Fudging on the Pope’s order

Fudging on the Pope’s order

When is obedience not obedience. Apparently when it’s the NeoCatechumenal Way and its response to liturgical directives from the Vatican. The Way is a new movement that I’ve otherwise been impressed by with its doctrinal orthodoxy and evangelical spirit. Unfortunately, they appear to be lacking in the vital area of obedience to legitimate authority.

A few months back, the Vatican told them that their liturgical practices—including receiving Communion sitting down and passing the chalice to one another—was not to be done. The reply was that the letter was not authoritative. So in January, at an audience, Pope Benedict himself told the Way’s leaders to toe the line. And still, according to Sandro Magister, the leaders of the Way offer only partial obedience.

And so, in their reply to Benedict XVI, Kiko, Carmen, and Father Pezzi stated that they were willing to “follow in every way, with great respect and obedience, the rubrics of the Roman Missal.” They promised that they will make arrangements with the bishop of each diocese for their own members to participate in the Sunday Mass together with the rest of the faithful “at least one Sunday a month.” But on the crucial point of communion, they make it clear that they want to keep going their own way.

Whether conservative or liberal, traditional or progressive, obedience to the liturgical law is not optional. When the Pope himself gives the order, it shouldn’t be a long deliberation on whether you should obey.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
3 comments
  • Well, well…. Kiko and the gang were given a wide berth under the previous pontificate—in retrospect, perhaps a bit too wide. From all reports, they are responding in the same passive-aggressive manner as any other dissenting Catholic group.

  • Not from ALL reports.  Mr. Bermudez from the now defunct “Catholic Outsider” said that they were experimenting with ways to obey the instruction, but find some way to keep something like the symbolism that they found so powerful in their method of receiving. 

    Given the wide berth that Mr. Alexander so rightly mentions, I think we should let them fiddle with their two years and judge them wanting if they fail in the end.  After all, not only JPII but Benedict (himself in several of his books) have praised them fulsomely.

  • It hardly seems proper to talk about them resisting the orders when they’re only 3 months into their two-year transition period.

    On the other hand, their letter goes out of its way to argue on behalf of their current practice, which does not exactly bespeak an attitude of compliance.

    I really do not understand the suggestion that people converting away from a sinful life will find a seated communal-meal Mass easier to accept than a conventional Mass because they “have emerged from hell, full of wounds and of self-loathing.”

    The Church really ought to be a community of healing and acceptance for the penitent, but I’m not sure that the demanding, high-intensity—and somewhat guilt-provoking—way of the NCW is what they need.

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