I was delighted to read in his recent pastoral letter that Archbishop Byrnes intends to appoint a priest delegate to review the Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way. I don’t know anywhere else in the world where a brave bishop has done this!
This, despite the fact that the Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way specifically says that the Neocatechumenal Way “is at the service of the bishop“ [Art. 1] and that it is “under the jurisdiction, direction of the diocesan bishop” [Art. 2] and that “it pertains to the diocesan bishop, as responsible for initiation, formation and Christian life in the local Church…to authorize the implementation of the Neocatechumenal Way” and to “to watch over the implementation of the Neocatechumenal Way“ [Art. 24].
How could Archbishop Byrnes possibly carry out this responsibility if he did not become familiar with the entire content of the Neocatechumenal catechesis and practice?
I assume then, that the soon to be appointed priest delegate will promptly ask the Neocatechumenal catechists for a copy of each of the thirteen volumes of the Directory.
Here is a list of the thirteen volumes, taken from one of my copies:
It’s entirely possible, however, that the catechists will object to the Archbishop’s request for a copy, saying something like, “But Archbishop, the Directory has already been approved by Rome!”
The Archbishop could reply, if he was so inclined, “Yes, I realize that the Directory was approved through a most unusual process, but how can I watch over the implementation of the Way on Guam if I am not thoroughly familiar with the entire content of the Way’s teaching and practice?”
The catechists might then say that they do not have any copies to provide, or that they are not in English, or proffer some other lame excuse. But why on earth wouldn’t the catechists themselves have access to the very resource that is meant to guide them in all of the details, and in the language in which they teach? Wouldn’t it be easy to get a few thousand pages copied at their favorite copy center and quickly deliver it to the Chancery?
But maybe the catechists will resist the Archbishop’s request. If they do, he could always relieve them of their duties, right? After all, they are at his service. And then the Archbishop could get a copy from another bishop…oh, say, from Boston, Philidelphia, Newark, or Denver…one of those Archbishops must certainly have a copy to share, wouldn’t you think?
Let’s watch this unfold. And pray.