Some seminarians and priests in the Neocatechumenal Way are indeed trapped.  Here’s a message I received two weeks ago from a Catholic in a Neocatechumenal parish in the United States:

Our current parochial vicar, who they are calling a rebel because he is not participating fully with the pastor for a variety of reasons, and quite frankly, answering only to the archbishop not Fr. ________…he told me how he came to the priesthood, which I’m finding is more familiar with [the] Way priests…not so much a calling.

He “pledged” himself at one of those cattle calls that Kiko has, figured he’d put his name down with the rest of his friends expecting that in a couple of years they would forget about it. Two years later they call him and ask him if he’s ready for the seminary (still a young man under the age of 18). He said no, then they offered him to go to Rome and then decide. He figured why not go to Rome, it’s close to Spain and he wanted to be a soccer star. He goes to Rome, tells them he’s not interested, they tell him it’s his calling, he puts his name in and says anywhere but where they speak English (he’s from XXXXXX, (a Spanish speaking country); they pull the USA, he figures he’ll never get a visa. A few months later he gets his visa approved for the seminary to go to [a U.S. Redemptoris Mater Seminary]. He tells himself he’ll go, and two weeks later he’ll tell them it’s not for him and go home with an experience of going to the US.  He does that, however they would not let him leave, he said, until a year later. He goes home, all his friends and girlfriend has moved on, he decided to come back.

01-behind-bars-in-jail-e1281711949101Anytime he had doubt in his calling they would tell him “this is your vocation“. He is a good guy, but I do think that the reason the Way is producing so many priests is because of this tactic. They will also get young men out of areas where maybe life sucks (one from XXXXX in the seminary right now told one of the women – the same one who XXXXXXXX- that he “can’t go home”). Fr. ______ after one of the world youth days decided that he wanted to go home, marry and live in his small town in XXXX, he was adamant but his catechist ended up (against his wishes) putting his luggage on the plane all the way through back to New Jersey…

Fr. ______ said he was always in crisis in the seminary…which explains maybe why they all seem so unhappy. On the other hand, the seminarians from [non-Neo seminary] went off to college, even dated, etc. and chose the priesthood, many don’t come back over the summer because they meet a girl etc. so I think it’s more genuine if they actually make it to the priesthood. – S.

2 thoughts on “Trapped!

  1. Hey, i wanted to ask you how did you get these dokuments about Neo? Do you know whats going on in there now, and do you still have contacts With ex members?. I ask you these many questions because i have a friend in Neo and she has been in there now 5 years and more and she is like a leader in her communitie, she is young and i want to ask you do you think they had a purpose to make her a leader bevauae she is still not married and not anything plus she listens good and is very kind and i mean its easy to desive her? She has starting to see things now before she was all in and stubbern but now she doesent understand The control they want to have and this silance about whats happening there and in The steps. I want to ask you is it so about what you have read and heard that after The second step you are like choosen and then they want you to do everything what they want and totally control you bevauae now you are real in? She hasent finished The 2 step yet. I can see that she meby want to leave one Day but meby wont have The corauge to do it, how can i help her? Is it dangerous IF she dont leave?. And now she has a boyfriend outside The way, Will she one Day need to choose between Neo and him?. Please help me help my friend im worried about her. God bless you.

    1. Iena, I left the Way at the 3rd step (2nd scrutiny). It is the point where they tell you it’s a Gateway: you have to choose between staying forever, or leaving forever. It is an ultimatum- outside there is spiritual death, and inside there is love, God, community, righteousness, forgiveness. But they say it’s a consequential gateway: if you leave PAST this point, you are promised to never again fit into the world OR the community. And they structure it socially so that this is true. I’ve met ex members from my family’s community that this is the case with. They’ve been refused return and it’s broken them.

      If your friend is wanting to leave now, show her this and tell her it’s a good idea to leave now, rather than never. Yes, they do suck you in and control you more the further you go along, but the less clear it becomes to your own mind. Only people on the outside can see how dysfunctional it makes your life.

      I also dated people outside the Way and got lots of social reprimand for it. My own age group didn’t mind, but my god the older people did. And I found as we got older ourselves the more condemnatory my peers got of it. There will be constant pressure to make them ‘convert’ or at least come regularly. If your partner doesn’t, you will find yourself feeling very lonely and other people will subconsciously ensure this continues and worsens. Your Neocat identity will grow more and more complex; meanwhile your partner (probably very concerned for you, and rightly so) will be excluded from the goings-on, except in tokenistic get-togethers.

      On the Steps, there is always silence. I grew up in the Way- more than 10 years of membership- and I still don/t kno how many steps there are or what goes on in most of them.

      It is likely to be a damaging experience for her the further on she goes; but if she stays, the best you can do is try to maintain a relationship with her so she can keep some kind of connection with the real world.

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