ROME, April 11, 2012 – With a letter written personally to Cardinal William J. Levada, Benedict XVI has ordered the congregation for the doctrine of the faith to examine whether the Neocatechumenal Masses are or are not in keeping with the liturgical teaching and practice of the Catholic Church.
A "problem," in the pope's judgment, that is "of great urgency" for the whole Church.
Benedict XVI has been alarmed for some time about the particular ways in which the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way celebrate their Masses, on Saturday evening, in separate locations.
His sense of alarm was increased by the plot woven behind his back in the curia last winter, as reported by www.chiesa
in the following articles:
> "Placet" or "Non placet"? The wager of Carmen and Kiko (13.1.2012)
> Vatican Diary / The Neocatechumenals get their diploma. But not the one they were expecting (23.1.2012)
What had happened was that the pontifical council for the laity headed by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko had prepared the text for a degree of blanket approval of all the liturgical and extra-liturgical celebrations of the Neocatechumenal Way, to be made public the January 20 on the occasion of a meeting scheduled between the pope and the Way.
The decree was redacted according to the guidelines of the congregation for divine worship, headed by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera. The founders and leaders of the Way, Francisco "Kiko" Argüello and Carmen Hernández, were told about it and joyfully told their followers about the imminent approval.
All unbeknownst to the pope.
Benedict XVI found out about the text of the decree a few days before the meeting on January 20.
He found it illogical and mistaken. He ordered that it be scrapped and rewritten according to his guidelines.
In fact, the decree that was made public on January 20 limited itself to approving the extra-liturgical ceremonies that mark the catechetical stages of the Way.
In his speech, the pope stressed that only these had been authorized. While with regard to the Mass, he gave the Neocatechumenals a genuine lecture – almost an ultimatum – on how to celebrate it in full fidelity to the liturgical norms and in practical communion with the Church.