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Neocatechumenate Way faces Vatican questions

The Vatican is not ready to approve official statutes for the NeoCatechumenate Way, informed sources have indicated, because of questions regarding the role of priests within the community.

For well over a year, the leadership of the NeoCatechumenate Way has been working toward the approval of statutes that would allow for formal Vatican recognition of the organisation. The group, founded by the Spanish layman Kiki Arguello, in 1967, has spread to over 100 countries, and attracted priests and seminarians as well as lay faithful.

In the spring of last year, leaders of the movement predicted that official statutes would soon be approved. But four successive drafts of those statutes have been produced, and each time the drafts have been sent back for further modifications.

Now informed Vatican officials say that the statutes will be published before the end of this summer, at the earliest. In order to gain Vatican approval, the final statutes must be approved by three dicasteries: the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Clergy, and for Divine Worship.

In April 2001, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the statues for the NeoCatechumenate Way posed a "delicate" problem, regarding the relations between priests and laity. The Pope wrote, in a letter to Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, that it was crucial for the organization to indicate "submission to the pastors of the Church."

Questions about the status of priests in the NeoCatechumenate Way actually involve two different issues. One question is the relationship between the movement and the hierarchy of the Church: how the group falls within the structure of hierarchical authority. The other question involves the responsibilities of priests who are members of the movement: from whom should they take their orders?

The Neocatechumenal Way
The NeoCatechumenate Movement
Interview with founder Kiko Arguello


6 Jun 2002