Go Top
Eric Hoyle Lawsuit
Faith

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.

Eric Hoyle vs Most Holy Family Monastery

The Saga of Eric Hoyle vs The Dimond Brothers

 

Before reviewing the Eric Hoyle vs the MhFM lawsuit let's first reflect on a story told in St Matthew about a rich young man who comes to Christ asking what he can do in order to obtain eternal life.

Matthew 19:16-25

(16) And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

(17) And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

(18) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

(19) Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

(20) The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

(21) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

(22) But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

(23) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

(24) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

(25) When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

There is a big difference between charitably donating ones wealth to the poor and that of one being naively conned out of their wealth through the calculated, decitful practices of pious frauds posing as commissioned servants of Christ. One cannot buy their salvation. Man’s salvation is not based upon his sacrifice to God. Our “chance” to obtain salvation was assured us the day Christ died upon the cross. His ultimate sacrifice paid in full the price required for the redemption of our sins and the saving of our souls.

Salvation’s focus is not based upon what we do; but rather it is founded upon what Christ has already sacrificed / accomplished for us. In order to receive God's grace, all that is required and expected of us, is to live honorable and moral lives, be baptized, confess our sins and follow, to the best of our ability, God’s commandments on a daily basis. By diligently striving each day to morally better our lives, Christ has assured us that we will be granted forgiveness of our sins and obtain eternal life.

Yet, for those Christian Faithful who feel compelled to become a “disciple of Christ” and seek after the monastic life, there are risks; as in the case of Eric Hoyle who naively became part of the Dimond Brothers controversial religious community (MhFM) in Fillmore, New York.

Eric Hoyle … an incredible “believe it or not” story of a “used to be” rich young man

Eric Hoyle

In 2003, Eric Hoyle (22 years old) was teaching chemistry at a public high school in Edgewater, MD; a remarkable acievement for anyone so young. Outside of his professional activity, Eric passionately studied various existing theologies in the quest of discovering the “one true religion” that he would then dedicate his life to.

In 2004, as a result of his research, Eric concluded that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church professed all the things that he'd been searching for. He next made the decision to abandon his teaching career in order to seek admission into a Seminary that one day, God willing, would lead to his receiving Holy Orders, and becoming a priest.

In early 2005, while living a sequestered life-style, devoted to prayer and study, Eric learned of the existence of a purported Benedictine Monastery located in upstate New York (Fillmore) that was called Most Holy Family Monastery (MhFM).

Young Eric was excited about this discovery and eagerly telephoned the MhFM, speaking directly with Frederick Dimond (a.k.a. Brother Michael), the monastery’s Superior. Eric was anxious to understand what was required in order to join the MhFM and become a part of its Benedictine community.

In the discussion that followed, Brother Michael explained the MhFM’s origins dating back to the 1960’s when Joseph Natale, a professed Benedictine monk, received permission from Archabbot Dennis Strittmatter of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA, to establish a Benedictine religious community in Berlin, NJ. Brother Michael went on to explain that in the early 1990s a magnanimous benefactor had donated to Joseph the 90 acres of land in Fillmore, NY, on which the MhFM now resides.

Bother Michael went on to explain that Joseph died in November 1995 before relocating the MhFM to Fillmore, NY. He added that in 1997 after he (Brother Michael) was elected Superior that; he supervised the monastery's move to its present location.

Brother Michael convinced young Eric that the MhFM was not only a Benedictine religious community but also the “promised land” he'd been searching for.

Thus on April 1, 2005 (April Fool’s Day - which is tragically apropos) Eric wrote the first of what would become many such checks to the MhFM. That first $700.00 USD donation merely primed Erics check writing pump. It felt good to give his money to those he truly believed were doing God's work (i.e. MhFM).

Blinded by the light Eric believed he saw coming from the MhFM he decided that he would follow the admonition of Christ to the “rich young man” found in St Matthew 19:21: [21] Jesus said unto him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

On May 2, 2005 young rich Eric felt compelled to make a substantial donation to the MhFM in the amount of $65,000.00 USD.

But there was a "catch". Brother Michael informed Eric that there was a pre-condition before one could enter the MhFM. Eric was informed that before entering the community and starting the training ; he woud be required to turn over his worldly possessions to the MhFM; as the shedding of material possessions was a requirement of the Rule of St. Benedict. Brother Michael added that Eric must specify in writing the amount of money that he would like returned, if any, should he decide to leave the MhFM before completing his training and becoming a professed monk.

At that time, Eric was the owner of approximately 1,350,000 shares of Guinor Gold Corporation. So, on or about November 4, 2005, young Eric transferred 1,045,000 of those shares (valued at $1,233,100.00 USD) to the MhFM; keeping only enough to pay the capital gains taxes due for 2005. By mid-2006, Brother Michael asked Eric, once again, to specify in writing the amount of the transferred share values that must be returned to him if and when he ever decided to leave the MhFM.

Eric swears he complied and created a document that indicated that the amount he wanted to back, should he ever decide to leave, would be $750,000.00 USD. He then foolishly gave that signed document Brother Michael without requesting or keeping a signed copy as a receipt; an error in judgement that would prove to "haunt him" later on.

On or around September 12, 2006, Eric once again felt compelled to give more of his possessions way; so he made another donation to the MhFM of 37,400 shares of Central Fund of Canada (valued at $307,989.00 USD).

Within a year of that September 12, 2006 money transfer, an issue arose that raised doubt in Eric's mind about the MhFM's integrity. After reading a series of articles written by Richard Ibranyi, an ex-member of the MhFM who claims to have been expelled from the community for holding the sedevacantist position, Eric became disillusioned and confused.

Why? Because, Richard Ibrayni's articles drew attention to the fact that the Dimond Brothers were regularly attending Mass and receiving the Holy Sacrament from a Byzantine Rite Church, in Rochester, NY, that was in communion with Rome.

Wasn’t that heresy and grounds for "ipso facto" excommunication? Catholic Encyclopedia: Excommunication (1917) "Next comes the heretic who belongs to a heretical association; for such a person his heretical membership alone is sufficient to bring him under sentence of excommunication. In his case the penalty is incurred by adhesion to the heresy, notably by willful and active participation in Sacris (i.e. in public worship) with heretics."

Why would the Dimond Brothers do that? Wasn’t it a “mortal sin” to associate with anyone “outside the Church” let alone attend Mass and partake of the sacraments from a “heretical” priest? It didn’t take long for young Eric to study the facts and arrive at the conclusion that Richard’s suspicions and accusations were “true”. The Dimond Brothers were manifest heretics. Eric felt betrayed.

For Eric it was a "wake-up call" that heightened his suspicion about veracity of the MhFM itself. He cringed at the unnerving possibility that Richard’s other accusations against the Dimond Brothers may as well be true; that being:

  • Joseph Natale did NOT complete his training at the St. Vincent Archabbey and therefore was NOT a professed monk.

  • Joseph Natale was NOT authorized by Archabbot Strittmatter to establish a religious community.

  • MhFM did NOT have canoncal provison (a Charter).

  • MhFM was NOT founded on nor operate in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict.

That revelation took its toll on Eric, emotionally and spiritually. His continued stay at the MhFM would not bring him any closer to obtaining his desired goal of becoming a validly professed Benedictine monk. It became painfully evident that all he’d believed in, trusted in, prayed for, and sacrificed for was now an expensive ($1,606,789.00) lesson learned.

So, a young dejected Eric Hoyle did the only "Christian" thing he could think of ... he packed his bags (including copies of what he considered to be incriminating evidence of pious fraud and racketeering) and left the MhFM on December 31, 2007.

Eric took a long contemplative deep breath, gathered his wits, and found a reputable law firm (CHAMBERLAIN D’AMANDA OPPENHEIMER & GREENFIELD LLP out of Rochester, NY). Together they went over the facts of his findings and upon completition of the review decided to file a lawsuit against the Dimond Brothers and the MhFM; alleging that they had conspired and perpetuated fraud against Eric that had bilked him out of 1.6 million dollars; which he had every intention or recuperating.

  • Fraud (mail, wire and banking),

  • Negligent Misrepresentation,

  • Unjust Enrichment,

  • Deceptive Trade Practices,

  • False Advertising and

  • Racketeering

On May 19, 2008 Eric's complaint was finally ready and was officially submitted to the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT / WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. After that … the legal bantering started with the MhFM's legal defense team (DUKE, HOLZMAN, PHOTIADIS & GRESENS LL out of Buffalo, NY).

The Dimond Brother’s attorneys wasted no time at all in going on the offensive; emphasizing that in this case they believed that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction (over a religious matter) and therefore the complaint should be dismissed as stipulated by the rules governing the application of the First Amendment of the Constitution. It was a nice try but the court denied them that request.

With all of the preliminaries now completed, and the attempts by the defense team to dismiss the case denied, it was time to establish a trial date. On March 10, 2009 Eric Hoyle’s lawsuit was filed with the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT / WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK (Case Number: 08-CV-00347-JTC).

Thus armed with the truth Eric's legal team marched confidently into court. The proof they possessed was overwhelming stacked against the MhFM.

How could young Eric possibly lose, Right? Wrong!

The legal battle raged on for nearly 4 years and proved, in the end, that “good does not always vanquish evil”. In short … the decision of the court came down as this:

Heresy

Defendants deny that they misrepresented their doctrinal views or their status as Benedictines, and further argue that this dispute cannot be adjudicated without interpreting religious doctrine, specifically the requirements and obligations that must be fulfilled in order for one to become a Benedictine monk and for a monastery to be considered a Benedictine community."

It is undisputed that MHFM operates as a religious organization and not-for-profit corporation.

The defendants consider themselves an independent Benedictine community operating outside the governance of the Benedictine Confederation and the Catholic Church.

Under the "neutral principles of law" approach, this court could properly determine whether MHFM is affiliated with the recognized Order of St. Benedict, but it is a doctrinal issue whether MHFM operates according to the Rule of St. Benedict and can self-identify as a Benedictine monastery."

Defendants believe they are Benedictines, and have a theological basis for this belief.

Apparently, there are critics of MHFM who reject this self-identification.

At the time he donated money to MHFM and joined the monastery, plaintiff knew that MHFM was not recognized by the Order of St. Benedict, but accepted it as Benedictine nonetheless.

The First Amendment protects the rights of the defendants to decide matters of faith free from state intrusion.

To the extent that plaintiff asks this court to determine whether MHFM is a true Benedictine community, such an inquiry would require the resolution of theological issues and religious doctrine and is prohibited by the First Amendment.

To say that the Dimond Brothers were overjoyed with the civil court’s decision would be a monstrous understatement. They were ecstatic! What man wouldn’t be happy, right? But any true Benedictine would have been thoroughly ashamed.

Brother Michael vaingloriously declared this victory as an sign from God and NOT as a religious First Amendment issue that the District Court had no legal right to investigate and decide upon. For Brother Michael, this was “divine revelation” declaring that he was indeed “The Right Reverend Lord and Father in Christ, Bro. Michael Dimond, Superior of this monastery” … his MhFM.

And to celebrate the victory Brother Michael created a webpage entitled: "Amazing: The Final Judgment Ending Our Benedictine Fraud Lawsuit Was Issued on The Feast of St. Benedict - March 21, 2014".

The audacity of this reprehensible miscreant layman appears to have no bounds! How could anyone, with an IQ higher than the age of accountability, entertain the idea that his success in civil court was santioned by God?

Here are a few of those delusional words found on the webpage:

"This event is a clear, stunning confirmation from Heaven (particularly for other people to see) that we are indeed Benedictines and true members of the Order of St. Benedict. In fact, we are the true Order of St. Benedict in our day. Anyone who knows anything about such lawsuits knows that neither plaintiffs nor defendants control when judges make their rulings or legal decisions are issued. Yet, this “final judgment” was issued on March 21. It’s a smashing victory, an obvious sign, in the face of all our detractors and opponents."

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

Brother Michael most definitely won the case made by Eric against him in civil court but that does not and will not justify him before God for what he has done.

Let's look to see what the 1917 Code of Canon Law has to say about this issue.

Canon 568
Canon Law

In the course of the novitiate, if a novice renounces his benefices or goods in any manner or encumbers [them], the renunciation or obligation is not only illicit, but by the law it is invalid.

Canon 569
  1. Before profession of simple vows, whether temporary or perpetual, a novice must for the whole time in which he is bound by simple vows cede the administration of his goods to whomever he wishes, and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, he freely disposes of their use and fruit.

  2. If this cession or disposition was omitted because of a lack of goods and later [the novice] comes into property, or it if was done and [the novice] later obtained goods by another title, [the cession or disposition] shall be repeated according to the norm established in § 1 notwithstanding having given simple profession.

  3. A novice in a religious Congregation before profession of temporary vows shall freely produce a will concerning present goods and those perhaps to be acquired.

Canon 570
  1. Nothing for the expenses of postulancy or novitiate can be required except for food and the religious habit that in the constitutions or in express contract has been indicated will be owed upon entering postulancy or the novitiate.

  2. Whatever the aspirant brought and has not consumed by use shall be restored to him if he leaves the religious [institute] without having given profession.

Canon 580
  1. Anyone professed by simple vows, whether perpetual or temporary, unless otherwise provided in the constitutions, maintains proprietary rights over his goods and the capacity of acquiring other goods, except for those that are prescribed in Canon 569.

  2. Whatever he acquires by effort or by reason of the religious [institute], he acquires for the religious [institute].

  3. A professed can change the cession or disposition [of goods] mentioned in Canon 569.2, but not by his own judgment, unless the constitutions allow it, but with the permission of the supreme Moderator or, if it concerns nuns, with the permission of the local Ordinary and, if a monastery is subject to regulars, [of] the regular Superior, providing the change of at least a notable part of the goods is not done in favor of the religious [institute]; and upon leaving the religious [institute], a cession or disposition of this sort has no force.

Canon 581
  1. One professed by simple vows cannot validly before, but within sixty days before solemn profession must, renounce all goods that he actually has, in favor of whomever he wants, subject to the condition of profession [actually] following, with due regard for any particular indults granted by the Holy See.

  2. Upon profession, everything that is necessary for the renunciation to have effect in civil law must be done immediately.


The 1917 Code of Canon Laws is clear in this matter. Brother Michael, as the Benedictine he purports to be, was required to return to Eric the $750,000 he’d stipulated that he wanted returned should he decide to leave the MhFM before taking his solemn vow of profession.

Pax Tecum

The Eric Hoyle Case PDFs: PDF

 

Faith is Liberty Espoused  •  © 2018  •  23rdStreet.com  •  Contact