01 February 2014


It probably won't surprise anybody who reads this to learn that I am not a follower of the Neocatechuminal Way, but I have always recognised that those who are followers are good people who like to practice their faith in a different way from me.  You can tell how centred in the Church a movement is by watching its attitude to the maxim "sentire cum ecclesia": when the neo-cats were told to change the way they celebrated Mass within their community they did so, and without complaining; in exactly the same way that the FFI are doing exactly what the competent authority is telling them to do.

What stands out with them, and was particularly manifest in their meeting with the Pope today is their complete openness to the Gospel of Life.  This is a young movement, full of children, young priests, young seminarians; with children with Downs Syndrome, with handicapped children; and all united and happy around their Pope.

Neither the Pope nor Abp Gänswein looked particularly at home when Kiko Argüello took up his guitar and sang, but the joy of those present was the joy of praise which the Pope spoke of at his daily Mass this week: not some sort of mass produced, let's make our music sound like the radio, look how clever I am as a song writer; but the joyful sound of God being praised.

Most important was the missionary dimension: here are families who, with their priests are going out in partibus infidelium to bring the Good News to those who are not part of the Church, with no thought for how they will live because of their certainty that God will provide.

This is a real example of where the Church can go, and how.

I very deliberately compared the kikos to the FFI: both new movements are frightening to those who think they know what Church organisations should look like.  Even at the Vatican the neo-Cats were reminded that they had to be part of diocesan structures, must not be a separate sect.  (And how much more, as an Order, the FFI must be integrated in the life of the Church.)

But whatever the worries, whatever the jealousies, the difficulties they have undergone have been resolved simply because of their obedience.  Sooner or later, the most zealous prosecutor has to recognise that there is no case, and that is the point where the young shoot can grow vigorously, flower and begin to propagate itself.

The Neo-Cats aren't for me, as the charismatics aren't, and as the LMS isn't.  We are allowed a lot of leeway in how we practice our faith.  But the thing that unites all of the young movements in the Church is their loyalty to Peter; their fidelity to the Magisterium.  Imagine that it is the Ordinariate that has been given a particular mandate for evangelisation in England and Wales.

The reason that the heretics and heterodox in the Church are so vocal and fighting so hard at the moment is that they have realised that their day has passed.  The future is in full view and while bits of it are uncomfortable for some of us, it is God's.

1 comment:

polycarped said...

"when the neo-cats were told to change the way they celebrated Mass within their community they did so, and without complaining".

I agree with you very much about the Neo-cats in terms of them being so open to the Gospel of Life, the movement is full of inspiring families and there is a great emphasis on catechesis, but I'm afraid I just can't get over the stumbling blocks of 1) their liturgy and 2) their scarily obsessive attachment to Kiko. Even before considering whether they accepted the changes they were asked to make (and did they actually...?), the very way in which the liturgy is celebrated raises many questions for me - I think there's something fundamentally 'wrong' there which worries me (yes, despite the fact that apparently it is all now above-board as far as the Holy See is concerned).

Frankly I would really love to be convinced that all is fine - but something just doesn't seem right to me. It would be interesting to hear other views.