By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Citing a lack of cooperation in instituting “necessary reforms,” Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha has formally suppressed the Catholic entity known as Intercessors of the Lamb.
According to the CNA/EWTN News, the group founded by Mother Nadine Brown, who resigned only two weeks ago, has now ceased to exist.
“It was my hope from the beginning that the Intercessors and the archdiocese would move together on this path to the next step,” Archbishop Lucas said. “Unfortunately, the canonical visitation revealed a number of alarming issues. For reasons that they have refused to share with me, the board of directors does not want to work with the Church to implement the necessary reforms.”
The current situation came about when Mother Nadine asked to advance the community from the status of “public association of the faithful” to the next canonical level. An ensuing canonical review turned up problems in leadership, finances, spirituality and the community’s administration. This resulted in Mother Nadine’s agreement to resign as leader of the community in order to allow the process to move forward.
However, a majority of the lay directors in the group’s civil corporate entity refused to meet with Church officials, nor accept directives for reform as canon law obliges them to do.
“What began as a desire for pastoral solicitude and an effort at positive reform resulted in the refusal to accept the assistance and jurisdiction of the Church by a majority of the lay board members,” the Archbishop explained.
As a result, he had no choice but to suppress the community of hermits.
This means that liturgical and sacramental celebrations can no longer take place on property owned by the Intercessors and that all members of the group are released from their vows. They have also been instructed to “set aside the habit and refrain from using the titles ‘Mother,’ ‘Brother,’ or ‘Sister’.”
Out of concern for the 48 former members of the group who joined the Intercessors with the intention of working for the Lord, the Archbishop transported them from the campus owned by the Intercessors to temporary housing at the archdiocese.
Deacon Timothy McNeil, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Omaha, told CNA that the internal governing council of the group gave their assent to the suppression, which sealed the fate of the gruop.
“When the association asked to be recognized as a Catholic entity in accord with Church law, it agreed to recognize the pastoral authority of the archbishop and follow Catholic practices,” Deacon McNeil said.
“In other words, you cannot make the claim you’re a Catholic organization and at the same time separate yourself from the teaching, sanctifying, and governing role of the archbishop.”
© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® http://www.womenofgrace.com