Today I bring the translation of a sad testimony of a neocatechumenal young woman written on a Facebook group and published by Valentina Giusti, a former member and active writter in Neocatecumenali's blog.
"The story told, no more sad and deplorable than other stories of abuses in the so-called 'safe places' frequented by children (schools, sports groups, parish, family), it is interesting for us because it confirms how, inside the neocatechumenal communities, not only does not seem to be activated any protection for young people and children, especially when they are involved, as in this case, with "catechists" from a certain level, but rather, when the victim is left alone, isolated, and also faulted by those who, in this case, were responsible for the Neocatechumenal Way and priests, who supposedly should have helped her and have removed the 'wolf' from the flock ...
Here starts her testimony:
I was "born in the community" (as defined in the jargon used by catechumenal children born from parents attending the Way before their birth).
At 13 I went on the Way as it had been imposed by the heads of the first community.
At some point in my teens, when I was 17, I had a small problem -to my huge eyes but in fact, in hindsight, was part of the normal routine for a young girl- the responsible of my community decided I had to talk in confidence with the catechist of the region.
It was a great honor for me, as it was set in our neocatechumenal community life, since talking to your catechist meant to be such an elected.
However, beyond that, he began to phone insistently. I did not understand, I was confused, but not malicious. At least he was the catechist, such a god (almost, because the true "God" was named Kiko Argüello).
In the end I thought this catechist apparently charismatic, married and father of a high number of children...what could those insistent phone calls mean from him but help and support?
A month and a half later, maybe two, I forget ... once again the phone rang, I was a little nervous and a little stressed when answered the call; he was, he wanted to meet with me at the roundabout and going with him to a meeting in the parish church that night with the first community.
I trusted. I went to the damn meeting.
He made me get into the car, I still thought -buried by my catechumenal naive- that was a kind of honor and, despite the strange and sudden of the encounter, he still wanted to give me some support. The first signs which my body and my psyche gave me were such a set of chills and confusion that I felt when he hold my hands. They were freezing, I remember perfectly the chill emanating from my hands while resting uneasily on my own legs.
"Your hands are freezing," he said. I looked at him sideways, I think I figured only at that moment that something was not right, that the established patterns were skipped.
The discomfort haunted me but nevertheless I had a small flame of incautious hope. .
He hold my hand. He drove down a dirt road. He turned off the machine. I looked around ... only vegetation and nothing more. Not a living soul ..... Here is a bit' difficult to continue, my heart beats wildly.
So ... I turned around and I noticed he had his pants down to his ankles. He must have done it in a nano second, I had not noticed anything, or maybe it was because my perception of time was gone. Yes, because I can not quantify the damn time spent in that moment. With his strong hand lowered my head (I do not tell the details because I feel a great discomfort), I felt disgust and helplessness. He tried to kiss me, I do not know how but with his strength he succeeded, he tried to touch me ... He lowered my head again, and there my nightmare ended... so I thought.
We did not speak, he took me back home. He told me that the Lord was using those devious means for our eyes to lead us through them to our happiness; He said he would do whatever my wish come true and whatever which came out of his mouth and any action he perpetrated were inspired by God.
Yes, in fact that was all I had learned in the Way. The catechists were superior beings ... inspired by God and Kiko.
Unfortunately my nightmare would be further darkened.
I told my responsible all what had happened, he was looking at me strangely, while flourished in his mouth a faint smile.
"Look," he said "I think Mark [Invented name]" has acted in this way because there is a purpose for your soul. A purpose of salvation ".
Honestly I had never understood that purpose of salvation, although I had heard it 1,000 times during communion and convivences (NT: I do not understand well that sentence in original text, sorry).
However I felt bad and almost guilty, guilty for my feelings of sadness and distress to an event which according to Mark was God's plan for my life.
I tried to distract me, to think on something else ...
In a few time I was 18, maybe two or three months after that event but the phone calls did not cease, as well as my feeling of subjugation, which always led me to answer the phone ... anytime.
The communities of our country and other communities of other parishes organized a convivence [... ..] there were several buses full of catechumens, mostly young people, ready to face this experience. There would have a "head" responsible for every bus group. I discovered that our "head" was just MarK ... We stayed in the hotel, I tried not to think about my embarrassment and my discomfort, nor my grief and my sadness.
I was trying to be the girl that you ever photographed here and there with his friends ... I tried to grab that little normalcy that had been torn away until that evening; while we boys and girls were all there together in one room for chatter and socializing, my phone started ringing.
I felt lost when reading his name.
I was like an ominous premonition. I answered while going on my way to the bathroom (It was forbidden by the Supreme catechist to talk among us, according to him God acts in silence, not in chaos). (N.T.: I do not understand the original sentence, sorry)
He told me to go to his room, because it was the right thing morally ... and in that context I believed him.
I greeted my friends and I walked out of that room so sure for me, then I went down the stairs, almost hoping he just wanted to talk to me, tell me something concrete and reassuring ... but it was not.
In retrospective it was not common to go by night to the room of a man ... Today he is a man, but not that night! He was an infamous beast! Then, however, was my catechist inspired by God.
I found him waiting for me outside, he behaved as if he was checking the corridors as a responsible and adult catechist who controls his boys. petty mask that he always wore. He made me enter into his room ... [...]
I can not even handle my testimony because of that evil imposed on me by a person who claimed to be inspired by God. Because of a Mxxxx! A relationship was imposed, I was raped ... I do not remember why I found myself on the ground, did I fall? Did I try to escape?
I do not remember the exact moment of a blow that left me a black bruise the size for at least 20 days.
I do not remember many things but, unfortunately, I remember many others.
I remember that at last I rebelled, but he was stronger than me, I remember that I cursed him and saying that God was not this! That God was not dirt, and that God did not inspire certainly a beast to do despicable acts. Finally I opened my eyes and mind, but it was too late. I was in a physical subjugation situation that unfortunately did not allow to save me. The thought of that moment is so painful, both physically and mentally, I feel sorry for me and for the help I requested to my responsible and he did not granted. Mark was nervous, I was sad and battered.
I did not have the courage to talk to anyone.
I confessed to [...] and the priest gave me a Rosary inviting me to recite it. Well, more moral pain will come from the "kikiani" (people of Kiko).
I did not leave the Way but I was still dazed and with sad attending ...
The news on something special had happened with Mark and I started spreading, sadly in order to defend the Way and their loved catechist, then anybody wanted to talk to me. Yes, what had happened was extremely upsetting to them.
Kiko himself gave the order to the catechist and his family to leave our region and move into their original city.
For my community it was a shock and although someone had to shift the blame, that is, to me (even though common sense would have to get them to reflect on the fact that Mark could have done something serious to be turned away so urgently. They were not not even been 15 days since that tragic event.
One evening there was a meeting with a prominent priest in the region, who many often had accompanied Mark and his family to convivences. He also participated, even when our priest was extremely catechumenal. Each one in turn spoke about the experiences or problems we faced as a community.
My turn came, I expressed my discomfort about the fact that no one had talked to me again, I felt estranged from a world to which I belonged since my birth and from those "brothers", even "friends" who I had met growing up, who had abandoned me. Today I even would say that it was truly bullying.
That elected and pedantic priest said it was my fault, that such things happened because I had not been able to handle those situations and events and then everything happened because of my only fault.
I was intensely angry, I wept like a child, I was going to say what had really happened. The priest noticed it and suddenly stopped me and standing up and blessing me I was categorically stopped. Not a word of support, not a hug ... after everything I'd been through, only indifference.
Then all finished and the new responsible woman took me with the priest of our parish, in a trice he had taken refuge in his study. I was too sick.
I went in and started talking with him.
The responsible with her husband were behind the door. It was almost midnight.
I said to the priest, in a rage, despair and humiliation that I wanted to denounce the 'happened. I remember that he opened his eyes and rebuked me not to do it. What if the story had come to light so many believers would have stopped attending not only the Way but also the parish.
Exhausted, tired, humiliated and hopeless I went out. I could not wait that those responsible would take me home. I looked out, there were no people nor a car ... all were gone. I was alone, again the weight of the other's sin annihilated me.
I fell back in my sadness. I felt terrible ....
I started to walk towards the house, I saw in the distance, sitting at a bar owned by catechumens other relatives of their own responsible, my responsible, the old manager with whom I had confided at first and others.
They were talking about me, they spoke of the incident and all that I had experienced first hand and I was deeply affected.
I was devastated due to their gossiping ... I found myself alone in the dark.
I know that I had deliberately left alone.
I know that time God was with me, and from them was snaked Satan but all I know now as then, alone and desolate I walked the streets of my country deeply humiliated ...
I left the Way.
A priest from another city [.....], who knew all, attended a meeting in Rome with priests and catechists of a certain level, he reported that: Kiko said to Mark, with reproach and anger, that by his fault the Neocatechumenal Way had seriously threatened to close its doors!
There was a great outpouring of Kiko, not in defense of the victim or of the innocent, but in defense of his sect.
But what could I have ever imagined by him if not this? Basically just him triggered this damn mechanism". (The end)
Well. I recognize that translation and adaptation have been very difficult since the moment I do not speak Italian -although Spanish is "similar"- and the testimony has been written by a young woman who uses some expressions I do not understand. Anyway, I want to underline these ideas:
1. For nth times, the Way does not stay with the victims but with the abusers and with the NCW's structure self interest.
2. Without entering in the analysis of the facts, there were some different abuses rooted in a clear undue influence from an adult and responsible over a person who was under his spiritual care.
3. The Way, represented on each elected person on every gap of the structure (responsibles, catechists, priests), should be asked about moral responsability because of its duty "in formando et in vigilando" (in forming and in watching).
4. As with the catholic Church and sexual abuses, the way of facing this matter seems to be "the end justifies the means". Kiko thinks is better to sacrificate one person's faith than to loose some hundreds or thousands of neocatechumenal followers.
5. I wonder how many cases like this could have been silenced for decades. Each of us, former members, surely could remember how many times we heard bells but we never knew where...because Kiko and his upper super catechists always hide every little problem, every contrary view, every stupid mistake. Kiko knows everything and Kiko consents, by action or by omission.
Every time I heard bells and I wanted to know more, those people who had the knowledge of the facts and the names just kept silence, with the excuse of avoiding us scandals.
Although my problem with the Way was not related with sexual abuses, I understand perfectly the feelings described by this young woman: she was the scapegoat of the accumulated evil of the NCW in a certain moment in a certain time.
Nobody wanted to talk with her, it was too elocuent she was the personification of the enchained sins of many people who behaved in the bad wrong way. It is easier for a collective to focus the punishment in the weekest person. The "double victimization of the victim" phenomenon as always.
Her responsible was so taliban in his faith that he was able to understand a sin as God's Will (very usual among neocatechumenals). About that catechist, Mark, words are unnecessary. He reached a degree of sophistication according with his circumstances: super catechist, itinerant, responsible of evangelization, father of many children, a holy neocatechumenal husband...He had to invent a theory of why God allows us to sin and the more we sin, the greatest His Glory will be, in consonance with Kiko's stupid ideas and in consonance with the interpretation of sin made by the responsible of that young woman's community.
My conclusion goes in the same way as always: we only see the tip of the iceberg.
The NCW is rotten.
While some bishops and cardinals stay dancing and singing with Kiko and his money-music, it would be more difficult to sanitize it. The collapse will come anyway.
My fear is that maybe it will take place in the worst moment: when the catholic Church in our world is suffering the biggest crisis of credibility, when our western civilization is broken and while having yihadism ready to colonize ruined Europe.
Thanks to the young woman for her testimony. I wish she could know she is not alone.