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The Crossroads at 23rd Street

 

"For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)

 

Errors can be corrected and trends reversed if only our faith and determination does not fail us in our earnest quest for the truth.

Enchanting Lustful Lies ... The Skill of Deceit

"The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path." - St Chrysostom

Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM)

“… A timely deception used with the right purpose is such an advantage that a lot of men have been called to account on many occasions for failing to deceive." - St Chrysostom (Read More)

The Tale of Two Monasteries

The polemic surrounding the Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) is actually a narrative of 2 distinct and separate secular not-for-profit organizations that were legally established under “State Law” as “religious organizations”. Yet, neither of the 2 Monasteries received the required ecclesiastic Canonical Provision to legitimately establish themselves as a Catholic religious order.


"For the good make use of this world in order to enjoy God, whereas the evil want to make use of God in order to enjoy the world." - St Augustine


MHFM-I: Joseph Natale

Joseph A. Natale (1933-1995) was born into a working-class family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1933, but contracted tuberculosis of the bone at age four; which forced him to spend most of the next seventeen years of his life shuttling in and out of hospitals. In 1960, after a brief stint in the private import business, he entered the Saint Vincent Archabbey (Benedictine) in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, as a lay postulate, but left less than a year later to lay the groundwork for what was to become, years later, the Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM).

On November 7, 1966 in Berlin, New Jersey, Brother Joseph initiated his non-sedevacantist religious community as the “Oblates of St Jude” ... (St Jude being the patron saint for lost causes, desperate situations and hospitals).

Oblate: a person who is specifically dedicated to God or to God's service.

Oblates: individuals, either laypersons or clergy, normally living in general society, who, while not professed monks or nuns have individually affiliated themselves with a monastic community of their choice.

As the oblate is in an individual relationship with the monastic community and does not form a distinct unit with the Catholic Church, there are no regulations in the modern canon law of the Church regarding them.

Some years later Joseph, for an unspecified reason, opted to abandon his recognized secular Oblate status and, ignoring the protocols of Church Canon Law (1917 Code of Canon Law - Canon 146), proclaimed the “Oblates of St Jude” to now be a full-fledged and legitimate Order of St Benedict (OSB); which, bluntly put, was an outright lie as there is no such thing as a legitimate “self-identified” Order of St Benedict.

Joseph had briefly attended the Benedictine St Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA, in 1960 but left long before the time required to become a validly professed monk and did NOT receive permission from then Archabbot Strittmatter to start his own Benedictine community.

Note: the archivist (Fr. Brian Boosel, OSB) of the Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA, is on record as indicating that brother Joseph left the Archabbey before taking his final vows and thus never actually became a Benedictine monk. But, never mind …

In 1995, then Abbot Primate Notker Wolf OSB of the Benedictine Confederation of Congregations, in Rome, made it clear that the Confederation cannot forbid anyone to call themselves "Benedictine“, even if they are not a member of the Benedictine Confederation, just so long as the person claims / swears to be following and adhering to "the Rule" of St. Benedict.

Besides the fact that Joseph was NOT a professed Benedictine monk he equally never received Holy Orders (ordained to the priesthood); which is mandatory for acquiring, legitimately, the position of a Benedictine Superior. Regardless of that, Joseph, being handicapped, would have never been allowed entry into the seminary as the Church does not permit “handicaps / cripples” as members of the priesthood.

In short, though Brother Joseph was un-professed, un-ordained to the priesthood, and without official authorization / recognition from a Benedictine Abbot to start his own congregation (which was customary), those facts didn’t stop Joseph from moving forward and establishing his “self-identified” Order of Saint Benedict.

To Joseph’s credit he incorporated “pastoral care” for his community’s traditional Catholic parishioners and created a newsletter (and other information packets) that he sent out informing people of what he saw as the problems / heresies associated with the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Joseph understood the seriousness of the fundamental problems left in the wake of the Vatican II; as a vast number of the “faithful” refused, and rightly so, to take part in Novus Ordo rites promulgated by the papacy. Christ’s flock began to scatter and, as a result, they “fled” from the Church; feeling disenfranchised due to the magisterium’s “break from tradition” and its adoption of heretical “modernist” positions.

Joseph’s Most Holy Family Monastery, his refuge / sanctuary for traditional Catholics, in Berlin, New Jersey, sponsored annual conferences, monthly retreats and provided for its parishioners a Tridentine Mass on Sundays; which drew in on average between two and three hundred people. Needless to say, the monastery flourished, gaining support and notoriety; though there were those that proclaimed that the monastery was rapidly becoming a beachhead for right-wing extremism.

In 1994, Joseph was given 36 hectare / 90 acres of land in rural New York (Fillmore); which he imagined was to be the “promised land” and on which he would, through donations, build his “City of God” and move his traditional Catholic community.

Joseph justified and based all he was doing on a “private revelation” he claimed he’d received where he was told by God that his monastery (MHFM) would be “the only beacon light of Catholicism left before the end of the world” and “the forerunner of Christ’s Second Coming” as well as “the last Catholic religious order in the world”.

Joseph had proclaimed to a number of persons that he was chosen to be a witness to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But, the reality of that claim proved inaccurate and/or was simply not meant to be. Joseph was having health issues and was undergoing “Chelation Therapy” in an effort to clean toxins from his bloodstream when he died suddenly on November 11, 1995.

We can conclude from the “facts” presented that Joseph’s MHFM and the claim of it being Benedictine was and still is an Enchanting Lustful Lie:

  • Joseph Natale was a layman and NEVER was a professed religious.

  • Joseph Natale NEVER received permission from a Benedictine Bishop (delegated by the Supreme Authority) to establish his congregation.

  • Joseph Natale NEVER received “Holy Orders”, was NEVER ordained to the priesthood, and therefore had NO legitimate claim to the position / title of Superior.

Thus Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM-I) had no "Canonical Provision" on which to justifiably claim legitimacy.


MHFM-II: Frederick "Michael" Dimond

After Joseph’s death, as there were only two or three lay brothers left, residing at the monastery in Berlin, NJ, a decision had to be taken as to who would take charge of the monastery. If not ... the MHFM was doomed to disappear along with Brother Joseph. From out of the layman’s ranks Frederick “Michael” Dimond (Brother Michael), 22 years old, stepped forward; and though the “how” and the “why” of what transpired is not clear and never has been explained, this un-professed, un-ordained layman proclaimed himself to be the monastery’s new Superior.

  • Frederick "Michael" Dimond was and still is a layman and NEVER has become a professed religious.

  • Frederick "Michael" Dimond NEVER received permission from a Benedictine Bishop (delegated by the Supreme Authority) to correct the roors of Joseph and legitimately establish a Benedictine congregation.

  • Frederick "Michael" Dimond NEVER received “Holy Orders”, has NEVER been ordained to the priesthood, and therefore has NO legitimate claim to the position / title of Superior.

Brother Michael simply kept on living Joseph's Enchanting Lustful Lie.

Without a doubt, Brother Michael did what he truly believed was necessary and in the best interest of the Berlin, NJ, monastery. For the next year he fervently tried to carry on the work of Brother Joseph; organizing the annual conference, monthly retreats and providing their congregation / parishioners with the Tridentine Mass on Sundays, just as Joseph had done.

But, Brother Michael was not at all a “Joseph Natale”. He didn’t have the same prophetic “visions” nor did he claim to have; and thus he naively overrode a standing order of Joseph which denied, refused Richard Ibrayni from presenting his controversial “The Second Coming of Christ” sermon to the community’s parishioners.

Brother Joseph was far more prophetic than he’d imagined. He was absolutely correct … “the seeds of Satan have been sown” … even within his own monastery.

The parishioners upon hearing the Richard Ibrayni’s controversial and explosive sermon on “The Second Coming of Christ” were shocked and did not like it at all. They, afterwards, grouped together and complained directly to Father Ashley demanding that he place a lawsuit down against them (MHFM) and try and take the monastery away from Brother Michael; which Father William Ashley did.

Father Ashley’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of his parishioners, accused Brother Michael and the MHFM of perpetuating fraud against the parish in an attempt to, for lack of a better word, “steal’ their money, their donations. He claimed that the MHFM had coerced the congregation into believing that the Berlin, NJ, Benedictine monastery was in communion with the Roman Catholic Church; which is why they had willingly donated to the monastery; but in reality, Richard’s sermon made it clear that the MHFM was definitely NOT in communion with the current Church in Rome.

Father Ashley, through the courts, managed to “freeze” all of the MHFM’s bank accounts, denying Brother Michael access to the funds that were needed to run the monastery. Yet, unknown to Father Ashley, Brother Joseph had not placed all the monastery’s revenue into its bank accounts. At the time of the lawsuit there was, at minimum, 250,000+ dollars sitting upstairs at the monastery in a suitcase.

It was then that Brother Michael took the suitcase and informed the remaining residence of the Belin, New Jersey, monastery that they were all to leave with him to the Fillmore, New York, property; where the Most Holy Family Monastery is located today.

It has been rumored that Brother Michael had been able to close out one of the MHFM’s bank accounts immediately after Joseph’s death; and, if true, then that undoubtedly added a “healthy” sum to the 250,000 dollars stashed away in the suitcase.

Brother Michael used those funds in order to retain a highly reputable law firm to represent himself and the MHFM. A tremendous amount of money was spent in the process; but to no avail.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon whose side you've chosen ... Father Ashley was victorious in that Brother Michael lost the Berlin, NJ, monastery.

Yet, the biggest loser in all of this was Brother Joseph as his “dream” of creating a "City of God" on the 36 hectare in Fillmore, New York, died and was buried along with him.

Bother Michael after moving to the Fillmore, New York monastery abandoned Joseph's wishes of providing "pastoral care" to the "scattered flock" as well as Joseph's non-sedevacantist position concerning the Church. By becoming "sedevacantist" Frederick "Michael" Dimond established a “new” MHFM … MHFM-II.

It is ironic and almost comical that by what MHFM-II preaches today, Joseph Natale would be considered / labeled an “apostate” and a “heretic” for not being a sedevacantist.

Just like MHFM-I ... MHFM-II has no "Canonical Provision" either on which to justifiably claim legitimacy.


1917 Code of Canon Law (Can. 146): Legitimacy of the MHFM

1917 Code of Canon Law
Book I: General Norms (Can. 1-6)
Title IX: Ecclesiastical Offices (Can. 145-196)
Chapter I: The Provision of Ecclesiastical Office
Can. 146: "An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision".

Canonical Provision: It comprises three distinct acts - the designation of the person, canonical institution, and installation. In various ways a person may be designated to fill a vacant benefice: by election, postulation, presentation, or recommendation, resignation made in one's favor, or approved exchange. In all cases confirmation by the proper ecclesiastical superior of the selection made is required, while letters of appointment, as a rule, must be presented.

Reception of administration by a chapter without such letters brings excommunication reserved to the pope, together with privation of the fruits of the benefice; and the nominee loses “ipso facto” all right to the prelacy. Ordinarily greater benefices are conferred by the pope; minor benefices by the bishop, who as a rule has the power of appointing to all benefices in his diocese. The pope, however, owing to the fullness of his jurisdiction, may appoint to any benefice whatsoever.

Thus, the law is clear ... without legitimacy (canonical provision), without the consecrated authority to act on God’s behalf to establish an ecclesiastical office [a monastery] to preach / teach the scattered flock, even with the best of intentions, it is against the Code of Canon Law bringing with it an “ipso facto” sentence of excommunication.

Next; as found within the 1918 version of The New Canon Law: A Commentary and Summary of the New Code of Canon Law; by Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, O.F.M.
The Second Book: Laws Concerning Persons
Part I: Laws Concerning the Clergy
Section II: Clerics Individually
Title VII: The Supreme Authority and Those who by Law Share in it

(146) The Supreme Authority alone can erect ecclesiastical provinces, dioceses, abbeys [monasteries] or prelatures nullius, vicariates apostolic, prefectures apostolic; or change their limits, divide, unite, suppress them.

The FACTs:

  • Joseph Natale (1932-1995), the founder of the “concept” MHFM, was a layman and NEVER was a professed religious.

  • Joseph Natale NEVER received permission from a Benedictine Bishop (delegated by the Supreme Authority) to establish his congregation.

  • The same applies to Frederick “Michael” Dimond.

Thus ... NO Canonical Provision.

Simply put ... the Dimond Brothers of the MHFM, as laymen, are acting outside the laws of the Church established in 1917 ... long before Vatican II was ever held.

In the Canon Law Digest, Volume 3, Can. 147 (page 71) it reads: “Excommunication as vitandus is inflicted for accepting office from a lay authority.”; which is exactly the grievous error committed by Bro. Michael when he self-declared himself, as a layman, Superior of the MHFM.

For it is clearly indicated concerning the “official” Benedictine requirements for obtaining the legitimate position of a Superior within a Benedictine monastery:

1910Declarations on the Rule of Our Holy Father St. Benedict and Statutes of the American-Cassinese Congregation” / permissu superiorum (by permission of the superiors), approved by the HOLY SEE under Pope Pius X (page 55):

No one, however, can be elected unless he has made solemn vows, is ordained to the priesthood and belongs to our congregation.

Denzinger: The Sources of Catholic Dogma

967 Can. 7: “If anyone says that ... those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from a different source, are lawful ministers of the word …: let him be anathema [cf. n. 960].

Anathema is a ban or curse solemnly pronounced by ecclesiastical authority and accompanied by excommunication.

To reiterate the FACTs:

  • Joseph Natale was a layman and NEVER was a professed religious.

  • Joseph Natale NEVER received permission from a Benedictine Bishop (delegated by the Supreme Authority) to establish his congregation.

  • Joseph Natale NEVER received “Holy Orders”, was NEVER ordained to the priesthood, and therefore had NO legitimate claim to the position / title of Superior.

  • The same applies to Frederick “Michael” Dimond.

Thus, once again ... NO Canonical Provision.

It is unfortunate, indeed, that there are a multitude of obstinate persons who do not quite, or willfully refuse, to understand that the purpose of this project is NOT an attempt to unjustly defame or denigrate the innocent; but rather it is a continued effort to keep on “sounding the alarm” concerning the fraud being perpetuated upon the “scattered flock” by a narcistic, miscreant by the name of Frederick “Michael” Dimond; posing as an ecclesiastic Superior within his secular “not-for-profit corporation”; disguised as a self-identified Order of St Benedict (OSB) deceitfully called the “Most Holy Family Monastery” (MHFM).

It's still not too late to repent Brother Michael.


"Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it." - St. Augustine


"Against a fact there is no argument"

The above is a quote is taken from page 333 of the MHFM book "The Truth about What Really Happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II". In all honesty, one cannot argue with the Dimond Brothers on that point. But, how does one convince the authors of that quote to “honor / respect” their own words of sage wisdom?

The “fact” in this specific case is that the Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) in Fillmore, New York is NOT actually an Order of St Benedict, nor is it an Oblate of St Benedict; nor is it any longer the Oblates of St Jude; but rather it is simply a secular New York not-for-profit corporation (file #1751088) comprised of persons who have willfully deluded themselves into believing that they are truly Benedictines; which is NOT the case. This raises the question that if the Dimond Brothers and their acolytes are NOT deceitful con-men then are they are all suffering from the same “multiple personality disorder”; commonly referred to today as “Schizophrenia“?

It is the focus of the “Crossroads at 23rd Street website” to attempt to persuade the Dimond Brothers and their acolytes to “seek help” and to recognize the grievous error they have committed by falsely presenting themselves to the world an Order of St. Benedictine; which they most definitely are not. But that attempt has been, is, and continues to be a daunting task that, unfortunately, may never reach its intended successful end.

To be clear … it is NOT the doctrinal / dogmatic positions that the MHFM espouse or the related DVDs, videos, books, etcetera sold through their website that is the primary concern. Their un-instructed, “personal” interpretation of Church doctrine and purported sedevacantist positions is another matter altogether; as God has entrusted each of us with expressed free-will and a guarantee of our right to choose, for our benefit or detriment, what doctrines we will believe and who we will serve / follow.

By taking a pragmatic look at the facts surrounding this controversial secular organization it becomes blatantly evident, at least to those with an open mind and the good will to embrace the truth; that the MHFM is, above all else, a “business of religion” and nothing more, no matter what the Dimond Brothers claim. It should be clear to all that simply purchasing and wearing black mail-order monk habits does NOT make a person a Benedictine.


A Pragmatic Look at the Most Holy Family Monastery

 


The Sedevacantist Delusion: MHFM Objections

John C. Pontrello's "Summary" responses to Objections found in: "The Truth about What Really Happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II"

Extracts used in videos taken with the author's permission from:
The Sedevacantist Delusion: Why Vatican II's Clash with Sedevacantism Supports Eastern Orthodoxy - by John C. Pontrello (August 2015)

Note About the Author:

John C. Pontrello is a former Sedevacantist activist and seminarian in a traditional Catholic religious community. Prior to his association with traditional Catholicism, he managed an investment planning practice for many years. He currently resides in Western New York.


Faith is Liberty Espoused

Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887 wrote:

All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Pope Sylvester I’s fatal "governing alliance" (i.e. Caesar and Pope) in the 4th century with Constantine radically changed the course of Catholicism which, from then on, flowed directly into the rivers of absolutism. The Church of Christ transformed itself, for lack of a better word, into a "pornocracy"; but even with that transformation, it was then and remains “the Church”.

The robust history of the Catholic Church is full to overflowing with astonishing illustrations of divine good and diabolic evil, of resplendent selflessness as well as repugnant vainglory and, unfortunately, it has accumulated, over two millennia, a long sultry list of sordid actions / crimes perpetuated against the Church (the flock) itself.

Each one of us must decide if we're "inside" or "outside" the Church and if you can confirm that you are one of the "faithful" then you must take an active role in its healing process! It is the duty, the responsibility of each one of us to embolden and garnish our faith in Christ and his Church and live our lives so as to avoid the snares set by those ecclesiastic miscreants (from without and within the Church) who seek to entrap us, to turn our hearts away from the true Faith and by such preventing us from obtaining salvation. We must make a conscious and sustained effort to remember the warnings, the words that have been said to guide us:

  • "The Church is your hope, the Church is your salvation, she is your refuge. It is for this that Christ established it, after having paid the price of His Blood, for this that He confided His teaching and the precepts of His law, drawing forth at the same time the treasure of His grace for the sanctification and salvation of men."
    - St. John Chrysostom (349-407)

  • "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them."
    - Mat 7:15-20.

  • "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds."
    - 2 Cor 11:13-15

  • "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions."
    - 2 Tim 4:3

Studying the Holy Bible, the teachings of the Church, the lives of the Saints, etc. are good for the soul and for strengthening ones faith. Yet, I would like to encourage you to be courageous and couple those religious readings with the writings of reputable historians and theologians in order to avoid the pitfalls associated with the oftentimes “subjective” reasoning of Church apologists who have mastered the “skill of deceit”.

Use the power of your faith, obtained through study, fasting and prayer to free yourself from those who have a proven vested material interest in your believing their “enchanting lustful lies”. Cast away your doubts and uncertainty believing in the promise of Christ:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Mat 7:7).

Pax Tecum

 

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