What the Popes Say

Both Pope Paul VI and the present Pope John Paul II have been very encouraging towards the Neo-Catechumenal Way. They see in it a gift of the Holy Spirit and a grace of God to to renew the parish and to reach out towards those who have left the Church.

Here are some excerpts from the speeches of the Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. You can view the entire speech by clicking on the link provided.

Pope Paul VI in 1977: "Saint Augustine says this: If we cannot have the catechumenate beforehand, we will carry it out afterwards. This is the secret of your formula, which provides religious assistance, a practical training in Christian faithfulness, and effectively integrates the baptized into the community of believers which is the Church. Many people are attracted to these Neocatechumenal Communities, because they see that there is a sincerity, a truth in them, something alive and authentic, Christ living in the world." (General Audience of January 12, 1977)

Pope John Paul II in 1980: "The catechumens of the first centuries were a very important reality in the Church: I believe that what they did for the faith in those days, the Neocatechumenal Communities are doing today." (During Pope's visit to the parish of St.Timothy, Rome, 10 February 1980)

Pope John Paul II in 1980: "My dearest ones, we are living in a period in which we are experiencing a radical confrontation . .. In this age of ours, we need to rediscover a radical faith, radically understood, radically lived, and radically fulfilled. We have need of such a faith. I hope that your experience is born within such a perspective, and may lead towards a healthy radicalization of our Christianity, of our faith, towards an authentic evangelical radicalism." (During Pope's visit to the Parish of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Canadian Martyrs in Rome, 2nd November 1980.)

Pope John Paul II in 1983: "Continue with tireless and ever renewed generosity your commitment to the apostolate and Christian witness, particularly in the field of catechetics, in which you have produced so many good fruits in these years." (To Bishops and presbyters from the neo-catechumenal communities gathered for the Synod Penance and Reconciliation, St Peter's Square, 13th February 1983)

Pope John Paul II in 1983: "In fact, your movement, and here I welcome the one who inspired it - I know him well - , your movement is centered on this process of becoming children of God, of becoming Christians. It is very important!" (During Pope's visit to the parish of St Francesca Cabrini in Rome, 4th December, 1983)

Pope John Paul II in 1985: "By now I know well that there are two elements which characterize your charism. The first is an enthusiasm for the faith. An enthusiasm for the faith rediscovered. .... Then, the second thing which I think is part of your charism is radical conversion. ... It is with great pleasure that I see you and I think you are very necessary in today's Church, in today's world. " (During Pope's visit to the parish of St. Tarcisius, Rome, 3rd March 1985.)

Pope John Paul II in 1985: "The aims proposed by your Neocatechumenal Communities certainly correspond to one of the most agonizing questions of the pastor of souls today, especially those in the great urban agglomerations. You try to reach the mass of adults who are baptized, but have had little instruction in the faith, in order to lead them, along a spiritual way, to rediscover the baptismal roots of their Christian existence and to make them always more aware of their duties. " (During private audience of Pope with 2000 priests of the Neocatechumenal Communities gathered for the Extra-Ordinary Synod. 9 December 1985)

Pope John Paul II in 1988: "This is how I see the origins of the Neo-catechumenate, of its way. Someone - I don't know if it was Kiko or someone else - asked himself: "Where did the strength of the early Church come from, and where does the weakness of today's Church - a Church with much greater numbers - come from?" I believe he found the answer in this Way.... It is authentic and is consistent with the very nature of the parish, because just as each one of us Christians grows from baptism, so does the Christian community grow naturally from baptism. ... The parish can grow authentically in the experience and on the basis of the neocatechumenal experience; it would be like the renewal of the early community that grew out of the catechumenal experience." ( During visit of Pope to the Parish of St. Maria Goretti in Rome. 31st January 1988)

Pope John Paul II in 1990: "I too, as Bishop of Rome, have been able to verify the abundant fruits of personal conversion and fruitful missionary impulse in the many meetings I have had with the Neo-catechumenal Communities and their Pastors. Hence I acknowledge the Neo-catechumenal Way as an itinerary of Catholic formation, valid for our society and for our times. It is therefore my wish that the Brothers in the Episcopate - together with their presbyters - value and help this work for the new evangelization so that it may be implemented according to the lines proposed by its initiators." (Letter To Bishop Paul Josef Cordes 30th August 1990)
http://our world.compuserve.com/homepages/Sbenigni/recognit.htm

Pope John Paul II in 1993: "The Neo-catechumenal Way ... is able to respond to the challenge of secularism, the diffusion of sects and the shortage of vocations. The reflection upon the word of God and the participation in the Eucharist make possible a gradual initiation into the sacred mysteries, to form living cells of the Church and renew the vitality of the parish by means of mature Christians capable of bearing witness to the truth through a radically lived faith." (To European Bishops, 12th April 1993)
http://our world.compuserve.com/homepages/Sbenigni/wien.htm

Pope John Paul in 1994: "The Neo-catechumenal Way can be utilized for building up a parish capable of forming adults who are firmly rooted in Christ, in his word and in his mysteries ... It will effectively contribute to imprinting on parishes the typical style of the new evangelization : a style marked by what is essential and radical, immersed in the mystery of the dead and risen Christ and courageously open to the needs of the modern man." (To African Bishops, 17th January 1994. See L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition, 6-9 February 1994, page 7)

Pope John Paul in 1997: "Like every anniversary, seen in the light of faith, yours too becomes an opportunity for praise and thanksgiving for the abundant gifts that in these years the Lord has granted you and, through you, to the whole Church. ... The Lord has put a precious treasure in your hands. How to live it to the full? How to develop it? How to share it with others? How to defend it from various present and future dangers? These are some of the questions you have asked yourselves, as responsibles of the Way or as itinerants of the first hour." (During Audience of the Pope with the initiators and itinerant catechists of the Neocatechumenal Way on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the birth of this experience, Vatican City - January 24, 1997) http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Sbenigni/30years.htm

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