Kiko's Annunciation

Kiko's Annunciation
Kiko the plagiarist

Sunday, August 13, 2023

They Lie and Lie and Lie

Proverbs 6 :16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

While in the Way, there was often drama. Some people were definitely prone to it and some people were driven to it by so called catechists sowing discord among us. If we weren’t being critical, confronting each other over every annoyance, we were told we were being fake, wearing a mask so to speak. On one occasion, a man in my community, who wasn’t directly affected by the drama of the day, stated to me that “everyone lies”. He said it with a smile as if he were the honest one by saying he and everyone else lies or has lied.  To which I responded “I don’t lie”.  That’s not to say I haven’t ever, but his statement and expression suggested he really thought everyone is in the habit of telling lies; in which case no, not everyone finds it natural to lie. In fact, many, myself included, find lying very stressful and unnatural.  I found his casual attitude regarding lying was similar to the Catechists and everyone else who had any authority in the Way. (Read here for an expansion of that topic – )

It has been stated on this blog and several others that the Neocatechumenal Way has inflated its membership numbers for many years – possibly from the beginning just to gain momentum. Each and every gathering, whether it is the local diocese of communities embedding themselves in parishes for a gathering with the local Bishop or the vocational meeting immediately following the Papal Mass the next day to hear “their Pope” Kiko; they will list off their community or country of origin and the number present as they stand and get acknowledged.  Why do they do this?  If they do not show that they are gaining members, just as with ANY organization,  religious or not, it means it is not working. Quantity over quality has been the motto of this group.  It does not matter how faithful a member, how far along, how invested; they just want every single person present when it counts (meaning when the bishops, cardinals or Pope are in their presence). 

At one of the many annual gatherings with our very own Archbishop in the Archdiocese of Denver, we were told as a community to make sure everyone was there and to invite anyone in our family that would come regardless if they were in the Way or not.  We also were told to call anyone, and I mean anyone, that had gone to the catechesis, regardless if they attended the initial retreat or not, to these meetings.  The number of people is a show to the Bishop – that their way of evangelization is working.  Those of us who have sampled this “new evangelization” whether just through the initial talks or in community for a number of years, know this show very well. 


Let’s examine this point in a very defined way.  World Youth Day Lisbon, Portugal just came to an end. Following the end of the week with the Papal Mass with all the “unsalted, unenlightened, non-chosen, natural religious” Catholics (their words not mine) they met with Kiko the following day in similar but very much smaller fashion.  

Our very own Archbishop Aquila, along with other duped OR complicit clergy to this scam attended with Kiko on stage, to look out at the crowds. Archbishop Aquila tweeted his attendance stating:

“WYD2023 meeting with the Neocatechumenal Way and Kiko – 20,000+ in attendance to hear the gospel”

Then he corrected himself (i.e. one of his Neocat handlers did) stating there were 80,000 in attendance!

I truly tried to find the best aerial shot of the crowd in Lisbon for the vocational meeting, to capture the crowd as best as possible, and this is the best I could do as the Way tends to scrub the internet of things that don’t fit the narrative.:

Now Archbishop Aquila is not a stupid man, and it’s doubtful his own eyes deceived him. So what does a crowd of 20,000 look like (

How about 50,000

And 75,000:

One can see that even if I spliced two of the best crowd shots together from the WYD Neocat Vocational call together it wouldn’t equal even half of Notre Dame Stadium.  I believe that Archbishop Aquila’s original estimation of 20,000 was a generous and more correct estimate. 

Two things can be true at the same time.  

True, numbers may not mean much to the Neocat.  Is it still an impressive gathering of people – yes. Do they exaggerate their claims for their own benefit – yes.

Have they garnered vocations from this meeting – yes.  Do they take the euphoria of one young man’s impulse to run to the stage, take note, and heavily pressure him, lure him with talks of destinations like the coast of Italy or somewhere out of his impoverished country, and then make it very hard to leave – yes.  (an Irish seminarian in our Archdiocese some years ago said “these f**ker$ just won’t let you leave!”)

Has the Way influenced people to have large families that otherwise wouldn’t have – yes.  Have these large families experienced criticism or neglect for “making each other an idol” by not adhering to the many lengthy commitments or faced awful abuse at the hands of overwhelmed or narcissistic parents – yes.

Have they gained in numbers and established themselves within the Catholic Church – yes.  Have they lost many members but neglect to adjust the rosters (there are more ex-neocats than current). – yes.

Did they gain some approval from the Vatican – yes? – Did they take any endorsement or step of the approval process and make a sweeping claim as to their approval – yes.

Do the Neocats strive to practice their faith diligently – yes.  Likewise do protestants strive to practice their faith – yes.

Do they hold parish mission talks advertising an answer to your suffering – yes.  Do they deliberately hide that they are the Neocatechumenal Way and intend to follow a formulated plan to end up having you in a program separate from your parish mass and activities – yes

Again, two things can be true at the same time!  

Truth matters in both small things and big things. Someone who lies and deceives from the start no matter what possible good intentions for doing so – will continue to lie to you. Some of their lies may be smaller lies like inflating numbers or maybe they don’t tell you they are the Neocatechumenal Way much in the same way someone doesn’t tell you they are trying to sell you Amway. Or they are BIG lies like hiding and defending pedo priests

Kiko and company got far too comfortable with their lies thinking no one would show the receipts. They became too accustomed to not having the internet with recordings and photos, to show their deceit.

My own pastor Fr. Felix Medina, devoted Neocat, weaved his own web causing division and confusion ( among the various groups and didn’t think anyone would actually talk to each other. As one frustrated fellow parishioner showed me the text messages received from him that were proof against his statements and e-mails of “I never said…..” the frustrated parishioner simply stated “I’m so sick of his lies”.  Yes – so sick of the lies. 

Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”

Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin”

Psalm 5:6 “You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”

Exodus 23:10 “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.”

Monday, August 7, 2023

The Way's Exclusive Hymnody

The following is a translated and adapted excerpt from a 2022 case study by Valerio Ciarocchi, an Italian scholar, university professor, and expert in sacred and liturgical music. The abstract, as well as a link to the full PDF essay (in Italian), can be found here. The study, entitled The Repertoires of Ecclesial Movements, looks at the use of liturgical music in various "movements" within the Church. Obviously, our excerpt here concerns the Neocatechumenal Way.

Two footnotes, referring the reader to printed sources, have been omitted from this excerpt (but are retained in the original linked above). Two others have been retained but edited to fit the text. An additional intertext citation to a non-specific web source has also been omitted.

Neocatechumenal songs have a different style from traditional sacred and liturgical music. They are characterized by a sustained rhythmical quality, a preferential use for guitar and percussion instruments, and a vocal outpouring that intends to refer to the Jewish tradition and to the primitive Church.

The songs of the Neocatechumenal Way are collected in a hymnal entitled Resucitò [or He Rose from Death in English. "He Rose from Death" is also the name of one of their most popular hymns. A PDF version of the English hymnal is available from The Thoughtful Catholic.] At each presentation of new songs, training sessions are scheduled to explain their function and purpose. They have a clear biblical emphasis and are characterized by a laudatory point of view and a "kerygmatic" proclamation.

German theologian Sven Amuth notes, "Although there is a book of Neocatechumenal songs, the members of the Way do not use it in liturgical celebrations because they know them by heart, and this normally does not allow guests to be able to sing with them."

According to Kiko Argüello, for the Neocatechumenal, sacred music "has the power to awaken, to make faith ring out, something important in our age today, in which this kerygmatic aspect is very much lacking."

The Neocatechumenal Way considers the use of songs essential, both in the liturgical and extra-liturgical spheres: "The Neocatechumenal Way uses a hymnal of songs taken from the Word of God and from the Christian and Jewish liturgical tradition, which underline the contents of the different stages and passages" (Article 11 of the Neocatechumenal Way, approved by the Holy See on May 11, 2008).

We emphasize that the musical experience within the Neocatechumenal Way is quite "unique." Never, in the history of the Church, has there been the presence of a single author (the founder Kiko Argüello) for words and music that cannot be revised or corrected; this also applies to the playing style. In other words, the principle of adaptability to the cultural and social context is missing. Unlike the repertoires of other movements, the Neocatechumenal repertoire excludes performance in other contexts, because the songs are dedicated to the internal path of the Way itself. Conveniently, because being conceived for the celebrations "of" the Neocatechumenal Way, the songs would be "foreign" to other celebratory contexts.

We believe this to be limiting because it would seem to indicate an "exclusivity" which is not legitimized by the systematic Magisterium on sacred music.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Faking of a Saint

Carmen Hernandez, co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way with Kiko Arguello, died July 19, 2016.  Within days, followers of the Way began declaring Carmen a saint of a “superior category”. While attending World Youth Day in Poland, the typical “Kiko meeting” after the Papal Mass the following day, Neocats from around the world gathered to hear Kiko bloviate once again.  In that gathering, not quite two weeks after her death, there was already a blown up photo of Carmen with the word “Santo” (Saint) running up the side.   The Way, as usual, likes to lie and deceive its way past the processes of the “natural religious” regular Catholics in order to achieve status and legitimacy.

 The photo banner displayed at the Vocational Gathering with Kiko less than two weeks after her death, with digitally added prayer hands – already they began to decieve and manipulate.

The absolute arrogance of the those in the Way pushing through Carmen, a woman who scoffed at Catholic sacramentals ( );a woman who spoke with disdain about the church; who mocked the actual sacraments of the church and who spoke against established Catholic doctrine the same as any other Protestant – the Neos ( ) proclaimed her a saint within days of her death – petitioned and opened cause for beatification and are now claiming over 3000 miracles attributed to her intercession already.  😂

On the recent anniversary of her death, those in the Way were given days to organize a special celebration of Carmen, and to continue to press to keep the stories of miracles coming.  In typical fashion, members were to drop all their summer family activities, preparations for World Youth Day, work and any other activities for this gathering. 

(The letter translates as such: After the opening of the diocesan phase of the Cause of Beatification of Carmen on December 4, 2022, we are in an important phase of study of the numerous documents and testimonies. We celebrate the seventh anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Carmen Hernandez on July 19, 2023. Kiko, Mario and Ascension, would like if possible, each parish to celebrate this Wednesday, July 19, a Eucharist with the communities asking the Lord for the eternal rest of her soul and to continue as quickly as possible the process of canonization. A catechist or responsible can give a monition on the life of Carmen, and also record any brothers that received a grace from (Carmen’s) intercession and send it to )

Let’s take a brief look at far holier people that have lived, served and died within their Catholic faith – this is just a relevant and recent list of those who many are well known, if not more well known that Carmen from the Neocat sect. 

Archbishop Fulton Sheen – Died December 1979. Cause for canonization opened in TWENTY-THREE years after his death in 2002. Only by 2012 he was named “venerable”. Sheen did major evangelization through radio and television, still used today. In 2019 miracle approved and moved toward beatification. 2022, beatification suspended during investigation of mishandling of a priest accused of sexual abuse even though the Diocese of Peoria has thoroughly examined and exonerated Sheen from any mishandling. AB Fulton Sheen’s beatification is still in limbo today.

Rev. Emil Kapaun – Died May 1951 – a priest who served as a chaplain in the Army and eventually was captured and died a POW after faithfully saving his fellow man from execution at his own risk, and served his fellow man despite his own injuries and illness. He was named Servant of God in 1993, 42 years after his death. Cause for canonization opened 2016. 3 miracles reported so far and yet, he has still not received the title of saint.

Local Colorado favorite, Julia Greeley a Secular Franciscan “Denver’s Angel’s of Charity”  – Died June 1918. Cause for canonization opened in almost 100 years later in 2016.

He?áka Sápa — commonly known as Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) of the Oglala Lakota people. A survivor of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre, the Lakota holy man became Catholic in 1904, and is reputed to have brought more than 400 people to baptism. Cause opened SIXTY-SEVEN years later in 2017. 

The 10 most recent saints declared by Pope Francis most died over 100 years ago. 

It’s an average of 181 years between death and sainthood. Notable recent exceptions are Saint Theresa of Calcutta and Pope Saint John Paul II. 

Many of those who have been declared an official saint in the church, throughout church history and especially today – it is more who, of influence, they knew ( ); their popularity and the amount of money there is to offer ( . Although Catholic belief states that those souls who are in Heaven are Saints – whether given an official title or not – the process of official recognition in the church surely has its flaws.

“For every Dorothy Day — or St. Teresa of Kolkata, St. Oscar Romero or St. John Paul II — there may be hundreds, even thousands, of anonymous potential saints who are not raised to the altars for a very simple reason: Their advocates just can not afford it.” ( )

In the year 1234, Pope Gregory IX established procedures to investigate the life of a candidate saint and any attributed miracles. In 1588, Pope Sixtus V entrusted the Congregation of Rites (later named the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints) to oversee the entire process. Beginning with Pope Urban VIII in 1634, various Popes have revised and improved the norms and procedures for canonization, and even lessened the requirements.  

One part of the process is that the Church will also investigate the candidate’s writings to see if they possess “purity of doctrine,” essentially, nothing heretical or against the faith. This part of the process right there should be an instant disqualifier for Carmen as her heretical and oppositional teachings are documented in video and writings, despite her recent release of her “diaries”. For just a sampling of her contempt for the Church’s beliefs:  and for more on her discovered diaries that have even Kiko scratching his head as if it was a totally different person from the one he worked with for 50 years – read here )

Generally speaking, what qualifies someone to be declared a saint (besides the noted help of money, fame, and connection) one needs to have demonstrated “heroic virtue” 

“This definition includes the four “cardinal” virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice; as well as the “theological” virtues: faith, hope and charity. A saint displays these qualities in a consistent and exceptional way.” (,a%20consistent%20and%20exceptional%20way. )

Did Carmen demonstrate prudence – perhaps.  It’s not likely that many of the decisions were made on where to go and where to establish a seminary, for example, were done so without a lot of preparation – however, it can be said that she took the microphone often, and even Kiko couldn’t get her to stop talking even when she was clearly stepping into a territory that could cause trouble.  

“Prudence is the deliberative, judicial, and decisive means by which Charity manifests itself.”  Can proponents of the Way honestly say that Carmen was charitable? Charitable with her words, deeds and actions – this woman who often spoke with rage, who was regarded as unpleasant, rude and so disobedient that she could not humble herself to conform to the convent or any other order?  Was she faithful to the church or to the Way?  This woman who scolded priests and seminarians about being obedient to “us”, not God, not the Church, but the catechists, themselves…was she faithful to the Church?  ( )

Let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a moment.  Carmen did found a movement within the church that gained hundreds of thousands of followers.  She did make her way close to those in the Vatican and have private meetings with the Pope. She, with Kiko Arguello, helped to bring many young men to discern the priesthood and to establish communities and seminaries throughout the world, quite remarkable accomplishments. 

However, playing Devil’s Advocate once again; based on these arguments, why not declare Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church or any other Protestant leader like Martin Luther a saint, afterall they too established a movement within Christianity.  Too broad?  Well, ok, let’s say they have to have said they were a practicing Catholic, who met with the Pope, who had “approval” – then let’s open the cause for Marcial Maciel founder of the Legionaries of Christ.  Maciel was a sexual predator though, so certainly he was no saint…Carmen wasn’t a predator in that fashion, but it’s hard to imagine she wasn’t aware of multiple high ranking clergy that were (McCarrick and Apruron being the most notorious affiliated with the Way); she still used their connections to further expand the Way and its influence. Kiko himself eulogized that Carmen had no interest in him until she saw him with a bishop – again it’s who you know.

Finally, if we dismiss that there was any heretical teaching of doctrine, that Carmen did truly embrace the faith, and was holy and obedient; did not participate with any scandals – given that, would members honestly be able to say that she demonstrated virtue consistently; that charitable is even a word that would be in the top ten words to describe her?  That is a tough one to prove given so much video of her through the years and many accounts of those who’ve interacted with her, including Kiko himself.

Ultimately, the church will decide and it will be a relentless pursuit on the part of the Neocatechumenal Way to have Carmen named a saint as another way to legitimize themselves. If the church expedites and ultimately beatifies Carmen; this would surely be the final nail for those who already have misgivings about the church’s declaration of saints of late as a sham and further the distrust over the processes in place; just like they shoved through their Catechetical Directory bypassing whole steps because they have people in place of influence and money.

Monday, July 24, 2023

We Are Your God

 The following article was originally posted in Spanish on Crux Sancta. It details the anonymous testimony of a woman, now likely in her late 70s, who followed the Neocatechumenal Way for a period of about 3 years in the late 1980s. We invite the reader, as always, to test the veracity of this story by comparing it against the testimony of many others who have spoken across the years and around the globe, and perhaps even against your own lived experience.

At the beginning of February, what was presented as the "catechesis of the Neocatechumenals" began in my parish. I was 40 years old, had two teenage children, and had been a widow for a little more than two months.

Along with my children, I attended these talks that took place two nights a week. It was quite late for me, but I was attracted by the songs and the approach to the Word of God, which they explained in an animated way. After the talks concluded, there was a first "convivence" in which there were some very beautiful ceremonies, but what caught my attention was at the end of the third day, when the stay had to be paid for, a black bag was circulated among the attendees during a prayer gathering. Into this bag we were encouraged to deposit "what each one could, with generosity, taking into account that there were brothers who could not pay."

In the first round, the necessary amount was not collected. Another round was made, after which, with very heartfelt words, our catechist assured us that something great had happened: the sum was not only enough, but more than enough! His speech took on a magical tone. He came to say that a miracle had occurred in our midst, that something had come out of our pockets in which nothing was left out of pure generosity. Yes, yes... I'll come back to this episode later.

After this convivence, what was called "the second community of XXX" was born, the first one having existed for 3 or 4 years. Four responsibles were named. There were no married couples to separate, so one was me (I'm a teacher), along with a colleague of mine and two university students. From the first moment, a demanding rhythm was imposed for those who have jobs and prior responsibilities. We met regularly each week: once to prepare the readings relating to the "word," once for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word, and once for the Eucharistic celebration on Saturday night.

This was all extremely tiring because we would finish around midnight or after. Later I realized that tired people are more impressionable and easier to manipulate.

In addition, as a responsible, I had to participate in some convivences just for responsibles. This was a burden for me because I had to leave my children and my in-laws alone.

At that time, our pastor suffered a heart attack and had to leave the parish to another priest, a good and honest person, but incapable of stopping the itinerant (I will call him John), who had come to, what they continued to call, "catechize us."

I soon became disliked of John's wife, a cold and sour woman whom I never saw smile. One of the times we clashed was after a "catechesis," in which she repeated several times, "...who doesn't hate his brother--and notice that the word 'hate' in the Greek language is really hate, hate, not to love less, HATE, etc. etc.--is not worthy of Me." I responded to this intervention by proposing the Gospel of St. John and his First Letter, but I noticed her inability to reason and only drew her ire.

On one occasion, during what they designate as a day of convivence, in the round of experiences, a girl accused me of a lack of hospitality. Her argument was that, having made my house available to the community for the Easter night agape, I should have allowed them to make trouble. And none of my brothers showed consideration for my neighbors! But things got even more complicated.

Neocatechumenal praxis establishes that after two years, there is a "step" to I don't know what. It was the end of January, there was a lot of work at school, and my 82-year-old father-in-law had a throat problem and was awaiting surgery, and I was the one who had to take care of his treatment. Well, just in those days you had to go to another town for the magical step that takes you to I don't know where. I decided to communicate my family situation to my "catechists" (as they called themselves) and I suggested that I attend the convivence during the day, but that at night I felt the moral and ethical duty to be at home. Their answer was that I had to expose everything to John, who was not my catechist, in neither name nor practice. I know now that there are ranks among the Neocatechumenals who consider themselves "catechists," and that except for the itinerants at the top, no other has decision-making power. Their mission consists only of informing the itinerant boss of how many there are in the community and how many of them have not made the "steps" and for what reasons.

I met John on January 17, Saint Anthony's Day, which is a holiday in our diocese. He listened to me with an air of smugness and assured me that if I did not sleep in the convivence location, the Lord would not pass by for me, but that I was free to come and go as I pleased. So he gave me to understand that my proposal was valid for "being useful" without neglecting my in-laws.

Consequently, myself along with three other people went and came back on Friday, as well as Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday, the ceremony - not a liturgy, but mere posturing - of the "step" took place. They told us we had to be there by 3:00 pm. We brought flowers for the table, a bottle of "Opium" perfume to perfume the oil and many sweets for the agape with which the ceremony would conclude. When we arrived, everything was almost ready. There were about 50 people sitting in a circle around the lectern and the table. The flowers that we brought they had thrown away.

We sat down, too. John burst into the room and called our attention with a peremptory gesture: "You, you and you, come with me." We got up without knowing what was happening, but we had the feeling that nothing good awaited us. We followed him into a small room where two priests--the priest who replaced our pastor and an itinerant priest--were waiting for us. Rudely and with a lack of education, they told us that we could not make the step - wherever it goes - because we had not spent the night in the convivence house, which was the reason why "the Lord had not passed for us." I stood up and said that God does not happen here, there, or in other places, but happens in people's lives, and I appealed to his understanding through the mediation of St. John Bosco, whose feast was that day. John responded with contempt, "And who is this St. John Bosco?", to imply that he had more discernment than any saint or that God himself bowed down before the criteria of an itinerant Neocatechumenal. I had never witnessed such a display of pride, contempt, and lack of love for the other, which is Christ.

We left that assembly humiliated and mistreated, and the week passed in a rather traumatic way. On Saturday afternoon, we met again with the brothers of the community who had made the famous step. The brother whose turn it was to give the environmental monition of the Eucharist spoke of the presence of the devil within the community, of some who were the devil, and he repeated the concept several times and managed to make us feel called out: "Is it me?" "They are those who have not made the step."

Despite this, we participated again on other Saturdays, as well as in some Liturgies of the Word. During a Word, the responsible who had mentioned the presence of the devil in the community called us aside, begging us to raise some money as soon as possible because there was about to be a convivence to form a new community. For this reason, I quote his words: "We have to do as always, that is, have a generous sum at your disposal, in the event that when the bag is passed, not enough money comes out in the first round." That's when I understood that our community had acted in the same way. Other people put in the missing money! It could always have been argued that it was Providence, but why not say outright where the money came from? Why deceive with an impression of mystery and magic to impress us?

I wanted to discuss it with the priest of the responsible team and he replied that... I shouldn't judge (?!). I stopped going to the community.

After a while a friend told me that if I wanted to return to the community, I could go and do that famous step in which I had to reveal my "cross" in front of everyone. I answered no. A year later, the "Shema" was announced to the people of the community where I had been for three years. So I asked if I could participate as an "external": I would have liked to spend a few days in prayer and recollection. The answer was not surprising: no one had the power to decide whether or not, they had to talk to the itinerant boss, John. He said no. But a few days before the feast of St. Anthony, the pastor - the substitute for our good sick pastor - called me on John's orders, saying that John wanted to speak with me. I reiterated that I did not want to see him, and the priest told me to make a gesture of obedience... and I reluctantly accepted at the priest's insistence, trusting his criteria. I did not repeat that mistake.

I was summoned to the parish at 8:30 pm on January 17, 1989. I thought I was the only one the team of itinerants headed by John wanted to talk to, but I was surprised to see five other people. I was also surprised that we found ourselves in some kind of criminal court, without a lawyer and without knowing the charges against us. The six of us were sitting side by side, leaning against a wall, and in front of us, the inquisitors: John, his wife, a forty-something spinster, the priest who shined John's shoes, and a Neocatechumenal who had spent many years in India.

The questioning began with the married couples, which generated a lot of debate. They were asked questions that those of us who didn't know them shouldn't have heard, and they barely managed to articulate plaintive justifications without the servile priest stopping them, for which I felt more and more dismayed and bewildered; I would never have expected such a thing. So, I asked them to tell me immediately what they had to tell me, because I was not going to keep listening to what was not my business, and if they had nothing for me, I would leave now.

Then, with a gesture of offended authority, John asked me if I had taken the step. I answered that I had not and that surely the Lord would have decided when it was time. He was silent. He asked me if I wanted anything and I told him that I would like to go (on my own) and join the community to pray in the Shema. He replied that it was absolutely impossible unless I first did the famous step. I wondered if by any chance there was a passage in the Gospel that prohibited anyone who wanted to join others in prayer. I also said that many times and everywhere the Pope repeated: "Open the doors to Christ!", in the sense of welcoming Jesus and the brothers and helping them in difficulties...

John replied to me: "You have to obey and that's it, whether you like it or not, we are God!"

I was stunned. No one silenced him, and he added, "and if not God himself, we are his angels!"

Again, no one objected. I expected a word from the priest, from one of those present... nothing!

I picked up my bag, got up, and left forever.

Monday, July 17, 2023

To Catch a Kiko Predator

In the summer of 2019, the Spanish newspaper El Español published the headline:

Scandal in Yecla: Antonio, priest of the "Kikos," had sexual relations with a minor. The bishop denounced him after learning that he allegedly committed sexual abuse of a minor.

"Affectionate, friendly, funny in Masses, and with enough empathy to reach out to the youngest of the flock." This is how some members of the "Kikos" defined Antonio Lax Zapata, the parish pastor of St. John the Baptist and chaplain of the Virgen del Castillo Hospital, linked to the Neocatechumenal Way and convicted of committing sexual abuse of a minor. In fact, there is a large community of "Kikos" in the town of Yecla, and several councilors in the municipal government also adhere to the Neocatechumenal movement. "The news surprised us a lot," admitted the popular mayor, who also belongs. "No one suspected anything."

And when are the Neocatechumenals never NOT surprised?

Lax, born in Monteagudo, Spain (near Murcia), entered the Way with his whole family and crossed the ocean - sent by Neocatechumenal lots - to attend the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Medellín, Colombia, where he was ordained a priest. (Fr. Ángel Arturo Vásquez Urizar, a native Guatemalan, also attended the Medellín RMS and was arrested in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain in 2020 for sexually abusing a preteen boy).

After 15 years in Colombia, ten of which were spent in seminary, Lax returned to Spain in 2006. He was assigned to two parishes considered reference points for the "Kiko" community and "he actively participated in spiritual retreats, trips, and gatherings of members of the Neocatechumenal Way."

His personal profile on LinkedIn was accompanied by a photo with a naked child in his arms, about to approach the baptismal font. This detail must not have favorably impressed investigators.

In fact, Lax befriended an underage boy and, before long, the friendship escalated to sexual abuse. In 2022, he was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison for pedophilia.

In February 2023, the "Kiko" priest was in the newspapers again when Murcia's Provincial Court sentenced him to an additional nine years and two months in prison for sexually abusing two other minors, again as a priest in Yecla, which is part of the Diocese of Cartagena.

The sentence, published on March 9, 2023, considers him the perpetrator of two crimes of sexual abuse: one against a 13-year-old and another against a 16-year-old boy. In both cases, Lax took advantage of his status as a priest. In addition to the prison sentence, Lax must pay €8,200 in compensation to the two victims.

The defendant had made friends with the minors' families back in 2013. He would take them on fishing trips or trips to the ocean, invited them for ice cream, and gave them kisses. According to the sentence, the priest also had sexual conversations with the children, in which he asked them questions such as the size of their penises or the frequency with which they masturbated. (Perhaps he was preparing them for the ritual questions of the Second Scrutiny?)

The sentence, which is not definitive and allows an appeal to Murcia's Supreme Court, is based on the credible and reliable testimony of the victims, as well as acknowledgement of part of the acts by the accused. If the sentence becomes final, the nine years' imprisonment will be added to the seven years and nine months already inflicted for the other case of sexual abuse. However, the priest has yet to serve any prison time.

A statement from the Diocese of Cartagena expressed solidarity with the priest's victims, regretting that bad examples of this kind cloud the work of diocesan clergy, and reiterating its commitment to eradicate any behavior contrary to human dignity, especially the young and vulnerable; finally, it states that the priest is currently suspended and subjected to a canonical trial, still in progress. The current Bishop of Cartagena, since 2009, is José Manuel Lorca Planes.

Note well: the Merkaba "providentially" destined Fr. Lax to the RMS in Medellín, Colombia. If he had remained there, even if he was guilty of pedophilia, he likely would have had a better fate.

One of his colleagues, the Neocatechumenal Fr. Harold Casellas Triviño, ordained the same year as Lax, had a sentence on his shoulders of pederasty against an 11-year-old girl as early as 2015. He was first relieved of his parish duties and put in charge of formation at the Medellín RMS. Then, with a legal trick, he was sent to a "recovery home" for priests in Copacabana (just outside Medellín). He is currently a fugitive and several arrest warrants have been issued against him. The predator priest underground railroad, it seems, is alive and well and fully functional.

(The original Italian version of this article, courtesy of the Osservatorio, can be found here.) 

Monday, July 10, 2023

The Way: Communist or Fascist?

A recent post on the Italian blog Osservatorio brought back my own original thoughts that the Way hinted of Communistic tendencies.  Only recently did I dive into Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago about the rise of communism in Russia. As I read, I was amazed at how often some of the tactics reminded me of my time in the Way. Admittedly, as an American, you’d think we have been well schooled in what communism, socialism and fascism really are; however, having not gone through these things personally on our own soil (although one could argue it has been gradually spoiling the American waterhole for decades now), more recent generations are not being taught this thoroughly.  The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) i.e. Communist Russia and National Socialist German Workers Party i.e Nazis were distilled down to (very basically), bad guys who killed a lot people in their own country and beyond, with the latter having had a tremendous more amount of time and attention in our history classes.  Learning about Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, or Tojo in Japan were all fairly lumped together in the bad guy category of extremely nationalistic and egotistical fascists.  Dan Mitchell at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity writes a concise piece making the case that Communists, Socialists, Fascists, and Nazis, are all just flavors of collectivism. So if Socialism breeds Communism, and Communism and Fascism are “kissing cousins”, what does that have to do with the Neocatechumenal Way?  Don’t all the “isms” above despise religion?  So how could the Way possibly have anything to do with collectivism?  Let us examine some of the links.

JungleWatch has already done a thorough background on the founders of the Way Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, which can be read here.

“Far from being this movement of new revival portrayed with very great sense of marketing, the beginning of the movement by Carmen and Kiko is totally immersed in a Church in full cooperation with a Fascist movement, and using its connections in Rome to parlay special conditions for them to set a bridgehead in very close proximity to the Vatican.”

Fast forward to today where Carmen has passed away and Kiko has been pretty much sidelined; Italian, Giuseppi Gennarini (Official director for the Way in the United States) to take Kiko's place - by his own admission was a Marxist activist who happened upon a catechesis by Kiko, then joined a community with fellow communists and the “bourgeois” (this is an absolute favorite word used very broadly by Neocats everywhere - I can’t tell you how many homilies from Neocat priests speak with disdain using this term to describe their very own congregations). Interestingly, he doesn’t denounce his Marxism (at least only partly) but as Chuck White writes, the methods and tactics of Communism are very much still in full swing as we will examine in a moment.

“The Italian fascists had even closer ties to the Marxists, with Mussolini having begun his career as a Marxist publicist and writer. A few Italian fascists even held positions in the Comintern. The only serious divide between the Italian fascists (or those who would become fascists) and Italian communists in the 1910s was their support, or not, of Italy’s participation in World War I.”

“In his profound work Reflections on a Ravaged Century, Robert Conquest labeled all forms of totalitarian socialism a type of “mindslaughter.” Fascism and communism share much in common, he argued. First, the two ideologies came from identical origins in 19th-century thought. Second, both celebrated the peasant revolts of the 1500s as foreshadowing 20th-century uprisings. Third, both claimed to speak in the name of “the people” and “the masses.” Fourth, both embraced a variety of social sciences and pseudosciences from the 19th century, though the Marxists did it with more finesse. Fifth, both claimed to be progressing humanity toward some end goal. And, finally, both accepted moral nihilism.”

Robert Paxton, professor emeritus at Columbia University, defines fascism in his 2004 book The Anatomy of Fascism. He also argues that fascism's foundations lie in a set of "mobilizing passions" rather than an elaborated doctrine. He argues these passions can explain much of the behavior of fascists[32](I have bracketed simple examples of how the Way matches the bullet points by Paxton):

  • a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions; (the church is dying, families are in crisis! the Neocat will tell you)

  • the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it; (the Way is the “correct” and true church - even priests are commanded by lay catechists Kiko, and the Gennarinis the Way comes before duties to family, to your parish, to your parishioners)

  • the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external; (any--and I mean any--criticism or even questioning of the Way the Neocat wails about being “persecuted”)

  • dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences; ( “you are nothing without the community” they want the rich people’s money and the “regular” Catholic’s money all the while disdaining them and labeling them bourgeois; those within the parish but outside of the community are pathetic “natural religious” and are either not illuminated by the Way or if they have learned and rejected the Way they are a disease to be avoided)

  • the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary; (have as many children as possible and condemn those who do not - even if they simply could not have a large family or any children- as selfish and inferior; the Way has their own private Eucharists, communities are closed, you can begin by attending the "catechesis")

  • the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny; (so-called “catechists” anyone?)

  • the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason; Kiko, Carmen, and the Gennarini’s,  yes, check)

  • the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success; (coerced public confessions, threatened or implied “bad things” will come your way if you leave, unmerciful scolding if you put family or your job before a lousy convivence or any time with community)

  • the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle. (again, Catechists and supreme Catechist Kiko - how many times were we told to "listen and obey your catechist!")

“Collective is more important than the individual” - Community - the Way speaks of the Community more often than even perhaps Jesus Christ. They will tell you “the Lord has a word for you”; “the Lord wants to meet you in your suffering, your wounds”, all in the beginning, but how quickly they change the tune from “the Lord” to the community. You are lost without the community…in community you will learn to be humble, the community will teach you to love the enemy. How you are identified is by your community. How odd it was that even in general Catholic functions, when in conversation with someone who knew I was “in community” they would NOT ask which parish I belonged to but rather “which community”. I found this odd as our community was simply designated by a number (hmm Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago goes into detail about how you are no longer a name, but a number, a cog in the wheel in his grueling account of Communist Russia).

The community comes before your family, your job, yourself, your parish, and Christ. Christ? Is that a bit far? How so you may ask? Well, how often is silent, contemplative prayer, one on one with our Lord even a possibility at the Eucharist with our Lord?  How about after confession?  Silence is often how we hear our Father in Heaven, and silence is simply taken up all. the. time. In the Way - with a catechist’s never-ending lecture, or songs and clapping. Not that disturbances don’t happen in a regular mass after communion with chatter in the pews or performance-worthy choir pieces that seem to prompt our ridiculous need to applaud at the end. Generally speaking, the church itself is a place of quiet prayer and preparation, especially as we should enter the sanctuary. In the Way, the sanctuary, if there is one, is a place no different that Protestant assemblies with greeting and chatter.  The collective is more important than the individual indeed. 

Promoted revolutionary change over gradual change. How quickly parishes that are led by a Neocat priest turn into almost a completely different dynamic.  Although they often won’t pronounce intentions of transforming a parish; the Kiko aesthetics begin to emerge rather quickly along with those working or volunteering in the parish replaced with those “already in community”. It’s a one party system in the neocat led parish and they come to divide like a sword. To them division is good in fact if there isn’t division you’re doing something wrong - they twist and turn Matthew 10:34; albeit one of Jesus’ more difficult quotes, they seem to forget that Jesus also had his disciple sheath his sword. Within the community, if we weren’t fighting, we were “being fake, still wearing a mask” - they thrive on division and the last three Popes have warned them about this. They love the sword analogy so much, that Kiko has incorporated his phallic like sword fountain at his Redmeptoris Mater Seminaries world wide. 

Finally, all the other aspects have to do with control.  Numerous accounts have been written and discussed on the mind control tactics used to break down and manipulate members. The Neocat will say, however, that the Way taught them to love the enemy, to reconcile with those who have or continue to hurt you.  Why does the Neocat not question why his fellow Catholic is labeled the enemy; or that loved ones are the enemy; or simply those who question are the enemy? Why are countless women told to put up with actual physical, potentially grave violence, by their husbands, endangering their children’s physical and mental well-being?  Truly harmful situations one is told it is their cross; that is ok - forgive and don't judge and don't leave unless that person is getting in the way of the community - but the one who leaves the Way is Judas, better off that he should not have been born.  The mindslaughter one is put through “in the Way” is the opposite of simplicity and love; it is of control and confusion.