Secrets of the Second Scrutiny Revealed, Part 2

After at least four years of walking in the Way, two years after their first Scrutiny, and on the eve of their second Scrutiny, Kiko and his catechists still treat their community members as if they are infested with demons.  When introducing the written questionnaire that will serve to prepare the brothers for their “individual scrutiny”, Kiko says,

“In fact we have many burrows within us where demons are squatting and hiding.  During this convivence, they are all afraid, and are good and quiet in their holes.  We silenced them with the Word, with the songs, and with the Gospel.  We have rendered them inoperative…We want to get to those dens and throw them out, we want to flush out demons.Kiko Arguello, Catechetical Directory, Vol. 4.

Remember, Kiko is talking about baptised people who have walked in the Way for many years.  While we’ll talk more about this obsession with the demonic in a future post, the emphasis on demon-infestation is made more problematic in the questionnaire by the catechists’ exclusion of the consideration of the members’ personal experience of God’s grace, especially if that grace was experienced either outside of the Way or before they joined the Way.  

They do this by forcing the scrutinized person to craft a narrative of their spiritual journey that has the Neocatechumenal Way as it’s only point of reference.  Each of the three primary questions on the questionnaire concerns one of the temptations of Jesus in the desert, and members are told to answer each question considering three time frames:

  1. Before they joined the Way
  2. While they were walking in the Way
  3. Today.

The Church does listen to the Gospel story of Jesus being tempted in the desert by Satan on the first Sunday of Lent every year, so this story certainly can be useful for examining our consciences.  However, the catechists do not accommodate any discussion of God’s grace working outside of the Way.  This principle pervades the Way, and many of us have experienced this when we were forced to listen to members’ testimonies at Holy Mass.  Members never seem to remember any move of the Holy Spirit in their lives before they joined the Way.  Click here to listen to one such example.

Let’s get back to the Second Scrutiny Convivence.  Before lunch on Saturday , community members are instructed to get a pen and paper.  The three questions are then read to them and they copy them down.  

After lunch the members work on the questions individually for a while, and they are told not to read the scripture verses associated with the questions.  They then discuss their answers with each other, one question at a time, in the small groups that the catechists have assigned them to, and read the scripture verses after each question.  Family members and couples are not assigned to the same groups, because Kiko says, “We have mixed the groups, separating couples and families, because you can be completely honest in talking about sex, money, etc.”

Each person is brought before the community, one at a time in a random fashion, and reads the answers to the questions in front of the catechists and community.  The individual scrutiny, which I will discuss later in another post, has begun.  

Here is the actual questionnaire:

The Questionnaire

The first temptation: Satan Tempts Jesus with Bread

  1. Before you attended the initial catechesis, what did you count upon for your security and safety?  Tell us facts. [Do not, I repeat, DO NOT share any lessons about trusting God that you learned before joining the Way.]
  2. Have you experience a change of direction with respect to your security as you have walked in the Way?  Tell us facts.  
  3. In what concrete things do you put your safety today? [If you have a modest retirement account for you and your spouse, mention it now, brother.]
    • Luke 12:13-40 [Parable of the Rich Fool, Do Not Worry]

Second temptation: Satan asks Jesus to tempt God

  1. Today, in practice, what do you still not accept in your life, or what is difficult for you to understand? [Now is the time to mention problems in your marriage, substance abuse in your family, unwanted same-sex attractions, etc.]
  2. Have you experienced a change during the process of walking in the Way?  Tell us facts.
  3. Before you attended the initial catechesis, which facts had you not accepted with respect to the reality of your life? [Remember, all spiritual growth happens AFTER you join the Way.]
  • Matthew 16:24-26 “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
  • Luke 14:25-35 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”
  • John 3, 8ff  “The wind blows where it chooses”
  • John 12:24-28 “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,”

Third temptation:  Satan tempts Jesus to worship him

  1. List the idols of today’s world. Before you attended the initial catechesis, were you their slave? [Do NOT discuss any life-changing conversion to Jesus Christ that you experienced prior to entering the Way.  I’m warning you, it won’t go well for you!]
  2. During this journey in the Way, have you experienced some victory of Jesus Christ over these idols? Tell us facts. [Don’t you dare tell them that you experienced some victories of Jesus Christ years before joining the Way!]
  3. Today, concretely, what idols are you still enslaved to today? [Sex and money are favored – do NOT forget to mention them.]
  • Luke 16, 10-15  “You cannot serve God and mammon.”
  • Luke 18: 24-28  “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”



tags: Neocatechumenal Way, 2nd Second Scrutiny


14 thoughts on “Secrets of the Second Scrutiny Revealed, Part 2

  1. Is there any mention of SANCTIFYING GRACE in any of these scrutinies, that it is the working of Sanctifying Grace in me that has led me to recognize my sins and that repentance itself (metanoia) is the working of the Holy Spirit in me (Sanctifying Grace) – and not the working of man (catechist ) which is leading me to repentance. And that by accepting the workings of Sanctifying Grace in me, it is what is leading me back to God == and not through any metanoia implanted in me by my catechist.
    I have a feeling that it is at this point in the journey of the soul that the soul – being now conditioned to see the NCW’s role in metanoia via the catechist, as the source of salvation, is now pre-disposed to see itself outside the process of metanoia – and in place of Sanctifying Grace as the raison d’etre of conversion, the NCW theology is thereby substituted.
    I wonder how many of these souls are familiar with the mysticism of St Therese of Avila and St. John of the Cross. These are Catholic mystics whose credentials far surpass any catechist or even Kiko himself.

  2. Laudetur Iesus Christus,

    replying to:
    “In fact we have many burrows within us where demons are squatting and hiding. During this convivence, they are all afraid, and are good and quiet in their holes. We silenced them with the Word, with the songs, and with the Gospel. We have rendered them inoperative…We want to get to those dens and throw them out, we want to flush out demons.” Kiko Arguello, Catechetical Directory, Vol. 4.”
    I have a simple question: where can I find volumes 2-12 of NW Catechetical Directory in English or Italian language version?

    Best regards,
    May God be with you.

    1. Hello Michal,

      If your pastor hosts the Neocatechumenal Way in your parish, I would think that he would definitely have a copy of those volumes. He wouldn’t have a good handle on what was being taught in his parish if he didn’t, right? And if he doesn’t then the catechists that serve your parish must certainly have a copy, no? And if they do not, then I must believe that your Bishop, the successor to the apostles who authorized the Neacatechumenal Way to minister in his diocese, absolutely must have a copy. It cannot be otherwise, no?

      1. Neither my pastor hosts the NW nor I have contact with any catechist. You’ve advised me to travel to my bishop then. I’ve thought there are other & shorter ways e.g. Internet (wherefrom I’ve obtained the 1st volume). I see I was wrong, wasn’t I?

        1. Hello Michal, You see my point, don’t you? Do you have any opinion on why it is so difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a copy of the Neocatechumenal Catechetical Directory?

          1. I did not ask for points for I have my own relating to the matter (similar to yours). I asked for some help (seeing you had an access to “secret” directories – vol 4. at least). Not granted.

          2. Hello Michal/Wiktor from Poland: I won’t be able to reveal any sources for quite some time, but I am interested in your points.

            Have you made any of your issues or criticisms of the Neocatechumenal Way public? Do you have a blog of your own, and under your real name?


            Charles White
            Guam USA

  3. as a member of NCW, i have many lot realization in my own experience in life, way has given me a strength how to live being a true christian. and this make my life different from what did i do when i not in a way. being persecuted is a grace. fear is grace, go out in your comfort zone. love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    1. Thank you, Reuben. Would your catechists allow you to tell me what questions they asked you at your second scrutiny?

      1. I can tell you the questions my catechist asked me, they asked if I had sold all of my belongings like instructed on the first scrutiny. (I hadn’t sold everything) the said that my idols were still material things. they asked why my parents hadn’t joined the way by now. (I had been walking for about 7yrs at that time) they said the reason my parents hadn’t joined was because I wasn’t giving them light. They also asked me to quit my job end start a part time job and go to school full time and God would provide through my parents. (My parents were not in any financial position to assist) long story short I passed my second scrutiny after my parents joined(I had been walking for 10yrs and done the second scrutiny 3 times). They also questioned why I didn’t go to all of the gatherings after the second scrutiny (when the community gets together and answer the questionnaire I front of the community and the catechist advice you and give you a word) they also asked me to sit with my father and tell him about all of my sexual encounters since that was one of the (by doing this it round heal our relationship) because sex was on my list of idols if this works and sometime I had thought the way had helped me overcome, it was one of the victories I had seen in my life. Anyways, a few months after passing and doing the rite for the second scrutiny, I left my community. It’s now been 3yrs and I feel free, and closer to God then I ever did. I was always scared to leave because the catequist always tell you stories about people leaving and all the horrible things that have happen in their lifes after leaving. They implement fear on people. The truth is, God will not forsake you, the only way to the father is through his son. Not the neocatecumenal way. My parents also left their community on their own

  4. After 16 years in the way and not passing second scrutiny 7 times and going to different communities I finally passed it, I thought I would be happy but there is something bothering me not sure what it is. So I’m just going to keep going and see what happens next. Just the fact that they think they are profets and a Shepard of the people is what is bothering me the most…

  5. This is very dangerous…not the NCW but everything written above and so very untrue from what the NCW really is (and untrue of the 2nd scrutiny). “Get behind me Satan.” It may be with good intention or from hurt of some experience —which is all valid— but just like anything the church is human and flawed. But there is so much fruit that comes from the NCW that is UNDENIABLY the works of God, and the Holy Spirit. If someone sees this and contemplating the NCW, STOP searching the internet, go to the source Himself and pray to the Lord. It’s of course good to question things but be careful what you read online. The truth always reveals itself, talk to real people ask their experiences ask for context…look for the fruit..pray that the Lord guides you.

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