Saturday, August 27, 2016

La Comunidad, the one true Church refashioned in the image of Kiko Arguello





In Part 1, we talked about how Kiko’s vision of the Church reduces the Incarnation of the God-Man to the means to creating a community only. In Part 2, we saw what this means for the Church as a whole and how the entirety of the Catholic Tradition would be (and should be, he says) destroyed for the sake of some “new pastoral” needed because of the complete failure of Christianity thus far (except the early Church, of course).


So now we turn to Part 3 to see exactly what holds NCW-catechized Catholics in its jaws.

THE CHARISM AND THE REALITY

The great thing about the NCW (no, really) is that its founding purpose is a very good one, and one we can all agree on. It is a post-baptismal itinerary for those who are baptized but not catechized, or to put it perhaps closer to home, those who are really just cultural Catholics but have virtually no knowledge of the Faith. The NCW charism—the express purpose for existing—is to announce the kerygma, the Good News of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord, and beyond that, to teach the Catholic faith in a way suitable for the baptized-but-that's-it in their uncatechized state.

That’s an amazing charism that brings evangelism to life in its most dynamic, readily understood aspect: to take others so-close-yet-so-far from the Church and bring them into the fullness of Faith and its parish life and responsibility.

But I dare say that most of the time, this isn’t what happens. Over and over, we hear of profound issues of integration into the universal Church because of a breakdown in the catechesis throughout its run (here's a fine example).


The NCW and its spokesmen see any criticism, any doubts, in fact any concern at all about them, as a reaction not against them, their abuses, or their failures to integrate others into the Church. They see all criticism or concern as a criticism of any announcement of the kerygma and therefore of Christ Himself.

We aren’t saying that at all, of course, about them or the kerygma. We are saying that there’s a huge problem in their catechesis and a total disconnect between their charism and how they do it.

But it falls on deaf ears, again and again and again and again…

They cannot see the difference between the announcing of the Gospel and the teaching of the Gospel in accordance with the Tradition. Like all who try to “fundamentalize” the Gospel, they separate the Gospel from the Tradition that guarantees its purity and authenticity, and in doing so conflate the announcement with the Good News itself. To greatly oversimplify it, it’s like confusing a car advertisement with the car itself.


In fact, the real problem here is that they genuinely believe—from Kiko Arguello himself on down—that because they announce the Good News, then they are 100% fulfilling their charism. Never mind that they have fallen far from their mission’s purpose; that original purpose has been subsumed into a belief in their purified, parallel Church that is beyond those of us too Pharisaic or Philistine to see its superiority.

So sure are they about their purity as evangelizers that they cannot fathom that they are in need of reform themselves. No, they say, they are beset on all sides by evil men; they have no need of reform or renewal—they are the WAY.

And what of those who are catechized by them? They have become indoctrinated with bad theology, even false, heretical teaching, including their seminarians and “presbyters.” In a very real way, it’s not the fault of the catechized. They do not know better because they were catechized by those who were “sent” by some bishop (or those who just showed up without the expressed disapproval of the local bishop), so anyone would assume that such a teaching is authentic, valid.
After that, it’s a small step to start thinking that those who don’t approve of the NCW’s work don’t approve of these catechumen, as if they aren't good enough for us, or worse, that they are presecuted. That creates this false dichotomy within the Church: an us vs them mentality, justified by Christ (according to their interpretation) within His own body the Church (think Matt 10:34-36 as one justification that when taken out of context and applied fundamentalistically, then being wrong suddenly feels right).

[In my opinion, this has been quite consciously exploited by Kiko and this cadre of catechists for the benefit of the NCW and the financial benefit of all of them. More on this in Part 5 when we talk about bishops--for now, see Chuck's piece here.] 

 This explains of course the emphasis on resisting the lack of faith and love of those who are “outsiders,” as we might translate los de afuera, or better yet: the Others. This lack of faith and love (of you the reader as well as me) comes because we aren’t catechized, nor do we know the Catholic faith. Our hearts are too hard, our minds too dim, as our pride and lust and greed overwhelms everything in us in our childish, half-pagan faith.

THE COLLAPSE OF MYSTERY INTO SECRET

As we’ve already said in Part One, all of this self-pitying catechetical decadence flows from Kiko’s comunidad. If “God sent Jesus Christ” to create the community of believers (notice Kiko almost never says, “The Father sent the Son”), then community is the end-game, plain and simple. And THAT reduces mystery to secret.

Here’s what we mean:
In the early Church with its completely pagan surrounding environment (especially in non-Jewish areas like Rome or Egypt), when a person converted, they were gradually introduced to the mysteries of Christianity; they weren’t given full access to all knowledge right away. This process of introduction was needed to help prepare those for whom the Cross was previously seen as either a scandal or foolishness.  It was the preparation to receive the full teaching of the Church (in Greek, didache).


But once Christianity became legalized and then the religion of the Roman Empire (and given free rein to evangelize the peoples of the known world), such pagan worldviews were left behind. Such initiations were gradually left behind as unnecessary (Kiko has a fascinatingly wrong view of Church history that we might flesh out in detail one of these days. Chuck has some good stuff on it here).
If Kiko’s assertion then that the scaffolding must be dispensed with once the building is erected, then if anything, the early Church model (as he understands it) must be let go for the sake of the great structure that is the Church that stands in its place. But that would require consistency, and like any other cult leader, he's not about to let consistency or intellectual honesty stand in the way of drawing more believers to himself.


In any case, with the NCW asserting the need to return to the early Church (again, as they define that to be) and a disregard for the Tradition as a whole, those who are catechized by them see themselves as being introduced to the mysteries of the faith in a new and particular way. In other words, they are special. Such a break creates the sense of knowing a secret, of a Gnosticism of sorts.
After that, this sense of the sacred secret creates a worldview—an entire unwritten theology and spirituality—that develops and asserts that the NCW is better, more faithful, holier. And what flows from and sustains this sacred secret and its worldview: the community, la comunidad, the one true Church refashioned in the image of Kiko.
Have no doubt: those catechized with ecclesiastic approval by the NCW (in other words, places like Guam) truly believe all this stuff. They have a sense that Christ is the God-Man, the Second Person of the Trinity Incarnate, but they don’t quite know what that means. Kiko dumbs it down, and it all boils down into a giant (to quote Elton John) “Can you feel the love tonight?”


Our brethren in Christ don't know that there's so much more to the Church than that. How could they with catechesis like this and a bought-and-sold archbishop and compromised chancery who proclaim it too? And if Abp Hon's soul has been similarly mortgaged, then what else are these newly-faithful Catholics to think?
These catechumen only know this horizontal definition of Church. On Guam, they know about rosaries, the Blessed Mother (but like Protestants, most NCW folks I know insist on calling simply her Mary), about Adoration, about processions, and all that, but they have no interest. That's "old church," the faith of nana bihas and aunties.  Daily Mass seems just as a ritual.
For those of us who attend daily Mass it’s not a ritual, but instead the key to sanctification in our daily lives, the food for daily growth in holiness, our medicine for the damage caused by sin, and our defense against the malice of the evil one.


Not so for the NCW. These poor souls think that such daily devotion, such burning love for the Trinity not for what He has done but for what He is, such an intense personal falling in love with the Lord simply and not just as community, is for us just ritual (again, not all NCW folks, but I’d say the majority). To borrow a phrase, it's like how liars assume everyone else lies, and cynics believe everyone to be corrupt. They simply can't fathom that we have genuine faith, much less The Faith. The Catholic faith that animates all we are and do is incomprehensible to them, and so our faith must therefore be incomprehensible. As far as they're concerned, it's not really faith at all.
For them, community life is everything. It is a life that enforces joy, and shouting instead of singing, and fellowship that excludes all other fellows. Exclusivity of the truth of the Gospel becomes exclusivity of faith.
That's the great irony of Kiko’s puritanism: he bails from fiestas celebrating the Faith in villages and parishes, yet he mandates a fiesta atmosphere in the NCW approach to Christianity (as Apuron once said, communion should be like “a picnic,” which is funny since no one reverences the potato salad).


So all of these things we traditional Catholics do that add to the Faith, these expressions of Faith, these things that makes the Faith precisely not ritualized, are what the NCW rejects. As a result, traditional Catholicism and cultural Catholicism are considered to be the VERY SAME THING!
For them, if I go to daily Mass, pray the Rosary every day, and do my duties well for love of Christ, this is nothing but ritualized, cultural Catholicism. State of grace be damned! They can’t fathom that I get anything out of it, when all I wanted out of it was to sacramentally love and spend time with the Lord.

Thus, the secret that binds: if you don’t have the Tradition to keep  you close to Christ, then you only have the community. Without the community, you have nothing to tie you to Christ. You are lost.   


THE COLLAPSE OF FAITH INTO EMOTION
So once we have this “salvation equals comunidad” model of the Church, then cast off the Tradition, then finally bolster it with the belief that we are being persecuted for Christ, then everything the NCW believes and does takes on a eschatological tone: it is as though they are the select few of Christ in the End Times. Theirs is a salvation born of suffering persecution and testifying to Christ amid that persecution. Theirs is a fiesta atmosphere, for the Eternal party is upon them, the faithful community of Christ.
Never mind that their persecution is imaginary, especially some persecution at the hands of the rest of the Church. I assure you, friends, when real Persecution comes, we will all see the suffering and apostasy for what it is. Just ask those who witness to Christ to ISIS. Having your children crucified in front of your eyes just before you are raped and then decapitated for being a Christian--now THAT's persecution. Their claims of oppression are just part of the conceit by which they are deaf, dumb, and blind.

Such feelings and inward focus are further bolstered from Day One (actually, Day 3) of the initial catechesis, where Kiko emphasizes experiencing faith, experiencing love between each other, and the setting aside of reason as contradictory to faith, hope, and love.
Such a statement alone not only unravels what has ALWAYS been church teaching, it undoes the role of knowledge in faith.  We are called, as Esphesians 3:19 says, to know the love of Christ—not feel it in a warm-and-fuzzy way. That’s the danger of relying on emotions: it makes us believe that there is faith when it might just as easily be passionate music, a rainbow, or a lack of sleep that creates the “feelings” that Kiko calls the experience of faith.
That sort of experience is exactly what Kiko is teaching for—that’s his intent! The catechetical technique itself was formerly laid out by German Protestant theologian and translator Friedrich Schleiermacher, whose teaching direction for young pastors was this: 
 
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU TEACH AS LONG AS YOU CREATE IN YOUR HEARERS THE FEELING OF ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE ON GOD.
In other words, don’t be concerned about true doctrine, faith, morals, whatever. Just use your preaching and teaching to create the feeling in people that they need God, and the feeling that they are worthless without Him, the feeling that that they can’t continue on in sin.
It's true, of course, that we need God and can't do anything without Him and so on, but the point wasn’t to say “You need God!” but rather preach to create the feeling that people need God. In other words, emotional manipulation for the Lord.
Yes, Schleiermacher really taught that, and pretty much in those words.

Ultimately, all of this emotional experience that substitutes for faith makes the experience of death, the experience of division, the experience of obedience—all of it—the substance of the community, la comunidad. If that’s the case, then the role of charity, or love, or agape¸ is one of sentimentality and good will.  That’s nothing more than banishing the Holy Spirit who is Love Itself.

And with this drug of community that arouses, sustains, and then satisfies the emotions, love of God and neighbor is equated to happy feelings of satisfaction and self-fulfillment. It's like a drug that way. Those physical feelings, combined with community-titillated psyches, make the NCW a harder habit to break than heroin.
And judging by how many bishops clearly don’t know Church teaching nor the Holy Spirit, I’m guessing the bishops see this emotional experience as all there is to the spirit-filled life as well. So Kiko isn’t just the bishops’ prophet; he’s their justifier. 

In Parts Four and Five, we see how this hold of the NCW manifests itself in sin and evil: in Part Four, the instilling of sin praised as virtue, and in Part Five, how the bishops promoted the fruits of these evils to justify their own betrayal of Christ. 

Coming soon.

And in preparation for Parts 4&5, we have this little gem: Annibale Cardinal Bugnini, the very-likely-Masonic archbishop who was the architect of the Novus Ordo Mass (Mass of Paul VI, or the Vatican II Mass). I say "very likely" because while the accusations were only rumors, the rumors were never denied, and he was banished from Rome to die in obscurity, which is a rather strange fate for such an important "council father."

Bishops for sale? Why, whatever do you mean?






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