Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Word of Clarification Regarding "Brother" Michael Dimond and the Most Holy Family "Monastery."

A reader forwarded me a link to an article which is cited at another Catholic Blog and asked me whether the organization responsible for the article is indeed Catholic.  It is not.  The organization in question is the "Most Holy Family Monastery," a sedevacantist organization which has challenged the papal authority of Pope John Paul II.  This dissident organization published a pamphlet entitled "101 Heresies of Anti-Pope John Paul II." A chief concern, running throughout the list of the Holy Father’s alleged heresies, involves his outreach to other faiths and efforts at ecumenism. The pamphlet’s message is that by virtue of Pope John Paul II’s heresies, his papacy is no longer valid.

The Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, commented on the dissident organization's magazine, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness saying, "That magazine, slick and expensive, is very anti-Catholic, and seems to have the purpose of luring unsuspecting Catholics into grave error and schism. There is no 'Most Holy Family Monastery' in Fillmore, New York, listed in the official Catholic Directory. Therefore, it is not authentically Catholic at all. Fillmore is located in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, and the bishop there has announced that the magazine and 'Monastery' have no connection with the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, there are many anti-Catholic tricks abroad, some disguised one way and some another. Always check with your parish priest about "new magazines" claiming to be Catholic or religious."

In his classic work entitled Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton so eloquently explains that: "This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. The Church in its early days went fierce and fast with any warhorse; yet it is utterly unhistoric to say that she merely went mad along one idea, like a vulgar fanaticism. She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles. She left on one hand the huge bulk of Arianism, buttressed by all the worldly powers to make Christianity too worldly. The next instant she was swerving to avoid an orientalism, which would have made it too unworldly. The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable. It would have been easier to have accepted the earthly power of the Arians. It would have been easy, in the Calvinistic seventeenth century, to fall into the bottomless pit of predestination. It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom -- that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect."

"It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls." Truer words were never spoken. This is so because men are tempted by pride to prefer their own opinions and preferences to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Magisterium of His Church. Such people forget that, "..the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." (Dei Verbum, No. 10).

Many of those who adhere to Fr. Leonard Feeney's interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus are in this category. Others are simply confused as to what the Church actually teaches. Dr. Germain Grisez provides us with clarification on this teaching:

"Because the Church is the unique new covenant community, outside her there is no savation, as Lateran IV solemnly teaches: 'There is but one universal Church of the faithful outside which no one at all is saved' (DS 802/430). Vatican II reaffirms this definitive teaching (see LG, 14, AG, 7). But it must be rightly understood. Already in 1863, Pius IX, while absolutely rejecting indifferentism, teaches (as something taken for granted by both himself and the bishops) that those who are ready to submit to God but are separated from the true faith and Catholic unity by invincible ignorance can receive God's grace, live uprightly, and be saved (see Quanto conficiamur moerore, Pii IX Pontificis maximi acta, 3.1 [Rome 1868], 612-614 [DS 2865-67/1677]; PE, 60.6-8). Also, in a 1949 decree approved by Pius XII, the Holy Office rejected a more restrictive interpretation (see DS 3866-73). What is new in Vatican II's teaching is the clarification that, although the one and only Church subsists in the Catholic Church (see LG, 8; UR, 4; DH, 1), she also embraces in various ways all who 'sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience" (LG, 16; GS, 22)...Thus, it remains true that there is no salvation outside the Church, but it is now recognized that those who are in good faith in not wishing to be inside the Catholic Church are not entirely outside her (see UR, 3; CMP, 30.2)."

In the mid-1990's, I tried to explain this to Mother Teresa Benaway of St. Ann House in Still River, Massachusetts. I had written Mother because a local priest had advanced Fr. Leonard Feeney's strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus during Holy Mass at St. Ann House. I also contacted The Most Reverend Daniel P. Reilly, then Bishop of the Worcester Diocese, with my concerns. This after Mother Benaway asked me not to return to St. Ann House for Holy Mass. His Excellency explained to Mother why she was in the wrong and that I could return to Mass there if I so desired (for the sake of prudence, I decided not to). He also explained to Mother Benaway that should he receive additional complaints that Fr. Feeney's strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus was being advanced, he would take away the indult for celebrating the Latin Mass.

It is always simple to fall. But when we stand with the teaching of the Magisterium, we have Christ's teaching. And we will not fall.

Related reading here.


Andrew said...

I've received their publication in the past along with appeals for money. Thanks for the heads up about this pseudo-Catholic group.

Rory McGinn said...

The Still River group remains a center of the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass in the diocese of Worcester. The sisters' chapel holds the TLM. The monks up the hill (St. Benedict Abbey) celebrate the N.O. Mass in Latin. The New Hampshire splinter group (St. Benedict Center) has been out of communion with the bishop up there, but I believe I heard recently that things had/were being patched up. Perhaps our website host knows their current status.

TheLastCatholicinBoston said...

I've got several thoughts to share regarding this post. I too saw some of Dimond's material on the other blog and thought it needed some clarification. I admire Dimond's audacity and rigorous examination of the facts at hand. I am not the first Catholic who would defend his right to believe what he does. Relativism that puts all religions in the same category as vehicles for salvation is rubbish. I think that Islamic suicide bombers are not exactly on the Jesus team. Is there ignorance invincible or perhaps just hate filled?
Re; Fr. Feeney. He was well before my time but when I read about him I can't help but marvel. Wasn't Avery Dulles once one of his boy's? I find it remarkable that Feeney's interpretation of -no salvation out side the church- to this day causes such a tempest. Did Feeney or the church on earth for that matter ever claim to be granting Salvation? It is as we know Gods judgment alone. We have suffered through such quasi-catholic foolishness in Boston for decades that Feeney would be a breath of fresh air today, save his antisemitism

Regarding the threat to 'take away the indult for the Latin Mass' Thank God this Pope straighten this clerical abuse out. The laity have a RIGHT to the Latin Mass.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

"Relativism that puts all religions in the same category as vehicles for salvation is rubbish." Well said LastCatholic. I couldn't agree more. This is the mind of the Church.

Rory, I prefer the Latin Mass. For obvious reasons. But I have gone into detail as to why at this Blog. And I have attended Mass at St. Ann House, St. Benedict Center and Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel.

I also admire much of what Father Feeney wrote. He was a very gifted writer and priest. Unfortunately his interpretation of EENS has caused so much turmoil within the Church.

Andrew, "Brother" Dimond's group is truly anti-Catholic.

TheLastCatholicinBoston said...

"Unfortunately his interpretation of EENS has caused so much turmoil within the Church."

Was it his interpretation or the response to it that caused 'turmoil'? From my perspective it was the patsies and hacks who didn't want to hurt the feelings of those on the road to perdition.
It was this bunch that banished Feeney from the kingdom of Boston. It is extremely important to note that in the end Feeney prior to his death was in full communion with the church.

Play this out a bit...Cardinal Feeney tosses Paul Shanley out on his 'arse' in 1964. Great loss for the church?

"Brother" Dimond's group is truly anti-Catholic."
I find that the term anti-catholic describing Dimond to be plain wrong, unless you would use the same term for Bernadine, John Kerry and all other public figures who depute ignore or disregard church teaching.

In my experience it is easier to pull folks back from the overly scrupulous hard trady right than it is to pull them from the self worship of the quasi-catholic far left.

Alzina said...

It was Feeney's interpretation. As Paul wrote in a previous post, "Fr. William Most, an internationally acclaimed Scripture scholar and theologian writes: 'In the late 1940s Leonard Feeney, S. J. began to teach that there is no salvation outside the Church. He was correct in saying that there were official teachings, even definitions, on that score. But his tragic error came when he adopted Protestant method, thinking that in that way he would be one of the only true Catholics! We spoke of his protestant method with good reason. First, he was excommunicated for disobedience, refusing to go to Rome to explain his position. Then the Holy Office, under Pius XII, sent a letter to the Archbishop of Boston, condemning Feeney's error. (It is known that Pius XII personally checked the English text of that letter). In the very first paragraph pointed out what is obvious: we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture -- for that is strictly Protestant. But then the letter said we must also avoid private interpretation of the official texts of the Church. To insist on our own private interpretation, especially when the Church contradicts that, is pure Protestant attitude...

What the disobedient Feeney said amounted to this: he insisted that all who did not formally enter the Church would go to hell. Hence he had to say, and he did say, that unbaptized babies go to hell. Further, all adults who did not formally enter the Church - get their names on a parish register - would also go to hell, even if they never had a chance to hear there was a Church, e.g., those in the western hemisphere during the long centuries before Columbus. Therefore Feeney consigned literally millions upon millions to hell, even though He gave them no chance. Not just the documents of the Church as interpreted by the Church should have kept him from this: merely common sense, and the realization that God is not only not a monster, but is infinitely good - that alone should have stopped him. We have, then, most ample reason for calling his error tragic. Even the sexually immoral do not deny that God is good. Feeney does worse than they.'

You find the term "anti-Catholic" to be wrong wth regard to the sedevacantist group referred to? Then you have a problem with Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz and his diocese. For it was the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska which declared - and rightfully so - this idiotic group to be anti-Catholic.

"Most Holy Family Monastery" isn't Catholic. It has declared Pope John Paul II to be a pseudo-Pope who was heretical. If you believe that, you're not Catholic.

Ashley Pelletier said...

Not anti-Catholic? What on earth? David Moorcroft left this comment on Facebook and I couldn't agree more with it:

"Paul - I'm sorry to say I have had some contact with sedevacantists of this persuasion.They are impenetrable to rational debate. I had to block them because they are exploiting the Net and networking sites to prey on vulnerable and disaffec...ted Catholics. I did not want them searching my wall and friends' list. Perhaps this message needs to be put out there. The 'Most Holy FamilyMonastery' is bogus. There is no such monastery. The 'Brothers Dimond OSB' are frauds. Neither is a professed Benedictine. Moreover their website contains anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying material. This material is grossly offensive, available internationally, and Holocaust-denial, as you will know, is a criminal offence in Germany. Is there nothing that can be done at law to get this website closed down?"

When an organization consistently attacks the Vicar of Christ and Church teaching, that organization IS anti-Catholic. Period.

Elizabeth said...

TheLastCatholicinBoston said...

Thank you ladies for your response.

Feeney denied God was good? Not.
Feeney took our faith to the street, he brought theology to the public square and it made clerics interested in politics positively Crazy!

Christ did turn the tables over in the temple for a reason.

A few things I'd like to share in my Boston Catholic walk as a blue color man. I've had a priest come to my workplace for a visit wearing black finger nail polish. I have had co workers ask me with a straight face 'you still take your kids to that queer church?' or 'all priests are queer or pedophiles'
A few events in my spiritual walk in the 1990's; I've been publicly humiliated from the pulpit on three occasions twice I was pointed at with my family and a third time the priest actually walked off the alter and got in my face, one priest was later arrested in a rest area, the second had a breakdown and the third died awaiting trial for the assault of a seven year old boy - he was arrested for the assault of a retarded gentleman while he waited trial, he also was questioned for what was deemed a consensual event with a seminarian in 1972! None of these three demonic priest were ever publicly dealt with, all three quietly left the priesthood with out much fanfare and near zero press.
(I can give more details or specifics if you are interested)

Dimond and Feeney are a problem?

Bruskewitz was dealing with farm country Catholic folk who would be vulnerable to over scrupulousness.
Sure Dimond could be a problem for him. An he addressed it.

Feeney was dealing with hacks and queers in Boston, He brought strong medicine. Is it unreasonable to suggest that he was railroaded for being a rabble rouser and upsetting the power structure? And again - he was completely vindicated prior to his
death! The guy had testosterone.

People do end up in hell. Was Feeney the last clergyman to make this statement publicly? It certainly seems that way.

Was Feeney off his rocker? Perhaps, some of my best friends are too. Is Fr. William Most correct in his theological arguments regarding Feeney?
Arguments with dead men are unfair. Honestly, i couldn't care less. I just want the valid sacraments for my family OK?

i have seen that some true fringe 'skin head types' have noted Feeney. The solution is men like Cardinal Burk and Bruskewitz to show quite publicly how serious catholic clergy interact with the world in the face of great error.

Not the mamby pamby crap that has been torturing the few Catholic men left in the pews for a generation. ...go ahead, ask me why I like the Latin Mass. And thank you Benedict XVI for the Moto Proprio.

JPII has not been canonized contrary to popular belief. His 'theology of the body' has a few gems, it also makes a great door stop.

Dimond and Feeney both are guilty of having strong controversial opinions.

I'm Ok with that.

Anonymous said...

The Brothers Dimond brothers and their two-man (namely the two Dimonds) Most Holy Family Monastery are self-styled Feeneyites. They have no connection with any of the original Feeneyites or their descendants. Their attitude towards any other Feeneyites (original or self-styled) is that of the old saying "All the world is queer but you and me, my dear; and then I think that you are a little queer," because they have "ex-communicated" all the other Feeneyites.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Dear "LastCatholicinBoston," I would point you to the following link which highlights the Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing regarding Father Leonard Feeney:

This letter states clearly that, " is beyond understanding how a member of a religious Institute, namely Father Feeney, presents himself as a 'Defender of the Faith,' and at the same time does not hesitate to attack the catechetical instruction proposed by lawful authorities, and has not even feared to incur grave sanctions threatened by the sacred canons because of his serious violations of his duties as a religious, a priest, and an ordinary member of the Church.

Finally, it is in no wise to be tolerated that certain Catholics shall claim for themselves the right to publish a periodical, for the purpose of spreading theological doctrines, without the permission of competent Church authority, called the 'imprimatur,' which is prescribed by the sacred canons.

Therefore, let them who in grave peril are ranged against the Church seriously bear in mind that after 'Rome has spoken' they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith. Certainly, their bond and duty of obedience toward the Church is much graver than that of those who as yet are related to the Church 'only by an unconscious desire.' Let them realize that they are children of the Church, lovingly nourished by her with the milk of doctrine and the sacraments, and hence, having heard the clear voice of their Mother, they cannot be excused from culpable ignorance, and therefore to them apply without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation."

Reflect very carefully on those words. May you have a Blessed Advent!

plinth23 said...

The demon Dimond bros are not Catholic (although they insist the are); are not Benedictine bros. They are spiders to the fly. They attract the unsuspecting (maybe due to some weakness in thed faith in the interested party) Then when they think they have you're attention, they relentlessly bombard the victim with venemous anti-Catholic propaganda. If at some point, by the grace God, you realize tricks of the Devil and try to extract yourself, they heap their vile accusations on you: heretic being their favorite & "you're going to hell" another or "you're an enemy of Christ or "you're not even Catholic. Your going to hell"-as one of their male protege's likes to say in his numerous emails to all challenger's. How can anyone call the Church "Whore of Babylon" (Which actually refers to pre-Christian Rome)& still deign to call himself a "true Catholic" ?

Kevin B said...

I feel I must inform many of you about my experience with Michael Diamond- about 2 years ago I actually emailed the Monastary located somewhere Upstate NY to ask them where I can find the Real Mass and how I can find their location (I am from North Jersey). They soon replied telling me they can not give me any of that information unless I vowed to NEVER set foot in a Catholic church where the new Mass is being served, any Christian or Protestant churches including Weddings or Funerals and to have no contact with family or friends unless to get them to leave their Church and do the same! This sounds like one of those crazy cults! Next he would probably want me to drain my bank acct! He seems to lack what Jesus wants us to do most - Love!! This is just my say! God Bless!!

Anonymous said...

The Most Holy Family Monastery is a cult or dangerous cult-like organization that was ex-communicated by the Catholic Church. The group has staged debates but also offers many alarming Internet mp3s and videos to entice gullible people to their web sits to solicit donations. It is afforded the legal protection of the First Amendment in the United States.which is mainly why MHFM did not lose the 2011-2012 $1.4 million law suit against plaintiff, former member, Eric Hoyle. If MHFM had the status of a regular corporation, instead of its religious designation, the court could have delved into its doctrines to factually analyze Mr. Hoyle's claim that the Brothers Dimond are not Real, Actual Benedictine monks. Due to the First Amendment, if the Brothers SAY they are Benedictine monks, then they ARE Benedictine monks, even without Catholic Church ordination. They believe it, but you don't have to.

Jonny said...

See the excellent new book THE SEDEVACANTIST DELUSION: WHY VATICAN II'S CLASH WITH SEDEVACANTISM SUPPORTS EASTERN ORTHODOXY. This book exposes the Dimond brothers' phony heretical ecclesiology. Now available on Amazon.

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