Posted by LaPaz, Jungle Watch Correspondent from Spain.
It is an impossible task to find a bishop who, honestly, had read the called "Mamotretos" where neocatechumenal ideology is contained. Bishops use to know NCW by their external visual fruits, properly seasoned by numbers to express the marvel amount of them (Kiko is the King of Cuantity, the Lord of the Meeeellions).
If bishops could read by themselves those mamotretos, maybe they could iluminate us. Meanwhile, we need to find different ways to contrast what the NCW actually preaches with what does the catholic Churc actually teach. Please, our eminences, read, compare and choose by your own. The NCW boasts you, bishops, have the last word to say.
Here I bring a clarifying article to learn both, very helpful because offers the literal words of Carmen and Kiko from those original mamotretes. It is a long article, maybe to read in some parts. I hope some Guam neocatechumenals could read it to check if their faith fits with catholic Church faith.
Neocatechumenals, Sense of Sin and Confession
"Let’s look closely at Carmen Hernández’s preaching on Penance. (The quotes are from the Orientations for the Catechist Teams published in Madrid in 1972.)
“What I will say it is not a speech for the people, but a sketch that may serve as an inspiration to face the innumerable problems that may arise when dealing with the people. It will prevent complications, since the questionary on Penance may cause many discussions with the people.”
Carmen’s starting sentence takes for granted that her public will feel flattered for the confidence shown: Let’s feel at home, initiated to the secrets of Neocathecumenate. Listeners are already separated and distinguished from the vile populace, who doesn’t have the right to know everything. The same sentence has also a didactic goal: It suggests to the future “teachers”—the catechists—how to work.
“We don’t say anything about all this things to the people: We simply rethink the communitarian value of sin, its social nature, the power of the Church, etc.”
Why this secret? Because she’s aware of the fact that the doctrine she teaches is contrary to everything the Catholic Church ever taught and Catholics generally know. Secret in Neocatechumenal preaching is due to the awareness of its initiators to preach a doctrine that is not Catholic.
“There was quite only a mortal sin for the primitive Church: apostasy, that is, the rejection of the Way or the escape from it, because people, when they are walking through the Way, are weak and fall, but they won’t abandon the Way. [...] That’s why the primitive Church didn’t demand self-examination at the end of the day—it was introduced by the Jesuits only later—but in the morning, when the believer awakes, because to convert is to stand before God when you start walking.”
(Every reflection on the behavior of believers and their responsibleness is avoided: That means that no accent is stressed on responsibility.)
Note that the Christians of the primitive Church risked to die in the arena if they didn’t surrendered to apostasy. Therefore, it is natural that this was their great trial, their great temptation: That to become apostates. This was their greatest risk, greater than any other sin: Whence the importance of the problem. But this doesn’t mean that the Christians in the catacombs consideration—for example—adultery a light sin.
Carmen asserts that the primitive Church had a conception of the sin completely different from the modern one, therefore the conception of the Sacrament of Penance was different, too...
“We must explain that, after Constantine, the Church turned into the Church of the mass, losing the sense of community. There’s not a community walking in a process of constant conversion under the impulse of the Holy Spirit anymore. People who individually commit a sin, individually are absolved and then receive Communion. But we don’t see the conversion of a whole community that recognizes itself sinner.”
Then, she draws an opposition between two Churches: The sacramental (before Constantine) and the juridical one (after Constantine), that, institutionalizing itself, becomes juridic and starts considering sin a violation of low that requires a legal punishment.
Do you know anything more false than that? Even if a certain juridical attitude pervaded the past century, we’re far away from this conception of sin that—as the Church always taught us—means primarily to oppose to God, to walk away from His project over us and cause mainly our ruin, besides the social implications it has. On the contrary, according to Carmen sin always has only a communitarian value.
“That’s why the primitive Church didn’t demand self-examination at the end of the day—it was introduced by the Jesuits only later—but in the morning, when the believer awakes, because to convert is to stand before God when you start walking.”
It’s blatantly evident that, eliminating self-examination at the end of the day you eliminate the sense of responsibility and the examination of what you have concretely done—for good or for bad—, standing before the Lord and accepting your own reality.
At the beginning of the day you can make good propositions while the examination has to do with your actual situation, not to leave it as it is, but to try to change it with the help of the Sanctifying Grace, that has no right of citizenship in the NCW.
“People ask if it is possible to offend only God. We pose this question because we have a vertical, individualistic conception of sin: We are those who offend, particularly God, as if sin were an offense to God, or we could steal God’s Glory. Let’s suppose that we can harm God. The first thing we must consider is that it’s not possible to harm God: He cannot be offended stealing His Glory to Him: That would mean that He is vulnerable, so that He wouldn’t be really God.”
As an unqualified theologist, Carmen doesn’t even distinguish God’s intrinsic Glory—that is invulnerable, infinite and immutable—from God’s extrinsic Glory—that can be greater or lesser, and can be diminished by human sins. That’s why Saint Ignatius chose for the Society of Jesus the motto “Ad maiorem gloriam Dei”, stating that it must fight for the “Greater glory of God”.
After all, we can notice how the sin somehow bans from the realities of individual and collective history the “Presence” of the Lord; it is sufficient to observe the void and the many human and social tragedies in a world where the sense of sin is lost. Sadly, the sense of sin as an individual responsibility was lost because many people failed to answer God’s constant call to conversion and to the project He has for anybody of us.
This doesn’t exclude a communitarian and social context nor our responsibility towards our neighbor, provided that all is based on the ME-and-YOU relationship that all creatures have with their Lord; this relationship may enrich itself in a communitarian context (the word ek-klesía designates the Church of those who gather in community in the Lord) so that it may act then in the interpersonal relations and in the individual and collective choices, but—first of all—it is a full, profound, individual relationship, not a symbiotic union with the group.
The Lord created and wants to establish a relationship with individuals, not with puppets. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a living heart who rejoices for the good deeds we do and is saddened by the sins. In this sense, sin is an offense, certainly it is! Besides offending the Supreme Good, it shatters the communion between man and God, so—without turns of phrase—it also offends human dignity since man is the temple of the living God. It’s a double offense, then. Of course, sin also has a social repercussion, but this is another level that doesn’t replaces but adds itself to the individual one.
The very same Jesus, in the Gospel, says: “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.” Therefore, it there will be rejoicing, there will also be sadness if we don’t walk on the right path. We should consider then the fact that every sin is a nail knocked into the Cross of Jesus, where the Saviour didn’t rejoice, but cried in agony, and suffered because of so much indifference. How couldn’t He suffer still because of the sins we still commit?
Let’s remember Saint Francis’ cry through the forest of La Verna: “Love isn’t loved.” He shouted at the top of his voice, and probably he suffered, too, after having experienced that love in his life.
Evolution of the forms of the Sacrament
“Through the centuries, the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance has developed in different forms, but it has always kept the same basic structure: it necessarily entails not only the action of the minister – only a Bishop or priest, who judges and absolves, tends and heals in the name of Christ – but also the actions of the penitent: contrition, confession and satisfaction.” [John Paul II’s Motu Proprio Misericordia Dei]
Note that the Pope affirms that an evolution of in the expressive forms of the celebration of the Sacrament has developed, but the Church “has always kept the same basic structure” of the Sacrament, that includes:
- The action of a minister who judges and absolves.
- The actions of the penitent, that include contrition, confession and satisfaction.
According to the Pope, the Church preserved this structure because nothing must change in it; instead, Carmen says that it is the conception that people has about the sacrament what has evolved, and that is quite different from what the Pope says.
It is exactly this evolutionary conception of faith, dogmas and sacraments that makes of Neocatechumenate a modernist heretical movement.
About Penance, it is known that Neocatechumenals essentially stress the communitarian, public confession of sins, rather than the confession given to a priest. Furthermore, in the communitarian (not sacramental) confession, that is done during the ‘Scrutinies’, it is the catechist, not the presbyter, who questions and gives spiritual guidance to the members of the Way.
We saw that Carmen affirms that “sin has only a social dimension; therefore, repentance will also have to do with society.” According to her, it is not God who is offended, but the Community, therefore it is the Community that will forgive and absolve. This would not important, though, since “we have already been forgiven by Jesus.” According to the founders of the NCW, the real dimension of sin is the social one, never the individual one; furthermore, according to Kiko, man would be forced to sin: “his nature could never permit him to do the good. Every effort to emend himself would therefore be vain.”
Not to speak about the radically pessimistic conception of the founders of the NCW about the ability of man to avoid evil and freely choose his own life; according to Kiko and Carmen, conversion consists just in the (public) acknowledgement of the faults committed and in the total trust in the salvific power of the Resurrected Christ, rather than in the repentance of having offended God and the proposition to emend ourselves, which actually is the fufillment of the Redemption operated by Christ.”
As a consequence, it would be senseless to insist on Penance because sanctity is allegedly impossible. The influence of the Lutheran ‘fiducial faith’ is evident: The ‘works of Faith’ are not those who arise from the hearth redeemed by the Lord, to which the life of faith inside the Church gradually gives the same Grace it receives by the Sacraments, but those of people who “crede fortiter”—that is, who believes more intensely. In the case of the NCW, salvation is guaranteed by the affiliation to the Way, whose members remain inexorably sinners, without feeling nor living the responsibility of the ‘answer’ and the effort of the ‘transformation’, that is an effect of Redemption.
This is the way how Carmen—more evidently still—destroys the Sacrament of Penance:
“With the Council of Trent and by the XVI to the XX century, all stands still. Confessionals appear, but this little houses are very recent. The need for confessionals arises when the form of private, medicinal and devotional confession introduced by the monks is generalized. ... It is Saint Charles Borromeus who places confessionals everywhere, specifying even the details of the grille. ... Now you will understand that many of the things Luther said were well founded.”
“But in Trent the essence, the efficacy is stressed, and the sacramental value of the sign is lost. As things stands, it’s all the same to receive communion with the bread or with the host that doesn’t seams bread anymore but a leaf of paper; it’s all the same that just one instead of everybody drinks the wine, since essentially the sacrament is performed.”
“Therefore, the efficacy of the sacrament of Penance to forgive sins ant the absolution are absolutized. The confession acquires a magical meaning so that the absolution alone is sufficient to forgive sins. The absolution forgives your sins and you don’t worry anymore.”
“That’s how we lived confession: Stressing the absolute efficacy of the sacrament we lose sight of the sacramental value that makes us apt to receive forgiveness, which remains in the background while the foreground is occupied by the simple confession of sins and by the absolution. Confession turns into something magical or private: This is still true today. We inherited a legalist conception of sin that doesn’t care about our inner attitude: It only cares about the external and detailed confession of every kind of sins. It’s an individualistic, completely ‘private’ vision of sin. The Church disappears since it is one man who forgives your sins. Now you can understand why this practice is crumbling. That is why we call it ‘confession’. Nobody mentions the penitential or the sacramental process. The practice of confession is crumbling because today humankind is walking towards social and communitarian—rather than legalistic and individualistic—visions of sin. That’s why people feels free to receive communion without confession.”
“Many would prefer general absolutions to personal confession because the latter is obnoxious. … You have not to believe that this would be something new, because Pious XII already accepted to give general absolutions, during the war, to all the soldiers. The greatest liturgists say it’s good that this custom didn’t spread because it would have completely destroyed Penance, turning it in something magical. The value of the rite lays not in absolution—since we are already forgiven in Jesus Christ—but in making the believer able to receive the forgiveness, which is what the NCW wants and is the penitential process of the Primitive Church.”
“You feel forgiven in the deepness of your heart when you feel in communion with your brothers. That’s why the hug of peace is important … What we do is to recover step by step these values of the sacrament of Penance, although we still do the private confession that is still in use.”
“You‘re a slave of Evil: You’re a slave of the Devil and obey to his concupiscence and his orders.”
“This is the reality of man: He wants to do good, but he can’t. Marxism would say that he can’t because he’s alienated by the structures … Psychology … because of his complexes. That doesn’t convince me. Christianity says another thing: God revealed the reality of man in this way: MAN CANNOT DO GOOD BECAUSE HE SEPARATED HIMSELF FROM GOD, BECAUSE HE SINNED AND REMAINED RADICALLY IMPOTENT AND INCAPABLE, AT THE MERCY OF THE DEMONS. HE TURNED INTO A SLAVE OF THE DEVIL. THE DEVIL IS HIS LORD. (That’s why demanding suggestions and sermons are useless. Man cannot do good.)”
“It’s totally useless to tell the people that they must love. Nobody can love anybody … Who can lose his life for his enemy? … It’s absurd. And who’s responsible for this? Nobody. That’s why words are useless. It’s useless to say: ‘Sacrifice yourselves.’ If somebody tries to do it, he turns into a pharisee, because he will do it for his personal satisfaction.” [Sometimes that could be true, but these are degenerations and the Church teaches how to avoid them. Though, Carmen absolutize them in order to justify her devious teachings.]
“One observes himself and realize to be a lazy person who considers a burden even to attend Mass on Sunday and who feel sad noticing he’s unable to change. At least he will try to do some good deed in order to deserve Paradise. He cannot do more because he’s deeply corrupted. He’s a carnal creature, he cannot avoid to steal, quarrel, be jealous, envy, etc. He cannot do otherwise and he’s not guilty of it.”
“The Spirit that Jesus will send is not a Spirit of good deeds and loyalty to the dead Christ.” [She doesn’t recognize that the good deeds are the “works of faith” that spring from a Redeemed heart, as is explained below.]
“Those who sin live in death. Not because they’re evil, because they wanna do evil. Natural religiousness believes that life is a test, that you may sin or not. That’s false: Man sins because he can’t do otherwise, because he’s a slave of sin.”
These statements destroy the true sense of sin in those who accept them. It’s incredible to think that such individuals lurk into the Church and that the Hierarchy doesn’t stop them.
Neocatechumenals use to say—in order to claim their trustworthiness and to defend themselves from the accuses of heresy—that “Kiko didn’t invent anything, he just took those elements of the millenary history of the Church that he considered to be the best, as every religious order does, after all.”
That’s false: Apart from the fact that he doesn’t belong to a religious order, Kiko didn’t take what the millenary history of the Church offered to him: Indeed, he rewrote it, harshly criticizing it. (This can be easily understood by reading the “Orientations”, that are often quoted, or the catechesis.)
Neocatechumenals say that the sacrament of Penance was instituted only in the XIII century, which is truth, but doesn’t justify destructive criticisms, because it is rooted in the institution of the Church, in the faculty of “tying and untying” established by the Lord, in the “diakonia of Reconciliation” that Saint Paul mentions in 2 Cor 5:17-21); furthermore, they state that the sacrament of Penance is only a reconciliation with the Church, so that no absolution would be needed: It would be sufficient for the believers to feel in peace and in communion with their brothers; the sacramental confession would be then doomed, since it is the community that absolves:
This is the true meaning of the “sign of peace” and the “foot washing” they celebrate on Holy Thursday, without a priest! Indeed, the Sacrament operates the reconciliation with God (the reconciliation with the others and the events it’s the consequence); that is made possible by the priests who acts in persona Christi.
These are the teachings of the Church.
Actually, Kiko narrates the history of Penance since a particular moment then firmly repudiates private confession, even mocking it and defining the confessionals with irony “wooden logs”. “Don’t laugh because this happened also to me, confessing every poppycock.” (He refers to venial sins.) “They reached the point where they confessed their sins just for their personal sanctification, which is still done today.” In the catechesis there’s a point in which Kiko makes simple people take the bait by saying: “… people think that even the confessional was invented by Jesus Christ.”
Confession as it is conceived is not good. Kiko says again: “When you confess your sins you come back home untroubled. Private confession marked us in this way. However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the spiritual effects of confession saying that it confers peace, quietness of conscience and spiritual consolation. If the sinner didn’t offend God, contrition, personal pain, doesn’t have any sense at all.”
“It‘s so curious the idea—that is still alive—that you have to confess before the Communion. That’s how we have lived Penance: for the efficacy of the sacrament!”
“Actually, the Church is not really present: It’s just a man who forgives your sins.”
Then, Kiko denies not only the purpose of the sacrament of Penance, but also the role of the ordained minister, that is conferred to him by the person of Christ. In the NCW past, present and future sins are forgiven from the beginning. However, this concept is not catholic.
Essentially, Kiko refuses private confession, devotional confession, spiritual direction and Penance as an medium of sanctification: According to him, these would be all nonsenses that have to be abandoned. It’s sufficient to receive this gratuitous forgiveness: “Don’t say anything about this to the people!”, it’s what he says and repeats when he talks about the selling of assets, that he puts as a condition to continue following the Way to the higher levels, in order to access Salvation. Kiko is aware to follow a wrong path, so he recommends not to mention to anybody these facts, “because you would arise a lot of troubles.”
One of the most frequent ways in which the NCW celebrates the ‘confession’ of sins and weaknesses is coram populo: It is a way to mark every step to a higher level and it’s unquestionably a mimicking of the true sacrament of Penance.
Starting from what we pointed out, we can undoubtedly observe that even a cheap psychologist respects the “times” of a patient to let him open his heart and his soul (let’s call it subconscious or that problematic, conscious part of mind). Everybody nurtures a great discretion when he must ‘bare’ himself: It is difficult to do it even when we are willing to put ourselves seriously heart by heart with the Lord.
Those execrable choral pleading of guilty seem a form of autoflagellation. Sometimes we may suspect that those who are more weak by a psychological point of you could even exaggerate their faults.
How can we reasonably think that this is not insane?
I still remember the hammering recommendations of the catechists before the individual confessions: “Be clear and synthetic, don’t waste time with chitter-chatter, confess your sins defining them exactly and don’t be uselessly wordy!” I still remember how do I felt void when I tried to approach the presbyter—after this reprimand—while the assembly sang out to cover my words, I still remember how paranoid was my dialog with the priest, that couldn’t be considered a real reconciliation with God and the brothers.
We couldn’t but recognize that what the catechists said was contrary to the teachings of the Church, first of all because confession is not a list of sins. To confess your sins, you have to scrutinize yourself first and be able to recognize what lies behind the recurrent error you commit. (I call it an ‘error’ rather than a sin in order to soften that somber atmosphere of guiltiness, but I don’t want to belittle responsibility.) Then, we should also look to the innermost depths of our soul with the eyes of God’s mercy: The Lord said “I didn’t came to condemn, but to set you free!” Obviously, our good will, the help of the Lord, prayer and Eucharist are also necessary. However, every confession is a further step towards the knowledge of our self in the light of the Word and the glance of the Lord.
Then, when we talk more extensively, we’re not “wordy”: We just pull out of our hearts the obstacles, the problems, the anguishes in a rational and conscious way. That’s exactly what helps us growing our faith and becoming better persons. Confession is not a self-accusation (do we remember who the Accuser is?), but the serene and conscious—though it is full of contrition for out sins—discernment of our inner reality that transforms our behavior and helps us finding the way to overcome our difficulties and faults, together with our good will, the suggestions we receive from the priest and the indispensable help of Grace.
Maybe we often forget—and the NCW won’t teach it to us—that confession is not just confessio vitae—that is, the identification of our difficulties and faults but also of the progresses we make with the help of Grace and of our life of faith, essentially the assessment of our toil and of the joy we experience being men and women who constantly follow a path—but it is also confessio laudi—the recognition of the marvels that God operates in our lives and the praise to Him—and confessio fidei—that is, the proclamation of our faith, our trust, our answer to the Lord.
The Church has never urged, promoted or permitted in any form of celebration the public confession or witness. (We don’t have any example of it even in the Church of the origins or—as somebody improperly call it—in the Primitive Church.)
When the Samaritan came back to her people after Jesus gratuitously healed her by Sicar’s well, she cries her experience of faith; however, she obtained her healing before, in a single instant, in her individual, ‘secret’ experience with Him.
To belittle, twist, dilute, falsity (that is, to use collaterally or even in substitution of the sacramental confession a mystagogy both of confession as a public witness of faith and as a group pedagogy for the assembly) is not ‘catholic’.
In any case, we’re dealing with different realities.
Neocatechumenal baptism is given by the community at the end of the Way, neocatechumenal eucharist is received by the community, the pardon of sins is given by the neocatechumenal community.
”¡NO HAY VIDA CRISTIANA SIN COMUNIDAD!” (THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN LIFE WITHOUT COMMUNITY!...OR NO COMMUNITY, NO FAITH)
Kiko may not eliminate the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church yet, even if he deems them “magical”, not to risk to be excluded from the Church itself. He may not eliminate them… by the moment. He says that the very same concept of Sacrament that the “Sunday morning Catholics” have is wrong: It is “magical”, and it will disappear. He thinks it’s just a matter of time: Sooner or later Sacraments and Dogmas will fall and yield to a new church.
Neocatechumenals consider individual confession merely as a formal procedure that the Pope forces them to accomplish, while the true forgiveness is obtained with the confession in front of the community.
Praxis defeats theory.
The psyche prevails on the spirit.
Neocatechumenals ‘feel’ they’re baptized, ‘feel’ forgiven, ‘feel’ in communion only through the community; communitarian events give them ‘feelings’ that need a perennial renovation, the exaltation and the ‘joy’ of the elected ones. It’s a religious ‘sentiment’ rather than a deep disposition of hearth, that is the ‘place’ of the ultimate decisions: Reason and will are divested of authority, used only when it is necessary to submit to the guidelines of the catechists and the rules of the NCW. It’s a very subtle relativism that cut itself out of the roots of Tradition".