Saturday, October 30, 2010

Breaking: Archbp Lucas; former "Intercessors" address "lay companions"

Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska
- Diocesan Homepage -


There is a significant development in the "Intercessors case" that I think is worth noting and talking about.  I am hoping to hear reactions to what was released today from former lay companions, and others who were deeply involved with the suppressed association.  See my note below about commenting. Others are welcome to join in, but I am calling upon everyone to be mindful of the dignity of the many who are probably very hurt and confused by all that has transpired.  It will help give context to one's comment, if a brief background is offered the first time.

Several things have happened:

1) Archbishop Lucas has issued a letter which goes into greater detail about the future of the roughly 50 souls who are cooperating with him, and he strengthens his request for everyone to refrain from using books and media by Nadine Brown, and to avoid her website. He also calls for a ceasing of "group discernments" among former lay companions.

2) Those former Intercessors who are cooperating with the archbishop have written a letter to lay companions.  They explain what transpired, how they are doing, and what needs they have at the moment.  They are encouraging lay companions and prayer groups to heed the Archbishop's directives
3) A statement put out on October 25, 2010 by the Archdiocese of Omaha concerning books and media by Nadine Brown and Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., has been superceded with a more strongly worded statement on October 29, 2010 in the wake of a recent message by Nadine Brown who offered "suggestions" to lay companions and prayer groups.

We will go into more detail into each of these three areas below, with direct links to diocesan statements. I have personally learned alot from the three things I discuss in this post. It also leaves me feeling hopeful for those who were cooperating with the archbishop. What say you?

I am copying the full text of Archbishop Lucas' letter into this post for the sake of international readers who are using auto-translators.  My international traffic has been up on anything related to the Intercessors. Many are making use of them through the flags in the upper RH sidebar.  It is often difficult or nearly impossible to read PDF files in auto-translators.

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Archbp. George Lucas to Lay Companions:

The entire letter ought to be read slowly and more than once.  I am not going to embolden anything.

Direct link to PDF at Archdiocese of Omaha

October 29, 2010
Dear Friends,

As you know from the events of the past several weeks the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb have been suppressed as a public association of the faithful in the Catholic Church. As former lay companions of the Intercessors I know that most of you are aware of the circumstances which led to this suppression. They have been documented in public statements that I have made and have also received attention in the news media. The attached letter from the former Intercessors gives an overview of these circumstances and I invite you to read that letter which I have approved. For those who seek more detailed information I invite you to go to

The purpose of my letter is not to revisit the circumstances which led to the suppression but to look toward the future. In this spirit I ask for your continued prayerful support for the 53 former members of the Intercessors who have decided to spend time in community discernment over the next 12 months. During this time they will pray and study and seek advice and counsel relating to developing a deeper and more profound appreciation of the charism of intercessory prayer. They will also pray and discern how such a charism could be of service to the local Church of Omaha as well as to the Universal Church in the context of community life sanctioned by the Church in distinct communities of women and men.

Many of you have had questions over the past few days on the use of books written by Nadine Brown and on the use of other media that contain her teachings. Prior to the suppression of the Intercessors I appointed a trustee to govern the community and help them work on a variety of issues and concerns that had been raised as the result of an official visitation I conducted of the community. One of the tasks I gave to the trustee was to review these teachings for theological accuracy and conformity to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As a result of the suppression this review has not taken place. It is therefore not possible to state that the teachings of Nadine Brown are free of doctrinal error.

As we move forward I am asking that former companions and all Catholics refrain from using any materials and websites associated with Nadine Brown and all other material provided by the former Intercessor community. I also ask that you cease “group discernments”. However, if you decide to continue to meet with your prayer group, I encourage you to offer prayers of intercession for the needs of priests, for the former Intercessors in community discernment, and for our Holy Father’s intentions. I also encourage you to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church with special attention given to Part IV: Christian Prayer. If you continue to meet in your prayer groups I ask that you do so under the guidance of your Bishop or local pastor.

With best wishes and prayers I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend George J. LucasArchbishop of Omaha

I said in a previous post, that it is up to the Ordinary - in this case, Archbishop Lucas - to discern a charism's, validity.  What can throw a charism into question is when problems arise with a founder or foundress (see "FOUNDER'S CHARISM" in Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary).  The archbishop's letter shows that Archbishop Lucas sees potential for a community to emerge with a charism of "Intercessory Prayer".  With former members cooperating with the Archbishop, we ought to pray it will be successful and shaped according to God's will .

Letter from former Intercessors to "Lay Companions"

Direct link to PDF of Letter to Companions from former Intercessors

Here is a summary for my international readers to read through auto-translators. 

  • acknowledge the questions, concerns, and prayers sent to them, "from all over"
  • are calling it a time to pray, to grieve, to reflect
  • call the time ahead a period of discernment for the future and ask for prayers.
  • are seeking financial and material support (see letter for list), going into some details of expenses.
  • specifiy that checks should be made out to the Archdiocese of Omaha with "Intercessor Relief " in the memo field (on this, they also point out that if you make a check out to any individual not listed in the letter, you run the risk of supporting "Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc." which is not a Catholic organization). 
  • It includes a short memo from Fr. Gregory Baxter, the trustee appointed by Archbishop Lucas.

The letter by the former Intercessors cooperating with the archbishop also state that "the canonical visit with Fr. James Conn was not the reason for the suppression of the public association of the Intercessors of the Lamb, nor was it due to problems with the charism itself." It goes on to state that the majority of the community was excited about working with the archbishop and Fr. Baxter.  They then say, "the suppression came because of the unwillingness of Nadine Brown" and "the majority of the civil board to comply with Archbishop Lucas' directives that would have put the civil board in conformity with the Canon Law of the Church...".  The letter offers a word of thanks to those few board members who did comply with the Archbishop.

These former members then ask former companions and prayer groups to heed, "the directions of our Archbishop, George Lucas", by discontinuing use of "all manuals, books and other material published by the former Intercessors of the Lamb community and to discontinue all discernment ministries". 

The letter ends with a request for prayers for the Church and Her priests, and especially for those who have chosen to remain under, "the direction of our Archbishop in the hope of discerning the formation of a new community with a charism rooted in intercessory prayer"

Lay Companion Resources Update

A new statement has been issued on October 29th, which supercedes the one written on the 25th.  That one urged "caution" against using resources put out by Nadine Brown or Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc. 

This statement strengthens the advisory based on Archbishop Lucas' directive to refrain from using these materials (see his letter).  Here again, is that PDF link and statement, with text copied in for international readers.

October 29, 2010

To the Former Lay Companions of the Intercessors of the Lamb

Lay companions and prayer groups of the former Intercessors of the Lamb should discontinue using all manuals, books and other materials published by the former Intercessors of the Lamb community and discontinue all discernment ministries. One of the tasks given to the Archbishop of Omaha’s trustee was to review the teachings and resources authored by Nadine Brown for theological accuracy and conformity to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As a result of the suppression, this review has not taken place. It is therefore not possible to state that the teachings of Nadine Brown are free of doctrinal error. Moreover, lay companions should understand that the former Association of the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb received canonical recognition in 1992 and 1998 from the Church; however, the companion group – the Intercessors of the Lamb – never received canonical recognition from the Church.

I don't believe there ever will be a formal review of those materials by the Church because they now belong to an organization which is no longer considered to be Catholic ..... by the Catholic Church.  To review them now, is a moot point. [Edit: RC in the combox suggests the materials can still be reviewed if the Church feels people need that clarification.]

Prudence of Heeding the Archbishop on use of Materials

Is it safe to drink?
 I would like to leave you with one final note on that point.  Prudence, not just obedience, would suggest that you heed the Archbishop on this.  It could be that 98% of what is found in that material is well and good.  But, 2% may have problems that are not visible to the untrained eye.  Using a popular example: If you have a full glass of water, and replace just 2% with poison, drinking all that good water, with just a little bit of poison can make you sick, and it could cost you your life. Determining if there is poison requires detailed analysis. In the case of religious and spiritual material, a theological review requires trained theological eyes.  My take on what Archbishop Lucas is saying is that he can't guarantee that that glass of water is pure enough to drink because it has not yet gone through analysis.  Would you drink water which may not be safe to drink before it can be tested?

My advice: Find another well to drink from.  The Church has an arsenal of time-tested, approved material.  Here's a pretty good start: 

Further Reading:

All of these items, and much more can be found on the Archdiocese of Omaha's webpage for the Intercessor's case.

Please see my latest postContrasting Nadine Brown and Padre Pio

Got comments?

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