Friday, November 29, 2013


Anonymous asks:

"...why does Junee have to live elsewhere? Why can't he attend the seminary and live there, but choose to not participate in Saturday evening private masses and other strictly NCW events? 

"Junee" is Junee Valencia, a young man from Santa Barbara Parish who is studying for the priesthood and wishes to serve the Archdiocese of Agana as a "traditional" diocesan priest. "Traditional" in this context does not mean pre-Vatican II, or Traditional Latin Mass, but traditional in the sense of not being a "neo-priest". 

Yes, it is sad that there are now such labels, but people are using them: neo-priests, neo-parishes, neo-liturgies, neo-seminary, neo-catholic, neo-way, etc. The fact is that the "neo" does things differently, and the difference has naturally generated a label, so we'll use it.

But what are the differences?

There is probably no more glaring division than that which is apparent in the situation with Junee Valencia. His having to live elsewhere, either by choice or by order, speaks to the division that exists in this diocese, and in Junee's case, the division is glaringly apparent right at the outset of formation for the priesthood. 

Most of us are not privy to the details of priestly formation in the seminary, so we cannot comment on the differences in that regard. However, most of us ARE aware of the differences in the celebration of the Mass, and the "neo-Mass" is one thing Junee did not want to be forced to attend.

Let's look at some of those differences:

Difference No. 1
First, neos (and we'll use "neo" for short) do not call it the "Mass". They call it "Eucharist". Nothing wrong with that, but it's still a difference. We go to Mass. They go to Eucharist. 

Difference No. 2
Next, the neo-Eucharist is not normally held in a church. Canon 932 requires that the eucharistic celebration "be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place."

The exception of "necessity", is just that, an exception. But with the neos it is a rule. The Statute of the neos does not address where the Eucharistic celebration is to occur, it only says: 

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. (Article 13, § 2)

Let's look at this statement. Typical of "church-speak", it says much more than what meets the eye. In "church-speak", and in dealing with church norms, whenever there is NO exception specifically noted, the general norm always applies. 

In other words, because the statute does not address the location of the celebrations of the Eucharist, the norm of celebrating in the church building (a sacred place) is expected and assumed, unless, as canon law notes, there is a "particular case" in which it cannot be. It is hard to imagine a situation in which a church building is not available for Mass. Our churches are empty most of the time.

The next thing to note about this statute is its recognition of the neo practice of celebrating the Eucharist specifically and only on Saturday evening. At first glance, this might look like a special permission for this neo practice, and in fact it is. But the real purpose of the statute is to specify that the neo-liturgy cannot be exclusive. It does this by noting that the neo-celebration of the eucharist is "part of the Sunday liturgical pastoral work of the parish", and then of course hammers this home by insisting that they must be "open also to other faithful."

However, in practice, because the canonical norm of holding the liturgy in the church is not followed, the neo-liturgies automatically become exclusive because the "other faithful" (there's the problem by the way - non-neos are called "other") do not normally know where or when these liturgies are held. So, while in theory the neo-liturgies are not allowed to be exclusive, in practice, they are.

Difference No 3
The Neocatechumenal Way has a separate weekday celebration of the Liturgy of the Word. This is allowed in the approved Statute (Art. 11), but nevertheless it is a "difference", since for the other faithful, a separate celebration of the Word is not permitted:

In the celebration of Mass, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are intimately connected to one another, and form one single act of worship. For this reason it is not licit to separate one of these parts from the other and celebrate them at different times or places. (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 60.)

Difference No. 4
The next difference is what happens in the celebration of the Eucharist. The statute (Art. 13) allows for three differences: 1) the transfer of the Rite of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful, 2) permission to always receive communion under both kinds, and 3) communicants may remain in their place when receiving communion, though they are required to STAND, not sit, as before the Statute was approved in 2008. 

Many "regular" parishes distribute communion under both kinds (even though this is not to be the norm either), so that's not much of a difference. And the transfer of the Rite of Peace is probably not that disruptive to a "regular" Catholic - though the manner in which that rite is carried out (the double kiss vs nodding or shaking hands) probably would be. 

Standing to receive communion is what most people do, so that's okay. Thus the only real noticeable difference would be the fact that the communicants remain in their place while the minister of Holy Communion comes to them. 

Remaining in our place and having the priest come to us to give us Holy Communion would feel strange to "regular" Catholics, but nevertheless, it is permitted in the Statute. The real difference though is a practice which is NOT permitted, and that is the holding of the consecrated bread in one's hands and NOT consuming it immediately. (Everyone holds the consecrated bread until all have had it placed in their hands and then they consume it upon the signal from the minister.)

There is no permission for this, and as per the rule "unless an exception is granted the general norm applies", this is a violation of General Instruction to the Roman Missal, par. 161 which states: 

As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes the whole of it.

The other day on the Patti Arroyo show, Fr. Paul Gofigan was referring to this practice (before he was cut off by "June") and said that he had asked to see "the document." He, like almost everyone else, has been told that the practice of NOT consuming the host immediately as required in the GIRM is an authorized exception that came after the approval of the Statute. 

Of course, no document was produced because there isn't one. The Neo leadership simply decided to do things their way in spite of Rome's direction. And if I am wrong, then produce the document. 

Difference No. 5
The next difference is the music at the liturgy. However, since almost all parishes ignore the musical norms for the liturgy as prescribed in the post-conciliar document, Musicam Sacram (which provides the norms for sacred music as per the desires of the Council), I suppose we cannot take the neo-music too much to task. However, the next time you hear music during the consecration at a neo-liturgy or otherwise, you may want to note the following instructions:

While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer “there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent”..." (Redemptoris Sacramentum, par. 53)


The nature of the “presidential” parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively.[Cf. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction, Musicam sacram, March 5, 1967, no. 14: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 59 (1967), p. 304.] Therefore, while the Priest is pronouncing them, there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent. (General Instruction to the Roman Missal, par. 32)

And if neither of these directives apply locally...then produce the document. By the way, we'll leave dancing in the sanctuary for another time. Meanwhile, this is why Junee Valencia must live apart from the other seminarians. He wants to be a priest, but a priest in union with Rome. 


There are other differences in the neo-masses that continue in practice without approval and in violation of the approved Statute. However, most members are under the impression that these unique features of their celebration of the Eucharist were approved by Pope Benedict at his meeting with members of the NCW on January 20, 2012. Local members were proclaiming this on their Facebook pages after the meeting. 

However, there was NO such approval. Copied here is an article from Inside the Vatican. The date of the article is noteworthy: May 2012. It is noteworthy, because this is a full FOUR years after the approval of the statutes. It essentially shows that the approval of the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way was simply a cover and that the leadership of the NCW had no intention to comply. In fact, I have a letter from 2008 stating so, but I'll share that another time.


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. 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 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. 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 evenings, officiated by about 30 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 doctrinal congregation 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, Father Cassian 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 doctrinal congregation 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.
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 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 of the commission were to be examined in a plenary meeting of the doctrinal congregation in the second half of April.

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