Neo-Catechumenal Way: Has it all worked out?

Some of the liturgical practices of the Neo-Catechumenal Way were detailed last week (in critical fashion) by Sandro Magister in Chiesa Expressonline.

Here are the items that raised Magister’s eyebrows:

The Masses of the Neocatechumenal communities have always been distinguished by at least four elements.

1. They are celebrated in small groups, corresponding to the different stages of advancement on the catechetical journey. If in a parish, for example, there are twelve Neocatechumenal communities, each at a different stage, there will be twelve Masses, celebrated in separate places more or less at the same time, preferably on Saturday evening.

2. The surroundings and furnishings trace out the image of a banquet: a table with the participants seated around it. Even when the Neocatechumenals celebrate the Mass not in a parish hall but in a church, they often ignore the altar. They put a table in the middle and sit around it in a circle.

3. Each of the biblical readings of the Mass is preceded by an extensive “monition” on the part of one or the other of the community and is followed, especially after the Gospel, by “resonances,” or personal reflections by a substantial number of those present. The priest’s homily is added to the “resonances” without being distinguished from them.

4. Communion also takes place in banquet form. The consecrated bread – a large unleavened loaf, two thirds white flour and one third whole wheat flour, prepared and baked according to detailed rules established by Kiko – is broken and distributed to those present, who remain in their places. After the distribution, it is eaten at the same time by all, including the priest. After this, the priest goes from one person to the next with the chalice of consecrated wine, which everyone drinks.

There are also other peculiarities, but these four are enough to understand how different in form and substance the Masses of the Neocatechumenals are from those celebrated according to the general liturgical rules. A difference that is certainly more pronounced than that between the Masses in the ancient Roman rite and in the modern rite.

The Vatican authorities have repeatedly sought to bring the Neocatechumenals back to greater fidelity to the “lex orandi” in effect in the Catholic Church. But with a weak pulse and almost no results.

But it seems the Holy See did not mind so much after all. The movement has come away with the laurels in its recent interactions with the Pope, who appears to have approved their practices while urging more openness to integration with the work of the bishop and the life of the ordinary parishioners.

Catholic Culture now reports that the approval does not extend to how they celebrate Mass. But, then, it never did. So the situation appears to be unchanged. The rules they didn’t follow before are still in force. And still able to be ignored.

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44 comments

  1. I pastored one of these communities for two years as part of a parish assignment. It’s an intriguing mix of off-center theology, 60’s-70’s liturgy, and an aggressive pastoral practice. While it might be appropriate for a parish trying to reestablish its mission and membership, it’s incredibly disruptive in a parish with an ongoing life. I don’t think I’d want to do it again.

    1. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on the funeral practices of the neocatechumenal way — my mother is dying, she was attending a ‘way’ church group and they are making funeral demands of the family. Apparently they would like access to the body for the night before the funeral to hold a vigil? They have contacted the church we are planning on having the funeral at and are making demands….what do we do? My mom seemed to like the group, however we are concerned. Will there be more demands? Please provide any insight you may have….

      1. The vigil ceremony is a standard part of the Roman Catholic funeral rite, which consists of three parts (called “stations”), the vigil (often celebrated at the funeral home, but can also be celebrated in the Church), the funeral Mass, and the burial. Beyond that, I don’t know what they are envisioning.

      2. I guess the Roman Catholic Vigil as I have researched it is not what the Way is asking for….although I now have a better understanding of what is the Roman Catholic tradition. I guess the way wants the body for much longer than a wake…………thanks for the info!

  2. Long time readers of PTB will probably guess that I would definitely never attend a Neo-Catechumenal Way Mass. My non placet, though emphatic, is personal. I don’t like it? I shouldn’t go.

    Here are very short videos of the altar and hymn-singing as well as the consecration during a Neo-Catechumenal Way Mass in the Philippines. I don’t see anything egregiously abusive per the rubrics of the Ordinary Form. I’m sure some of my traditional brethren could find 457 “rubrical errors” two very brief videos. I agree with Fr. Farley that the NCW Masses are not unlike the many 60s/70s style “folk Masses” I attended as a kid. I’m sure those were filled with plenty of “errors” as well.

    I would be interested to know if English-speaking Neo-Catechumenal Way communities are permitted to retain the Sacramentary by indult. If indeed the NCW Mass is structurally the same as any other OF Mass,
    then an NCW indult to use the Sacramentary should likewise be granted to any parish with particular need. NCW clergy would be hard-pressed to claim that their liturgy is a distinctive “form” like the EF. Subsequently, NCW leaders might not successfully argue that their liturgy requires extraordinary permissions for its own sake.

  3. Here’s one of the other peculiarities, a humeral veil used in handling the Book of the Gospels.

    The blessing of the people with the book of the Gospels (an acceptable Roman Rite practice, though not by a priest or deacon) is quite altered in its symbolic meaning when a humeral veil is used… this is rather uncontrolled symbolic development that risks real confusion about modes of presence.

    1. re: Samuel J. Howard on January 24, 2012 – 10:45 pm

      It’s important to remember that there is no use in the OF for the humeral veil (that I can think of) save Benediction. There are many other uses for the humeral veil in the EF. It’s a vestment that isn’t used much any more for most Catholics. I suspect that many couldn’t recognize a humeral veil. It’s not surprising for clergy and laity to think of another use for the vestment.

      Still, that does not give the priest arbitrary license to use the humeral veil as a way to heighten the meaning of an action. I don’t see this particular liturgical innovation catching on, but certain liturgical actions now licit even in the EF were once widespread abuses. Sometimes, even vestments take on new roles.

      However, on the 10 scale of liturgical abuses, using the humeral veil outside of its usual context is about a 4.76. I’ve seen plenty worse abuses in my day. I wouldn’t get too upset about this.

      1. Humeral veil?
        I seek only information –
        In our parish (Walsingham AU in Houston) when a bishop or the cardinal is in choir, his crozier is carried by an acolyte who holds it with a humeral veil over his shoulders. Our acolyte master has assured me that this is proper and required. Any comments here? I had never encountered this before.

    2. In a similar way to the using of the humeral veil in holding the book of the Gospels, in their seminaries the tabernacle is built to contain both the Eucharist and the scriptures. See the web site of their Domus Galilaeae

      At the end of the wall there will be a Tabernacle, designed with two levels: one has the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and the other has the presence of the Sacred Scripture (see Dei Verbum which invites to venerate the Scripture[1].

  4. Jordan, as someone sensitive to issues of Judaism and Catholic liturgy, I’m interested what you make of the Neocatechumenal Way’s apparent readoption and foregrounding (appropriation?) of Jewish symbols (singing Dayenu, the Shema Israel, using menorahs in liturgy, etc.)

    1. I haven’t read the writings of Kiko and other founders of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Maybe someone here at PTB has read their works, and can comment in greater depth on the merger of Jewish symbolism and prayer into their Masses and devotions.

      The NCW is an extremely new movement. As with the unusual humeral veil use you’ve noticed, out-of-context and unexplained resignification of liturgical items and symbols might be characteristic of a movement without a strong liturgical or theological self-understanding. The Liturgical Movement, in its various incarnations, brought forth scholars who grounded their call for reform in scriptural and Catholic tradition. I don’t sense the same hermeneutic coherence in the NCW.

      The placement of a menorah on the altar initially struck me as a supersessionist message. The NCW resignification of Jewish prayer also might mirror the “New Israel” of early Christian polemic. Then again, early polemic can’t be directly superimposed over NCW liturgy and theology. It’s not clear whether some NCW communities intend to nullify the significance of Jews and Judaism in Catholic liturgy and theology, or just think that that menorahs are cool “accents”. Let’s hear the NCW out on this one.

  5. Good grief, the Eastern Orthodox have preserved the tradition of a menorah by placing a 7 branch candelabra on their altars for almost 2000 years. So when the NCW does that there is nothing new about it.

    1. The Catholic Church used a similar candelabra at the Tenebare services until the reform of Holy Week in the 1950s.

      So is it really a menorah? Or does it recall scriptures like Rev 1 or Ex 25?

    2. the Eastern Orthodox have preserved the tradition of a menorah by placing a 7 branch candelabra on their altars for almost 2000 years. So when the NCW does that there is nothing new about it.

      Except that they use it in a different context… which gives it a different meaning! This is part of how symbols work.

      1. All the pictures I have seen show the 9-flame menorah used at Hannukah, not the 7 branched one from the Temple…which Jews have tended to picture but not to use ritually since the destruction of the Temple and the general probhibition against reproducing Temple objects.

        Make of that what you will.

  6. Why should use of the humeral veil, or placing the scriptures close to the tabernacle be confusing. The scriptures were held in the tabernacles of catholic churches long before the practice of preserving the blessed sacrament. It is only in the last five hundred years that catholics in english speaking countries have been using them to prop up their furniture.

    The Shema is a biblical text. No one should find it odd that a biblical text is put to music for use in the liturgy. Similarly the “Dayenu” is a very ancient Jewish hymn (800 AD or older) based on scripture. This is highly proper for hymns sung within the celebration of the Mass. This is an improvement with respect to other English language practices in the Catholic Church. Many hymns sung in english speaking Catholic Churches are originally protestant or anglican, and while many are compatible with the Catholic Faith, they certainly have a markedly protestant emphasis.

    The Neocatechumenal Way is an ecclesial reality with canonical status. That is, legal status within the Roman Catholic Church. Its liturgies are not only approved by the Holy Father, the Roman Curia, and the Episcopate of the Catholic Church in just about every country, but they have been attended and presided by the same for over 40 years.

    Why anyone thinks they know better than four popes, the Curia, and thousands of bishops and clergy for over 40 years is baffling! It shows presumption and opposition to the hierarchy.

    It is not surprising that Sandro Magister should try to confuse people about the nature of the Neocatechumenal Way. Sandro Magister is a courtier of the radically secularist Italian media establishment. His blog is hosted by Espresso, a magazine that is akin to a blend of Newsweek and a tabloid paper. Anything he says should be taken with a grain of salt. English speaking Catholics might find his multilingual site informative, Italians know his true colors.

    1. Exactly agreed!
      There are too many “armchair” warriors who know little outside of their own living rooms and if they see anything different they love pontificating about it and automatically assume it’s incorrect or worse dissent.
      If they knew the history of the church they would also know that the scripture books were held in high regard in the early church and placed in a special cupboard and yes, sometimes kept w/ the reserved sacrament, out of sight in the SACRISTY!
      Egads, such heresy!

    2. Why should use of the humeral veil, or placing the scriptures close to the tabernacle be confusing.

      Because the mode of presence of Christ in the written scriptures and the mode of presence of Christ in the Eucharist is different. To treat them ritually in the same manner is to contradict this belief. Note also that it’s not “close to the tabernacle” but IN the tabernacle.

      The scriptures were held in the tabernacles of catholic churches long before the practice of preserving the blessed sacrament.

      I’ve never read any suggestion that this is the case. Can you provide a citation? “Tabernacles” as they exist today are a late development and the preservation of the Blessed Sacrament is a comparatively early one.

      It is only in the last five hundred years that catholics in english speaking countries have been using them to prop up their furniture.

      I don’t understand what this sentence means.

      The Shema is a biblical text. No one should find it odd that a biblical text is put to music for use in the liturgy.

      I don’t find it odd that a biblical text is put to music for use in the liturgy. What I find odd is that a variety of elements of Jewish liturgy (some of them late) are adopted and placed in a prominent position in the Roman Rite that they have not heretofore occupied.

      1. Samuel, you should really become more acquainted with NCW. I am afraid you are speaking without knowing what you are talking about.

        “Because the mode of presence of Christ in the written scriptures and the mode of presence of Christ in the Eucharist is different. To treat them ritually in the same manner is to contradict this belief.”

        I’d like a quote for this liturgical opinion… I don’t disagree that the real presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species is especially worthy of worship and veneration. This does not mean that to venerate another form of the presence of Christ is confusing. We kneel to pray in front of the tabernacle just as we kneel to pray in front of a crucifix, does it mean we are confused? Or we are confusing anyone else?

        “Tabernacles” as they exist today are a late development and the preservation of the Blessed Sacrament is a comparatively early one.”

        Interestingly, The word tabernacle is the Latin for tent in Hebrew, referring to the holy of holies. Therefore this is an adoption of a jewish ritual term into a prominent place in the Catholic ritual. By your standards is the tabernacle a bad idea for the Roman Rite?

        “I don’t find it odd that a biblical text is put to music for use in the liturgy. What I find odd is that a variety of elements of Jewish liturgy (some of them late) are adopted and placed in a prominent position in the Roman Rite that they have not heretofore occupied.”

        But that is simply what Neocats do. They put music to scripture, and sing a few jewish hymns. They sing more hymns from the breviary than they do jewish hymns!

        No elements of the Jewish Liturgy occupy a prominent place in the Roman Rite as celebrated in NCW communities.

        This is simply your misunderstanding.

        Caused very likely by your reliance on Sandro Magister and others who are ignorant of what goes on with the NCW. Sandro Magister by the way has a modernist agenda. He would keep the old rituals but change the faith to suit…

      2. the mode of presence of Christ in the written scriptures and the mode of presence of Christ in the Eucharist is different. To treat them ritually in the same manner is to contradict this belief.

        By this logic the Gospel book should not be censed. And certainly the vimpa, which is indistinguishable from a numeral veil, should not be used.

      3. Samuel, you should really become more acquainted with NCW. I am afraid you are speaking without knowing what you are talking about.

        It’s difficult when then primary doctrinal texts of the movement are kept secret. I’d be happy to read them if you wish to supply them to me. Click through to my blog and my profile and you can get my e-mail address. If you have paper copies, I’ll supply you with my e-mail address and reimburse you for their cost.

        I’d like a quote for this liturgical opinion…

        I’m not sure what you’d like to see a quote for. It’s a fairly obvious point that when two things are treated liturgically as equivalent they are believed to be equivalent.

        This does not mean that to venerate another form of the presence of Christ is confusing. We kneel to pray in front of the tabernacle just as we kneel to pray in front of a crucifix, does it mean we are confused? Or we are confusing anyone else?

        They’re not treated as ritually equivalent. We don’t, for instance, genuflect to the cross (except on Good Friday). We allow the cross to be exhibited openly in our Churches even when unattended. Etc. If someone was to alter the liturgy to make the practice of how we treat the cross more like how we treat the Eucharist than it has been heretofore, we would rightly think they were making a theological statement that would be subject to critical examination.

        Caused very likely by your reliance on Sandro Magister and others who are ignorant of what goes on with the NCW.

        I’ve shown a video from a NCW liturgy. I’ve pointed to text on a NCW web site. I’ve also relied on personal discussions with priests who’ve participated in their liturgies, the public statements of the Vatican, etc. There’s lots of source material w/o relying on Magister. Making it about personal attacks on him doesn’t persuade me of anything.

      4. Interestingly, The word tabernacle is the Latin for tent in Hebrew, referring to the holy of holies. Therefore this is an adoption of a jewish ritual term into a prominent place in the Catholic ritual. By your standards is the tabernacle a bad idea for the Roman Rite?

        Yes, I am aware of this. The adoption of the term tabernacle to refer to what was previously called by various other names “Pastophorion,” “Sacrament House,” “Turis,” “Sacrarium”, is less worrying as an isolated occurance than it would be as a program of adoption of Jewish liturgical texts and implements.

      5. “is less worrying as an isolated occurance (sic) than it would be as a program of adoption of Jewish liturgical texts and implements.”

        Who’s worried? Rediscovering our connections with Judaism is cause to hope for authentic renewal and a reason to celebrate.

    3. Similarly the “Dayenu” is a very ancient Jewish hymn (800 AD or older) based on scripture.

      Dayenu is first attested to in the 10th century (see the JPS Haggadah Commentary) and, think how old the Pslams are by comparison, this doesn’t make it a “very ancient Jewish hymn”. Many Catholic hymns are older.

      This is highly proper for hymns sung within the celebration of the Mass. This is an improvement with respect to other English language practices in the Catholic Church.

      That something is better than something else doesn’t make it ideal (or even a good idea neccesarily).

      Many hymns sung in english speaking Catholic Churches are originally protestant or anglican, and while many are compatible with the Catholic Faith, they certainly have a markedly protestant emphasis.

      Dayenu has a markedly Jewish emphasis. It’s closely associated with the Jewish Passover liturgy of which it is a part. And while Judaism existed before Christianity, this hymn did not. As such, it is in its liturgical use and emphasis as much a deviation from Catholicism as many Protestant hymns.

      Why anyone thinks they know better than four popes, the Curia, and thousands of bishops and clergy for over 40 years is baffling! It shows presumption and opposition to the hierarchy.

      Those Popes and bishops have repeatedly said that the liturgy is to be celebrated as set out in the liturgical books. They said that before the NCW existed. The NCW violated that rule, to the point of having to be specifcally singled out for correction by the Congregation for Divine Worship. To insist with the Bishops that the NCW should follow the liturgical books and not introduce non-rubrical and novel practices into the liturgy without permission is not opposition to the Bishops. Videos and “on-the-ground” reports indicate that the introduction of novelties has not ceased.

      1. Spiritually, we are all Semites. (Pope Pacelli) Almost the entire panoply of Christianity is a reappropriation of Judaism. Use of the menorah and positioning of scriptures in a tabernacle are entirely appropriate based on our common Jewish heritage.

      2. Samuel, you should know (for your own reference) that when a scholarly article writes “first attested” it means that it is likely that it has been existed for much longer. Wikipedia will tell you that the first written appearance of the Dayenu is from the ninth century. Some scholars might say that Jesus himself sang the Dayenu for 33 passovers in his life, including the last one. Granted, it is a Jewish Hymn, but had you even read it you would probably realize that your characterization as “deviation” could not be further removed from the truth.

        “To insist with the Bishops that the NCW should follow the liturgical books and not introduce non-rubrical and novel practices into the liturgy without permission is not opposition to the Bishops. Videos and “on-the-ground” reports indicate that the introduction of novelties has not ceased.”

        Samuel, this shows that you are not at all acquainted with the Neocats. You must be relying on Sandro Magister and other flawed sources. If the NCW were really carrying out abuses of the liturgy, and so egregiously and repeatedly, would the Holy Father have granted them this latest approval? I really suggest you get to know these people better, and turn to other sources for information.

  7. That is true, but just because such practices were done at one point doesn’t mean they should be brought back after a millenial hiatus, cf. Mediator Dei on antiquarianism.

    That said, the camel already got his nose under the tent so, what is there to stop anything? Its pretty much a free for all in many NO parishes, these people at least asked for permission for their own version.

    The hearse for Tenebrae (we still use it in the ’62 Holy Week, btw…) and it has 15 candles. It did not develop from the menorah. The closest thing in the tradition to a menorah is the big six on the High Altar w/ a seventh for a Pontifical High Mass and the large candle holder used in the traditional Rite of Lyons. Even then, I don’t think they were necessarily going for any connection but I may be wrong.

    My problem with NeoCat liturgical practices (and many post-Conciliar liturgical practices in general) is that it seems to go hand in hand with the false ideas of some in the earlier liturgical movement that the Mass we have now (the TLM then) was just an amalgam of court rituals and other useless accretions and that it pretty much destroyed the “true” spirit of the liturgy that was supposedly practiced in the Early Church and which, because of our scholarly superiority, we are now going to “restore”.

    This is the same hubristic error that the Protestants, the Pistoians, and the Aufklarung crowd fell into.

    1. “My problem with NeoCat liturgical practices (and many post-Conciliar liturgical practices in general) is that it seems to go hand in hand with the false ideas of some in the earlier liturgical movement that the Mass we have now (the TLM then) was just an amalgam of court rituals and other useless accretions and that it pretty much destroyed the “true” spirit of the liturgy that was supposedly practiced in the Early Church.”

      Whatever gave you that hubristic impression?

      The liturgical adaptations that the Neocats have been granted are minor, and are made in order for the liturgy to be accessible to people who are far from the faith (i.e. unbaptized, lapsed, other denominations etc.). The results speak for themselves.

      1. The liturgical adaptations that the Neocats have been granted are minor,

        This is arguably true. But the liturgical adaptations they have been granted are not the sum total of their liturgical practice, which is not minorly different from the normative practices of the Roman Rite.

  8. As someone who has no interest in the neo-chatechumenate movement and even less in the revivification of the abrogated Tridentine form of the Latin rite, it is pleasant, entertaining and informative to observe this conversation.

  9. re: Samuel J. Howard on January 26, 2012 – 11:21 am

    I have read that some consider the improperia (The Reproaches of Good Friday) to be Melito of Sardis’s “inversion” of the Dayenu or a similar (perhaps predecessor) prayer. A comparison of the two liturgical compositions shows striking similarities in structure.

    As mentioned before on PTB many times, I have often wondered if EF Catholics should consider reforming the Breviary and Missal to remove explicitly anti-Jewish/anti-Semitic references. This is a contentious issue within the EF community. I respect the opinions of those who do not want any change to our liturgical books, especially since my openness to reform is still quite in the minority. Still, dialogue about this aspect of EF liturgy should remain open.

    Similarly, concerns about NCW deviations from OF rubrics should include an investigation into their appropriation of Jewish ritual items and prayers. While each accretion from Judaism should be investigated as a separate phenomenon, there is also the question of the sum total of Jewish liturgical interpolations in NCW liturgy. In some respects, this question is the inverse of the relationship of Judaism and the EF. A NCW appropriation of Jewish liturgy out of a sincere appreciation but not-well-explained standpoint could be as damaging to Jewish-Catholic relations as the liturgical violence in the 1961 Breviary and 1962 Missal.

    Symbolic appropriation and resignification is often a fraught enterprise in any circumstance. This is especially true when the tradition “borrowed from” does not have input into the way in which their liturgy is used. I would be very interested in reading more about NCW liturgical appropriation, and perhaps even discussing the issue with NCW clergy.

  10. Re: #6
    As in my own note above, the article used to hold a bishop’s mitre/crosier is properly called a “vimpa”, not humeral veil– though ‘humeral’ simply refers to the shoulders.
    In the Jewish tradition, God’s Word –the Torah– is not touched by human hands. WHen carried in the synagogue, worshippers kiss the end of their talit and touch it to the Torah scrolls. WHen reading from the Torah, a small “pointer” is used to help follow along the text. All out of their respect for God’s word.
    Try talking to some Catholics about God’s presence in His word (We say:The Word of the Lord”, no longer: This is the word ofthe Lord) and you’ll get blank stares.
    The use of a humeral veil, vimpa or whatever you want to call it, to carry the Book of the Gospels is a good practice that, when we ask “Why?”, leads us to talk about God’s presence in His word. And respect, reverence and attention to that word.

  11. “The liturgical adaptations that the Neocats have been granted are minor,”

    Like someone else said, yes, that is arguably true. However, as someone who thinks the whole Neo-Roman Rite “reform” was a disaster, the Neocat version of it (praised by Bugnini himself in Notitiae) isn’t gettting any love…

    “and are made in order for the liturgy to be accessible to people who are far from the faith (i.e. unbaptized, lapsed, other denominations etc.).”

    That approach is debatable. Is making something like the Mass “accessible” to people who know little to nothing about it really teach them the unsullied orthodox Catholic Faith in all its splendor? That’s what people involved in Lifeteen and other “youth” movements would tell me too, that all the crazy is to get unchurched youths in the door who would otherwise find Mass boring but “eventually” they graduate out to the regular adult Mass. They may very well, but not a whole lot less ignorant than before. I can’t blame them though, what’s going on (P&W and all the other gimmicks) doesn’t exactly scream that Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary.

    “The results speak for themselves.”

    Not really. Correlation does not imply causation-for anything. Not the Neocat stuff and admitedly my beloved Traditionalist program. You can go to any heretical sect of Baptists or whatever you prefer and find people who will tell you their conversion story. Is it because of the erroneous group they associate with, or simply prevenient grace which has gotten them to turn their lives around on a natural level? Its a good start, but you cannot conclude that Protestantism is true because people’s lives are changed supposedly because of it.

  12. While a NW liturgy probably would not be my cup of tea, is it any more egregious than many “regular” NO liturgies? There are enough abuses to go around. Even if the NW liturgies are somewhat “irregular,” at least they seem will planned and are an important part of the NW approach. Compare that to the often rote, dry, and sloppy liturgies in many parishes. What does intrigue me about the NW is its seeming ability to evangelize. Statistics (which have been questioned, I know) show that 50% of those who go through the RCIA are non-practicing after 5 years. Catholicism in Europe and the US doesn’t do a good job when it comes to evangelization. Maybe our clergy can learn something from the NW in this regard.

    1. “Statistics (which have been questioned, I know) show that 50% of those who go through the RCIA are non-practicing after 5 years.”

      Source, please.

      Who did the study, when, and where is it published? If this is just somebody’s guess, or data concerning their own parish, you should not be repeating it here as a fact. Thank you for owning that the figure has been questioned, but you are citing it, and spreading it around on the blog, so please tell us where this comes from.

  13. I have no idea about stats for retentions, etc. But the above comments provoked this thought about the RCIA. In the half century or so since Vatican II, Catholic identity has become much more porous and the ecumenical project has given the meta-message that differences between Christians are mostly misunderstandings rather than matters of truth vs heresy. At the same time, this complex and patristically inspired program of receiving adult converts has been re-instituted. When the adult catechumenate was functioning back then, Catholic/Orthodox identity was hardly porous or given to universalism. To put it oversimply, while the form was ramped up and complexified, the content was softened and deflated (in common practice, if not on paper). It makes for a strange outlay of energy for a goal deemed less crucial by its purveyors.

    1. Welcoming people into our community is a strange outlay of energy?
      The content was softened and deflated?

      Do you have any statistics on these things? Any basis for thinking them?

  14. Samuel J. Howard :

    The vigil ceremony is a standard part of the Roman Catholic funeral rite, which consists of three parts (called “stations”), the vigil (often celebrated at the funeral home, but can also be celebrated in the Church), the funeral Mass, and the burial. Beyond that, I don’t know what they are envisioning.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    1. Brothers i think the whole issue should not be about what is right and what is wrong, we should only focus on eternal life. Just ask your self the relationship you personally have with Christ. Before looking at the turbenacle, the scriptures, the alter and the songs look into your heart because it is the first dwelling place of Christ. We always look for Christ in turbenacle and forget that he is very near in our hearts. For me i think that all this is a misconception. Some of us like me have been so much helped by Neo catechuminal way to find the love of God and to accept our crosses in life without loosing faith. We are all guided by Pope and we have to be humble enough not to argue against his approvals.

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