Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Pope Francis discontinues the investigation into the abuses of the Neocat liturgy ordered by his predecessor. What does it mean?

In news stories related to Pope Francis' recent "simple recommendations" to the Neocatechumenal Way (Rome, Feb 2, 2014), there has been mention that Francis discontinued the study of the liturgical abuses of the NCW begun under Benedict, causing some to think that Francis will continue to allow the abuses to continue or may even condone them.

Hardly. More than likely the study was completed or at least enough evidence has already been compiled. After all, how hard could it be? The leaders of the NCW openly rejected the 2005 directive to conform their liturgy to the liturgical books from the outset. In fact, Archbishop Apuron became famous for leading the charge AGAINST Pope Benedict:

One of these was the bishop of Agana, on the island of Guam, Anthony Sablan Apuron, president of the bishops’ conference of the Pacific. In a recent radio interview, Apuron again defended the practice of distributing communion as at a banquet, and downplayed the value of the letter from Cardinal Arinze. - The Neocatechumenals Obey the Pope – But in Their Own Way

So Pope Francis is well aware of the hostile disobedience of the Neocats (and probably Apuron) and in his address to them of 1 Feb 2014, essentially does an end run and nails the quarterback in the backfield. 

Francis knows that most Catholics are not aware of the liturgical anomalies of the Neocats. He also knows that liturgical abuses are so widespread even among the non-Neocats that either most people wouldn't recognize a liturgical abuse if they saw one (which is already hard to do with the Neocats because their liturgies are at times and places known only to them) or would wonder what the big deal was.

For the informed, it IS a big deal, because the Eucharist is not just the highest prayer of the Church, it is the UNIVERSAL prayer of the Church and thus belongs to the whole Church and not this or that community to modify at will. You don't get to "play Mass". 

But Francis is "shrewd as a serpent" (Matt 10:16) in this particular tact on the Neocats. He goes after what the general public does see and is most upset about: Kiko's cultural imperialism.

Catholics may not know their faith very well, but they do know when they're being imposed upon and when their welcome is being abused. And nowhere is that more true on Guam where the Neocat presence has become a very visible foreign invasion, complete with the slash and burn of the local culture (despite their pretense to accommodate it) and, with the unlawful acquisition of property. 

Francis knew, that by calling them out before the whole world on this count, that he was nailing them to the wall of accountability to the people they say they will serve. Few will see their strange liturgies, but everyone will see their lack of "special attention to the culture" and the disunity and havoc wrought around the globe (and not just to cultures but to families!) by their inflexible commitment to the "details that (their) itinerary demands" (or, more specifically, what Kiko demands.)

It is up to us to hold them to the wall of that accountability and to prove to us, as Francis demands, that they are here "to build and to preserve the communion within the particular Churches in which (they) work." And nowhere is that more critical than our insistence that they celebrate the universal and highest prayer of the Church with the rest of us. 

They won't, of course. But let that be a testimony that they are no longer members of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, and let us pity them for their loss. Meanwhile, let us renew our commitment and love for that one, true Church, and get to work obeying the Magisterium that Kiko and his followers reject. 

Highlights of the pope's address:

I would like to propose to you some simple recommendations.

  • The first is to have the utmost care to build and to preserve the communion within the particular Churches in which you will work. 
  • Communion is essential sometimes it can be better to renounce living in all the details that your itinerary demands, in order to ensure the unity among those who form one ecclesial community
  • give special attention to the cultural context in which you, families, will go to work
  • The freedom of each person must not be forced, and even the eventual choice of someone who decides to seek, outside of the Way, other forms of Christian life that help him to grow in the response to the call of the Lord must be respected.


  1. Could it possibly be because the charges against the Way was unfounded? Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and he knows that in Church history the Jesuits were persecuted unjustly by Catholics in the same way as the Way is now being persecuted. The Jesuits also had to renounce their living when they were suppressed.

  2. LOL...I just love all his tact since the first incident in the plane, he get's under both the Conservative and Liberal skin and compassionately loves them to death with his subtle yet shrewd admonishment. Pope Francis rules!, not the other Francis that begins with 'k'.

  3. Thank you Pope Francis. The NCW rejects the Gospels call for enculturalization. Plain and simple. Sadly it makes all things "kiko". And there is a money machine behind this all that just hasn't surfaced yet. An artist not making a commission, that just doesn't happen.

    As John Paul II says: ‘the Church’s dialogue with the cultures of our time (is) a vital area, one in which the destiny of the at stake, and ‘the synthesis between culture and faith is not just a demand of culture, but also of faith.."

    I am saddened to see the religious icons in our churches that have been with us for many many generations over shadowed by these orthodox paintings and murals that have no connection with our Filipino and Spanish and Guamanian blend of local faith.

    Lastly, as a member of the NCW on Guam, you cannot question what is given to you to do. You cannot seek to understand more. This is really a slap to my face. Going through a prominent Catholic High School on Guam, our senior class theology lesson was centered on Apologetics, strengthening of our faith through it's defense and knowledge.

    As in St Paul's letter to the Thessalonians." 1Th5:21 "Test everything. Hold on to what is good". Our catholic religion is not one of blind faith but defended, tempered, proven.

    Please my fellow NCW brothers, don't walk blindly and don't believe that if you are asked a question about what you are doing from your CATHOLIC brother that you are being persecuted. And what are strong word to use...

    Don't turn off your gifts of intelligence, cognizance, rationality. These are gifts from God. Is the man who is asking you a question pushing a spear tip into your ribs? Are you standing with your hands tied in front of the proverbial firing squad No....

    As in my previous post, the individual communities are great, there is a lot of personal help in the context of faith to each other that gets exchanged, etc.

    However, more and more as i see that this second church of kiko can't coexist and there shouldn't be two in the first place. We are one.

    The NCW just get off the fence already and break ranks with the Roman Catholic Faith. That is when i will break ranks and follow Peter without the middlemen.

    Thank you Tim for this platform. Over the years i've seen and heard you defend our Catholic Faith with eloquence, intelligence, and grace. Thank you again.

  4. I couldn’t help noticing that JW posts about the NCW pseudo-liturgy and their method of receiving the Eucharist did not generate too many responses. However when the topic was money — starting with the Archbishop’s demand for more money from each parish as well as the pie chart that revealed 65% was for seminary support — people responded! As a matter of fact, the post “Where the Money Goes” had received the largest number of comments (37) UNTIL “Just a Sampling of Their Venom” was posted (40 as of this writing).

    I’m guessing that Pope Francis is very much aware that Article 1 § 2 of the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way states that “The NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY IS AT THE SERVICE OF THE BISHOP as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian initiation and of ongoing education in faith.” I’m also guessing that he is somewhat aware on Guam the roles are reversed: that Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron is actually at the service of the NCW, having redirected the focus of his motto “Servus tuus.”

    It has been suggested that the Archbishop has done all the biddings of the NCW in the hopes of becoming the first Cardinal from Guam! I guess that would explain the choices he has made. The late Archbishop Felixberto C. Flores had made history by being the first Chamorro bishop (1970)/archbishop (1984), securing the visit of Pope John Paul II (1981), and witnessing the beatification of Diego Luis de San Vitores (1985) — among many other accomplishments — during the 14 short years he served as the spiritual leader of the Church in Guam.

    Anthony Sablan Apuron could “only” be recognized as the first Chamorro Capuchin to become Guam’s second spiritual leader. He needed to try and match the achievements of his predecessor, no matter what the cost — even if it meant “selling” the Archdiocese to the NCW to achieve that goal. Thus began his concerted effort to establish Guam as the NCW Center of the Pacific; nothing and nobody would stop his climb to the top. There was no limit to what he was willing to do — from bullying priests who were reluctant to participate to turning over control of the seminary to the NCW over the objections of the legal counsel and the AFC.

    Of course, the Archbishop is counting on the NCW to shield and protect him from all harm, which is why he chosen to act as recklessly as he has the past few months, beginning with his ousting of Fr. Paul Gofigan from Sta. Barbara Church. Fr. Paul would only allow the establishment of a NCW community on the condition that they refrain from celebrating their pseudo-liturgy apart from the rest of the parish. Ever since July 2013 we have witnessed behavior unbecoming of a spiritual leader, including calumniating Fr. Paul in front of other priests, and imposing exorbitant “allocations” (assessments, actually) under the guise of an “appeal” (again, assessments) to further the NCW agenda imposed on him by Kiko et al.

    Will Apuron succeed? Only time will tell. In the meantime, it looks as though Pope Francis has his number and could call him … Maybe …

  5. This archbishop may be the first Capuchin from Guam to become a Bishop, but I wonder whether he is revered within and by the Capuchin order for having gotten this title, seeing the mess this archbishop has put himself in and this archbishop's obvious choice of his preferred affiliation with?

  6. Don't you think this judgement, nothing was spoken about the love of God in this post. Who all of you give you the rights to condemn? Jesus Christ did not condemn, if the bishop is wrong then built your own Church and be your own Church. If you uprooted the way and oust the Archbishop. Then are you happy? The Church on Guam is dry, no one believes the church and migrated to protestanism. If Neocathechumenal taken out, should we kick out all the Priest that were ordained. How many local boys and girls stood up for vocation here on Guam? One or two. The mercy order is getting old and nor see any new local girls have given up for vocation. If the Neocathecumenal way is uprooted, what happen to those marriages that healed from verge of divorce. This is judgement, if this occur what your intent, the blood and tears of this people will be in your hands. I pray that the lord have mercy on your soul. Is not cancer will kill you but what inside hatred.

  7. Well, the buck stops with our archbishop! If this diocese is "dry" and members are "migrating to the protestantism" as you claim, it has been all under his watch and negligence!

    1. Then be the Archbishop if you could lead the flock. You think is easy, if so, be it. Stand out there annouce the gospel. is all about the money isn't it. Economically gain. I doubt many in the parishes can give thier 10%. Your change can't even built Solomon's temple

    2. "You think is easy" didn't have to be difficult. The Bishop should have simply allowed the Way. Not join it. Therein he is trying to serve two masters and the island has been torn apart since.

    3. your right, GOD loves you.

    4. When I lived on Guam for 15 years the Catholic church was "one, holy and apolostolic" Now it seems to be two. What caused this is my question. By the way, I had to leave Guam due to my health not because I did not love her. I love her still and want her to find the peace that was there when I lived there.