Friday, August 8, 2014

Chuck White's Flawed Measurement of Cults

There are many signs describing a cult. The problem with those signs is that it also describes genuine religious faiths.  For example, having a charismatic leader is often used as a sign that the person is in a cult.  If we were to actually go by this, then the Catholic Church would be considered a cult because Pope Francis is a very charismatic charismatic that he is loved not only by the Catholic faithful, but also by many atheists.  In fact, Pope Francis is so charismatic that Time Magazine picked him as the "Person of the Year".  Because he was picked as person of the year, that makes him even more charismatic than Kiko Arguello. (See the weblink below.)

Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Protestant fundamentalists often use the same charge as Chuck White.  They often accuse the Catholic Church of being a cult because Catholics look up to a leader who is a man (Pope) rather than to Christ.  The problem with these signs that Chuck White (and even some social scientists) has listed to determine whether one is in a cult is that it is seriously  flawed.  So, if Chuck White is going to label the Neocatechumenal Way a cult because the Way has a charismatic leader, he is also going to have to label the Catholic Church a cult for the same reason......and probably more so since the Pope was labeled "Person of the Year" and the "People's Pope." Therefore, just because a group has a charismatic leader does not necessarily raise a red flag.

In the Neocatechumenal Way, members are allowed to ask questions to their catechists.  There were many times I have called my catechists to ask questions or have some things clarified that I was not able to understand. As for the use of authority, one of the clearest signs that leaders are overstepping their proper sphere of authority is when they articulate certain ethical guidelines that everyone must follow except for the leaders themselves.  This is not so in the Way.  The leaders of the Way have walked in the shoes of members who have gone through the catechesis, First Scrutiny, Shema, Second Scrutiny, etc.   So, all the things that Chuck White listed showing that the Way is a cult is false. 

He also accused the Neocatechumenal Way of being preoccupied with bringing in new members?  Where is his evidence showing this???  The Way sends out invitations for catechesis only ONCE A YEAR!  Perhaps, Mr. White meant evangelization??  If that is the case, then again, Mr. White is going to have to also call the Catholic Church a cult because the main goal of the Catholic Church is to make disciples of all the nations.  What does "make disciples of all the nation" mean?  It means to be preoccupied with bringing in new members into the Catholic Church.  All the things Chuck White listed showing that the Way is a cult is false. 


  1. I am a very critical man, many times I judge. I know this is one of my biggest sins, anyway the Lord loves me in this reality too.
    And I did the same thing with the Neocatechumenal Way; after few months I was walking, I began to ask myself if this charisma was really a fruit of the Second Vatican Council. Something that has always confirmed that this Way comes from the Holy Spirit, it is the communion between the Initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way and Peter (the Pope), meaning the Catholic Church. This helped me in my journey to experience the authenticity of this Way.
    But after years walking, if anyone would tell me that God, Jesus Christ is not acting in the Neocatechumenal Way. I would not believe him. And I would tell him simply why without any sermon or religious phrases. Because I was a slave of drugs, alcohol, money...etc. When I say slave I meant it, I tried with all my efforts to get out and I couldn't, for years. My life was miserable. Through this Christian Initiation, I went back to the Catholic Church, I discovered the power of the baptism I received, I rediscovered the Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins; my eyes were opened to the power of the sacraments. Through the sacraments lived in a small community I was freed from my slaveries.
    Today I can say that God himself through facts told me that the Holy Spirit is present in the Neocatechumenal Way.
    Now is this the only reality or way n the Church? Absolutely not, and thanks be to God is not the only one. So many people need to be saved in this world.
    But I have to say that the Neocatechumenal Way is an authentic Christian Initiation within the Catholic Church.

  2. Diana, This is very humorous and enlightening. Isn't there a "people’s priest' award as well?

  3. Of course the NCW is an authentic Christian initiation within the Catholic Church, under it's statutes. This does not mean it is ok to force itself upon the entire community (not NCW community) through taking over leadership of the church through using the Arch to eliminate others outside the NCW.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 3:48 a.m.,

      We did not take over the Church. We are part of the Church. And the Archbishop also removed a "neo-priest" (Father John) so you cannot say that he is eliminating only those outside the NCW. You can no longer play the "favoritism" card.

    2. Dear Anonymous at 3:48 AM
      St John Paul said this as reigning pope:
      "I wish, therefore, that my Brothers in the Episcopate may value and help – together with their presbyters- this work for the new evangelisation so that it may be realised according to the guidelines proposed by its initiators..."
      I hope you don't have a problem with your Archbishop obeying that...
      As for the "eliminations", those are shaky allegations in the media. Neither Gofigan nor Benavente's removal has been proven to have to do anything with the NCW. Oh, Rohr has been shouting that? He stated it in several places, but hasn't proven anything. I read his entire book about Gofigan. There is no proof it was a NCW issue. We know that's what he thinks, but there is a difference between an opinion and a proof, even if that opinion is shared by many people.
      As for those who were seeking incardination? Where is it written that an Ordinary can't choose whom he wants to incardinate? Obviously, he will try to pick ones that he can work with... like any old bishop in any diocese.

  4. The Pope will be the first person to admit he is just a man. Just like all of us. He has sins. And so does our prophet Kiko. He is just a man and has sinned before but we recognize that and embrace The Way just as regular Catholics embrace the Pope. Two men. Both sinners. The only difference is Kiko goes out across the world to evangelize and bring back our lost Catholics while the Pope mainly stays put in the well-guarded Vatican fortress where people don't feel welcome and have to be approved for an "audience." So you tell me - who is more interested in the spiritual well being of our lost sheep?

    1. Dear Anonymous at 7:22 a.m.,

      I am going to correct you in a few things. Please do not take this as criticism, but a correction from a sister.

      First of all, Kiko is NOT a Prophet. Jesus was the last prophet, and there is no other prophet that came after Him nor will there ever be a prophet to come after Him.

      And finally, the Pope does not mainly stay put in a well-guarded Vatican fortress. The Pope also goes out to evangelize. That is also his duty as Pope. In fact, St. John Paul II traveled to more places than any other Popes before him. As a result of his many travels to Asia and Africa, we see a rise in Catholicism in those continents. Both Kiko and the Pope are very interested in the spiritual being of all of us including the lost sheep. All the past popes I have known have been in dialogue with other religious leaders to bring them closer to Jesus Christ.

  5. I think that to say that the Pope is less than Kiko (or whatever anonymous was trying to say) is unfair.
    It is true that Kiko has an enormous zeal for the lost sheep.
    The Pope has it too. First of all before he became Pope he underwent many persecution, he was also persecuted by the Jesuits (the Pope is a Jesuit). But he has always obeyed his superiors. Secondly he was known in Argentina for his pastoral actions, very close to the people in the streets. Moreover, this past winter the Pope would get out from the Vatican in secret during the night. People in Rome have seen him all dressed in black helping homeless and visiting sick people. As a Pope during the day he has to follow procedures, a lots of meeting. Literally, he does not control his life anymore.

  6. Oh, Diana, I think you're wrong. There are prophets after Jesus! Haven't you read the Bible? Read the New Testament and you'll find interesting things.
    As for Kiko, yes he is a prophet. The Pope too. Even you Diana, if you have been baptized, you were "anointed priest, prophet and king."
    Every Christian should be a prophet. The problem is that some Christians fulfill the mandate of this anointing, others don't.
    I think the NCW helps a lot of people to become the prophets that they were anointed to be at their baptism. I think bishops should help the NCW to do this work in their diocese, as they were told by St John Paul. That leaves us with one more thing: I think those angry voices on Jungle and the media in general need to be weighed against that mandate of St John Paul and all that the different popes and the Holy See have said. It is not biased, it is simply Catholic, to take into consideration and to give it greater weight what the popes and the Holy See say.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 12:57 am,

      I go by the teachings and doctrines of the Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

      CCC 523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.........

      As you can see, the Catechism states that St. John the Baptist was the last prophet. He was actually the last of the Old Testament prophets. Jesus is also a prophet, but there will no longer be any individual prophets to come after him because Christ is the fulfillment of the all the Laws and Prophets.

      Jesus is a king, priest, and prophet. The Church is also a king, priest, and prophet. But there are no individual prophets after Christ. Kiko is not a prophet and neither am I. Christ is the Son of God, the Word of God, and the fulfillment of all the Laws and Prophets. Why would God send another prophet after him, when no one man is greater than His Son?

      The members of the Church are messengers rather than prophets. Through our baptism, we are to go out and evangelize and bring all people to Christ.

    2. You yourself said that #523 of the catechism refers to OT prophets of which JB is the last. I agree with the catechism, and I agree, together with you, that it refers to the Old Testament. But then we have the New Testament also. You wouldn't want to tear out the pages of your Bible where St Paul speaks about prophets, would you?
      Check out Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. Also the rite of Baptism is clear about Christians being prophets.
      I still stand by my earlier statement.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 8:38 a.m.

      Ok. I stand corrected. As a Church, we are a prophet, king, and priest. However, I would never go around saying I am a prophet or that Kiko is a prophet. It can cause confusion because the Mormons said Joseph Smith is their prophet and the Muslims claimed that Mohammed was the last prophet. St. John the Baptism was the last prophet of the Old Testament. To avoid confusion, don't you think it would better to say that through the Church we are all prophets, priests and kings rather than singling out one person?