Thursday, May 14, 2015


Kiko Arguello has written a book entitled Kerygma, which clears up many of the misconceptions of the Way.  Below is a review of one person who had read the book. 


The Way's founder, Kiko Arguello, has written a book that is dramatic, intense, and deeply personal.
I have just finished reading The Kerygma, by Kiko Arguello, published by Ignatius and distributed in the UK by Gracewing. For those who haven’t heard of this author, he is the founder, along with Carmel Hernandez, of the Neocatechumenal Way, one of the largest of the new movements in the Church. I am very glad I have read Kiko’s book as it has cleared up some misconceptions I had about the Way, as it is often referred to: that it operates within the Church like a cult and is divisive within the parish setting. Rather, what the Way offers is a wholehearted commitment to the Gospels. Indeed, the word “Kerygma”, chosen as the title of the book, means to announce the Good News of Christ – in a manner that keeps it permanently alive in the lives and hearts of its members.

Kiko Arguello was a young, successful Spanish artist in Spain in the early 1960s who had lapsed from his childhood faith but who was desperate to find a spiritual meaning to life. He writes, “I couldn’t be indifferent as to whether God exists or not, it was a matter of life and death.” He briefly flirted with Marxism; disillusioned by its lack of a spiritual vision he did what traditionally the saints have often done: he decided to live in a notorious shantytown, a “descent into hell”, where he daily experienced the seemingly intractable problems of the poor: violence, alcoholism, disease and despair. He took with him his guitar and a Bible and slept on a mattress on the dirt floor of a shack. The question that consumed him was: how did the early apostles spread the Gospels? How could he preach effectively to people living in such degradation?

A meeting with Carmen, a lay missionary who was also drawn to living among the poor led to the founding of the Way. They based it on three things: the word of God, the Eucharist and the Christian community. They both felt that the usual parish structure that had developed over centuries was not adequate as a “school for Christians” – especially the outcasts, gypsies, tramps and slum dwellers who did not fit into normal society.

They realised you cannot evangelise others without personal conversion. This required proper formation in the faith as well as ongoing catechesis, regular prayer, study and Bible reading. The idea of the “Christian community” was born. Its purpose: the evangelisation of those far from the Church, modern secular men and women whom the parish structure could not reach. Members of the Way recognise the need to form Christian communities of love, for it is only through love that others will be drawn to the listen to the “Kerygma” and be transformed by it.

 Kiko’s book is not a detailed, chronological history of this new movement; he doesn’t include a description of its development around the world or its numbers, though he does mention casually that 300,000 young members attended the World Youth Day in Madrid and that the Way is – amazingly – preparing to send thousands of priests to China. His writing is dramatic, intense, deeply personal and poured out from the heart; the story of how one man allowed the Holy Spirit to work within him and thus do extraordinary things. I do recommend it.

One of the key aspects of the Way is members’ sense of mission. Being a Christian, they believe, is never a matter of private, weekly devotion; it is always outgoing, evangelical and bound up with renewal and conversion. Only at the end of the book did I get a glimpse of the problems such a vivid and total form of Christian discipleship might pose in your average parish. Kiko comments, that “We have been persecuted and expelled from many parishes. Sometimes the Way is misunderstood and confused with a sect”. He doesn’t explain this further.

Having read the book I was curious to find out from an actual member of the Neocatchumenal Way how it impacts on one’s life. Elizabeth Flynn is a longstanding member of a London community. She tells me that as a young adult Catholic she spent some years among Evangelicals, drawn to their warmth and fellowship. She was attracted to their uninhibited way of talking about a personal relationship with Jesus and their enthusiasm for conversion. But she knew they lacked authority and eventually she joined Crux, a small Catholic study-group. But it still “wasn’t quite what I was looking for”. Finally she went along to a community of the Way that was meeting in the parish of St Charles Borromeo. “From the very first evening I knew I was in the right place” she tells me. That was in 1993.

At every session she attended she heard something new “that drew me further on.” She emphasises that they are clear about Church authority and completely obedient to the Church’s magisterial teaching. “The way they preach makes the Bible come alive” she feels, and that she has come to a much closer knowledge and love of God through the Scriptures, as a result of membership.
Elizabeth believes that joining the Neocatechumenal Way has changed her life in every way. “Life is full and rich and even suffering makes sense” she says. She also has “a much deeper relationship with God than I could ever have imagined possible.” She adds that she is much more confident about “putting my head above the parapet and letting people know I’m a Christian.” She thinks the kind of Christian formation and support she receives simply isn’t available in the wider parish. She tells me the Way is also largely successful in keeping teenagers and young people within the Faith. It encourages large families because “the teaching is uncompromisingly open to life.” There are many vocations and thus a hugely expanding number of seminaries worldwide.

I ask her the question about what seems to be the source of much discontent: why do they celebrate their own liturgy? Elizabeth says that they participate in the parish liturgy but also have their own mid-week liturgy, so that members of the community who have undergone catechesis together can deepen their bonds with each other in their continuing journey of faith. It gives them “the opportunity to share, after the Bible readings, what God is saying to them through his Word. This needs to be done within the enclosed group so that privacy can be maintained.”

She is clear that they do not want to be a special group within the parish and that they try to blend in. She sums it up: “We’re Catholics living the faith, radically, in the parish.” It strikes me that this might be enough to make other parishioners, who are less zealous or committed, feel challenged and disturbed. But I also have the uncomfortable feeling that this is actually what God demands of all of us. After all, wasn’t Jesus radical? And aren’t his teachings still radical and uncompromising today – for those who have ears to hear?


  1. RE: "Kiko comments, that “We have been persecuted and expelled from many parishes. Sometimes the Way is misunderstood and confused with a sect”. He doesn’t explain this further."

    Correction is a lot different than persecution. Accepting correction requires humility; accepting persecution looks heroic.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 2:25 pm,

      Since when has "being expelled from many parishes" viewed as correction???

    2. Anonymous May 14, 2015 at 2:25 PM

      Correction is a lot different than persecution.

      a very simplistic argument. There are many who look at the "empty" tomb and do not realize that their hearts are just as empty.

      there are others who have a boulder in-between God and their hearts. Only through the grace can this boulder be moved. You may have mountain

      You also say correction requires humility which implies you already walk on water

      and end with accepting persecution looks heroic......what???

      It takes courage that does not come from ourselves.

    3. Early Christian were expelled from the Synagogues by the Jewish rabbis in the 70-ties after Christ. This was a big trauma and ordeal the followers of Jesus had to face. It was also the breaking of koinonia with the Jewish brethren forever, who were shouting with pushing them out to leave their communities. The Jews did this by the instruction of their high priest, It was the end of peaceful coexistence between the followers of Moses and the early followers of Christ.

      "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the communion, to the breaking of bread and to prayer...All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people." (Acts 2:42-47)

  2. (cont.)

    3. "There were just 3 female rabbis present, and when they were introduced they were announced with the title of Doctor or Professor. These women, along with myself and many other male rabbis, did everything we could to have this oversight redressed, but we could not overcome the cloak of invisibility placed over our women colleagues. It was shocking, and made me realize the degree to which I live in a feminist “bubble”, and the huge swaths of society in which patriarchy and entrenched sexism still rule."

    Entrenched sexism...?! Is true, again I am just taken aback. We are living in the 21st century, not in the Middle Ages as some folks try to make us believe.

    4. "We Jews, obviously, don’t feel so ennobled by murderous oppression. When we remember the martyrdom of Rabbi Akiva on Yom Kippur, it is with anguish as well as praise. And for me and many other Jews, our response to the Holocaust is the need for the State of Israel, a clear statement that we would rather defend our lives than be suffering victims. It was challenging not to feel offended."

    Clear talk! There is nothing ennobling in murderous oppression. If a Jewish rabbi was needed to say this, then perhaps it should be taken to heart. So Diana, how do you like the Jewish view point of the meeting in the Domus Galilaeae?

    1. In case the first part was lost, I submit it again.

      Rabbi Jonathan Kligler gave an account of the meeting with Kiko in the Domus Galilaeae.

      He mentions four gaps that separated the audience of Jewish rabbis from the Neo Catechumenal leaders.

      1. "One gap was not religious but cultural. The vast majority of the Catholics were Spanish or Italian, and I came to understand that nothing started remotely on time, ending times were none too firm either, and dinner was often after 9pm."

      Oops, looks like taking other people's time lightly as Southern Europeans seem to do is not truly appreciated by the rabbis.

      2. "The Neocatechumenal Way is a conservative evangelical movement within the Catholic Church. That means they are firmly rooted in conservative ideology, familiar to us from the Protestant Evangelicals in our own country. Their view of the world is binary: you are either living a godly life or you are on the path of destruction. Secularism is irredeemable and the source of evil. In our small groups we shared our faith stories, and each Catholic described being headed toward a dissolute, immoral path until God saved them. They are completely opposed to anything other than heterosexual marriage, in which the wife is subservient to the husband. And, of course, there is only one true God, and one Truth. As it happens, they are eager to expand their sense of the one truth to include the Jews, since we are their forebears and “older brothers”. But other faiths, especially Islam, are outside the fold. This may resonate with some of the more Orthodox rabbis who were present at the gathering, but most of the American rabbis who were there adhere to the American ethos of tolerance and pluralism, and moderate or outright reject any claims we have to being the one true path. I understood that in this regard we were speaking past one another, but I did my best to articulate the possibility that God, in God’s great love of diversity, might have created more than one true way to know God."

      Well, these observations, if true, completely demolish my respect for Kiko Arguello and his friends. I do not like Protestand Evangelicals either. God gave us freedom and not slavery, pluralism and not forced unity, meaningful, discerning faith and not bigotry.

      Please, read the second part of this information right above this post.

    2. Dear Anonymous at 10:38 pm,

      First of all, I am a Catholic female and therefore not allowed to be a priest. I am not complaining about it because I understand that God created man and woman different. Being different does not mean we are not equal. It simply means just that....different. God created man and woman different and gave each different roles. God created man and woman different and equal as human beings. That is not being sexist. Today's society, on the other hand, is trying to fool the woman in getting rid of her sexuality and turn her into a man.

      You stated: "And for me and many other Jews, our response to the Holocaust is the need for the State of Israel, a clear statement that we would rather defend our lives than be suffering victims. It was challenging not to feel offended."

      What made you think that you were the one who got the State of Israel??????? It was because you suffered that you got the State of Israel.

      Did you not remember that God heard the cry of His chosen people when they were enslaved in Egypt? He heard and rescued them. Do you think that He did not hear the cry of those who died in the Holocaust? He heard, and you have your state of Israel.

      You did not get the State of Israel by your own power just as you did not get the land of Canaan on your own. The Jews defeated seven nations and got the land of Canaan. The Jews also fought against seven Arab nations in 1948 without the help of the United Nations and the U.S., so do not think that the Jews did this on their own through their own self-defense. You cannot do anything so victorious on your own without God. God had always been with you. We believe in a merciful and loving God who taught us to love and forgive the enemy. Forgiving the enemy is not for them, but for us. If we do not forgive the enemy, then the enemy has hold over us. If we forgive, God is with us and will also forgive our sins. Our persecutors are not the only sinners.

      The God whom we both worship says this:

      “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
      Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
      Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
      Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
      Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
      Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

    3. "The God whom we both worship says this: "

      Actually Jesus says this, and the Jews reject Jesus

    4. Dear Anonymous at 9:48 pm,

      Jesus is God and Jesus was a Jew. The only Jews who rejected Jesus were the Jews of the first century. The Jews today are still waiting for the Messiah. It is up to Christians to dialogue with the Jews today, and through that dialogue allow them to recognize Jesus as their long awaited Messiah. Only God would be able to do that.

    5. "The only Jews who rejected Jesus were the Jews of the first century."

      Diana, are you inventing history now? Jews have always rejected Jesus and rejected the very concept of Son of God and Son of Man by religious reason. Joshua ben Pantera has never had and will never have any divine character for them. You have to understand this, because their religion has different character from ours. The same way as Muslims have a different character to their religion, as well. Abraham and Mohammad are very important persons for the Jews of Muslims, right in the center of their faith. However, for us Christians the center of faith is Jesus.

      As rabbi Jonathan Kligler says, Jews don't need lectures from Evangelical Christians of Catholics for that matter about who to look for in the Messiah. It is well known that they do not recognize Jesus as Messiah because he is not a Messiah for them. The Jewish Messiah is a victorious military commander and earthly king as well, who will restore the glory of the Kingdom of Israel and makes its people prosperous fort eternity. Jesus simply does not fit this role.

      Jews have female religious teachers as well. Feminism and a feminine character in God Almighty is also an important feature for them, especially for Jews living in New York. They highly value diversity even in religious views about the Bible. They reject any imposition of uniformity. They also dislike unification movements inside Judaism, because being a Jew is cannot define a person. Therefore they are not interested in Christian views either about how they as Jews "should be". So what do you think the purpose of your dialogue with the rabbis should be?

    6. Dear Anonymous at 8:29 am,

      You stated: "Jews have always rejected Jesus and rejected the very concept of Son of God and Son of Man by religious reason."

      Really??? Then how do you explain the Messianic Jews??? How do you explain St. Edith Stein who was born into a Jewish family and later converted to Catholicism?

      Rabbi Jonathan Kligler is a liberal Jew similar to the liberal Catholics who are also in favor of female priests in the Catholic Church.

    7. Diana, I am talking about the majority, the mainstream Jews. Nobody says there are no Messianic Jews or Jews converted to Christianity. They are and always have been a certain percentage of the Jewish born population. Messianic Jews are a minor group in a diverse religiously body. The same time, religiously speaking, a Jew stops being a Jew as soon as converting to Christianity.

      Rabbi Jonathan Kligler is the voice of the majority of Jews living in the United States. You find here Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism, each of them with many variants and diversity inside. There is no central magisterium or papal authority inside Judaism either. The reason is that Jews dislike uniformity. They reject the idea of a uniform religious system dictated on them by a central authority where everyone must be and should think exactly like others.

      It is legitimate to have female preachers in Judaism, unlike in the Catholic Church. There are many other differences. Rabbis of every Jewish direction have families and kids. It does not mean they are all liberals. Religions are different and we are talking about variations in religious view and practices. Is anything wrong with that in your opinion?

      Jews in the United States, especially in the New York area have had a long historical process of finding their voices, each autonomous direction inside Judaism its own. When you treat them as a homogeneous group, you do a blatant disservice for them. Jews are very proud of their achievements in carving out their particular positions and religious views inside the complex systems of Judaism. Many of them do not intend to relocate to Israel either which they view as a state for the Orthodox Jews.

      When you perceive the minority messianic group as a foothold of Christian position inside the body of Judaism that "will be expanded as more and more Jews accept Jesus", then you show a misunderstanding of the historical developments in Judaism. Messianic Jews have been present since the time of John the Baptist. Their numbers are pretty much the same percentage inside the Jewish population, there is no dramatic increase or decrease. They are a proud minority view inside a diverse religious heterodoxy. A deeper understanding of this might help you to set your goals correctly in your dialogue with the rabbis of the Holy Land.

    8. Dear Anonymous at 1:33 pm,

      Apparently, you have not been keeping up with the statistics on religion lately. The number of Jews in the United States is decreasing. The number of Messianic Jews are increasing. See the weblink below:

    9. You mean this?

      "two-thirds of Jews (62%) say that being Jewish is mainly a matter of ancestry and culture. Even religious Jews mostly do not believe that it is necessary to believe in God to be Jewish."

      Our "elder brothers", huh? Or our "fathers in faith"?

    10. Dear Anonymous at 10:01 pm,

      No, I meant this:

      Jews who are Christian now are one of the major components of the U.S. Jewish population. 1.7 million adult Jews identify themselves as Christians.

      And this:

      Most of the Jews who identify themselves as some sort of Christian (1.6 million) were raised as Jews or are Jews by ancestry. Another 100,000 come from mixed ancestral background.

      Anonymous, you have stated in your previous comment: " Jews have always rejected Jesus and rejected the very concept of Son of God and Son of Man by religious reason."

      This is clearly false. Your anti-Semitic comments will no longer be published.

  3. RE:Anonymous at 2:25 pm,

    *Since when has "being expelled from many parishes" viewed as correction???*

    Perhaps, those priests and bishops were protecting their parishes from error. For the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in 883 *The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter*s successor, as its head.* As such, this college has *supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised WITHOUT THE AGREEMENT of the Roman Pontiff.*
    If bishops and priests have expelled the NCW from their parishes, reasons must have been very serious. They must have believed that there were issues not in union with the Roman Pontiff.

    From all the arguments that have been presented on your blog, there is more reason to believe that the NCW Mass with all its alterations has NOT been in union with the Popes instructions. Telling someone that we have been given oral permission, or go to see the Pope if you do not believe us, or to say the permission is in the Statutes of 2008 (but refuse to say WHERE in the Statutes) is not proof that the NCW Mass is celebrated licitly. If the Bishops promoting the NCW are not united with the Roman Pontiff in the matter of the NCW Mass, then, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it looks like those Bishops have no authority to promote the NCW Mass. (Note, I am not saying that they cannot commend and encourage the NCW for the good that they do - even the Popes do this.)

    Seeing that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith, and because the initiators of the NCW Mass are insistent that they are right and do not want to summit to the correction the Pope has given, being expelled from certain parishes is understandable. The Mass belongs to Christ.


    1. Dear Anonymous at 10:53 pm,

      They were expelled because of persecution. The Church in Yona never had an RMS priest, but they made a petition not to have an RMS priest in their parish. When a person is not welcome or kicked out, that is persecution. It is not correction. There is no error to protect. As you already know, Pope Francis gave the NCW his strongest support in March 6th.

  4. so many anonymous writing on the issue of the gathering of Jews and Christians at Domus Galilaeae.

    The differences of preaching...religion... between the Paul and the other Apostles were nothing....NOTHING.

    They were in spiritual communion with Jesus Christ that enabled them to build his Church that exist...still growing today.

    and please don't say that the "people" of Yona do not want the NCW.

    It is more truthful to say that the few people who think they own the Church in Yona do not want the NCW.


    1. Dear JSB,

      Thank you for pointing out my error. You are correct. It was not the people of Yona who signed the petition.....only the few people who think they own the Church that Christ built.

  5. As you already know, Pope Francis gave the NCW his strongest support in March 6th.

    This is true; however, I still do not believe he gave any support or permission to the questionable practices that the NCW has introduced into their Mass. Sorry, I wish I could justify these alterations to what otherwise I believe is a very good group of people..

    1. Dear Anonymous at 8;08 am,

      The fact that Pope Francis ceased all investigations into the Way and gave the NCW his strongest support is already evidence that the NCW is not practicing any illicit Mass.

  6. Hi Diana, I am curious, is Kiko still living in slum or poor conditions?

  7. AnonymousMay 18, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    Hi Diana, I am curious, is Kiko still living in slum or poor conditions?

    This question can only be asked by individuals who have experienced living in the slums and answered by people who had experienced living with the poorest of the poor.

    The person asking this question who I believe had never experienced living in extreme and total poverty is not to acknowledge the Spiritual growth of a man living....suffering the actual experiences but to nullify to render void the power of God.

    Anonymous May 18, 2015 at 10:44 AM is a hypocrite


    1. JSB, how can you possibly know this?

    2. JSB, it was a simple question out of curiosity, why the overreaction? If he is no longer living in poverty but complete wealth, that does not bother me. I also do not understand why only people who have experienced poverty can ask and answer the question. I did not ask how it feels to live in poverty - I asked whether Kiko is still living in poverty. I hope you can better expand as to what you meant by your post above.

    3. Kiko lives in an apartment that was provided by the Pope.

    4. "Kiko lives in an apartment that was provided by the Pope"

      Please provide some evidence for this statement

    5. As Diane usually say, write the pope & ask him.

    6. AnonymousMay 19, 2015 at 4:13 PM

      JSB, it was a simple question out of curiosity, why the overreaction?

      Your question as I perceived and validated by your 4:13 comments was not asked to understand what motivated a man to live in the slums with the poor. How he found Christ and was forever changed by the experience.

      Why ask the question at all if in you stated; If he is no longer living in poverty but complete wealth, that does not bother me.

      It is apparent and clearly evident that it does bother you.

      You also stated; I did not ask how it feels to live in poverty.

      Imagine following behind a leaky sewage or dripping trash truck all day. Anyone will be repulsed by this but this is how the man lived in the slums. This is where he found Christ.

      You want to better understand?? Lots of slums in the world to find what Kiko found. Wanna try??