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Vatican to scrutinise Neocatechumenate statutes

Pope John Paul II has asked leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way to cooperate with a Vatican examination of their catechetical practices and liturgy.

The Pope said the Vatican's approval of statutes in June "opens a new stage in the life of the Way". The statutes were an important aid for local bishops and a fundamental reference point to help the group's process of formation to take place in harmony with the Church's doctrine and discipline, he said.

"Now it is up to the Holy See to examine the Way's Catechetical Directory, practices and liturgy", he continued, in a recent meeting with Neocatechumenal founders, catechists and priests. He was sure, he said, that members of the Way would support guidance from such authoritative sources.

"In a secularised society like ours, in which religious indifference is rampant and many people live as if God does not exist, there are many in need of a new discovery of the sacraments of Christian initiation, especially baptism", the Pope said. He asked priests of the Way, which was founded by lay people, not to forget that "you have an irreplaceable role of sanctification, teaching and pastoral leadership".

Begun in Spain in 1964 by Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, the Neocatechumenal Way has spread to more than 100 countries. The Way's statutes recognise it as "an itinerary of Catholic formation" in the service of bishops, not as a movement, lay association or religious congregation.

In some dioceses, however, bishops and pastors have complained that the Neocatechumenal Way's formation program and liturgies risk dividing parishes by seeming to create a parallel and competing elitist parish community.

The Tablet

Neocatechumenal Way statute approved by Vatican (28/6/02)
Neocatechumenate Way faces Vatican questions (6/6/02)
The Neocatechumenal Way (official site)
The Neocatechumenal Way (unofficial site)
Pontifical Council for the Laity

31 Oct 2002