From Rorate Caeli:
Pope Benedict XVI, in his meeting this morning with thousands of members of the Neocatechumenal Way, made public the decree of approval of the liturgical particularities of that group:
A moment ago, the Decree was read with the approval of the celebrations present in the “Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way”, which are not strictly liturgical, but are part of the itinerary of growth in the faith. It is another element that shows to you how the Church follows you with attention in a pacient discernment, that she understands your richness, but also takes care for communion and harmony in the whole Corpus Ecclesiae.
The Pope then made references to his views on the liturgy as part of the life of the Church:
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.”
[Update 1400 GMT] The Vatican Information Service [VIS] has the main text of the approval decree:
APPROVAL FOR CELEBRATIONS OF NEO-CATECHUMENAL WAY
VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for the Laity today published a decree approving the celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. The decree is dated 8 January, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and bears the signatures of Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko and Bishop Josef Clemens, respectively president and secretary of the council.
The text published today reads: “By a decree of 11 May 2008 the Pontifical Council for the Laity gave definitive approval to the Statutes of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Subsequently, following due consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by a decree of 26 December 2010, the council gave approval to the publication of the Catechetical Directory as a valid and binding instrument for the catechesis of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.
“Now, pursuant to articles 131 and 133 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Apostolic Constitution ‘Pastor Bonus’ on the Roman Curia, the Pontifical Council forthe Laity, having received the ‘nulla osta’ of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, grants approval to those celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way which are not, by their nature, already regulated by the liturgical books of the Church”.
Editorial Note [1500 GMT]: Some have wished to say that it is not exactly an approval, that it is not an actual liturgical rite, that only the several “phases” or “steps” of the “Way” itself have been approved – which is true, even though the Holy Father himself also mentions the “specificities” of the liturgical rites when in “small groups”, with papal praise and confirmation of the full 2008 approval of the liturgical practices foreseen in the Statutes. Fine, let us not call it a new liturgical rite, then – but only a “New Liturgical Way“…
What we think, what we consider right, even what is in mere speeches… all this is irrelevant: as in all post-Conciliar radical experiments, they merely wanted a seal of approval, even if the approval is not, in law, complete and wide; and, with this seal of approval, first in 2008, now supremely approved in all details in 2012, everything is possible for the Way. The Neocatechumenal Way is at last out of the box; who will put them back inside?
(The title and text of this post have been amended on Rorate Caeli and those changes have now also been reflected here.)
Click here for Father Z’s observations.