Friday, March 13, 2015


This is a streamlined version of a previous post with the same title. While it may still seem technical, this question is at the heart of the division in this archdiocese and those who wish to seriously engage the division need to understand this question and its answer at its heart. While there are certainly many other areas where the NCW differs, the difference in the manner of the distribution is the most critical. This is for two reasons: 
  1. Only the Holy See has the authority to modify the Sacred Liturgy.
  2. The Sacred Liturgy is the "sacrament of unity" and the reception of Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity is the very zenith of that unity. 

  • Yes, insofar as it adheres to its 2008 Statute.
  • No, insofar as it departs from its 2008 Statute.
Let’s review:
  • In 2002, Pope John Paul II called on the leadership of the Neocatechumenal Way to submit its teachings and methods for review by church authorities.
  • The period of review was called “ad experimentum” and was to be a period of five years, from 2002 to 2007.
  • In 2002, the NCW submitted its Statute (rule) and its catechetical directory (teachings).
  • In 2005, after reviewing the liturgical practices of the NCW, the NCW leadership was ordered to cease distributing communion to communicants while seated and to conform their liturgy in general to the “liturgical books” (The Roman Missal and the General Instruction for the Roman Missal [GIRM]).
  • The NCW was given two years to make the transition.
  • The NCW did NOT make the transition and continued to celebrate their liturgy their way, justifying their disobedience by stating that the final statute (to be approved in 2008) would permit their practice. 
  • The final version of the Statute, approved in 2008, did NOT permit their practice.
  • The NCW continues to violate the liturgical books, specifically in its communion rite, as follows:
  1. The priest/celebrant does NOT communicate before distributing the Sacred Host to the communicants.
  2. The communicants do NOT consume the Sacred Host upon reception, but sit and wait till all members of the community have received, and then consume together upon a signal from the celebrant.
The variations are “illicit” and break communion with the Church.

When confronted, the only reasons given for the continued illicit practice are:
  • “Rome has permitted this.” - as stated by Archbishop Apuron though he has never produced the evidence, and
  • “Rome knows we do this.” This is an admission that they know this practice is not permitted but they will continue to do it anyway.
For those who want to be able to explain this to others, hard evidence is needed. Following is a copy of the relevant sections of the Statute showing the practice in 2002 and the elimination of the practice in 2008.

2002 Statute (Before Approval)
Art. 13 § 2. The neocatechumens celebrate the Eucharist in the small community in order to be gradually initiated into full, conscious and active participation in the divine mysteries, according also to the example of Christ, who, in the multiplication of loaves, made the people sit down “in groups of fifty” (Lk 9:14). This custom, consolidated in the more than thirty-year old praxis of the Way, has born rich fruit.

§ 3. In consideration also “of specific formative and pastoral needs, taking account of the good of individuals or groups, and especially of the fruits which may be derived from them for the entire Christian community”, the small neocatechumenal community, with the  authorization of the diocesan Bishop, celebrates the Dominical Eucharist after first Vespers open also to other faithful.

2008 Statute (With Approval)
Art. 13 § 2. The neocatechumens celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in the small community after the first Vespers of Sunday. This celebration takes place according to the dispositions of the diocesan bishop. The celebrations of the Eucharist of the neocatechumenal communities on Saturday evening are part of the Sunday liturgical pastoral work of the parish and are open also to other faithful.

§ 3. For the celebration of the Eucharist in the small communities the approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite are followed, with the exception of the explicit concessions from the Holy See. Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the  neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining at their place. 

The 2002 Statute, written by Kiko Arguello, explicitly directs the people to sit down.

The 2008 Statute, revised and approved by church authorities, eliminates the reference to sitting down and simply requires the neocatechumens to celebrate according to the "approved liturgical books of the Roman Rite."

The only exception permitted for the neocatechumens, since the group is small, is to remain in their place instead of processing towards the celebrant.

The other "explicit concessions" are detailed more fully in a footnote. Those "concessions" are the exchange of the sign of peace before the offertory and the reception of communion under both species. (See footnote 49 below.)

49 See Benedict XVI, Speech to the Neocatechumenal Communities on January 12, 2006, in Notitiae 41 (2005), 554–556; CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter of December 1, 2005 in Notitiae 41 (2005), 563–565; “Notification of the Congregation for Divine Worship on celebrations in groups of the Neocatechumenal Way,” L’Osservatore Romano, December 24, 1988: “The Congregation consents that among the adaptations foreseen by the instruction “Actio Pastoralis”, nn. 6-11, the groups of the above-mentioned “Way” may receive communion under two species, always with unleavened bread, and transfer “ad experimentum” the Rite of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful.” (1)

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