An anonymous submission from the comments.
Is the NCW a SECT or CULT?
The August 6 PDN Voice of the People section published the esteemed opinions of two kikos trying to convince the island they are not a sect or a cult. Fr Adrian, number three in the Guam Church hierarchy and currently studying canon law, sternly warns us: “…calling the Neocatechumenal Way a ‘sect’ is absolutely false. This is the second time the term ‘sect’ has been used.” Those lawyer instincts in him hints that further use of this vile term should never happen in the public again! PDN be warned!
He concludes his enlightened thoughts with: “It is more than misinformation, it is also an injustice against the Catholic Church on Guam to falsely apply this terminology to a portion of the local community…” Wow, Fr Adrian has certainly learned well in his studies at the DeVry school of Canon Law.
HOWEVER, real attorneys know that definitions are important, so I would like to help Fr Adrian in his goal to become a real lawyer. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sect as:
“:a religious group that is a smaller part of a larger group and whose members all share similar beliefs
: a religious or political group that is connected to a larger group but that has beliefs that differ greatly from those of the main group.”
Shall we rewrite the dictionary to help you, Fr Adrian? You yourself admit that the Neo is a subset of the larger group, “a portion of the local community…”. It is about 500 members in all, out of about 135,000 members of the Guam Catholic community, according to your Archbishop.
Your members are all indoctrinated with the same “secret” catechism so that all members will have similar beliefs. And I think a reasonable man would look at your practices and beliefs and conclude that kikos are radically different from the main group. Sounds to me like you need to review the dictionary better, because you certainly seem to fit this definition. Noah Webster further clarifies that a sect is “a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader”. Sounds like the kikos pretty much meet these definitions. BUT WAIT! Melvin W. Quinene adds that we are ludicrous to call the Neo a cult or sect.
In his letter he states that: “Masses are celebrated in much the same way as at the regular parish masses…”. Really? So why did you have to get different statutes to celebrate differently? You have 3 hour masses, with group sharing for the homily, admonitions, and celebrate in private masses, outside the Church. You even acknowledge that there is a regular parish; and then there is your kiko mass. That doesn’t sound very similar to me.
Melvin continues that members had fallen away from Mother Church and have been in crisis. OK. Let’s see what Merriam-Webster has to say about cults and compare to Melvin’s own description of the “Way”. According to the experts, a cult is:
“: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans
Well, they are kind of a part of the Church, as Fr Adrian tries to show, but they really operate more as a parallel church. They have their own private celebrations, their own seminaries, and their own catechesis. Kiko has more authority over the kikos than the Archbishop. In addition to their eucharist, they also receive their other sacraments apart from Mother Church. And according to Melvin “… they have stopped going to Mother Church and are coming back to her…” So they are not a part of the Church while in the Way, but one day plan to come back to the regular Church.
That begs the question: why is our Archdiocese led by a shepherd who has fallen away from Mother Church?
Now as for the second and third definitions, we don’t need to spend much time beyond the weekend trip to Manila to see their initiator Kiko. And they seem to be obligated to buy all his products: from carpets, to wine, to candles, to tabernacles and crosses, and artwork. The marketing machine is quite astonishing. So too is their great devotion to anything kiko. And to Kiko himself. He even has his own prayer card!
Now, I’ll give Melvin some slack because he is only parroting the script Kiko has written for the entire kiko cult. But as an official(?) of the Catholic Church on Guam, and an aspiring canon lawyer, I hold Fr. Adrian to a much higher standard.
Fr. Adrian, I hope this lesson has been helpful to you and that you now see quite clearly that the neo is a sect if they still belong to the Mother Church. If they are separated from the Church as Melvin posits, then the kikos are members of a cult.
So Rev. Chancellor, we wait on your legal opinion. Is the Neo a sect or a cult, or both?
The World awaits! Maybe Monsignor David, JCD can render an opinion to help us out.
PS – Noah Webster would like a photo of Kiko to place next to the word that best describes the kikos.