Pope Francis is a friend and supporter of all of the ecclesial movements in the Catholic Church. So were his predecessors, St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. One of those ecclesial movements is the Charismatic Catholics whom he met at an Olympic Stadium in Rome. The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement but is counted among spiritually dynamic group that is renewing the Catholic Church.
While the Charismatic Catholics is gaining converts (especially among young people) in Brazil and many parts of Latin America, the goal of the Way is to evangelize Asia and re-evangelize Europe, which has fallen into secularism. In fact, Catholicism has increased in Finland due to the Neocatechumenal Way. According to the Catholic World Report:
Finland’s high statistical ratio of seminarians to Catholics is attributable to the controversial presence of a Neocatechumenal Way seminary in the nation’s sole diocese of Helsinki. According to Father Cristiano Magagna, the seminary’s vice rector, the seminary has 14 seminarians from seven nations; Marko Tervaportti, editor- in-chief of the diocesan newspaper Fides, says that “they live here but study in Lugano, Switzerland, and, I am sorry to say, do not really even speak Finnish or know the diocese.”
Teemu Hairamu, president of the Societas Sancti Gregorii Magni, which promotes the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy, adds, “They import seminarians from abroad to study in the seminary, and most of them leave when they graduate.”
The nation’s other four seminarians, according to Mr. Tervaportti, include two Vietnamese Finns who are studying in Rome and one member each of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King, both of which celebrate the liturgy in its extraordinary form. “We [Finns] love silence and beauty and solemnity, not noise and activity,” Tervaporrti told CWR. “Our relationship with God is very vertical, and horizontalness makes us more or less uncomfortable. Where the teaching and liturgy are orthodox, you have vocations, such vocations that endure.”
For his part, Father Magagna praises “the courage of the bishop of Helsinki, who, without fear, inaugurated a seminary of this type.” He attributes the Neocatechumenal Way’s success in attracting seminarians to its ability to resist secularization:
The root of today’s vocational crisis is the profound crisis of faith which the Christian world is passing through; the Neocatechumenal Way has proposed itself, from its beginning, as a way of initiation of faith: it is not a particular spirituality, but a gestation to faith, “an itinerary of Catholic formation, valid for our society and for our times” (Pope John Paul II). It is in this way of faith that the Christian community becomes central and has as its fundamental nucleus the family. In these two facts can be gathered all the secret of the Neocatechumenal Way…. It is a process of growth in faith which reconstructs the Christian community, and this becomes a sign to the world [and] resists the process of secularization; it is the base, the vital humus where vocations are raised up, grow, mature, and bear fruit.Catholic World Report