Monday, February 17, 2014


The idea that lay movements were borne from Vatican II and that prior to the Council the Church was dead insofar as its life was animated at all by the laity, is contradicted by today's feast: St. Alexis Falconieri, one of the seven founders of the Order of Servites and the only one of the seven who remained a layman. 

Initially, the seven men who founded what came to be the Order of Servites were all laymen, young Florentines, who in the early thirteenth century, came together to form a confraternity devoted to the praise of Mary. 

The seven took up residence outside the city of Florence and spent their lives preaching through the whole of Tuscany. Read more at

St. Francis of Assisi is perhaps the Church's most well-known and most loved saint. What is not so well-known about St. Francis is that not only did he always remain a layman, but he also intended his original band of companions (he had no vision of establishing an Order), to remain laymen as well. 

The life of the Church has always been filled with the activities and associations of lay persons. The Vatican's 2004 official directory of International Associations of the Faithful lists 119 lay groups officially recognized by the Vatican and which fall under the oversight of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, most of which were begun well before Vatican II. The Neocatechumenal Way isn't even listed because, relative to all the other lay movements, the NCW is a johnny-come-lately, not being recognized until 2008. 

Also not on the list are all the other evangelization groups who do the Lord's work quite apart from any official Vatican list. Almost all major apologetics organizations, pro-life groups, and evangelizing groups like "Catholics Come Home", are all lay-led. EWTN, the largest Catholic outreach organization in the world, though founded by a nun, has been owned and led by the laity for many years. 

The claim that we laity have nothing to bring to the Church outside the Neocatechumenal Way and that we are all dead to our faith without Kiko is not only laughable, it's not even worth laughing at. We are far too busy doing what we were already doing before you came along to tell us that we were immature Christians, that we were mere bumps in the pews, that we were all suicidal, self-loathing, unsalted piles of dung (to use both Kiko's and Luther's depictions). 

But, for those in need of a bit of a laugh, and given the ecstatic neocat salutation of the appointment of Chaput, it might be well to note that Chaput was only one of 14 bishops asked to serve as a member of the Council of the Laity. Guess who one of the other new members is? Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, Philippines. 

Funny, given the proximity of the Philippines to Guam and our affinity on several different levels, Cardinal Tagle wasn't even mentioned by our anxious neocats. Hmmm, wonder why? Could it be that the country's bishops are having some serious problems with the Way, such as in the Pangasinan Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. Archbishop Villegas writes

Yet, despite its positive effects such as those mentioned above, there are certain concerns about the direction the Neocatechumenate is leading to. Already during the time of my esteemed predecessor Archbishop Oscar Cruz, and in recent months, some questions have been raised by some respected members of the Catholic laity and a good number of our parish priests about the integration of the members of the Neocatechumenal communities in the mainstream of our Church life, their cooperation with the parish priests and their relationship with the Bishop. 

To remedy the problems in this archdiocese, Archbishop Villegas ordered the following:

THEREFORE, considering the foregoing facts and statutory principles, by virtue of my authority as Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, in order to guide and reorient the Neocatechumenal Way in this archdiocese, I hereby impose a moratorium on all initial catecheses in the Neocatechumenal Way within the archdiocese until the Episcopal Delegate, named below, recommends the lifting of this moratorium.

No new communities shall be opened and no new members may be initiated into the Neocatechumenal Way within the moratorium period starting on the Solemnity of Pentecost this year until the Solemnity of Pentecost in 2011.

Likewise, I order the reading, within the whole year, starting from the Solemnity of Pentecost this year until the Solemnity of Pentecost in 2011, of paragraphs 748 to 945 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, pertaining to ecclesiology, the readings being spread out during the weekly celebrations of the Word of each Neocatechumenal community.

Moreover, I enjoin the recitation of the five mysteries of the Holy Rosary before the weekly celebration of the Word, starting on Pentecost Sunday, in adherence to the mandate of Article 14, number 4 of the Statutes;

In addition, effective today, I revoke the canonical mandate previously granted by the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan to the incumbent itinerant catechist to teach the Catholic faith within this ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Notice that the problems were so severe in this archdiocese that they warranted a visit from a specially named Apostolic Delegate. Perhaps we need the same. Unfortunately we do not have an Archbishop Villegas to make that request for us. So we will continue to make it here. 

Read Archbishop Villegas' full letter: 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent presentation by Cardinal Tagle on you tube

    The Word Exposed - Catechism (Liturgy: How we celebrate?)