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CANONICAL STATUS OF NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY
Question from JUAN ALFEREZ on 7/4/2005:

I AM A MEMBER OF A PARISH WHERE THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY IS VERY ACTIVE. I URGENTLY NEED YOUR GUIDANCE IN RELATION TO HOW I SHOULD CHARITABLY YET JUSTLY CONFRONT THE PROBLEMS POSED BY THIS ECCLESIAL MOVEMENT, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEIR LITURGICAL PRACTICES ARE INTORODUCED INTO REGULAR PARISH MASSES. THIS GROUP ENGAGES IN VARIOUS PRACTICES WITHIN THEIR SPECIAL LITURGY THAT ARE REGULARLY CONSIDERED ABUSES, SUCH AS STANDING AT THE CONSECRATION, DECORATING THE ALTAR WITH FLOWERS, DANCING AROUND THE ALTAR, OR "TABLE" AS THEY CALL IT, AFTER MASS, ACCOMPANYING THE CHANTING OF THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER WITH GUITARS, TO NAME A FEW. I HAVE TRIED TO GET ANSWERS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES WITH NO SUCCESS. I NEED GUIDANCE ABOUT THEIR LEGAL STATUS WITHIN THE CHURCH BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE FALSE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THEM. PLEASE TELL ME WHETHER PRACTICES CONSIDERED ABUSES ELSEWHERE ARE LEGALLY TOLERATED BY THE CHURCH IN THE LITURGIES OF THE "WAY". I KNOW POPE JOHN PAUL II CELEBRATED MASSES WITH THEM, AND I ASSUME THE HOLY SEE IS AWARE OF WHAT THEY DO IN THEIR LITURGIES, BECAUSE THEY APPEAR TO BE HIGHLY ESTEEMED. MY CONSCIENCE REQUIRES THAT I KNOW WHETHER I CAN RIGHTFULLY SAY THAT WHAT THEY DO IS WRONG, OR WHETHER I MUST ACCEPT THAT, IN REGARD TO CERTAIN LITURGICAL ABUSES, THE CHURCH HAS MADE AN EXCEPTION FOR THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY, AND THESE ARE NOT, IN FACT, ABUSES - WHEN COMMITED BY THEM IN THEIR SPECIAL LITRUGIES. PLEASE ANSWER. GOD BLESS YOU.

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 7/9/2005:

The same liturgical norms apply to such movements as apply to all other situations. You have the right to express your concerns to your diocesan bishop and, failing any action on his part, to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

I am sorry to hear that members of the Neocatechumanal Way are engaging in such practices. Although my experience with the movement is very limited, I previously had the impression that they were a solidly Catholic group. Perhaps this is only representative of this individual branch of the association. I am not familiar with their particular constitution and norms which govern the association, but perhaps they have some superiors that can also be contacted about correcting such problems.

Val O. added this information:

You answered a question recently about the Neocatechumenal Way, stating that you had the impression that they were a a solidly Catholic group. Unfortunately, this is not the case. They have un-Catholic beliefs and practices. The REALLY solidly Catholic magazine "Christian Order" has two articles available on its website giving examples of this. They are: The Neocatechumenate: Testimonies www.christianorder.com/features/features_2000/features_feb00_1.html The Neocatechumenal Way -- A Fearful Danger to the Faith (by Father Enrico Zoffoli) www.christianorder.com/features/features_1995/features_apr95.html This group would seem to be an example of those who have "deceived the elect". The abuses noticed by your questioner are not the only problems, as you will gather from the title of the article mentioned above, and the problems are inherent in the group, not just in any "individual branch". As far as I know, the group has no canonical status, but has managed to spread all over the world. Complaining to the Bishop or the Vatican is, unfortunately, unlikely to have any effect, because the group is large and influential. But it could be tried. Avoid this group and spread the word about its errors and dangers.



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