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Vatican acceptance coming for Neocatechumenal liturgy?

January 13, 2012

On January 20, Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to hold an audience with members of the Neocatechumenal Way. Sandro Magister of L'Espresso writes that the date could bring a final resolution of long-running conflicts between the lay movement and Vatican officials about the unusual liturgical practices of the Neocatechumate.

Founded in Spain in the 1960s, the Neocatechumal Way has spread quickly around the world, forming thousands of small groups and claiming the allegiance of up to 1 million Catholics. The group gained official recognition from the Holy See in 2008.

However, the unusual liturgical practices of the "Neocat" communities have drawn frequent criticism, encountered hostility from some bishops (notably in Japan) who see, the movement as divisive and occasionally received official rebukes from Rome. After years of dialogue with the Vatican, leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way are hoping that Pope Benedict will give final approval for their liturgical practices at the January 20 meeting.

In his commentary on the matter, Magister sketches the four distinctive elements of the Neocatechumenal Way liturgy. These practices, as Magister describes them, seem clearly in conflict with the Church's liturgical norms.

When he met with “Neocat” members last January, Pope Benedict praised the group’s apostolic vigor, but cautioned that the movement must show “filial obedience to the Holy See and the pastors of the Church.” He encouraged the group “always to seek profound communion with pastors.”


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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Jan. 14, 2012 6:02 PM ET USA

    Why oh why would pope Benedict, who has worked so hard on the reform of the liturgy, and warned the Neo Cats so many times, now approve a liturgy which is not only at odds with the normative Catholic liturgy, but betrays a false understanding of liturgy itself? Further, their liturgical errors make me suspicious of their entire theology and spirituality. After all, lex orandi, lex credendi.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jan. 14, 2012 2:53 PM ET USA

    If these people get away with this, I guess I should be grateful that the priests of my parish are ignoring only parts of the new Missal and ad lib only some of the Mass. What's a little thing like not letting the dew fall compared with sitting around in a circle and chatting about the Gospel?