Friday, November 05, 2010

Holy Crap! Another cult tossed out on the trash-heap? Vatican warning on splinter group of Opus Angelorum.

The Vatican has warned Catholic bishops around the world to monitor carefully a secretive traditionalist sect which prays to angels to combat demons.


When personal piety and private devotion becomes a cult...

The Vatican has warned bishops worldwide against "deviant" behaviour by a small traditionalist Austrian movement that promotes devotion to the angels.
.
A letter to the heads of bishops conferences by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith chief Cardinal William Levada claims some members of the movement, including priests, carry out "activities that disturb the ecclesiastical community".
.
Formed half a century ago in Austria and close to traditionalists, the Opus Angelorum association claims, among other things, that women who have had abortions are possessed by the devil.

.
Advertisement: Story continues below Present in Europe, Asia and America, it counts about 140 members, including 80 priests, and is suspected of sectarianism.
.
"Propaganda in favour of this deviant movement, which is outside all ecclesiastical control, is done in a very discreet way that suggests it is in full communion with the Catholic church," Levada wrote, calling on bishops to be watchful of disruptive activities and ban those they identify. - Source
.
A cult within a cult?
.
I may be mistaken, but I think the late Fr. Robert Fox, Fatima apologist and promoter of dubious mystics such as Fr. Gino, was a proponent of this movement. 
.
People - watch out for cults, fringe groups and locutionists on the lamb...
.
Several years ago, I had a priest friend who urged me to get involved with this group... He reacted as if I was resisting the Holy Spirit when I told him I had looked into the group and thought the spirituality was rather strange.
.
Links:
BBC News

CDF Notice

Catholic Culture report

Diane at Te Deum gets it right

http://www.opusangelorum.org/

H/T PewsitterNews

24 comments:

  1. I've heard both good and bad about Opus Angelorum.

    I do have one of their audio CD's and it's got great information, solid stuff and very edifying.

    However I've always had a sense about the group that *something* is off and haven't had much to do with them, even when they've done retreats and conferences locally. Couldn't put my finger on it, but yes, something abut the spirituality isn't quite right.

    I last heard my CD a couple years ago, maybe should listen again, this time with a bit more educational/doctrinal background.

    Still, from what I can see, even here, is that not all involved are wacky. Just like the Intercessors; lots of faithful, obedient Catholics seeking God's will, and few who try to take the rest kicking and screaming into Hell.

    (sorry, was that too graphic? But that is what dissent does...)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mother Angelica's monastery promotes "Opus Angelorum"; they are headquartered in the USA in Detroit, I believe.
    The convent of "Holy Cross Sisters" is in Fatima; I prayed there several times when I was on pilgrimage.
    I have no idea what exactly is going on here...
    God help us!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, and by the way...it does not bode well for "new communities" (as our own) when this kind of thing happens...
    just sayin'!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Terry,

    Unfortunately, the apparently did not read the CDF Note, nor did a few other sources including the Sydney Morning Herald.

    What the Holy See intended to be a help to the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross (ORC) and Opus Angelorum has turned into a huge media disaster in the wake of those gross distortions by secular media.

    I'm going to ask you to do a thorough reading - a slow read of the actual CDF note, now that it is available in English and you will see what the BBC and Sydney Morney Herald did. It's completely irresponsible and has caused much damage, especially now that the untruths they state are being replicated across the globe.

    Catholic Culture gets it right

    I hae the same CDF Note in it's entirety, embedded in my blogpost with highlights and things emboldened.

    What you will notice is that the CDF note recaps history from a 1982 and 1992 decree.

    However, it then goes on and talks about the work of obedient members who wanted to work cooperatively with the Holy See for reform. In 1992 they were given a delegate by the Holy See. At that time, a splinter group which was made up of disobedient members who rejected the norms wanted by the Holy See broke off. That group, presumably using the same name, has been wreaking havoc for the obedient, reformed group working with great docility with the Holy See.

    Further, the note points out:

    Today, thanks to the obedience of its members, the Opus Angelorum can be considered to be living loyally and serenely in conformity with the doctrine of the Church and with canonical and liturgical law. On 13 March 2010, given the advanced age of Fr. Duroux, Fr. Daniel Ols O.P. was named delegate, with the same powers as described in the Decree of 1992

    And more omitted by those secular reports:

    On 31 May 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith approved the formula of a consecration to the Holy Angels for the Opus Angelorum. Having received the positive opinion of this dicastery, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life approved the "Statutes of the Opus Sanctorum Angelorum", in which, among other things, the relationship between the Opus Angelorum and the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross was defined.

    And, importantly:

    Therefore, in its present state, the Opus Angelorum is a public association of the Church in conformity with traditional doctrine and with the directives of the Holy See. It spreads devotion to the Holy Angels among the faithful, exhorts them to pray for priests, and promotes love for Christ in His Passion and union with it. Therefore, there are no remaining obstacles of a doctrinal and disciplinary kind which would prevent local ordinaries from receiving this movement into their dioceses and promoting its development.

    Then the kicker:

    II. At the same time, however, the congregation wishes to draw the attention of ordinaries to the fact that, in the course of these years, a certain number of Opus Angelorum members, including some priests who either left or were expelled from the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the "authentic Opus Angelorum", that is, a movement which professes and practices all those things which were forbidden by the above-mentioned documents. The congregation has learned that very discrete propaganda in favour of this wayward movement, which is outside of any ecclesiastical control, is taking place, aimed at presenting it as if it were in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My recommendation, is to read the entire document from VIS, or as found in my blogpost.

    This was a grave injustice done by the BBC and AFP which fed the Sydney Morning Herald.

    a 12 year old could have figure this one out. But you know what, scandal sells, and when reporters are pushed to get things out quickly, they don't read them very carefully. This had to be no more than 1.5 pages long. It wasn't a book.

    Of course, I know that no matter what the CDF says about those loyal members, there are still other, arm chair popes out there, who will dismiss OA as some "wayward" community regardless on the basis of their past.

    Trust me, I deal almost daily with these priests and have everything the Holy See describes. I go into detail at the bottom of my post. These priests have been working out of my parish for about 10 years, and I've known them for at least 5.

    If I had ever come across anything which violated those norms, I would have turned them in myself.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am not surprized to see that the press left part of the letter out to paint the whole group in a bad light.
    Terry, I have also had a couple experiences like you have had. That doesn't make the group bad. It just means the person is so zealous that he or she can't see that not everyone has the same form of spirituality. If we did then there wouldn't be a Dominican spirituality, a Franciscan one etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Terry's post talks about a "splinter group of Opus Angelorum." That is indeed what was criticized.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Henry,

    Here is what the BBC report says (note what I have in bold):

    However, several members of the sect, including some priests, "have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the 'authentic Opus Angelorum'", the letter warned.

    Here is what the Holy See said:


    II. At the same time, however, the congregation wishes to draw the attention of ordinaries to the fact that, in the course of these years, a certain number of Opus Angelorum members, including some priests who either left or were expelled from the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the "authentic Opus Angelorum", that is, a movement which professes and practices all those things which were forbidden by the above-mentioned documents. The congregation has learned that very discrete propaganda in favour of this wayward movement, which is outside of any ecclesiastical control, is taking place, aimed at presenting it as if it were in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    So, the BBC report makes it sound like priests in Opus Angelorum today are deviant, not those who were expelled or choosing to depart.

    Why give people the truth when you can make a real dodgy scandal to chew on? The Sydney Morning Herald did even worse with this (my notes in brackets, emphases in bold):

    A letter to the heads of bishops conferences by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith chief Cardinal William Levada claims some members of the movement [they neglect to differentiate between the recognized OA and the splinter group], including priests, [expelled priests and priests who left] carry out "activities that disturb the ecclesiastical community".

    Formed half a century ago in Austria and close to traditionalists, the Opus Angelorum association claims, among other things, that women who have had abortions are possessed by the devil
    [So, according to this report, it is OA itself which does these things and not the splinter group].

    Story continues below Present in Europe, Asia and America, it counts about 140 members, including 80 priests, and is suspected of sectarianism
    [So, according to the sloppy SMH report it is OA itself which is suspected of sectarianism, or the splinter group?].

    Here again is the Holy See:
    Therefore, in its present state, the Opus Angelorum is a public association of the Church in conformity with traditional doctrine and with the directives of the Holy See. It spreads devotion to the Holy Angels among the faithful, exhorts them to pray for priests, and promotes love for Christ in His Passion and union with it. Therefore, there are no remaining obstacles of a doctrinal and disciplinary kind which would prevent local ordinaries from receiving this movement into their dioceses and promoting its development.

    It doesn't take a degree in Rocket science to see what both the BBC and the SMH did.

    I'm not blaming Terry. He is the victim of a unprofessional and irresponsible journalism on the part of the BBC and MSH.

    I would ask that the distorted BBC and MSH versions in the main post be replaced with that which was offered by the Holy See.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Of course I don't know nuttin' 'bout nuttin', this being the first I've heard of this group (as was the case also with the "Intercessors of the Lamb"), but I am just wondering aloud here...

    Doesn't it seem that there may be an undue amount of attention being paid by ecclesiastical authorities (and the media quick on their tails) to these groups and priests whose raison d'etre, as it were, is to fight demons and satan?

    Maybe they are really totally whacked and this is a justifiable "nipping in the bud" before they get blown out of scale -- and that's all well and good. But I can't help but wonder if it is possible that the enemy is pulling out "the big guns" against the ones who may be doing him the most damage?

    Hmmm, it's all so corn-fusing! :-/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Every year I get a prayer card from them with a seminarian's name to pray for during the year. I was never sure exactly where their seminary is at. Is this a bad group of priests that I should have nothing to do with?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Donald,

    Read the Holy See's statement, not the twisted interpretation presented by the sources quoted in the main post.

    http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2010/11/congregation-for-doctrine-of-faith-on.html

    Terry, I do hope you will consider replacing the secular media version with the Vatican version.

    Here also, is Vatican radio. You will see that how the secular media is presenting it cannot be reconciled with what the Holy See put out.

    http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2010/11/congregation-for-doctrine-of-faith-on.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks everyone - and special thanks to you Diane. I actually knew about the earlier CDF requests/reforms for the group - I obviously met uber-advocates of the forbidden messages/spirituality.

    As Henry noted, I did point out I was speaking of the splinter group the CDF is now warning about. I also think my warning: 'People - watch out for cults, fringe groups and locutionists on the lamb...' was an indication I'm talking about splinter group spirituality and cult.

    In my opinion this is very much like your glass of water analogy, a little bit of poison spoils the whole glass. Frankly I'm just not attracted to these spiritual novelties.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why the scriptures, the fathers, Mass and the sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours and devotions such as the rosary and adoration is not more than enough to absorb the time and attention of priests and religious and laity alike.

    But I am very sincere in thanking you for making my post so much clearer for my readers. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fr. Mother Angelica was big on the God the Father revelations as well - some saints during the great schism didn't know who the real pope was either.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I cannot for the life of me understand why the scriptures, the fathers, Mass and the sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours and devotions such as the rosary and adoration is not more than enough to absorb the time and attention of priests and religious and laity alike.

    These are the most dominant things they encourage: Mass, Adoration, frequent confession, LoTH, Rosary, and bigtime....study of Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church.

    With regards to poisoning the well.... There is a distinction: I dont discourage anyone from being involved with what the Church has approved. By the Holy See's communication, its clearly approved.

    There's nothing like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    If those 50+ cooperative former members of the "Intercessors" emerge as a reformed group, approved by the Church someday, I will be among the first to post on it and offer them prayers and best wishes, nit continued condemnation based on the past or what ex-members are
    doing.

    One thing you won't see me doing is placing my own personal discernment (especially publicly) out of harmony with what the Holy See has offered publicly. Silence is a much more prudent approach with any decision we struggle with.

    I regret that you seem to be choosing to use a real distortion of the Holy See's communication rather than the actual CDF note itself.

    Hopefully, your readers will inform themselves of the Holy See's true position, rather than the misleading one.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That first paragraph in my last comment was a quite from Terry. Meant to italicize.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Some folks here have it right too with regards to the obedient and docile majority which is in favor with Rome, and the small group who are not.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Terry: The whole "Divine Will" business is so much confusion, as far as I'm concerned...the mystic (Louise P.) is up for beatification but the messages and movement are under scrutiny and even placed into question...go figure.
    It makes my 'pea brain' hurt;
    I'm too damned simple to figure out all this mess...
    Jesus, just give me Jesus...
    in the Holy Catholic Church under Peter.
    That's it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Looking back on this conversation, I believe I have misunderstood Terry on a comment, which led me to make this statement:

    One thing you won't see me doing is placing my own personal discernment (especially publicly) out of harmony with what the Holy See has offered publicly. Silence is a much more prudent approach with any decision we struggle with.

    I would like to offer my apologies to Terry on this, and I think it is safe to say that we have misunderstood one another.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Diane: you are a true "animae ecclesiasticae"...a "soul of the Church"...as well as our Mr. Terry.
    Mistakes and misunderstandings happen.
    But you both love the Holy Church and are definite souls that adhere to Holy Mother Church.
    That is why I love you both so very much.
    Truly.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm sure Terry can attest to this as well. Blogging is a "purifying" experience because we know that experience is nothing more than a series of mistakes.

    If I don't make an a$$ out of myself at least once a week, I don't learn anything.

    Hmmmm..... I wonder if that factored into St. Francis referring to his body as Brother Ass.

    ReplyDelete
  21. michael r.7:59 AM

    "I cannot for the life of me understand why the scriptures, the fathers, Mass and the sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours and devotions such as the rosary and adoration is not more than enough to absorb the time and attention of priests and religious and laity alike."

    Me neither!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Diane - you are very kind - thanks - I need to be called out many times - I'm no authority. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I understood your post to be referring to Opus Angelorum in general. fyi.

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.