Boinkie's Blog


Monday, October 11, 2010

Intercessors the the Lamb

The latest news is that the Vatican, responding to complaints, is investigating the Intercessors of the Lamb.
Although the liberal US newspapers seem to think a Vatican investigation of the liberal anti Catholic nuns is a form of "persecuting", it must be said that conservative orders also are often investigated (EWTN's convent for example had a visitation in the 1990's).

There have been complaints of the IOTL for their cult like activities, which is not surprising. This may have been why Mother Nadine has resigned. There is a fine line between charismatic leadership and cultish following, which is why so many founders of orders (some of whom later were declared saints) have been removed as the head of the order. If the work is of God, the order will thrive, but if the order is only based on adoration of the leader instead of God, it will disappear.

20 Years ago, I attended a training session on spiritual warfare, and found it good. It was more about praying and putting our self in the service of God, and learning to listen to his voice, than it was about exorcism, yet her involvement with prayer groups that prayed over folks would make some less enthusiastic theologians shudder.

I didn't work with such prayer groups, but I have a relative who was cured of her hatred of her mother's manipulating spirit, and who is now a joyful Christian.

Yet I have another patient who was burdened with chronic back pain and depression. She had been divorced, and as a doc I figured a lot of her back pain/depression was made worse by her failure to forgive the SOB who abused her.

Alas, she went to a Charismatic prayer group, who "guaranteed" she would be cured (in her words) but when it didn't work, they told her she must have some unforgiven sin or some lack of forgiveness that was standing in the way of her cure. This made her even more depressed, (even though it was in some ways true) because she interpreted it as the pain was her own fault.

In other words, although I recognize spiritual warfare is sometimes needed, and there have been a few times when I prayed silently about a patient who seemed to need it, or who seemed to be under a "demonic" type attack. I remember one teenager who was full of rage at her second unplanned pregnancy who swore she would go right out and abort it even though her grandmother was a good Catholic and opposed this. (She ended up having the child, and post partum we found cancer, making further pregnancies impossible. If she aborted, she would never have had it diagnosed).

another patient was one depressed woman whose prozac wasn't working...turns out she couldn't forgive God for her mother's painful, I didn' t pray with her, but I did discuss this as a spiritual matter, and since I had been a missionary, I had the "credentials" to assure her it was okay to "hate" God.

(No I do not pray "with" the patient....and I hate praying in a public prayer group where you face each other as one big happy family, even in my own family dinner. I object to such as lowering the barriers to my personal life...and when , in medical school, we had secular versions of this as "encounter groups", I either lied about personal information or arranged for the nurses on the floor to page me out for an emergency)

So on the spiritual level, the "spiritual warfare" part seemed okay, especially since Mother Nadine seemed to work with docs and psychologists in the bad cases.

Yet her charismatic personality attracted a few with the "blank eyes" of the cult least among the lay followers, but again no more or less than in other prayer groups e.g. Medjugorje followers. (maybe 5 to 10 percent).

Among those in her order, they all seemed to be level headed, and no blank stares, so I didn't worry too much.

My main worry, however, was that these "hermits" lived in a big house. Yes, I know: these huge "white elephants" are hard to sell and cheap, and the hermits and her prayer groups tended to fix them up and raise the money.

But I am an Ex missionary, and seeing the posh "guest house" with it's expensive carpet I almost walked out in rage. A local woman followed me, and assured me that this was "nice" for her guests, and not the area of the hermits, which was simpler.

Yet this is an ongoing problem for me.

I objected to Mother Angelica's huge shrine, and I object to the "Mystic coffee" order's plan to build a huge monastery out west. Yes, I know: A beautiful church will attract pilgrims and be a core for the area's religion.

When they are closing Catholic schools, when Catholic hospitals are merging, when Catholics in the third world are poor, one wonders: Yes, build a nice church, but why overdo it into a palace?

So I am happy the Vatican is putting it's two cents into the group. I figure they will not have to be dismembered but come out stronger (and alas they are in a diocese that suffered greatly from liberalism, and which can use their prayers).

I should mention that they have a prayer group in Manila too.



  • i think you got it wrong. Vatican didn't conduct a visitation to the Intercessors because of complaints. It was Mother Nadine who approached the Archbishop, who had Fr Conn conduct the visitation so that he would be familiarized with them.

    but yes you're right, they will not have to be dismembered but they will come out stronger.

    By Anonymous Gene, at 8:30 AM  

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