Concerns issued about Renew in the Report from the Bishops' Committee on Doctrine

Concerns issued about Renew in the Report from the Bishops' Committee on Doctrine:
The Renew Process: Strengths and Areas for Improvement
dated December 30, 1986,
Compared with the contents of RENEW 2000 Leader's Manual 1 and 2

Copyright 1998, Kathleen Brown, Palm Harbor, Florida. All Rights reserved.
(Permission obtained to distribute on Our Lady's Warrior website)


On December 30, 1986, the United States bishops’ Committee on Doctrine issued a report entitled The Renew Process: Strengths and Areas for Improvement. This report appeared in ORIGINS, vol. 16, no. 30, on January 8, 1987. Under the heading, "Some Specific Concerns About the Process" the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine indicates the scope of their evaluation when they say, "Our review of published materials which describe the Renew process and our dialogue with some bishops who have experienced it confirm the positive evaluation mentioned above. Since the accomplishments and promise of this process are so significant, we address the following concerns in an effort to improve it." Here is a summary of those concerns:

Bishops’Committee on Doctrine Report on RENEW 12-30-86, point 1:

1. The tendency toward a generic Christianity.

"Perhaps the main cause of concern for the critics of Renew and one of the weaknesses we recognize in the process is the fact that basic Christian themes are presented without sufficiently relating them to their specific form as experienced in Roman Catholic tradition and practice. The literature does not identify, to the extent that we think it should, what is distinctly Catholic in our faith process. As an example, expectation 6 under "what will Renew do for the parish," the formation in prayer, Scripture, community building, justice, etc., does not indicate the teaching of the Church that gives meaning to the living tradition which forms the basis for authentic Catholic renewal. We find the dimension lacking in much of the material of Renew."

"Even though the authors of Renew claim that it "has never attempted to be a catechetical program," nonetheless there is an admission that there are "formational and programmatic aspects of the Renew process" which provide, directly or indirectly, both content and doctrine for participants in the process. We must be concerned, then, about what such a pedagogical-formational device teaches by exclusion as well as by inclusion."

RENEW 2000 on point 1: "The tendency toward a generic Christianity.":

  1. Although the Catechism of the Catholic Church is included in bibliography of Leaders’ Manual l and 2, no direct reference to it can be found in either of these Leader’s Manuals.

  2. RENEW 2000 promotional literature "Why Choose RENEW 2000?", "The Parish Package", "Handbook for Small Community Leaders", and "RENEW 2000, Themes for small community materials and personal reflection booklets" do not mention the word Catholic once. Indeed, neither does the pamphlet, "Introducing RENEW 2000, Setting ‘Hearts Ablaze’ for Christ for the 21st Century" which says on page 16: "RENEW International is also open to inquiries from other denominations and religious faiths". The use of the words, "from other denominations" implies that the Catholic Church is a denomination and one among many and that all of those choices are pretty much equal. The remaining unnamed pieces of literature in the promotional packet have only passing references to Pope John Paul II, his Apostolic Letter and/or a prayer apparently composed by the Holy Father.

  3. The source of all three "creeds" used in Leaders’ Manual 1 and 2 is WOMEN & WORSHIP by Sharon and Thomas Neufer Emswiler who are both ordained United Methodist ministers. Each of these three "creeds" is lacking a full expression of the Catholic Faith. They are all defective, by omission and content. A striking omission is the failure to reference the belief in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The "church" is rarely Church. Now "church" is community. These "creeds" are examples of the "leveling of the hierarchical authority" and, hence, the teaching and ruling authority of the Church.

Page 20 -- "Profession of Faith": (Note: This is "Creed" #3)

"All: I believe in the living God, the parent of all humankind, who creates and sustain the universe in power and in love.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God incarnate on Earth, who showed us by his words and work, suffering with others, and conquest of death, what human life ought to be and what God is like.

I believe that the Spirit of God is present with us now and always, and can be experienced in prayer and forgiveness in the Word, the Sacraments, the community of the Church, and in all that we do. Amen."

"Women and Worship
Sharon Neufer Emswiler and Thomas Neufer Emswiler
Harper & Row, New York, 1984"

Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine Report on RENEW 12-30-86, point 2:

"2. The need for greater balance and completeness. "

The authors of Renew admit certain biases in their approach to personal and parochial renewal.

"There is a bias in Renew for immanence." The emphasis is on God who is among us." Ours is a God who has embraced our humanity in the fullest possible way." Jesus is understood immanently in his concrete humanity and historicity" ministry arises out of the people and belongs to the people.

"In Renew the church is more a people than an institution." A definite bias toward the community model of church". The single most revealing element of any theology is its ecclesiology, its understanding of the nature, function and purpose of the church. One’s ecclesiology is the door to one’s understanding of God, Jesus and the faith of a people. One’s ecclesiology also reveals a theology of ministry and a sense of mission. That is why Renew clearly commits itself to a model of church that is a community of disciples." A model that is inclusive rather than exclusive or elitist, and one that nurtures itself for mission rather than for self-service."

"It is our opinion that the overemphasis of these theological positions causes the Renew process to favor certain aspects of Catholic life to the exclusion of other equally important aspects. This results in an imbalance which can be doctrinally misleading. The total renewal of our people requires, in the long run and for our unity as a church, an understanding and appreciation of the full gamut of Catholic theology and doctrine. While Renew does not claim to offer a course in catechetics or a theological overview, nonetheless it does state that it intends "to create a ‘theology,’ a way of understanding God, Jesus, church, etc., for our time." Therefore, it does have the responsibility to offer a balanced theological perspective.

"Some of the "exclusions," in our opinion, that would enrich the Renew theological component and give it a better balance are: a clearer presentation of the distinctive nature of the Catholic Church, not merely as a community of faith but as a structured, hierarchical, visible, sacramental community bound together in a tradition that includes Scripture as a font of faith but also the authoritative development and interpretation of the doctrines of faith by the Magisterium of the church; a more balanced presentation of the models of the church which broadens considerably the sole emphasis on community; the insistence that God’s revelation, and not just personal experience, is the norm for deeper understanding and appreciation of authentic faith.

"While we applaud the strategy of Renew to call people to greater responsibility for the mission of the Church, and their consequent ministerial roles, we are concerned that a corresponding emphasis on the sacrament of orders is missing. Unless the necessary and unique ministerial priesthood is constantly balanced with emerging lay ministries in the Church, a distorted vision about the future of ministry can develop, and a confused ecclesiology."

RENEW 2000 on point 2: "The need for greater balance and completeness.":

  1. On page 123 of Leader’s Manual - 1 is a quotation from Sacrosanctum Concilium, #7, which is quoted out of context when it says:

"Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states: Jesus "is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in church. He is present, finally when the church prays and sings, for he promised, ‘Where two or three are gathered together for my sake, there I am in the midst of them’" (SC 7).

The entire beginning of paragraph 7 was omitted and this omission is key to understanding the chronic error that is present in this program. The portion of paragraph 7, that was omitted is as follows:

"To accomplish so great a work Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross," but especially in the eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes."

  1. There are two cases when it is as if the lay people are attempting to imitate the actions of priests, and, in the case of blessing the oil, the bishop. This is a leveling of the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ in favor of and in confusion with the priesthood common to all the baptized. It is also a leveling of the teaching, ruling and sanctifying authority of the Church.

    Immediately following the third "creed" is a concluding prayer followed by a "Blessing with Water" (see page 22, Leader’s Manual - 2) in which a representative from each small group is asked come water bless the person to your right by signing them with water and the cross on the forehead or the hands or the lips while saying, "I bless you with water, remembering our common baptism." Each one will bless the person to his or her right until each person has been blessed."

    Again, a similar situation occurs in the context of the discussion of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on pages 40-41 of Leader’s Manual - 2 entitled, "Anointing with Oil". The text says: "Hold up the pitcher of oil while saying the following: " (a lengthy prayer follows). The instruction continues: "(Pour oil from the glass pitcher into the small bowl. Ask each person in the group to anoint with oil the person to his or her right. The sign can be a cross on the forehead. While anointing, each person may say: "I anoint you with oil as a sign of God’s strength and healing.")"

  2. The following are two examples distortion of Church Teaching which result from a misunderstanding of community:

  1. "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Mt. 16:18) was at the heart of a tradition that was firmly established in the Christian community of the first century." Page 138, Leader’s Manual - Book 1

    Jesus Christ established the Office of Peter and his successors, not the Christian community of the first century.

  2. "Community is at the heart of the life of the church." Page 113, Leader’s Manual - Book 1

    The Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ, is at the "Heart" of the life of the Church.

Bishops’Committee on Doctrine Report on RENEW 12-30-86, point 3:

"3. The cognitive dimensions of faith need more emphasis. "

We are grateful that Renew has developed a process which stresses the contemporary need to touch the affective, emotional and personal aspects of faith. Conversion and renewal in our culture require for many people these dimensions of personal faith experiences within a supportive community of believers. At the same time, we think there is need in the Renew process to emphasize more clearly the cognitive, intellectual aspect of faith life. The large group experience can be used to make this objective presentation. Clearer support should also be given to the need to relate people not only to the parish, but also more effectively to the diocese and the universal church. "We are concerned that the emphasis of Renew on personal and shared "experience as the locus of revelation" can lead to fundamentalism and the privatization of religious truth. Our people must always be made aware of the objective content of revelation as the basis for the faith in Jesus Christ.

"We note that Renew is not just a "brief, intensive event such as weekend experience or retreat" rather it is a diocesan-wide three-year process of conversion and formation. Because of its duration and impact on the local church, we have to be concerned about the effect it has on the orthodoxy and orthopraxis of our people. The cognitive dimensions of faith cannot be separated from any extended process of renewal or formation in the church if we are to maintain our Catholic unity."

RENEW 2000 on point 3: "The cognitive dimensions of faith need more emphasis.":

  1. The RENEW 2000 not only has an emphasis on "experience" but it also teaches that which is contrary to the Catholic Faith. Examples are as follows:


  1. "The earliest gospel, that of Mark, was set down in writing around 70 A. D.; those of Matthew and Luke around 85 to 88 A. D.; and that of John toward then end of the first century." Page 13, Leader’s Manual - Book 1

  2. "The gospel according to Mark was written around 70 A. D. It is generally believed that Mark’s gospel was the first written gospel." Page 42, Leader’s Manual - Book 1

    Denzinger 2159 - "Whether, with respect to the chronological order of the Gospels, it is right to withdraw from that opinion which, strengthened equally by the most ancient and continued testimony of tradition, testifies that Mark was the second in order to write and Luke the third, after Matthew, who was the first of all to write his Gospel in his native tongue; or, whether their opinion, which asserts that the Gospel was second and third before the Greek version of the first Gospel, is to be regarded in turn as in opposition to this idea?" -- Reply: In the negative to both parts. Also see Denzinger - 2149 which affirms the Gospel of Matthew preceded the other evangelists in his writing, composing it in his native tongue.

  3. "In addition to specific moral issues, questions arose concerning general moral principles. Sayings of Jesus were gathered in groupings. These sayings were so frequently repeated as a unit that they were eventually seen as a composite that would one day be written as a single event, for example, the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7)." Page 15, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

  4. "the most famous discourse in Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount. It is obvious that these are collections of Jesus’ teachings, listed for reading and reflection, rather than sermons actually delivered by Jesus." Page 47, Leader’s Manual - Book 1

    Denzinger 2159 - "Whether that opinion of certain moderns can even with some probability be sustained, according to which Matthew did not properly or strictly compose the Gospel such as has been handed down to us, but only some collection of the words or conversations of Christ, which another anonymous author had made use of as sources whom they make the redactor of the Gospel itself. - Reply: In the negative."

    Denzinger 2153 - "Whether from the fact that the author of the first Gospel or, also whether, it can be affirmed that the accounts of the accomplishments and discourses of Christ, which are read in the Gospel itself, have undergone a kind of alteration and adaptation under the influence of the prophets of the Old Testament and the status of the more mature Church, and so are by no means in conformity with historical truth? -- Reply: In the negative to both parts."

  5. "The author of Matthew’s gospel was a skilled writer with a keen theological mind. He used Mark’s gospel as well as other sources in crafting his particular gospel. The apostle Matthew was not the author, and biblical scholars offer varied testimony as to why the gospel is named after Matthew." Page 47, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

    Denzinger 2148 - "Whether after noting the universal and constant agreement of the Church from the earliest times, which is clearly shown by the eloquent testimonies of the Fathers, the inscriptions in the manuscripts of the Gospels, even the most ancient versions of the Sacred Scriptures, and the catalogues handed down by the Holy Fathers, the ecclesiastical writers, the Highest Pontiffs, and the Councils, and finally the liturgical practice of the Eastern and Western Church, it can and should be affirmed with certainty that Matthew, the Apostle of Christ, is in fact the author of the vulgate Gospel under his name? -- Reply: In the affirmative.

  6. "The issue of "inspiration" is closely related to that of the truthfulness of the Bible, sometimes referred to as the "inerrancy" of the Bible. Is everything contained in the Bible the absolute truth? "If we review some of our previous discussions, we have to answer "No."…Page 103, Leader’s Manual - Book 1

    Denzinger 2186 - "By the doctrine of Jerome those statements are well confirmed and illustrated by which Our predecessor, Leo XIII, solemnly declared the ancient and constant faith of the Church in the absolute immunity of Scriptures from any errors;"


  1. "The challenge to the believers has not changed. No amount of scholarship can prove that the miracles attributed to Jesus did or did not happen." Page 31, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

  2. "One interpretation of this passage says that there was enough food because everyone shared whatever food they had and that was the miracle. Eucharist calls us to share what we have. Bearing this interpretation in mind, consider the following questions within your groups." Page 94, Leader’s Manual - Book 2.

    Denzinger 1813 - "4. [The demonstrability of revelation]. If anyone shall have said that miracles are not possible, and hence that all accounts of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be banished among the fables and myths; or, that miracles can never be known with certitude, and that the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be correctly proved by them; let him be anathema [cf. n. 1790]

  3. "As an observant Jew, Jesus celebrated the Passover, the feast of exodus/covenant. He came to understand the significance of this feast in relationship to his own life." Page 81, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

  4. "He received a call (perhaps most powerfully experienced at his baptism) to enter into a mission as defined by his Father’s will." Page 124, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

    Denzinger 2035 - "35. Christ did not always have the consciousness of His Messianic dignity." -- This is a condemned statement. "Lamentabili," July 3, 1907.


It is very curious that in all of this discussion of prayer there was not one reference to praying before the Blessed Sacrament, and, indeed, in the entirety of Leader’s Manual - 1 and 2, there is absolutely not one reference Eucharistic Adoration. I found only one reference to praying the rosary. There was not one reference to the intercession of the saints and certainly no reference to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. These "traditionally Catholic" methods of prayer were struck from the texts in the continuing effort to level the Sacred and anything that resembles "authentic Catholic spirituality".

  1. There are several gatherings devoted to "spirituality" and "prayer" and the point is made that, "Authentic spirituality in the fast-moving world of the post-Vatican II era often includes a conscious effort to integrate prayer and action." (Leader’s Manual -2, page 127). The very next section deals with "Feminist Spirituality" and "the feminine aspect of God" , pages 130-132. These same pages also deal with "ecologically sensitive spirituality" and even states on page 132 that "certain truths embodied in feminist spirituality and an ecologically sensitive spirituality must necessarily be a part of the spirituality of all Christians." The section concludes with the statement: "Those who have profound insights into the depths of those truths and who understand their spiritual significance can help all believers to understand more fully the presence of God in life." Page 132 Here some unnamed "Those" with "profound insights" and "who understand" are set up as the authority, not the Catholic Church. There is no indication who will determine what is "profound" and the nature of the "spiritual significance". It appears that the authority of the Church has been eliminated in favor of "those"

  2. Included in this section on "spirituality" is prayer and the various types of prayer. On pages 115-120 of Leader’s Manual - 2 a type of prayer is introduced that makes one "more aware and more present to the moment" page 115. The technique below is from Father Anthony de Mello and his book entitled, "Sadhana, A Way to God":

"Becoming More Aware and More Present in the Moment"

"Take up a posture that is comfortable and restful. Close your eyes."

"I am now going to ask you to become aware of certain sensations in your body that you are feeling at this present moment, but of which you are explicitly aware "Be aware of the touch of your clothes on your back, or of your back touching the back of the chair you are sitting on"

"Now be aware of the feel of your hands as they touch each other or rest on your lap"

"Now become conscious of your thighs or your buttocks pressing against your chair"

"Now the feel of your feet touching your shoes

"Now become explicitly aware of your sitting posture"


"Now move on to the awareness of your breathing. Become aware of the air as it comes in and goes out through your nostrils. Do not concentrate on the air as it enters your lungs. Limit your awareness to the air as it passes through your nostrils.

"Do not control your breathing. Do not attempt to deepen it. This is not an exercise in breathing but in awareness. So if your breathing is shallow, leave it that way. Do not interfere with it. Observe it.

"I want you to reflect now that this air that you are breathing in is charged with the power and the presence of God"

"Think of the air as an immense ocean that surrounds you, an ocean heavily colored with God’s presence and God’s being"

"While you draw the air into your lungs you are drawing God in"

"Be aware that you are drawing in the power and presence of God each time you breathe in"

"Stay in this awareness as long as you can"


"Notice what you feel when you become conscious that you are drawing God in with each breath you take"

"While you breathe in, be conscious of God’s Spirit coming into you

"Fill your lungs with the divine energy the Spirit brings"

"While you breathe out, imagine you are breathing out all your impurities, your fears, your negative feeling."

"Imagine you see your whole body becoming radiant and alive through this process of breathing in God's life-giving Spirit and breathing out all your impurities"

"Stay with this awareness as long as you can without distractions"

"Exercises from: Sadhana. A Way to God by Anthony de Mello
Image Books, A Division of Doubleday & Co., Inc.
Garden City, N Y, 1984 (pp. 15-16, 26, 36-37)"

This entire exercise is foreign to anything Catholic. It is worth noting that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a NOTIFICATION and EXPLANATORY NOTE in which Fr. De Mello’s writing are deemed "incompatible" with Catholic Faith by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (see demello.htm).

  1. On pages 147-150 of this same text is "The Prayer of Directions" (see direct4.htm). It is printed here:

"Leader: Let us face the north with arms outstretched and palms opened to receive the blessings of the Spirit.

"Reader 1: Oh, Great Spirit of the North, we come to you and ask for the strength and the power to bear what is cold and harsh in life. We come like the buffalo ready to receive the winds that truly can be overwhelming at times. Whatever is cold and uncertain in our life, we ask you to give us the strength to bear it. Do not let the winter blow us away. Oh Spirit of Life and Spirit of the North, we ask you for strength and for warmth.

"Leader: Let us face the east with arms outstretched and palms opened. "Reader 2: Oh Great Spirit of the East, we turn to you where the sun comes up, from where the power of light and refreshment come. Everything that is born comes up in this direction, the birth of the babies, the birth of the puppies, the birth of ideas and the birth of friendship. Let there be the light. Oh Spirit of the East, let the color of fresh rising in our life be glory to you.

"Leader: Let us face the south with arms outstretched.

"Reader 3: Oh, Great Spirit of the South, spirit of all that is warm and gentle and refreshing, we ask you to give us this spirit of growth, of fertility, of gentleness. Caress us with a cool breeze when the days are hot. Give us seeds that the flowers, trees and fruits of the earth may grow. Give us the warmth of good friendships. Oh Spirit of the South, send the warmth and growth of your blessings.

"Leader: Let us face the west with arms outstretched.

"Reader 4: Oh, Great Spirit of the West, where the sun goes down each day to come up the next, we turn to you in praise of sunsets and in thanksgiving for changes. You are the great colored sunset of the red which illuminates us. You are the powerful cycle which pulls us to transformation. We ask for the blessings of the sunset. Keep us open to life’s changes. Oh Spirit of the West, when it is time for us to go into the earth, do not desert us, but receive us in the arms of our loved ones.

"Leader: Let us look up and raise our arms toward the heavens.

"Reader 5: Oh Great Spirit of all that is Above, of everything that soars, of all that flies, of all high vision, all that is above the earth, we honor you and glorify you for the power that you are. Lift our minds and our hearts above the earth so that they may never be afraid of great heights and of looking like the eagle high across the land. Oh Spirit of all that is Above, put us on the wings of spirit travel so that we may know this world.

"Leader: Let us place our arms at our sides and look down at the earth.

"Reader 6: Oh Great Spirit of all that is Below, of all that pulls us to deeper places, to the depths of ourselves, we turn to you in the memory of all that goes down. We ask you to give us the strength and the courage to face death. When people leave us in this life to share life with you, let there not be a grief that is untrue. When we experience losses and changes in our lives, let us see them as your revelation. Oh Spirit of all that is Below, purify us.

"Leader: Let us face the center and extend our hands, palms outward to rest in the palms of the persons on either side of us.

"Reader 7: Oh Great Spirit of everything that is Center, of everything that is free, we come to you with gratitude. We thank you and bless you for being with us, for calling us to be centered within ourselves. Remind us that it is only from this center that we reach out to others. Breathe through us that your work of justice may be done. Oh Great Spirit of everything of the heart and everything that is mystery, send us forth to walk a way of beauty and holiness. Open our hearts to friendship. Oh Spirit of everything that is Center, never let us forget that you are the center of hope."

"Prayer of Directions" by Diann L. Neu
(Leader parts are adapted.) WATERwheel
Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1988 Silver Spring, MD"

This section contains a statement on page 147, that "the prayer forms of different traditions are helpful". This is a dangerous and open-ended statement.

It is very curious that in all of this discussion of prayer there was not one reference to praying before the Blessed Sacrament, and, indeed, in the entirety of Leader’s Manual - 1 and 2, there is absolutely not one reference Eucharistic Adoration. I found only one reference to praying the rosary. There was not one reference to the intercession of the saints and certainly no reference to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. These "traditionally Catholic" methods of prayer were struck from the texts in the continuing effort to level the Sacred and anything that resembles "authentic Catholic spirituality".


  1. "Thomas Berry, in the book Befriending the Earth, speaks of the necessity of the exodus of the "earth community" from an age marked by the rapid evolution of mammals, birds, and plants to a new era of "mutually-enhancing human-earth relationships." Berry believes that in this new exodus, "the human community and the natural world must enter the future as a single sacred community or they will both perish in the desert." Page 82, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine Report on RENEW 12-30-86, point 4:

"4. The Eucharist needs broader definition and an emphasis on sacrifice and worship. "

We note the effective way the authors of Renew relate the ordinary things of life to Eucharist, and the centrality of Eucharist in Catholic prayer. However, we have concerns about the singular emphasis in some of the material on the communal meal, and the paraliturgical agape that can lead to confusion about the essential nature of the eucharistic sacrifice. "The preoccupation with the Eucharist as meal, which should be open to everyone, is highlighted in the material on discipleship with reference to other kinds of meals people share together. Jesus seems to be present in the sharing rather than his real presence in the Eucharist. "In the suggestions for concluding prayer services at the end of small group gatherings, the agape prayer service which stresses the symbolic sharing of bread and wine in the spirit of our tradition takes on the appearance of the sacramental Eucharist. There is no effort to distinguish between the two, which can lead, it seems to us, to a trivialization of the Eucharist in the minds of some. "In one agape service, the leader tells other family members that Jesus took bread and wine like this, the natural elements of celebration, and gave them new meaning. He made them signs of his shared life with us "so let us celebrate now by sharing this bread and wine together."

"And in an agape service directed primarily at youth, Jesus is referred to as the Bread of Life, which is then shared, and Jesus is asked to bless the cup of wine which is referred to as the Blood of Christ, and then shared. But when we Catholics "share as Jesus taught during the Last Supper," it is called the sacramental Eucharist. This seems to us to cause confusion between agape and the real Eucharist."

RENEW 2000 on point 4: "The Eucharist needs a broader definition and an emphasis on sacrifice and worship.":

  1. One of the notable observances in these texts is the "leveling of the sacred" and the redefinition of terms. An example of the latter has already been given in the redefinition of Church to be "community". Later in the text the term community refers not to Catholics but to "all", when the small group prays in the section entitled Mission and Eucharistic Sacrifice - Leader’s Manual - 2 (Pages 91-95): "So let us prepare to eat and drink as Jesus taught us: inviting the stranger to our table and welcoming the poor. May their absence serve to remind us of the divisions this Eucharist seeks to heal. And may their presence help transform us into the Body of Christ we share." (page 95). Here the "community" transforms us into the Body of Christ not the Holy Eucharist as the Catholic Church teaches.

  2. "Community is at the heart of the life of the church." Page 113, Leader’s Manual - Book 1.

    The Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ, is at the "Heart" of the life of the Church.

This concludes the portion of the U. S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine Report that deals with, "Some Specific Concerns About the Process". The Bishops’ Committee goes on to make a final statement called, "Suggestions for Further Development" which says:

"We understand that the authors of Renew consider it a process of spiritual renewal, not a program; "a catechism is a program for learning the fundamentals of our faith. Renew has never attempted to be a catechetical program. Instead, it is a process of spiritual formation, meaning that people are on a journey of conversion." But as we noted above, the authors of Renew admit that "obviously, there are programmatic aspects to the Renew process," and we agree. It is our conviction that any process or program of renewal and formation in the church must have a well-articulated doctrinal base which is both comprehensive and balanced.

"We welcome the assurance from the promoters of Renew that they are willing to revise material content as the need is presented to them. We think a continued revision along the lines we have suggested is important."

  1. "Take-home materials for people should include more "content" data which provide doctrinal and catechetical principles, to serve as a basis for personal reflections and against which personal experiences and attitudes can be measured.

  2. "In small-group sharing, materials should include information that better emphasizes the ecclesial dimensions of faith life, and God’s revelation through Jesus Christ and his church, which is the only sure guide of faith. "Renew has touched the lives of a significant number of people in many dioceses of this country already, with more dioceses on line here and abroad. This is the reason for our evaluation and critique. Even though we have offered several suggestions for improving the process, we want to make it clear that we recognize the overall value of this renewal effort for our people."


The concerns identified in the report from the Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine of December 30, 1986, on Renew, have not only been ignored in the preparation of RENEW 2000, but this program now openly teaches that which is contrary to the dogma of the Catholic Faith. The dangers to those victims of the defective catechesis since Vatican Council II are:

  1. The grave risk that they may accept the limited presentation of Church as community,

  2. personal experience will be viewed as an ultimate authority, and

  3. magisterial teaching being displaced by private interpretation. This may well result in putting the true teachings of the Church in hostile opposition after three plus years of "processing" in the RENEW 2000 program.

The following are also problematic.

  1. The distortion of the Trinity is a consequence of the misrepresentation of the proper role of the Father, the reduction of the role of Jesus, and the elimination of the promise and role of the Holy Spirit as Guide for the Church until the end of time by favoring alternate spiritualities. An example of this is the presentation of ecologically sensitive spirituality and the "Prayer of Directions" in which the Presence of the Holy Spirit is reduced to a kind of pantheism.

  2. Knowledge and experience replace mystery and reduce the work of Christ to that of an "uninformed victim" rather than that of Redeemer Who desires our union in heaven. This has the effect of reducing man’s dignity rather than raising man to the new creation he has become through Baptism into Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

  3. Any genuine renewal involves the frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation and the frequent attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and reception of Holy Eucharist, the guidance of Holy Mother Church, and the Mary, Mother of God, all of these are missing from RENEW 2000. Authentic Catholic spirituality is replaced with feminist, ecologically sensitive, and New Age spirituality which are dead ends and oppose the fullness of the Faith put forth in the Catholic Church.

  4. The well intended Catholics desiring to deepen their faith, desiring to be fed and nourished by those who are to Shepherd them are being offered stones, not bread.

  5. The directives put forth by Pope John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter On Preparation for the Third Millennium, are being ignored.

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