New regime sparks unholy row at Aboriginal church

From The Independent in London, Published: 08 September 2006
By Kathy Marks in Sydney

A thinly attended Friday morning mass has just ended at St Vincent's Catholic church in Redfern, a deprived inner-city neighbourhood of Sydney. As the priest, Father Gerry Prindiville, hurries out, the front door opens to a colourful wave of humanity.

These are the parish's most needy: the homeless, the mentally ill, the down-and-outs, many from Redfern's sizeable Aboriginal community. Some used to attend mass, but now they come just for the free meals provided twice a week.

For 30 years, under Father Prindiville's predecessor, Ted Kennedy, St Vincent's was a refuge for broken people. Father Ted, as he was known, was passionate about social justice. He helped to set up Aboriginal housing and medical services in Redfern, where he is still revered.

But he also made himself unpopular with the Catholic hierarchy, particularly the present Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, an ultra- conservative. After Father Ted fell sick and died last year, Cardinal Pell replaced him with priests from the Neocatechumenal Way, a Spanish missionary movement committed to saving souls rather than changing society.

The move, which some denounced as provocative, has caused a rift between clergy and parishioners. The latter, who include a substantial number of middle-class Catholics drawn to Redfern because of Father Ted, say the "Neocats" have no interest in the area or its problems. The priests have been accused of showing disrespect to Aboriginal people and their traditions.

Now the faithful are fighting back. A few Sundays ago, Father Prindiville found a huge mural had appeared in the church overnight. Framed by indigenous totems including an emu and goanna, it reproduced a speech by Pope John Paul II in Alice Springs in 1986, in which he paid tribute to Aboriginal spirituality. The Pope told Aborigines: "Your dreaming is your own way to touching the mystery of God's spirit in you and in creation." Father Prindiville was furious. He called the mural vandalism.

Since then, relations have deteriorated. Father Prindiville scandalised worshippers by storming out half-way through one Sunday mass, calling it "too political". Prayers had been offered for Vietnam War veterans, and for Aboriginal stockmen who fought for land rights. After last Sunday's mass, a parishioner, Len De Lorenzo, stood to read a conciliatory letter. The priests walked out, with one seminarian making a two-fingered gesture.

Marnie Kennedy, Father Ted's sister, says parishioners had tried to talk to the newcomers. "Ted used to reach out to the Aboriginal people. These priests don't even want to meet them. They're only interested in evangelising."

For her, Redfern mirrors a wider struggle between liberals and conservatives in the church, with groups including the Neocats and Opus Dei used to clamp down on troublesome parishes.

For black parishioners, the mural has helped to restore the sense that St Vincent's is theirs. Ralph Townsend said: "It lets the Neocats know we're here, and they're not going to kick us out of our church."

It took weeks to plan the mural, and seven Aboriginal artists were involved. A nun let them into the church on the Saturday afternoon. Her brother, an off-duty policeman, kept watch. Scaffolding was wheeled in. Six hours later, the painting was complete.

The mural dominates the church interior. Behind the altar, are photographs of Father Ted and "Mum Shirl" Smith, an Aboriginal social worker. Father Prindiville took her picture down, but replaced it after angry protests.

The flashpoint was a wooden crucifix painted in the Aboriginal colours of red, black and gold, which local people placed on a small table by the altar. An assistant priest, Dennis Sudla, allegedly threw it across the floor, and smashed the table. Police were summoned.

Father Prindville objects to people calling out during prayers. But, Marnie Kennedy says, "that's the kind of parish we are, it's a place with a lot of suffering and shouting". Some parishioners also complained about a priest, Clesio Mendes, who enacted a crucifixion rite during the Good Friday service, calling out: "Daddy, Daddy, save me!"

Cardinal Pell told The Australian newspaper that he wanted St Vincent's to concentrate on religion rather than social work. "There's no long-term help for anyone in Redfern simply by handing out condoms or syringes or a few bob to clean the church," he said.

The chancellor of the archdiocese, Father John Usher, said Cardinal Pell had made it clear the Neocats would stay. Of the mural, he said: "I understand that it's very beautiful. The difficulty is that it just happened." Father Prindiville has declined to comment.

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29 Responses to New regime sparks unholy row at Aboriginal church

  1. Tyrone says:

    These imports seem to be like the proverbial square pegs in round holes.Created in Spain by a wandering Minstrel,they are absolutely out of place in Australia….let alone an Aboriginal Parish.

    These Neocat clergy are mass produced and are better off plying their ways in countries where they come from.

    Cardinal Pell and the Bishops in Perth obviously have covertly colluded with Kiko to sneakily bringing these troublesome Sect like people to Australia.

    They sneak into a Parish and DO NOT tell the parishioners that they are Neocats.

    Neither do they tell them of their plans for the Parish…which is to Little by Little ( their battle cry )transform it to a group of several communities.

    They do the mandatory requirements in that they perform the mainstream Catholic duties but there is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that their preferred choice is to follow Kiko’s way.

    Their ultimate goal is to ( by force ) get as many Parishes to convert to the Neocatechumenal Way.

    They can reslove all this by building their own structures and doing whatever it is they love to do.

    They advertise themselves as Evangelists who aim to bringilapsed Catholics and Non Believers to the Church. This is a fantastic ideology…..but the FACTS are what we are witnessing at Redfern, Mirrabooka and Kelmscott in Perth just to mention a few.

    In Parishes such as Kelmscott and Mirrabooka the bottom line is that existing parishioners have walked away from their parishes….the bottom line being LESS parishioners…..No lapsed Catholics and wait for it ZILCH Non Believers.

    When one adds the DIVISION and DISHARMONY that now prevails in these Parishes….that great deceiver Satan is having the last laugh.

    Of course, the Good Cardinal and his cohorts stubbornly have an attitude of…I am in charge and I do not need to listen or investigate the situation.

    One wonders what Scripture meant when it warned us to Beware of FALSE Prophets and Woe to the Shepherds who mis-lead my flock???

    Thank God for the people at Redfern who have made us aware of this dangerous menace within the Catholic Church….against the odds.

    Obviously people who do not know the truth will tend to assume that the parishioners must be the troublemakers and the clergy ( by their óccupation’) being unjustly treated.

    The best bet is to see for one’s self wherever possible.

    To all you people in Redfern…there are many with you. May God be with you and the TRUTH SET YOU FREE.

  2. tacoen says:

    imports” most of the neocats are from australia. mass produced” it takes 7yrs+ to become priest hardly mass produced. sneak into the parish” if you call handing out invitations and popular missions in the streets of redfern sneaking.tyrone the only piece of rhetoric thats correct in your ramblings is where you say its best to see for oneself

  3. Tyrone says:

    Seven years plus to become a Neocat ‘priest’. Well maybe they need another 7 to learn how to celebrate the mainstream ( the Catholic way…not the Kiko Roll ) Mass.Some CANNOT properly conduct the Mass as they Umm and Ahh and miss out on the basics…having to be prompted by the Acolytes.

    I notice you mention Redfern…how about Kelmscott and Mirrabooka??

    Tell me …why is it one cannot find any material on your way?? Maybe..you can post them on this site or better still let one know where one can lay one’s hands on all the documentation of your Sect. For example…you could point out why you need a SEPARATE Seminary? What are the DIFFERENECES with yours and the Catholic Way? Where can one get a copy of The Catechism according to Kiko? What are the stages? What are the SCRUTINIES? But then again as the unfortunate followers of the Way are not told what lies ahead for them….what hope have I got that you or any of your cohorts will come out into the open.

    Why don’t you tell the parishioners what you all are about? Why tell them to come to an Adult Catechesis when in fact this is a recruitment strategy for your Neocat Way? Why not tell them up-front that they will need to attend 15 talks and then go away for a weekend…where ONLY THEN are they ‘SOLD’ on Kiko’s Mass?

    Why don’t you tell the people that if they do not attend these talks then they cannot attend the GOING ON’s back at the Parish where you guys take over halls etc meant for the parishioners?

    WHY ARE YOU NOT HONEST AND UP FRONT?

    You have a plan and yet do not state this up front.

    Why do you tell people that the Holy Spirit has cosen them and other parishioners who have not been chosen by the Spirit will criticise those who have been?

    Why do cause DIVISOIN by such abhorrent statements?

    Why do you tell attendees that if they do not follow the Way…They are going to Hell??

    Why do you hold FAKE ELECTIONS to elect Leaders….when you have already done so prior to the elections??

    The BOTTOM LINE of all of this is DECEIT and SECRECY that has resulted in DIVISION and DISHARMONY.

    How can these so called ‘Priests’ celebrate Mass in the Church the Catholic Way and then do so in the Parish Hall the Kiko Way? How do they serve two masters??

    The SOLUTION tacoen ( whoever you are ) is that you build your own thingies and then run riot. Those who you manage to con into joining your Way ( God help them )can then come to your Picnic celebrations and sing and chant and dance around the table ( NOT ALTAR…As you do not have one ) to your hearts content.

    Why do you have to masquerade in the Church itself. Leave this to Catholic priests who follow the Catholic way. At least allow those parishioners who are not Neocats to be able to celebrate in the manner that they are entitled to.

    So….just to add to my ramblings a nd rhetoric let me conclude by going over the Main Points.

    1. Produce your Documentation on your Way
    2. Tell us the differences from the Catholic Way.
    3. Why do you have a SEPARATE SEMINARY?
    4.Why do you not tell people up front about your plans?
    5. Can you allow people to see the written documentation on your Catechesis?

    That’s it for now….unless you wish to be further enlightened.

    The Bottom Line my friend is DIVISION…DISHARMONY..LOST PARISHIONERS AND ZERP…ZILCH…NOT A RASOO whn it comes to Lapsed Catholics and Unbelievers.

    But…then again…even the Suicide bombers believe they are on the right track….it’s called BRAINWASHING….

    Gotta go a Brazil Nut has just walked by.

  4. tacoen says:

    well its looks like your safe then tyrone you need a brain to be brainwashed, some thing your,e sadly lacking.

  5. Tyrone says:

    As usual…in typical Neocat style…despite being chosen by the Holy Spirit and being the ‘REAL THING’ you have to get personal and aim for beneath the belt.

    I was told by a Neocat Presbyter that I would recognise a Neocat by his or her behaviour….Now I know the type of behaviour he meant.

    Thank God the Holy Spirit has touched and chosen you as one of His followers….or how much worse would you have been?

    Thankfully….that is all you could come up with from all of my questions, ramblings and rhetoric…Which means that what I have stated is CONFIRMED.

    You see…you will need to LIE in order to answer my questions.

    As always when the heat goes on…you people resort to going for the person instead of the ball.

    As the saying goes…Don’t shoot the Messenger just because the TRUTH HURTS.

    One bit of good news is that Neocats like you do read the Church Mouse website.

    Maybe, by doing so you will learn about things that have been kept SECRET from you as well….e.g.

    The Stages…The SCRUTINIES…The 10% of your earnings and so on.

    How I wish I was as lucky as you. To be especially chosen by the Holy Spirit, to be able to Kiss each other on both cheeks…to have a Teddy Bears Picnic style Mass…to be able to trample over the Sacred Eucharist while biting into my Unleavened bread and so on.

    When next you are touched by the Spirit…do try and put in a word for me.

    Gotta go…..have to say some real Prayers.

  6. Simon says:

    Hi tacoen ( That’s NEOCAT spelt backwards…

    again typical of DECEIT and without any backbone…so assumes a FALSE identity )

    Tyrone does have very valid points.

    You have not appropriately answered or proven any of his points to the contrary.

    Instead…all you could muster is a personal UN-CATHOLIC…. try and insult him comments.

    Is this the best you could come up with..despite all that your Way has taught you? I am sure your Guru Kiko will be honouring you with a promotion …and you will now move one or two rungs up the hierarchy within your (Sect) Way.

    Which Scrutiny have you now passed? You have gone past the MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS of SECRECY…DECEIT…DIVISION and DISHARMONY with flying colours and deserve high accolades for this. How far are you away from your White Robe??

    Some of your colleauges ( poor things ) have not been told about these requirements and as such you must be one of the select privileged few.

    I guess the comment that Tyrone makes about you people doing your own thing is the most valid of all i.e.

    Build your own structures and have a ball.

    Why do you Deceitfully enter a Catholic Church through the backdoor and then without telling parishioners about your plans go about trying to convert as many as possible to your Way.

    Leave the Church alone….DO YOUR DANCING AND WHAT NOT…But Please Please Be Up front and tell the TRUTH.

    As you say the Holy Spirit is with you all and has chosen you ( specially ) then this same Holy Spirit will see you through ( even more ) when you become more OPEN and TRUTHFUL.

    There will be no need for spiritual blackmail or the like.

    Those who wish to join you are then free to do so…Just like those who join the Jehovahs…Mormons and so on.

    No one ( from the Catholic Church ) prevents them from doing so. What people like Tyrone are talking about is when these people try and infiltrate the Catholic Church without announcing themselves up front …coming in through the back door and then going about what you go about.In the words of a well known journo…SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

    Gotta go…poor Tyrone has been looking for a Brain( since you diagnosed him without one ). Any suggestions as to where I can pick one up for him…or is this organ only available in STACOEN (That’s Neocats spelt backwards )?

    Perhaps you might know of a TACOEN
    ( That’s NEOCAT …spelt backwards )who has a spare one as your comments suggest that you guys are EXTRA-ORDINARY and as such ELITE?

    By the Way ( pardon the pun ) I note that you are at least truthful in admitting your having been Brainwashed…as you have said that one needs a brain to be able to under go such a process and that poor Tyrone has no chance of this happening to him as he is without a brain.

  7. tacoen says:

    tyrone has a friend simple simon not very bright is simon you guys should get together be careful not to fall into the pit

  8. Brendon says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Simon says:

    Oh tacoen ( that’s NEOCAT Spelt Backwards )

    I guess I will simply let readers judge for themselves the level of your Maturity and INABILITY to enter into engaging dialogue.

    Once again you have demonstrated the TRUE COLOURS of your Way…unable to handle the TRUTH..unable to PRODUCE ANSWERS to issues presented and….

    Attack anyone who exposes one of you.

    Gotta go…..a Wolf in Sheeps clothing is fast approaching.

  10. Ralph says:

    Hi Brendon…You seem to be an authority on all of this??

    You see the thing with all the other Groups etc you mention has one very important DIFFERENCE.

    They are there to complement the Catholic Church and their Goals and Vision is clearly there for all to see.

    In this case …we have a ‘Way’ that does none of the aforementioned.

    What they do is Sneak in and without telling anyone about their intentions begin to Little by Little change the Parish to their Way.

    If you have been reading and are Fair Minded you will note that no one is telling them not to exist or go about doing what they choose to do….It’s all about HOW.

    You are sitting in judgment without knowing the situation or you do know all about it but prefer to ignore the same.

    That’s your choice.

    You state that the Church is for all….BINGO !! You’ve won the JACKPOT.

    Now…let someone try and attend these Neocat services….if they do not belong to a Neocat Community.

    There is so much more that one can say but I guess it will be wasted on people like you.

    You accuse people of sarcasm etc and then go on to say that you are glad to see the backs of some parishioners.

    Get a Life…Get an education ( at Primary level at least ) and Read.

  11. Brendon says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Sebastian says:

    Hey Brendon…I too am not a Neocat…but reading all of this , I must say that what Tyrone and others are asking is pretty VALID.

    Why not someone ( maybe you can ) produce answers to their concerns.

    Simply put…..tell everyone where they can lay their hands on the DOCUMENTATION/TEACHINGS of Kiko and his Cool Cats???

    That way….they will be in the know and as the Way has nothing to hide…once these are produced…we can all live in PEACE.

    Secondly…all this can be fixed if as the writers suggest…Let these people build their own structures…much the same as they have their own Seminaries…apart from the Mainstream Catholic Seminaries.

    That way….everyone is happy and no one is Little by Little conned into following this Way.

    One has to admit that there is so much Division and Disharmony existing…not just in Redfern but wherever these people spring up like Mushrooms overnight.

    It’s unfortunate that you wont be reading this…as you state in your last message. Hopefully others might and make up their own minds.

    Gotta go….I am onto a lead…It may lead me to this Documentation.

  13. tacoen says:

    simon the information is there your just to lazy to look for it far easier to post untruths on church mouse blog eh”

  14. tacoen says:

    sabastian go play in the traffic like a good little boy

  15. tacoen says:

    ralf your a twit you should follow your own advice run along now.

  16. tacoen says:

    LETTER “Ogniqualvolta” OF HIS HOLINESS’ POPE JOHN PAUL II TO BROTHER BISHOP PAUL JOSEF CORDESAugust 30 th 1990

    TO OUR VENERABLE BROTHER BISHOP PAUL JOSEF CORDES VICE PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITYAPPOINTED “AD PERSONAM” FOR THE APOSTOLATE OF THE NEOCATECHUMENAL COMMUNITIES
    Every time the Holy Spirit causes to germinate in the Church impulses for greater faithfulness to the Gospel, there flourish new charisms, which manifest these realities, and new institutions which put them into practice. Thus it was after the Council of Trent and after the Second Vatican Council.
    Among the realities generated by the Spirit in our days, figure the Neocatechumenal Communities, initiated by Mr K Argüello and Ms C Hernandez (Madrid, Spain), the effectiveness of which for the renewal of Christian life was acclaimed by my predecessor, Paul VI, as a fruit of the Council: “How much joy and how much hope you give us by your presence and by your activity… To live and to promote this re-awakening is what you call a way “after baptism”, which will be able to renew in today’s christian communities those effects of maturity and deepening that, in the primitive Church, were realized by the period of preparation for Baptism (Paul VI to the Neocatechumenal Communities, General Audience, 8th May 1974, in NOTITIAE 96-96, 1974, 230).
    I too, as Bishop of Rome, have been able to verify the copious fruits of personal conversion and fruitful missionary impulse in the many meetings I have had in the Roman parishes with the Neocatechumenal Communities and their Pastors, as well as in my apostolic journeys in many nations.
    These Communities make visible in the parishes the sign of the missionary church and they strive to open a way for the evangelization of those who have almost abandoned the christian life, offering them an itinerary of a catechumenal type which goes through all those stages that the catechumens went through in the primitive church before receiving the sacrament of Baptism: it brings them back to the Church and to Christ (cf. `Postbaptismal Catechumenate’ in NOTITIAE 96-96, 1974, 229). The announcement of the Gospel, the witnessing in small communities and the eucharistic celebration in groups (cf. Notification on the celebration of groups of the Neocatechumenal Way in L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO – 24th December 1988) is that which enables the members to put themselves at the service of the renewal of the Church.
    Many Brothers in the Episcopate have acknowledged the fruits of this “Way”. I want only to recall Mons. Casimiro Morcillo, the then Bishop of Madrid, in whose diocese and under whose government the Neocatechumenal Communities – which he welcomed with so much love – were born in the year 1964.
    After over twenty years of the life of these communities, spread throughout the five continents:
    – taking into account the new vitality which animates the parishes, the missionary impulse and the fruits of conversion which spring from the dedication of the itinerants and, lately, from the work of the families which evangelize in dechristianised areas of Europe and of the whole world;
    welcoming the request addressed to me, I acknowledge the Neocatechumenal Way as an itinerary of Catholic formation, valid for our society and for our times.
    It is therefore my wish that the Brothers in the Episcopate – together with their presbyters – value and support this work for the new evangelization so that it may be implemented according to the lines proposed by its initiators, in the spirit of service to the local Ordinary and in communion with him in the context of the unity of the local church and the universal Church.
    From the Vatican, 30th August 1990, 12th year of the Pontificate.
    John Paul II
    [An original in Italian language ].

  17. Jason says:

    Hi tacoen ( That’s NEOCAT spelt backwards )

    Thanks for your latest attempt to produce some documentation. But…where are the details? You have been given a TEMPORARY 5 YEAR TRIAL…in 2002….What have you guys been doing before then??

    Also…it’s like being given a Gun License to protect your stock from feral animals….NOT TO GO SHOOT HUMANS.

    You come in under the guise of Evangelization…which is GREAT. But what you actually get up to is ANOTHER MATTER.

    Has the VATICAN endorsed your METHODOLOGY?

    Come into Parishes UNANNOUNCED
    DO NOT Parishioners that you are NEOCATS

    Spend the First year befriending parshioners and at the same time looking for possible recruits and leaders.

    Then…after a year…ask people to attend a ADULT CATECHESIS which is really a RECRUITMENT DRIVE for the Neocatechumen Way.

    DO NOT people attending about your plans and what exactly these Talks are about.

    DO NOT tell them that there need to attend 15 Talks

    DO NOT tell them that they need to then attend a CONVIVANCE ( NEOCAT term for Get Together ) for 2 days away from the Parish ( live in ).

    PRETEND to elect Leaders…who have previously been elected in Secret…but make the attendees think that they are just being elected.

    NO QUESTIONS ARE ALLOWED AT THE TALKS.

    On the Second day of the CONVIVANCE get in one of your so called priests to tell people about the REAL MASS…Not the Catholic Mass as known all over the world.

    NO DOCUMENTATION IS AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KNOW THE NUTS AND BOLTS….NOT A GENERIC STATEMENT OF EVANGELIZATION.

    What is Kiko’s Way? His DOCTRINE…

    HIS TEACHINGS…LIKE ….YOU CANNOT OFFEND GOD
    THE CHURCH IS SIMPLY BRICK
    THE HOLY MASS IS NOT A SACRIFICE BUT A CELEBRATION.

    THUS…THERE IS NO NEED FOR AN ALTAR BUT A TABLE.

    THAT THE UNLEAVENED BREAD USED AT THE COMMUNION, TAKEN WHILE SEATED IS OK TO TRAMPLE OVER( CRUMBS ) AS GOD JESUS IS NO LONGER PRESENT.

    CHILDREN AND PARTNERS ARE IDOLS.

    THERE IS NO NEED FOR A TABERNACLE.

    These are only SOME of what you are not answering.

    Then ther is the fact that parishioners are not told that they cannot join the Circus….if they do not attend all the Talks and the COONVIVANCE.

    Meanwhile…those who did not get the Call Up from the Holy Spirit are not told ( still ) of what goes on in the Church Hall on Wednseday and Saturday evenings behind CLOSED DOORS.

    People who have attended the talks are told that if they do not take up this Offer from the Holy Spirit…WILL GO TO HELL.

    People who follow the WAy are told to be wary of other parishioners…who have NOT BEEN CHOSEN….As they will criticize those who are.

    Parish Councils are filled with NEOCAT Followers.

    Many mainstream practices are not encouraged within the Church.

    The Parish priest (PRESBYTER) IS FULL OF ENERGY when it comes to the NEOCAT SERVICES….But gives a TOKEN service to that within the Mainstream Church within his Parish.

    One can go on and on and on.

    The BOTTOM LINE iS DIVISION and DISHARMONY.

    DECEIT AND SECRECY CAUSES THIS.

    Even the Parish Hall is DENIED to Parshioners ( who had raised funds and given of their Time and Labour ) to build it in the first place.

    So….Don’t come along with your GENERIC Statements and endorsements.

    I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT MY POPE and his followers would ENDORSE what I have stated ( which is the TRUTH ).

    Will you all now be adhering to the letter sent to BROTHER BISHOP PAUL JOSEF CORDESAugust 30

    In it does not the Pope ask you to FALL IN LINE??

    If this is so….DOES THAT NOT MEAN THAT YOU NEOCATS HAVE NOT BEEN DOING WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING?

    DOES THIS NOT CONFIRM THAT THE NEOCATECHUMEN WAY HAVE VIOLATED THE TERMS OF THEIR ‘LICENSE’???

    AND YOU TELL ME THE POPE APPROVED ALL THIS??

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Benedict XVI Brings the Neocatechumenals Back to the Right Way

    The confidential document in which the pope cracks down on abuses in how the Neocatechumenal Way celebrates the Mass

    by Sandro Magister

    ROMA, December 27, 2005 – In his powerful pre-Christmas address to the curia, Benedict XVI dedicated a passage to the synod of bishops on the Eucharist, which was held in the Vatican last October.

    The pope expressed his appreciation of the fact that “there is a reawakening in the Church of the joy of adoring the risen Lord present in the Eucharist flesh and blood, body and soul, divinity and humanity.”

    He recalled that this revival of Eucharistic adoration was also displayed during World Youth Day last August in Cologne.
    And he contrasted with this a tendency that arose after the council,

    a tendency he sees as negative:

    “In the period of liturgical reform,

    the Mass and adoration were often seen as conflicting with one another:

    according to a widespread objection at the time,

    the Eucharistic bread was given to be eaten, not contemplated.”

    This tendency has left its mark on how the liturgy is celebrated in many places. And it still finds significant proponents.

    For example, in the synod of last October, the archbishop of Agana on the island of Guam, Anthony Sablam Apuron, president of the Pacific bishops’ conference, asked that the practice of receiving communion while seated be extended, because “if the Eucharist is a banquet, then this is the most appropriate posture.”

    He was seconded by Zbigniew Kiernikowski, bishop of Siedlce in Poland, who said that in order to emphasize fact that the Mass is a banquet,

    “the bread should look like food,” and “the chalice should be extended to be drunk from.”

    Both of these bishops gave as an example to be followed the way in which the Mass is celebrated among the Neocatechumenals.

    * * *
    And in fact, among the new movements that have arisen in the Catholic Church,

    the Neocatechumenal Way is the one that goes the farthest in introducing innovations to the celebration of the Mass.

    In the Neocatechumenal Way, communion is taken while seated around a large square table, with a large loaf of bread that is divided among the participants and wine that is passes from hand to hand and is taken in large swallows.

    But communion is not the only area in which there is a departure from the traditional liturgy.

    There are significant innovations in other parts of the Mass.

    For example, the readings from the liturgy of the Word are commented upon by the catechists of the group, who make lengthy “admonitions” followed by “resonances” from many of those present.

    The priest’s homily is hardly distinguished, or not distinguished at all, from the rest of the comments.

    The times and places for the Mass are also unusual.

    The Neocatechumenals do not celebrate their Masses on Sunday,

    but on Saturday evening,

    in small groups and

    separate from the parish communities to which they belong.

    Each Neocatechumenal group corresponds to a different stage of the Way, so each group of 20-30 persons has its own Mass.

    If there are ten groups of Neocatechumenals in a parish, there will be ten different Masses on Saturday evening,

    in ten separate locations.

    The statutes approved by the Holy See in 2002 require that the

    Masses of the Neocatechumenals be “open to other members of the faithful” (article 13.3), but in fact nothing has changed.

    The greetings, presentations, and applause during the entrance ceremony form a natural barrier to outsiders.

    * * *
    Benedict XVI has written the last word on all of this.

    In mid-December, the founders and directors of the Neocatechumenal Way – Spaniards Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernandez, and the Italian priest Mario Pezzi – received a two-page letter

    from cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,

    with a list of “decisions of the Holy Father”

    which they must obey.

    The letter is reproduced down below.

    Of the six points detailing the pope’s directives,

    only one permits the Neocatechumenals to continue what they are doing.

    This regards placing the exchange of peace before the offertory, a traditional practice in the Christian liturgy which is still in use today, for example, in the Ambrosian Rite celebrated in the archdiocese of Milan.

    All the other points require the Neocatechumenal Way to eliminate a large portion of its liturgical innovations.

    Until recently, the founders and directors of the Way had shielded these practices by claiming

    they had received verbal authorization from John Paul II. But with Benedict XVI,

    PLAY TIME IS OVER.

    And it’s coming to an end for the liturgical abuses practiced throughout the Church.

    In this regard, pope Joseph Ratzinger’s document in conclusion of the synod of the Eucharist will be of great interest.

    Cardinal Arinze’s letter was delivered to Argüello, Hernandez, and Pezzi under confidentiality.

    But on December 22, the Vatican affairs journalist Andrea Tornielli broke the news of it in the newspaper “il Giornale.”

    Here it is, in its entirety:

    “I am to inform you of the Holy Father’s decisions…”

    Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum

    Prot. 2520/03/L

    From Vatican City, December 1, 2005

    To the esteemed Mr. Kiko Argüello, Ms. Carmen Hernandez, and Rev. Father Mario Pezzi,

    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.

    In the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Neocatechumenal Way shall accept and follow the liturgical books approved by the Church,

    WITHOUT OMITTING OR ADDING ANYTHING.

    Furthermore, in regard to some elements the guidelines and clarifications are emphasized as follows:

    1. Sunday is the “Dies Domini” as the Servant of God Pope John Paul II wished to illustrate in the Apostolic Letter on the Lord’s Day.

    Therefore the Neocatechumenal Way must enter into dialogue with the diocesan bishop in order to make it clear that the

    community of the Neocatechumenal Way is incorporated into the parish even in the context of the liturgical celebrations.

    AT LEAST ONE SUNDAY PER MONTH,

    the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way

    MUST PARTICIPATE in the Holy Mass of the parish community.

    2. As for any admonitions issued before the readings, these must be brief. Adherence must also be shown to what is set out in the “Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani” (nn. 105 and 128) and to the Praenotanda of the “Ordo Lectionum Missae” (nn. 15, 19, 38, 42).

    3. The homily, because of its nature and importance, is reserved to the priest or deacon (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 767 § 1).

    As for the occasional contribution of testimonies on the part of the lay faithful, the proper places and methods for these are indicated in the Interdicasterial Instruction “Ecclesiae de Mysterio,” which was approved “in specific form” by Pope John Paul II and published on August 15, 1997. In this document, sections 2 and 3 of article 3 read as follows:

    §2 – “It is permitted to have a brief instruction that helps explain better the liturgy that is being celebrated, and even, in exceptional circumstances, a few testimonies, as long as these conform to the liturgical norms, are offered on the occasion of Eucharistic liturgies celebrated on particular days (for seminarians, the sick, etc.), and are thought truly helpful as an illustration of the regular homily delivered by the celebrating priest. These instructions and testimonies must not assume characteristics that might cause them to be confused with the homily.”

    §3 – “The possibility of ‘dialogue’ during the homily (cf. Directorium de Missis cum Pueris, no. 48) can be used occasionally and with prudence by the celebrating minister as a means of exposition, which does not transfer to others the duty of preaching.”

    Careful attention must also be paid to the Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” no. 74.

    4. On the exchange of peace, permission is granted to the Neocatechumenal Way to continue using the indult already granted, pending further instructions.

    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.

    6. The Neocatechumenal Way must also make use of the other Eucharistic Prayers contained in the missal,

    and NOT ONLY Eucharistic Prayer II.

    In short, the Neocatechumenal Way, in its celebration of the Holy Mass,

    should FOLLOW THE APPROVED LITURGICAL BOOKS,

    keeping in mind what is laid out above under the numbers 1,2,3,4,5, and 6.

    Acknowledging the favors that the Lord has bestowed upon the Church through the many activities of the Neocatechumenal Way, I take this occasion to extend to you my best regards.

    + Francis Card. Arinze
    Prefect

    ———-

    Esteemed
    Mr. ARGÜELLO Kiko, Ms. HERNANDEZ Carmen, Rev. Fr. PEZZI Mario
    Via dei Gonzaga, 205
    ROMA

    __________

    I await your response !!

    You claim that the Pope gave you the ALL CLEAR????

    What you ( Your Way ) told him was trhat you were going to EVANGELIZE.

    YOU FORGOT TO TELL HIM THAT YOUR WAY WAS ALSO GOING TO TAMPER WITH THE HOLY MASS and OTHER PRACTISES WITHIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    DO YOU GET THE FEELING THAT YOU MAY BELONG TO A SECT????

  18. tacoen says:

    jason what you have stated hear is nothing new i am well aware of the popes recomedations which the way has welcomed whole heartedly you obviously have not read the stautes of the way published by chirico editore,viale degli oleandri, 19-80131 napoli . chiricolibri.com , isbn 88-87773-99-8. alot of your statements are incorrect these have been doing the rounds for years i suggest you take the time and read the statutes of the way and stop propergating these untruths

  19. Margaret says:

    Hey Jason

    This is some information you have provided and is MOST ENLIGHTENING.

    PHEW !! These NEOCAT Followers (poor things) obviously do not know about what they are following.

    They have been conned into thinking that they are chosen and are attending SCRIPTURE/CATECHISM SESSIONS.

    They are not aware of the STAGES…SCRUTINIES and so on.

    lET’S HOPE (FOR THEIR SAKES) THAT THEY ARE NOT LEFT PSYCHOLOGICALLY SHATTERED….Later in the piece.

    After they have ‘Publically’aired their PERSONAL AFFAIRS while attending their COMMUNITY Get Togethers.

    Anyhow….thanks again for giving us a clearer picture of the Dark Side of this S€ECT.

  20. tacoen says:

    magaret if you think jasons comments are enlightining then i must say you are pretty dim. im guessing you have not attended a community celebration or eucharist and margaret yes i know who im following christ.

  21. Margaret says:

    Hi tacoen ( That’s NEOCAT spelt backwards )

    So…is that the best you could come up with??

    I notice no comment on what has been raised and EXPOSED by Jason and other commentators??

    Do I take it that this is because it is TRUE??

    Once again….it is getting to you as you keep going for the man instead of the ball.

    By the way…I was one of the CONNED and was in one of your so called COMMUNITIES for almost 2 years…before I woke up to what you guys are really all about.

    Be very careful…as PSYCHOLOGICALLY DAMAGING PEOPLE is not a very nice thing to do.

  22. tacoen says:

    and your still being conned magaret not by the way but by the devil obviously the way was not for you, you chose to leave the community thats your choice but to continue to peddle lies a sin sounds like you were already damaged goods.

  23. Margaret says:

    Hi tacoen ( that’s NEOCAT SPELT BACKWARDS )

    SPOT ON !!

    For as soon as I decided that I was pulling the pin…Guess what?

    I got a call from a CATECHIST…telling me that SATAN HAD GOT A HOLD OF ME !!

    Now I ask any reasonable person to make of this what they will.

    Sounds more and more like a SECT.

    Now they were trying an upgraded stae of SPIRITUAL BLACKMAIL and intimidation.

    Your harsh comments simply indicate what has been written and exposed about your WAY.

    You still DO NOT ANSWER the concerns raised but keep coming back with flippant and offensive remarks.

    Surely your WAY…which you claim is sponsored by the HOLY SPIRIT…would have at a BARE MINIMUM…taught you by now to conduct yourself in a far better manner than those unfortunate souls who missed out on Selection by the SPIRIT??

    The best you can muster is….DO NOT ANSWER THE QUESTIONS RAISED BUT KEEP GOING FOR THE MESSENGER with venom.

    Be care ful that your GURU KIKO does not scold you and de-mote you a few stages….which will mean that you will have to go through another TWO SCRUTINIES.

    It takes on average 12 YEARS TO GET YOUR WHITE ROBE (SECT LIKE) and this might set you back a bit.

    Anyhow…your comments are nothing of a surprise to me as this is PRECISELY WHAT I ENCOUNTERED, ESPECIALLY WHEN I AWOKE FROM MY SEMI-CONSCIOUSNESS.

    As soon as I left….I was ostracised by all my fellow Way followers…cast into Hell with SATAN. I was constantly reminded of this with frequent calls from Catechists and other within the SECT.

    I shall pray for you.

  24. tacoen says:

    i dont want your prayers magaret just stop with the littany of lies about the way. i get angry when i read peoples comments about something they know nothing aboutif i hit below the belt with my comments well im only human, wether you like it or not the way will continue to exist by the grace of god so just deal with. ciao

  25. Margaret says:

    Hello again tacoen (That’s NEOCAT SPELT BACKWARDS…IN TYPICAL DECEITFUL FASHION)

    You still are 7unable to come up with any answers to the questions raised??

    I could not give a hoot whether your Way exists or not.

    What I do have extreme difficulty with is the MANNER you guys adopt.

    The DECEIT and SECRECY are at the top of the list…not to mention all that has been exposed in the comments on the Church Mouse.

    Are you now going to obey the Holy Father’s instructions….to abandon your Fun Eucharist and so on??

    But then again….I was led to believe when I was hood-winked into your Way by my Parish priest…that all this was Authorised by the Pope??

    If that were the case….why the edict now to FALL INTO LINE with the rest of the Catholic Church???

    And by the Way….JUST BE OPEN about your Way. DO NOT CON PEOPLE like what was done to me.

    Remember…You can only fool some of the people some of the time.

  26. tacoen says:

    magaret the same old story blah blah blah and why should i come up with the information go find it yourself instead of the tired old monotonous rubbish you are posting here.

  27. George says:

    May the Spirit be with you tacoen (That’s neocat spelt backwards…in typical DECEPTIVE STYLE)

    So you CANNOT PRODUCE ANY ANSWERS OR DOCUMENTATION??

    Well….let the readers decide.

    By the way….did you manage to catch 4 Corners on Monday 25 Sept?

    The similarities between your Way and the SECT Exposed was so chilling.

    Like you…their supporters abused the reporters and threatened them.

    Maybe you guys can amalgamate and have one great bang of a time?

  28. tacoen says:

    george thats spelt jerk isnt it

  29. Dennis says:

    Come Come now tacoen…( That’s NEOCAT SPELT BACKWARDS…TYPIFYING THE NEOCATECHUMEN WAY )

    Don’t lose your marbles just because the TRUTH hurts.

    Once again…attack the messenger is all part of your SECT’s tactics.

    At this rate…your WHITE ROBE will take another 4 years to attain.

    Now you be a good little thing or else daddy ( Kiko ) will get angry and punish you in the corner.

    By the way….still no answers on your part???

    Any clues as to where we might find the literature (of your Neocatechumen Way )like we can the Catholic Way.

    ps. Remember to take your tablets..4 times a day and 2 everytime you are going to comment on this website.

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