2006-10-24 12:52:00

Moscow Patriarchate dispels rumors of agreement with Neo-Catechumenate on evangelization training of Orthodox priests

Moscow, October 24, Rev. Igor Vyzhanov, Moscow Patriarchate DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations, has dispelled the reports that the Moscow Patriarchate and the Catholic Neo-Catechumenate movement concluded an agreement on training Orthodox clergy.

The Moscow Patriarchate website circulated yesterday a statement made by the Neo-Catechumenate leader, Kiko Arguello, in an interview to the Zenit Catholic news agency that during the meeting between the movement leaders and the DECR chairman, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, on October 19 an agreement was concluded whereby Neo-Catechumenate was to train Russian Orthodox clergy for evangelization methods.

‘No final agreement was concluded at the meeting. We treated their proposals with great caution. Neo-Catechumenate, to my mind, is a very contradictory organization’, Father Igor said in an interview to Interfax.

He also stressed that the position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the results of this meeting was officially state in the DECR communication press release of October 19, in which it was reported among other things that His Eminence Kirill in his talk with Neo-Catechumenate leaders ‘pointed to the need for a closer look at each other’s spiritual traditions, first of all, to see if the ideas of today’s religious movements correspond to the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church’.

‘Naturally we have made no advances to Neo-Catechumenate’, the Moscow Patriarchate representative added.

However, Kiko Arguello in his interview to Zenit said that according to the agreement allegedly concluded at the meeting with the Moscow Patriarchate delegation, the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church would be taught evangelization principles in two stages: theoretical study and practical training.

‘In Europe, people are abandoning Christ and society is increasingly penetrated by individualism where what is important is the satisfaction of the 'ego,' the delight of our 'I.' Few people come to church, that is why God is preparing a new evangelization. And the Russian Orthodox Church knows that there must be a different way of catechizing’, the leader of the movement said with confidence.

The Neo-Catechumenate Catholic movement was founded by its present leaders, Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez in 1964. The principal task of the organization was declared as catechization of already baptized but not properly inchurched adults and bringing them to church life.

Neo-Catechumenate is sometimes called a charismatic movement in Catholicism. It is disliked by some clergy and laity in the Roman Catholic Church for its insularity and excessively expressive methods of catechism.