You don’t usually have to read a lawblog like The Volokh Conspiracy to find out more stuff from the annals of our archdiocese, but it is normal to find cases where law meets religion. Here’s both.

Once upon a time, Sr. Mary Ephrem/Mildred Neuzil (then a Precious Blood sister) had visions of Our Lady of America, and Archbishop Leibold became her confessor and spiritual advisor. Apparently this became a flashpoint, because a lot of the more liberal Precious Blood sisters were fighting the more traditional Precious Blood sisters over the future of the order. As you can see, some of the sisters went off to be contemplatives up in New Riegel, including the visionary. Later on, they left the Precious Blood sisters altogether to found a new group, which never received canonical recognition.
I don’t really know much about it, but it would seem from stuff I’ve come across in the past that at some point after Archbishop Leibold’s death, things got a little weirder.

Certainly, it doesn’t seem like “good fruit” to have all this stuff going on. OTOH, there are plenty of real visionaries who have all kinds of havoc going on around them, because holiness makes many people uncomfortable. (And then there’s always the prospect of real visions that turn into bad fruit because the people don’t live up to the gift. For example, what became of the visionaries from La Salette, the poor kids.) Anyway… it’s messy and not very edifying, but it’s part of our history now.

Now it’s all ended up being a big dispute between the surviving member of the group, one Sr. Therese, aka Patricia Fuller, and some guy-devotees of Our Lady, about who is legitimately representing the apparition’s interests. (I find it particularly edifying to see a trademark symbol after a title of Our Blessed Mother.) And then, it turned into a question of whether it was defamatory for them to say she was a “fake nun” or an “ex-nun,” given that she claims she’s still a nun although not recognized by the Church. But they didn’t take this to a canon law court. Oh no.

The point here is that the parties actually agreed to argue _in a government court_ about whether this Sr. Therese/Patricia Fuller was a nun or not. They gave the court the power to decide a religious question, in other words, and the court took them up on it.

Argh, argh, argh.

I’ll be fascinated to see if it hits the Telegraph, but… to be fair, the archbishop is in the business of telling us about edifying things. I don’t know that there’s any kind of archdiocesan ban on Our Lady of America stuff, though. It’s just Something Nobody Talks About. (Unless you make a habit of running around websites to see Marian stuff, or catch the odd book show on EWTN.) The title itself is still approved by Archbishop Leibold, although it would seem that calling the apparition approved is not true.

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