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STATEMENT OF CHURCH STATUS

 

What is the Status of the
Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael?

The Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael, (formerly known as the "Order of the Legion of St. Michael"), is an independent and international prayer, evangelistic, apologetic, educational, and covenant Association of lay Catholics brought together by means of private agreement [1] amongst ourselves to privately pursue a common effort to promote a more perfect life of holiness and consecration according to our respective states in life, to share our Catholic faith, to exercise apostolic works, namely to engage in efforts of the new evangelization, to exercise works of piety and charity and to animate the temporal order with Christian spirit. [2] We establish these things in the spirit and traditions of Carmel, Ignatius Loyola, Louis de Montfort, Francis of Assisi, and Benedict.

We are a defacto Association of the Christian Faithful established under canon 215 of the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church and according to Canon Law may exist either with or without ecclesiastical recognition. As a defacto association of the Christian faithful, we do not have formal ecclesial recognition at this time and do not have any "formal" relationship with any diocese — however, such formal recognition is not required or needed for the laity to pursue perfection, holiness, evangelization, and the apostolate. The Church has already given its permission through its various decrees and declarations on the laity. We do operate in full accord with Canon Law as it applies to defacto Associations of the Christian Faithful.

Our standing in the Church is that of individual members of the Faithful like any other member of the Faithful. As an organization our standing is that of a de facto association of the Faithful privately assembled to pursue those things allowable by Canon Law for associations of our type. Our standing in based upon Canons 208-223, 298-299 and in facto or in spiritu, as applicable, Canons 304-310, 321-326, 327-329. Our celibate expressions of community live in spiritu to cann. 570-730 as applicable to our form of community. [1] [2]

We have consulted a Canon Lawyer who responded with a detailed report to which was summarized that the enterprise undertaken by Bro. John Paul Ignatius and his collaborators [the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael] falls within the exercise of those rights and obligations [of all the Christian faithful outlined in canons 208-223]. While such groups enjoy lawful autonomy this must be carried out within the parameters of canon 223... [full report available upon request] We meet all canonical requirements, including that of Canon 223.[3]

For details on the theological and canonical basis that allows our Association to exist see Theological and Canonical Considerations


Does the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael
submit its opinions to the
Teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church?

The Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael fully submits itself to the authentic teaching authority of the Pope and Magisterium of the Catholic Church, to Canon Law, and to the proper law of the Church as it applies to Associations of the Christian Faithful.

Additionally, each of our members must affirm Loyalty to that authentic teaching authority as a condition of membership. (See Statement of Loyalty & Fidelity)

Therefore, when we publish any form of writing, or make any speech, teach any class, present any workshop or seminar, offer any advice or counseling, or moderate any chatroom, Discussion Group, or mail list, the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael and its representatives seek to express only "official" teachings on subjects for which an "official" teaching exists — submitting all personal opinions to that "official" teaching.

In other areas, where latitude of opinion is allowed, every attempt is made to offer opinions that are in full accord and that are consistent with the general spiritual principles and teachings of the Church, Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, and the Catholic worldview and philosophy.


Does the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael
speak for the Church or for any
Other Apostolate or Organization?

The Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael ("Association") is not in any way an official subdivision of or an official spokesman for the Catholic Church or any subdivision thereof (or of any other apostolate or organization).

Opinions, writings, speeches and presentations expressed or published by the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michaelare solely those of the authors, who may or may not speak in the name of the Association as noted by the publication, and do not necessarily represent the official opinions or policy of the Catholic Church or of any of its subdivisions (or of any other apostolate or organization).


Is the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael related
to any other “St. Michael” group,
community, or religious order?

There has been some confusion about whether we are associated with this or that "St. Michael" group. Indeed, it is important to note that many Catholic and non-Catholic organizations include "St. Michael" in their name. Among these many "St. Michael" groups are those who are heretical, heterodox, new age, or even occult.

The Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael, however, was founded as a completely new organization, independent of and without affiliation with any other "St. Michael" group and was, from the beginning, dedicated to fidelity and loyalty to the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Concerning Associations of the Christian Faithful Canon Law states:

Canon 298 §1:
In the Church there are associations distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, in which the Christian faithful, either clergy or laity, or clergy and laity together, strive by common effort to promote a more perfect life or to foster public worship or Christian doctrine or to exercise other apostolic works, namely to engage in efforts of evangelization, to exercise works of piety or charity and to animate the temporal order with Christian spirit.

While some of the purposes for Associations of the Christian Faithful listed in Canon 298 §1 require ecclesiastical approval (teaching in the name of the Church and promoting public worship per Canon 301 §1), other goals typical to such associations may be pursued privately by any group of committed Catholic laymen (Canon 299 §1) without any formal recognition or approval.

Canon 299 §1:
The Christian faithful are free, by means of a private agreement made among themselves, to establish associations to attain the aims in canon 298.1 ...

[2] Canon Law affirms that all the Christian faithful have an equality in dignity and action to build up the Body of Christ:

In light of that equality, Canon Law gives the Christian faithful not only the right to form associations without requiring ecclesial recognition, but also to perform the apostolate. Some of the pertinent Canons on this are:

The Canon Law Society of America offers this commentary on these Canons:

Spreading the gospel is not only a duty incumbent upon each of the faithful; it is also a right. As a duty it binds Christians to bear witness to the gospel whenever it is in question or being attacked. It also calls for more active initiative in spreading the good news. The sacrament of confirmation provides the special assistance of the Holy Spirit to enable the confirmed to carry out this duty.

...Yet evangelization is also a right. It extends to all Christians. They need no further authorization of commissioning to exercise this right in the various circumstances of their lives. Unlike many other canons that contain principles of interpretation for moderating the exercise of rights, this canon places no conditions on the right to spread the gospel. This does not mean, of course, that the right can be used contrary to the common good. Its exercise is under the supervision of church authorities (cc. 754, 756), particularly if one were to claim to act in the name of the Church or to carry on evangelization within church property.

The Catholic Church has known a great variety of spiritual movements throughout its history. Many of these have traditionally been associated with religious communities and even today constitute a vital dimension of Catholic Life. Other forms of spirituality, adapted to varying conditions of time and place, are also evident in the many movements, associations, and personal styles of Catholics. All of these are available for free choice by Catholic; no one spirituality is preferred over the others provided each is in keeping with Catholic teaching.

... provided good order is maintained and nothing is done contrary to church teaching, people are entitled to develop and to participate in spiritual movements of their choice. It is contrary to the right guaranteed in this canon to prohibit a given form of spirituality or to require that only certain ones be observed by people in a given locality. Religious freedom applies within the Church as well as in society, and this it its most visible application.

[3] This action on part of the Christian faithful must, of course, be conducted in obedience to the Church in faith and morals and in all other matters applicable; and the Christian faithful must maintain communion with the Church.