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(Raphael. Presentation in the Temple. Source)
Note: This text contains criticisms of the Cardinal. If this seems inappropriate, please see: "Should a Catholic Publicly Criticize Some Decisions Taken By His Superiors?".
Holy Smokes! Cardinal Ouellet's Pastoral Message Concerning The Army Of Mary is superb! It shows us a Bishop who defends his flock against the threatening heresies. Even the tone of the letter is excellent: calm, solid, well-documented, charitable, but very firm in its condemnations.
If I were to permit myself a few negative comments on this letter, I'd say among other things:
2.1) Selective manliness. Too bad Cardinal Ouellet is only manly when the time comes to do some Spring cleaning in the Army of Mary. We would have liked to see such manliness on his part to kick the heretics out of the Seminary and the Faculty of Theology. It's also a bit shocking to know up to what point some of his Priests publicly tell the Pope to take a hike, and to then see the Cardinal give these Priests the Red Carpet Treatment. Some members of the Army of Mary are sincerely doing their best (under the direction of bad leaders in their religious order), but they are "man-handled" carelessly by the Cardinal.
2.2) Little or no alternative solutions. For young men who want to become Priests, or young women who want to become nuns, let's say that for the past thirty years in the Diocese of Quebec, there hasn't exactly been a lot of choice. For men, you can forget the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Assumptionist Fathers, the Servants of the Holy Sacrament, etc. For women, the situation isn't much better. If the Bishops had fought in a more manly way to clean up this Diocese, many persons could have satisfied their thirst for beautiful liturgy, silence and prayer, etc., in places other than in the Army of Mary. Even now as we speak, I still don't know of a single Parish in the Diocese where the Homilies, the Sacraments and the Liturgy are done according to the teachings of the Church!
2.3) Lack of recognition of the good points of the Army of Mary. The Cardinal could have greatly increased his credibility by recognizing the good points of the Army of Mary. I've never been to one of their celebrations, but I doubt you'll see things which I see every Sunday in my Parish (which is already the least awful I've been able to find):
- faithful who go to communion with a total lack of respect for Jesus
really present in the Host;
- missalettes and churches stripped of any reference to the Virgin Mary;
- celebrations that are botched, ugly, without devotion (hymns, vestments, execution, readings, music, etc.);
- Priests without roman collars and nuns without veils;
- parishioners who gab and laugh loudly as soon as the celebration is over, as if we weren't in a church;
- and of course, I'm not talking here about the far more serious things mentionned elsewhere, like heresies in the homilies and sacrileges in the Sacraments, etc.
2.4) Slow and ambiguous condemnations. Would the damages to the flock have been quite as serious, if the Bishops had acted more decisively right from the start? The delirium of Marie-Paule Gigučre didn't start yesterday. If she had been excommunicated thirty years ago, could she have ensnared so many sincere followers? Try to see things from the point of view of an honest and sincere person who is in the Army of Mary. When you've worked for thirty years in a humble sewing room, day after day, saying your Breviary, being attentive at Mass, adoring Jesus really present in the Eucharist, saying your Rosary for all the poor people who need prayers, it's very difficult to admit to yourself that you've made a mistake all these years. When you are a poor she-lamb, you have a right to expect that your shepherd will defend you against the wolves, especially if your shepherd had more degrees than a thermometer, whereas all you have is a thimble and a rosary...
2.5) Pathetic inconsistency of Bishops. While Monsignor Couture was condemning the Army of Mary because they had not respected a detail of Canon Law (stating that the local Bishop must give his permission before a church or oratory is built), that very same Bishop was telling the Pope to take a flying leap concerning general absolution and homilies made by laypersons. He even published pastoral letters on these topics, totally contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church! While Cardinal Ouellet, Primate of Canada, was condemning the Army of Mary for theological issues, he didn't condemn Mr. Paul Martin, who claims to be a Catholic while scandalously supporting abortion and same-sex "marriage"!
Is Cardinal Ouellet really serious about helping the souls who have been recruited by the Army of Mary?
If I were the Bishop, I would first found a new religious order. This order would have everything the Army of Mary has which is compatible with the Catholic Faith, and nothing which is incompatible. Only after building this «Ark of salvation» would I condemn the Army of Mary, while at the same time inviting its members to join the new religious order, so as to minimize the pain and anguish of a very difficult change for these people.
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