Expert Answer Forum
Legitimacy QUESTION from David Sanders November 28, 2000 I was discussing your site with a friend who, after looking it over, told me that you are not really a Catholic clergyman, that your ideas and beliefs are not those of the Catholic Church. I'm confused, since I trust his judgement on a lot of things, and I would like to know if he's right. Are you truly a Catholic brother? Does the Church agree with your statements? How can you reassure me that your site is legitimate?
Please answer, because I have found a lot of inspiration from you, and hope my friend is wrong.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 2, 2001 Dear Mr. Sanders:
Thank you for your support and especially thank you for not presuming gossip is true. Your friend is obvious not my friend and is sinning against me with the sins of rash judgment, slander, and gossip. Thus let me set the record straight
First, I am not clergy. I have never claimed to be clergy. I have never implied in any way that I am clergy. It is only those with malicious and evil intent that suggest that I have ever claimed to be clergy.
I have many enemies out there. The reason is that I tell the Truth and I don't tolerate heretics, heterodox, schismatics, or anti-Catholics. I do not back down from these bullies who try to distort the faith.
I might add that the vast majority of people (at least 99%) who spew these slanders and libels against me and the Legion of St. Michael do so because I caught them asserting error about the Church and would not let them get by with it. Thus the slanders are a revenge.
As I write on the page that has our theme song:
... when one seeks to serve God in bold, prophetic, and apostolic ways it attracts the attention of the enemy. Unfortunately the enemy can sneak his sulphurous thoughts into weak men who then inadvertently or not so inadvertently do the devil's bidding. St. Peter did this when he would not accept the idea of Jesus suffering and death to come. Jesus turned to him, recognizing the real source of the dissuasion and said, get thee behind me Satan (Matt: 16:22-23). There are many who seek to discourage us. Some even openly try to destroy us. Satan has sifted even a few Church officials to sin against us with slander.
This is not unusual, or course. Anytime one stands for Christ they will be persecuted with slanders. Jesus Himself said this would happen. Also, this sort of mis-treatment is rather typical when trying to start a new order. St. Montfort was treated this way, for example, St Ignatius Loyola in the beginning was treated this way. Many if not most founders of orders were treated this way by laity and clergy alike. It is sort of a rite of passage for new orders to go through this.
As for what I say and teach, let me refer you to our disclaimer statement:
The Legion of St. Michael fully submits itself to the authentic teaching authority of the Pope and Magisterium of the Catholic Church, to Canon Law, and to the proper law of the Church as it applies to Private Associations and to the Christian Faithful. Additionally, each of our members must affirm Loyalty to that authentic teaching authority as a condition of membership. (See Statement of Loyalty & Fidelity)
Therefore, when we publish any form of writing, or make any speech, or offer any advice or counseling, or moderate any chatroom or mail list, the Legion of St. Michael and its representatives seek to express only official teachings on subjects for which an official teaching exists - submitting all personal opinions to that official teaching.
In other areas, where latitude of opinion is allowed, every attempt is made to offer opinions that are in full accord with the general spiritual principles and teachings of the Church, Sacred Scriptures, and Sacred Tradition and the with the Catholic worldview.
You friend saying that my ideas and words are not the ideas of the Church is a bald face lie. Look for yourself. I challenge ANYONE to find any statement or teaching on this website that is not in line with the Church. And if by some oversight there is some teaching or assertion we make on this website that is not in line with the Church, it will be changed immediately.
Don't listen to gossip, look at the Site. The Website speaks for itself.
As to where we are a legitimate community. Yes, we are. We do not as yet have a bishop's recognition, but NO NEW COMMUNITY has that at first. That takes 10-15 years on average. We are in our 7th year. St. Francis of Assisi was not recognized at first. Those who try to use the fact that we are not yet recognized are either disingenuous knowing that it takes time to get recognition and this is not a big deal, or arrogant in that they are coming up with definitions of legitimacy that are not in line with the Church's definitions.
We are in FULL accord of all Canon Law concerning groups like ours and with the mind of the Church as proven by the words of the Pope who has endorsed the type of group that we are, and the Congregation on Consecrated Life who thinks that groups like ours are totally legitimate.
You can read a lengthly description that is FULLY footnoted and peppered with direct quotes from the Pope and the official journal of the Congregation on Consecrated Life. Let it speak for itself to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The URL to our Disclaimer Statement is: http://legion.saint-mike.org/general_disclaimer.html
I might add, to be on the safe side, we have consulted with certified canon lawyers to see if we are doing anything wrong. They affirm that we are doing just fine and all within the Teaching of the Church. They do recommend a couple of minor fine-tuning type changes which we are in the process of doing, but those are minor. Overall, they affirm we are within all Canonical requirements and are fully legitimate thereby.
In the end, we can offer 100s pages of quotes from the Pope and the Vatican, reports from Canon Lawyers to beat the band, but it will not matter. For those people of good will, we will be judged properly and they will see that are loyal sons of the Church. To those with evil intent, and those of ill will, no amount of reason or proof will suffice.
May God bless you for not accepting gossip. I hope this answer will help you see our true intent and love of the Church, the Pope, our Lord, and you.
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