The obscure sides of the statute of the Neocatechumenal Way

Let’s keep analyzing the ambiguous statements and the obscure sides of the statute of the Neocatechumenal Way.

Art. 19 § 1

1st ...The Word of God, the Eucharist and the community gradually help Neocatechumenals clearing their minds from the false conceptions of the Self and God

[We’ll show the considerable ambiguity of this statement; it leads to psychological abuse on people . . . We’ll question later the accuracy of the expression ‘false conceptions of the Self and God’—what’s odd is that they assume them to be the same for everybody—and the possibility to follow a spiritual path without the basic conditions necessary to the knowledge of the true Self and without highlighting the need to establish a real contact, a living and faithful relation with the Person of the beloved Son, Alive and True, in whom the Father has been and is delighted, the Son who introduces ourselves into the dynamics of sharing of the Trinitarian Life.]

and to descend to their sinful nature, in need of conversion, rediscovering the gratuitousness of Christ’s love, who forgives and love them.

[To dip into our sinful nature without the Sanctifying Grace that transforms us, with the mere induced conviction that only in a specific group and with specific techniques and methods we achieve salvation is a big deceit and a theological falsehood whose roots are Protestant and Gnostic.]

In the last celebration of the first scrutiny, after the registration of their names, they ask the Church to help them making their faith grow in order to do the deeds of eternal life, and receive the seal of the glorious cross of Christ,

[We cannot hide the fact that the Cross of Christ, before being glorious, is meant for giving expiation and salvation: there’s no salvation without oblation, without the free offer of oneself not through a formal imitation but through “connaturality” with the Lord, which is exactly what is missing in the rite, transformed into a “banquet”.]

that illuminates the salvific role that the cross has in everybody’s life.

[Inside the NCW, this impeccable statement is deprived of its full Catholic connotation which—being propaedeutic to Resurrection—is also contemplating the Cross’ dimension of oblation, expiation and redemption, necessary to access to Resurrection.]

2nd In the second stage, of the same duration, Neocatechumenals celebrate the great stages of the history of salvation: Abraham, the Exodus, the Desert, the Promise Land, etc. and a period is given to them to prove to themselves the sincerity of their intention to follow Jesus Christ, in the light of his Word: ‘You cannot be the slave both of God and of money’ (Mt 6:24).

[We can notice the preponderance of the preliminary moments of the History of Salvation and the emphasis on them. The idea of following Christ in the light of the cited word, then, proves to be reductive and inexact—compared to the deeper interpretation that the Church gives to that passage of the Scripture—which doesn’t help that the NCW applies it only to the separation from personal property in favour of the NCW itself and its needs.]

In the ending celebration of the second scrutiny, they renew in front of the Church their renunciation to the devil and display their will to follow only God.

[We have already seen that this ‘following only God’ actually means to submit uncritically to the essence and the will of the NCW.]

Then they study and celebrate the main biblical characters: Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Noah, etc., in the light of Christ.
[In fact—as this words betray—the charm of the Old Testament is stronger while Christ is relegated to the background so that His Person and His Redemptive Work don’t stand out in all their irreplaceable, ontological significance.]

Rough-and ready psychological and theological superficiality

It is evident that we have to do with a sloppily written text, short of clarity and depth.

Let’s start from ‘clearing minds from the false conceptions of the Self’. The interrogation that performs this change (during the so-called second passage) could bear a likeness, because of the techniques used, with long-term group therapies, that sometimes go on through several weekends. However, we must consider that the leaders of such groups are people with a professional background: they are psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, they have been trained, are aware of the dynamics of the unconscious mind and know how to handle them; they know that every individual is an unique one and that all people have their own life history, their own path, their own rhythms, they have shields, protections and resistances that help them defend themselves. Professional therapists respect the individual’s uniqueness, his protections and his resistances, they take care of them and follow them on their path towards the discover of their true Self: the deep, inviolable core of a human being that constitutes his unique value in front of God and men. This process can be performed only with a gradual, sane internalization—which is not a mass phenomenon—, not by escaping from oneself as the techniques of the NCW—which we’ll delve into better later—teach to do.

Therapists (Neocatechumenal catechists certainly doesn’t have their qualification, nor can they be spiritual leaders) are not supposed to clearing people’s minds from the false conceptions of the Self. They are not supposed to fill them with the false theories of a cheap guru. They are supposed to induce people to think they’re hideous, filthy worms, to make them believe that it’s just thanks to Neocatechumenal techniques they will become better persons. Therapists must use their professional and personal skills—acquired and improved through study and experience—to drive the patients through the path of the search of their inner Self, in the ABSOLUTE RESPECT of their individuality; thanks to their formation, they know also how to make the technique they use fit with each different individual. When something particularly hurtful or problematic comes to the surface, it’s necessary to leave the group for a more intimate and personalized ambient.

This never happens in the NCW, where the interrogations which scrutinize the most hidden, protected and maybe also removed recesses of the psyche, are conducted by people without any particular competence who can only trample the privacy of a person following a rigidly codified program. They often break the delicate balance of minds without having the skills and the delicacy to manage it.

What do those catechists know about the “SELF”?

According to them, what is that self that must be cleared?

Do they know that it is the most secret, intimate and hidden recess of a person?

Do they know that sometimes people need to spend their whole life to take conscience about it, to “DISCOVER” that sacred place, sheltered by veils that must be taken away gradually, through a long way of individuation and research about themselves and inside themselves?

Do they know that it is a sacred, inviolable place?

Do they pretend to know “what” the SELF is, then?

What about the “false conceptions”? How do they know that they are false?

They are false compared to what? To their concept of truth?

Will their “truth” replace what they deem “false”?

Speaking about “false conceptions of the Self” implies that people already knows what the “Self” is, that they know it, touched and recognized it; but we know that this is a long way towards the inner part of a person that takes somebody a whole life to be done, a path that not everybody is ready to take and respects the rhythm, the protections and the resistance of every individual.

If I don’t know my “Self” yet, if I haven’t taken conscience about it because it’s covered by many veils that hide its light, we have to consider also that those veils are sometimes indispensable protections, so how dare catechists to invade somebody’s inner soul, how dare them to talk about “false conceptions of the Self”? The very same sentence OUGHT NOT appear in the statute: it is a serious sign of the violations of the conscience that the Neocatechumenal system implies and allows.

To clear somebody’s mind from his “false conceptions of the Self”—while, actually what is really done is an emotional storm that won’t be elaborated through the intimacy of a respectful, individual therapy but will be publicly staged by incompetent persons—then full that mind with “true conceptions of the Self” established by the very same people who decided which the false ones were, and PERMIT this to happen inside the Catholic Church, is so SERIOUS that we cannot turn our eyes away and pretend not to know.

We often mention the incompetence of those who are in charge of clearing somebody’s mind from his “false conceptions of the Self”; however, another serious issue beside the incompetence is the fact that those who apply those methods has precise projects over the people they want to “clean”: they want them to follow their instructions, to give some results that they have already planned; the goal of the cleaning is established beforehand by those who know and wield their power inside a totally unbalanced relation.

The individuality, uniqueness and identity of the person are trampled and annihilated, all must be sacrificed to the service of the NCW, of its rules and its identity.

However, nobody can really clean ourselves off from our Self, our inner core, that will remain intact with its needs and will keep demanding to be heard through the anguishes that are felt when he’s ignored or shut up: we must not be “cleaned off” from that “false conception” of the Self but be helped being “transformed” by the Grace of the Lord. Furthermore, who knows what’s the TRUE conception of the Self fitting to each one; who may tell with absolute certainty that somebody has a false conception of the Self instead of recognizing that he’s walking through a path of self-knowledge that the Neocatechumenal “cleaning”—followed by the filling with prefabricated, standardizing material—won’t help, on the contrary, could only hinder?

What about the “false conception of God”, then? Should we have a “conception” of God? Wouldn’t it be better to meet Him, know Him and establish a lively, vitalizing relation with Him, through the Son?

Our argument leads us to two important conclusions:

· it is absurd to think that such a violent manipulation of souls has been permitted—even if the people who underwent it then display the top of joy, while secretly feeling their anguish and trouble that they’re not even capable to define;

· the complicity of those who refuse to delve into this disturbing phenomenon—even after the mole of witnesses sent to the Curia—which represents a damage for the Church itself, whose identity is disfigured and compromised in its foundations.

Only God knows why such a strong a test is required, when and why we will be able to get out of it.

The lack of sacredness. The absence of the supernatural. Anthropocentrism and immanence.

Strictly speaking, Kiko’s and Carmen’s catecheses don’t contain any true mystery, that is, any truth revealed by the Lord and overcoming the skills of our human intelligence. We may talk about an authentic rationalism, even if this sounds like a paradox if we remember that all criticisms, questions and the use of reason are forbidden: you must accept uncritically and do what they say.

It is an immanent rationalism, where no place is left to the Supernatural, the Transcendence, that belong to God who becomes a man to redeem us and take us to the Father. A rationalism who translates into a rigid, pragmatic concreteness of Judaic roots, excluding whichever truth overcoming the knowledge of a summary theodicy; a doctrine more than a lifestyle, a clutter of precepts and praxes establishing what’s permitted and what’s forbidden. With the additional illusion—looking like a paradox—represented by emotionalism, which stimulates emotions giving the illusion to establish the contact with the Sacred through absorbing, hammering, manipulative rhythms and praxes.

Emotionalism, that is, induced emotions that awake emotionality, push people outside of themselves—not an emotion aroused by a genuine sense of the Sacred—, and foster their addiction to the situations that induce those very same emotions instead that an intimate, deep, undying joy. Indeed, the authentic sense of the Sacred leaves its mark on the innermost part of the soul and bring those transformations which ease the walk through the inner path towards the authentic Self: that sacred, inviolable core that makes of any persona a precious and unique individual in the presence of God. On the contrary, by pushing people outside themselves emotionalism doesn’t allow the correct introspection which is needed to fully recognize oneself in God: it just causes that very same “cleaning off of the Self”, that is filled with prefabricated elements created by such an “entity” as the NCW bringing people to merge themselves into a group identity, which doesn’t allow a normal, sane—both from a psychological and a spiritual point of view—personal individuation process. Eventually, it’s all just a sort of stereotyped Pharisaism that governs each aspect of both the individual and communitarian life of the ‘walker’.

The most serious problem lies in the fact that the members of the Church who should fight this situation are ‘strangely’ busy or distracted or far from it or even fascinated. So, a lot of people will keep suffering psychologically and spiritually: some of them will experience disease to which they won’t be able to give a definition while the majority of them won’t even perceive the problem, persistently drunken with overwhelming emotions that anesthetize the conscious use of intellect and will, the only faculties that permit us to be men and women in an authentic dialogue with God. Feelings, sentiments—although the latter are something deeper, more durable than emotion, they are nevertheless ephemeral—are a consequence, a fruit of faith, not its goal. Indeed, the feelings of the Risen in Christ are feelings of joy and gratitude arising from an ontological fulfillment, which is the Action of the Lord in the soul of the believer—not just “joy” and an exaltation that needs to be continuously recharged and pursued.

The NCW gives exact instructions about individual behavior, about communitarian and individual practices—shortly: about spiritual growth; however, it lets the individual the freedom to follow them or not (thence the feeling of many members to be free, even to “do wrong”): that’s because the NCW obeys to the Protestant rule stating that every personal effort must be banned because of its hypocrite nature and that the conversion is exclusively a work of God: the believer may only receive it and it’s incapable to do good without the total influx of Grace, which is given by God only to those who are chosen by Him. There’s no mutual exchange between Grace and human adhesion to Grace: there’s only the action of God thrown into an empty container that receives it. Then, there is also the false interpretation of the concept of “kenosis” —one of the many terms to which the NCW jargon gives a meaning which is different from the original by considering the kenosis the annihilation of the individual instead of the renunciation of the Divine nature by Christ in the Incarnation—as it is explained by the Scripture. The Neocatechumenal catechists say that a well done Way is no meant to make better people (that would be a pretence fitting just for hypocrite Pharisees), but “worst” people, in order to make them conscious about their sinful nature, which is the only condition necessary to be saved (as it is taught by Martin Luther and Calvin).

However, when it is necessary to impose on Neocatechumenals restrictions meant to safeguard the internal structure of the NCW—e.g. the absolute obedience of the catechists to the initiators and the absolute obedience of the Neocatechumenals to the catechists (apparently not in a moral and spiritual context—unless it is necessary to keep up appearances inside the NCW—but in an organizational and ideological one)—then the system is extremely strict. No one may dare to question Kiko’s words: it’s he who holds the charisma; no one may question an order given by the catechists: they are the prophets of God for you; no one may modify the liturgical, community, doctrinal or psychological habits that rule the NCW from inside. This is not allowed. Either you submit, or you leave, banned and damned. It is anyway evident that these methods and ideologies reveal behaviors, teaching and procedures that have a deep influence on the nature ant the growth of the individual, entering and influencing also the moral and spiritual sphere.

Somebody perceives the first characteristic of the NCW, somebody the second, accepting or refusing them.

Those who positively accept the first characteristic are those who highlight this particular aspect: ‘Nothing is obligatory in the NCQ? I can believe it, since there’s no need of rules: preconditioning helps anybody to comply “automatically” with what is commonly done and, sadly, also thought; conditioning induces people to believe that they’re acting freely while they’re actually acting according to what they have interiorized as good and just the rules set by those who have the power to influence the psyche and the mind.” This happens because many people are eager to renounce to their own personal research and let the keys of their conscience and their soul to the omnipotent catechists.

Those who willingly accept the repressive aspect of the NCW are people who constantly need to be led by the hand, those who need somebody who takes the responsibility of their choices and feel protected by a rigid, ready-made system.

Those who refuse one ore both of these elements instead are those who—thanks God—realized that in both cases are contrary to the Catholic doctrine of the Church and the teaching of the Lord in the Gospel and have enough psychological maturity not to let themselves be roped in the strong “dependence” induced by years of methods and procedures ad hoc.

‘The honest quest of truth, the aspiration to it, is the condition for authentic freedom.” It’s the first message that Pope Benedict XVI addressed to Spain, when he arrived there recently, before the two stages of his visit to Santiago de Compostela, the arrival point of that “Way” which since many centuries the pilgrims walk to pay homage to the Apostle Jacob. A Catholic path towards the discovery of the Self, an authentic way of liberation and inner growth instead of slavery and the obedience to an idol.

We hope that our bits of information make “some arrogant subjects” understand, at least, that they are observed, even if the catechist are themselves conditioned and will condemn our witnesses as the work of the devil.

Nonetheless, I hope that what we write here will be read especially by those who are inside the first stages of the NCW and are looking for information, moved by sheer curiosity or by doubts.

We have done many researches when we were in the NCW, because no external voice penetrated its walls and we were curious to know and even to forge ahead. If I asked to those who were ahead of me they told me to wait, that I wasn’t ready yet but that I would have “known” at the right time.

Luckily, we were not “fans” of the NCW: like many other people, we swung between periods of great enthusiasm and periods of scarce attendance. We ought not take for granted that those who enter the NCW remain forever in it: actually, our long-term experience made us notice that, of the dozens of people who compose a recently constituted community, just a few ones reach the second stage. Then, many more leave: some of them feel outraged by the tithe, others by the scrutiny, others feel scared by the hardness of the required commitment, even if the pressures from inside are strong and it’s not easy to leave the community.

We wish that many people in crisis will read the present witnesses and reflections, will understand that many people who live far from them and never met them are facing the same problems, will find the courage to rebel and will understand that their doubts are not suggestions by the devil, but pure seed that can make their lives flourish again. That is what happened to us.

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