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Sword of the Spirit at Franciscan University

Sword of the Spirit at Franciscan University

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Published by John Flaherty

The second Revision now includes a cover page, additional documents and an introduction that attempts to create a narrative that un-initiated readers may be able to follow more easily. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------The 1st Revision has cropped unused space from the original scan and added a) the memo described in the article and b) two *schematics* developed by the Covenant Community to describe its influence at Franciscan University and the Catholic Church. ------------------------------------------------------------- Franciscan University was a major prize to Steven Clark and the Sword of the Spirit. It was used to recruit students into Covenant Community and to legitimize SOS teaching. (See the schematic now following the article.) Sword Community members were recruited to "advise" households on campus. Teaching faculty hired at the University could be lured to Steubenville by the vibrant Catholic Covenant Community, and many were. These would then be slowly but methodically indoctrinated with Sword of the Spirit teachings created outside the Magesterium of the Catholic Church ---------------------------------------------------------------. At the same time the SOS could maintain the disguise of Catholic orthodoxy through it's canonical relationship with Diocese of Steubenville via a separate "Fellowhip Parish" status. In this way other SOS communities under investigation could point to the Covenant Community in Steubenville and say, "We are just like them, and their Bishop says they're ok." The truth came out later that Fr Michael Scanlan had in fact withheld vital information from Bishop Ottenweller because, "We didn't think he would understand and it would throw our submission to him into question." --------------------------------------------------When the University attempted to distance itself from the controversy, I contacted Andy Zibritosky of the Wheeling Intellingencer. I had no intention of letting the Sword of the Spirit's influence at Franciscan University of Steubenville escape without notice. Though the University attempted to minimize their relationship to Sword of the Spirit, I made sure that Scanlan's quote at the end of the article made it into the paper: "The community provides the recruitment pool for entrance level administrators, provides the staff for the conference office and is a great asset IN RECRUITING FACULTY who want to be associated with the Christian Community." (Caps added by author.) This quote comes directly from Scanlan in his book, LET THE FIRE FALL. (A revised edition came out in 1997 that omitted all information related to the Covenant Community's role at the "Renewal" of Franciscan University.)

The second Revision now includes a cover page, additional documents and an introduction that attempts to create a narrative that un-initiated readers may be able to follow more easily. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------The 1st Revision has cropped unused space from the original scan and added a) the memo described in the article and b) two *schematics* developed by the Covenant Community to describe its influence at Franciscan University and the Catholic Church. ------------------------------------------------------------- Franciscan University was a major prize to Steven Clark and the Sword of the Spirit. It was used to recruit students into Covenant Community and to legitimize SOS teaching. (See the schematic now following the article.) Sword Community members were recruited to "advise" households on campus. Teaching faculty hired at the University could be lured to Steubenville by the vibrant Catholic Covenant Community, and many were. These would then be slowly but methodically indoctrinated with Sword of the Spirit teachings created outside the Magesterium of the Catholic Church ---------------------------------------------------------------. At the same time the SOS could maintain the disguise of Catholic orthodoxy through it's canonical relationship with Diocese of Steubenville via a separate "Fellowhip Parish" status. In this way other SOS communities under investigation could point to the Covenant Community in Steubenville and say, "We are just like them, and their Bishop says they're ok." The truth came out later that Fr Michael Scanlan had in fact withheld vital information from Bishop Ottenweller because, "We didn't think he would understand and it would throw our submission to him into question." --------------------------------------------------When the University attempted to distance itself from the controversy, I contacted Andy Zibritosky of the Wheeling Intellingencer. I had no intention of letting the Sword of the Spirit's influence at Franciscan University of Steubenville escape without notice. Though the University attempted to minimize their relationship to Sword of the Spirit, I made sure that Scanlan's quote at the end of the article made it into the paper: "The community provides the recruitment pool for entrance level administrators, provides the staff for the conference office and is a great asset IN RECRUITING FACULTY who want to be associated with the Christian Community." (Caps added by author.) This quote comes directly from Scanlan in his book, LET THE FIRE FALL. (A revised edition came out in 1997 that omitted all information related to the Covenant Community's role at the "Renewal" of Franciscan University.)

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: John Flaherty on Aug 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/17/2013

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The Sword Of The Spirit 
At 
FranciscanUniversity of Steubenville
This collection of articles and documents is meant to illuminate theinfluence that the Sword of the Spirit (SOS) -a collection of Charismatic Covenant Communities- had on Student Life, Theologyand the future direction of Franciscan University of Steubenville
.
 
 
Page 1:
Community Devised Plan To Recruit Participants
is an article from the WheelingInelligencer that describes some of the relationship between FUS and the SOS Covenant Community. It only skims the surface however. The FUS spokesman tries to downplay therelationship between the tarnished Covenant Community and the University. In a last resort, hestates that,
“…
the entire theology faculty has taken an Oath of Allegiance to the pope and church.They would be the first to speak up if something contrary to the teaching of the Church were beingtaught on campus.
This included at least three theologians who were at the time fully committedmembers of the Covenant Community and full time tenured professors at FUS
but who had not known that SOS teachings were at variance to the Church
s, as their Bishop Albert Ottenwellerwould say on page 6 of this post.
 
Page 2: This is the memo that Andy Zibrotsky refers to in the article of page one. It describes thecareful way that FUS approached certain men who it felt held promise as possible SOS members. It is a careful debunking of the myth that 
love and brotherhood
united these communities. Strategicrelationships based on recruiting agendas and the growth of the community
a conditionally based
love of Christ 
- is a more accurate definition of 
love
in SOS Covenant Communities.Page 3: In 1977, FUS President Fr Michael Scanlan TOR brought the little Covenant Communityunder his control into the forerunner of the Sword of the Spirit, The Word of God Covenant Community in Ann Arbor MI. Scanlan would use the growing Covenant Community in Steubenvilleto support Franciscan University by adding those who came to be a part of a Covenant Communityto the employment roster at FUS. This practice is detailed in Scanlan
s 1986 autobiography,
Let The Fire Fall.
Page 3 is a reproduction of the that page in Scanlan
s autobiography that describesthe role of the Covenant Community in the life of Franciscan University. The page printed next to it is from the revised 1997 edition of the same book. Fr Scanlan has redacted his story to
eliminate
 
any 
 
mention
of the Covenant Community
s crucial role in the
Renewal
of Franciscan University.Pages 4 & 5: These pages are called
Schematics
and were created by the SOS Covenant Communities in the mid to late 1980s to show members how the SOS Covenant Community was
renewing
Franciscan University. In 1991, The Bishop of Steubenville (the late Albert Ottenweller)would awaken to the fact that Fr Scanlan has brought into his diocese the Sword of the Spirit -agroup he would later find guilty of spiritual, emotional and mental abuse of Catholics in his Diocese.His first action in the matter was to make the SOS Covenant Community (connected to the Diocesecanonically via its Christ the King Fellowship Parish) terminate any and all connections to theSword of the Spirit (SOS). The Covenant Community complied, and Ottenweller withheld the term
cult 
to describe them because of their compliance. He then stated that participation in thecommunity had a deep impact on the members, saying:
There needs to be therefore a program of re-education to return members to a sense of Church important for all those who call themselvesCatholic.
1
 
1
 
Page 6: This was Andy Zibrotsky
s first article about the SOS-FUS connection. Bishop Ottenwellerbelieved that the possibility of SOS influence at FUS was present, and offered to investigate if anyone from the University appealed to him. The fact of the matter was however that this articlewas buried in a Saturday edition of a paper from a town 40 miles away during the month of August (1991). Very few students at Francisan University were even aware that there was aninvestigation, as it had not come to light until May of 1991. By that time many students had or wereleaving campus.The investigation finished in June and the results were published on June 21, 1991 in the Catholicnewspaper,
The Steubenville Register.
2
How could students have even known they had the optionof appealing to their Bishop? University officials certainly never sent out a notice of the Student 
srights to such an appeal. They were doing anything they could to distance themselves from theCovenant Community.
3
 The fact is that all 5 Coordinators
4
of the SOS Covenant Community would
at one time or another-be employed by Franciscan University. Attorney (and SOS Coordinator) Keith Fournier would behired by President (and SOS Head Coordinator) Fr Michael Scanlan to run Student Life at theUniversity. In 1997, Kathleen Van Schaijik would write about how Student Life had suffered at thehand of Fournier and the Covenant Community concepts he was charged to implement.
5
 Page 7 and 8: These pages come from the
Confidential Policies of The Servants of Christ the King
 (a Branch of the Sword of the Spirit.) This was the local SOS Covenant C
ommunity’s handbook for
 their
Coordinators,
or the men who sat at the top of the pastoral leadership in SOS Communities.It was a secret document and was not to be disclosed to the general members. And it never was. Icame into possession of this document only after the late Bishop Ottenweller
s death in September,2012.These two pages are excised from the larger document 
6
because they describe how the
BasicChristian Formation
program offered at Franciscan University was a parallel course to theCovenant Community
s
Foundations 1
course. In order to become a fully committed member of the SOS Covenant Community, candidates had to take certain courses from community teachingsreferred to as
Foundations I and II
. This document states that students who have taken the BasicChristian Formation
program taught at FUS are exempt from taking the SOS Covenant Community
s teachings because they were
essentially- the very same thing.There is a good chance that this course is probably still taught at FUS today.John Flaherty, 3
rd
Revision: January 14, 2013 Grand Island, NE johnandtimmy@hotmail.com
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