Kevin Camacho's letter to the editor "The Way brings intimacy with God" was printed in today's Pacific Daily News. Following is his letter with my comments in red.
The Church has put her imprimatur on the Neocatechumenal Way. As noted by previous submissions, the Church examined the authenticity of its charism, and the efficacy of its contribution to the Church's mission.
The Church did not "put her imprimatur on the Neocatechumenal Way". What the Church DID do was give the Neocatechumenal Way a Statute, a rule to follow. Outside that rule, the Neocatechumenal has no authentic Catholic charism.
Yes, it is quite common to hear members speak of how they were saved by the neo. The rest of us prefer to speak of how we were saved by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fruits of which are made manifest in his Church and its sacraments.
Your comment about the parish is also familiar. We are told regularly by the NCW that the parish model is dead, that the small community is the future of the church. However, this conflicts with your Statute in several places and namely Art. 6, which requires the NCW to be "implemented in the parish".
Art. 6 then goes on to call the parish: “the usual place in which one is born and grows in the faith”, and "the privileged location in which the Church, mother and teacher, brings the children of God to birth in the baptismal font and “gestates” them to new life.
As per your comment and the regular teaching of the Neocatechumenal Way, it is the "community", NOT the parish that is the new "privileged location"wherein the "children of God" are birthed and gestated to "new life".
• Critics have displayed poor form. Personal attacks detract from meaningful discourse. Ad hominem attacks take away credibility. The mode of criticism has been outright shameful and embarrassing, unbecoming of Christian leaders.
It's comments like this that make me wish I had catalogued all the "ad hominum attacks" directed at me on this blog that are indeed "outright shameful and embarrassing" or should be, to the Neocatechumenal Way. The author seems to be unaware that for many months my name was the only one that could be attacked "ad hominum" since all the neo-haters, including, the neo-spokesperson, hid behind the name "anonymous" or a pseudonym. In fact, this very comment is another ad hominum attack because rather than refute our arguments, he characterizes those of us who oppose him as having "poor form" and "unbecoming of Christian leaders". Really?
• Criticizing aspects of the Neocatechumenal Way. Many have charged everything from blatant disobedience to the pope and violation of liturgical mandates. Address concerns responsibly, and maturely. Stop with the nonsensical clamor.
How about stop the nonsensical answers. Simply demonstrate the papal permission which allows you to depart from the liturgical norms as prescribed for you in the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way. Those departures are:
1. The postponement of the priests communion until after he has distributed the consecrated bread.
2. The delay in consuming the consecrated bread until all have had it placed in their hands.
3. The sitting to consume the consecrated bread.
Just show us and this debate is over. You win.
• True motive of dissenters. What is the genuine motive of these critics? Do they think that this will encourage people to come back to Church?
As the record shows, most have no issue with your errors. You are welcome to them. What we take issue with is the persecution of priests by their bishop for opposing the expansion of the Neocatechumenal Way and the imposition of its illicit practices on them. The persecution began in 2008 with the Archbishop demanding that three Filipino priests serve as presbyters for the Neocatechumenal Way or get out of his diocese. In his letter to the priests, even the Archbishop noted that the NCW liturgy had not yet been approved, but that he expected it to be, and thus expected the priests to serve the Neo. With the final approval of the statute, the liturgy was NOT approved as the Archbishop expected and the NCW's communion rite remained illicit. Priests forced to accommodate the Way by their bishop are forced to choose between staying true to the Church or participating in illicit liturgies. For staying true to the Church, they are ground down, publicly smeared, and run out of town.
• Financial transparency. People donate their time, talent and treasure to the church. Since Jesus said you cannot serve both God and money, it is important we live as if our true treasure is in heaven and not in our bank accounts. Knowing where our money goes is important to maintain trust and confidence in the Church as the steward of our temporal goods. Demanding financial accountability of our Archdiocese is not only a good thing, but it is imperative.
This part is funny. And who was it that demanded financial accountability of this Archdiocese? It wasn't the Neo was it? In fact, this archdiocese is one of the very few that still does not make its finances public. And speaking of financial transparency, what about yours? What about all the money that is collected at Neo events? Do you turn that money into the parish office? You don't. Where is it? Who gets it? Where is your financial accountability? There is none, is there?
• Zero-tolerancy policy is a good policy. Protecting our children is our first priority. Our archbishop has the responsibility to ensure children safety. A zero-tolerance policy within our archdiocese is a great thing; but I don't think the problem people have concerns this policy.
Apparently this is a reference to the LIE the Archbishop cooked up to get rid of Fr. Paul. But speaking of Zero tolerance, why is it that the archbishop incardinated a priest with a record of accusations of child molestation without attempting to either clear that record or at least acknowledge it? The Zero-tolerance policy means just that. There is no need for an indictment. Zero-tolerance means that even the accusation requires action. But no action for 14 years from this Archbishop because why? Because the priest was Neo. So tell us some more about "zero-tolerance". The only "zero-tolerance" is what this archbishop shows to priests who do not serve the Neocatechumenal Way.
If you're unsure about something, look it up! If we really want to know what the Neocatechumenal Way is all about, read what the Church fathers are saying, what the congregations responsible for safeguarding the Church against erroneous teaching are saying. Let us stop the gossip and the vitriol. Let us not give occasion for the evil one to sow discord among us!
Actually, I did look it up. I looked it up in the only document that matters: the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way. As previously mentioned, it is your rule. Outside it you lack an authentic Catholic charism. So yes, let us "stop the gossip and the vitriol." Simply show the rest of us where you are authorized to celebrate the liturgy in a manner not consistent with Art. 13 of your Statute. Simple.
In the year 2000, my pastor invited me to attend a series of catecheses (sic). It was during a time when my family was going through a difficult time. We sought the Church in the midst of a crisis, we needed an answer in the face of our suffering.
It is a shame that your pastor, as evidenced by what you say here and following, did not provide the proper catechesis for you in the first place. That is HIS responsibility, NOT the responsibility of some itinerant. In fact, he is gravely culpable for permitting and promoting a catechesis based on a theology that negates the central act our faith: that participation in the Holy Eucharist is a participation in the ONE SACRIFICE of Jesus Christ. This is why you do not celebrate on an altar, the place of sacrifice, but on a table. You do not celebrate on an altar because Kiko does not believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is THE HOLY SACRIFICE as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is in par. 1330. Instead Kiko teaches:
"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." (Volume 1, 3rd Day, Catechetical Directory for Teams of Catechists)
As a young man, with a poor foundation in faith, I was lost in cloud of sin, despair and fear, questioning my life and the tragedies before me. I needed more than a Sunday Mass, a lecture or pep talk. Little by little, like a patient mother, the Way brought me into the bosom of the Church. Introducing me to the Word of God, as more than historical commentary or inspirational stories but as a living testament to the presence of the God among his people. I heard of the covenant He makes with Abraham and his descendants. I, too, am a descendant of Abraham, a Chamorro from Guam.
Secondly, I heard the announcement of his saving power. Every Christian must announce the Kerygma. It is the duty of the Church to announce this victory of God valiantly, with joy and with unrelenting courage.
I learned that the sacraments are not just mere ritual practices, but deeply reverent gifts where Christ is present and among us.
I thank God for having come to me through people who traveled far to announce a news: God exists, he has not abandoned you, he loves you as you are, judgmental, arrogant, self-centered, afraid, a sinner. He comes to offer you an alternative. Be free from evil, let go of hate, learn to detest all that is impure. Be clean, be forgiven.
The author does not realize it but all of the above is an indictment of the Archbishop he is trying to defend. The current Archbishop has been in office for three decades. Why did you not learn your faith under or from him? Why, under his reign, did you grow up "lost in a cloud of sin, despair, and fear?" Why were you not introduced to the Word of God under this bishop? Why did you not know that you were a descendant of Abraham? Why did you not know that every Christian is to announce "the Kerygma?" Where was Archbishop Apuron? He's had thirty years!
Our archbishop welcomed strangers to our island, just like Kepuha did, and it is in this invitation that a seed was planted. As Guahan received the missionaries three and a half centuries ago, the archbishop's "yes" bore fruit. His yes has saved countless marriages, enabled many to be born who wouldn't have otherwise, has fostered many vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The archbishop has not "welcomed strangers", he has imported them. But aside from that, comparing the Archbishop's importation of these so-called "missionaries" to the arrival of missionaries on "Guahan...three and a half centuries ago" is an admission that the archbishop is an utter failure. Three and a half centuries ago Catholicism had not yet been established on our island. It has since been here for three and a half centuries and you now compare our present situation to that of three and half centuries ago? Your point is to impugn the faith of the regular Catholics and elevate the new "missionaries" to the status of Blessed Diego, who have come to evangelize us poor heathen. But in doing so, you reduce Archbishop Apuron to a pagan and the church he presides over to "the heathen".
Let us pray that the holy spirit enlighten our minds and hearts, and bring us to reconciliation with our brothers.
Quite the norm. After bashing and impugning his opponents throughout, he ends with a call for peace. SMH. Thanks, Kevin. Thanks for another demonstration of why we must keep up our fight.