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Who is the General of the Army of Mary?

Titian. Assumption of the Virgin.
(Titian. Assumption of the Virgin. [Source])

1) Introduction

One of my collegues once said jokingly:

"I have my principles, and I respect them (when it suits me!)"

What is much less funny is how often I come across people, for example some members of the Army of Mary (a religous order founded by Marie-Paule Gigučre), who loudly proclaim they are totally faithful to the Pope, and who, when I point out a heresy, say: "Ah yes, but that's different since I don't agree with the Pope in that case!"

2) What is the Chain of Command in God's Army?

The situation of the Army of Mary leads us to an important question: who is the Boss? If all Catholics are "soldiers in the Army of God", then who is the General, and what is the Chain of Command?

I claim that the Catholic religion is such that, in the final analysis, the individual faithful doesn't decide whether he or she is a Catholic. Strictly speaking, the most we can assert is: "We want to be Catholics!" and not "We are Catholics!" In the end, only the Bishops united to the Pope, or the Pope alone, can say whether we are, or are not, Catholic.

Biting the apple of Heresy is deciding yourself who is and who is not Catholic, whether yourself, or your favorite theologian, or the founder of your religious order, etc. On the contrary, all true Catholics say that if there ever should be a disagreement between them and the Pope, the Pope is right and they are wrong.

Why? Because the General of God's Army is Jesus Christ, and Jesus told the first Pope: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my Church"  [Mt 16:18; Lumen Gentium #22; CCC #874-896]. So the second in command is the Pope. The third in command is your local Bishop (assuming he's still united to the Pope). Everybody else, including the Virgin Mary, and also including the founder of the Army of Mary, Marie-Paule Gigučre, can only come in fourth or lower. (Please notice the rankings of the Chain of Command are not rankings of holiness. If that were the case, the Virgin Mary would come second after God.)

3) What are the practical implications of this Chain of Command?

We can be either soldiers of God in good standing, or deserters. Sometimes a simple question can be very revealing. For example, you could ask a member of the Army of Mary to take the following oath:

"If ever there should be a disagreement between Marie-Paule Gigučre and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium will always be right, and Marie-Paule Gigučre will always be wrong."

There is a problem if they answer anything different from: "Sure, I'll be very happy to take that oath. I can even sign it with my blood if you insist! And you're more than welcome to post it on your web site!"

(More knowledgeable readers will have noticed that this oath is just a rewording of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility.)

4) Isn't the Army of Mary a bit irrelevant?

My opinion is that the Army of Mary is just another symptom of the disease gnawing away at the Catholic Church in Quebec. Many people scoff at the idea of hesitating between the Pope and Marie-Paule Gigučre, but would become very hostile if you asked them to choose between the Pope and women's ordination, or the Pope and contraceptives, or the Pope and their favorite Protestant theologian, etc.

We cannot be Catholics if we are not willing to follow Jesus Christ. This doesn't mean that everything is bad except Jesus, but that everything must be ordered starting from Jesus. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" [Lk 14:26].

Even the Virgin Mary snaps to attention when the Pope speaks. Do we?

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