The Kingdom of Love in the Truth

Home > Dossiers > The Army of Mary’s Response to Paul Bouchard of L’Informateur catholique

The Army of Mary’s Response to Paul Bouchard
of L’Informateur catholique

by Sylvie Payeur Raynauld

 

In the issue of October 7, 2007, of the magazine “Le Nouvel informateur catholique”, Mr. Paul Bouchard commented, in his own particular way, the excommunication issued against the members of the Army of Mary and spread falsehoods. In the same breath, he hastened to add that the Army of Mary brought legal action against his paper in the past for diffamation, but he did not have the openness to correctly report the facts or to specify that he had had to issue a retraction after having published these falsehoods, in order to avoid a trial.

Thus Mr. Bouchard forces us to come back upon a page that is far from brilliant for either his paper or himself.

* * *

Mr. Paul Bouchard Persists and Signs...

On several occasions, articles were published in L’Informateur catholique containing offensive or false remarks concerning either the Army of Mary and/or our Foundress, Marie-Paule. These articles were signed by Father Jean Ravary or Mr. Paul Bouchard.

In 1988, an article by Father Ravary was the last straw: he accused the Army of Mary of being “a trap” in which people “are harassed or seized by the throat because of sums of money demanded of them, and are hounded down, and are frightened” (May 22 to June 4, 1988 edition)

Long before this all took place, at the Lord’s request, Marie-Paule turned over the presidency of the Corporation (civil society) The Army of Mary Inc. to Jean-Paul Bélanger. The other directors of the Corporation were André Poulin (an experienced business man like Jean-Paul), André Bélanger and Charles-Aimé Gagnon (two accountants). All these men were respectable and honest citizens. When Jean-Paul read Father Ravary’s article, he decided that these defamatory and false remarks were not to be ignored and a formal demand was addressed to Father Ravary, Mr. Paul Bouchard, the paper’s editor, and the paper’s owner Spirimédia Inc.

Given that they refused to respond to the formal demand, legal action requesting damages with interest was undertaken against Spirimédia Inc., Father Ravary and Mr. Bouchard and they were summoned to appear in court.

As for Jean-Paul Bélanger, he was interrogated by the lawyer for the accused who was probably expecting to interrogate Marie-Paule, unaware that she was no longer the Corporation’s president and a rather comical situation occurred. The lawyer was attempting to question this business man on Marie-Paule’s mystical life and on an article she had written for our paper, and the only reply Jean-Paul gave him was that he was not familiar with it, that he did not read the paper... so the lawyer had to modify his line of questioning!

Shortly afterwards, Marie-Paule took up again the presidency of the board of directors of the Army of Mary Inc., at the Lord’s request, who had willed this interruption in her mandate to withdraw her from that exercise which she did not foresee at the time.

On October 26, 1989, during their legal examination, Father Jean Ravary and Mr. Paul Bouchard were unable to provide evidence in support of their defamatory remarks against the Army of Mary and, given the fact that they wanted to avoid a trial, the affair was settled through an out-of-court settlement by virtue of which L’Infomateur catholique agreed to pay the Army of Mary an indemnity of $7,500 and to publish a retraction which appeared on page 2 of the issue of April 1-14, 1990 of that paper, and concluded with these words:

“We must advise you that we had no legal proof of our allegations concerning the Army of Mary to the effect that it is a ‘trap’ where people ‘are harassed (and) seized by the throat because of sums of money demanded of them, and are hounded down, and are frightened.”

“Consequently, we offer our apologies to everyone who may have been prejudiced by the allegations mentioned previously.”

The Figure of Joan of Arc

Mr. Bouchard seriously distorts the facts concerning the Army of Mary. Furthermore, his reading of events is very narrow and does not take into consideration God’s action within the Church.

For example, he begins his article with these words: “A sentence of excommunication sends shivers up one’s back. It is more or less a condemnation to die... spiritually. Worse than the scaffold then! For the sentence incurred is eternal. [The one excommunicated] is doomed to Gehenna.”

However, it is sometimes the Church that unjustly erects scaffolds. The figure of Joan of Arc, condemned to burning at the stake after having been judged to be schismatic and a “relapse”, that is to say, of having fallen again into heresy, provides an astonishing parallel with the Army of Mary. In both cases, the same accusations: schism and heresy.

Centuries later, the Church does not presume that Joan is burning in hell; she is imagined more as enjoying the glory of heaven. She was canonized and named the patron saint of France. And yet, so much ill was said of her during her lifetime! Her worse adversaries were people of the Church!

Are we not in the process of witnessing a similar error in perspective?

The Facts

The adversaries of the Army of Mary have the knack of distorting the truth. The same is true for Mr. Bouchard who stated that:

– Cardinal Vachon withdrew its status of Pious Association from the Army of Mary in 1987, “following an examination of the foundress’ writings by a committee of theologians”.

In fact, it was the examination of two books written by Marc Bosquart which provided the motive for Cardinal Vachon’s decision. Mr. Bouchard goes on to write:

– “Previous to this study, as of 1978, the paper Esprit vivant, of which I was the editor at the time, warned its readers against the serious doctrinal errors conveyed by the movement. This brought down upon the publication legal proceedings for defamation.”

As it was indicated above, it was in 1988 that the Army of Mary Inc. began legal proceedings for defamation against Mr. Bouchard, Father Ravary and the “Informateur catholique”, because of an article containing defamatory remarks.

In 1978, the volumes of “Life of Love” had not yet been published, nor had the volumes of Marc Bosquart which were printed only in 1985 and 1986. Mr. Bouchard continues:

– “The contentious dossier of the movement was subsequently handed over to the Auxiliary Bishop of Quebec, Bishop Marc Leclerc who, in spite of various steps taken to reform the group, did not succeed in making the directors change their minds on their doctrinal position. Far from submitting, they added to it by developing tentacular organisms and building, against the diocesan will, the “complex” at Lac Etchemin, including the retreat house Spiri-Maria.”

In the spring of 1984, Bishop Leclerc had been charged by Cardinal Vachon with heading an enquiry on the Army of Mary that was to base itself on “what was said” of the Work... During his meeting with Marie-Paule in November 1984, his only questions to our Foundress – and the same was true of Cardinal Vachon who was also present – dealt with the matter of the Work’s finances and the land owned by the Army of Mary at Lac-Etchemin. Bishop Leclerc handed his report to the Archbishop in December 1985, without ever having questioned the directors of the Army of Mary with regard to the doctrine conveyed within the Work.

“Tentacular organisms”, wrote Mr. Bouchard. What an expression! That the members of the Army of Mary be allowed to gather together to pray and do good is a right belonging to the lay people in the Church. With regard to Spiri-Maria, the reasons justifying its construction were often presented. Let us come back to Mr. Bouchard’s article.

– “In the year 2000, the present Pope Benedict XVI, then the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a warning with regard to the “gravely erroneous” content of the papers and books of the Army of Mary.”

The facts: On February 27, 1987, the Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote to Cardinal Vachon that this Congregation took note of the two warnings issued by the Archbishop of Quebec against the two books written by Marc Bosquart and of “the gravely erroneous doctrines they contained”. The Cardinal was making a judgment at the request of Cardinal Vachon.

On February 29, 2000, it was at the request this time of the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) that Cardinal Ratzinger intervened once again in the dossier of the Army of Mary. He recalled his letter of 1987 to Cardinal Vachon, but the facts were falsely reported. The Cardinal wrote at that time that “this Congregation considered the Army of Mary from a doctrinal perspective and examined the writings of its founder (15 volumes entitled 'Vie d’Amour') and its members. These writings were judged to be doctrinally ‘aberrant’ and ‘gravely erroneous’...” – In 1987, it was only Marc Bosquart’s two books which had been condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as a result of the warnings issued by Cardinal Vachon against those books.

The Army of Mary is a very open Work: the history of this Work was faithfully reported in Life of Love, the papers and other writings of the Work, with supporting documents. It is very easy to find the truth for anyone who really wishes to do so.

Marie-Paule

Mr. Bouchard gives a very personal interpretation of Marc Bosquart’s writings..., so personal that he distorts certain remarks made by this latter.

And he heaps abuse upon our Foundress once again. Marie-Paule is the stumbling block for our time and those who fight against her are not only fighting against a humble woman. We have been able to see the authenticity of her numerous charisms, her deep humility. Never would she have wanted to be prominent; all her life she would have liked to have remained in the background, being content to silently do good. But such was not God’s plan and she had to submit to it.

It must be acknowledged publicly today, at a time when God’s plan with regard to our Foundress’ mission is, in a sense, almost completed, that:

Mary is intervening in person in our time through the instrument She chose in Quebec – the “nothing”, the “zero”, Marie-Paule maintains herself to be, for she cannot deny this Marian presence in her, and she is very careful to add that Mary can inhabit all of us. Marie-Paule begs us to believe that she is no better than anyone else.

Mr. Bouchard declared:

“Every time the Church has wanted to question this doctrine [the reincarnation of the Immaculate, announced by the Lord in 1958], which does not hold water for a second with regard to authentic Revelation [!], the so-called Quebec reincarnation of the Immaculate, rather than questioning herself and reforming herself, has reacted like a victim of persecution and taken refuge in a ‘dolorism’ of martyrdom.”

Those who know Marie-Paule have never seen her take on the air of a martyr. She is always joyful in spite of the sufferings she must endure and which she offers up also for the adversaries of the Work, hoping that Heaven’s punishment in their regard will not be too severe.

Mr. Bouchard, when will you stop this relentless battle against the Foundress of the Army of Mary? When will you stop spreading these falsehoods, unworthy of a paper that “calls” itself Catholic? Do you not have any respect for the truth?

You have long benefited from our Foundress’ patience, but patience has its limits. And over and above human tribunals, God has the final judgment.

Sylvie Payeur Raynauld,
October 14, 2007