At the heart of our faith is the Eucharist. And at the heart of our division with other Christian religions is what we believe about it.
Catholics (and our close Orthodox cousins) believe that when Jesus said "This is my Body...This is my Blood", the bread and wine in his hands truly, actually, and substantially became Him - as it does today in the hands and at the same words of our priests (who are not otherwise impeded).
What we believe about the Eucharist is also at the heart of our disagreement with the Neocatechumenal Way. On the matter of the Eucharist, the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way differs with the magisterial Church on two major counts:
1. He does not believe that the bread and wine substantially become the real flesh and blood of Jesus Christ (transubstantiation).
2. He does not believe that Mass itself is a re-presentation of the one Sacrifice of Christ because he does not believe that the death of Christ was a sacrifice in the first place.
The first count
We first get a glimpse of Kiko's unbelief in transubstantiation in his January 17, 2006 letter to Pope Benedict wherein he declared that he would NOT change the neo-manner of distribution of Holy Communion as the Pope had asked him to.
In his response to Benedict, Kiko declared: "...we have always shown to the many brothers who have emerged from hell, full of wounds and of self-loathing, that in the Holy Eucharist the Lord makes present his love, dying and rising for them; and not only that, but prepares a table, an eschatological banquet, which makes Heaven present and where He himself, full of love, has them sit down and comes to serve them..."
As with everything said by Kiko, we have to peel back several layers of the onion to get at the main thing. In the midst of "church sounding" language is the heart of the problem. Kiko sees his "eucharist", not as a re-presentation of the sacrificial paschal event, but as a current participation in the eschatological banquet.
Let's hash that out a bit. The eschatological banquet is the heavenly banquet, the wedding feast of the Lamb. At this banquet, there is no more need for Jesus Christ to be present to us under the appearances of bread and wine because he will be wholly present to us in the Beatific Vision.
In Volume 1 of his Catechetical Directory in the Kerygma for the 7th day, Kiko teaches: "The baptized Christian has already entered into divinity, into the Kingdom of God and can pass to the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a celestial Eucharist, before the Lamb, the angels and saints."
(Note: Kiko's defenders are quick to point out that their directory received Vatican approval. The directory was in fact approved in 2011 but only after many changes. And until we can actually see the approved directory we must assume that the copy we have is what is used. If someone would like to provide us a copy of the approved directory, feel free. But as far as we know, only a select few are allowed to see it.)
Here, Kiko departs from the magisterial teaching of the Church that our Holy Mass, while we are yet earthbound, is but an anticipation of that heavenly liturgy and NOT YET a "celestial Eucharist"(emphases mine):
"In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with him in glory." (CCC 1090)
Note, the first thing the Church makes clear is that our Mass is an earthly liturgy. It then makes clear that our liturgy is but a "foretaste of that heavenly liturgy", again distinguishing between the limits of our earthly condition and what we hope to experience in the Beatific Vision. It then proceeds to remind us that we are but "pilgrims" still on the "journey", and that because we cannot yet be with the saints we, in the Mass, "venerate their memory". And we hope for and eagerly await. In other words folks, "we ain't there yet."
Contrast this with Kiko who already has his group "entered into divinity" and lounging around at the celestial banquet "before the Lamb, the angels and the saints" and getting waited on. This is why Kiko and his followers feel they can disregard the Church on earth especially in the manner of celebrating the Eucharist. They are already in heaven. The rest of us poor slubs are still earthbound.
THIS IS WHY we process to the altar and stand or kneel to receive the King, and why they sit and wait to be served by Him. (Make no mistake. While they may have been forced by the 2008 statute to stand to receive the sacred species in their hands, they sit to consume.)
But to the main point. At the "celestial Eucharist" there is no more need for Christ to appear under the forms of bread and wine as he will be wholly before us. Thus, since the neo-eucharist, which as Kiko tells us, is ALREADY the "celestial Eucharist", there is no need for Christ to be present in the form of bread and wine. There is no need for transubstantiation. For them, Christ, is already wholly present among them - as we have been oft told by neos here on this blog - and thus there is no need for any "unique presence" of Christ in the Eucharist.
The Mass is not a sacrifice
Now to our second point: that the Mass is not a re-presentation of the one Sacrifice of Christ. In fact, our first point already makes this clear. If the neo-eucharist is already the "celestial Eucharist", then there is no need for the Eucharistic sacrifice. This is why Kiko has no need for altars or priests. Both specifically represent sacrifice: the altar is always where sacrifice is offered; and the priest is literally "one who offers sacrifice."
In Volume 1 of the 3rd day of his catechetical directory, Kiko tells us "in Christianity there is no altar", which is " 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."
So if you are still wondering why they do not celebrate the liturgy in a church, there it is. Never mind that Canon Law requires the celebration of the Eucharist in a consecrated space and on a consecrated altar, and only allows for celebration elsewhere as a necessary exception. Who needs earthly rules when one is already in heaven.
And as for priests: "Nor do we have priests...people whom we separate from all the others so that in our name they may get in contact with the divinity. In Christianity the only and eternal priest, the one who intercedes for us is Christ." This is why the neos do not use the word priest and only "presbyter". People may wonder then why all the bother with seminaries and producing priests. It is only an intermediate step for Kiko. He can't get rid of priests yet. He must conduct his revolution from within under the stealth of orthodoxy.
But more specifically, Kiko does not teach that the Mass is a sacrifice because he does not believe that Christ's death itself was a sacrifice. In Kiko's mind, Christ was not a lamb led to the slaughter, but a goat, a scapegoat. We will get more into this in the very near future but this weird belief descends from Kiko's contemporary, the philosopher Rene Girard.
As we have already noted in a previous post, the Blessed Diego Institute website is loaded with keywords related to Girard's philosophy and even includes his name - the only name mentioned in the list of keywords. Because of this it is easy to determine that what is taught at the Blessed Diego Institute is Girard's philosophy, which is Kiko's philosophy. And Girard holds that Christ's death was NOT a sacrifice:
“There is nothing in the Gospels to suggest that the death of Jesus is a sacrifice, whatever definition (expiation, substitution, etc.) we may give for that sacrifice.” - Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, Renee Girard 1978
As mentioned, we will get more into this in the near future. But meanwhile, understand, that the money you are asked to give to the Archdiocesan Appeal is for the support of this kind of teaching, teaching that is extremely contrary to the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church:
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'" (CCC 1323 quoted directly from Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47.)