Pope Francis has praised the zeal of the Neocatechumenal Way, but has told the movement it should not impose its Spanish-Italian model of the Church on other cultures, or insist on practices that are frowned upon by local bishops.
- The Tablet
'I thank the Lord for the joy of your faith and for the ardour of your Christian witness,' the Pope told some 10,000 'Neo-Cat' members on February 1.
But he then gave them 'a few simple recommendations' before blessing 1,500 of them – priests, families, seminarians and religious sisters – who are to begin a missio ad gentes in 40 places around the world.
'The freedom of the individual must not be forced, and you must respect even the eventual choice of those who should decide to look, outside of the Way, for other forms of Christian life,' the Pope said.
It was a reference to the pressures that the Neo-Cats reportedly put on members who try to leave the movement and, what Francis called, its 'long and demanding' itinerary. 'In these cases, the exercise of patience and mercy is a sign of maturity in the faith,' he said.
He urged them to also 'have the utmost care to build and to preserve the communion within the particular Churches in which you will work.'
The Pope reminded the Neo-Cats that in the far-flung places where they travel to evangelise – even in lands not traditionally Christian – they must realise that God and the Holy Spirit have already preceded them.
FULL STORY Pope to Neo-Cats: respect local cultures and churches (The Tablet)