On Friday, April 20, 2007, I wrote a post at this Blog in which I said: "On a related note, 'Brother' Andre Marie of the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, has been photographed wearing a biretta. As this article explains: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biretta, the biretta has traditionally been worn by members of the Catholic clergy or in some instances seminarians. Has 'Brother' Andre Marie been passing himself off as a Roman Catholic priest or seminarian? Does this have anything to do with a previous announcement (made in the SBC's newsletter Mancipia) that the SBC intended to have 'Brother' Andre Marie ordained without canonical permission - dimissorial letters?"
This was an entirely legitimate question. Especially since 'Brother' Francis (in the announcement referred to above) had said:
"Since the death of Father Feeney, we have never had a cleric as a religious member of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, circumstances in the Church [read their own disobedience to Church teaching and authority] making it virtually impossible to attain that goal. Regardless of this, it was the intention of our Founder to have priests in our First Order, and we have never abandoned that desire...Years of searching for priests to assist us have turned up no long-term solution.... The demands of serving our community call for a priest convinced of our position and goals. Otherwise, longevity is not likely. The most obvious question is how will it be done? We have long prayed for this goal, and sought to achieve it through proper canonical channels. Knowing how saturated the hierarchy is with modernism - from Rome on down - we have concluded that passage through these channels is impossible without compromising our Crusade. We are forced to take extraordinary measures to procure ordination. To be precise, we would be seeking ordination without dimissorial letters, the canonical permission granted by a diocesan bishop or other prelate for a man to be ordained. Is this action justified? In a word: Yes..."
Just this morning, a Catholic lay woman forwarded me an email which was apparently written by "Brother" Andre Marie's mother, Mrs. Eleonore Villarrubia, in which she wrote in part:
"Dear Ms. Duclos,
I am sorry that you have publicly referred to Brother Andre as a "con man." He may be many things some folks don't like, but he is the most honest and open person I know. You seem to know something about the workings of Chruch procedure. (Most of the ignoramouses who write to this blog [Keene Sentinel Talkback, My Note] criticising St. Benedict Center have no idea what a dismissorial letter is.) Yes, it is true that St. Benedict Center functions without the Bishop's permission. Brother Andre and Brother Francis have seen the Bishop at least once, possibly twice, to present their case. Brother Andre tries to stay in touch with the Bishop to keep him informed of the situation in Richmond. Brother has petitioned the Bishop for regularization and recognition, but he ignores us.
Surely, as a Catholic, you are aware of the terrible crisis in the modern Catholic Church - diminishing vocations, silly music, no reverence, priests who do not believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, nuns who have become witches, Catholic Schools who do not teach Catholicism. The list is endless. Many good Catholics are left scratching their heads in the New Church of NICE.
St. Benedict Center adheres to Catholic dogma as it has been taught for two millenia. Vatican II did not change doctrine. NO ONE can change doctrine. Vatican II was merely a pastoral council, not a doctrinal council. This is history and fact. The changes were brought about by liberal churchmen who undermined the church from within. This, too, is history.
The fact is, that St. Benedict Center is Catholic, functioning independently as many Traditional Catholic groups do in this time of trial. Brother Andre is an ordained deacon, not by the local bishop, but ordained nevertheless. I happened to be present at the ordination. In the pictures you see on the website, he is wearing the vestments of a DEACON, not a priest, as some of our detractors have claimed (again, showing their ignorance).... Yes, there is a hate group in Richmond, but it is not St. Benedict Center, Mrs. Duclos; it is our few, but very vocal opponents in this town who are atheists, agnostics, and who knows what else who fear a small, powerless (except for God's grace), poor little independent Catholic monastery.."
"Brother" Andre is an ordained deacon? How so? Once again, Canon 1015 of the Code of Canon Law states that: "Each candidate is to be ordained to the presbyterate or the diaconate by his own bishop or with legitimate dimissorial letters from him." Therefore, it would appear that Mrs. Villarrubia isn't all that familiar with "the workings of Church procedure."
This was also the case, of course, under the previous Code of Canon Law. In his classic work Moral Theology, Fr. Heribert Jone writes that:
"A suspension not reserved is incurred by: (b) One who is maliciously ordained without dimissorials or with falsified ones.." (Canon 2374). (Moral Theology, p. 306).
This is very serious. I fully understand that Mrs. Villarrubia wants to defend her son's actions. But his actions are indefensible. And her email epitomizes that lack of charity and arrogance which has come to define the SBC cult. In her email, Mrs. Villarrubia refers to "chruch procedure" (read Church procedure) and to "ignoramouses" (her plural of the word ignoramus) who have "no idea what a dismissorial (the word is dimissorial) letter is."
But does Mrs. Villarrubia possess an adequate understanding of what a dimissorial letter is? It would seem that she does not.