Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 27, 2001
Bishops condemn Marian sect
Quebec-based group claims to be lead by reincarnation of Virgin Mary
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
OTTAWA — The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has condemned a Quebec-based sect whose founder claims to be the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.
Canadian Catholics should have nothing to do with the Army of Mary, a still active heretical sect banned in Quebec in 1987, the CCCB said in an Aug. 15 "doctrinal note."
"The Army of Mary's ongoing activities and teachings pose dangers for the Catholic Church in Canada and to the faith of its members," the bishops said.
In view of this and the continuing threat to the integrity and unity of the Catholic faith, the bishops declare that the sect, regardless of its claim to the contrary is not a Catholic association. The note was approved by the Vatican.
"When one looks at the fundamental principles of the (sect), it is very Catholic," said Archbishop Maurice Couture, archbishop of Quebec.
"What was unacceptable was the way of promoting Marian devotion, especially with regard to writings on the person of the foundress," Couture said in May 2000.
In its four-page statement, CCCB underscored the Catholic teaching concerning private revelations, Mary's role in the history of salvation and the role of the Church authority.
It also pointed out where the sect's teachings and practices came into conflict with orthodoxy.
The private revelations, upon which members of the Army of Mary stake their claim, do not merely urge Catholics to follow the Gospel, "they include spurious new doctrines that are without foundation in the Scripture or tradition," said the note.
Its Marian devotion contains many elements that are patently contrary to the teaching of the Church, especially with regard to Mary's place in God's plan of redemption and her non-repeatable, irreplaceable role in salvation history.
Writings of Marie-Paul Giguere, its foundress and Marc Bosquart, an avid follower, suggested that Giguere is the living reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.
In May 2000, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, alerted the CCCB to the continued operation of the sect 12 years after its status in the Church was revoked by Cardinal Louis-Albert Vachon, then archbishop of Quebec.
Members of the Army of Mary are not worried about the doctrinal note.
"We are rejoicing as we see the prophecy being realized," said their official statement issued two days after the CCCB note was released.
The statement claimed that the CCCB note is a fulfillment of the prophecy on suffering and triumph of the Army of Mary Foundress Mother Paul-Marie Giguere.
On April 28, 1958, Giguere allegedly received a message from God that she will suffer from persecution by the Church particularly from the clergy, who are sinning through pride, egoism and sensuality.
The alleged message also mentioned that "one day the truth will shine forth" and that Giguere will be given proof of her innocence.
The sect said that its work is God's work. Therefore they claim that God "will save his work." Their work is to bring together souls of good will resolved to live, with Mary, the Christian life to its perfection in all the demands of the duties of their state.
The Army of Mary, which is present in 14 countries with 25,000 members, was founded on Aug. 28, 1971 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Etchemin, in the Diocese of Quebec.
The sect, which prides itself for having financed the education and preparation of more than 40 priests, claims that it draws its legitimacy from God.
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