Thursday, January 8, 2015

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY?

Answer: Prior to June 2008, many things. After June 2008, nothing.

Why June 2008?

In June 2008, the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way (NCW) received final approval. 

The Statute of the NCW is its charter, it's "birth certificate". Like any legally constituted association, that association only legitimately exists when it is in compliance with its charter. Outside the charter, it ceases to exist, either ipso facto or or by a formal sentence.

Prior to to the promulgation of its final charter, the NCW, like many associations within the church, operated at will and with the permission of this or that bishop or pastor. This is also how most religious orders start. 


As the NCW grew, the growth necessitated greater organizational structure and eventually a charter from Rome.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II initiated a five year period of "ad experimentum" in which the practices and teachings of the NCW and its founders were scrutinized. The aim of the study was to bring full legitimacy to the particular "way" of living and sharing the Catholic faith. 

To begin the process, the leadership of the NCW was instructed to formulate its own Statute and submit it to Rome for review. The leadership did this in 2002, and the 2002 Statute can be read here

Rome spent five years studying the practices and teachings of the NCW and amending the 2002 Statute to bring it into conformity with what the magisterium of the Church required. 

The product was the Statute of 2008 which you can read here.

In addition to promulgating the Final Statute, Rome spent an additional three years studying the teachings of its founders in a separate document called a "catechetical directory." Likewise, the directory was amended to bring it into conformance with the what the magisterium required to legitimate it, and the amended directory received final approval in 2011.

At this point, it is important to clarify the term "approval" because it is the word that the NCW leadership has taken to legitimate their every word and action, including those words and actions which depart from their charter. 

The "approval" is ONLY for what is in the actual documents which have been approved, NOT for anything else. It is not a blanket approval of the NCW or its leadership.

And this is where the bishops come in.

The Catholic Church is an apostolic church. It's governing authority passes down through the ordained and consecrated successors of the apostles. 

Thus when Rome magisterially promulgates any sort of instruction, directive, or, as in the case of the NCW, its constituting charter and its catechetical directory, the bishop of every diocese becomes the guardian of that instruction. 

"Rome", meaning the central teaching authority of the Catholic Church whether it be the pope himself or a magisterial governing body at his service such as a congregation, dicastery, or pontifical council.

And in the case of the final approved version of the NCW Statute (2008), this fact is made perfectly clear at the outset of the document:
The Neocatechumenal Way is at the service of the bishop as one of the forms of diocesan implementation of Christian initiation and of ongoing education in faith. (Art. 1. §2) 
As we have seen in recent scandal after crisis after crisis after scandal, most of the problems in the church can be traced to bishops who are unwilling to do their job. That's a nice way of saying "disobedient bishops". 

And in Guam, we have one. 

This has been demonstrated over and over whenever Archbishop Apuron violates liturgical norms and specific restrictions (as called for in Redemptionis Sacramentum, 74) by personally inviting lay members of the Neocatechumenal Way to come up during the time reserved for the homily to witness to their neocatechumenal experience and to promote it to a captive congregation. 


This is an abuse of episcopal power, an abuse of the people, and a direct act of disobedience to the teaching Magisterium of the Church which has set liturgical norms that do not permit lay persons to take the pulpit during the time reserved for the homily. 

I personally have sent more than one letter to Archbishop Apuron asking him to please provide evidence of his authority to do this. There has never been a reply.

Archbishop Apuron's blatant disobedience to Church authority (barring any evidence of a permit to do this) is also demonstrated time and again every time he celebrates the eucharist in his neocatechumenal community wherein he delays his own communion until all have received and permits the communicants to consume the sacred host seated. 

It was observed at the 9:30am Mass this past Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica that Archbishop Apuron, after going to a wheelchair bound person to give her communion, proceeded to give communion to others who were standing in the front row still in their pew. Apparently he quickly realized that this was not a neocatechumenal eucharist and then returned to the sanctuary.

And as bishop, he is responsible for this sheer act of disobedience to the magisterial authority of the Catholic Church every time the same practice is repeated in any neocatechumenal celebration of the eucharist in his diocese.

There is no need to "catch" him doing this. On December 15, 2014, during a pastoral visit to St. Francis parish in Yona, he not only openly admitted that this is his practice, he claimed that Rome had approved it:
"Rome has approved it – even the way we’re receiving Communion. That they receive the host standing and they can sit down and everybody who receives it and they eat together...Rome has given permission for that. And it’s somewhere I need to find out where exactly, but they told us that permission is given."

Of course, Archbishop Apuron has never produced the permission which he said was "somewhere" and just needed to find it. However, the statement by itself should be a serious alarm to our apostolic visitors since the bishop of a diocese, the man deputed to be the guardian of our highest act of worship, does not know "where exactly" the approval for this very obvious departure from the sacred liturgy is.

In fact there is no approval and Archbishop Apuron knows this, In fact this is a bold faced lie to the parishioners of St. Francis Parish. In fact, this is the same lie he has been telling us since he said it on the radio in 2006 and caused a firestorm of protest. 

But perhaps "lie" is a bit harsh. In fact, for him, it is probably no longer a lie. He was told this by his neocatechumenal superiors - the ones he actually obeys - and he has parroted this for nearly a decade. And therein lies the problem. This bishop simply obeys a different authority.

So, no. There is nothing "wrong" with the Neocatechumenal Way in so far as it is in compliance with its Final Statute and the approved version of its directory. However, there is everything wrong with a bishop who has no regard for either or for the authority of the Church from which his own authority is derived. 

Final note: The faithful of the Archdiocese of Agana, in charity and out of regard for his office, have overlooked these abuses by their bishop for many years. It was not until Archbishop Apuron began publicly abusing priests who were unwilling to violate the same church norms that Archbishop Apuron was ordained and consecrated to uphold that the people began to protest against his violations of basic human dignity and blatant abuses of his office. 




17 comments:

  1. Lay movements that help people deepen and strengthen their faith are wonderful things (Christian Mothers, Catholic Daughters, Knights of Columbus, etc.). Lay movements that lead people in a direction different from the traditional Catholic Church are a big problem. Lay movements that are in the business of forming priests make no sense to me. I believe the Church has made a big mistake in allowing this to happen. A person called to the priesthood should make every effort to seek the best education and training possible. Shortcuts result in a priest ill-prepared to do his job.

    Does the traditional Catholic Church fail to meet the spiritual needs of the people? If you are a traditional Catholic un-affiliated with a lay movement, are you lacking something in your journey of faith? Do we need something more than the Church? If the answer is yes, then the NCW is the least of our problems.

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    1. I beg to disagree. We need lay movement in the Catholic Church. The problem is if the lay movement operates outside the Catholic Church and operates as if the Church needs it more than it needs Church. It is supposed to help each other and the lay movement should not feel superior.

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  2. There is a similarity between the federal government and the neos.The federal government came to Guam took our prime properties and gave us crap for it. They are still using our properties. The neos came to Guam took our prime property and gave us crappy presbyters.

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  3. The Fullness of Truth exist in the Church that Christ Founded, It has been given all the supernatural help by Christ in the form of the Sacraments to guard, teach this truth for all ages. The Church is composed of the Pope and all Bishops obedient to the Maginterium of this Church. Our Bishop has not been fully obedient to the Church and has given in to the False teaching of this lay person, Prophet Kiko. Anyone who attempts to adulterate the Sacraments Given us by Christ through the Church is a liar, all who follow this teaching of lies disobedient to the Church is disobedient to its founder Christ.

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  4. We can certainly criticize both the current Statutes and the current Catechetical Directory pursuant to Canon 212 §2 and §3. In the Catholic Church, statutes, canons, rules, and catechetical directories do not stay static over the years. They are subject to modification as the Church learns lessons from lived experience. In the case of the Neocatechumenal Statutes, we are learning that in their current form, too much is left unsaid so they lend themselves well to a driving sectarianism. They will certainly be modified at some point in the future to prevent this and to promote the unity of the Church and respect for consciences and cultures.

    Secondly, the 13-volume Catechetical Directory, approved for publishing in late 2010, is very secret. Top secret, and withheld from even senior members. Why? Because it is far more difficult for "the Way" to be held accountable to them if they are secret. They cannot be criticized in order to be improved. Moreover, the older versions, containing very problematic doctrine, can continue to be used by catechists under the cover of plausible deniability: "Calumny and lies, our Catechetical Directory has been approved!!"

    I have bundled my criticisms of the teaching and practice of "the Way" here. Specific criticisms about the sectarian nature of "the Way" can be found here, and a new page dedicated to Fr. Pius, the lead catechist here, may be found here.

    Si Yu'os Ma'ase.

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  5. What did our Catholic Church didn't have that She needed something more. Even if the Pope had approved the NCW, was it wise and necessary for Guam to adopt their ways! NO? But we just had to give it a try. Ok! Archbishop Apuron, under the base' of a trial and error, take a good look at where does the Church (people) stand now, both the neo and non neo.

    28 seconds into the video provided here that's was dated on Feb. 9, 2014, Archbishop Apuron calls upon a neo member Evelyn Santos to come forth to share to all her testimony and experience as a neo member explaining to Mrs. Santos for her to tell all "How to live a Good Christian Live". I haven't been! Archbishop Apuron, for me to hear that, you don't know how much your words have hurt me. I'm offended? As if my Christian Live ain't good enough for who! For you? But I do know how to close my eyes during any Mass Celebration to be in union with God Whom I worship the most.

    My dear Archbishop, operating our Catholic Church in a form of two separate groups is impossible for you. You do not have the POWER. Please, may there be NO two churches, but the one and only one that Jesus instructed to build and no other!

    And may our Lady of Guam Queen of the Marianas, please pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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    1. Apuron no longer has power in the Metropolitian Archdiocese. This is the reason why the Archdiocese has crumbled. There is no respect anymore for him.

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  6. Since Tim is well knowledge about everything within the diocese and will go to the ends of the earth to destroy the diocese, I think you should explain why does it upset you so much about being a neo. I have friends that are neo but I don't tell them what to do. So you should just focus on you and not on others. Let the ordain handle their situation and not you. Not your business to get yourself involve. Why don't you get out! This blog cost you time and money. Here is your solution Let it go and be free..spend time with your family, enjoy life and forget the diocese problems and let the clergy handle it not the laity.

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    1. Guess you never read Vatican II.

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    2. That's called "clericalism", Anon 9:57pm.

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    3. to: Anon 9:57 pm, its apparent you are not a member of the Church

      Every member of the Church has a right and a duty to speak up against abuses of any sort.
      We also have the right to share our concerns with others, as long as we do it without malice and with love for all, including for the abuser, in accordance with Christ's command to love our enemies (cf. Matt. 5:44). In our desire not to gossip, we tend to hide what needs to be brought out into the open for the good of all. More can be accomplished when we stand together against evil, but to do so, we need to speak up and communicate with others who are also concerned about injustices.

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    4. To: Anon 9:57 pm, certainly not from my Parish

      Removal from the parish does not need to depend upon proof that the priest intended to do harm.
      If it is clearly obvious that he is doing harm or even is simply "ineffective" in his calling to serve the people, this is grounds for removal.
      The parishioners have a right and a need to be shepherded by a holy, humble, Godly priest.

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  7. @ 9:57...I think your advice better suits you. Traitor!

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  8. I'm just curious. If we have this much division and issues with the kikobots/neocats here in Guam, is it possible that our neighbors in Saipan could be experiencing the same problems? Then again, they don't have a bishop!

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  9. Dear Tim:

    Found this online. Is it possible that this can facilitate "that we may all be ONE?"

    Pope Francis: There is no room in the Church for ecclesial elites
    Published on Jan 29, 2015

    Click here to receive the latest news: http://smarturl.it/RomeReports
    Visit or website to learn more: http://www.romereports.com/

    During his Thursday morning Mass, Pope Francis focused on Salvation. He said Christians are saved individually, but always inside God’s community, meaning the Church.
    POPE FRANCIS
    “There’s the danger of forgetting that He saved us individually, but at the same time as part of His people and community. His people. Let’s care for one another. Salvation is not just for me. If that’s the way I understand salvation, I’m wrong and I’m following the wrong path. The privatization of salvation is the wrong path.”
    The Pope then added that the Church does not have room for so called ecclesial elites.
    EXCERPTS OF THE POPE’S HOMILY
    (Source: Vatican Radio)
    “It’s true, Jesus has saved us all, but not in a general fashion. All of us, each one with their name and surname. And this is our personal salvation. I am truly saved, the Lord looked at me, gave his life for me, opened this door, this new life for me and each of us can say ‘For me.’ But there’s a danger of forgetting that He saved us individually but at the same time as part of his people or community. His people. The Lord always saves his people. From the moment he calls Abraham and promises to make them his people. And the Lord saves us as part of this community. That’s why the writer of this Letter (to the Hebrews) tells us: ‘Let us be concerned for each other.’ There is no salvation solely for me. If that’s the way I understand salvation, I’m mistaken and going along the wrong path. The privatization of salvation is the wrong path.”
    “And when I’m in a parish, in a community or whatever it is – I am there, I can privatize salvation and be there only on a small social level. But in order not to privatize salvation, I need to ask myself if I speak and communicate the faith, speak and communicate hope, speak, practice and communicate charity. If within a particular community there is no communication between people and no encouragement is given to everybody to practice these three virtues, the members of that community have privatized their faith. Each of them is looking for his or her personal salvation, not the salvation of everybody, the salvation of their people. And Jesus saved all of us but as part of his people, within a Church.”
    “They scorn the others, they stay away from the community as a whole, they stay away from the people of God, they have privatized salvation: salvation is for me and my small group, but not for all the people of God. And this is a very serious mistake. It’s what we see and call: ‘the ecclesial elites.’ When these small groups are created within the community of God’s people, these people believe they are being good Christians and also are acting in good faith maybe, but they are small groups who have privatized salvation."

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  10. Dear Tim:
    Have you read the latest ? Excerpt from
    www.vaticaninsider.com The Pope’s speeches
    02/10/2015
    Vatican: Homily should not be an abstract or moralist sermon.

    Pope Francis
    The “Homiletic Directory”, a a 156-paragraph handbook on how to prepare and deliver good homilies, was presented in the Vatican this morning. “Many concerns have been expressed about this important ministry, and we cannot simply ignore them” Francis said
    iacopo scaramuzzi
    vatican city

    Homilies are “not sermons on an abstract theme” nor are they an occasion for the preacher to address issues that bear no relation to the liturgical celebration and its readings or to abuse the texts of the Church, distorting them in order to make them fit a preconceived idea.” They are not “simply an exercise of biblical interpretation”, “they must not be used by the preacher as a moment of personal testimony”, “they must not simply tell the preacher’s personal life story,” nor must they be “purely moralistic or indoctrinating”. Today the Vatican presented a “homiletic directory”, created by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which since November has need headed by Guinean cardinal Robert Sarah. The publication process was hastened under Pope Francis’ pontificate. The text was in fact published last December and work on it started during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, when Spanish cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera was at the dicastery’s helm. The handbook, which contains 156 paragraphs and two appendices, is addressed to all bishops, priests and seminarists around the world and gives.............

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    1. I wonder if presbyter Jucutan has the handbook for his homily this weekend. His homily for the evening mass last Sunday started off using John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever (must be the Neos' theme song) as a reference. The snickering among the congregation was barely contained.

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