Friday, February 14, 2014


Okay, maybe conspiracy is a bit theatric, but the insistent use of the word presbyter in place of priest by the Neocatechumenal Way has a purpose. 

At first glance, it appears to be a result of the NCW's insistence on resurrecting the church of the New Testament, or at least before it morphed - according to Kiko - into a post-Constantinian aberration, "wrapped in philosophical garments foreign to Christ and the apostles." 

But there's more.

We have already noted that Kiko does not accept the concept of the Mass as sacrifice, as most of the Church has historically understood it, but believes it to be a medieval screw-up which is still plaguing the Church even after Vatican II. 

In addition to a victim, a sacrifice requires two other things: an altar and a priest. An altar is the specific place for sacrifice, and priest, at its root, refers to someone authorized to perform sacred rituals, and specifically sacrifice

We have already seen Kiko's disdain for altars:

We Christians do not have altars...because the holy stone is Christ, the only cornerstone. That's why we can celebrate the Eucharist on a suitable table and we can celebrate in a square, in the countryside or wherever it is suitable. We don't have a particular place where exclusively we should celebrate our worship. ("Kiko's Catechism," Vol. 1, pgs 51-52)

And, as there is no need for altars in Kiko's Eucharist, there is also no need for priests: those who would offer sacrifice upon an altar. 

But Kiko has a problem. Regardless of what he believes about the Eucharist, a priest is still required for its valid celebration if he wants his Way to still appear Catholic. And while Kiko has already shown that he is willing to part with the Church in many areas, he is not yet ready to part with the Church over the matter of the necessity of a validly ordained priest with the faculties necessary for the valid celebration of the Eucharist.

Kiko's problem is exponentially magnified by his small community model because each community must have a priest to celebrate its Eucharist. His revolution, the ultimate world-wide expansion of the Way, is only hindered at this point by his need for priests to confect the Eucharist in these multitudes of small communities. Thus, he instituted his own seminaries with a rush-order on priests.

But Kiko's need for priests is really just temporary. As noted in our post yesterday (WE'RE JUST NOT THERE YET), Kiko does not conceive of the Eucharist as the true Body and Blood of Christ as does the rest of the Church, because for Kiko, his communities are already present at the eschatological banquet where there is no more need for Jesus to come to us under the appearances of bread and wine because they are already at table with him. 

In order for Kiko's revolution to explode and empirically wrap itself around the world (with him at its head), he must get beyond this need for priests since it takes rather long to form them, even in Kiko's rush-job priest mills. Thus, like other revolutionaries, Kiko effects revolution from within by attempting to change the way we think, and in this case: the way we think about priests.

The first step towards changing the way we think is to change the language. By emphasizing the use of the word presbyter instead of priest, Kiko is preparing us for the transition from the necessity of a priest to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, to simply an elder who will preside at nothing more than a thanksgiving meal and a dance about a flower-laden table. 

In the New Testament, the idea of a parish priest as we know it today hadn't evolved yet. There were really only bishops - appointees and descendants of the apostles. As the church grew, the bishops appointed men to be overseers of these new Christian communities. They were called presbyters which is a Greek word meaning "old man" or "elder".

But rather than get into a long historical analysis of presbyter v priest, let us see what the Church itself said recently about the interchange of the two words.

In 1996, the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops requested approval from the Holy See for a new English translation of the Rite of Ordination. In the new translation, the word presbyter was used instead of priest

Rome did much more than deny the request. The Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship (Estevez) admonished the president of the NCCB for doctrinal problems of "grave concern" and in effect, ordered the firing and replacing of the committee that had come up with the translation.

At the core of the "doctrinal problems" was the use of the word presbyter instead of priest. The Prefect wrote:

Prominent among the problems is the decision of the translators to break with common Catholic usage and translate the Latin "presbyteri" into English not with "priests" but with "presbyters". This cannot meet with the Holy See's consent since it risks being misunderstood by the people and represents an unacceptable theological tendency. In particular it constitutes a retreat from a term that carries a sense of sacrality, that carries with it the history of the development of the faith in favor of a term which does not. 

In an addendum to the letter, under the section "Terminology", the Prefect goes on to say:

Just as the Latin term "presbyter" should be translated into English throughout and always by "priest", the usual translation of "presbyteratus" should be "priesthood" unless in rare cases some special and serious reason intervenes. 

Perhaps "conspiracy" is not such a theatric word after all. Here is the full text of the letter:

Letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship
to the president of the NCCB
on the defects of the Ordination Rite

Prot. 760/96/L
20 September 1997

His Excellency
The Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla, Bishop of Cleveland
President, National Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington DC 20017-1194
United States of America

Your Excellency,

I write in response to your letter of 2 April 1996 in which you requested the approval or confirmation of the Holy See ad interim for an English-language translation of the editio typica altera (1989-1990) of that part of the Pontificale Romanum now entitled De ordinatione Episcopi, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum .

The material submitted has been examined in detail and at length by this Congregation and also, according to its specific competence, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which gave its reply in a letter dated 12 May 1997 (prot. 216/73-04256). The conclusion of this examination is that the text cannot be approved or confirmed by the Holy See for liturgical use, not only by reason of its failure to adhere faithfully to the Latin edito typica altera and to convey accurately in English its contents, but also because the translation is not without doctrinal problems.

Your Excellency in fact wrote two letters to the Congregation on the same date, 2 April 1996, presenting on the one hand the ICEL translation as such and on the other a project in which certain adaptations were proposed for the dioceses of the United States of America. It has seemed to this Congregation more practical for the moment to comment specifically upon translation that lies at the base of both of the submissions made by the Conference of Bishops of the United States of America rather than on the project incorporating proposed local adaptations. Your Excellency will, I hope, appreciate that in trying to coordinate a response to the different Conferences of Bishops which use the English language in the liturgy, this is the most practical course of action for the Congregation at this time.

At numerous points both in the liturgical texts themselves, in the rubrics, in the prænotanda , and in the various pontifical documents authorizing the rites, the translation is seriously deficient. Particularly problematic are the texts that form part of the Eucharistic Prayer -- the embolisms and Preface -- and the Prayers of Ordination, at least those of the Bishop and of priests, but the difficulties are widespread.

Prominent among the problems is the decision of the translators to break with common Catholic usage and translate the Latin "presbyteri" into English not with "priests" but with "presbyters". This cannot meet with the Holy See's consent since it risks being misunderstood by the people and represents an unacceptable theological tendency. In particular it constitutes a retreat from a term that carries a sense of sacrality, that carries with it the history of the development of the faith in favor of a term which does not.

As to the rest of the translation, the competent organisms of the Holy See are of one accord in considering that it fails to transmit faithfully important doctrinal aspects of the Latin original. It appears, indeed, consciously or unconsciously to promote a view of sacramental and ecclesiological theology that contrasts with the intentions of the Holy See.

These matters are of grave concern to this Congregation at a time when by mandate of the Holy Father it is working for improved norms to govern liturgical translations.

It is also a cause for concern that the translators have felt free to introduce changes at will, to "improve" the order of the text, the rubrics, and the numbering. The Holy See, after a very considerable labor of study and wide consultation has fixed these matters, and only recently. I would point in particular, Your Excellency, to the title. This was changed in the Latin after serious study and reflection by the Holy See and is in harmony with one of the significant features of the revision that lead from the first to the second typical edition, namely the reordering of the material to begin with the rites for the Ordination of the Bishop. This change was designed among other things to enhance and clarify the unique role of the Bishop in his diocese and hence has a precise and weighty ecclesiological significance. In this translation the translators, with no permission from the Holy See, have changed it in a way that is not acceptable.

After a suitable period of experience the Holy See would certainly be willing in principle to consider suggestions for genuine improvement of the different elements of this liturgical book, as put forward by the Conferences of Bishops. However, in the meantime these things cannot be subject to arbitrary change by translators.

To the above-mentioned translation have been added new compositions. These have been found to be in disharmony with the conventions of the Roman Liturgy, confused, largely unsuited to the circumstances in which they would be used, and at best theologically impoverished. They are therefore unacceptable to the Holy See. Together with the changes and the element of paraphrase tacitly introduced by the translators in the course of their work, these texts arouse the concern of this Congregation for the substantial unity of the Roman Rite which the Council determined to preserve.

Any variant upon the text and the provisions of the editiones typicæ issued in the Latin language that goes beyond what is specified in the final part of the different prænotanda generalia is to be considered more properly a matter of inculturation governed by the recent Instruction Varietates legitimæ of 1994. 

By their nature, such proposed variations should reflect specific, localized cultural conditions, whether they are undertaken on the basis of the praenotanda generalia or of the Instruction Varietates legitimæ . They are the sphere of action of the Bishops of a local Conference, not of translators.

Your Excellency, the policy of this Congregation has always been to adopt an approach to relations with the local Bishops which is marked by profound respect and a spirit of willing dialogue. Regular practice has also been to list the small points of detail which appeared to present some difficulty in material submitted and to request the Conference of Bishops to propose solutions.

In this present case, Your Excellency, the shortcomings are so diffused that minor isolated corrections will not suffice. This situation will be evident from the enclosed set of detailed Observations. Their purpose is merely to illustrate a certain number of difficulties which have led the Holy See to its present decision and hence they cannot be considered in any way exhaustive. Indeed, they cover only part of the texts submitted.

In this regard, I should like to recall here one last fact which appears significant. A number of re-translations concerning parts of the Eucharistic Prayer proposed in 1981 failed to secure the consent of the Sacred Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship on account of a negative judgment by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (prot. n. 216/73, 22 January 1983). Among the proposed translations then rejected was that of the wording of the intercession in the Second Eucharistic Prayer which in Latin runs "una cum Papa nostro N. et Episcopo nostro N. et universo clero" by the English "together with N. our Pope, N. our bishop, and all the ministers of your Gospel". This was found unacceptable by the Bishops' Conference of the United States of America and by the Holy See

It could reasonably have been expected that the translators would thereafter take note that translations of that kind were not acceptable. This did not in fact happen, however. In n.59 of this proposed translation we find " universo clero " now rendered by "all who are called to your service", an even wider expression. In both these cases the translation had been prepared by the Mixed Commission known as the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Your Excellency, the Bishops retain all their rightful freedom of action to adopt the remedy they consider most appropriate regarding the English translation of this liturgical book. At the same time this Congregation considers it may be helpful to recommend that there be a complete change of translators on this project and that a new, independent and definitive English version be made afresh from the Latin texts.

Should the Bishops consider it appropriate and useful, the Congregation is at their disposal within the limits of its competence and its resources to give whatever assistance it can, including an approach to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for similar assistance.

Your Excellency, the good relations and the active and efficacious cooperation between the Conference of Bishops of the United States of America and itself in recent times have been a source of great satisfaction and encouragement to this Congregation. I have every confidence that it will be possible to work quietly together for the good of the Church to arrive at a definitive English language translation of the rites of Sacred Ordination that is of high quality and suitable for use in the United States of America.

With all cordial good wishes in Christ the Lord,

Sincerely yours,
+Jorge Medina Estevez
Archbishop Pro-Prefect


  1. "Changes at will". Thank you for this research. Thanks very much.

  2. Excellent! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I'm learning and understanding more and more through this blog.

  3. Sad to say, BUT....some of what should properly be an Arcdiocesan celebration of an Archdiocesan PRIEST has been attended by mostly Neo community members and only seminarians choir shouting/singing all Neo songs. Mass sung Neo style...These were strictly NEO celebrations of men we do not even know!!! And now, off they go to Asia and wherever Kiko sends them.

  4. This makes perfect sense. Thank you! I was always trying to learn more about this movement without having to join it. I know it's part of our history, but why the return to early Christianity?

  5. And how does Kiko know enough about the early Christian life which scholars are continually studying to establish the Way? From Carmen?

    1. He channels with Joseph Smith.

    2. After learning more about the Kiko Way, he is quite similar, isnt he? Just out of curiosity, I wonder where Kiko lives and if he has amassed wealth

    3. I have not been allowing comments to be posted which mention the names of other religions. I am allowing this one to make a couple of points.

      1. There is in fact many similarities between Joseph Smith (the founder of the Mormon religion) and Kiko, and in fact some striking similarities between Mormon belief and practice and that of the NCW - specifically the apostasy of the church after Constantine.

      2. Point 1 is an example of how I'd prefer those who would use the names of other religions in these discussions. Use facts. Thanks.

  6. Yep, Carmen is the mastermind. She drills Kiko and then gets upset at him when things go wrong. He is not the brain at work, she is!

  7. John from Chalan PagoFebruary 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Mr. Rohr:

    Your analysis on the thinking of Kiko is spot on. It makes perfect sense now to know why he is pushing for more Neo seminaries under the guise of producing more priests. He is in fact rushing to have more presbyters, not priests, as many of these Neo priests are not trained in the traditional way which account for many of their deficiencies especially in the academic field. Thank you Mr. Rohr for enlightening us.

    1. Pushing for more? Actually, he thinks their is too many. It upon request that he opens more. RMS in Philly was requested and many more.

    2. John from Chalan PagoFebruary 14, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      Upon request? Silly me to think he was pushing so he can keep his promise to send 20,000 priests to China!

  8. How on earth do the Kikos get away with this heresy?

    1. I would recommend read the book TRIUMPH, a very readable history of the Catholic Church. The Church has endured many heresies and in the interest of saving all souls involved, went to great lengths to bring heretical souls back to the Church over great periods of time. The popes have the greatest care for the innocents who are caught up in these things. If you read the pope's speech to the NCW on 2/1/14 with open eyes, you will see that the pope was conveying a very important message to Kiko and hoping he would hear it: the unity of the Church is more important than the NCW.

  9. Book review of World Youth Day, From Catholicism to Counterchurch
    by Cornelia R. Ferreira and John Vennari, Canisius Books, 2005, 229 pp.
    Published in Catholic Family News, June, 2005

  10. Only God can read the hearts of men, but I was wondering if a Neo priest is celebrating Mass but does not believe in the manner which Mass is conducted or worse, does not believe in transubstantiation, is the Mass valid?

  11. Joseph Smith also taught his followers that persecution meant they were the true church.