Era of Peace

Introduction - Heresies in the Neocatechumenal Way

The webmaster presents a translation of the introduction to an italian book (translation by permission of the publisher) published by Edizioni Segno, which talks about doctrinal errors in a (foundational) catechism booklet of the Neo-Catechumenal movement abroad, showing in a theological way the errors of the basis of that movement. It is not done to offend anyone, but what is wrong is called wrong so that it may be fixed through reform.
The book is called 'Eresie del Movimento Neocatecumenale - Saggio Critico' by Father Enrico Zoffoli. The webmaster does not assume any responsibility for what is claimed by the author, and is faithful to the decisions of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The webmaster adds that errors of this sort can arise (BY COPYING INCORRECT IDEAS) in any Christian movement, and is not aware that such cases have been happening in Malta. This site is intended to remind us that the Catholic Church's Catechism is a safeguard against many heresies that are to a certain extent spread among us. A translation of some chapters of the book follow.

The english language version of the book will be available in future as soon as it is ready and when a printer is found.
You are encouraged to pre-order the book at a specially reduced price - just click here to get the details.

book cover

For many years the Neocatechumenal movement has had the esteem, the favour and the praises of some members of the Catholic hierarchy: it would be very laborious to build a collection of all the expressions of satisfaction and benevolence expressed the Popes, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II1

Their "Way" has been presented and given high commendation as an exemplary method for a return to the most authentic Christianity, in the decisive elimination of all the excess waste that throughout the years and centuries has distorted its image, betrayed its message.

The success obtained seems clear from the multiplying of Neocatechumenal Way "communities" in thousands of parishes, from the holding of new seminars and conferences, from the missionary activity performed by family units in faraway lands of primary evangelisation. All this made one think of an extraordinary intervention of the Holy Spirit, particularly providential in this age of apostasy as ours is.

The source of inspiration is an unseen text which gathers together an instruction course which gathers together an instruction course for "catechists" held in February 1972 by Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez in Madrid. It forms a typed volume of 373 pages. Photocopied, circulated as a formative textbook for new apostles. It cannot be called official only because it is restricted, not because it does not express the ideas and beliefs of the authors. Until now it has never been modified or retracted; and nobody, since June 1990 to this day, has protested to get me to correct in part or in whole my critical judgement.

Repeatedly examined since the '80's onwards, it can be concluded that among some positive elements, the text contains numerous seriously negative elements, because they are irreconciliable with the fundamental truth of Christianity as preserved by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, as I believe to have shown in the previous editions of my essay. The latter, having been sent everywhere in Italy, should have informed many of my accusation of heresies.

I have not been asked to explain nor have I been invited to a critical verification to a debate. Till now my work has met indifference and silence. A singular and worrying attitude on the part of some of those responsible for catholic orthodoxy. How to explain it? I leave it all in the hands of the Judgement of God and of history. But therefore this judgement encourages me to continue the principal argument: the basis of the N.M. is heretical; and I emphasise this especially for those who believed the title of my essay to be exaggerated or even calumnious.

The Neocatechumenals like to present themselves as zealous members of the Catholic Church, faithful to the Pope; their meetings with him - especially in certain public audiences - they are spectacular and clamourous when they are seen. Everyone must know that they constitute the most real Church, superior than that of the common believers, those who do not follow Kiko's indicated "Way". "We are a Power!", they repeat with an arrogance only worth commiserating.

They long so much to be held docile to the directives of the Pope - and thus to be able to claim themselves and moreso impose - that they dared make believe that they had obtained from the Holy See the solemn approval of the Movement when, the 30th August of 1990, the Pontiff limited himself to write to Mons. Cordes, their assitent, a paternal - but private letter of satisfaction on their work... It, for some alterations easily observable from the original version, makes one suppose that the document did not pass through the usual checking of the competent department of the Holy See2.

In Italy, some Bishops and parish priests, felt themselves obliged to accept and favour the neocatechumenal "way", having read in the Pontifical document: "It is therefore my wish that the Brothers in the episcopate - together with their presbyters - value and support this work for the new evangelization so that it may be implemented according to the lines proposed by its initiators...".

Obviously, it went too far, because after some time, on AAS 1990, p.1513 everyone could read and meditate on the following precisation: "The Thought of the Holy Father, in recognising the Neocatechumenal Way as a valid itinerary of catholic formation, is not to give binding indications to the local Ordinaries, but only to encourage them to consider with attention the Neocatechumenal Communities, leaving all nevertheless to the judgement of the same Ordinaries to act according to the pastoral exigencies of the single dioceses.".

The problem I return to raise is this one: do the presupposed bases of the neocatechumenal "way" reconcile with the catholic doctrine? What are the relations of the Neocatechumenals with the Church?

To find that out, the only source for an objective and complete research remains the cited document: the only really complete and authorative one because it is faithful to the thoughts of Kiko and Carmen...; It, having been unaltered, remains the most secure criterion of a critically valid judgement and analysis.

It follows that:

  1. referring to this document, no-one can accuse me of having "invented", or of attributing thoughts that they never thought to the authors of the text...;
  2. Kiko and Carmen can reject the accusation of "heresy" only if they are disposed to make a public profession of faith contrary to the errors that have been attributed to them.
  3. the accusation of having extracted from the text what was wanted to condemn, and thus of having "extrapolated" words and phrases out of context and contrary to their authors' intentions, is completely without foundation or basis and only possible to be claimed by someone who has not read once this entire essay...; while I can declare that I have studied it at length, comparing various sections and with the whole of the catechesis.

In conclusion, I think I can still sustain the accusation of heresy against the Neocatechumenals who have understood and accepted the doctrinal content of the document by Kiko and Carmen; for whom their influence within the Church constitutes a serious threat for catholic orthodoxy. Good faith, if it can save them, does not dispense anyone of unmasking their errors. This language, which can seem simple-minded, out-dated, only by those who do not believe any more in the truth and are now extraneous to the Church which continues to teach and defend it.

Proceed to Chapter 1 - Begins the analysis of why their doctrine is heretical


1 (cf. The Neocatechumenal Way in the speeches of Paul VI and John Paul II (pro manuscripto, published by the Neocatechumenal Centre, p.zza S. Salvatore in Campo - Roma - Tel. (06) 6541589, 3a ediz., 1991).
2 Thus, it speaks of "an itinerary of catholic formation, valid [ Translator note: In the original valid is used in the female sense rather than male sense as it should in Italian ] for society and for today...". Even the date is not correct from the orthographic point of view: "From the Vatican, 30th August of the 1990, XII of Pontificate". How come there is that "of the"? Perhaps the rush made the writer leave out the word "year"? This type of ommission does not make justice to a pontifical document, usually checked meticulously.
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Related Links:

Neo-Catechumenate Review by PASCH, includes REPORT of the DIOCESAN NC CLIFTON PARISH ENQUIRY


Neocatechumenal Way? Movement or Sect?

Mental Manipulation done by the Neocatechumenal Way, which is a Sect (In French) psychologueclinicien is an excellent site which discusses sects including the Neocatechumenal Way