The founders of the Neocatechumenal Way aim to obtain definitive Vatican approval for their “convivial” way of celebrating the Mass. The document is ready. But it could be modified or blocked in extremis. The verdict on January 20th. 

A friend of mine had to hide in a women’s refuge some years ago. It was in the back of beyond, in a set of holiday cabins that had once belonged to some factory or other, a good forty minutes’ trek from the last stop of an infrequent bus. Having no transport, and three very young children, she was delighted when, some weeks into her stay, she found the Neons were  having a retreat there  – she’d be able to get to Mass without cadging a lift from the caretaker. Or so she thought. They refused to let her attend.

In the bad old days before Summorum Pontificum, the old rite Mass in Edinburgh was permitted as a “private Mass” – its existence was not to be publicised. I always thought the idea of a “private Mass” was something bizarre invented especially for old rite Masses (does it have any foundation in canon law? the only thing I can think might be the case are Masses celebrated by priests who are in some way suspended) but it seems that only the fact of it being imposed on a given celebration from outside was unique. The Neons keep non-Neons out of their private Masses.

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