with the Apostles before His Agony. So why is this group so special, I wonder? What makes it so unique that their Eucharistic celebration must take on the form of that First one?

    If the Latin Church can formally sanction this as a legitimate expression of the contemporary Eucharistic Rite, then are not the other forms that have developed, in the East and in the West, mocked by it, in a way? Is not the very authenticity of the existing forms undermined by it to a certain extent? Does it not call into question the very legitimacy of the development of the Eucharistic liturgy over the centuries and in different cultures, insofar as it has departed from the form used at the very First Eucharist? Will this form be regarded as more authentic than the existing Christian liturgies? Clearly the Neocatechumenal Way seems to imagine that it is.

    The sanctioning of this form of Mass would pose problems regarding reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X? How about reunion with the Orthodox? The typical banal presentation of the Roman Rite today must seem utterly appalling to Christians of the East (as it is indeed to so many of us in the West). What would this form suggest to them, I wonder? When I think of the grandeur of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom versus, say, a “Folk Mass”, I’m almost ashamed to call myself a Latin Rite Christian. But this? A liturgy the built upon social “conviviality”, a crass mockery, really, of the Last Supper that breaks wholly loose of any liturgical tradition, Eastern or Western?

    If Benedict XVI could sanction such a thing how could we but throw our arms in the air and ask ourselves what any of it all means, finally? Essentially he would be leading us in one direction, then suddenly stopping to say “of course, the opposite direction is fine, too, if you want to go that way instead.”

    So, no, of course the Pope will not sanction this thing. How could he? And again, if he did, how would he square it in the context of the Roman Rite of Mass?

  37. JKnott says:

    John V says: Anybody else here seeing parallels to the Legionaries of Christ debacle?
    Not in the LEAST Mr. V.! Not in the least!
    The “debacle” of the founder aside, the Legionaries form excellent priests. It happens to be one of their many outstanding aspects. The quality of their Masses, homilies, confessors, and spiritual directors and lived charity towards others, demonstrate in an extraordinary fashion the quality of their holiness. Their excellent balance in everything, is the fruit of humble obedience and a strong prayer life. I have never heard one priest or seminarian have a harsh word or comment on the volumes of unqualified, false and opinionated detraction that they have received constantly in the media; orthodox Catholics included. Totally unnecessary clones and drones of words that come from a total lack of facts: sarcastic; arrogant and just plain sadly shameful. It has made me have a much better understanding of why most all of us need purgatory; to singe away our dearly held unsubstantiated and rash opinions.
    The Legionaries just ordained 49 joyful priests. The Holy Father met with them and gave them hearty and encouraging words. Their seminaries a full. NO Mr. V. Having known the LCs for many years, the solid quality of their work, and the facts, I can truly say that I see no parallel. In truth.

  38. Joseph says:

    What I find particularly alarming, are the conclusions one is almost forced to make. This group of people must have some powerful protectors inside the curia, which are able to twist arms of even orthodox clergy. And I was naive enough to think we might have reached bottom.

  39. BobP says:

    I can’t support any organization which claims Trent preached errors, whether the group is legitimate or not.

  40. Gleeb Pencilneck says:

    I am so disgusted by the Neo Cat way. I cant believe it is tolerated at all in the True Church of Christ.
    Please Lord, stop them for your glory and the sake of your holy name. Amen.

  41. thennigan says:

    I received an email from a Neocat priest who states that they are all set to get Papa approval of their weird liturgy. I teach liturgy in a seminary and have students read Ratzinger’s Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy. I have also read several other contributions of his regarding liturgy and the Eucharist, particularly the matter of the Eucharist as a banquet. If he approves the Neocat liturgy, either he has been fooled by them or he has lost his mind. There is no way that his theological writings on the matter can be reconciled with Neocat practice. I cannot imagine that their practice of not using the altar and placing a table in the center of the Church will be approved. How could Benedicto XVI approve their sitting around a table to receive the Eucharist having made a very elequent appeal in favor of kneeling in his Spirit of the Liturgy and so goes the rest.
    The whole Neocat enterprise is shot through with major theological problems, like the very notion of “Neocatechumenate”. How is it possible to transfer what they think was the way Christian initiation took place )I stress “what they think”) back in the fourth century to 21st century baptized Catholics? It is an futile exercise in archaism, and totally lacking in a fundamental element of Christian evangelization which is inculturation of the faith. For this particular reason the Japanese bishops had their seminary there closed, and that only after three visits to Rome and a special meeting with Benedicto XVI. It quite like a franchise, a kind of Catholic McDonalds. Another major problem is that Kiko is a kind of neolutheran in that he believes, like Luther and Jansenius, in the total depravation of the human being and the impossibility of overcoming sin. This is somewhat like Luther’s statement “sin mghtly”. Then, the members get drilled into them that they are “garbage” (“basura” in Spanish). Anyone who is not in agreement with Kiko is dubbed “from the devil”. Normal Catholics who participate in their parish are considered little more than pagans. In fact, Kiko thinks that anyone who doesn’t go through his way is not even a Christian. Then what can be said of the scrutinies or interrogations? Neiethr is it clear that for Kiko the reconciliation of the penitent in the Sacrament of Penance takes place through the aboslution given by the priest. It seems that he thinks it is the result of the kiss of peace they give one another after what they call “penitential”.
    It seems to me that the whole Neocat project is in some not unlike Montanism of the second century. That lasted several centuries and gave the Chuch of the time much trouble. Another cause of concern is the the large amount of money they collect with absolutely no transparency, 100 million euros a year I believe. In this they are similar to Maciel and the Legionaries. Another problem is their biblical fundamentalism. The beginning and end of their knowledge of biblical exegesis is based on the Jerusalem Bible and Leon Dufour’s Biblical Vocabulary, on which they base what they call “scrutiny”. The catechists who are the ones who control the Neocatechumenate have no academic or catechetiical training under than the study and parroting of the 20 or so volumes dictated by Kiko and Carmen.
    No matter how many volumes of their “catechesis” and no matter how many thousands of corrections the Vatican includes, there is no guarantee that they will change their false teology about the sacrficie of the Eucharist, the doctrine of transubstantiation (Carmen thinks that the whole of Catholic liturgy was somehow frozen from the time of Constantine to when they appeared after Vatican II and that transusbtantiation is the introduction of aristotelianism into the doctrine of the Eucharist) and a whole slew of other dogmas. They have been smart enough not to publish any books and follow what they call “oral tradition”

    We shall see what happens in a few days, but even if they don’t get what they are looking for or they get a very much edited edition, they are likely to continue as before.

  42. leonugent2005 says:

    I think if I were the pope and wanted to clarify a few things, I’d be tempted to do it with this issue. Pray that our Holy Father will receive the wisdom to make the right choice and God’s will is done.

  43. SonofMonica says:

    St. Michael the Archangel, cast the spirit of the Neocatechumenal Way into hell, where it belongs.

  44. leonugent2005 says:

    Son of Monica I’ve tried to learn to love the 1962 missal, believe it or not. it’s just that whenever I have been to one of those masses I always feel a little claustrophobic afterwards. God knows I’ve tried.

  45. Finarfin says:

    Interesting post, thennigan. I certainly agree that Spirit of the Liturgy cannot be reconciled with the liturgy this Neocat group has put forth.

  46. Denis says:

    They seem to agree with Luther on the Eucharist. They’re quite scornful of transubstantiation, St. THomas Aquinas, and the Council of Trent. In what sense are they Catholic, exactly? It is hard to see the Nocats as anything more than a protestant sect. They may be ‘orthodox’ on abortion, gay marriage, and other moral issues, but so are many protestants–natural law isn’t sectarian.

    But we’re all safe as long as those SSPX heretics are kept out of the Church. They’re the dangerous ones, with all of their Latin, incense, confessions, transubstantiation, and other ‘outdated’ mumbo jumbo .

  47. Peter in Canberra says:

    Call me a pessimist. I expect it will be approved. The ‘new movements’ fostered by JPII will continue. One only has to look at episcopal appointments now to know that despite what we might hope for Pope Benedict is not micromanaging this stuff. And I guess he can’t be expected to.

  48. Centristian says:

    The more I read about the Neocatechumenal Way (never heard of it before now, I’ll be honest) the stranger it all seems to me. What’s really odd is that the two founders seem to be cast in the role of gurus, and that they hold their positions at the head of this community for life, all with papal endorsement and encouragement.

    As far as papal sanctioning of their unique liturgical prescriptions, one reads this in the Wikipedia entry about the “Neocat” Way:

    “Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist at the meeting with the communities in Porto San Giorgio in 1989, exactly as the communities do it, including the communion rite in a sitting position.”

    Reading only as much as that Wikipedia entry one gets the impression that this community, held suspect and regarded as dangerous by a number of bishops, is cherished by the Holy Father. The Pope and his predecessor seem to have nothing but high praise for this community, which clearly enjoys the protection of the papacy.

    I have to say, however, that to me it seems something of a strange esoteric community that has about it the atmosphere of a thing within but somehow separate and precious, almost like a higher degree of Freemasonry (if I may be pardoned for making such a comparison). I’m afraid I just don’t quite understand what it actually is and what it is supposed to be, within the Church, or why it is to be.

  49. Centristian says:

    Okay, well, here, apparently, is what’s up for official sanction:


    Kind of tells me everything I need to know about the Neocatechumenal Way. Thanks, but no thanks.

  50. dominic1955 says:

    What I don’t understand is why there has been such glowing approval for something that to any Catholic imbued with a proper sense of liturgical tradition cannot be seen as anything but a farce that flies in the very face of this tradition. What is even worse is that the recent popes approve of this nonsense! The Neo-Cats, the Sant Egido community, etc. etc. are all approved of and praised and the SSPX was basically railroaded out of the Church? At least we have groups like the FSSP and ICRSS that are approved of too.

    What are we, Anglicans now? You can be all sorts of crazy and still be Catholic, but you can also be all sorts of Trad and still be Catholic, yet something like the NeoCat group and us Traditionalists could hardly be seen as sharing the same Faith as handed down to us for time immemorial. We hold to the Faith, especially seen liturgically as enshrined by Vatican II (look at the pics of the liturgies, its Tradfest ’63…), Vatican I, Trent, etc. etc. etc.

    The power and influence held by groups like the kikos and SantEgido are just plain scary.

  51. Supertradmum says:

    I am sorry, but I think if this is approved, we shall see more orthodox, TLM Catholics joining the SSPX. Why? Because if approved, this type of liturgy and the false teaching behind it, which still remains after correction by the present Pope, will support the idea that the Church is in crisis and, therefore, needs a group within the Church to hold off the encroachment of liturgical abuses. If this Mass is approved, I see this as a “doctrinal rupture”, a term used by some in the SSPX and in other words, an idea stated by Cardinal Koch: “Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in an address given to a congress held on Summorum Pontificum on May 15, 2011, admitted that “the post-conciliar liturgical reform is considered in large circles of the Catholic Church as a rupture with tradition and as a new creation” and that, in the Novus Ordo, “that sacredness that attracts many to the old use must manifest itself more forcefully.” (ZENIT, 5-17-2011)

  52. Supertradmum says:

    And, may I add, what we here probably all have on our bookshelves at home, the prophetic words of Cardinal Ottaviani: I use this to show how the mind-set which would accept the Neo-Cat “Mass” has eroded the sensitivity to the Sacredness of the Traditional Latin Mass as well as creating a false openness to novelty. The Neo-Cat “Mass” is novelty.

    Letter from Cardinal Ottaviani to His Holiness Pope Paul VI
    September 25, 1969
    Most Holy Father,
    Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo
    Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequdam Constitutionem de Sacra
    Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the
    sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:
    1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of
    theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we
    consider the innovations implied or taken for granted, which may of course be evaluated in
    different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking
    departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the
    Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an
    insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.
    2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such
    reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not
    seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of
    perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty
    the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been
    believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred
    deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply
    demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete
    bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of
    an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an
    agonizing crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.
    3. We are certain that these considerations. which can only reach Your Holiness by the living
    voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so
    profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been
    the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary
    harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the
    abrogation of that law. Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such
    painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the
    Church, lamented by You our common Father. not to deprive us of the possibility of
    continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V,
    so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic
    A. Card. Ottaviani
    A. Card. Bacci
    Feast of St. Pius X 4

  53. Denis says:


    I agree. This sort of decision lends credibility to the SSPX’s claims about the current state of the Church, and the selective leniency of the vast majority of her current shepherds. Want to deny basic teachings–sacrificial character of the Eucharist, transubstantiation, etc.–and create a new set of rites based on your heresy? Fine, as long as you win lots and lots of people over to your cult, all is forgiven. If, on the other hand, you have critical things to say about Vatican II, about the current state of the Church–if, furthermore, you love the Tridentine Rite, and the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Church–well, then, out with you! No mercy!

  54. Denis says:

    Most importantly, decisions like this seem to support the SSPX’s claim that V2 was–at least in the minds of many of the Church’s shepherds–a fundamental and complete break with Catholic Tradition; that it was, essentially, the beginning of a new Church. My pastor recently began his homily by saying that we Catholics have become luke-warm–that we have to learn and proclaim our faith. It sounded very nice, right up to the point when he intimated that ‘learning the faith’ amounted to studying the documents of Vatican II. That was his exclusive frame of reference for the faith. It would have made a great propaganda video for the SSPX.

  55. leonugent2005 says:

    Denis as far as I know the NeoCats have never openly defied and disobeyed a pope “Gloriously Reigning on the Throne of St Peter.” They can speak all the latin they want and shake up a storm of incense but in the end if they are outside the catholic church it’s all idolatry. As far as the SSPX being reconciled all I have to say about that is…tick, tick, tick, tick…….

  56. Denis says:


    You summarize the current state of the Church wonderully. The Neocats have created a new liturgy because they believe that Luther was right in saying that transubstantiation is bunk, and that the eucharist is a meal, not a sacrifice. But they’re 100% regularized because they have ‘never openly defied and disobeyed a pope.’

    My point is that actions like this support the SSPX’s claim that never disagreeing with the Pope is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of orthodoxy. There certainly have been periods in Church history when that was the case. The SSPX are claiming that now is one of those periods. This decision about the Neocats’ ‘liturgy’ lends credibility to their claim.

    I normally attend a terrible Novus Ordo Mass. If, however, I were to find myself somewhere in the world where the only options were a Nocat Saturday night liturgy or a SSPX Mass, I’d opt for the latter, with no hesitation. I would do that even though the former have ‘never openly defied and disobeyed a pope’ whereas the latter have.

    If you believe that the SSPX are ‘ outside the catholic church’ and that their Mass is ‘idolatry’, that is your private act of pontification. No Pope has ever suggested that SSPX Masses are ‘idolatry’ or invalid. From what I understand–though I admit I’m not an expert–the Holy Father has not used the words ‘outside of the Church’ to describe the SSPX’s state.

  57. Centristian says:

    Denis says:

    “Most importantly, decisions like this seem to support the SSPX’s claim that V2 was–at least in the minds of many of the Church’s shepherds–a fundamental and complete break with Catholic Tradition; that it was, essentially, the beginning of a new Church.”

    Alas, the NeoCat Way, as I understand things, makes the claim that only at Vatican II was the true Church, which had died in the era of Constantine, resurrected! How can the papacy sanction much less praise such a movement? I find myself completely baffled.

  58. Supertradmum says:

    The Charismatic Renewal has torpedoed the Church in several dioceses in several countries. It is all about feeling and the emotional response to religion. I meet adults and youth everyday who only want this emotional response rather than a meeting of the rational and Faith. Any group which emphasizes the person over God is immature and, frankly, divisive. To me, the Neo-Cats are divisive, making their own liturgy in their own image and likeness. Isn’t that idolatry?

  59. Neal says:

    Whoa! Idolatry? That’s an opinion that’s so extreme that its proposer should fear for his full communion with the Church. I’m quite sure the Holy Father does not consider the Orthodox, Lutherans, or Jews to be idolaters. Even Muslims get an easy pass these days. What about the SSPX makes them devil worshippers? Incidentally, a couple of months ago a deity by the name of Olokun (an veritable idol, I’m told) was worshipped in a church, and it wasn’t +Fellay who was looking on with a smile.

    Centristian, all this bafflement is going to hurt you in the long run. One of these days you might have to rethink your papal paradigm; I propose you start with the concept of “big tent Catholicism” and try thinking of doctrinal clarity as a bad thing. If I may use a mathematical metaphor, you’ll find yourself with an equation that describes the data much more closely.

  60. Gallia Albanensis says:

    This depresses me tremendously. St. Michael, pray for us.

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