It is not the fault of most members of the Neocatechumenal Way that they are participating in an illicit communion rite. However, it IS the fault of their leadership. That same leadership likes to trumpet the approval of the popes. So, relative to the NCW manner of distributing Holy Communion, here is what the "popes" have actually said:
12/01/05 - Pope Benedict, via the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, directs the leadership of the Neocatechumenal Way to conform its manner of distributing Holy Communion to the liturgical books:
"On the manner of receiving Holy Communion, a period of transition (not exceeding two years) is granted to the Neocatechumenal Way to pass from the widespread manner of receiving Holy Communion in its communities (seated, with a cloth-covered table placed at the center of the church instead of the dedicated altar in the sanctuary) to the normal way in which the entire Church receives Holy Communion. This means that the Neocatechumenal Way must begin to adopt the manner of distributing the Body and Blood of Christ that is provided in the liturgical books." - Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Prot. 2520/03/L. From Vatican City, December 1, 2005. To the esteemed Mr. Kiko Argüello, Ms. Carmen Hernandez, and Rev. Father Mario Pezzi.
01/12/06 - Pope Benedict personally confirms that the above instruction was "imparted to you in my name" and that he expected the NCW to "attentively observe these norms...provided for in the liturgical books approved by the Church":
Precisely to help the Neocatechumenal Way to render even more effective its evangelizing action in communion with all the People of God, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments recently imparted to you in my name certain norms concerning the Eucharistic Celebration, after the trial period that the Servant of God John Paul II conceded. I am sure you will attentively observe these norms that reflect what is provided for in the liturgical books approved by the Church. - ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO MEMBERS OF THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY. Paul VI Audience Hall. Thursday, 12 January 2006
01/20/12 - Pope Benedict clarifies that he is approving ONLY those "celebrations listed in the Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way" that are NOT "strictly speaking liturgical", but are those celebrations which are particular to Neocatechumenal Way:
"The Decree approving the celebrations listed in the “Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way” has just been read. They are not strictly speaking liturgical but are part of the itinerary of growth in faith."
The pope uses careful language here but to make sure it is understood that he is NOT approving the liturgical anomalies practiced by the NCW in its celebration of the Eucharist, he emphasizes that the Eucharistic celebration continues to be "regulated by the liturgical books that must be faithfully followed, with the details approved in the Statute of the Way":
"It is the task of the celebration in the small communities — regulated by the liturgical books that must be faithfully followed, with the details approved in the Statue of the Way." - ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO THE COMMUNITY OF THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY. Paul VI Hall. Friday, 20 January 2012
NOTE: Those details, as found in Art. 13 of the Statute of the Way are as follows:
- Communicants may remain in their place to receive communion STANDING (there is no permission to sit to consume or for the priest to delay his communion).
- Communion may be received under both species.
- The Sign of Peace may be moved to before the Offertory.
04/03/2014 - Pope Francis reminds Kiko Arguello that the Sunday Eucharist is regulated by the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way. He makes no mention of any other document permitting any addition or variance to the regulation of the liturgy as found in the Statute:
"...as far as it pertains to the celebrations of the Paschal Vigil and the Sunday Eucharist, mentioned by you, articles 12 and 13, read in their entirety, constitute therefore the regulatory charter of reference." - Archbishop Angelo Becciu's Letter to Kiko Arguello. Vatican, April 3rd, 2014.