The Neocatechumenal Seminars ‘Redemptoris Mater’:
Incongruities and Mystifications

According to the Statutes, the ‘Redemptoris Mater’ seminars “are opened by diocesan Bishops together with the international leadership of the NCW, and follow both the current regulations for the training and incardination of the diocesan clergymen and their own statutes, implementing the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis. The candidates to priesthood find a specific and basilar element of their training path in the participation to the NCW.”

How is it possible for the founders of the NCW to have the share the dignity of the Bishops in the foundation and training of the seminars?

There’s no doubt that the priests who have been trained in the ‘Redemptoris Mater’ seminars are controlled by Kiko through his catechists. Nor there is any doubt that actually the training paths followed in these seminars—even if they’re formally anchored to the diocesan ordinary—are managed with a total autonomy: They’re parallel to the traditional seminars.

We must not neglect the opinion of the Pope; the text is from John Paul II’s speech to the priest of Neocatechumenal communities, given on December 15th, 1985:
The first duty that is imposed to you is to keep faith, inside the communities, with your sacerdotal identity. By virtue of the Sacred you have been marked with a special character that assimilate you to Christ Priest, so that you may operate in His name. (Cfr. Presbyterorum ordinis, 2.) Therefore, the sacred minister will be received not only as a brother who shares the path with the same community, but—above all—as he who is acting “in persona Christi” and brings with him the irreplaceable responsibility as a Teacher, Sanctifier, and Guide of the souls—a responsibility that he may not abjure. Laymen should be put in condition to recognize the reality of your responsible behavior. If you diluted your charisma with a false sense of humility or a misunderstood manifestation of fraternity, your conviction to be servants of the Gospel would be just an illusion. I repeat what I’ve already said to the ecclesiastical assistants of the international catholic associations: “Don’t be fooled! The Church wants you to be priests, and the laymen you meet want priest, nothing more than priests. The confusion of charisms impoverish the Church rather than enriching it." (John Paul II, Allocutio, 4, December 13th, 1979)

Furthermore, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

1562 “Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through his apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry."43 "The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcapal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ.” [Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Presbyterorum ordinis, 2].

1563 “Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head.” [Conc. Ecum. Vat. II, Presbyterorum ordinis, 2].
1567 “The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is, true to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them.” Priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. the promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.

1568 “All priests, who are constituted in the order of priesthood by the sacrament of Order, are bound together by an intimate sacramental brotherhood, but in a special way they form one priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their own bishop.” The unity of the presbyterium finds liturgical expression in the custom of the presbyters' imposing hands, after the bishop, during the Ate of ordination.

RM seminarians pay heed to all these instructions—‘formally’ at least—at the moment of the ordination. The problem is that then they obey to Kiko and to their structured organization rather than to the Bishops.

We should ask ourselves: What the Bishops say about this? Why did they allow Neocatechumenals to create and then maintain this hodgepodge?

It is evident that the RM seminars churn out ‘priests’ who are loyal to Kiko’s doctrine and will belong to a future ecclesiastical hierarchy that will be easily manipulated from within by the highest Neocatechumenal levels. You may now notice the difference between high priests who now support the NCW and those who will be its fans and depend on Kiko and Carmen (on their praxis, their theology and their Jewish-Lutheran-Gnostic liturgies) and their descendants legally appointed.

It’s certainly a frightening scenario; therefore, the necessity to curb this phenomenon that risks to pervert the very same nature of the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church must be understood.

Since it is yet demonstrated that the NCW is an end in itself, what can we say about all those families and seminarians who travel the world to do the so-called implantatio ecclesiae, that is, actually, to spread Kiko’s teachings and methods and create NCW cells that will never be integrated into the parishes?

We may and we must stop Kiko and Carmen. Cardinal Arinze’s letter was not sufficient, it didn’t work: sadly, a more radical ‘therapy’ is to be used, which will call into question the principles and the basic figures of the NCW, breaking the ‘spell’ that unites them.

If the NCW were really a Christian initiation, all its members would be safe even if the Neocatechumenal hierarchy failed, since they would be protected by Catholic tradition and by the primacy of Peter. If they were really integrated in the parishes, the errors of the Neocatechumenal hierarchy wouldn’t have great consequences.

The problem is that the Neocatechumenal observance of the Catholic doctrine is just an eyewash for both pastors and believers. We think that the Holy See will keep warning by degrees, waiting for a repentance that is far from coming: Only a few will withdraw from the NCW, following a long, difficult process.

Let’s give thanks to the Lord who gave us Pope Benedict XVI, who pronounced some reprimands, even if they went unheeded. Let’s support him with our prayers and be loyal to his Magistery; meanwhile, let’s keep our eyes open to see all the truth:

The first evidences that we may notice:

How is it possible for the Founders of the NCW to have the same dignity of the Bishops both in the training of priests and in the foundation of seminars? They’ve even a greater dignity, since only the diocese is under the Bishop’s jurisdiction, while all the seminars in all the dioceses of the world are under Kiko’s jurisdiction.

We may found two kind of priests in the NCW:

1) Those who were trained in the RM seminars, who must follow the Neocatechumenal training path (stages, advancements, scrutinies, obedience to the catechists) rather than the teachings of the Church (even if they obviously attend theology courses in theological faculties).

2) Those who studied in a normal diocesan seminar, but then found their vocation and always exerted their ministry in the NCW, or held strong links with their community absorbing completely its contents and methods, rather than propose themselves as guides and leaders of the community, as the Pope demands, since it is a prerogative of Catholic priests.

It being understood that the ordination of RM priests is canonically valid since it is operated by the Bishops, we still wonder if their sacerdotal action could be invalidated by the fact that they believe and profess teachings that are different from the doctrine of the Church regarding the celebration of Eucharist (a Protestant dinner, not a sacrifice; symbolic, not real Presence); the administration of sacraments, mainly the sacrament of Penance; the complete identification of the Way with the Church, of which the NCW erases two millennia of history and teaching (from Constantine to the Second Vatican Council, that is considered the fundament of the Way, without applying the continuity with the past as it is required and reminded by the Pope). So, RM priests operate in the name of the Way believing it’s the true Church.

RM priests are validly ordained, there’s no doubt about it. But the validity of a priest’s ordination doesn’t automatically guarantee his Catholicity. A validly ordained priest is technically Catholic, but his intentions and his pastoral work—this is a very important question—may seal that ordination or invalidate it. A valid ordination didn’t prevent many priests to become schismatic or heretics. Actually, their clerical status worsens their guilt.

RM seminarians attend several courses in the diocesan seminar, then they take the final exam—like the seminarians who are not Neocatechumenals—so that it is technically difficult to charge them with heresy. Furthermore, no NC priest put on paper his own vision of Church right because inside the NCW it’s forbidden to take a personal, official stand: Only the founders are allowed to do it, so that it’s impossible to show the heresy.

Eventually, the biggest ambiguity is that to conceive the Way as a training path together with the normal diocesan path in the Redemptoris Mater seminars: It is a wooden horse used to penetrate into the Church, in spite of the attempt to Catholicize the NCW through the Statutes ,which were ratified first ad experimentum and then definitively but were never enforced by the very same NCW, that considers them only a formal approval and legitimization of its existence and its coriaceous identity that the Statutes don’t bring out, since they neither mention nor regulate many of the Neocatechumenal practices that are followed since forty years and are still unduly subjected to the ‘Arcane’—a term that reminds of a sect rather than Christianity.

Following the previous reasoning and considering the meaning of the Ministerial Priesthood according to the Church, we wonder what a RM priest—or a priest who practices his priesthood inside the NCW—should do when the Pope or a diocesan Bishop give their guidelines about Pastoral and Liturgy, following the Hierarchical Structure of the Church? In plain English: Why they obey Kiko’s instructions instead of those that the Pope dictated on Liturgy in Cardinal Arinze’s letter? Shouldn’t the Church interact with its priests and take action against those of its priests (since those who are trained in the RM seminars belong to the Church—not de facto but de iure) who obey to a layman rather than to the Pope? Why don’t the Church applies against them the same severity it used against the Lefebvrian, who are much closer to Catholic Tradition?

The core of the problem lays in the fact that the Church recognizes the ecclesial function of a priest trained to deny some of the truths taught by the Church. Then another, more specific question arises: Isn’t the questioning of the coherence of the dogmas and the loyalty to them a sufficient reason to delegitimize the ordination? Does it make sense—from the point of view of the canonical law—to confirm the validity of an ordination that actually denies a part of theology?

Aren’t the theological disavowal and the dogmatic denial reasons to invalidate the ordination, since they were exactly the elements that brought to the condemnation for heresy of several ‘creative’ religious who interpreted the Scriptures and their role with extravagance?

Sooner or later, these questions must reach the Congregation for the Clergy, since they directly involve the essence of the sacerdotal function, which is today seriously damaged by the Neocatechumenal training of the ‘presbyters’ of the Way.

The Church must consider that many Christians stopped attending Mass in the parishes where there isn’t any other pastoral besides that of Neocatechumenals because, in conscience, they don’t deem the celebration officiated by the NC priests to be valid.

Pastoral consequences

Usually, in Neocatechumenal communities the priest is only ‘allowed’ to perform the cultic and functional dimension of the sacred Orders, depriving him of its connatural jurisdictional dimension that—as we know very well—is an integral part of the very same Orders and bestows on the priest the triple Munus: Docendi, Regendi et Sanctificandi. As a matter of fact, it is the catechist who usurps the jurisdictional power that belongs to ministerial priesthood with Kiko’s mandate.

Even in the practice of ‘public confessions’, extorted by the catechists in the so-called ‘scrutinies’, priests are not always present: When they are, they assist to them just as administrators of the sacrament of Penance, or rather they have to submit themselves to the same vexations that the adepts endure, such as the obligation to confess in public their most hidden vilenesses, with an evident violation of their intimacy.

We should ask ourselves: Does this reality comply with the guidelines of the “Lumen Gentium”, which states that priests “make [the Bishop] present in a certain sense in the individual local congregations, and […] sanctify and govern under the Bishop’s authority, that part of the Lord’s flock entrusted to them.” (n. 28; Ev 1/355)?

Speaking of priesthood, we mention what Neocatechumenals teach in the very first catechesis (drawing schemes on a blackboard) that the ecclesiastical hierarchy—and in particular the sacred Orders—is not to be considered indispensable, promoting a new kind of Church, in which the model of the parish gives way to indefinite communitarian cells. The priesthood of all believers is emphasized even by denying the validity of celebration without the Assembly (that’s what Kiko teaches). It is true that every Christian is ‘priest, prophet and king’, but it is also true that only the ordained priest may act in persona Christi during the Consecration, which is valid even if—for whatever reason—nobody participates to it (that’s what the Church teaches).

What can we say then about the Eucharistic prayer II, the only one used by Neocatechumenals, in which the priest thanks God “for admitting us to Your presence to perform the sacerdotal services,” mistaking his ministerial role with common priesthood (as Luther and his followers did, twisting its meaning)?

It’s not a coincidence that Arinze’s letter asks, at point six:

6. The Neocatechumenal Way must also make use of the other Eucharistic Prayers contained in the missal, and not only Eucharistic Prayer II.

We quote from the speech of John Paul II to the teachers and the students of the Redemptoris Mater Seminar of Rome (March 18th, 2004):
To achieve these positive results you must always have a clear idea throughout your formation of the nature and features of the ministerial priesthood, as they were described by the Second Vatican Council and later by the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis. The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood are in fact ordered and closely related to one another, since each in its own way participates in the one priesthood of Christ. However, they are different in essence and not only in rank (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 10). Indeed, by virtue of the sacrament of Orders, priests are configured in a special way to Jesus Christ as Head and Shepherd of his people, and they must devote the whole of their lives, like Christ, to serving this people. Precisely because they sacramentally represent Jesus Christ, Head and Shepherd, they are called to preside over the communities entrusted to their care in close communion with their Bishop, and in accordance with each of the three dimensions - prophetic, priestly and royal - in which the one mission of Christ and of his Church is expressed (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis, nn. 12-16). Dear seminarians, by adhering to this solid doctrine in your formation and, subsequently, in the daily exercise of the priestly ministry, you will be able to live the grace of the priesthood joyfully and to assure an authentic and fruitful service to the Diocese of Rome and the sister Churches to which you may be sent. Prayer, study and community life, well harmonized in the formation programme and put into practice with fidelity and generosity in the concrete life of your Seminary, are the ways in which the Lord sculpts in you, day after day, the image of Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Then it is not a wise strategy for the NCW to adopt plans that consider a community without a priest pastor normal and even more valid (every NC community has ‘catechists’ as guides, to which even the priest, who is used only for the consecration, must submit.

The regal priesthood of laymen ought not to be fostered by eclipsing the ministerial priesthood of the ordained priest, that allows them not only to celebrate Eucharist, but also to be spiritual fathers, guides and teachers of the believers entrusted to them.

The evolution of what in the Church is usually called ‘ministry of laymen’ is certainly a positive and fruitful result of the movement started by the Second Vatican Council. The Church pays a great attention to the spiritual and doctrinal training of all the laical ministers. In any case, they must be men and women of faith, real models of virtue in their personal and familiar lives, who embrace with love “the full and integral announcement of the Good News” (Reconciliatio et paenitentia, n. 9) handed down by the Church.

There are clear diocesan guidelines for the first and permanent training of laymen who are officially involved in the life of the parish and the dioceses rather than acting into the restricted and ‘closed’ context of an utterly parceled community as the NCW. However, these guidelines must be correctly followed. Today, this is a challenge in those parish where Neocatechumenal communities are present.

As a matter of fact, it’s not sufficient to attend Kiko’s catechesis (which, by the way, has not yet been approved by the Doctrine of the Faith) and to receive by him—who is not a Bishop of the Holy Roman Church—the mandate to hand it down as Neocatechumenal catechists to perform the duty of evangelization, which, in the context of the Way, acquires a blatant ‘sectarian’ nature and characteristics that are completely different from the teachings of the Church.

That is what the competent Vatican Dicasteries should notice today.

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