Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Army of Mary

There is an interesting story that just came out about the Roman Catholic Church’s excommunication of The Army of Mary.

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."

14 comments:

Rhology said...

I'd like to know (yes, it's predictable) how a RC knows that this excommunication was the right thing to do. Not private interp, now - I'd like to know on what basis this was an infallible act.

I'd also like to know if this affects Leo at all, given that he's a Sedevacantist. Has HE been excommunicated?

Lynn said...

I, too, am amazed (well...not really) that the RCC's final straw was that the ordination didn't follow the proper pecking order. Glad to see they are on top of things at the Vatican.

I have been hen-pecked over the whole "you Protestants don't have unity with all your thousands of denoms..." by numerous RCs. Their take on unity calls for--how does the new catch-phrase go?--a willful suspension of disbelief.

David Waltz said...

>>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).>>


Me: Hmmm…20 years…seems that you are implying that 20 years is much too long…

But, let’s keep things in perspective; it took over 400 years to clarify the doctrine of God and Christology; over 1,000 years to develop a correct understanding of the doctrine of the atonement; and according to Protestants, over 1500 years before the true understanding of the Gospel…20 years does not seem nearly as signifcant in the light of history as you imply.


Grace and peace,

David

P.S. For extended discussions on the issue of “the gospel” see:

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/apostasy-bringing-mormonism-into.html

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/09/perspicuity-clarity-of-sacred-scripture.html

Richard Froggatt said...

I was thinking the same thing David.

Anonymous said...

I think excommunication of unrepented heresy is immediate, not 20 years.
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."

Jerry

Kenneth Merian said...

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).


The church for many years had been trying to bring this group back from heresy, excommunication is serious and not taken lightly.


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.

Not true, that act forced the church to make a public declaration of excommunication as individuals. The group itself was excommunicated in 2001 when the local archbishop declared the group as heretical and its teachings on Mary as "contrary to the Catholic faith".

3. That this cult has many legitimately ordained RC priests as members (who the Archbishop would like to have return).

Like the prodigal son, Christ wishes all those in error to return. These legitimately ordained priests would be welcome to return if they repent of their heresy.

4. That “unity” is so important that reconciliation with a cult is a worth pursuing.

So, the repentence of sinners is not worth pursuing? How Christian.

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."

Didn't Paul warn of angels of light preaching a false gospel? Same thing.

Rhology said...

David W,

20 yrs is too long for the purported infallible guide.
And according to Prots (and history) the true understanding of the Gospel was known from Day 1 since it was taught by Jesus and the Apostles.

KMerian,

1) Biblically excomm is not a matter of yrs but of days once such sin is discovered. A little leaven, as already said.

4) I think Carrie probably meant reconciliation with a CULT, as opposed to its mbrs who might return in repentance. But apparently your fallible personal interpretation didn't catch that. But I should no doubt depend on it when you report what the Magisterium infallibly says. Makes sense.

kmerian said...

So, there should be no attempt to educate or show the sinner his sin? They should just be cast off to sin in ignorance?

I saw no effort to reconcile with the "group". A group is made up of its members, that is to whom the church is concerned.

Rhology said...

Kmerian,

Are you familiar with the biblical teaching on church discipline?

(This is just a question - it's not widely-taught these days, unfortunately.)

gordan said...

Yet another schism that is properly laid at the feet of Sola Scriptura.

LOL

Jim Mitchell said...

James,

Looks like you and I have a lot in common when it comes to Luther and Calvin. I just wanted to make sure you had read the following (see bottom reference). I found it to be simply fascinating about Luther and his take on predestination.

As a Roman Catholic for more than 40 years before really hearing and believing the Gospel of Christ's finished work on my behalf, I found all the questions you raised about the Canadian situation quite valid. I have found local priests will often run from addressing anything controversial even if it just amounts to warning someone that they are in dangrous territory spiritually. Forget any real discipline. Everything is put off until its way past "scandalous" (sic) to the "faithful." --Jim

Brian G. Mattson
Double Or Nothing: Martin Luther's Doctrine of Predestination
Copyright © 1997 Brian G. Mattson
http://www.visi.com/~contra_m//cm/features2/cm98_bm_luther.html

Anonymous said...

Written by Dude:
Fellas, as a Catholic, I too am annoyed that somebody or a group may be doing something heretical, and not called out, chastized or even ex-commed for it in a timely manner.

This sometimes happens. Perhaps even more frequently than I, as a Catholic, would like.

However, to insinuate that within Catholicism that if we have weak Priests, Bishops or Popes, does not make the teaching of Catholicism invalid, as you would insinuate.

We need only look to Peter denying the Lord 3 times.

I would also assert that we do not know the entire situation in Canada.

I would also assert that wihin Protestantism, this happens quite a bit as well. Such as the unreported abuse cases of children, which in number, per capita, matches that of Catholicism, but largely goes unreported, as this is often tolerated, or is shuffled as well.

Or from a different angle: Within the realm of Protestantism, when a new heresy arises, they just start a new church. Sometimes they do not even start a new church, it just natrually morphs into the new heterodoxy or heresy.

Pretending I know all of the circumstances, I would very quickly and outright call this order an order of heretics, and there are many within my church right now, however to pretend it is specific and indiginous unto the Catholic Church, or that it invalidates the Catholic Church, is incorrect.

Infallibility of the Pope, and the office of Bishop does not (ever) always and everywhere guarantee that sinful man will be perfect and strong.

Mr. Mattson, as a Catholic, I believe in Chist's finished work as well. But I also believe that he did not created us with free will, and not as automatons.

I think I understand the Reformed concepts of grace and predestination quite well, and udnerstand R.C. Sproul's lamenting the label 'double predestination' and how it is to be understood. However, this doctrine, examined properly cannot exist without the destruction of man.

Anonymous said...

Pardon the typos, I believe God did create us with free will.

Rhology said...

Dude,

Within the realm of Protestantism, when a new heresy arises, they just start a new church.

That's what the BIble would have us do. Why doesn't the RCC do it more reliably? That's the question here.

I would very quickly and outright call this order an order of heretics

Could you have legitimately done so 1 year ago before it was excomm'd? Why or why not?

Infallibility of the Pope, and the office of Bishop does not (ever) always and everywhere guarantee that sinful man will be perfect and strong.

Insert "Scripture" and you'll have the Sola Scriptura position. Watch:

Infallibility of the Scripture does not (ever) always and everywhere guarantee that sinful man will be perfect and strong.
How is that not sola ecclesia?
Why lay multiplicity of denominations at the feet of Sola Scriptura? Why can't I then equally justifiably lay these problems within the RCC at the feet of the Magisterium?

Peace,
Rhology