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Something going down? October 18, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.

So, a relatively obscure (and new) religious order (with terrible habits) was suppressed last week in Omaha.  The Intercessors of the Lamb had a charism that dealt with intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare.  The reasons for the suppression were kind of vague, and the prioress of the order had been removed just a week or two before.  Pretty quick to totally upend several dozen people’s lives, who are now essentially out on the street, penniless (UPDATE – the diocese is putting most of them up for the time being, as a hyper vigilant commenter pointed out.  Nevertheless, these people have no assets and no immediate prospects to care for themselves). 

Most may be aware that Fr. Thomas Euteneuer “stepped down” as head of Human Life International back in late August.   Little reason was given, other than that he was returning to parish life.  OK…..sometimes these things happen.

So what ties these two seemingly totally unrelated events together?  Well, Fr. Eutenaur had recently published a book on Exorcism and spiritual warfare.  Interestingly, in a very little publicized announcement, last week HLI stated that they were pulling Exorcism and the Church Militant, Euteneuer’s book, from circulation and would not be printing any more copies.  This was a fairly popular book.  From Spirit Daily:

In a development that had no apparent connection, it was also announced last week that a book by Father Thomas Euteneuer, the former head of the large pro-life group, Human Life International, will be discontinued. The book, Exorcism and the Church Militant, which ironically lauded the Intercessors, was in wide circulation. Weeks before, Father Euteneuer left the organization when he was recalled to his home diocese after a reported controversy. A spokesman for HLI told Spirit Daily that the organization simply decided it was not its role to promote material on exorcism. “There was no problem fatal to the book,” said the spokesman, Stephen Phelan, adding however that had it been reprinted, several changes would have been necessary. Limited copies remain available through Ignatius Press.

That seems kind of odd, to suddenly pull a fairly popular book from circulation (you can’t get it on Amazon anymore, for instance), shortly after the author was forced? to step down from his high profile position at Human Life International.  Is there someone in the Church who doesn’t like the topic of spiritual warfare?  Or is all this coincidence?

There’s an old police adage – one strange happening is an occurrence, twice is a coincidence, the third time indicates conspiracy.  Now, very likely, these events are unrelated, but, some of this does seem a bit odd.

big h/t to Abbey Roads

UPDATE2:  Some seem to think my comments are meant to imply support for the Intercessors of the Lamb, or that I’m stating that they were wrongly treated.  Not so.  They may have needed disestablishment, we don’t really know.  There are a goodly number of people who think the Intercessors were great, and a goodly number who think they were terrible for the Church.  I had never heard of them until several weeks ago.  I have no connection to them.  What was odd was to see a religious order go from seeking further, formal canonical establishment at the beginning of August, to being suppressed rather quickly and, I would say, almost violently.  That has been very rare in recent Church history.  Maybe this was badly needed, maybe they were complete heretics, I don’t know – very few of us do, because even the cached pages of their website have been scrubbed, so it’s impossible to research their source material, now.  Judging by the reaction to this post and things like the scrubbing of the cached pages, someone has been really following up to make sure the loose ends are very neatly removed.  Couple this with the fact that HLI is now pulling copies of Exorcism and the Church Militant, which ostensibly lauds the work of the Intercessors, and we have another oddity.  That’s all I was saying, or, really, asking.  Is someone in the Church deeply concerned about how spiritual warfare is being discussed/approached by seemingly disparate entitites?  We don’t know.  Perhaps this will all make a good deal of sense later on.  For now, the only direct result that I know of is that I’ve bought a book I probably would not have bought before all this happened. 

UPDATE 3:  Courtesy of Diane at Te Deum Laudamus, a link that gives more of the background story on the closure of the Intercessors.  The majority of the evidence indicates that closure was appropriate and that things were falling apart in the former religious group.  Why a profitable book has been pulled is still an open question. 


1. Elaine - October 18, 2010

They are not on the street penniless. The Archdiocese is taking care of them. Please don’t write unless you know the facts. Contact Kris McGregor at KVSS, Catholic radio in Omaha for more information.

2. tantamergo - October 18, 2010

You just set a record for the quickest response to a post, ever. Funny, I was getting a call from Omaha (that I did not answer) while I was still writing the post, before it was published.

Now, the former prioress is claiming that she and the few that have remained with her are not being supported – perhaps that’s her choice. It is reported that most of the others are being cared for by the diocese, but in terms of personal assets, they have none. I’ll change the verbiage a bit. I don’t find the use of search bots to peg and challenge blog posts an indication of a normal interest in a subject.

3. Steve Kellmeyer - October 18, 2010

Question: Why would someone contact a radio host for information?

Is the archdiocese unwilling to talk about the situation? And if they are, why would the radio host know anything?

I saw these two pieces of information last night and also thought it odd. Publishers don’t pull books that are selling unless there are enormous problems with the books, but Ignatius doesn’t find the problems so enormous that THEY’VE stopped selling.

I’d like to know who owns copyright on that book.

tantamergo - October 18, 2010

I believe its HLI, Steve, but I’ll know when I get my book.

4. Mary - October 18, 2010

Here’s an order that is being suppressed that isn’t publicly teaching false catechism, how many people heard of this group before the news break? How many orders have been suppressed in the recent past (say 5-10 yrs out)? Meanwhile orders across the US speaking heretical talks in PUBLIC who remain open.
Oh, they were only supposed to pray for others, not offer retreats. Is that why they’re being shut down? They are a hermitage group for crying out loud, not head of the CHA. I see on their site they acknowledge Jesus Christ and his Precious Blood; the mercy in God’s forgiveness, they state the wrongs in sex outside of marriage and pornography, wiccan activities, and much more. Perhaps they shouldn’t be preaching the truth?

The other ironic thing I read – they are NOT allowed to wear their blue/white habits/outfits anymore. Then, well, they’ll look like many other sisters who look no different than you or I.

One of the retreat flyers lists Rosary and Adoration, confession, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass twice…

Why doesn’t it add up?

5. dave in mckinney - October 18, 2010
tantamergo - October 18, 2010

Oh, and thanks for the links. I had read the news stories before, but not the other two.

6. dave in mckinney - October 18, 2010

Oh btw I am extremely wary of any group of folks dedicated to “spiritual warfare”. It seems very easy for folks to take this to an extreme and see “satan” at work in everything and see nearly everything in this world as being possessed by an evil spirits.
Spiritual warfare does exist but we should let St. Michael engage in it and focus on out own holiness.

tantamergo - October 18, 2010

Bah! I had a long reply and stupidly lost it. Let me say this again, real quick – I don’t disagree that a small number of people may take spiritual warfare as a concept too far, but I think the problem in the Church today is far more one of people rejecting the concept of evil as a spiritual force and even the work of evil spiritual agents, than one of people freaking out, thinking there is a demon under every rock. People can and do go too far. And there have been many religious orders or groups that started with very good intentions but somewhere lost their way. My post, which maybe I need to update, wasn’t so much a comment on how wonderful the Intercessors of the Lamb were, it was about the seeming confluence of events. I had not even heard of the Intercessors until a few weeks ago, and have no connection with them. I do like Fr. Euteneuer, and was saddened when he left HLI. I think he’s a needed voice in the Church, including the topic of spiritual warfare. I also don’t think it’s something for your average Catholic to get deeply involved in without an extremely sure foundation in the Faith and good, and frequent, spiritual direction. We can easily get very faked out by the devil.

What remains odd to me was the quick shutdown of the order, which was amazingly fast for the Church (from naming an investigator in early August to shutdown in early October – 2 months), and then the pulling of Fr. Euteneuer’s book just a couple of months after it was released with a good amount of publicity, along with his sudden and not well explained resignation. Those are odd events.

dave in mckinney - October 19, 2010

Good point… probably just coincidence…BUT it is Odd. The only negative info I could google up on Fr. Euteneuer is his criticism of Harry Potter & Twilight.

7. Mary - October 18, 2010

yea, my initial search all came from Omaha diocese and similar, at first the group sounds a little off (using the word cult in the headline automatically creates an image). Digging deeper reveals the opposite.
I don’t see anything that would lead to immediate suppressing of the group. They sound more orthodox or less heretical than many groups, and causing far less damage to your average Catholic.

8. dallas - October 18, 2010

And, their seminarians attend(ed) Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, MO; totally orthodox…

9. dave in mckinney - October 19, 2010

I got the “impression” from the articles I read that the board of directors didn’t want the pastoral oversight of the Bishop — strike 1.
Strike 2 — There may have been some inappropriate usage of tex-exempt status.
Strike 3 — The Foundress allegedly “bullied” some of the members.
Strike 4 — Didnot have good public relations with the neighbors.
Strike 5 — Didn’t follow city requirements for inhabiting old plastics factory.
Strike 6 — Teal outfits

10. Diane at Te Deum - October 19, 2010

Her is <a href=why Archbishop Lucas acted so quickly

11. Diane at Te Deum - October 19, 2010

Didn’t work. Let’s try again. It’s the rest of the story (and I’m sure we will be hearing more)


tantamergo - October 19, 2010

Thanks for the additional information, Diane. I know you’ve been on this story from the inception. As I said, I don’t have a stake in the Intercessors of the Lamb, and to clear things up even further I’d say it looks more and more like the closure was justified. I just found it interesting that 3 fairly prominent events all centered this issue of spiritual warfare all occurred in a short period of time, but coincidences do happen.

12. M.MacDonald - October 20, 2010

A local Omaha newspaper carried an article that captured the neighbors complaints about the intercessors. A tangible issue has to do with the increase in property taxes due an increase in home values. Apparently, Intercessors have been paying the “asking” price for homes located close to their headquarters.
What struck me is how different we perceive things. To me, this was a blessing. With housing prices in my area down 30% or more I’d love to see them relocate near me (if they come back into good standing with the Church that is).

13. One more thought on the Intercessors of the Lamb « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - October 20, 2010

[…] The evidence we’ve been presented makes it seem that the closing of the Intercessors was a good and prudent move on the part of Archbishop Lucas.  I’m wondering, though, when will Archbishop Lucas act against similar groups that are outside the bounds of Catholic Doctrine or morals?   Virtually every diocese nowadays, sadly, has its ‘progressive’ priests or religious who are rejecting Church doctrine, and I’m certain that Omaha is no different.  I know that our good friend Sr. Joyce Rupp and her order hail from there (at the Servite Center of Compassion).  […]

14. Anon - October 21, 2010

I’m just wondering when the Church will act as strongly against, say, Cardinal Mahony and his brother heresiarchs, or the pedophiles he protects.

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