In his own experience, the "biggest problem" had to do with the seminary. He said the Way had caused "deep divisions" in his diocese.
Way missionary priests and families were first called into his diocese to build up the minority Christian presence in a traditionally strong Buddhist area.
The Catholic community is small in the area, numbering only 4,000 out of a total population of about four million. Individual churches number between 100-200 parishioners.
"When there are only 100 people in the parish and such a strong group with a strong charisma comes in, it maybe creates a division among a small group of the people," the bishop said.
Because of the "strong character" of the movement, he explained, "they tend to divide the people and to force the parishioners to decide whether they belong or not, and that is a big problem."
He even said that the "lay faithful are forced to make the extreme decision of either 'yes' or 'no' to be a member of the movement."
Based on the statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way, local bishops are free to decide the future of the movement's activities in their dioceses.
This policy "has never actually functioned well," Bishop Kikuchi said. He believes that in the future, the bishops conference will leave it up to individual bishops to decide whether to permit the Way’s functioning within their diocese.
He was unsure of what he would do in that case. He has had good experiences with individual members of the Way. But the movement as a whole has been damaging, in his opinion.
"They are very good Catholics,” he said, “but the modus operandi of the entire group is the problem I'm seeing."
His main worry is that if something does not change, those Catholics who said "no" to joining the movement might fall away from the Church. He is also concerned about small communities choosing not obey their bishops.
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That was the original motivation for the bishops' proposal to suspend Way operations. The bishops wanted to give movement leaders an opportunity to "reflect on the past experience and make amendments for their modus operandi in Japan," he said.
"We want them to start all over again from the beginning."
These themes and more will be brought up next between the Japanese bishops during their Feb. 14-18 general assembly. In the meantime, they are waiting for the appointment of the papal delegate.
When this might come about is still unknown.
Way spokesman Hernandez said that everything now "depends on the Vatican. The process is beginning, but there is no date.”
"What's important," he added, "is that the Holy See has officially communicated this after the meeting, that the Neocatechumenal Way has to continue in Japan and cannot be expelled.”