Sunday, August 21, 2016


[NOTE: We begin our short series on the specific causes of the spiritual crisis that flows from Kiko Arguello's theology--as of now, 4 parts are planned, then 1 conclusion. This first piece was longer than I liked and is divided into two parts.  Please remember that we are dealing with a diabolic assault on the Church, and the foundations are subtle. We must all be informed if we are to be prepared, prayerful, and penitential. Besides, the NCW hates anything requiring linear thinking, so if the length bothers them, all the better. ]

Many many thanks esp to Chuck White, LaPaz, and Tim Rohr for their very fruitful legwork on this.

Now since we've opened the discussion to what's really wrong with the NCW, let's start with how I was wrong on a recent post: there is in fact NO room for dialogue with them. They aren't capable of it any more than a Chia-pet is. I somehow doubt that you could even talk about the weather because they'll say Tim Rohr is the mastermind behind some plot that blames Hon for rain in Maina but when it was sunny in Ylig. Either that, or my talk about the weather is indicative of my poor education in meteorology but if only I had heard Kiko's catechesis on weather, I would know what I'm talking about better that some stupid Weather Channel.  

It’s rather like arguing arithmetic with a 4 year old who thinks 2+2=22. A child doesn’t know any better, but in stubbornness and desire to prove they know, they won’t take instruction because they don’t know the “structure” or the “logic” of what’s going on. In the same way, we can’t talk, or dialogue, or come to an agreement (or even a disagreement) with NCW because although we have a common faith, we don’t have a common term, a common language of faith, that we can agree on.


Anyway, in light of this, I must say that all this talk about the Eucharist and altars has brought out a profoundly ugly self-isolation on the part of the NCW on their blog. Rather than say, “Yes, we agree on thus-and-so, but not this other thing,” it has become a cacophony of declarations that Chuck doesn’t know Church teaching, Fr John Hardon (of blessed memory) didn’t know Church teaching, I’m guessing Cardinal Arinze neither, and presumably neither did Bishop Sheen, Aquinas, or Garigou-Legrange. In other words, only Kiko devotees do, and the rest of us are all heretics.

And yet, the whole thing is problematic since most of us aren’t considering what’s really meant by heresy.

CCC 2089 defines heresy as “the obstinate, post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic [universal] faith” or an obstinate doubt about that same truth. In other words,

1) you have to know that a particular truth is taught,

2) that that truth is required (e.g. we must believe in the Immaculate Conception, but we are not bound to believe that Our Lady appeared at Fatima), and

3) you must stubbornly refuse to accept it in light of these other factors.

More important for us, it is the considered opinion of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church that the cause of heresy is, on the whole, an excessive attention to one particular part of dogma to the detriment of some other. Arianism is an apt example. Arius gave so much emphasis to the humanity of Christ that he flatly refused His divinity, saying instead that Christ was the first and highest creation rather than being co-eternal with the Father in the Blessed Trinity. 

Likewise, Monophysites so emphasized His divinity that for them, the human nature of Christ wound up being annihilated by the divine nature—almost as an extreme reaction to Arius.

As men and women of the 21st Century, it’s easy to think of this as a difference of opinion, or even simply as "heresy = false." But heresy always—ALWAYS—leads to moral destruction in general and mortal sin, even sacrilege and satanic blasphemy. Always.

So, inordinate latching onto one dogma to the exclusion and detriment of another, and then grave sin necessarily flowing from it. This is crucial for what we’re talking about, so hold on to that for a minute. We’ll be coming back to it.

Now anyone who’s been paying the least bit of attention knows that Chuck, Tim, and others have called out the bad theology of the NCW for a long time. Yet, every time one of the NCW spokesmen tries to defend their bad teaching, they use the Catechism in a way that’s, well, exasperating. It’s not that they’re right, and we know they aren’t right. It’s that when confronted with the Truth, they absolutely refuse to admit they got anything wrong. Then they condemn you for not being on their side and therefore against the Church and therefore Christ.

So the good news about all this back-and-forth is that many people are strengthened in their Catholic faith, and many now know the Faith better because of this fight for Christ. We understand why it’s so important to know it. 

The bad news is that those who need it the most—those well-meaning souls whose minds are darkened by bad teaching—are completely resistant to anything that does not come from higher up their spiritually predatory food chain.

All kidding aside: I do mock and tease, but these are/were Catholics who have fallen away somehow. So that’s really the issue for me: what is it that drives these otherwise normal, intelligent people to go somewhere between brainwashed and lost? They love the Lord--of that I have no doubt, and they desire to be faithful as they understand faithfulness to be. But heresy guts that and renders it a darkness because in heresy, we inevitably are lead into graver errors and sin (see part 3).

 Now let’s be very clear on something: God in His infinite mercy quite often uses bad things like heresy to draw men to him, to bring them to conversion. That said, once they come to the Lord, they absolutely must step away from that bad teaching. It inevitably leads to tragedy if they don’t. Specifically, if a convert persists in that heresy and its fallout, the death of the virtues is sure to follow, and grievous sin will take hold.

So I’m not saying that NCW members are in mortal sin—far from it. Individual Catholic Christians aren’t our issue here. It’s that the entire world-view, the presupposition within which they were catechized, will necessarily lead to a lose of faith, hope, and/or love (more on that soon). That’s why it is IMPERATIVE that we reach out in charity to them to help bring them to the fullness  of the Faith, all the while rejoicing in their return to the Lord.

But since they haven't come to that fullness, what holds them there? Once we know what drive and captures these poor souls, we can detail in later posts the three great seeds of destruction being cast by this very pernicious sower who ensnared them.

But we don't need to search too far for an answer. I think we’ve found it, and our source for that answer is none other than:  Kiko Arguello himself.


Kiko provides for us the lens through which all NCW members see the world, and this lens is the source of all of our issues with them. It is the basis for all the theological excesses that inspire not only heresy but also a joyful wielding of false teaching like a little boy who’s found his dad’s gun.

So how do we discover it when they won’t tell us, or probably don’t know themselves?

Now I admit: getting ahold of the first few volumes of Kiko’s (and Carmen’s) Catechetical Directory was a bit difficult, and impossible for the last 6 or so volumes. As in cannot be obtained impossible if you’re los de afuera (more on that in part two). So we have to pick what we can from the initial volumes, as Chuck has patiently been working on to get a sense of what’s going on. We have to be systematic, and piece together the sense of Kiko's system based on the evidence. So jumping in to better understand Kiko’s way, I began reading.

But there in black and white on the pages covering the initial catechesis, Kiko reveals what is the core of the problem:

To recap his line of thought, we can therefore say:
  • Christ was sent by the Father to destroy the barriers that divide men from one other and to form a community.
  • This community is the Church.
  • These barriers are insurmountable because we are too broken as men to do it—only God can.
  • Thus, Christ comes into the world and dies and rises again so that we may be the Church in communion with one another, with all those barriers gone.
  • The great barrier that is at the heart of these divisions between men is fear of death.
  • All refusal to love (not turning the other cheek, not suffering persecution, not suffering for other) comes from fear of death.
  • Fear of death comes from the experience of sin.
  • By Christ breaking death, all this leading to barriers between men are null and we can be comunidad.

It’s a beautiful sentiment, and that’s what lulls you; but beautiful sentiments quite often make for terrible consequences, and this is one of those times. There’s a fatal flaw to this that’s inescapable. It’s that Kiko says Christ came to earth for the express purpose of reconciling us to each other; Kiko never once says we must be reconciled to God. Nowhere. At all. 

This is Kiko’s initial catechesis to bring men to Christ. Even when he mentions sin, he never once mentions that we have fallen away from God in our sin. Really? Our sickness and blindness in life is attributable to barriers between men, and vice versa?

This is because Kiko doesn’t believe in all that stuff about reconciliation to God. There’s no need for reconciliation with God because God has no need of it or us, and sin does not hurt him anyway. Our sins don't matter to God in the end. So for Kiko, the Church as the Body of Christ is fundamentally a horizontal  church—it’s a community of individual believers, a community of love that has overcome the barriers to love between ourselves.

But what about sin? That’s just the experience of death at the deepest level, he says. That’s all it is? 

But the wages of sin are death—death comes because of sin, and therefore the experience of each of these cannot be reversed either. Experience of death is the cause of sin is a complete reversal. Kiko explains this by saying that man has "experienced death because he ate from the tree, which is a symbol of sin" (Day 3). The experience of sin causes division, to be sure--that's what sin does.

But these divisions among men flow from what the effects of sin are, so that matters. What Kiko really is hitting on is that sin causes a division in us—also true. But that’s all it is. It’s death and brokenness and barriers to be overcome. It has nothing whatever to do with the very real and deliberate break of the soul from God, the throwing up of the barrier of pride. Sin, for him, is a word that connotes the opposite of love, in myself and with others; it’s reduced to that. God factors nowhere into it.

In other words, all sin is solipsistic--a sort of "it's all about me" hermeneutic, magnified a billion time over into an "it's all about us" church, when in fact it's all about the Blessed Trinity, from whom the we and us and them and I are derived.

And in the end, even at its most generalized, Kiko is saying that all sin only has an impact on the horizontal level, the social level. Unless you nuance this out beyond the boundaries of coherence, you can’t make this theology work. Ever.


I’m not trying to get theological or disputational, but rather to make a point: Kiko’s theology of Church—his ecclesiologyis one centered on us that, yes, is formed by Christ and imbibed by the Holy Spirit, but it’s a community that has overcome the barriers between men only, and does nothing whatever to do with reconciliation with God. The Church is a community of individual believers, not a true Body of Christ. It’s not a body that suffers with and for Him. Kiko’s church is one where the Passion is nothing but a pit-stop to the Resurrection, and the Resurrection only for the sake of the comunidad. The Crucifixion is reduced to an unfortunate episode where believers should never tarry lest they slide into some perverse refusal of the Resurrection and its triumph.

In other words, and aside from all other issues, the fundamental problem is that by seeing church in this way, Kiko completely undoes the meaning of the Incarnation and the act of Redemption (which is why people like Zoltan are so praising of Luther, who’s doctrine of salvation they agree with).

With this view, this lens through which Kiko sees the world and the church in it, there is no need for priests, only presbyters; no altars, only banquet tables; no stained glass, only Kiko’s  icons; no chant, only Kiko’s songs; no theology, just Kiko's Catechetical Directory; no organs, just guitars and tambourines; no penance, just acceptance; no Crucified God-Man, just Resurrected Lord.

In technical language, Kiko is making a radical separation of the transcendent God from the immanent Church (because it's fundamentally horizontal)—the tragic flaw of all non-Christian belief. But the Church has always taught that the transcendent God makes Himself truly immanent in the Church, the Eucharist, etc in a very real and literal way, and not just spiritualized; likewise, the immanent Church becomes truly transcendent because it actually is the Mystical Body of Christ, not just comunidad, and is Church Militant, Church Suffering, and Church Triumphant--a Church that lives and dies as her Lord did, a Bride who seeks to one day be crucified with Her Lord that the great Marriage Feast at the Eschaton may at last be fulfilled in its perfection. 

And if you understand the coming of the Son of God into the world for the redemption and reconciling of Man to God, and from that the reconciliation of man to man, then you are accused of being only quasi-catechized, if not a paganized, Christian, according to Kiko.

Like me (Kiko says), you dear readers are holding on to little more than superstitious practices, or to be a bit kinder and to borrow from Aquinas, the rest of us are guilty of vain observance, just as if we sacrificed a goat at Passover because the ancient Israelites did it. [NOTE: vain observance is a phrase Aquinas uses, not Kiko, so don’t attribute the phrase to him].

Even so, that’s the equivalent of what we are being accused of. Kiko/Pius/Diana’s term is “natural religiosity," which we will unpack in a post soon, since she/they are talking more about it.

Ultimately, the NCW truly believe that ours is a childish, immature faith. St Francis of Assisi had an immature faith. Padre Pio's had an immature faith. The Cure of Ars had an immature faith. Dear God, what presumption! What pride! For they believe that since they received Kiko's teaching, they are the most fully Catholic, then theirs is the only mature faith. All else is childishness.

Such is their view of the Church, and except for a formal sense, I'm not sure Kiko really thinks we are part of it.

And where does the real destruction come in? We'll see on Tuesday in PT 2: THE LENS IN ACTION. 

Virgo Potens, ora pro nobis

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