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Pope urges caution on Neocatechumenate Way

Pope John Paul II has cautioned the Neocatechumenate Way about the importance of "submission" to the authority of the Church.

Catholic World News reports that the papal message came in a letter addressed to Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and made public by the Vatican on Tuesday. Cardinal Stafford has been charged with the responsibility for supervising the preparation of new statutes to govern the lay movement, so that it can receive full canonical approval.

The preparation of those governing statutes had been a "delicate" process, the Holy Father disclosed, but the process is now entering a "conclusive phase."

The Neocatechumenate Way, founded in 1967 by the Spanish layman Kiko Arguello, is now active in 100 countries around the world. The Pope indicated that the group should now be ready for an official recognition which would come not through an "easy process" but through a "profound discernment" on the part of the ecclesial community.

The reason for this process, the Pope explained, is to submit the movement to "judgment regarding the authenticity of charisms." Such judgment is the duty of the Catholic hierarchy, he added, and no lay movement, regardless of its success or its founding charism, can dispense itself from the obligation to "submit to the pastors of the Church."