Saturday, October 15, 2005

Neocats at Issue

On Settimo Cielo (available in Italian only), some hubbub at the Synod brings Sandro Magister back to boil about one of his more prominent pet peeves: the Neocatechumenal Way.

In January, Magister posted a piece which ripped the Neocats' liturgical practice

There is a glaring contrast between [Ecclesia de Eucharistia], [Redemptionis Sacramentum], and the indications for the eucharistic year on the one hand, and the liturgical practices of the Neocatechumenal Way on the other.

[T]o justify the liturgical praxis of the Way... [Neocat founders] Kiko and Carmen... recount to their disciples their own highly particular history of the mass, according to which the great merit of the Way is that of restoring the celebration of the mass to its original purity.....

[The following are from the texts of Kiko and Carmen, quoted by Sandro]

"The rigidity and fixity of the Council of Trent generated a static mentality in the liturgy, which has persisted to our day, quick to be scandalized by any change or transformation. And this is an error, because the liturgy is life, a reality of the Spirit living among men. For this reason, it can never be bottled up"...

"Having emerged from a legalistic and rigid mentality, we witnessed at Vatican II a profound renewal of the liturgy. The cloaks that had covered the eucharist were removed from it. It is interesting to see that originally, the anaphora [the prayer of consecration] was not written, but was improvised by the presider"...

"The Church has tolerated inauthentic forms for centuries. Thus it is seen that the 'Gloria,' which was part of the liturgy of the hours recited by the monks, entered into the mass when a single celebration was made of the two actions, and that the 'Credo' emerged with the appearance of heresies and apostasies. Even the 'Orate Fratres' is a culminating example of the prayers with which the mass was stuffed full"...

Wow. This almost sounds ghostwritten by someone of the hyper-prog ilk. But, no, it comes from the NeoCats, who have three seminaries in the US and are about to open one up in Sydney of all places.

If they hate Trent so much, I wonder what Kiko and Carmen make of the Big Red Thing that ate Cardinal Pell in Dusseldorf.

Back to the Synod, Magister writes that two Arguello-friendly bishops -- one from Poland and one from Guam -- rose to advocate the extension of the Neocatechumenal Way's liturgical praxis and theology to the entire church. These changes would include moving the sign of peace to precede the offertory procession, smaller Masses to allow for an increased liturgical intimacy -- possibly one which has different Masses designated for differing levels of involvement in the church's life -- and "above all," the distribution of communion to the faithful in their seats (i.e. sitting down).

According to Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Siedice, the Polish bishop cited, these modifications are necessary to remind the people that the Mass was established as "a banquet." "The bread must have the aspect of food, and the chalice must be given to drink," Kiernikowski said in his intervention.

Um... sorry, Charlie -- Waterford Crystal is verboten.

According to Magister, Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana on Guam, a Capuchin, agreed with Kiernikowski. Speaking of giving communion to seated congregants, Apuron said that it was "the most apt posture" in the light of the nature of the Eucharist as banquet.

In other Neocat news, Sandro the Grande also reported that, at the close of the general audience on Wednesday, the Pope blessed the cornerstone for the Sydney Neocat Seminary.

This should be fascinating -- one seminary (the Neocat house) where Eucharist is taught as banquet and the sacrifice element is laid aside, the other (Big George's preferred seminary du jour, whichever one that is) where it's all sacrifice and no banquet. Talk about the confusion this will cause.

My humble response is that we're not supposed to be pantheists.

And while many conservatives love the Neocats -- I honestly don't know much about them, aside from the fact that they give beautiful pectoral crosses to their bishop-friends -- it's ironic to note that the first prelate to invite them to open a Redemptoris Mater seminary in the United States was none other than the great Theodore McCarrick. He's opened two, actually: one in Newark while he was there, and another in Washington.

Hey, if The Ted likes 'em, they must be doing something right.



Blogger Gene O'Grady said...

I'm not sure "hate Trent so much" is a fair summation of their points. All in all I tend to admire the fathers of Trent, as well as the counter-Reformation saints, but criticizing their solutions to real historical issues as rigid and legalistic is not unfair. And the way to guard against unintended consequences in liturgy, catechesis, etc., is not to sentimentalize or sneer at the past but to be very aware of the problems people in the past were trying to address and -- with respect for past solutions -- be as intelligent and fairminded as possible and open to the guidance of the spirit as we face them.

15/10/05 12:06  
Blogger Deep Furrows said...

Unfamiliar with the Italian cultural scene, I have wondered about Magister's politics. This post sheds some significant light on the particular axes that he has to grind.

15/10/05 12:52  
Blogger Chuck White said...

A NeoCat priest (we call'm "neo" here in Guam) told me that they deliberately de-emphasize the sacrificial aspects of the Mass. Well, they would do well to heed Pope John Paul II's warning: "Unfortunately, alongside these lights, there are also shadows... At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet." Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia 10

21/10/05 00:01  

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