A Critical Look at the Neocatechumenal Way

Cult or Sect?

The Initial Phase of Catechesis

Sacramental Issues

  • Kiko’s Tabernacles – Do these tabernacles indicate Kiko’s true beliefs regarding the Eucharist?
  • Kiko’s Passover Problem, Part I – If Kiko is wrong about the celebration of the Passover in first century Palestine, how could he be right about the worship of the first century Christians?
  • Kiko’s Passover Problem, Part II – Wherein Kiko’s teaching is found to contradict that of four Doctors of the Church.
  • Taking a red pen to heresy – An example of a grave error about the Eucharist that was removed from the original Catechetical Directory prior to its “approval”.

The Scrutinies

The Traditio Symboli stage

Rene Girard and the Neocatechumenal Way

Kiko’s Eschatology

Kiko’s “New Aesthetic”

The Way in Asia

Other Problems and Practices

Other Resources

Tags:  Camino Neocatecumenal, Cammino Neocatecumenale problems problemas, Archbishop Anthony Apuron, Carmen Hernandez

21 thoughts on “A Critical Look at the Neocatechumenal Way

  1. The more I read about the Neocatechumenal Way, the more I see symptoms of coercion. Pope Francis reminded the so-called Neo-Cats: “The freedom of the individual must not be forced, and you must respect even the eventual choice of those who should decide to look outside of the Way” .

    1. I was a member of the Neocatechumenal Way for more than five years starting 1995. Contrary to your observation, the catechists always invite the members to walk freely and do not hesitate to leave if they think God is not calling them to be in the community.

      1. Hello Wilberg,

        What stage in the Way did you reach before you left? What did they say to you when you left? They exerted no pressure on you at all? It was just, “Bye, bye and Mabuhay!”?

      2. And i was a member of NCW for 6 years. And even though the catechists always repeat “you are in freedom” they generally say this right after they said something like:

        “Something bad might happen to you if you leave”
        “You could lose Gods mercy”
        “You can leave but you will never be happy”

        People in NCW loose their freedom by 4 ways:

        1 It is moral to be obedient , thus it is immoral to be free.

        2 Rule of Arkana (rule of silence) prevents younger members to know what they are getting into. If a person does not have all the information it cannot make informed decisions and if decisions are not informed they are guided by the person providing the information and if they are guided they are not free.

        3 Demonizing outside world and celebrating the community. After a few years of listening to this you get the feeling that everybody outside of the community are unhappy and you think that if you leave you will be unhappy to. So this choice does not come into question.

        4 outright manipulation by fear.
        “go outside of the community and see what is going to happen”
        “the devil will deceive you”

        To conclude , a place where its moral to be obedient, where information is manipulated , where you are made to believe bad things are going to happen if you leave that place is a place without freedom.

        1. Free choice is a choice that is not influenced…
          A choice that is influenced is not free choice…

          Its amazing how much influence Catechists exert onto their members and still dare to say they have free choice.

  2. hi chuck, i’m from beirut, lebanon. i’ve been walking in the way for 18 years in my parish(syriac maronite rite). i definitely do not agree with ur interpretation and thoughts about the neocatechumenal way, but i enjoyed reading ur blog. peace

    1. It would seem to me, Issam, that the liturgical practices of the Neocatechumenal Way would clash disastrously with the reverence and beauty of the Maronite rite. Kiko’s antipathy toward the sacrificial aspects of the Eucharist clash tremendously with the perspective of all the Eastern rites.

  3. Dear Chuck White
    I have been walking in a community for 9 years. It makes me sad to read your views because you seem so angry.
    I can only share my experience which is that it is only through this Way that I have met Jesus Christ! I am grateful to God for the gift of the Neocatechuminal Way. It has kept me off the streets. God has rescued me through this Way!
    Peace and Love to you!

    1. Kathleen,

      I have always presented my criticism of the Neocatechumenal Way with quotations from your Catechetical Directory and even recordings of your leaders, so instead of replying with your testimony, please pull out your own copy of the Catechetical Directory, and counter my assertions.

      And while you are at it, please feel free to defend this “fruit of the Neocatechumenal Way” on Guam:

      Fr. Luis Camacho, a Neocatechumenal priest on Guam and the first indigenous man from Guam ordained by our Redemptoris Mater seminary, got himself into a bit of trouble with a teenage girl on March 17, 2015. Read about it here. And here’s more front page news on Fr. Luis Camacho, a Neocatechumenal priest from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary here on Guam: “Priest allegedly had sex”.

      “A little bit of trouble” is far too polite. The 17 year old girl was his altar girl and a member of his parish and Neocatechumenal community. He took her from school and brought her to a beach where the police caught him performing cunnilingus on her.

      1. i believe you have become shortsighted chuck

        do you really believe the people of NCW are saints to not commit such sins? in the history of the church of any religion, such profanity and abuse happened.

        has it not happened in your church?

        why are you so angry with the NCW chuck? got bad experience with them talking about How Christ love you sinner as you are as we all are?

        May you find peace in what you are doing chuck.

        1. It’s not anger that drives me, Albert, but a zeal for the truth. Click here to read about a young Neocatechumenal priest on Guam who picked up one of his altar girls from school, and took her to a beach park for oral sex. Or click here to listen to a Neocatechumenal priest and seminary professor teach that Jesus was a sinner. Guam is my home, Albert.

      2. I’ve been a Catholic my entire life. In Colombia, Spain and in the United States I’ve known of several priests who have fallen from God’s grace. None of them from the Neocathechumenal Way. Sin happens in priests, evangelical pastors, monks, nuns, average lay people. Are you free of sin that you are so free to condemn? Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone.

        I have been in The Way twelve years. It’s not perfect. I have even left a few times. Tried other avenues to grow in the presence of Christ and develop my faith. But I keep coming back to the community. To my family in spirit. The catechists get on my nerves, but I also get on theirs…and I have a husband that is on the same boat with me. Sometimes he gets aggravated, sometimes I get aggravated, sometimes it’s us both and we both don’t go for months at a time. Our longest stretch of “I ‘m done with the way” was a year. But we miss the liturgy, the brothers/sisters of the community, the word, and the amazing thing….our children miss the church and beg us to go back! When I was ten years old mass was a boring hour in the week that I spruced up w my little sisters by playing under and around the pews. The Easter vigil is a life changing event as well…if you open your heart to it. Zealots, cult members… We may seem like that on the surface. We are just passionate about what we do. Btw, I’m ok with being incorrectly labeled as I’m carrying my agape crockpot into church at 9pm to start a scrutiny. I was called a lot worse before I walked in the way!

        1. Olga from New Jersey, You accuse me of “condemning” a priest. Show me where I’ve done that.

          I have only presented a critique of the Neocatechumenal Way, along with evidence to back up my assertions. You have not addressed a single one of my assertions. Please do so.

  4. “Sin happens in priests, evangelical pastors, monks, nuns, average lay people. ”

    Its ironical that communities which are made of sinful people are also made of catechists who were those exact sinful people but somehow became infallible sacred cows that should be obeyed.
    Rule of obedience implies that they cannot make mistakes therefore you should obey them.
    The fact that they never take responsibility for anything implies that they never made any mistakes to take responsibility for them.
    The fact that they explicitly say they speak in the name of God implies they cannot make mistakes.
    Sinning is basically making mistakes. Which catechists are seemingly unable to do.

    The point is that catechists are treated almost as though they are without sin. And saying “The Way is full of sinful people” is a cop out because it simply does not apply to them, not in any meaningful way at least.
    They even ask for special treatment. They ask that we see “Jesus in them”.

    How is it possible that there exists a place where people think that they should see nothing but sin on themselves and associate themselves with Judas, Pontious Pilate, the pharisees and so on but they should see only Jesus on their leaders who were also once like them…

    That place is about satisfying the need for power , control and superiority of the people who run it.

    The point is its all lies. The story the tell is not consistent, its only for us, not for them. Because if the result of all that supposed humility and auto criticism NCW is so proud of, is a person that thinks he is like Jesus , wants others to see him as Jesus and says he speaks in the name of God, then that is not humility , it is arrogance and pride beyond any measure.

    It is not something that occasionally happens. It is the desired end result. Although i am willing to concede that this does not happen in every community or even most, perhaps it did not happen in yours Olga, but it happens in too many communities including mine. Not because of sin, but because of damaging psycho social mechanisms that the basic structure and beliefs of NCW support.

  5. The more I read bad comments about the Way the more it becomes clear that cultural marxism has take over peoples mind.
    I feel sorry. I believe that in some places things may be wrong. A lot. What I say and think is: if the sign of love is visible then the Holy Spirit is there, and thats’s the church. If it’s not there, it is not. It’s not the Way, it’s not the church. Like in any parish. If the sign is visible, Jesus is there, and you have the Church, if not, there’s no Church as the body of Christ! It’s just a body, but not the body of Christ.

    1. So Nelson, for you, any criticism of the Way is due to “cultural marxism”? Real Catholics would never criticize the Way?

    2. Many of the apologies for neo cathecumenal way comes from flawed ideas and flawed worldviews that somehow justify NCW behavior. Like if a tree bears good fruit it means that it can only be a good thing.
      A “tree” or in our case a group of people can have good and bad things at the same time just like NCW does. Having one good thing does not release it from responsibility for everything else.

      ” if the sign of love is visible then the Holy Spirit is there”

      And what if the sign of abuse is visible from the behavior and the responses of present neocats, what does that mean?

      Cultural Marxism…?

  6. I can’t believe so much time and energy is being spent criticizing the Way. I’ve been walking for more than 13 years and I’ve encounter nothing that has been been not in accordance with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. It is one charism of many. It is not for everyone. Some are called to Cursillo, Opus Dei, Charismatics, etc. The Holy Spirit acts in mysterious ways in leading each of us to salvation.

    1. Ed, you say that you’ve encountered “nothing that has been been not in accordance with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church“?

      How about this: Neocatechumenal priest and guest lecturer at a Redemptoris Mater Seminary teaching that Jesus was a sinner who experienced God’s forgiveness: https://thoughtfulcatholic.com/?page_id=42576

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