Kiko, Inc.

Kiko Arguello and the big business of the “New Aesthetic”

I fully support the use of clever free enterprise to fund Catholic apostolates and religious communities.  Catholic monks and nuns, for example,  have been practicing “Ora et Labora” (Pray and Work) since St. Benedict established his Rule, and probably before that.  Selling the fruits of their labors has sustained these communities for centuries.

The Neocatechumenal Way (NCW), founded by Kiko Arguello, also uses commercial enterprise to help fund itself, but with a Made or Designed by Kiko!twist.  There are at least 40,000 NCW communities around the world, and each is expected to procure some amount of art work and liturgical accouterments designed or at least branded by their founder, Kiko.  Moreover, new parish buildings and churches under the auspices of a Neocatechumenal pastor are very often designed by Kiko’s architect, Mattia del Prete and a team of Kiko’s followers.  The NCW often refers to all these things as the “New Aesthetic“.

As I said before, I normally would support this kind of thing, but something about this bothers me.  No, three things about this bother me:

1) All NCW communities are compelled to purchase Kiko art and other items related to worship and family prayer.  Should there not be diversity of aesthetics in liturgical worship?  Why are all forced to adopt Kiko’s Neo-Byzantine style?  If there are indeed 40,000 NCW communities, I would suspect that hundreds of different cultures and ethnicities are represented in these communities.  Hispanic, English, French, Nigerian, Chamorro, Filipino…   Are there not beautiful indigenous works of art available?   And why cannot God be praised with indigenous or ethnic music?

2) What kind of personality would enforce this cookie-cutter approach?  Is it driven by the narcissism of the founder?  And what kind of sycophants in the inner circle of the NCW leadership would agree to this idea?  “¡Bravo, Kiko, qué buena idea!

3) Kiko’s inner circle may be profiting from this “New Aesthetic” enterprise.  Check out the names of his architects for example.  There are two “Gennarinis” in the list.  Kiko and his crew have quite a few seminaries and countless parishes under their control.  That’s a hell of a lot of building projects.  Are the pastors and seminary rectors compelled to use Kiko’s team for the design of their new facilities and churches?

Well now, it was good to get that off my chest.  Let’s go shopping!

First, let’s go to the premier center for Kiko’s “New Aesthetic”, the Caal Liturgical Center.  Click here for a catalog of altar wines, here for a catalog of liturgical furnishings, here for a catalog of icons.  You can get a good look at the “Celebratory Spaces” fka “churches” designed by Mattia del Prete, Kiko’s architect, here.  (You can be sure that the Santa Rita Parish Center will appear on this page soon.)

If you’re looking for Kiko’s mandatory icons for your community, you can also try NeoMerKaba, Camino a Sion, Iconografo, Iknearte, or NeoSigne.   Candles with Kiko’s icons on them can be found here.  Here’s a Kiko-designed lectern cover.  Kiko-designed Bible covers can be found here.  The official Kiko song book, Risuscito, can be bought here.  No other song book is acceptable, and don’t forget to get the leather, embroidered, Kiko-designed cover!

Carpets can be found here.  And vestments galore!  Check out the chasubles and stoles, customized with Kiko’s icons here.

Neocatechumenal Eucharistic tables can be found here.  Altars begone!  Find out why here.

If your community is relatively wealthy, you can get a special double-decker Neocatechumenal tabernacle for your parish here.  Read my comments on THOSE here.

Last, if you’ve passed your first Scrutiny and attended the Shema Convivence, you’ll definitely need your Judaica, i.e. menorahs, mezuzahs, and shemas.  Go here or to Zikaron for those essentials.

Tags:  Camino Neocatecumenal, Cammino Neocatecumenale

23 thoughts on “Kiko, Inc.

    1. I outlined my objection in the post, Zoltan. Read it.

      But to summarize, why on earth would one impose an Spanish/Italian culture, a Flamenco/Israeli musical aesthetic, and neo-Byzantine art -all defined by ONE man – on 40,000 communities of adults throughout the world? We both know that it’s compulsory. No significant indigenous expressions of art or music are allowed. And it brings in some serious cash. Under the Spanish colonialism of the past, a rich Chamorro hymnody was allowed to develop, and was even encouraged. Under Kiko, not so. The “New Aesthetic” feeds into the exaggerated cult of personality surrounding Kiko.

      1. As I’m sure you know, all of Kiko’s paintings and his songs are copyright free. Neither he nor ‘The Way’ receive any money from their sale. You have copies of the song book and many of his icons on your website- did you pay for any of them?
        Much of your work highlights where you disagree with Kiko’s interpretations and methods and that’s all fine. But where you falsely accuse him of financial impropriety, it really shows your bias.

  1. Hi Mr. White, So i just wanted to tell you that a line that constantly pops in my head is “God is love”. i also was raised with the idea of fairness and so it leads me to believe in hearing both sides of the story. Honestly, Ive yet to hear it – all i hear is one side. So, your articles or at least some i have read, it brings me to ask some questions – i hope you dont mind. You seem to be a rather knowledgable and a receptive person. So, I’m like reading through your articles and you seem to know a lot about the “Way” and everything. Are you in a “community”? If so or if you were, what happened that you seem to be on a path to destroy any mention of the “Way”. I mean to help me or possibly others to understand, what exactly happened that there seems to be, sorry going to be blunt here, such hate or aggression? I mean, did you fight with someone? Did someone burn the bible? Did someone blow up a building? There has to be something rooted in you affecting you and giving you this ambition to take these things and people down? Sorry, I just don’t understand or maybe you have mentioned it and I failed to read it somewhere here? It’s just I am so surprised that yourself and Mr. Rhor seem to want to, again excuse my words, but rip some hearts out. I also just wanted to say that, from a perspective, you have invested a lot of your time and energy to obtain, promote and act against such information and what I was thinking was that, imagine if all that energy was used to spread the life of Christ or just about God. Again if you have already one so somewhere in your articles, I apologize, I didn’t have a chance to read it. The beauty would be that you would have influenced others about God – maybe even create soldiers of Christ, maybe even vocations. So, what happened? Has anyone who continues to be in the “Way” ever spoke to you about what makes them be apart of it? Well, I will end this now and just read your response when you post it. God bless!

    1. Hafa Adai Meiling,

      I think that you’re judging me!

      You are certainly right that I am critical of many aspects of “the Way”, and I encourage you to read all of my posts on the matter.

      You certainly must be seeing the turmoil our Church is in these days on Guam, right? Well, I, like thousands of other Catholics here, are angry about the terrible lies that our Archbishop here has told about his priests and the tremendous destruction this has wrought. Good and holy men whose lives have been nearly destroyed. And I just want to stand up to the lies, to stand up for these men, like any Christian man would.

      And the lies, I’m finding, are not limited to destroying these two men. There are lies in the form of deformed doctrine that destroy much more subtly. Check out my posts on Kiko’s eschatology eschatology (e.g. purgatory and the last judgment).

      There’s also the issue of sectarianism, or “cultishness”, if you will. Meiling, you are in an organization that is slowly bringing you more and more under the authority of catechists. Jesus never meant for you to be dependent upon catechists for years and years, all the while living in self-absorbed communities. And while growing in holiness is a lifelong process, it shouldn’t take a decade or more for one to take one’s role in the Church as an adult Christian. Think about it. You are in a dangerous situation.

      Your experience in the Way, Meiling, is actually very different than the early Christians. The early Church communities were not closed like yours is. Each community was not locked into some “stage”. Members of each community were at different stages, and new members joined the community regularly. And there was no personality cult around a person other than Jesus. No Kiko, with a monopoly on the art and music used in worship. Or when such a personality cult did did arise, it was quickly stopped. And there was no hierarchy of catechists in the early Church that operated independently of the Bishops. Lastly, the early catechumenate did not take two decades or so, like yours. It took a few years at most.

      And how do you know that I haven’t “spread the life of Christ?” I don’t believe that we’ve ever met, so as I said above, you are judging me. I have posts here, if you care to read them, that do share Jesus’ powerful movement of grace in my life.

  2. Hi Chuck,

    You seemed to be a very smart guy, figuring out what Kiko’s intentions are in making these icons.

    So my question is: If Kiko is trying to make business or profit out of these paintings, then why would he focus on selling these icons to the 40,000 members instead of selling them on regular stores or online stores? Don’t you think that would give him more profit?

    If you can answer that, then I might believe your argument. On the other hand, if you can’t provide facts about your allegations, then I would see it as your only way to discredit him.


    1. Mr. Chua,

      If you read my post, you’d see that Arguello’s art is available at many stores online. Click on the links. Also, I estimated that there were 40,000 communities, not members. Members number over a million, no?

      But the money is not just in selling artwork to a captive audience. Really big money goes to the Neocatechumenal architects, like Arguello’s lieutenant, Mattia del Prete, and Giuseppe Gennarini’s son, Franceso. For example, since 2009, $350,000 has been spent on a architectural and engineering fees for a Neocatechumenal project here on Guam called, “the Sanctuary of the Word”. It has never been built. Mattia and Gennarini were paid over a third of that amount, and they are not even licensed to practice in Guam.

  3. I joined the neo catechumenal way when I was 15 . Now, I’m 35, so for 21 years, not once did they ask us to pay our catechists or Kiko. I don’t know where you get your info that Guiseppi gets a third of the proceeds of the donations; either you are just speculating, or you are being misled by somebody or some other groups.

    The NCW has not only been approved, but more than that, it was endorsed and acknowledged by Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. If your allegations were true, don’t you think those popes would have known about it?

    1. Mr. Chua,

      Again, you must re-read what I wrote. Mr. Gennarini’s son, Francesco, and Mattia del Prete were paid a total of $120,000 (over a third of the $350,000 spent so far) for this project, which was never built. I have certain proof. Moreover, I have not made any assertions about the paying of catechists. Don’t twist my words.

      With respect to the Popes: the popes, especially St. John Paul II, lavished great praise upon the Legion of Christ and its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and we all know how that turned out. Popes can be mistaken in these matters, and they are certainly not aware of all of the details.

  4. Show proof that they got paid then you can make me believe you. Until then, please refrain from making false accusations.

    And are you saying that all these popes were not aware of what’s going on? NCW must be too good in hiding secrets!

    But, this is what my take in all of these: There are thousands of people WITHIN the Catholic church who are against NCW all over the world (not only in Guam). They all love to make false accusations (meaning WITHOUT proof) against NCW. What they don’t realize is how NCW has helped form charisms (eg. priesthood, families, missionaries, etc).

    Accusations without proof is bearing false witness against your neighbor. That is one of the 10 commandments which I assume that you already know.

    1. The man who paid them, and chaired the project told me. While he no longer walks in “the Way”, he and his family donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the project.

      And yes, Kiko and the Neocatechumenal Way are very good at keeping secrets, just as Marciel Maciel and the Legion of Christ were.

      All of my accusations are true and I have backed up those referring to Catholic doctrine with sources.

      1. “He said, she said….”

        Hearsays are not admissible in the rule of court.

        And, half-truths are still considered lies.

        1. Mr. Chua, let me get this right. The man, a former member of “the Way”, who not only chaired the building project, but also donated 750 thousand dollars to it, states that Mattia del Prete was paid about $80,000 plus airfare, and that Francesco Gennarini was paid some $40,000 for architectural expenses, and you say that his words are “unfounded”? I forgot to tell you that an identical “Sanctuary of the Word” was already built in Italy, and that these two architects are not licensed in Guam.

    2. A personal experience of a friend of mine with the a leader supposedly of”NeoCats” who said “The Neocatechumenal Way people are better than the rest of the other prayer groups, or movements, because,only they know The Way to be holy… “.
      And, the pastor of the Parish agreed with her. My friend was being pressured to join the Catechesis of the Neo, and of course, she refused. Result ? She was mocked and insulted by the pastor; she left, and other parishioners have left that Parish too.

  5. Okay Chuck, since you are so stuck with your unfounded accusations, then there’s no more point in arguing with you.

    Like what I said before, there will always be people like you who will be against the Way, and it doesn’t mean that they are all bad people. They are either just misinformed, disgruntled, or just plainly neglected.

    Anyway, I will continue to read your blogs as they are a little bit amusing to read.

  6. Hi Jared. I was a brought-up member of NCW somewhere else in the world. But I can tell you from experience and research with other ex members that anything he’s said in the website about the processes and ideologies and behaviours of the NCW , is true, though it may vary slightly from place to place. I recommend reading what he says with an open mind. I have never been freer than when I left the community, though I am sure you have been well trained to exclaim on occasion, ‘I am so happy since I joined the Way’ or ‘It’s here that I am truly free’ or ‘Life outside of the way is a hell, it’s slavery.’ and so on. Trust me, I know. Just think about all those lines you’ve learned to spout from your subconscious as part of the Thought Reform practised in NCW. Just start there. I beg you to, your mental and spiritual freedom in fact depend on your questioning outside of a manipulative setting.

  7. My husband and I joined The Way . Two years ago. We are now in the process of fading away from it . In hopes of not loosing these people as friends. The first meeting we went to, I never wanted to go back. It was horrible long ,late and I did not want to hear all the details of the catchesis sins. In going to such detail I believe can bring some people into sin just thinking about it. In my thinking best left to the confessional . I am a convert to catholicism and the way they kept everyone so busy with all the meetings and steps reminded me of the Mormons. My hubsand is retired but I am still working. And I work out of town and commute a lot . I found that I had very little time for anything but NCW. It almost destroyed our marriage .
    I told my husband that Loving God is not suppose to be that hard. All he ask of you is for your love. The way I see it is your life should be a witness to him every day.
    I told my husband they are too controlling and every thing is a big secret. Nothings written down for you to ponder and study. If you have a question about something . They would say that will be reviled in time ect. or call the catchesis..
    We had gotten involved just to meet people in a new parish and to make new friends. We had know idea what we were getting into.
    They do not work with the parish Priest and do not want to change their itinary what so ever. They gave us a book that Kiko had written and asked me what I thought about it. My answer was ” I think he’s crazey” that didn’t go over so well ! I told my husband I am not trading the Church for the NCW, I am not trading the Priest for catchesis and I am not trading Christ for Kiko. He has finally seen that something is every wrong. After one of the families in the group has been torn apart by it. Also any money that we have give them , there is never a receipt .
    God’s Peace and truth !

  8. SG, good for you! I am so glad you have saved yourselves the pain
    Yes, it tears families apart regularly
    Almost every community has at least one family that it did that too as far as I saw in my time in it.

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