I would like to thank Fr. Francis Walsh for standing up for our Church today in the local news. It is always heartening to see a priest take a public stand. He is sure to get a lot of blowback, especially for his comments about Church teaching on homosexual acts, contraception, and abortion. So pray for him. Been there.
And while I'm sure he did not intend to, Father Walsh also backs up a point I have been making on this blog in recent days. As you know, the Neocatechumenal defenders are no longer denying their unauthorized liturgical practices. They are simply responding with "So what?" or "the pope hasn't stopped us."
Fr. Walsh makes it very clear in today's op-ed that the pope is not a CEO and the Vatican doesn't have an NSA or a police force; and if there is to be any "policing", it is the duty of the local bishop:
Each diocese (local church) has its own bishop, who is responsible to care for that local church. The pope, who is pope because he is the bishop of Rome, has the responsibility to ensure the unity of the church. But he cannot substitute himself for the local bishops at will. They have their own authority within their local church. The pope cannot interfere without good reason.
The Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way places the NCW "at the service of the bishop as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian initiation and of ongoing education in faith." (Art. 1 §2) Thus, in the Catholic Church, the buck stops with the bishop.
This is why Archbishop Apuron could put an end to this entire conversation by simply clarifying the permission for the NCW to celebrate differently than the rest of the church in ways that are not already authorized in the Statute. The archbishop is well versed in his use of decrees and avisos and he has every pulpit at every Mass at his disposal as well as a whole newspaper and a radio station. On any given day, especially Sunday, he can reach more of Guam's population than the governor.
Not doing so has provoked division and scandal long before JungleWatch. And WHY he has not done so is what all this is about.