In his 2015 book, “Il Fango e il Segreto” (“The Mud and the Secret”) , Lino Lista points out yet another egregious example of Kiko Argüello’s penchant for twisting Sacred Scripture for his own sectarian purposes.
This time, it’s a scriptural passage presented at the Neocatechumenal “Shema Convivence“, which members undergo approximately one year after the First Scrutiny and one year prior to the Second Scrutiny. In his introductory catechesis in that convivence, Kiko says,
You will see how all the Word of God which you listen to in this Convivence continually references this: “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.” You see for example the Parable of the Virgins: the meaning of this Convivence is given in full by the Parable of the Virgins. Guidelines for Teams of Catechists, Vol. III, p. 7
“The Parable of the Virgins.” Perhaps you remember that parable of Jesus, which can be found in Matthew 25:1-12. Ten virgins had the responsibility of meeting the bridegroom when he returned home. The bridegroom was delayed, and five of the ten virgins foolishly did not bring enough oil for their torches, and were locked out of the house when the groom returned while they were shopping for more oil. They begged to be allowed to enter, but the groom told them that he did not know them.
This parable is sandwiched between the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant and the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus clearly says in both that the unfaithful will be cast into a place where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.” (Matthew 24:51, Matthew 25:30)
This “door shutting” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is serious business, and Christians should take Christ’s words seriously. After all, being shut out and consigned to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth is literally…hell.
But before we get to Kiko’s terrible deformation of this parable, let’s see how some Church Fathers, all Doctors of the Church, interpreted it1:
St. Hilary: “The ‘oil’ is the fruit of good works, the “vessels” are the human bodies in whose inward parts the treasure of a good conscience is to be laid up.”
St. Augustine: “’But the wise took oil with their lamps,’ that is, the gladness of good works, ‘in their vessels,’ that is, they stored it in their heart and conscience..“The lamps” which they carry in their hands are their works, of which it was said above, ‘Let your works shine before men.” [Matt 5:16]…They ‘trimmed their lamps,’ that is, prepared to give an account of their deeds.”
St. John Chrysostom: “..the “oil” denotes charity, alms, and every aid rendered to the needy…“
St. Jerome: “The virgins that have oil are they who, besides their faith, have the ornament of good works – they that have not oil, are they that seem to confess with like faith, but neglect the works of virtue…After the day of judgment, there is no more opportunity for good works, or for righteousness, and therefore it follows, ‘And the door was shut.’“
In short, these four saints preached that the virgins’ oil was their good works, or, as St. Augustine attests, the “gladness of good works“. In other words, a Christian keeps watch for the return of Christ through a habit of good works or works of mercy. Failure to do so puts one at risk of losing heaven.
So, what does Kiko say about this parable?
Perhaps in the first scrutiny you did not take the oil with you. As you know in the Bible oil signifies the Holy Spirit. Now brothers, we say to you that maybe your whole catechumenate depended upon that convivence. On this convivence, perhaps, your whole future depends. It is today, not tomorrow. It is not “tomorrow I will convert.” It ‘s time. This convivence says “Wake up because it is the groom.” And if you did not take oil in the first scrutiny, take the opportunity now. It does not happen again. It is done and then it is the end. The groom comes when you least expect him.
It is the second scrutiny and do they know where you are? I want to tell you: it happens that you have a sister who is sick and you have to go see her. They made the second scrutinies and closed the door. And it is already has been a month since you’ve come to the community. Thing have not been good since that time. The door closed, most entered [the Scrutiny] and their life really changed, filling with joy and you will find yourself in trouble, as so many people are. Vol. III, p. 9
For Kiko, then, the watchfulness of the virgins is not analogous to being faithful in works of love and mercy, e.g. the care of a sick sister, but rather, to faithful attendance at the Scrutinies! Absenteism from the community is the primary issue! Take care of a sick loved one, and the door closes on you! 2
In his book, Lino Lista points out, “ …the Way is shown as an itinerary of practices essential for salvation, above all the scrutinies.“ (p. 42)
“To argue that oil, if you have not acquired it in the first [scrutiny], can only be acquired in the second scrutiny, otherwise “it is the end”, means scorning any previous or subsequent experience of faith.” (p. 44)
“In the Newspeak of the Way, in fact, happiness is closely related with the salvation; “to be in trouble” (used as a synonymic expression for perdition, used for scribes and Pharisees in the Gospels) is the person who has done a work of mercy!” (p. 45)
For Kiko, it’s not works of mercy, but rather the merciless grilling and humiliation of the Scrutinies that matter!
Now that you know this, are you still sure that you want to be one of Kiko’s virgins?
1Catena Aurea, St. Thomas Aquinas, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/catena1.ii.xxv.html, Retrieved December 17, 2015.
2 “Il Fango e il Segreto”, Lino Lista, Edizione Segno, 2015. http://www.edizionisegno.it/libro.asp?id=1373, Page 43
“…he has altered the meaning of the parable; watching and waiting for the second coming of Christ, which is fulfilled in the hour of death of Christian or the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time , is turned into a regular attendance of the community and its practices. The eschatological context of the story of the virgins is debased in the here and now of the Scrutiny, a unique opportunity of conversion of which to take advantage. Now or never: in the case of absenteeism, the door closes.””
GUIDELINES FOR THE TEAMS OF CATECHISTS FOR THE SHEMA, notes taken from the tapes of the Shema made by Kiko and Carmen in some communities of Rome and Madrid in 1974.
tags: Kiko Arguello, Neocatechumenal, Camino Neocatecumenal