Kiko and Purgatory

 Kiko Arguello’s theology is a morass of half-truths, and here is another example.  In this case it involves the “last things”, and specifically, purgatory.

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory," Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , 1730's
“The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory,” Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , 1730’s

Let’s check out what Kiko Arguello says in this catechesis taken from the first volume of the Neocatechumenal Way’s Catechetical Directory:

“For the person who believes in Jesus Christ, death is like falling asleep. You go to bed and you fall asleep without knowing when. That is how you will die, like falling asleep. That is why the Church calls the dead “those who have fallen asleep in the Lord.”  You die as if you are falling asleep and you awake in the resurrection.  In an instant you pass from this world to glory, whether or not millions of years have gone by.  This is why we Christians do not weep for our dead as the pagans do, for our brothers and sisters who die are alive.”  (p. 277)

Does this description of the last things make any allowance for a final purification (purgatory) for the Christian at all?  No.  According to Kiko, Christians die and in an instant, they pass from this world to glory (heaven).  This, in fact, is what many people around us believe, including most devout Protestants.  The Church, however, proclaims something different, that while  some people have no need to be purified after death and do go straight to heaven, many do require the grace of purgatory.  There is just no way to squeeze the concept of purgatory into Kiko’s description of the last things.

The Catechism tells us, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.  The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. “  [CCC 1030-1031]

This final purification is God applying His salvation to us.  It is a grace, and it is very good news.  It means that our holiness will be REAL, not fake, and not imputed, when we arrive at the gates of heaven.  In fact, that’s not just good news, that’s great news!  Any description of the last things presented in a kerygma should not explicitly or implicitly exclude the possibility of purgatory, but Kiko’s kerygma clearly does.

Why does Kiko exclude the possibility of purgatory?   Ask your Neocatechumenal catechist.

13 thoughts on “Kiko and Purgatory”

  1. Thank you for your diligence to defending the truth! I met a Neo recently (I didn’t know she was), but was surprised with myself because I was able to clearly state the errors in her newly found belief system in the Neo. Now I am armed with one more fact that they have been misled by Kiko.

  2. Dear Chuck,

    Could this “instant” that Kiko talks about not include passing from earth to heaven through purgatory? After all, your quote of the CCC does not claim how long the purification takes. Time, since Augustine (cf. Confessions), is an experience of the earthly, conscious human being, not an experience of heavenly beings. So your use of the phrase “squeezing into” might be misleading, although the best you can do as a person in time. I am not of the WAY, just a critical reader trying to understand. —Timothy Guile, resident of Santa Rita, Guam

    1. Timothy, one need not misunderstand purgatory as subject to “time” as we know it to see that Kiko completely ignores it in the first volume of his Catechetical Directory:

      “You die as if you are falling asleep and you awake in the resurrection. In an instant you pass from this world to glory, whether or not millions of years have gone by.”

      The clincher for me is that Kiko consistently denigrates the whole notion of “expiation” in this volume. One might defend him by saying that he’s merely “deemphasizing” it, but The proof is in the “fruits”: Funeral rites that assume the deceased is in heaven, members ridiculing family members praying at Pigo cemetery…

  3. The latter point you make strikes me also as unfortunate. Aquinas treats the question on whether it is effective to pray for the dead (cf. relevant question in the Summa Theologica). Taken from a purely Scriptural point of view, Aquinas concludes we cannot know whether such prayers are effective or not. He says, however, such prayers, in any event, are an act of charity, and such acts are not meant to be discouraged. For me, prayer life is deep and enduring and very much a part of my identity as a follower of (and sufferer with) Christ. I pray for the dead also as an act of charity, calling on God’s mercy to trump his justice. I have no idea how God accepts these prayers; I know only that He does not discourage me from praying, praying, knocking on the door, and loving his sheep. If members of the NCW discourage prayer for the dead, they are discouraging the acts of charity Aquinas sees in such prayers. A pity.

    1. And St. John Paul II loved the Legion of Christ, and especially its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and we all know how that turned out.

  4. tim’s latest jungle watch post brought me here. i think i’ve seen this post before but didn’t comment at the time.

    anyway, it’s amazing to see how protestant and non-catholic this kiko belief is. it sounds a lot closer to seventh day adventist belief than it does to catholicism. is there any way for us to check if this is one of the things that the vatican corrected in the neocat books?

    i wonder if kiko was encouraged by the fact that in the east, they don’t use the word “purgatory” or emphasize its fiery side, even though they believe it exists. if so, then just as kiko has corrupted eastern iconography, he’d also have corrupted their belief in such a place or state.

  5. The fact that you need to analyze every word to find some kind of fault in Kiko is simply a waste of time. Anything can be taken out of context especially when you want to find an error of something or someone you disapprove. I say, look at the fruits of the Way. Has the most vocations of priests, mission families all over the world, marriages/families restored – open to life. Recently I did a presentation on the transmission of faith and all the information that seem to come up as to how to transmit faith to ur children was about the Neo-Cathecumenal Way. The Catholic church has many ministries and if you are able to have an true encounter with God in any other ministrie that is not the Way, then that is where you wee called to be. Afterall, that is the most important thing for any person – to have an encounter with God and experience in our lives the Resurrection fo Jesus Christ. Some others have had this experience in the Way. Why judge what has given fruit!
    If you personally don’t like it (the Way), that is fine but you can at least pray for each other as we are all looking for the same thing in the end.

    1. MRB, please provide me with any links you have to Kiko teaching about purgatory. I can’t find any. Thanks.

      And fruits? click here to see some of the bitter fruits of “the Way” that we’re experiencing here on Guam.

  6. Hi Chuck

    Could you point to me where in the Bible there is any reference to purgatory? To the contrary, the Bible contradicts any idea that people can pay off sins in the next life before entering heaven. However, there are numerous references made by St Paul to people falling asleep in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). On this issue, I’d suggest that Mr Arguello has a biblically sound basis for his teaching, which is contrary to the traditional teachings on purgatory that have no biblical basis whatsoever.

    1. No problem, Nick. Here’s a post on the Thoughtful Catholic that does just that: Three Common Objections to Purgatory.

      The objection, “it’s not in the Bible,” can be easily refuted. While it is not explicitly spelled out and mentioned by name, the reality of Purgatory is found throughout Scripture. The name is not what is important. What is important is the doctrine itself. The words “Trinity” or “Incarnation” are not mentioned specifically in the Bible either, yet they are central to the Christian faith.

      “For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble— each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day[a] will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. I Cor. 3:11-15

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