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MhFM: Benedicti Acephalites
Faith

The Crossroads at 23rd Street

 

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MhFM: "Benedicti Acephalites"
or "Headless Benedictines"

  • Acephale: ancient Greek for "Headless"

  • Acephalites: ancient Greek for “men without a head”.

  • "Benedicti Acephalites" or "Headless Benedictines".

I hold the opinion that “Benedicti Acephalites” is a far more appropriate term to use in identifying the Dimond Brothers’ MhFM than their preferred moniker as “Sedevacantists”.

You see ... Sedevacantism merely points to their preferred “modus apprendi”, their working habits (no pun intended), and not as to who and what they actually are as unprofessed, unordained "laymen". Let me explain.

Joseph Natale (1927-1995), the founder of the MhFM, was a traditional Catholic ... not ... a Sedevacantist. We know for a certainty that Joseph favored and promulgated unity / communion with Rome; which is why in late 1968 he petitioned the presiding bishop at the Diocese of Camden, NJ, for a “canonical provision” to catholicize (legitimatize) his "free-lanced" religious community.

Months Later, in 1969, the Diocese of Camden officially replied “rejecting” Joseph’s petition for canonical provision.

In 1985, Natale appealed Camden’s 1969 decision to Joseph Ratzinger (later Benedict XVI), who was then head of the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" (CDF), in Rome. To Joseph's chagrin, the appeal was equally “rejected” on the grounds that the Diocese in Camden held episcopal jurisdiction in the matter

In both of the above mentioned instances Joseph Natale was ordered to submit to the decision of the presiding Church authorities and abandon his “project”; which he refused to do. The failure to obtain a canonical provision, required to catholicize his “Oblates of St Jude”, was indeed a setback ... but it was not going to stop Joseph. No, though he was physically handicapped with “tuberculosis of the spine” Joseph's mind remained sharp and he possessed a cunning plan “B” that he immediately set about implementing.

By masquerading his friary (MhFM) as being Benedictine in nature, Joseph was now only required to swear before God that he and his religious coterie would adhere to and follow the Rule of St Benedict and, of course, to recognize the Pope as being a Benedictine's ultimate governing Authority (Superior). In light of that precocious solemn declaration, the Roman Church could not deny or prevent Joseph from continuing chasing his monastic dream.

The grievous flaw in Joseph’s otherwise clever plan “B” was in erroneously declaring himself to be the “Superior” (the professed and ordained Head) of his self-identified Benedictine community.

The Dimond Brothers have attempted to defend Joseph's use of plan “B” by declaring that he was a professed Benedictine monk and had received permission from then Archabbot Denis Strittmatter, O.S.B, of St Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA, to leave and start his religious community.

The Dimond Brothers claim is, of course, little more than an Enchanting Lustful Lie.

The actual facts, confirmed by St Vincent Archabbey, is that in 1960 Joseph did in fact enter the Archabbey as a “novice candidate” but left shortly afterwards without being professed nor receiving any permission whatsoever from Archabbot Strittmatter to start a Benedictine religious community.

There are those who say it doesn’t actually matter if the MhFM is a legitimate Benedictine community or not because the information it disseminates is Roman Catholic dogmatic, doctrinal, scriptural truth. But, those who say such foolish things are only deceiving themselves.

"Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber." - St John 10:1

There is a theologically sound and pertinent reason as to why the Order of St. Benedict (OSB) stipulates that a Benedictine must first meet a set of pre-conditional requirements before being considered for the exalted position of a Benedictine Superior. The reason being, that the Benedictine brother “elected” to the position of a Superior: “holds [sits in] the place of Christ in the monastery”.

Therefore, the OSB maintains that a Benedictine must first be:

  1. at least 30 years of age,

  2. solemnly professed for at least 7 years (CIC 623),

  3. an ordained priest, and

  4. a member of a Cenobite Congregation.

Let's see how Joseph holds up under the scrutiny of those pre-conditions:

  1. at least 30 years of age, (in 1985 Joseph was 50+)

  2. solemnly professed for at least 7 years (CIC 623), (Joseph was never professed)

  3. an ordained priest, (Joseph was physically handicapped so he could not become a priest under any circumstances) and

  4. a member of a Cenobite Congregation, (Joseph's friary, MhFM, was not aligned with an established Cenobite Congregation).

Meeting 1 out of 4 pre-conditions negates Joseph's claim of being a licit Benedictine Superior.

On the other hand, what it does confirm is that the enactment of Joseph’s plan “B” resulted in transforming the MhFM into a haphazard friary of cross-dressing “Benedicti Acephalites” or "Headless Benedictines".

Why? Because there was no one residing at Joseph's purported Benedictine monastery that held the "keys" and "authority" of the priesthood to lead, guide and direct it, no one legitimately commissioned to “hold [sit in] the place of Christ”. Simply put … Joseph and his ragtag group of laymen, cross-dressing as Benedictines, were committing pious fraud.

I do not doubt that Joseph’s intention in establishing a religious community, serving God, saving souls, and making enough money in the process to care for and sustain his religious coterie was honorable; for it was. But, intention only points to a direction and does not, in itself, justify / legitimatize an action.

It is irrelevant that Joseph remained in communion with Rome, preaching traditional Catholicism instead of extremist “Sedevacantism”, and kept a portrait of Pope John Paul II hanging on the wall inside the rectory’s office ... his office. None of those things changed the fact that Joseph’s monastery remained “Headless” (illegitimate) according to the dictates of canon law.

Regardless of how many “Clerici Vagantes” (wandering priests - those not in communion with a recognized diocesan bishop) came to the MhFM to hold Confession, perform Mass and speak with Joseph's growing congregation; it did not change the fact that Joseph’s Benedictine community was born out of "wedlock", remaining "Fatherless", and therefore illegitimate.

For nearly 30 years the Roman Church remained tolerant with Joseph, attempting on many occasions to meet with him, discuss, and reconcile their differences in order to bring him back into the fold. Yet, Joseph remained an obstinate “Benedicti Acephale” to the bitter end … dying unexpectedly and unrepentant, in November 1995, from complications related to the “Chelation Therapy” he was undergoing.

As a result, Joseph’s “Headless” MhFM fell into the hands of one of its few remaining “Benedicti Acephalites”. At 22 years of age (unprofessed and unordained) ... Frederick (a.k.a. Brother Michael) Dimond, declared himself MhFM’s new Benedictine Superior.

Shortly afterwards, Frederick brought in his sibling Robert (a.k.a. Brother Peter) and together they betrayed Joseph's 30+ years of work, lost the Berlin (NJ) monastery, moved to Fillmore (NY), embraced Sedevacantism, and changed the MhFM from being a ... Benedicti Acephale's Dream ... into being a Schismatic Nightmare that Joseph Natale, MhFM's founder, most certainly would have Condemned.

Hmmm ... in retrospect, the Dimond Brothers' Sedevacantist friary (MhFM) are not Benedictine at all ... but they certainly are "Acephalites" (men without a head); frantically running around in delusional theological circles as the remnant body of a "Headless" counter church ... lost in a religious masquerade.

- Pax Tecum

 

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