Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Saint Benedict Center cult sanctioned by the Catholic Church

From The Union Leader:

RICHMOND — The radical-traditionalist Catholic group the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is now under sanction from the Roman Catholic Church for failing to follow Catholic teaching, according to documents released Monday.

The sanctions — which range from a ban on routine Catholic sacraments at their Richmond compound to a revision of IRS documents that describe them as Catholic — could be ratcheted up if the group does not comply with orders by church leaders, especially orders to stop preaching the doctrine that only Catholics go to heaven.

They must also stop describing themselves or presenting their teachings as Catholic, something the Vatican ordered them to do two years ago.

“They regularly use semantics to mislead people,” said Rev. Georges de Laire, the vicar for canonical affairs for the Diocese of Manchester.

The sanctions follow a report that an adult woman is being held against her will at the compound in Richmond, a town on the Massachusetts border south of Keene.

De Laire said the woman, who is in her early 20s, has taken supposed vows to eventually become a nun. Her out-of-state family, who are devout Catholics, contacted the diocese to report their daughter had joined the Slaves.

When the FBI interviewed the woman in August, she told them she is there of her own accord, and the FBI could do nothing more, de Laire said. The FBI would not comment.

Louis Villarrubia, who presents himself at Brother Andre Marie, the leader of the Richmond group, said his group was cleared by the investigation, which was sparked when someone lied about the Slaves.

“There isn’t anyone here held against their will,” Villarrubia said.

On Monday, Villarrubia said he had not yet seen the document detailing the sanctions and had no comment. Villarrubia hung up during a phone interview.

Richmond Selectman Doug Bersaw, a member of the Slaves who is known as Brother Anthony Mary, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Slaves are being sanctioned by the church for their stance on the Catholic teaching that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. The Slaves hold to a strict interpretation of that teaching, while the Vatican holds a more nuanced view.

In recent years, Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci has allowed a priest in good standing from another diocese to minister to the Slaves and their congregation, celebrating Mass in the traditional Latin rite, and administering other Catholic sacraments. According to a statement released Monday by the Diocese, the Slaves have used that allowance to imply they were an approved Catholic organization.

“They have never been recognized, and they have never been an official Catholic organization,” de Laire said. The diocese has always considered the Slaves as individual Catholics, and not its own congregation, he said.

The sanctions will remain in place until midnight on June 30. It is hoped the group will come back into compliance with church teaching, de Laire said. If not, he said, there could be more severe consequences for the group.

Such sanctions would be arranged by Libasci and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. De Laire did not want to speculate on whether that would involve excommunication.

“The purpose of the church is to lead people to the means of salvation, not to kick people out,” he said.

The group also operates a number of websites, and publishes magazines and produces radio programs to push their version of Catholicism. All of that needs to stop for the group to come into compliance, the diocese said.

The Slaves have also been pegged as a hate group in recent years by the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center for statements members have made about Jewish people and homosexuals.

“I’m really proud of the Catholic Church’s decision here,” said Heidi Beirch of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They’ve denounced them for years over their anti-semitism.”

In 2017, Villarrubia “categorically” rejected being labeled as a hate group.

The group, which moved in the 1980s to Richmond, a town of 1,155 according to the 2010 Census. It developed a compound that includes living quarters for monks and sisters, a chapel, and a school. De Laire said about four brothers and eight sisters live there, as well as couples and families. Fewer than 30 children attend an on-site school.

All of the organizations affiliated with this group are now under orders from the Vatican to stop calling themselves Catholic, and no sacraments are permitted on site, except for extreme emergencies.

“Catholics are not permitted, under any circumstances, to receive the sacraments of the church at the Saint Benedict Center, and its associated locations, nor should they participate in any activity provided by this group or school,” a statement released Monday by the diocese says.

Letters are going out to surrounding parishes to inform Catholics about the status change. For Slaves who want to attend a Mass, the diocese is instituting a sanctioned Latin Mass for people to attend at St. Stanislaus Parish in Winchester.

As of Tuesday, however, the Slaves were still posting Mass times on their website.


Readers of this Blog know that I exposed this anti-Semitic cult for years. See here.

It seems the Church has finally had enough.

See my post on Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus here.


Stephen said...

It's about time the SBC cult was sanctioned. Louis Villarubia and his effeminate lay following are an embarassment to Catholics everywhere.

Samantha said...

No sacraments are permitted on the SBC site. That says it all. As does this from The Union Leader:

"Villarrubia hung up during a phone interview.

Richmond Selectman Doug Bersaw, a member of the Slaves who is known as Brother Anthony Mary, did not respond to requests for comment."

Silence..the last refuge of the cowardly scoundrel.

Anne said...

Excellent article on this ridiculous pseudo-Catholic group at The Keene Sentinel. It may be found here:

Wendy said...

I would encourage members of the Saint Benedict Center to leave the organization. It is clearly on a path of auto-demolition. They should attend St. Stanislaus Parish in Winchester for their sacramental needs.

Brian said...

Once again we have the FBI visiting the "Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" and their fake religious leader "Brother" Andre Marie.

Happily the Church has spoken clearly, these fraudsters are not Catholic.

Meredith said...

It is encouraging to see that other Catholic writers are now beginning to recognize the illicit status of this group of New Hampshire con artists. You were warning people years ago. So was Karl Keating.

Good for you!

Anonymous said...

I've read the Precepts of Prohibition placed on Villarrubia and the other members of the St. Benedict Center, and I highly doubt that the Feeneyites are going to comply. For one thing, on both social media and on their official website, the Feeneyites are spinning this development as being just a misunderstanding on the part of the Church. If only the hierarchy would properly comprehend what the Feeneyites truly believe, all would be well. In other words, in the minds of the Feeneyites, the problem is with the Church and not with them.

For another thing, the prohibitions are comprehensive. I mean they cover everything. For example, the SBC must inform the IRS for purposes of a tax exempt status that the organization is not Catholic. Also, the prohibitions must themselves be published on the official Feeneyite website. Additionally, "Br. Andre" and all others from the SBC are prohibited from teaching, presenting, or interpreting the teachings of the Catholic Church. Having seen the arrogant stubbornness of Villarrubia and gang, I don't think the Feeneyites will do any of it.

Here's a link to the prohibitions:

John said...

I think you're absolutely right. One SBC cultist, a self-proclaimed Vietnam Veteran, left a hate-filled comment here (it was shown to me), which is indicative of the arrogant mindset in Richmond.

David G. said...

Your post on Feeneyism is spot on. This encapsulates the problem:

On August 8, 1949, the Holy Office sent a letter to Archbishop Richard James Cushing of Boston condemning Father Feeney’s error. In this letter, the Holy Office explained that, "...among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church. However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church."

This teaching is reaffirmed in the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) of the Second Vatican Council, No. 10: "..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." See also: Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis (Aug 12, 1950): AAS 42 (1950), 568-69; Denz. 2314 (3886).

Anonymous said...

So if they get kicked out of the Church then they lose salvation according to their own ideology. A bit of a catch 22 for them. They had best submit to the Church and accept the true doctrine.

Edward Palamar said...

We have entered into the "age to come" foretold by Jesus in Mark 10:30.

Cyn M said...

Bless you, Paul, for being on the frontlines of Ecclesia Militans.God will reward.

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