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English bishop issues liturgical norms for Neocatechumenal Way

June 06, 2017

Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, England, has announced norms for the liturgies of the Neocatechumenal Way in his diocese, citing a “growing sense of unease” about the group’s practices.

The bishop announced that Mass should be celebrated only at the altar of a church or chapel and that the faithful should consume the Eucharist with “no delay” after receiving it. (This refers to the distinctive practice of the Neocatechumenal Way in which the faithful wait until everyone has received before consuming the Eucharist.) Bishop Campbell said that pastors have the authority to place limits on any special liturgies in their parish churches. He said that any special liturgy offered for members of the Neocatechumenal Way should be listed as such in the parish bulletin.

These norms apply to all liturgical celebrations, the Lancaster diocese pointed out. Therefore the diocese observed that the bishop’s rules were intended to punish the Neocatechumenal Way but to ensure that all groups in the diocese adhered to existing liturgical norms.

A local spokesman for the Neocatechumenal Way said that the restrictions came as a “complete surprise” to the group. Paul Hayward said that members of the group had asked for a meeting with the bishop, but had been told that he would not be available until after the July 1 date when his new norms come into force. “We have begged him not to initiative any of this before we can explain how we do things and why,” Hayward said. The diocese, in a statement clarifying the norms, said that there had been no request for a delay in implementing the norms.

 
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  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jun. 06, 2017 2:12 PM ET USA

    Didn't Pope Benedict issue instructions to this effect during his tenure? They should not be surprised whatsoever.