Judge not?

Thus sayeth the prophet Kiko:

“It is useless to say: “Sacrifice yourself, be nice to each other, love each other.” If someone tries to do so, he’ll become the greatest Pharisee, because he will do everything for his own personal perfection and will judge others.” Kiko Arguello, Day 7, “the Kerygma”, p 129, Catechetical Directory, Vol. I.

Jesus’s prohibition against judging others figures very prominently in Kiko Arguello’s religion,[1] but unfortunately there are at least three problems with his appropriation of Christ’s teaching.

The First Problem

The first problem is that Kiko, unlike Jesus, never really explains what he means by judging, and this ambiguity allows him to use this teaching to stifle criticism from within and from outside of “the Way”.  “You’re judging us!” we’re constantly told by members when we publicly criticize “the Way”.  Furthermore, any criticism of a catechist by a member of a community is considered to be “judging”.

Let’s review what Jesus actually said about the matter.  We first find the teaching in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:  Do not judge, or you too will be judged’.  Can this mean that we are forbidden to judge the evil of other’s words and actions?  Of course not!  Just a few verses later Jesus tells us  to beware of evildoers and false prophets (Mt 7:15).  How can we determine who these people are if we do not make some kind of judgment about their words or behavior?  And in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”[2]  So discernment of evil is certainly not forbidden.  What we cannot do, however, is judge somebody’s heart or soul, or their standing with God, and we cannot let our discernment of the evil of others lead us to act or speak in such a way as to drive them further from the embrace of Christ and his Church.

Judging Inside the Way

Another problem, or irony really, is that the whole Neocatechumenal “system” is based on judging.  Members cannot progress to the next “stage” of “the Way” unless their catechists judge them to be ready.  And at their second Scrutiny, members actually sit alone in front of a panel of catechists, to be questioned and judged.

Kiko’s Judgment:  Our “infantile” faith

Lastly, Kiko founds his whole movement on one particular judgment, namely, that those outside of “the Way” have an infantile faith[3].  For example, Kiko teaches, “Of those who go to Mass on Sunday, say the statistics, only 1.5% are adult Christians.”[4] Oh really?  So if there are 200 adults in attendance at Mass, then only 3 are “adult Christians”?  Says who?  Kiko, of course.

Who then, is judging?!?

[1] Here are just a few examples of Kiko’s teaching on “judging” taken from the first volume of the Neocatechumenal Catechetical Directory:

  • “If you take God’s glory for yourself, you will become a complete Pharisee because you will judge everyone.”  Day 1, p14
  • On the contrary, we have to teach every one a lesson and to judge everybody! Day 7 p131;
  • Anyone who really knows his reality of being a sinner no longer judges others… Day 8 p155;
  • In this sermon we really shall hear everything: this new man who doesn’t judge… Final Convivence p366;
  • This new man loves the enemy and doesn’t resist evil, he doesn’t judge… Final Convivence p367

[2]  John 7:24

[3] Here are examples from Kiko’s talks about our “infantile” faith, which he mentions incessantly in the first volume of his Catechetical Directory:

  • “In front of dechristianization, because we have an infantile faith, a faith that is not truly adult, because it’s a faith of First Communion…” Day 3, p61
  • “For the most part, we Christians have an infantile faith of natural religiosity.  Day 4, p63
  • So to explain a little of what we mean by infantile faith, we spoke of natural religiosity.”  Day 4, p63
  • “…this situation of crisis in the church is fundamentally at the parish level: we are desacralized; our catechesis is infantile…”  Day 4, p 66
  • “And we still have these very infantile and sentimental ideas about sin making Jesus cry.”  Day 9, p 194
  • “In fact, as many people live Christianity at a very infantile level, very much as a natural religion, because they haven’t been sufficiently catechized…”  Final Convivence p 360.
  • “We have a very infantile faith, a very inadequate, almost still at the level of our First Communion, because we have never received a real and proper catechesis as adults.” Final Convivence p 380
  • “This neocatechumenal community;- taking the infantile faith of the people as its starting off point,begins a way towards adult faith…” Final Convivence p 382.
  •  “A catechumenate is guided by catechists who are able to bring people from an infantile to an adult faith…”  Final Convivence p. 400

[4] Catechetical Directory, Vol. I, p70 (day 4)

[5] Catechetical Directory, Vol. I, p63 (day 4)

Tags:  Neocatechumenal Way, Camino Neocatecumenal, Cammino Neocatecumenale, Kiko Arguelo, problems, problemas

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