Once again, a primer on why the NCW "eucharist" is illicit. First, from The Diana
Let us use The Diana's rant for our own edification. First some definitions:
- Liturgical Books: Books published by the authority of a church, that contain the text and directions for the liturgy of its official religious services. For our purposes, "a church" is the Roman Catholic Church" - so called "Roman" because it is headed by the Bishop of Rome. The Liturgical Books of the Roman Catholic Church - specifically those which govern the Sacred Liturgy (The Mass) are two:
- Roman Missal: The book containing the prescribed prayers, chants, and instructions for the celebration of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church.
- General Instruction of the Roman Missal: The book governing the celebration of Mass of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church
- Roman Rite: The Rite of Mass in primary usage in the Western or Latin Church.
- Ordinary Form: The "Mass of Paul VI" first promulgated in 1969 and otherwise known as the "Novus Ordo," or "New Order" of the Mass, since it was "new" in 1969 versus the "usus antiquor" or the Mass of "ancient usage," which is today properly called the "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite."
- Licit: Lawful
- Illicit: Unlawful
Because the Neocatechumenal Way is under the governance of the Bishop of Rome and is governed by a Statute issued and approved by the same, the liturgy as celebrated in the Neocatechumenal Way is subject to same Liturgical Books as the rest of the Catholic Church "headed by the Bishop of Rome," namely: the Roman Missal and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).
The Holy See retains absolute and ultimate governance over the Sacred Liturgy. No priest, bishop, catechist, or well-meaning liturgy committee can add, delete, change, or modify a single word or rubric of the Missal or GIRM without explicit permission from the Holy See.
Certain Religious Orders, still subject to the Bishop of Rome, are permitted celebration of the Sacred Liturgy per their own rite. Examples are the Benedictine Rite and the Dominican Rite.
There are also, within the Roman Church, certain "uses," such as the Missal of "Anglican Use," more properly called "Divine Worship: The Missal," which contains the Sacred Liturgy as it is celebrated within the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, "a structure, similar to a diocese, that was created by the Vatican in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to become Catholic."
Everything within the Liturgical Books or the recognized rites and usages is lawful (licit). Everything outside them is unlawful (illicit).
As regards the Neocatechumenal Way, there is NO rite or usage permitted to them. Per Articles 12 and 13 of the 2008 NCW Statute, the NCW must follow the Liturgical Books of the Roman Rite. Pope Francis recently reminded Kiko Arguello of this in an instruction delivered to Kiko via the Office of the Vatican Secretary of State:
"...articles 12 and 13, read in their entirety, constitute therefore the regulatory charter of reference."
It is not for naught that Pope Francis inserted the words "read in their entirety." Obviously he is well aware of Kiko Arguello's picking and choosing what he wants to do and not do.
Article 13, Section 3 specifically addresses how the neocatechumens are to celebrate the Eucharist (the Sacred Liturgy):
§ 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.
So what are these "explicit concessions"?
First, notice the careful insertion of the word "explicit." Vatican language, especially as regards the celebration and governance of the Sacred Liturgy, is very precise - precisely because the Sacred Liturgy is the "source and summit" of our faith, and as such, must be severely guarded.
Also, we can here note, that the kiko's completely disregard the demand that "concessions" must be explicit. Their standard operating procedure is the exact opposite. They rely on "implicit" concessions. This is in extreme evidence when they resort to "the pope hasn't stopped us" as proof of official approval, which as you have long seen, is all they ever offer.
Yet, as you can clearly see, what the kiko's say, and what the Magisterial Church says, are two very different things. The Church which is subject to the Bishop of Rome requires liturgical concessions to be EXPLICIT (because the unity and the good of the Church relies on the unity of worship), while the kiko's hide behind "they haven't told us to stop," which is not even an implicit concession, but a childish tantrum.
Let us continue with the "explicit concessions" granted by the Holy See within the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way.
After the words "explicit concessions from the Holy See" as found in Article 13 § 3, is the footnote number 49. I will here copy the entire footnote:
49 See Benedict XVI, (1) Speech to the Neocatechumenal Communities on January 12, 2006, in Notitiae 41 (2005), 554–556; (2) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter of December 1, 2005 in Notitiae 41 (2005), 563–565; (3) “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.”
There are three documents referenced here. I have inserted in parentheses the numbers of each in the above copied footnote. Let's work from the bottom up beginning with:
(3) 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.”
As you can see, there are only TWO "explicit concessions": 1) a concession to "receive communion under two species (bread and wine - Body and Blood), and 2) to transfer “ad experimentum” the Rite of Peace to after the Prayer of the Faithful.”
BTW. Note the words "ad experimentum" regarding the "transfer" of the Rite of Peace. The "ad experimentum period began in 2005 and officially came to an end June 8, 2014, with the release of the instruction “The Ritual Expression of the Gift of Peace at Mass” (Prot. n. 414/14), requiring the Rite of Peace to remain in its usual place immediately before Holy Communion. The "ad experimentum" in the NCW Statute is not a reference specific to the NCW, but to the whole church. And with its expiration, the NCW is required to transfer the Rite of Peace back to where the Liturgical Books require it. However, enforcement depends on bishops. Therefore, the problem.
The reason these two explicit concessions are in a footnote is because these were concessions already permitted under the NCW's 2002 "ad experimentum" statute. This 2008 statute simply recognizes them. There is no new permission.
Now let us go to (2) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Letter of December 1, 2005 in Notitiae 41 (2005), 563–565.
Over the last couple years that we have been publicly engaging the liturgical practices of the Neocatechumenal Way, our friend Zoltan has repeatedly criticized me for bringing up the 2006 episode of Archbishop Apuron publicly criticizing the contents of this document on our local Catholic radio station as well as calling into question the "credentials" of its author, the Cardinal Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Francis Arinze. Zoltan's contention was that this was "old news" and that we had no business bringing it up over and over again.
However, as you can see, it is not "old news." The document which so troubled Apuron and which he publicly railed against is incorporated into the version of the NCW Statute which received final approval in 2008, which makes every bit of it absolutely relevant today. I can't help but recall Apuron's letters to the "Three Filipino Priests" in March of 2008 wherein he assured them that the Vatican would soon be approving Kiko's version of the liturgy, and then required them to say "Mass" for the neocatechumenal communities or "get out." You can read those letters here.
Two months later, of course, Apuron would be proved wrong. Kiko's liturgy was NOT approved and the 2005 instruction from the CDW, the one Apuron publicly rejected, was incorporated into the final May 2008 version of the NCW Statute in toto.
In this instruction - rejected publicly by Apuron - the Cardinal Prefect prefaced his points with the following:
Following the conversations with this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist in the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way, in keeping with the guidelines issued in the meeting with you on November 11 of this year, I am to inform you of the Holy Father’s decisions.
Obviously it is not the Cardinal Prefect who is speaking here. It is the "Holy Father" - at the time, Pope Benedict. And Apuron's calling the Cardinal's credentials into question and his objection to the instruction was a direct disobedience to the pope. The recording of this infamous episode and the transcript are available on this blog.
In the 2005 instruction, the Holy Father ordered the Neocatechumenal Way to cease distributing communion in a manner not consistent with the Liturgical Books:
As you can see, this is Point No. 5. There are altogether 6 points. Read the document for the rest.5. 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.
It was extremely revealing listening to Apuron (who was parroting Gennarini) turn the two year period of transition into a full-fledged approval for the manner in which the NCW distributes Holy Communion:
"We were granted two more years...it is the first time in the history of the church that we were given permissions for the variations that is (sic) being done in the Neo Catechumenal Way, officially by the pope." (Transcript/Audio)
Compare Apuron's statement to Giuseppe Gennarini's - made only a few days earlier to Zenit: "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 help contemporary man to better receive the grace communicated by the sacraments. 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."
Returning to Article 13 of the 2008 NCW Statute, there is one more sentence in § 3:
"Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion under the two species, the neocatechumens receive it standing, remaining at their place."
This is not an "explicit concession," it is an instruction, which is why it is incorporated into the main body of the Article and not a footnote. Prior to this, and as per the 2002 ad experimentum statute, the neocatechumens remained "seated" in their place.
True to his standard operating procedure, the slippery Kiko concocted a way where he could appear to obey but still do things his way. The neocatechumens sure enough stand to TAKE the "bread" (we don't know if Kiko believes it is the Body of Christ), but then they sit back down with the "bread" still in hand and do not consume it.
They do not consume it until the "bread" has been passed out to all and the "presbyter" himself sits down, "bread" in hand, and then consumes it, upon which the neocatechumens then consume.
Nowhere in the Liturgical Books or the 2008 Statute is this permitted. It is a blatant violation, a disobedience, an overt unlawful act, i.e. ILLICIT.
Note: Illicit does not mean invalid, though there is a very good possibility that if the presbyter believes "Jesus is a sinner." and therefore not God, as we heard the neo-priest-instructor teaching the permanent diaconate candidates say, then the NCW eucharist is also INVALID.
Let us now turn to the first document referenced in Footnote 49: (1) See Benedict XVI, (1) Speech to the Neocatechumenal Communities on January 12, 2006, in Notitiae 41 (2005), 554–556.
The instruction issued by Cardinal Arinze was sent to the the leadership of the Neocatechumenal Way on December 1, 2005. A little more than a month later, it must have been obvious to Pope Benedict that Kiko intended to discard the instruction - as did Apuron.
On January 12, 2006, at a meeting with the leadership of the NCW and several thousand neocatechumenals, Pope Benedict DIRECTLY referenced the "Arinze Instruction" and demanded that it be obeyed:
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.By faithfully keeping to every Church directive, you will make your apostolate even more effective, in tune and in full communion with the Pope and the Pastors of every Diocese. And in so doing, the Lord will continue to bless you with abundant pastoral fruits.
There is ZERO room here to equivocate or misinterpret.
• In speaking publicly about the instruction, Pope Benedict makes clear that the document was not some private letter from Arinze to Kiko as Gennarini and Apuron tried to construe it: "...it was supposed to be confidential, but like the NSA, was leaked to the press." - Apuron, Jan 2006 (Audio/Transcript)
• Pope Benedict also makes it clear that the letter was NOT from some rogue Cardinal, but from himself: "imparted to you in my name." In Apuron's 2006 KOLG propaganda speech, Apuron tried to discredit the instruction as the personal opinion of single Cardinal: "...and Arinze, to tell you the truth, is really not for the Way, and I don’t know what credentials he has..." - Apuron, Jan 2006
• Pope Benedict, speaking in strict but fatherly language, forbids the neocatechumenals to go outside the norms provided for what, and only what, has been "approved by the Church": I am sure you will attentively observe these norms that reflect what is provided for in the liturgical books approved by the Church.
• Pope Benedict seals his warning and makes the NCW's continued existence and effectiveness subject to the NCW's "faithfully keeping to every Church directive."
• Lastly, Pope Benedict reminds the NCW, and especially Kiko who is standing with him on the stage, that he and the bishops retain ultimate authority over the NCW requiring them to remain in "full communion with the Pope and the Pastors of every Diocese."
This last statement is not just an instruction to the neocatechumenals but to the bishops who are also standing on the stage during this address, some of whom the Pope knows have been compromised and have looked the other way at Kiko's liturgical aberrations as well as his questionable and secretive theology (which is Carmen's actually).
"The Pastors of every Diocese" is a direct reminder to the bishops that it is not the Pope's job to police the activities of the NCW, but as per the NCW's statute - which places its activities at the service of the bishop - it is the BISHOP who is the ultimate guardian of the NCW in each diocese, and it is the BISHOP who is responsible to see to it that the NCW communities "faithfully keep to every Church directive."
This is the answer to those who tell us to "write the Pope if we don't like it." Such a reply ignores the authority invested in the bishop of a diocese by virtue of his apostolic succession. It is rather comical to listen to Apuron's defenders rave about how wonderful he is and in the same breath bypass his authority - something they do continually.
The truth is, Apuron abdicated his episcopal seat the minute he publicly refused to recognize the authority of Pope Benedict in the instruction issued via Cardinal Arinze on December 1, 2005. And he continues to abdicate his authority every time he celebrates the illicit liturgy of the Neocatechumenal Way.
In addressing the abuses of bishops, Canon Law is deficient. This is probably due to the fact that the Bishop is supposed to be the arbiter and judge in his diocese. But what happens when the judge goes bad? In the matter of liturgical aberrations and even the celebration of unlawful liturgies, Rome does not have much of an apparatus for recourse when the perpetrator is a bishop. The only thing that can actually force Rome to act is a provable crime. But there is something else which can force Rome to act. It is something once called "People Power." And we are seeing it happen on the streets and in front of our churches: Real People Power.
But forcing Rome to act is not what we are after. Encouraging everyday Catholics to act is our goal, because in doing so, the message to the perpetrators and abusers who hide on the hill becomes louder than them. And, as we are now seeing, the gathering din has sent the bullies fleeing to the mountains. Apuron is only still here because he is not free to flee. He is being kept here by the same forces that have trapped him ever since he let the Gennarini-led Neocatechumenal Way into this diocese. And he has no defenders left except for the poorly-formed Edivaldo.
Meanwhile, all of this is for nothing if your faith is not strengthened and renewed - REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME. For getting you and your children to heaven is all that matters. Let us not win the battle while we lose the war. Take back your children. And I don't just mean from the neocats.