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Cardinal Vachon and the Army of Mary

Death of Cardinal Louis-Albert Vachon

On September 29, 2006, there occurred the death of Cardinal Louis-Albert Vachon, former Archbishop of Quebec, who vigorously fought against the Army of Mary. The following day, a funeral eulogy of the Cardinal appeared in the pages of the newspaper, “Le Soleil”, containing the following paragraph concerning the Army of Mary:

“Among the troublesome dossiers he had to deal with, Cardinal Vachon revoked, in 1987, the Army of Mary’s status as a Pious Association. This act earned him the wrath of the movement’s foundress, Marie-Paule Giguère, and that of its numerous faithful. At that time he was supported by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, today Benedict XVI. To this date the decree has never been annulled.”

The letter below was sent to the daily, “Le Soleil”, in the days following the appearance of that article, in order to present “the other side of the coin”.

So Many Calumnies!

On the occasion of Cardinal Vachon’s demise Le Soleil published an article by Yves Therrien on Saturday, September 30, honoring his memory; a paragraph in this article dealt with the Army of Mary. The journalist reported that when “Cardinal Vachon revoked, in 1987, the Army of Mary’s status as a Pious Association”, “this act earned him the wrath of the movement’s foundress, Marie-Paule Giguère, and that of its numerous faithful”.

This declaration is most astonishing to those who really know the situation. For years our foundress has been subjected to calumnies that have circulated in different milieus, fed by, in particular, certain persons in authority in the Church, and she was insistent that the Work’s members not reply to these attacks. When a campaign of defamation against the Work was launched in the media, some members rose to the defence of the Army of Mary – as did some non-members, persons unknown to us who had perceived the injustice being committed.

Cardinal Vachon has always been treated with respect by our foundress, even though a very pernicious act was perpetrated against the Work concerning which he declared in 1985, “It must be completely destroyed and those future priests gotten rid of” (the Sons of Mary were on the point of leaving to study at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University in Rome, some for a first year, others for a second).

Concerning Cardinal Vachon’s decree of 1987, Mr. Therrien mentions that the Archbishop had been supported at that time by Cardinal Ratzinger, today Benedict XVI; but it must be made clear that Cardinal Ratzinger had asked the Archbishop of Quebec to proceed “ad normam iuris” (according to the law), something which was not done. In 1987, when some religious authorities of the Vatican learned of this decree they asked the Army of Mary to appeal to Rome. Four years later, the Church’s highest court rejected the appeal, judging that it “lacked foundation”.

Paradoxically, this tribunal’s decision was to confirm the authenticity of the Marian Work: that decision came thirty-three years to the day, after Heaven had foretold to Marie-Paule the “crucifixion” she would have to undergo at the hands of the Church. While still very young, she had offered herself as a victim for souls, and the Lord predicted that she would relive His Passion. Our Lord was crucified at the age of 33; that number has marked the life of our Foundress on a number of occasions.

Marie-Paule is an out-of-the-ordinary mystic; but mystics, before being recognized as such by the Church, are very often rejected and opposed by it.

Sylvie Payeur
October 2, 2006