Army of Mary declared schismatic

  • May 6, 2007
{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - A small religious movement that follows a woman who claims to be the reincarnation of the Blessed Virgin has been declared schismatic by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec.
Once a pious association authorized by the Catholic Church in the archdiocese of Quebec City and other parts of Eastern Canada, the Army of Mary began to stray from the flock in the 1980s and had its teachings condemned by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001.

Then it went a step too far when it ordained five deacons at its headquarters, Centre Spiri-Maria, outside the city on Jan. 7 of this year.

In a pastoral statement released April 26, the cardinal declared that the priest who did the ordinations had no authority, under canon law, to do ordinations. He said the act represented a final act of defiance toward the Roman Catholic Church.

"This last gesture is one of extreme gravity because it breaks openly the communion with the Catholic Church," he said (Catholic Register translation from French). "These ordinations are thus invalid; they constitute a severe injury inflicted on the church."

Ouellet went on to declare that, "the Army of Mary has become clearly and publicly a schismatic movement and thus a non-Catholic association. Its particular doctrines are false and its activities cannot be frequented or supported by Catholics. Its priests and deacons can no longer exercise any ministry in the territory of the archdiocese of Quebec and the sacraments of Confirmation, Penance and Marriage administered by them are invalid due to the fact that they have no jurisdiction."

The cardinal also said the Army of Mary's priests and deacons are prohibited from presiding or concelebrating any liturgies in Catholic premises in the archdiocese.

The Army of Mary, founded by Marie-Paul Giguére, has over the years drifted away from traditional Catholic teachings. Among its claims, which have been deemed by the Catholic Church to be false, is that Giguére is the reincarnation of Mary, mother of God, and that she is co-redeemer with Christ.

It also defied orders from the official church when it built its chapel and headquarters at Lac Etchemin.

In 2001, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a doctrinal note to point out the errors of the Army of Mary and urge its members to renounce membership in the group.

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