Thursday, May 01, 2008

Japanese Bishops' Second Visit over Neocatechumenal Way

~from UCAN
In an extraordinary move, the Japanese Bishops' Conference sent a delegation last week to discuss with Pope Benedict XVI "the serious problem" they are having with the Neocatechumenal Way and its seminary in Takamatsu diocese.

The four prelates went to the Vatican to seek the pope's understanding and intervention to help resolve the situation.

It was the third time Japanese bishops visited and brought up the matter in five months. "We hate to come so often but we had to given the serious nature of the problem that needs to be resolved", Archbishop Okada of Tokyo, president of the bishops' conference, told UCA News in Rome.

During their ad limina visits in December, they raised their concerns not only with the pope but also with officials at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias heads the congregation.

A delegation of Japanese bishops returned in early April 2008 and discussed the matter a second time with congregation officials, who they sensed were somewhat supportive of the Neocatechumenal movement, Archbishop Okada recalled.

They then decided to speak again with Pope Benedict. Archbishop Okada, when he addressed the pope on behalf of the bishops on Dec. 15, had said:

"Another matter would be The Neocatechumenal Way (the Way) and the International Takamatsu Diocesan Seminary known as Redemptoris Mater. We have here a serious problem. In the small Catholic Church of Japan, the powerful sect-like activity of Way members is divisive and confrontational. It has caused sharp painful division and strife within the Church. We are struggling with all our strength to overcome the problem but feel that if a solution is to be found, the consideration of Your Holiness for the Church in Japan will be of the utmost importance and direly needed."

The Neocatechumenal Way, founded in Spain in 1964, today claims around 20,000 communities with 1 million members in 105 countries.

The Takamatsu seminary is one of the movement's 73 missionary seminaries worldwide, all called Redemptoris Mater and each under a diocesan bishop. The six in Asia are in Hong Kong, India, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Bishop Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe of Takamatsu has confirmed he also spoke about the problem in his diocese during his private ad limina audience with Pope Benedict.
Hmmmmmm.....Chris Gillibrand has been chronicling this movement.

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