By Bro. Peter Dimond
What are your thoughts on the Benedictine monastery of Fr. Cyprian in NM?
MHFM: Thank you for your question. The monastery is basically a SSPX monastery. Many of the brothers study at the SSPX’s seminary in Winona, MN. They accept Benedict XVI as the pope, and they hold that Bishop Lefebvre (who believed that souls could be saved in any religion) was a pillar of orthodoxy.
Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, Against the Heresies, p. 216: “Evidently, certain distinctions must be made. Souls can be saved in a religion other than the Catholic religion (Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.), but not by this religion.”
Their positions are unfortunately not of the true faith, and the founder of their monastery, Fr. Cyprian, is a heretic. Here is what he wrote in his Autumn, 2005newsletter:
Fr. Cyprian, newsletter, Autumn, 2005: “We celebrate the 100thanniversary of the birth of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on November 29th and thank God for giving us this great saint as our infallible guide, especially in the firm establishment of this monastery.”
Fr. Cyprian says that Bishop Lefebvre (a completely independent bishop) was his “infallible guide”! This is cult-like. Not even a pope is infallible in all he does, but only when he invokes his Magisterial authority. But Fr. Cyprian says that Bishop Lefebvre was an “infallible” guide! This is purely heretical and arguably idolatrous.
Do they have many externals at their monastery? Absolutely. Do they give the appearance of tremendous devotion to God and the monastic vocation? Yes. Since so many “traditionalists” care only about externals, and don’t really value the faith, as soon as they get a brochure from a group such as this – replete with pictures of the monks engaged in holy activities – most of them are swept away. They immediately conclude that they must be of God. Who cares what positions they hold on such “unimportant things” as whether Benedict XVI is the pope or whether non-Catholics can be saved? Who cares: “look at that neat monastic setup, that orderly schedule, and those fine Benedictine habits!” Bad-willed people, who don’t really care about the faith of Jesus Christ, are swept away by externals. That’s one reason why the SSPX has amassed such a following. It’s how the homosexual cult, the Society of St. John, was able to gain so much support in such a short period of time: they appeared quite dedicated in their nice-looking cassocks and beautiful-sounding Latin chanting, yet underneath it all was a pack of unspeakable perverts. Now, of course we’re not asserting that all who externally appear dedicated and traditional are spiritually false. Rather, we’re asserting that if an individual appears externally dedicated to the true faith but continues obstinately in positions not in line with it then he or she is definitely bad-willed and insincere, no matter how dedicated he or she may appear.
As we’ve tried to point out repeatedly, and as is exemplified so clearly in the case of the Society of St. John, appearances/externals are one thing and can be deceiving – sincerity, true interior devotion and having the true faith internally inhering in one’s soul is another.
St. Alphonsus (+ c.1760): “In the estimation of men, the value of an act increases in proportion to the time spent in its performance; but before God the value of an act increases in proportion to the purity of intention with which it is performed. For, as the scripture says, men look only to the external acts, while God regards the heart…” (The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 597)
A while back we posted a link about a convent of Novus Ordo nuns who pray that Jews remain Jews. (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/16/story_1675_1.html) Since they don’t want Jews to believe in Christ and the Catholic faith – but rather to remain Jews – those nuns are obviously apostates. They are on the road to damnation and they don’t have any faith in Christ. However, they spend much of their day in silence and their convent is unheated. They surely consider themselves dedicated Catholics and perhaps extraordinary ascetics, while the reality is that they are complete rejecters of God and headed for hell. This demonstrates that without the true faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6) – no matter how many other acts of religion, devotion and supererogation one thinks one performs.
Some of the most pernicious heretics in Church history deceived their victims by their externals and apparent ascetism. Arius, for instance, was able to convince many in this way. This is a key point. One can busy himself with many activities, including religious ones; but if the intention is not pure (i.e. for God and the salvation of souls), and the whole Catholic faith is not present, it’s worth nothing. One can even spend many hours a day in prayer and religious work; but if, for instance, the person thinks that John Paul II was a Catholic after seeing John Paul II’s apostasy, then that person’s devotion is in vain. That’s because he doesn’t truly believe in God. In his case, his works are phony. They serve to make him feel elite and superior, but he doesn’t believe they are necessary.
No matter how much time and effort a man puts out, if he doesn’t hate evil, his effort is worth nothing. If he cannot tell people the full truth, no matter how much time he spends publishing, speaking, traveling or working for matters Catholic, it’s all worth nothing. If he refuses to believe what God has revealed because he just cannot accept it – for instance, that all who die as non-Catholics are not saved – his effort is worth nothing. That’s precisely what we are taught in the story of God’s rejection of Saul.
1 Kings 15:22-23: “And Samuel said: Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims [i.e. sacrifices], and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams. Because it is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey. Forasmuch as thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord hath also rejected thee from being king.”
This passage of scripture does not concern obedience to a reputed authority in the Church; it concerns obedience to the Word of God: faith in His revealed word. And the chilling admonition above in 1 Kings 15 was made by the prophet Samuel to King Saul, who had offered sacrifice in direct violation of God’s word. Saul had attempted to please God with his sacrifice, while he was simultaneously contravening God’s spoken word. As a result, King Saul’s sacrifice was completely rejected by God; and Saul himself was cast off by the Lord.
What about the other monks under Fr. Cyprian? Are they heretics, too? It really depends upon whether or not they have the same sentiments as Fr. Cyprian. If they believe that Bishop Lefebvre, a completely independent bishop, is an “infallible” guide… if they believe that Lefebvre was right to teach that souls can be saved in other religions after this is pointed out to them… if they agree that it’s okay to reject the “canonizations” of the man they deem to be pope, as the SSPX does… if they believe that John Paul II was a Catholic after they have been informed of his apostasy… then they are heretics just like Fr. Cyprian. I fear that many of them would obstinately defend these things, especially Lefebvre’s heretical teaching on salvation, even after it (and its clear contradiction of Catholic dogma) would be pointed out to them.
A horrible sign was the fact that when the snake-worshipping, Voodoo-blessing, Koran-kissing apostate John Paul II died, the “monks” of NM under Fr. Cyprian celebrated a requiem Mass for him. They celebrated a requiem for a man who rejected as meaningless Jesus Christ and the entire monastic life. By such an action, they are indicating that one can reject as meaningless the entire monastic life and Jesus Christ Himself, as John Paul II did, and still make it to Heaven. If they had any devotion to Christ, they would have a major problem celebrating a requiem Mass for the apostate John Paul II. Those who were aware of John Paul II’s activities, and still didn’t have a problem with the requiem Mass, are phonies.
Even those who may not agree with Fr. Cyprian’s positions, which is probably few, are in the grave peril of imbibing the schismatic and heretical positions of the SSPX as long as they are surrounded by heretics in the monastery. This is obviously why no Catholic could support or enter this monastery, which doesn’t espouse positions in line with the true Catholic faith. Unfortunately, it espouses those which are heretical (souls can be saved in other religions), schismatic (one can reject the hierarchy one recognizes as the Catholic hierarchy) and hostile to true faith in God (the independent Bishop Lefebvre was “infallible”).