The following interview with internationally renowned Spiritual Theologian , Reverend Doctor Joseph Iannuzzi, concerning the alleged messages of Fr. Rodrigue provides strong theological and pastoral confirmation of the 10 point negative assessment provided earlier by Dr. Mark Miravalle (https://www.motherofallpeoples.com/post/the-messages-of-father-rodrigue-a-theological-evaluation) concerning the substantial and numerous theological, pastoral, and factual errors contained in the alleged message. This interview, which first appeared on the House of Loretto website, marianconference.com, is reprinted with permission.
As a member of the International Marian Association (https://internationalmarian.com/), I am happy to provide you with the following information on the Church’s present-day position on the alleged messages that have been circulated in Canada and elsewhere.
Below are three communications from a Catholic Bishop, the Vicar General and my interview with a Catholic priest and theologian who has obtained several advanced degrees from the Pontifical Universities of Rome.
Sharon Freeman, President House of Loreto, International Marian Association Member
August 22, 2020,
The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1 – Catholic Bishop addresses a website and book that promotes Fr. Michel Rodrigue’s alleged messages
2 – Catholic Bishop’s Vicar General addresses Fr. Rodrigue and exorcisms
3 – Interview with a Catholic Priest and Theologian on Dr. Mark Miravalle’s Theological Evaluation of the alleged messages
1 – Communication from The Most Reverend Bishop Gilles Lemay
Peace be with you,
I thank you for your e-mail requesting some information about the teaching and the standing of Father Michel Rodrigue, a priest incardinated in the diocese of Hearst-Moosonee, Ontario, and working in this diocese of Amos, Québec, for a few years. He is the founder of the Fraternité Saint-Benoît-Joseph-Labre, a lay association of the faithful which is not a religious institute. As you probably did too, I read on the Countdown to the Kingdom website related to Fr. Michel and also in the book of Christine Watkins, ‘The Warning. Testimonies and Prophecies the Illumination of Conscience’ (Note 84, p. 278 and p. 280), that: “Michel Rodrigue receives the full support of his bishop, and all of his locutions and visions are submitted to his local ordinary for approval.” This quotation was removed these days from the website after a request I sent to Fr. Michel. No mention is made of the reason for the removal, that is to say, because it was untrue. However, the quotation remains in the book mentioned above.
I have to tell you that Fr. Michel never submitted to me any of his locutions and visions for discernment or approval. Accordingly, I could not have supported the content of his talks which are not presented in my diocese nor elsewhere in the Province of Québec as far as I now, but mostly in the United States. Moreover, I learnt about his teaching while reading some reports on the website mentioned. I did not and do not approve of his teaching with regard to his locutions and visions. Consequently, it is untrue that he “receives the full support of his bishop” as it is written in the Countdown to the Kingdom website and in the quoted book (The Warning. Testimonies and Prophecies the Illumination of Conscience).
I thank you for your request. If you wish any further information, I will be pleased to respond as much as possible.
Truly yours in Christ,
+ Gilles Lemay,
Bishop of Amos, Québec
2 – Communications of July 23 2020 from Bishop G. Lemay’s Vicar General Fr. Raymond Martel
Thank you for your email. Being in the Diocese of Amos since August 2011, Father Michel Rodrigue has never received from Bishop Gilles Lemay the faculties of exorcist for our diocese.
Blessings and communion in prayer.
Raymond Martel, prêtre
Vicaire général au diocèse d’Amos
450, Rue Principale Nord
Amos, Qc (Canada) J9T 2M1
Tél. 819-732-6515 Poste 206
Those who assert that Fr. Rodrigue “is an official exorcist in the Church,” are incorrect. They are reminded by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Amos in which he has resided for the past nine years that he was not vested with the “special and express permission of his local bishop”, which the Church’s Code of Canon Law requires to perform major exorcisms and/or to enjoy the title of official exorcist: “No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary” (can. 1172,1). The title, ‘official exorcist in the Church’ is not conferred on those who recite deliverance prayers or perform minor exorcisms.
The US Catholic Conference of Bishops states that exorcisms are divided into two forms, 1) Simple or minor forms of exorcism, and 2) Solemn or "Major Exorcism." The simple or minor forms are for simply those preparing for Baptism - children and/or adults in the RCIA program. The second form is the Solemn or "Major Exorcism," which is a rite that can only be performed by a bishop or by a priest, with the special and express permission of his Local Bishop (can. 1172). This Major Exorcism form is directed “at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation [of a person] from demonic possession” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1673).
3 – Interview with Catholic Theologian Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, S.T.L., S.Th.D.
Point 1 - Communication from The Most Reverend Bishop Gilles Lemay on the non-supernatural nature of Fr. Michel Rodrigue’s alleged messages
Loreto Pres.: Fr. Joseph, after repeated requests from the people of God, members of the International Marian Association and members of the clergy are seeking your valuable insights on the alleged messages of Fr. Michel Rodrigue. Your extensive background in mystical and dogmatic theology and demonology would be of service to the people of God. As a peritus theologian of several causes for beatification, and one who has performed exorcisms with written permission, may I ask your theological insights into the 10 points of negative critique by Dr. Mark Miravalle concerning the alleged messages of Fr. Michel Rodrigue? Can you respond to his first point?
Father: In point 1 Dr. Miravalle did well to share with the Christian faithful the position of the Most Reverend Bishop G. Lemay of the Diocese of Amos. I wish to emphasize that Canon Law vests the bishop as an individual (can. 823, 2) with the authority to express his own discernment and decision concerning teachings either in writing or spoken via social media; this is especially so when they may have an ill effect on the faith morals of the faithful, even without and/or before a formal judgment is rendered through a formal commission. The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon law states,
“In order to safeguard the integrity of faith and morals, pastors of the Church have the duty and the right to ensure that in writings or in the use of the means of social communication there should be no ill effect on the faith and morals of Christ's faithful… they have the duty and the right to condemn writings which harm true faith or good morals” (Canon 823 §1).
Should one nurture a desire to contest a bishops’ decision, he/she ought to have well-founded theological, canonical or pastoral reasons for doing so. When one contests a teaching of the Magisterium, one must “avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth” (Instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Donum Veritatis, 30).
Point 2 - Abnormal Diabolical Interaction
Loreto Pres.: Fr. Joseph, you received permission to assist Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the exorcist of Rome, in performing exorcisms. As a priest theologian who has performed both major and minor exorcisms, can you comment on Dr. Miravalle’s second point? He considers the young Michel Rodrigue’s burning down of the family home in order to free himself and the family from evil spirits a negative indication of proper balance. Many people have found this episode very odd.
Here in Canada, the fire department and the police attend the scene of a fire, and an investigation is conducted to determine the cause of fire, i.e., electrical, arson, etc. In the case of arson or negligence, charges are laid. In the outskirts of the small city of Rimouski, Quebec, where Fr. Michel Rodrigue lived, there would be a fire department and a police department in charge of this community.
Father: Allow me first to say that to a young man whose conscience is maturing and being formed and who believes that his house was visited by evil or is infested, the Church encourages prayers of deliverance or simple or major exorcisms, even if this may take repeated and efforts much time to achieve. When confronting places where evil actions are believed to have occurred, the Church offers ritual prayers and acts of deliverance and consecration to undo the desecration and, at times, converts them into places of Christian worship. I have personally known of families that have left houses that they believed were visited by demons, only to be revisited by them in their new locations, even hundreds of miles away. Tertullian wrote in De Spectaculis, “The places themselves do not contaminate, but what is done in them,” and there are eleven pagan temples that the Catholic Church had converted into what are now Church sites in Rome. Additionally there are three Roman sanctuaries to the pagan god Mithras that were converted and built over with Churches.
Point 3 - Ambiguous Theological Assertion
Loreto Pres.: Dr. Miravalle shares concern for an alleged message of Fr. Rodrigue whom he cites as follows,
“My dear sons and daughters… Together, I ask you to do everything you can to help My son, Michel (Rodrigue), to build the monastery that will form the priests aware of the end times and responding to the call of My daughter, Mary. The cohort of the saints now comes to earth with My daughter, Mary, and your grandma, Anna, to help you ask for My Son’s intercession. I refuse nothing of what He asks of me. He and I are One.”
Father: Among the various elements that determine the veracity of a given private revelation, the theologian examines its doctrine (substance) and grammar (form). Grammatically, this statement is ambiguous, for, on the one hand, it refers to the good priest as God’s “son” (‘son’ in the lower case), and, on the other hand, it refers to “He” (in the upper case). Had this statement made reference to the divine persons of Jesus Christ or of the Holy Spirit, one may then happily affirm that ‘He’ refers to Jesus or the Holy Spirit, but they are not mentioned.
Also, if taken as an expression from God the Father to God the Son, the expression, “I refuse nothing of what He asks of me,” appears extraneously misplaced and unnecessary, as all three divine Persons are immutably united in what they desire; they are of one divine nature and therefore of one divine will. The meaning behind this expression would be relevant, for example, if it were coming from either Mary to her son Jesus, or from Jesus to his immaculate mother Mary.
I concur with Dr. Miravalle’s concerns when he states, “Even if the words are meant only figuratively, it nonetheless manifests a theological and pastoral concern that a priest with theological training would convey this alleged message with the ambiguity it contains.”
Loreto Pres.: Fr. Joseph, what are your theological thoughts on Fr. Rodrigue’s alleged message where he makes the assertion that people must “do everything they can to help Fr. Rodrigue construct a monastery,” and that “the priests who are prepared by the Monastery of St. Benedict Joseph Labre will be those who serve the survivors”? Bishop Gilles Lemay states in his letter that Fr. Michel established a “lay association” which is not a religious institute.
Father: First, canonically a “lay association” cannot incardinate and/or form/prepare priests for incardination. So the concept that in this lay association “priests,” and not laymen, “are” prepared is perplexing and not canonically possible.
Second, one ought to exercise much caution here, as the Church has witnessed many who have claimed to receive messages on physical refuges, but in the end were declared false. Among these, worthy of mention are those messages of various alleged seers that I was asked to review from America, Europe and Asia, and that nurture fear of an impending calamity with financial advantage closely connected with the messages – they exhort others to spare no effort or expense in building physical refuges. If the Church encourages the prospect of individuals gathering together for prayer, meals and simple living, it does not advocate doing so for the purpose of establishing physical refuges.
In the New Testament and in the Church’s prophetic tradition one will not find exhortations from God or Mary requesting that the faithful do all they can to help in the construction of physical protection sites. Rather, the Church and its saints have consistently taught that the only refuge is not to be found in a physical structure, but in consecrating oneself with trust to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary who will see to it that one is provided for and as God intends.
Loreto Pres.: I wish to share here an excerpt of the testimony of July 21, 2020 of Mr. Theodore Saggezza, one of several Catholics who visited and were then dismayed by the refuges.
“This personal testimony is concerning how, providentially, I wound up visiting one of several so-called places of ‘refuge’ founded by and under the watch of Fr. Michel Rodrigue…I will share some of the impressions with everyone, for their own good, that they may not set their hopes on delusional or imaginative expectations, and do not run into any surprises (like some of us did). I share this experience for the sanity and wellbeing of their families, especially of their children and youth.
As we nodded yes and agreed, the gentleman proceeded to express his true thoughts and feelings about the place. First, he apologized for the strong stench of rotten beans that was coming from a warehouse cabin where they had stored dry foods like beans, rice, grains, nuts, which they had purchased only a few months ago, and explained that, unfortunately, this has been the case for the last ten years. Ever since they began working on the refuge, because none of the prophecies of Fr. Michel ever come to pass, they’ve had to throw out so much food which rots time and time again, either because of the weather or because rodents and bugs make their way into the warehouse stockpile.
He began venting a bit, seemingly frustrated, that they have also had to tear down most of the cabins and rebuild them because of corrosion, water damage and throw out such expensive materials i.e. wood, sheet metal, carpet (because they rot or corrode over time). The gentleman said this was all because Fr. Michel’s prophesies and especially the dates that he forewarns about regarding when events are supposed to come down, never come to fruition. So, in the meantime, money, materials and goods keep coming, but time and effort from volunteers really gets wasted. The workers (like him) are simply told to keep working because the next set of warnings and dates are on the horizon.
He actually sighed and lowered his head as he said that he was somewhat overwhelmed that Fr. Michel just had a habit of simply pushing the dates down further every time. He said Fr. Michel will scrap the past prophecies and never go back to them, never gets questioned, so he thrives on updating and coming up with new versions every time. What that does is get new people attracted into the movement, get them excited, and keeps the pipeline coming.
He gave us examples of how Fr. Michel had prophesied some events that would come upon the world in December of 2019 which never came and prophesied something for June 2020 (which we now know also never came). Unfortunately, he did not specify what those precise prophecies were, but we were so struck by what he was saying, that we none of us had the nerve to ask. We really felt for the man and could relate to him as we were pretty discouraged ourselves. You can see how even me sharing this experience does a favor for the poor gentleman.
He explained so much of the work they had done to install a water system for the compound, electricity, gutting, plumbing, but unfortunately, as time went by, equipment wore out, materials rotted, food spoiled, pipes broke, and so on. One interesting detail is that there was an old playground system for children with lots of old toys that had been sitting there for years. We asked if those toys were because anyone lived here and had children who played with the toys, or if they were simply put there in case someone could use them in the future? He said there were people actually living there now, and that many who had moved in–in the past, had left discouraged (since the prophecies never came) and ended up leaving their toys and belongings there as well. Can you imagine!? And where are these people now!? Anyway, finally, he welcomed us to stay there for a few more minutes, perhaps pray inside the chapel, and check out the hill above where a second indoor chapel had been built, and so we did.
As we knelt at the outdoor chapel, praying in silence, asking Jesus to give us grace, light, discernment, understanding, while also feeling a sense of consolation that perhaps this place was not in His Will that we pursue after all… As we’re praying, all of a sudden… we were interrupted by a tall slender man who walked out of what was clearly his cabin which was right next to the benches of the chapel where we were knelt in prayer. The man was clearly someone from the other band (if you know what I mean)…
Then, as if neither we nor the chapel were there, he began scanning his cell phone’s radio app which was very loud and disturbing, until he reached a very inappropriate song… As we’re knelt in prayer, the man begins playing the song out loud, and you could imagine, we are in total shock, but as if that was not enough, the man begins dancing… singing along very loudly... We were absolutely shocked that in such a place like a chapel, that belonged to the ‘refuge of the saints’, founded by St. Michael the Archangel, overseen by Fr. Michel Rodrigue, the saintly prophet, priest, abbot and (alleged) exorcist who is making the rounds, here we were knelt in prayer, and a man like this is able to get away just like that! Question: would you like your wife and children to have to live in a refuge with crazies like him? How safe or in God’s presence would you feel if you had to share a kitchen with that man?
Realizing that there was obviously something very wrong with the man, that he could have been under the influence of some kind of substance, we immediately sped walked to the car, and one woman was so terrified and scandalized (like we were), but she began saying, ‘Please. We need to get out of here. Please, we need to get out of here’. I calmed her down, and told her ‘Yes, we will leave, don’t worry, but since we’re already here, we should probably check out what is up on the hill. We will make sure to not go back near the outdoor chapel.’ I thought since we were there, we should take advantage of the time to really see what the place was all about. So, they all agreed.
We walked up through a Via Crucis pathway which led up to the indoor chapel that was up on the hill. We noticed that there were a few old and faded statues of more saints which were probably handmade, so they were not the nicest looking statues. One of the women pointed out the bamboo curtains that hung down in front of each of the niches that covered each of the statues and said they were very similar to how pagan oriental deities are kept in their home altars. The bamboo curtains, she said, were also a very common symbol used in new age groups to represent divinity. The reason the woman brought that up was because the gentleman that had greeted us had said that the main donor to this project was a Chinese woman.
Lastly, having reached the indoor chapel at the top of the hill, although it was closed, we were able to look inside and noticed the nice decoration, benches, altar, saint statues, frames, Tabernacle, but what really stood out to everyone was that there was a big framed portrait of Fr. Michel Rodrigue on the wall inside the chapel. That was also very strange. I had never seen a large portrait of a priest inside a chapel where that priest presides.”