Sunday, August 3, 2014


(This is an edited version of the original post.)

I've been holding off on commenting about the letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship regarding the "sign of peace", as I sort of thought we currently have more important things to attend to. (Did you see the trash Archbishop Apuron put in the U Matuna today? Talk about "new lows".) 

But the topic keeps appearing in the comments and apparently Her Silliness, Diana, is doing her usual nonsensical pontificating. So here's the deal.

The Vatican's announcement about the sign of peace is not unrelated to our local war with the Neocatechumenal Way. In fact, our war with the Neocatechumenal Way began with Archbishop Apuron's public impugning of a liturgical directive from the same Congregation in January of 2006 when he essentially told its Prefect, Cardinal Arinze, to get lost. 

In the same talk, in which he also told the rest of us (non-neocats) to get lost, he infamously bragged:
And as you know, it was made public that I argued first of all for the kiss of peace to be moved, or at least the possibility of having to move the kiss of peace at before the offertory after the homily, before moving into the liturgy of the eucharist as is done in the eastern church.
(You gotta wonder about a bishop who uses the practices of another church to bash his own. But whatever.)

Archbishop Apuron and Kiko at the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist

What Archbishop Apuron is referring to is his statements at the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist. But, as usual, they weren't his statements. He was reading a script from Kiko who had long since moved the sign of peace to before the offertory for his neocat eucharist, something Archbishop Apuron himself had been doing ever since he became a neo.

Kiko was pushing to transform the Roman Rite into his manufactured neocat dance-around-the-table deal he calls a "eucharist". And to move his agenda forward, he found the perfect accomplice in Archbishop Apuron. Lay observers just don't get up and give their opinions at synods. He needed a bishop and he got one. 

Specific mention of the Neocats

Nine years after the Synod, the Congregation for Divine Worship has definitively decided that the sign of peace that Kiko and Archbishop Apuron wanted moved, will NOT be moved. And it is important to note that the Catholic News Agency singles out the Neocatechumenal Way in its story:
The Neo-Catechumenal Way, a lay movement in the Church, has already displaced the sign of peace, in its celebration of the Roman rite, to before the presentation of the gifts.
It is a curious insertion and seems to pop up out of nowhere. But once one is aware of the big show about the sign of peace Archbishop Apuron and Kiko made at the 2005 synod ("I argued..."), it becomes quite clear why the neocats are specifically mentioned in the story. Rome is definitively saying NO to Archbishop Apuron and Kiko, albeit nine years later.

The neocats and the sign of peace

As we have noted before, the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way, as approved in 2008, is just that, a statute. It is a rule, a law, a limiting document which gives very narrow parameters to the life and praxis of the Neocatechumenal Way. 

Neocats are frantic about claiming the approval of "5 popes", but as of 2008, that approval is ONLY an approval of the Neocatechumenal Way insofar is it conforms to the 2008 statute imposed on it by Rome. 

This is why in a recent correspondence between Pope Francis and Kiko wherein Kiko had complained about ill-treatment from some bishops after the pope's Feb. 1, 2014 address to the NCW, Francis reminded Kiko to follow his "charter". In other words, apart from that which is laid out in the statute, Kiko has nothing. 

In the Statute, the NCW is granted three exceptions to the liturgical books in its celebration of the eucharist:
  1. The sign of peace may be moved to before the offertory (which is something they had already done.
  2. Communicants were permitted to remain in their places to receive communion but must stand (they had been sitting).
  3. Communion was permitted under both kinds (bread and wine/Body & Blood). Note: if you are receiving communion under both kinds regularly at your parish, this is not permitted. See the GIRM. 
So, for now, the placement of the sign of peace in the neocat liturgy is authorized by its statute. But given the emphasis by Rome on the necessity of reintegration of neocatechumens into the parish, we can probably expect a modification to the neocat statute in that regard.

As an aside, given the above allowances as defined in the statute, you can see that there is no allowance for the neocat celebrant to move his communion from before he distributes the consecrated bread till after, something regularly done in the neo-eucharist. Nor is there an allowance for the communicants to sit back down with the consecrated bread in hand - which they do. 

These are two ongoing and blatant liturgical violations of the neocats own statute. Violating the statute in this regard places them outside of Rome's approval and "blessing". Rome doesn't have to declare it. It occurs ipso facto. 

The news that the sign of peace will not be moved is a pretty direct slap down of Kiko and Archbishop Apuron who were really the only persons advocating for it at the 2005 synod, which is the synod referenced in the recent Vatican statement on the sign of peace.

In addition to leaving the sign of peace where it is, Rome also noted some abuses of the rite "which are to be stopped." And this instruction applies to ALL of us, including the neocats. Here are the abuses that "must be stopped":
  • the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; 
  • the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; 
  • the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; 
  • and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.
For those of us who are appalled at the arrogant abuses of the neocats, let us be the FIRST to embrace this directive from Rome and demonstrate what obedience really is.

Check back. I didn't have time to link all the references, but soon will. 


  1. Will definitely be checking back for the references. Thank you for the information. This document should be forwarded to all the parishes. May we all seek to remain faithful and obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  2. Tim,
    Tell me more on the receiving both bread/wine (body & blood) regularly? I went to mass last sunday in malojloj where the 1st lady of guam attended for her pilgrimage for peace and notice they serve both regularly. Should we notify the neo priest Fr. Romeo to follow the GIRM?

  3. I have received several inquiries about communion under both kinds. The fact that the neo's needed a special indult to do it should tell that it is not the norm. I will address this with references in a separate post. Focus on the major media today. The shut down of the museum is a blatant display of the attack of the neo's on Guam"s culture, it's people, and our Church.