Gennarini: "For the first time, the Holy See has accepted several variations to the way the Eucharist is celebrated within the context of the Neocatechumenal Way, as licit adaptations... To the best of my knowledge, this is the only case in which the Holy See has granted such an explicit permission to an ecclesial group. Until now we had done so with verbal authorization from the [Vatican] congregation, but not in writing. In fact, John Paul II had always supported this concept..."
"Actually experimentation was granted in the year 2005...for five years, so it doesn’t expire until 2007, and with this recent letter...we were granted two more years. And in fact, really looking at the letter...it is the first time in the history of the church that we were give permissions for the variations that is being done in the Neo Catechumenal Way, officially by the pope. The late Pope John Paul gave it for five years ad experimentum so this gives us even two more years so really to 2009 if you count 5 years from 2002 for the first experimentation, 5 years is 2007 plus this giving us 2 more years, especially in terms of the eucharist itself and the manner of receiving the eucharist."
“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.”
When on December 27 www.chiesa published Arinze’s letter in its entirety, Gennarini called the very authenticity of this letter into question. He added that “this does not change its nature of a confidential and internal instrumentum laboris (working instrument),” devoid of any normative force. He restated that the only valid norm is “the confirmation by the Holy Father of the liturgical praxis of the Way.” And by way of proof he cited the blessing that the pope would bestow a few days later upon the Neocatechumenal families leaving on mission, during the audience of January 12.
"...in front of the pope and the bishops there, cardinals, in fact Arinze’s there, and Arinze, to tell you the truth, is really not for the Way, and I don’t know what credentials he has..." - Archbishop Apuron, KOLG, January 9, 2006
The audience did, in fact, take place. And so did the blessing. But there was also a second, ringing summons to obedience from Benedict XVI:
“Recently the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments imparted to you, in my name, some norms concerning the Eucharistic celebration, after the trial period that had been granted by the servant of God John Paul II. I am certain that these norms, which draw upon the provisions of the liturgical books approved by the Church, will meet with attentive compliance from you.”
There was no comment from the directors of the Way after this second call from the pope. But word was given to the 20,000 communities to continue as before.