Breaking: “Intercessors of the Lamb” leaves 48 members in need after Archbishop suppresses group

I had heard reports of this story over the weekend from Diane at Te Deum Ladamus but Brian Saint-Paul at Inside Catholic reminded me of it again today:

Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha has been forced to suppress the Intercessors of the Lamb, a formerly-Catholic association of the faithful in his archdiocese. After the group requested recognition as an official Catholic organization, the archbishop undertook a canonical visitation.

Some of the neighbors are glad for the suppression, and considered the group a cult.

Here is the video report by a local TV news station.

Here is the full statement by Archbishop Lucas (in PDF format).

An important corollary to this story is that forty-eight members of the community are acting in obedience to the Archbishop (I believe this number represents the entire community, but I am waiting for confirmation).

These forty-eight former members have, however, been left high-and-dry by the “Intercessors of the Lamb” and are now being cared for directly by the Archdiocese. Since they took a vow of poverty before entering the community, they have nothing to fall back on except our charity.

You can make a donation to help offset the costs of their basic needs through the Archdiocesan website here (which is being updated with new information).

I will update this story as more reliable information becomes available. In the meantime, please pray for the healing of all those involved, and especially for the former members of the community, and for understanding to develop between and the Archbishop.

And again, please contribute to the former members’ immediate materiel need, if you are able.

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23 thoughts on “Breaking: “Intercessors of the Lamb” leaves 48 members in need after Archbishop suppresses group

  1. Nick says:

    The Franciscans were surpressed for a time because of disobedient friars and misunderstanding of the Order, but the surpression was eventually lifted thanks to the obedient friars. So on one hand you gotta keep in mind the importance and severity of surpression, and on the other hand you gotta keep in mind the possible innocence of a group, movement, community, or order. Remember, the Way of Love goes by the Royal Way of the Cross!

    But obedience ought to come before emotionalism. This can be a litmus test, of sorts, for former Intercessors, and it might lift the surpression if they pass the test. Regardless of whether or not God is allowing a movement to be tested, every Christian is called to exercise Christian obedience, and religious are especially called to exercise obedience in that they must obey the local Ordinary as the Lord, since the Ordinary represents the Lord.

    I can give a personal example of obedience before emotionalism. I founded a movement called the Legion of Peace that focused on Daily Communion. However, I found that it violated a few Canons, so, I had a choice: Leave and end the spiritual movement or stick with what I felt was God’s Will. Well, just as I am sure God is in the Holy Eucharist, though I cannot be sure He is behind any unapproved revelation*, so I was sure God approved of Canon Law, though I could not be sure my feeling was from God: So I chose the former and entrusted the matter to God. In hindsight I chose wisely, because I have found that as leader of the Legionaries I was not receiving Holy Communion daily and that the movement had no particular charism of its own.

    * Cardinal Arinze on private revelations: “Somebody asked me, ‘There is one apparition that is reported, are you going on pilgrimage there?’ I said, ‘Oh yes, I go on pilgrimage, but do you know why I go on pilgrimage? The Chapel. Where we have the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. Where we are not guessing, where we are sure! That’s my pilgrimage.’”

  2. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    For anyone who wants to criticize Archbishop Lucas, read this story where three of the 48 former Intercessors who are being cared for by the archdiocese, explain what was transpiring. Go read: Former hermits put faith in future at Omaha.com. The beginning is mostly recap. However, as you get toward’s the bottom, they begin to give details of what was happening behind the scenes. From what I’m reading, the prompt action of the archbishop wasn’t only justified, but necessary.

    1. Slats says:

      Diane, that’s the main part of the “other shoe” I was talking about.

      1. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

        Just made a post on it at lunch time on my own blog.

        I’m sure more will emerge.

  3. Dan says:

    Yes, not knowing the charism is a bad thing. I suspect that a sizeable portion of religious are in the same boat, though: this problem is not limited to the Intercessors of the Lamb.

    I must take issue with the title of this post and one comment in the body of the post: “These forty-eight former members have, however, been left high-and-dry by the “Intercessors of the Lamb” and are now being cared for directly by the Archdiocese.” If the Intercesors, as an association, has been suppressed, “they” can not leave any of the members in need. There is no “they” anymore. On the other hand, these 48 people were the Intercessors of the Lamb and they, obviously, didn’t leave themselves high and dry. Anyway, if the intent is to say that the lay board, because of their lack of obedience, caused the Archbishop to make this move which, in turn, left the actual Intercessors in need, that I could agree with. I find the Facebook headline even more misleading and, in a sense, rather incoherent–”Breaking: ‘Intercessors of the Lamb’ leaves 48 members homeless after Archbishop supresses group.” That could also be seen as a calumnious comment.

    1. brandon says:

      These headlines do not report objective truth of events but seem to try to interpret them for us in a wrong way. I agree with you Dan. The titles need to be cleaned up.

    2. tantumblogo says:

      I don’t have any problem with this piece, except for the notion Dan points out, the idea that somehow the former religious order left their members high and dry. Everyone who joined made a voluntary decision to give up their material possessions, and when the order was abolished, there were no assets for them to have. Saying that the order left them high and dry implies an ugly culpability that I don’t think is warranted. It’s shoddy, at best.

      1. Slats says:

        Oh, there are assets, all right – big time assets. That’s a big chunk of the problem/controversy here. Read Diane’s link, below.

  4. Sr Lorraine says:

    It’s certainly a difficult situation for all involved. It also shows that some new groups that spring up can get sidetracked into practices that are not healthy, spiritually or otherwise.
    This is the wisdom of the Church’s regulation of religious orders. Some of the practices noted in the letter from the diocese are serious matters, such as misuse of temporal goods and the other problems noted. But one of the most serious is that the members were not clear about their charism and mission. That’s the nail in the coffin, because having a clearly defined mission is crucial for any religious congregation. Otherwise it’s just an association of pious and probably holy people, but what are they doing in the Church?
    I’ve been praying for them all, especially Mother Nadine, who is 81.

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