Here are some excerpts:
Calling it a "very grave situation," the Vatican has excommunicated members of a controversial Quebec Catholic movement, the Army of Mary, for their heretical beliefs that derive from the writings of Marie-Paule Giguère, an 86-year-old mystic who claims to be a reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.
In a judgment delivered to the group on Monday, and announced yesterday, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ruled that the ordinations of six priests in the Army of Mary this past June were illegitimate, because they were performed by a priest rather than a bishop.
Founded as a prayer group in 1971, and recognized by the Archbishop of Quebec four years later, the Army of Mary has been a headache for Canadian Catholic bishops ever since.
In her writings, Mme. Giguère described visions and messages she received from God, explaining that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is fully divine, and also that, as her modern incarnation, so is Mme. Giguère. Rather than the traditional Catholic Trinity - in which God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are each fully divine and part of a three-part deity - the Army of Mary now speaks of a "quinternity," including Mary and Mme. Giguère.
In fact, until this week, things stood pretty much as they were 20 years ago, when in 1987 the late Cardinal Louis-Albert Vachon revoked the Army of Mary's status as a Catholic organization, which was meant as a warning of future excommunication. In 1999, Bishop Cazabon was appointed as Pontifical Commissioner, a sort of Papal envoy, but things remained stalled until 2001, when the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a doctrinal note in 2001 stating that the Army of Mary is not a "Catholic association."
Things came to a crisis this June, however, when a leading Army of Mary priest called Father Jean-Pierre Mastropietro ordained six new priests, including a father and son. Under canon law, only a bishop can ordain priests.
He said he regrets the failure of the efforts at reconciliation, because most of the Army of Mary's priests - there are 39 at the Lac-Etchemin centre, for example, in addition to brothers and sisters of the order - are legitimately ordained, one even by the late Pope John Paul II.
But now that Fr. Mastropietro is wearing a Byzantine crown and "acting like a pope" himself, the final line has been crossed.
"I did my very best with these men," Archbishop Prendergast said.
"I like them. I would like them to be Catholic priests. We need Catholic priests, but we have to have Catholic priests who obey what the bishops say ... [But] once you decide Heaven can tell you what to do, it can tell you all kinds of things that go beyond the boundaries."
What I find interesting about this story:
1. It took 20 years for the unified hierarchy to excommunicate this group (after being a legit Catholic association for a few years).
2. That the final straw for the RCC wasn’t that the leader promoted herself as the incarnation of Mary and part of the “quinternity”, but that the group performed an illegitimate ordination.
3. That this cult has many legitimately ordained RC priests as members (who the Archbishop would like to have return).
4. That “unity” is so important that reconciliation with a cult is a worth pursuing.
5. The quote: “... [But] once you decide Heaven can tell you what to do, it can tell you all kinds of things that go beyond the boundaries."