Saturday, March 7, 2015

BE NOT AFRAID!

I was waiting to receive the expected barrage of "you lose" comments before I addressed the speech Pope Francis gave to the Neocatechumenal Way yesterday.

I wasn't disappointed. The viciousness, vindictiveness, and overall hate accompanying the "you lose" comments was a rousing testimony to the real fruit of the Neocatechumenal Way.

Meanwhile, for the intelligent, let's review:

The pope's meeting with the Neocatechumenal Way yesterday is nothing new. The leaders of the Way hold the event every year. On the right sidebar - with the short clip of Kiko railing about - is a link to an excerpt from last years meeting. The NCW has pretty much held this event every year since 1974.


There are over 100 officially recognized lay movements in the church, the NCW being only one of them - even though the NCW refuses to accept the label of "movement." And the pope meets annually with many of them.

In fact, two days earlier, Pope Francis met with 60 bishops who belong to a group called the "Bishop Friends of the Focolare". These are bishops who have chosen to live out their lives in union with the ideals of the Focolare movement. And while the NCW may have it's friendly bishops, there is no equivalent group of Bishop-Friends for the NCW. Obviously Focolare is much more respected by the world's bishops than is Kiko' s cult. 

The pope also meets annually with the leaders and members of the Focolare, their last meeting being on October 1, 2014. It's worth reading his comments to the members of the Focolare as they are almost exactly the same comments he shared with the NCW and with every group: urging its members to share the Gospel, to go out and engage, to be faithful to the Church, unity, etc.

It's also very similar to the same message he shared with all the ecclesial movements and communities at the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities on November 22, 2014.

Every group in the church, lay, religious, and clerical, has its issues. Because the pope has direct control over religious communities and the clergy, he can act quickly and disciplinary with them. With lay movements, the popes have been more careful. The popes do not have administrative authority over individual members of the laity as they do with clergy and religious, so they tend to address problems in a more positive fashion - encouraging them in the way they should go rather than publicly pointing out their errors. 

In fact, one of the matters positively addressed by the pope in his address to the Focolare movement was the recent overhaul they just did with their leadership. Apparently the previous leadership had gotten old and crusty and things were veering away from the group's founding charism, and so the group decided to renew itself by changing its leadership. 

Ecclesial groups, religious orders, and just about every kind of group in the church has a mechanism for this, but not so the Neocatechumenal Way. Kiko and Carmen saw to it that they were enthroned for life. But that's another matter.

The main point is that while our Kikos will go Kukoo over the few nice words thrown to them, there is no special conference of any significance to note. As just demonstrated, the pope says pretty much the same to every group.

HOWEVER, he DID say something very different to the Kiko's this time, and for anyone who knows, this was a big slap down of Kiko Arguello, and it was probably the pope's way of getting back at him for the way he was treated by Kiko at the same event last year (where the pope was made to sit in front of the whole world and receive a personal catechesis at the hands of Kiko).

Here's how the pope began his talk to the NCW:
Peter's task is to confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith. So you too have wanted with this gesture to ask the Successor of Peter to confirm your call, to support your mission, to bless your charism. And I want to confirm your call, support your mission and bless your charism.  I’m doing that not because I’ve been paid to: No!  (laughs) I’m doing it because I want to.  You will go forth in the name of Christ into the world to bring His Gospel: Christ will precede, Christ will accompany and Christ will fulfill the salvation of which you are bearers!
This was a direct hit on Kiko. Here's why:

Anyone who has ever engaged a kiko is usually given a lecture about how they were "sent here by the pope himself." This "sending by the pope" is the kiko's primary calling card. The main reference point for this "calling card" is this annual event where Kiko makes it look like the Pope himself has called the meeting and has personally selected the so-called missionaries and is himself sending them out to us heathens.

Pope Francis is a smart man, and as he has also shown, he is willing to go outside traditional papal decorum. A Benedict XVI would have quietly accepted last year's Kiko-lecture and perhaps tried to work with Kiko behind the scenes for what was truly a public humiliation of the pope, but not Francis.

Here he takes Kiko out at the knees. He lets the whole world know that he DID NOT call the meeting: 
"So you too have wanted this gesture to ASK the Successor of Peter to confirm your call, to bless your charism."
This had to be devastating for Kiko to hear and I'm rolling on the floor laughing (okay, maybe not on the floor). He is saying
"Look guys, not only am I not sending you anywhere, I didn't even call this little charade, and I'm not going to let you use me. Your Kiko-nut called this meeting and begged me to do this and I'm not going to let him get away with his bullcrap of making the world think that the pope is behind your deal. If you want me to bless your mission, okay, sure, I'll bless it, but don't screw with me, got it?"
He even goes on to underscore this point by mockingly suggesting that Kiko paid him to do it!
"I’m doing that not because I’ve been paid to: No!  (laughs) I’m doing it because I want to. "
The pope blesses hundreds of groups every year, you will not find any example of him even suggesting a joke about being paid to give a blessing. But he does so with Kiko!

So folks, I can't tell you how encouraging this talk was!

For anyone who has been following the NCW mess, this is a devastating address. And here's how you can tell. You will read and hear from the kiko's ONLY about all the positive things mentioned (stuff he says to everybody anyway). You will not read or hear about this extremely strange "welcome" where the pope specifically makes it known that the meeting was not his idea and then mocks the organizer by joking about being paid to do it. 

So many of you want to know why the pope just doesn't do something with these fools (Kiko and Carmen) and spare the church the agony of their continuing devastation. 

Here's the answer.

In the scheme of things, the Neo problem is really a very small one, and most of the world's bishops either have it under control or already have the authority to have it under control. The pope knows that controlling the neo is the bishop's job, and it even says so in their statute. 

Next, the pope has much larger issues in front of him, the absolute mess and in-fighting that is going on in the Curia and the crushing of Christianity in the Middle East by ISIS and now even a threat from ISIS to murder him. 

But closer to the point, as mentioned, the popes are normally quite careful with how they handle lay movements. They know the laity doesn't have to submit to them the way religious and clergy do. Thus they normally take a much longer view of how to handle problems, and the normal way is to let these movements either burn out on their own or naturally wind down to where their errors are of little effect.

However, as previously mentioned, with the NCW there is the added complication that Kiko and Carmen have (in their statute) set themselves up as "dictators for life". Whereas groups like the Focolare can renew themselves by electing new leadership (as can religious orders), the NCW has no such option.

Thus, Rome's only practical option to fix the NCW is to wait for its dictators-for-life to die. For us in Guam, unique in the world because of our bishop's membership in the group, that may seem like a very long time, but not for Rome. Meanwhile, let us accept this curse as an opportunity to grow ever stronger in our faith.

"Be not afraid." 

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