The Neocatechumenal Way is particularly grateful to the Lord and to the Church for having enrolled in the book of saints, on Sunday October 14, 2018, Pope Paul VI. He was the first Pontiff who encouraged and supported the beginnings of this charism when it was still almost unknown, recognizing it as a fruit of the Council and as a sign of hope for the Church.
In the first meeting that the Way had with him, on May 8, 1974, surprised by the great affection with which he welcomed us, declaring with a prophetic spirit the baptismal identity of the Way:
“You not only do the apostolate because you are what you are, in a stimulus to rediscover and recover the true, authentic, effective Christian values that would otherwise would remain almost diluted in ordinary life. No! You make them evident, you bring them out, and you give them the moral splendor that is truly exemplary because, thus, with this Christian spirit, you live this Neocatechumenal community.” “How much joy and how much hope you give us with your presence and your activity! We know that in your communities you work together to understand and develop the riches of your Baptism and the consequences of your belonging to Christ ”. “Live and promoting this awakening is what you call a way of ‘Post-Baptism’ that can be renewed in today’s Christian communities the effects of maturity and deepening that took place in the Church primitive from the period of preparation for Baptism ”.
“You carry it afterwards: whether before or after, I would say, is secondary. The fact is that you look at the authenticity, the fullness, the coherence, the sincerity of the Christian life ”.
Three years later, on January 12, 1977, a few days before the Synod on Catechesis, Saint Paul VI dedicated his entire speech in the General Audience on Wednesday to the Neocatechumenal Way, proposing the name of “neocatechumenate”.
“The praxis and norm of the Church have introduced the sacred habit of conferring baptism on the newly born, letting the baptismal rite liturgically concentrate the preparation that, in the early days, when society was deeply pagan, preceded baptism, and it was called the catechumenate. But in today’s social environment, this method needs to be integrated by an instruction, by an initiation to the lifestyle of the Christian, following baptism, that is, from religious assistance, from practical training to Christian fidelity, of an effective insertion in the community of believers, which is the Church.”
Here is the rebirth of the name “catechumenate”, which certainly does not want to invalidate or diminish the importance of the existing baptismal discipline, but wants to apply it with a gradual and intensive method of evangelization, which recalls and renews, in a way, the catechumenate of other times. Whoever has been baptized needs to understand, rethink, appreciate, to support the invaluable fortune of the received sacrament.”
In the memory of the Way, there is also the significant meeting of greeting with the initiators of the Camino, Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández, at the end of that same audience. The Pope asked: “Who is Kiko?” “I am,” replied Kiko. And the Pope, looking into his eyes and putting his hand on his back told him: “Be humble and faithful to the Church and the Church will be faithful to you.” These words remain engraved in Kiko’s heart until today.
A special recognition of Pope Paul VI by the Neocatechumenal Way is for his encyclical “Humanae Vitae”, which in general, has found many difficulties in being accepted, but that at the same time has borne so much fruit in the context of the neocatechumenal itinerary. In it, the Magisterium of the Church on sexuality and marriage is taught. This is how marriages can witness to having been rebuilt, with numerous children, many young people in the communities of which have arisen many vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life, families in mission in the most difficult areas.
The responses to the Questionnaire on the situation of the family at present are significant: positive aspects and conflictive aspects, sent to all Episcopal Conferences, to the ecclesial realities, collected in the Instrumentum Laboris of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family of 2014 affirm:
“Regarding the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, in the vast majority of cases, it is not known in its positive dimension.”
“A good number of Episcopal Conferences point out that, the teaching of the Church, with its genuine human and Christian beauty is enthusiastically accepted by a large part of the faithful. When it manages to show a global vision of marriage and family according to the Christian faith, then you truly realize its goodness and its beauty.”
“The teaching is most accepted where there is a real way of faith on the part of the faithful and not just one extemporaneous curiosity about what the Church thinks in regards to sexual morality ”.
At the investiture ceremony of the “Doctorate Honoris Causa” in Dogmatic Theology to Kiko Argüello on May 13, 2009 on behalf of the John Paul II Institute, the reporter also pointed out another aspect:
“In a time of crisis and disorientation for many, the unreserved acceptance of the prophetic encyclical of Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, by the families of the Way has been an authentic witness for the whole Church, showing that, beyond our fears or our difficulties, it is possible to live what the Church indicates as specific to the path of sanctity of marriage if there is a living community that accompanies us.”
Finally, his heartwarming love for the Church, from which he perceived all the urgency and the need to be rebuilt, found in the practice of the Way a fertile and fruitful resonance.
“(…) Christ calls us to start again from zero, until the last day of the age, requiring new work, requiring strenuous and fresh new construction, as if the Church, the divine building, you had to start today her challenging adventure in the heights of heaven. “
On Wednesday September 15, 1976, he concluded a series of prophetic catechesis on the Church with a passionate cry:
“We, old operators, launch the call: it’s time to build! What’s more, to build builders, the apostles of the city of God! ”