Thursday, May 01, 2008

Neo-Catechumenal Way falls foul of the Japanese bishops

Why is Melancholicus not surprised by this news?

Because this kind of thing happens all the time. From Catholic World News:

Japanese bishops appeal to Vatican in clash with NeoCatechumenate

Vatican, Apr. 30, 2008 ( - A delegation of bishops from Japan visited the Vatican this week, hoping to resolve a conflict with the NeoCatechumenal Way, which operates a seminary in Japan, the UCA News service reports.

The visit by four Japanese bishops was the third such trip to Rome. "We hate to come so often but we had to give the serious nature of the problem that needs to be resolved", Archbishop Okada of Tokyo, president of the bishops' conference, told UCA News.

The archbishop said that the NeoCatechumenate had caused "sharp painful division and strife within the Church in Japan." He characterized the lay movement as a group engaged in "powerful sect-like activity" that was damaging the unity of the small Catholic community in Japan.

The Neo-Catechumenal Way is one of the so-called “new ecclesial movements” that, like fungus on damp and rotting vegetation, have mushroomed within the Church since the ’sixties and ’seventies.

These movements are generally hailed by both clergy and laity alike as evidence of “life” and “vitality” and “the movement of the spirit” in the post-conciliar Church. In the eyes of the apologists for aggiornamento, the new ecclesial movements are among the greatest fruits of the council, and a clear sign of the renewal of the Church that has proceeded from it. Pope John Paul II was a veritable embodiment of this view, as his frequent praise and endorsements of such groups as the Neo-catechumenate and Focolare testify. However, the support of the late pontiff for these movements was based on his own private view of them as a wonderful manifestation of renewal; this not being a doctrine of either faith or morals taught always and everywhere by the Church but instead a matter of individual opinion, no Catholic is bound to accept the late Holy Father’s views on the matter.

Melancholicus is at one with the conciliar apologists and with John Paul II in regarding these movements as indeed a fruit of the council. But rather than viewing them as the first flowers of the new springtime, Melancholicus considers them as symptoms of post-conciliar decline; they are weeds rather than vines in the vineyard of the Lord. Many of these movements are characterised by a spirit of independence from the rest of the Church. Some are bedevilled by scandal, corruption and rank disobedience. The mentality of a sect is in many instances observable in their adherents. Their fidelity to core Catholic doctrines is questionable. The leaders of such groups, far from being persons of undoubted sanctity, often display attitudes and behaviours that befit more the leaders of a cult. In such situations, loyalty to the group and to its leader becomes much more important than loyalty to the Church, or fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium.

The Neo-Catechumenal Way displays all these warning signs, at least to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. That they have clashed with the Japanese bishops is not at all surprising, given their behaviour elsewhere and on past occasions. That the Japanese bishops have had to make four such trips to Rome in an attempt to rein in this out-of-control sect is more than a little disquieting. It is high time now for the Holy See to revoke the favour so ill-advisedly and precipitously granted by John Paul II to this rogue splinter group and demand that it fall into line with the teachings of the Church and be obedient to the local bishops.

Otherwise the time might be right for its suppression.

1 comment:

Thomas J. Hennigan said...

I agree that for the most part the so called "movements" are "weeds" in the garden of the Church. You may have noticed that weeds do flower and sometimes even look pleasant, but the same same weeds may be poisonous. Congratulations on that metaphor which I have not seen before. It now seems that the Pope has decided to do some weeding out of the Legion of Christ sect. When will the weeding of the Neocat sect begin? Hopefully soon before the fanatical Kiko and his acolytes do even more damage. The problems of Maciel were moral and also financial scandals. The Neocat problems are also dogmatic.