Saturday, March 15, 2014


Thank you, Zoltan. We knew if we waited long enough, we would get the truth. No comment needed. Here you go:
Zoltan March 15, 2014 at 8:56 PM
Chuck, I told this also to Tim: our interpretation of the liturgical books allows us to follow contemplated consumption of the Eucharist, while your interpretation would not allow this. So this is a question of interpretation. We accept that differences in interpretation are possible. You should ask for an official confirmation for your interpretation from Rome. Unless you have this confirmation, we cannot accept it and just follow ours. We ask you to, please, respect our community based Catholic lifestyle.

Okay, I was really hoping that people could connect the dots and I wouldn't have to explain. My opponents are always criticizing me for "having the last word" even though this is my blog and they can have all the last words they want on theirs. Kind of tells you how worried they are about mine and how ineffective their own attempts are.

But before I explain, let me give a little fyi to the non-neo Catholics. I've said this before, but the neos have really done nothing more than take what many Catholics - both clergy and laity - have already done. We have taken it upon ourselves to "interpret" Church teaching to our liking. We have turned Church teaching into "suggestions". We have ignored the mandates on "Eucharistic ministers" (On Collaboration of the Non-Ordained), liturgical music (Musicam Sacram), Chant and Latin in the liturgy (Sacrosanctam Concilium), proper reception of the Eucharist (Memoriale Domini), etc. (Note: I'm saying "we" meaning the majority.)

We have played fast and loose with the liturgy for decades, turning exceptions into norms and norms into exceptions. And now we cry to heaven when the neos do it but all they are doing is what most Catholics have done and allowed to be done in the name of Vatican II for decades. The neos have just taken it to the next level. I say this because if we non-neos wish to do anything, we must first ourselves start conforming to the "liturgical books!" Everyone of those documents already referenced are either a Vatican II document or a post-conciliar document, meaning they require what the Church has ordained in light of actual Council teachings and NOT in the so-called"spirit" of it. 

Get to know your faith, Catholics. Don't be fooled by those who have made a career of fooling you. Google those documents and start reading. Demand (nicely at first) that our liturgies conform to what Rome requires. Don't complain about Kiko's catechism until you have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Don't complain about Kiko's liturgy until we get ours right. And especially, Fathers, don't complain about Kiko's catechesis until you start offering an alternative - regularly and consistently as they do. 

But now, to answer your question (the question was how is what Zoltan said a confirmation that the NCW is not Catholic). The very thing that distinguishes the Catholic Church from every other church is that we have a central Magisterium. And as the celebration of the Eucharist is the highest act of the Church, the regulation of the manner in which it is celebrated falls to the Magisterium as its highest duty. Thus the Church, from the beginning, has guarded the liturgy, the thing that Christ said to DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME, with the greatest of care. 

This is why EVEN in Vatican II, where all these changes were thought to originate, the Church warned:  Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing. (SC 23)

Let us see what else the Council Fathers say:

26. Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops [33]

Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it; but they concern the individual members of the Church in different ways, according to their differing rank, office, and actual participation.

27. It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private.

Aside from the fact that the neos violate the strictures of Vatican II with their "quasi-private" celebrations, the main issue here is that the liturgy is not the domain of private individuals or closed groups, but that of the whole Church. In fact, the word "liturgy" itself means public. Notice also that par. 26 calls the celebration of the Eucharist a "sacrament of unity". So, this is precisely why the Magisterium reserves complete governance of the liturgy for itself. The very "unity", the "Oneness" that Christ prayed and died for, is wholly embodied in the celebration of the Eucharist. 

The Church does allow for variances in the liturgy to accommodate certain cultural or local needs, but those variances must be petitioned for and granted. In the much quoted letter of the "priest with a Ph.D", it's author, in an attempt to authenticate his claim that the NCW has always been in the good graces of the popes, notes that in 1989, permission was granted to the NCW by the Congregation for Divine Worship to 1) celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in small communities, 2) to receive communion under both Species, and 3) transfer the Rite of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful. 

The author makes these permissions granted to the NCW by the competent authority (the CDW) an even bigger issue by noting that a similar request from the USCCB was denied by the CDW. The author is right to make a big deal of these permissions to vary the liturgy because the NCW did it right. The leaders submitted their request, it was reviewed, and it was granted. Hallelujah. The NCW did not just say "well, we have a different interpretation than the rest of the church so we are going to do it our way", as Zoltan would have us believe is okay. No. The NCW did the right thing and this is why there is no complaint about the NCW's practice of those three variances.

HOWEVER, when the same governing body, the Congregation for Divine Worship, came out in 2005 with an official disapproval of a liturgical practice - the manner in which the NCW distributed Holy Communion - and a mandate to change, suddenly, this is a Congregation to be belittled - as Archbishop Apuron did, and to be officially disobeyed, as Kiko did. Suddenly it is a matter of "interpretation", when only a few years previous, a CDW ruling was treated as authentication, as the "priest with a Ph.D" loudly trumpets. 

The reason for the title of this post is that the very essence of Protestantism is the position that there is no central authority, that there is no Magisterium other than the Holy Spirit and one's own conscience, and thus there are as many "churches" as their are interpretations. Zoltan (who is only mouthing what he has been taught) is staking the central claim for authority on the community. The NCW community is the Magisterium. This is nothing new. We have watched this for a long time. It's just that now, someone in one of those communities has actually said it. This position - the claim on private interpretation - IS Protestantism, and the NCW is welcome to it. 

There are a couple other matters to discuss here. First is the competence of bishops, as lawful governors of the liturgy, to allow for certain adaptations and variances required by pastoral needs. The first point is that while bishops may indeed do this, there is normally a prescribed process for the petition of a variance to the liturgy that must go through Rome. There are also some variances a bishop may allow of his own authority. Because I do not know precisely what that might encompass, I have asked the Archbishop to let us know: 1) if the manner in which the neos distribute communion in this diocese is in fact a permission he requested and was granted by Rome, or 2) a permission within his own competence to grant and which he has in fact granted. I am told that the Archbishop will not answer me. But his duty is not to me. His duty is to the Archdiocese. This issue has been at the root of most of the division relative to the Neocatechumenal Way, and not to address it is to continue to promote scandal and division. 

The second matter is that of the different "Rites" within the Church. There are many different Rites or ways in which the liturgy is celebrated that are not governed by Rome or its GIRM, but are still in union with the Pope (Melkite, Marionite, Byzantine, etc.) There are now even different legitimate forms within the same rite: the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Latin Rite. I found it terribly curious that the "Priest with a Ph.D" concludes his argument for the authenticity of the NCW by comparing the NCW liturgy to the liturgies of these other Rites, as if the NCW liturgy itself was a "Rite" of its own. Actually I found this attempt to elevate the variances of the NCW liturgy to the level of a Rite rather staggering given the credentials of the "Priest with a Ph.D". But I also found it illuminating. Here's why.

First, the NCW can never be a "Rite". Rites exist organically and are not suddenly manufactured because a certain group wants to do things differently. These other Rites of the church are ancient and are the remnants of a time when the church was far flung, and while the essentials of the liturgy remain, the externals of the celebration vary due to cultures and historical conditions. They are in union with Rome because they recognize Peter as their head, but they are not subject to the same liturgical laws as the Latin Church, which is how ours is named. 

The Neocatechumenal Way began as a catechetical experience within the Latin Church and has always been subject to it. It is not a "Rite" and can never be one. But, and here's the second point, the fact that a theologian as credentialed as the "priest with a Ph.D" would even think to justify the liturgical practice of the NCW by comparing it to the other Rites of the Church gives us the best clue yet as to where all of this is going. The NCW sees itself as a Rite. This is why they are always talking about the "Eastern church." But because the NCW has no authority to make itself a Rite, it must work from within the Latin Rite and transform it from the inside out. And this is the problem we all feel. We know something is afoot. We know in our bones that something is wrong, that something doesn't feel right. We lash out with different adjectives and protestations trying to name it, but all we really know is that something is wrong. And something IS wrong. And, thanks to Zoltan, now we know. 

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