Saturday, December 31, 2005

Experimental lay movement gets a talking-to

Via Yahoo!

A letter reported by specialist Catholic media from Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, demands that the Neocatechumenal Way movement, which claims thousands of followers, change its practices.

The Neocatechumenal Way, launched in the Madrid slums in 1964 by Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, celebrates mass on Saturdays instead of Sundays, and communion is administered to the faithful seated around a table.

In addition, lay members of the congregation are allowed to preach during the service, while the priest plays a relatively minor role.

The Vatican's letter says members of the Neocatechumenate should celebrate mass on Sunday during the normal parish liturgy at least once a month, that all the prescribed prayers should be followed, that a priest or deacon deliver the homily, and that communion be administered while standing or genuflecting.

The Vatican has given the Neocatechumenate two years to bring its practice on communion in line with the norms, while allowing lay people to continue to deliver reflections at the mass, as long as they are brief and not confused with the homily...the new pope is less keen on lay movements, and particularly those that seek to introduce innovations into Church practices. The Neocatechumenal Way, which has its own seminaries, has faced criticism that it resembles a separate sect.

On its own website the movement claims to have communities in 105 countries, mainly in Europe and the Americas, more than 700 ordained priests and hundreds more undergoing training.

Hey, you know, I'm not too keen on "new" movements myself. Call me old-fashioned, but I think Mass should be on Sunday, we should not be "reclining" around the altar, and I don't want to hear my fellow parishioners preaching. And, um, the priest's role shouldn't be "minor". Why do people constantly feel the need to reinvent the wheel? If it was good enough for Augustine, St. Thomas More, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, and all the other great saints, and the popes, then I'll take it. Thank you.

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