That Strange Mass the Pope Doesn’t Like

It is the Mass according to the rite of the Neocatechumenal Way. Benedict XVI has ordered the congregation for the doctrine of the faith to examine it thoroughly. Its condemnation appears to be sealed

With a letter written personally to Cardinal William J. Levada, Benedict XVI has ordered the congregation for the doctrine of the faith to examine whether the Neocatechumenal Masses are or are not in keeping with the liturgical teaching and practice of the Catholic Church.

A “problem,” in the pope’s judgment, that is “of great urgency” for the whole Church.

Benedict XVI has been alarmed for some time about the particular ways in which the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way celebrate their Masses, on Saturday evening, in separate locations.

His sense of alarm was increased by the plot woven behind his back in the curia last winter, as reported by http://www.chiesa in the following articles:

> “Placet” or “Non placet”? The wager of Carmen and Kiko (13.1.2012)

> Vatican Diary / The Neocatechumenals get their diploma. But not the one they were expecting (23.1.2012)

What had happened was that the pontifical council for the laity headed by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko had prepared the text for a degree of blanket approval of all the liturgical and extra-liturgical celebrations of the Neocatechumenal Way, to be made public the January 20 on the occasion of a meeting scheduled between the pope and the Way.

The decree was redacted according to the guidelines of the congregation for divine worship, headed by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera. The founders and leaders of the Way, Francisco “Kiko” Argüello and Carmen Hernández, were told about it and joyfully told their followers about the imminent approval.

All unbeknownst to the pope.

Benedict XVI found out about the text of the decree a few days before the meeting on January 20.

He found it illogical and mistaken. He ordered that it be scrapped and rewritten according to his guidelines.

In fact, the decree that was made public on January 20 limited itself to approving the extra-liturgical ceremonies that mark the catechetical stages of the Way.

In his speech, the pope stressed that only these had been authorized. While with regard to the Mass, he gave the Neocatechumenals a genuine lecture – almost an ultimatum – on how to celebrate it in full fidelity to the liturgical norms and in practical communion with the Church.

During those same days, Benedict XVI received in audience the archbishop of Berlin, Rainer Maria Woelki, a trusted confrere whom he would soon make a cardinal. Among other things, Woelki talked to him about the difficulties that the Neocatechumenals were creating in his diocese with their separate Masses on Saturday evening, officiated by about thirty member priests.

The pope asked Woelki to give him a survey of the matter in writing. On January 31, Woelki sent him a letter with more detailed information.

A few days later, on February 11, the pope forwarded a copy of this letter to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, together with a request to examine as soon as possible this question that “concerns not only the archdiocese of Berlin.”

The examining commission headed by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith would have to include, according to the pope’s guidelines, two other Vatican dicasteries: the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments, and the pontifical council for the laity.

And so it was. On March 26, in the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio, under the presidency of the secretary of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, a Jesuit, a meeting for an initial examination of the question was held with the secretaries of the other two dicasteries – for divine worship Archbishop Augustine J. Di Noia, a Dominican, and for the laity Bishop Josef Clemens – and with four experts designated by them. An absent fifth expert, Dom Cassiano Folsom, prior of the monastery of Saint Benedict in Norcia, sent his assessment in writing.

All of the judgments expressed were critical of the Masses of the Neocatechumenals. Also very severe was the one that the congregation for the doctrine of the faith had asked, before the meeting, of the theologian and newly created cardinal Karl J. Becker, Jesuit, professor emeritus at the Pontifical Gregorian University and an adviser to the dicastery.

The dossier provided for the meeting by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith  included the pope’s letter of February 11, Cardinal Woelki’s letter to the pope in the original German and in English, the assessment of Cardinal Becker, and a guide for the discussion that explicitly brought into question the conformity to the liturgical teaching and practice of the Catholic Church of article 13 § 2 of the statutes of the Neocatechumenals, the one in which they justify their separate Masses on Saturday evening.

In reality, the danger feared by Benedict XVI and by many bishops – as demonstrated by the many complaints that have been made to the Vatican – is that the particular ways in which the Neocatechumenal communities all over the world celebrate their Masses may introduce into the Latin liturgy a new de facto “rite” artificially composed by the founders of the Way, foreign to the liturgical tradition, full of doctrinal ambiguities and a source of division in the community of the faithful.

To the commission he had set up, the pope entrusted the task of verifying the validity of these fears. In view of decisions to be made.

The judgments elaborated by the commission will be examined in an upcoming plenary meeting of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, on a Wednesday – a “feria quarta” – in the second half of April.

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2 Responses to That Strange Mass the Pope Doesn’t Like

  1. Christian who met Jesus before the NC for sure says:

    I was in the Neocatechumenal Way and i testify that there are abuses of all sorts; sad to say that it
    hurts deeply to realize that we are manipulated in so many ways in Jesus Christ name. I am ready to
    testify that it is not Jesus Christ we are meeting. We are mixing things up. We take the joy of the music and guitars and other stimuli for the peace of Jesus Christ. We are brainwashed to think that no one else in the church, starting by priests, bishops, etc is experiencing Jesus Christ.
    If we leave the NC way then it is the devil who has stolen our graces. In the NC we disobey the bishop without his knowledge.
    And Yes we are divisive in every church we are in. Unfrotunatly, we are under the illusion of being in peace while we are in crisis all the time.
    The resonances are full of expressions of inner crisis all the time and year after year. We criticize the priests and bishops who don’t accept the NC in their parishes, we judge, we don’t listen to our parents anymore and we think we are safe with whatever the catechist tells us, not what our parents say. Iit is catastrophinc. Please could the Pope have access to what I wrote. He has to know this and so many other things. I will try to write about their doctrine even; they are not catholic at all, althought at the appearance it may seem so. The NC spirit is not catholic and i dare say not Christian at all. It is something else. It is not the New Testament the catechists are preaching, nor living nor experiencing. Please let who ever needs to know this in the Vatican have access to this. And as i said I am willing to testify. The spiritual danger in the NC is very serious. These people think they are on the right track to eternity, while they are not. I pray God to have mercy on all of them and send His Holy Spirit to make them see His light. They are going down without realizing it. The problem is that people don’t know what is the the Christian faith and they think they are on the right track just because there are experts in brainwashing and mental manipulation who know how to make them feel in heaven, while in reality it is hell and addiction to a group and to catechists thinking instead of them and dragging them into doing what they want them to do. Masses were never what Jesus Christ aimed at. I will say a lot more, but now I will stop here. Again make the Pope read this please


  2. Victoria says:

    Christian I dont know what happened to you thats made you so angry against the NC, but all I can tell you is that its been a TOOL for me to bring me closer to Jesus Christ. My parents met and got married in the Way and so I grew up going to Eucharists, etc. I’ve had a life FULL of suffering (alcoholic father, brain tumor, brain surgeries…)and if it wasnt for the support and prayers of my family, community and catechists, I would not have been able to make it through some of those moments. I certainly would not be as close to the church as I am now if it wasnt for the Way. Its also important in this world full of suffering that my children can stay close to Christ.

    Now for you to testify that there are abuses going on in the NC way is a lie. The pope this year approved the statutes (im sure you know this), which state all the specific ways the NC has to celebrate liturgies, Eucharists, etc, so if the Pope had a prob with all the issues this article and you are speaking about , this would not have happened. This article is bs. When you have Christ within you, you feel joy and that you want to express. Its beautiful to sit at a liturgy or Eucharist that has music. what other stimuli besides music are you referring to btw??????
    We’re all free to come and go as we please. Youre not trapped. Several members of my community have left over the past few years and nothings happened! We pray for them and call them to see how theyre doing but theyre not hunted down!
    The graces you receive do not come from the NC, they come from God. There are many groups in the church that can bring you closer to God and the NC is one of them. I hope and pray for your sake that whatever judgements you have you can be reconciled and find peace this Easter!!
    I hope you have a wonderful Lent and a blessed Easter!


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