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,
“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,
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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.