Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Army of Mary" members excommunicated

Yesterday in Quebec some members of the heretical "Community of the Lady of All Nations", also known as the "Army of Mary," incurred latae sententiae excommunication (i.e, automatic) for attempting to perform (invalid) ordinations against the will of the Church. Chief among the excommunicated was Fr. Jean-Pierre Mastropietro, a long time supporter of the Army, which was founded by supposed visionary Marie-Paule Giguère (b. 1921) of Lac-Etchemin, Quebec, in 1971. The group claims over 25,000 members around the world.

The Army of Mary was delcared a Pious Association by Cardinal Roy of Quebec, but this status was revoked in 1987 after Cardinal Ratzinger expressed grave concern about two of the group's books, which he said expressed "gravely erroneous doctrines." The group appealled this decision in 1989, but was again denied Pious Association status. In the mid-90's the groups started founding illicit religious houses and distanced itself from the diocesan authorities: this culminated in the illicit ordinations of several priests in 1998, which angered the Canadian hierarchy and prompted Cardinal Ratzinger to declare in 2000, "it is time for them [Canadian bishops] to warn parishioners that the movement can no longer be called 'Catholic' and should be banned from Church property." As well, the propagation of devotion and prayers to the "Lady of all Peoples" was also banned.

This was followed up by a declaration of the Canadian Bishops on the Feast of the Assumption, 2001, which declared the group heretical: "The Army of Mary's ongoing activities and teachings pose dangers for the Catholic Church in Canada and to the faith of its members. In view of this, and of the continuing threat to the integrity and unity of the Catholic faith, the Bishops of Canada declare, and hereby inform all the Catholic faithful, that the Army of Mary, regardless of its claims to the contrary, is not a Catholic association."

The Shrine of Etchenim, Quebec, and center of the "Army of Mary" activities.

The groups' doctrines were considered heretical on three main points: the Redmption, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and most importantly, their apparent adherence to a modified doctrine of Reincarnation. In 1978, only a few years after being deemed a Pious Association, Marie-Paule Giguère (called "Mother Mary" by members of the group) began to introduce herself as the mystical incarnation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Instead of fleeing from this group as fast as they could, its adherents began to defend Giguere's assertions. Army of Mary priest Pierre Mastropietro (recently excommunicated) explained that Marie-Paule Giguère "is fully enveloped by God. She prays every day, but her life is so attached to that of Mary's that she isn't Mary but she is Mary at the same time. If we try to explain it we'll change its meaning."

The Canadian Bishops in their 2001 statement condemned several doctrines promulgated by the group. The group, for example, "would have its followers believe, for example, that their "Immaculate" is co-eternal with the Triune God, and that although she was once the historical mother of Jesus, she is now "reincarnated" and "dwells" in the very person of the recipient of these presumed private revelations."Furthermore, "the Army of Mary has publicly defied episcopal authority, and its defiance has not been confined to the local Church."

Did the Vatican uphold the Canadian Bishops' decree? The Army's website would have us believe not and states that the findings of a regional group of bishops are not infallible. True enough, but (a) this is a matter of discipline as well as dogma, and the fact that disciplinary matters do not pertain to infallibility does not mean they do not need to be obeyed, and (b)the Doctrinal Note of the Catholic Bishops of Canada concerning the Army of Mary received the recognitio of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 10 August 2001 (Prot. N. 216/74-13501), and was subsequently published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, 15 August 2001. Therefore, it is certain that their opinion is upheld by the Vatican.

In June 2006, the group performed four invalid ordinations. Unlike the SSPX, who ordained several bishops without authorization, the Army of Mary attempted to ordain six men as priests and had other priests performing the ordinations instead of a bishop, thus invalidating them. Nevertheless, this was the last straw in a 20 year battle with the group and Pope Benedict declared yesterday that several members of the group had incurred excommunication latae sententiae. One particularly bizarre teaching of Mary Giguere, pictured at left, is that she calls the Church of Rome the 'Church of Peter'. And the Church of Peter, which is the Church of Authority I guess, is being 'transmutated' - that's the term they use - into the Church of John, the Church of Love. Fr. Mastropietro, leader of the Army of Mary priests (which number 39) is now wearing a Byzantine crown and "acting like a pope" himself. The final line has been crossed. Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa made a poignant observation when he sadly remarked that "I like them [the Army of Mary priests]. 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."

Let's predict what will happen next, shall we? This story seems like some kind of bizarre cross between Medjugorje and the SSPX (although at least the SSPX are Traditionalists! This group seems to be some wacky-Novus Ordo loving order, as can be seen by their chapel pictured above). First, I predict that the leaders of the group claim that the excommunication was done illicitly. They will try to argue that the Pope and the Bishops did not follow proper protocol and henceforth, for some technical reason, the latae sententiae excommunication does not apply.

Second, I predict that they insist that they are loyal sons of the Church; in fact, more loyal to the Pope than mainstream Catholics. They will assert that they represent the true mind of the Church. Third, their charismatic leader will begin to utter more and more absurd statements, more bizarre than she has already uttered, and her followers will believe her.

Fourth, those supporting her will claim that devotion to Our Lady of All People's is still licit and will quote Vatican sources in an attempt to prove it. They will insist that pilgrimages to Etchenim have not been forbidden and that the command for Catholics to disassociate themselves from the group does not apply.They will even try to (and have already) bring forth documents to try to show that the Vatican has even approved their apparitions.

Finally, followers of the group will encourage us to not look at the doctrinal or canonical situation of the group, but at all the "good fruits" the Army is producing: how they encourage prayer, peace, the Rosary and how there are so many conversions, etc.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Click here for an article on the entire history of the group.
Click here for the Zenit report on the excommunication.


Anonymous said...

But why do you have a picture of the approved apparitions at Amsterdam, "The Lady of All Nations" with this post? This is not what was written in the Zenit article:

It is written here, yes:

February 6, 1987, in full communion with the Holy See, the Archbishop of Qu�bec banned all celebrations organized under the auspices of the Army of Mary and by its various branches in the parish Churches and other places of worship in the Diocese. As well, the propagation of devotion and prayers to the "Lady of all Peoples" was also banned.

But The Lady of All Nations has since been approved:

This heretical group, the Army of Mary, and the Lady of All Nations devotion from Amsterdam are two entirely separate things. Please post correct information.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I realize why you put that picture with this, because this heretical group had a devotion to The Lady of All Nations.

"In Amsterdam, Heaven announced a mystery... which is realized in Quebec ..."

But the Amsterdam apparitions and devotion is still entirely something separate from this, and is approved.

You should not post the image from the approved Lady of All Nations devotion, with this heretical group, The Army of Mary/Community of the Lady of All Nations of Quebec.

Anonymous said...

"This group seems to be some wacky-Novus Ordo loving order, as can be seen by their chapel pictured above."

Um, this is not why they're heretical though.

Boniface said...


(1) You are correct in why I posted the picture, but I did not in any way mean to impugn to Amsterdam apparitions.

(2) Of course they are not heretical because they love the Novus Ordo, but because of their belief in reincarnation.


Boniface said...


I believe that the Lady of All Peoples image is virtually identical to the Lady of All Nations image, with very minor alterations. In fact, I'd say the former is based on the latter. If you check this Army of Mary website, you can see a picture of Our Lady of All Peoples which is identical to the one I posted on my blog from Amsterdam, except without the two angels at her head:

Also, in Latin, the word for "Peoples" and "Nations" is the same: gentes . It is possible that there is some confusion about the two devotions.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they are the same image, because the Army of Mary/Community of the Lady of All Nations/Peoples incorporates the Lady of All Nations of Amsterdam into their devotions. They spread the Amsterdam message, as well as their own heretical beliefs.

But what I'm saying is, your posting this picture which belongs to the approved Lady of All Nations devotion (which the Army of Mary people have on their site - but which does not originate from them) is misleading.

Can you not post instead another image specifically of the Army of Mary movement?

On a side note, I noticed on the Army of Mary site, a picture their founder, Marie Paul, outside the Army of Mary headquarters in Quebec, and there's a statue of the Amsterdam Lady of All Nations on top of the building.

On the official Lady of All Nations site, under the Miscellaneous link, there's a link to the Sanctuaries of the Lady of All Nations throughout the world which does not include any in Canada.

So anyway, I'm just saying, it's very misleading and damaging to the approved Amsterdam apparitions and devotion for you to have their official picture posted with the news of this separate heretical group - even if this heretical group has a devotion to it, with the same image on their website.

They are two distinct things - one approved, one condemned.

Boniface said...

Here, I changed the image. Is this acceptable now?


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks! It's much better - their version of the Lady of All Nations with the 55555 on the bottom .. strange

Boniface said...

Does anybody know what the 55555 on their picture refers to?


Anonymous said...

I have no idea .. maybe 5 wounds, 5 times .. ??

But here's something I just found ..

"Between Condemned Army of Mary and Authentic Lady of All Nations: An Ocean of Separation"

Anonymous said...

All I can say ,Ive seen it,heard it ,lived it... and ran away with my heels kicking my ass.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to your comments, I don't see why there is so much bickering over images, because you are missing the whole point, and if I were to explain to you my experiences relative to the Army of Mary/Our Lady of All Nations, you would probably not be able to accept it, such is the high degree of drama implicated in this movement.

My mother is involved in this, and I have tried to reason with her, but she is merely "projecting her own faith" into this movement (as so many 'simple others' have, and therefore, due to this "projection of her own simple faith" into this movement, does not see the "problems inherent" with this movement and how it came to start. I have been living the nightmares since I was 15 yrs. of age, and if you want to know what I've found out, just ask. (Army of Mary, and Our Lady of All Nations, are both one of the same based on the same intent).

Boniface said...

I'd love to hear about your experience.