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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Intercessors, Suppressions and Deserts

Earlier this month, on November 9, I wrote about the church's censoring of a "maverick" group Opus Sanctorum Angelorum. 

After the church moved in and cleaned up, the group was allowed to continue to exist in its new form, and, under its new authority: the church. I wrote:
Since 1992, the group has been under the authority of a Vatican appointed overseer, Dominican Father Benoit Duroux, who handed over his responsibilities to his fellow Dominican Fr. Daniel Ols in March 2010.
Something happened that caused Opus Angelorum to morph into something the Vatican could approve of, "obedience" being one cause for the Vatican's acceptance of the group:

Today, thanks to the obedience of its members, the Opus Angelorum can be considered to be living loyally and serenely in conformity with the doctrine of the Church and with canonical and liturgical law,” the Vatican said.

“Therefore, in its present state, the Opus Angelorum is a public association of the Church in conformity with traditional doctrine and with the directives of the Holy See.”


Today an Associated Press item reports on another renegade group: Intercessors of the Lamb. 

Intercessors of the Lamb was founded by Nadine Brown in 1980.  The group of men and women live frugally and devote themselves to prayer. The church decided to denounce the group; this is called "suppression" a formal term used by Catholics and scholars:
The church's split with the Intercessors -- known in Catholic circles as suppression -- is more about control over the groups' form and function, the scholars say . . . Suppression is typically reserved for floundeirng parishes and inactive church groups, but is occasionally used to silence wayward organizations.
On the Opus Angelorum site is the official letter from the church that details the current, approved state of Opus Angelorum, and reminds members of any ideas about straying away from official doctrine. "Suppression" hovers just around the corner:
In this letter, the Congregation at the same time warns Bishops of some former members, including priests who either left or were expelled from the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross and who “have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the ‘authentic Opus Angelorum’, that is, a movement which professes and practices all those things which were forbidden by the above-mentioned documents.”

Brown was forced to resign from the religious organization she founded, and was forcefully removed from the premises. Brown writes:
Monday morning, October 4, 2010, Fr. Joe Taphorn, accompanied by two Douglas County Sheriffs, came to Mary’s House to present a letter to me from the Archbishop stating I was to vacate the property by noon, three and one half hours later. It was also stated that I was not to leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without specific permission from the Archbishop. However, two minutes before noon, word came that I had an extension and could stay until 2:00 p.m. the next day, October 5, 2010. In obedience, I complied with this and left the property the next day via taxi. Because I was given no money and had no place to go, a friend provided accommodations in an Omaha motel.
Since the Archbishop indicated that I could not leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without his permission, I requested permission a week later to make a retreat elsewhere. I was denied the permission and consequently was obedient to this directive as well. Because the other nine sisters and the one brother had informed their Superiors that they were taking sabbaticals, they were free to go anywhere and they chose to join me. Consequently, there is no disobedience whatsoever on the part of these former sisters and brother.
I found the part about the sheriffs interesting. Indeed, as I was reading the newspaper article in this morning's paper, I made a note: "what authority?" in response to the following:
Archdiocese officials said Brown resigned voluntarily after it raised issues with the way the group was being run. Brown claims she was forced out and escorted off the groups' property by authorities. [bold mine]
It seems money is very much an issue here. According to the newspaper article, Intercessors of the Lamb earned close to four million dollars, and "net assets ... more than six million." The group owns eithy six acres in Ponca Hills, Nebraska. (I did a quick scan of various Catholic blogs that are discussing this; one such is here, and also here.)


Both Opus Sanctorum Angelorum and Intercessors of the Lamb were started by women. Nadine Brown was a sister in the Contemplentives of the Good Shepherd before leaving the order to start Intercessors of the Lamb.  Both groups focus not on a single (and male) deity, but female representations, guides and go-betweens - intercessors - that are messengers between human and divinity. The church, as institution, has been cut out.  Brown closes her letter on the Intercessor website with this reminder:
In closing, let us continue to live as children of Mary, Mother of the Lamb, and her “fiat grace” to “do whatever He tells you” truly believing “that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His decree.”[bold, italics mine]
Brown's daily message for November 26, 2010 focuses on the "feminine dimension of our soul.":
This work of solitude is always the leading of the Holy Spirit. In Hosea 2:16 we read, “I will lead her into the desert and there I will speak to her heart.”  . . . The Church is the “her.”  We, each of us, are a “she” because of the feminine dimension of our soul.  “And there I will speak to her heart.”    Even when Jesus was with the woman at the well, He was there drawing her into that encounter with Himself, into that love.  He spoke to her of the Holy Spirit and the Father. And she was alone there with Him.  She was drawn there at noontime, which was not the time of day when women would normally draw water.  She was drawn there by the Holy Spirit for this encounter.  That is a solitary encounter.  That is a desert experience right there. “The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of …”  Rev 12:6
The desert setting and the feminine encountering spiritual forces -- "that is a desert experience right there...the woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God..." brings to mind many of the contactees, who had their encounters in the desert. In particular, I'm reminded of contactee Dana Howard,(Up Rainbow Hill, Over the Threshold, My Flight to Venus,) who had a deep passion for the desert, finding great peace there and where she had many meetings with the entity called Diane. (I wrote the introduction to Tim Beckely's Global Communication reissue of Over the Threshold on Howard's mystical ties to the desert.)


Another desert contactee is George Van Tassel, who was also pulled by the mystery of the desert. Van Tassel lived in the desert and built the Integreton, a bulidng that would facilitate meetings with extraterrestrails. Van Tassel's buliding was round:
"Angel Cloud Over Dome" via the Welcome to The Integratron site
 


And so is the Intercessors of the Lamb's building:


The angel cloud formation above The Integratron dome is interesting. The building, and Giant Rock, home to Van Tassel, sits on a powerful spot:
The location of the Integratron is an essential part of its functioning. Its placement was chosen based on a complex set of theories involving the earth's magnetic field and the Integratron's relationship to the Great Pyramid in Egypt and Giant Rock, the world's largest freestanding boulder. In 1947, Van Tassel began operating the Giant Rock Airport three miles away from the Integratron, and in 1953 initiated communications with extra-terrestrials after a physical encounter at Giant Rock.  He subsequently hosted 17 Spacecraft Conventions there for UFO enthusiasts. 
According to Van Tassel, the Integratron is located on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that, when focused by the unique geometry of the building, will concentrate and amplify the energy required for rejuvenation and healing.  In 2005, a geophysicist measured the earth's magnetic field for up to 15 miles in every direction from the Integratron and then inside the dome.  She proclaimed that there is a significant, unexplainable spike in the earth's magnetic field in the center of the Integratron. ~ from the Welcome to The Integratron site.




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