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The Dimond Brothers are not Monks and their Monastery is no Monastery: by T. Stanfill Benns
(September 29, 2016)

In discovering the following copyrighted article on betrayedcatholics.com and thereafter writing to and receiving permission from T. Stanfill Benns to utilize the text; it was requested that besides giving full and honest credit for the work done by the author; that I should:

“… emphasize, however, that all this comes not from me, but from those approved and respected theologians and canonists, and especially the popes, who wrote prior to the death of Pope Pius XII. Without their excellent guidance and teaching I would have nothing to put on my website.”

I wish to sincerely thank, once again, T. Stanfill Benns for her permission to use the following article.

Canon Law: The Dimond Brothers are not Monks and their Monastery is no Monastery


+ St. Michael the Archangel +

Many who read what is available on this site comment that while they do not agree with the position held by Michael and Peter Dimond, operators of what is known as Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM), they often visit their site because these purported “monks” have good information. A “position,” i.e., an allowable opinion by Church standards would be one thing. But here we are dealing with heresy, and heresy condemned as such by Pope Pius XII, (Feeneyism).

It is NOT “okay” to visit the sites of known heretics, even if they present some things that are interesting or even unique, lest we cooperate in their heresy. While sometimes it is necessary to the truth to include some of these sites in research pieces, they should always be disavowed (and are on this site) and never recommended.

Belloc’s formula for establishing the existence of heresy:

Heretics are very clever. They disguise their errors by carefully weaving them into a fabric consisting mainly of truthful statements, the better to lure them in, and this is how they deceive the unwary.

In the Introduction to his work, The Great Heresies, (1920s) the respected Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc provides the following components of heretical perversity:

“Heresy means…the warping of a system by ‘exception’: by ‘picking out’ one part of the structure and implies that the scheme is marred by taking away one part of it, denying one part of it, and either leaving the void unfilled or filling it with some new affirmation. The denial of a scheme wholesale is not heresy, and has not the creative power of a heresy. It is of the essence of heresy that it leaves standing a great part of the structure it attacks. It is the taking away from the moral scheme by which we have lived of a particular part, the denial of that part and the attempt to replace it by an innovation.”

It is very tempting, when one sees that “a great part of it” is right, to then be convinced that a few little errors may not matter and these folks are not so bad after all, just misguided. But that would be a grave error in judgment. Like all Traditionalists, MHFM has “plucked” the papacy from their midst and have denied not only the papacy but also the dogma of baptism of blood and desire, following the heretic Leonard Feeney. They then pose the innovation by setting themselves up as the true authority. According to Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most_Holy_Family_Monastery):

“Most Holy Family Monastery was founded in 1967, in Berlin, New Jersey, by a self-proclaimed Benedictine monk named Joseph Natale (1933-1995), originally as a community for handicapped men. Natale entered the Benedictine Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 1960 as a lay postulant, but left less than a year later to start his own Holy Family Monastery. According to an archivist of the Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Natale left before taking vows; he never actually became a Benedictine monk.

Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Natale denounced the Second Vatican Council and the New Mass, and by the mid-1970s the community had separated from the Vatican. By mid-1980s, there were ten monks in it, but by 1994 the number declined to three. Shortly after a conference in 1994, John Vennari left to work for Fr. Nicholas Gruner.

Natale died in 1995, whereupon Michael Dimond (born Frederick Dimond), who joined in 1992 at the age of 19 after converting to Catholicism four years earlier was elected the Superior. Soon after, he relocated to Granger, New York (close to Fillmore, New York), where Natale owned more than 90 acres (36 ha) of donated land.”

Canon Law contradicts MHFM and their followers:

  • Canon 147: “An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision. Canonical provision means the grant of an ecclesiastical office by competent ecclesiastical authority, made according to the sacred canons.”

    In the Canon Law Digest, Vol. 3, under Can. 147, we find the following comment: "Excommunication as vitandus is inflicted for accepting office from lay authority,” (pg. 71).

    We are not allowed to associate in any fashion with vitandus heretics, and certainly we are never allowed to read their writings.

  • Canon 492 §1: “The bishop, but not the vicar-capitular or administrator, can create religious congregations. He shall not establish them, nor allow their foundation, without first consulting the Holy See…”

  • Canon 492 §§2-3: The title and religious habit of an established religious organization cannot be assumed by those not legitimately belonging to it or by a new organization.

  • Canon 499: “All religious are subject to the Roman Pontiff as their highest superior who they are bound to obey also in virtue of the vow of obedience…

  • Canon 542§1 (1): Admission into the novitiate is invalid in the case of…Persons who have lapsed from the Catholic Faith into a non-Catholic sect (Traditionalism is a non-Catholic sect).

  • Canon 572: “For the validity of any religious profession the following is required: (2) He must be admitted to profession by the legitimate superior… (per Can. 147; see above).

    (3) A valid novitiate must have proceeded…

  • Canon 575: (Revs. Woywod-Smith commentary) “The Church wants the novices to be absolutely free to return to the world or to take vows and she guarantees the same freedom to those who take temporary vows.” (All canons taken form Rev. Woywod-Smith’s A Practical Commentary on the [1917] Code of Canon Law.)

So to summarize the above:

  1. Joseph Natale was never a professed religious, far less a legitimately appointed superior.

  2. Only a bishop could create a new religious congregation (Can. 492), and Natale was no bishop; therefore his founding of the monastery under the auspices of the Benedictines was null and void.

  3. Even had he been a true bishop, he would need to have obtained permission of the Roman Pontiff before founding the monastery (Can. 492).

  4. The Canon Laws at the time bound him to obey the Roman Pontiff in all things, even under temporary vows of obedience. In all likelihood such vows were not legitimate in the first place, since nearly all jurisdiction ceased shortly after the death of Pope Pius XII, (Can. 572). But Pope Boniface VIII infallibly taught: “We declare, say, define and proclaim to every human creature that by necessity for salvation they are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff,” (DZ 469).

  5. Natale, throughout this whole process, remained a layman, (Can. 575). As a layman he could scarcely have assumed superiorship of the monastery (by appointing himself). According to Can. 147 and the decision rendered on this canon by Pope Pius XII, he was a vitandus heretic. (See also DZ 960, 967.)

  6. Being only a layman himself, he could scarcely have admitted the Dimonds to the monastery validly or licitly. Michael Dimond accepted his own superiorship as the successor of Natale, a layman, therefore also making himself a vitandus.

  7. The Dimonds entered the “novitiate” under a layperson who had no office or jurisdiction and therefore could not admit them into any monastery (Can. 572).

  8. And at any rate, the Dimonds by then professed Traditionalism, and this disqualified them under Can. 543 §1 (1) from entering any religious house.

  9. No emergency of any kind justified what Natale or the Dimonds did. They were bound to obey Pope Pius XII when he infallibly proclaimed, in his papal election constitution:

    1. "While the Apostolic Seat is vacant, let the Sacred College of Cardinals have no power or jurisdiction at all in those things which pertain to the Pope while he was alive…but let everything be held, reserved for the future Pope. And thus we decree that whatever power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff, while he is alive (unless in as far as it is expressly permitted in this, Our Constitution) the meeting of Cardinals itself may have taken for exercising, is null and void."

    2. “Likewise we order that the Sacred College of Cardinals is not able to dispose of the laws of the Apostolic Seat and the Roman Church in any manner it wishes, nor may it attempt to detract wheresoever from the laws of the same, either directly or indirectly through a species of connivance, or through dissimulation of crimes perpetrated against the same laws, either after the death of the Pontiff or in time of vacancy, [however] it may seem to be attempted. Indeed, we will that it ought to guard and defend against the same contention of all men."

    3. “Laws given by the Roman Pontiffs are in no way able to be corrected or changed through the meeting of the cardinals of the Roman Church [the See] being vacant; nor is anything able to be taken away or added, nor is there able to be made any dispensation in any manner concerning the laws themselves or some part of them. This is very evident from pontifical Constitutions [on]…the election of the Roman Pontiff. But if anything contrary to this prescript occurs or is by chance attempted, we declare it by Our Supreme authority to be null and void,”

    (Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, paras.1- 3, Ch. 1; Pope Pius XII, 1945.)

We are not answerable to bishops consecrated without any papal mandate, or those not in communion with a true Roman Pontiff, however “orthodox” they may appear to be. We are living during an interregnum and must obey the papal laws that govern such a circumstance.

I believe, my dear brethren, that all of you understand what our Lord means when he says in today's Gospel, "Beware of false prophets."


Pax Tecum

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