Friday, November 13, 2009

"Holy Love Ministries" condemned as not supernatural by Bishop of Cleveland

Thanks to Richard Chonak at Catholic Light, my attention was turned to a decree which just appeared on the Diocese of Cleveland website on "Holy Love Ministries".  I wrote just a couple weeks ago on "Holy Love" in my post on unapproved private revelations.  In less than 5 minutes, I had found a caution on the diocesan website. 

A condemnation has just been released.   First, the bishop's letter (forgive any typos - I had to manually add all of this):

November 11, 2009

A group known by the name of "Holy Love Ministries" and also the "Missionary Servants of Holy Love" has been active in the Cleveland area for several years.  Earlier names associated with this group have been the "Our Lady Protectress of the Faith Movement", "Project Mercy" and "Mary's House of Prayer." They continue to seek funds to develop their center and support their effort.

At the request of the Holy See, I have been asked to examine and make a judgment on the activities of Holy Love Ministries. After consultation with a respected theological expert, and after attempts at dialogue with the leadership of Holy Love Ministries proved unsuccesseful, for the good of the Christian faithful, I issue the accompanying decree. 

I ask pastors, administrators, and parish life coordinators to make the decree known in a manner appropriate for your parishes.

Sincerely yours in Christ

+Richard Lennon
Bishop of Cleveland

11 November 2009

In the Name of God

To the Laity and the Clergy of the Diocese of Cleveland

In light of my responsibility for the promotion and protection of ecclesial life within the Diocese of Cleveland (cc. 387, 392, 223, §2); and

Having been directed by the Holy See to act definitively in the matter of the alleged apparitions to Maureen Sweeney Kyle; and

Having reviewed the theological content of the alleged apparitions and locutions to Maureen Sweeney Kyle and having consulted an expert in this matter (c. 747, §2);

I, Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland, hereby

  • Declared that the alleged apparitions and locutions to Maureen Sweeney Kyle are not supernatural in origin.
  • Forbid members of the clergy of any ecclesiastical jurisdiction to celebrate the sacraments on the site of Holy Love Ministries. (cc. 835, §1; 838, §4).
  • Admonish the faithful of the Diocese of Cleveland to cease gathering for any religious, liturgical, spiritual, or devotional purpose on the site of Holy Love Ministries. (cc. 212, §§1, 3; 214).
  • Declare that the Confraternity of the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary is not an approved association of the Christian faithful in the Diocese of Cleveland and may not legitimately use the name "Catholic" or represent itself as a Catholic group (c. 216).
This decree takes effect immediately.

Given at the Chancery of the Diocese of Cleveland on this 11th day of November in the year of Our Lord 2009

+Richard G. Lennon
Bishop of Cleveland

I think we are going to see a string of these around the world, where questionable apparitions have been without resolution for a significant period of years.   What I find interesting is that the bishop acknowledges having been asked by the Holy See to wrap it up, so to speak.  How many other bishops are getting the same kind of request on specific cases?

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!


TNP said...

How is this decree different from what the bishop(s) of Medjugorje have issued? Why does this one sound so much more final or am I missing something? Has the Holy See asked the bishop of Medjugorje to "wrap it up?" If not, why do you suppose that is?

I apologize for all the barrage of questions. I'm very curious about this.

Anonymous said...

Why such glee???? Nothing has been condemded. Look up the word is to warn.
Please be careful and accurate, report the facts and not what you want to see......rlt

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I will first address the anonymous post (while reminding people to use some sort of name because many can write in as "anonymous" and we can't distinguish between them).

Why such glee????

The only "glee" is that which is merely perceived. I don't find anything to rejoice in when people are duped by those seeking profits all the while exploiting what we hold holy. Hence, I am glad to see a definitive judgment come from the Church.

Nothing has been condemded. Look up the word is to warn. Please be careful and accurate, report the facts and not what you want to see......

Yes - it has been condemned. There are three possible judgments the Church can hand down. This bishop clearly declared that "the alleged apparitions and locutions to Maureen Sweeney Kyle are not supernatural in origin.
This is a "constat de non supernaturalitate" - a condemnation of the claim that the apparitions and locutions are supernatural.

Furthermore, Bishop Lennon stated that he had been directed by the Holy See to act definitively in the matter.

It's a done deal. The Holy See drives decision making down to the lowest possible level, which goes to the ordinary or bishop of the place. Hence, the bishop's position in this particular case, is the position of the Holy See. I believe it is for this reason that the bishop made clear that the Holy See was involved in the process.

TNP's Question: How does Medjugorje differ?

It had reached international status. In 1987, Cardinal Kuharic released a statement in Glad Koncila explaining that the phenomenon had gone outside the bounds of the diocese and for that reason, the decision would go to a larger body.

We are currently awaiting an official announcement on Medjugorje before the end of the year, according Cardinal Vinko Puljic, head of the BiH Bishop's Conference.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I should add, anonymous, that the word "admonish" is not in reference to the actual apparitions, but in reference to those who were attending.

It would be completely imprudent, given the decree, to blow off the bishop and persist in taking part in activities associated to "Holy Love". A humble response would be to let go of it as he is clearly saying.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I have received a couple of comments in my posts related to the decree issued by Bishop Lennon against Holy Love Ministries from people claiming to have Master's degrees in theology.

These people feel that there is nothing in the messages which is in error.

I would have published and addressed these comments directly had it not been for the promotion of Holy Love Ministries also found in the same comments.

Ray Conte of Catholic Planet and I are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to Medjugorje, and perhaps some others. I disagree in several areas with him on his promotion of Medjugorje as "credible".

That disclaimer aside, the evaluation he has done on certain "messages" coming out of Holy Love is excellent. It was written in March of 2008, before the decree issued by Bishop Lennon.

I would invite all those who claim to have a better understanding than the bishop of Cleveland to read through the details of this analysis of "messages".

Nancy said...

Pride doesn't accept the official word from the Church. We must accept with humility this decree. Our Lord will not let the Church be led astray. I put my full trust in the decisions of the Church in these types of matters. Moreover they don't come to hasty conclusions. They do in-depth research and are guided by the Holy SPirit. Trust the decision of the Church and obey that decision.

Anonymous said...

Those apparitions are from God, only God can say such words of love and faith, nothing and nobody in the world can convince me for the opposite.......

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To: Anon from Feb 7, 2012

Thanks for making it clear that you are your own pope and don't need the Church to discern spirits for you.

In all seriousness, if you are Catholic, you are putting your soul in jeopardy by blowing off the Church in favor of your own discernment. It shows a total lack of humility to accept the judgment of the Church.

Anonymous said...

But what do I do, I believe in it, it's not e self chosen belief, I simply trust in these messages.....

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Let's look at it from the standpoint of a Church teaching that may be unpopular. "Faith" is not something based squarely on our own reason and intellect. Faith doesn't require understanding; it seeks understanding.

If, for example, a lapsed Catholic taking their faith seriously learns that it is a sin to engage in pre-marital sex, it does not matter whether the person understands the "why" or not. It is incumbent upon them to cease any such activity while they seek to understand the "why".

Too often, people allow their emotions to rule them. It's not unlike Eve, who rationalized away the "forbidedness" of the "fruit" she handed to Adam. God did not tell them why He did not want them to eat of it, He simply told them not to. But they felt they knew better and both offended God.

When it comes to discernment of apparitions and phenomena, the Church has the ultimate authority in that discernment. Note that Bishop Lennon said that he was invited by the Holy See to make a definitive judgment. That means, "end of story". He and his team of theologians investigated the phenomena based on criteria used for such things (see the 1978 norms for discernment of apparitions in my side bar way down in the Private Revelations Discernment section.)

The Holy See does not get involved in discernment of apparitions unless, or example, something has taken on a global interest - like Medjugorje (and there is a Commission investigating that now).

Bishop Lennon has spoken, clearly, and if you are uncertain as to whether his decision is the decision of the Church, write to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and ask what the status is. If they refer you back to Bishop Lennon, there can be no doubt his decision speaks for the Church.

At that point, we either accept it (whether we like it or understand it or not), or we reject it and choose to follow our own whim, which really has no basis in Catholicism.

I would encourage you to read very carefully the documents in my section on Private Revelation Discernment at the lower part of my sidebar. Take those things to prayer and ask God to help you to understand. In the meanwhile, by reading those messages you are essentially dismissing the Church for your own private discernment.

There is no danger to your soul in not reading the messages of Holy Love. With a clear condemnation by the Church, there is a danger to your soul by giving them credence. It opens the door to the same spirit which tempted Eve to reject God's rule to not eat of the forbidden fruit. The goal of that spirit is to cause division and separate you from the Church. The moment we reject a decision of the Church, where she has authority to speak, we open the door to the Evil One.

I hope that helps. I really would encourage you to read the Way of Perfection by Teresa of Avila and Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales. These are approved by the Church and the spirituality has withstood the test of time!

You are in my prayers.

Allan MacLellan said...

I am saddened how we denigrate each other, each so anxious to please God.I have read the Holy Love Messages for maybe 15 years. These messages have helped me tremendously and inspire me to a deeper faith. You say there is no danger to your soul in not reading these messages. I flatly disagree.You say there is a danger to any soul who gives the messages credence yet you give credence to Robert L Conte of Catholic Planet. His analysis is full of error, contradiction and hedging. If we had space, I could comment on each of his objections. Have you read his entire site? He makes some fantastic claims of his own. The bishop is not infallable in his decree. Bishops make mistakes. Padre Pio was forbidden to say Mass in public for 3 years. Sr. Faustina's writings were forbidden until a Polish Pope corrected the poorly translated Italian. I have a distant relative in the process of beatification and possible sainthood. If approved, she would be the first saint from Australia, and also the first saint who was excommunicated by her bishop! The bishop recanted his excommunication on his death bed, realizing he was in error in her case. As Catholics, we must invite love and mercy into our hearts and realize God is far superior to us. Men in our beloved Church can make mistakes. By espousing the arguments of Robert L Conte you expose yourself to ridicule and incredulity. His objections to the messages of Holy Love couldn't light a candle. I would be happy to discuss his points one by one. Space doesn't allow here. My email is Thank you

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

By espousing the arguments of Robert L Conte you expose yourself to ridicule and incredulity.


I did not "espouse" the arguments of Conte to make this post. I assented to the decision of the Catholic Church, as it came through Bishop Lennon.

If you have your doubts that Bishop Lennon's judgment is the judgment of the Catholic Church, please feel free to contact the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If you get a letter back referring you to the judgment of Bishop Lennon, you know his judgment is the judgment of the Church.

Allan - you are playing with fire by making yourself your own magisterium in discerning those messages. There is no other way to say it.

Just think: Eve rationalized about how tasty and good that fruit was that the serpent tempted her to eat, even though God said, "no".

Likewise, no matter how good we think something is, when the Church says, "no", it is best to let it go no matter how good you think it is.

Don't give the Church a "non serviam" on something like this.


Kory said...

I know this post is old, but Google still pulls it up when searching for info on the condemnation of Holy Love. So I have to comment:

Obedience!!! Fellow Catholics... have we forgotten? Allan, you cite how Padre Pio and Sr. Faustina were, for some time, wrongly forbidden by their superiors. And yet you failed to mention that, in both cases, they remained *obedient* to authority during those times!!! The Church... our Church... the Body Of Chirst *is* THE AUTHORITY!!! That is why our Catholic faith is set apart from all others. If you deny that she is authoritative, you deny Christ himself! One would be wise to consider that such disobedience might be the tiny seed of corruption the devil wishes to spread through Holy Love Ministries. Do you not think a being of his intelligence would be capable of deceiving us with beautiful poetry about love while having the greater scheme of severing our union with Christ? The Church is what allows us to prevail against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Yes, the bishops of the Church can make mistakes. But, by the grace of God, those mistakes will be corrected in God's way and in His timing. *If* Holy Love is meant to be shared with the world, Almighty God WILL make it so *THROUGH* His Church, IN HIS TIMING. But never *EVER* in opposition to His Church. I don't know... maybe it's possible that Bishop Lennon will be inspired to reverse his decision on his death bed. Or who knows what awesome events our Lord might orchestrate to have His will be done *through* His Church. But, until then, we MUST, MUST, MUST be OBEDIENT to the Church and its current position on matters of faith and morals. Anything less is an attack against the Body of Christ. Period.