|Vatican Concludes Investigation of Miles Jesu
April 23, 2009
The Miles Jesu Vatican investigation has flown under the radar, but it's conclusion will not. The Vatican has appointed an external superior for the group. This could also be the result for the Legion and for the LCWR.
Miles Jesu is another combination of priestly seminaries and lay apostolates very similar in outlook to Opus Dei and the Legion. It is very orthodox in it's theology and militant in it's lay apostolate. Miles Jesu translates as 'Soldiers of Christ'.
Like Opus Dei and the Legion, Miles Jesu too has been accused of being coercive in recruiting and in it's retention of members and been accused of numerous violations in spiritual practices, most of which involve confessions and spiritual advisers. It has also been accused of keeping it's lay members in a sub poverty state while expecting them to recruit from wealthy donors.
Again, like Opus Dei and the Legion, it's founder Fr. Maria Duran MJ, has Spanish connections. Although he founded Miles Jesu in a church basement in Arizona in 1964, Fr Duran was born in Spain and immigrated to the US as an ordained priest. Miles Jesu has missions in 14 countries. It's primary American bases are in Arizona and Chicago.
The following is taken from The Truth About Miles Jesu website:
After an investigation into Miles Jesu by the Vicariate of Rome and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life started in June of 2007, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar of the Diocese of Rome has decided to appoint an external superior over Miles Jesu. He will take the place of Fr. Mark Gelis, M.J. who was previously the General Director of Miles Jesu. (Miles Jesu is a diocesan apostolate of the Diocese of Rome, as opposed to Opus Dei which is a Pontifilcal prelature, and the Legion which is a Congregation of Pontifical Right.)
In Fr. Gelis's letter on the Miles Jesu website, he makes it sound like this act of appointing an external superior over Miles Jesu is just a matter of "special assistance" for "accompanying us in the further development of our programs for admission and formation of candidates as well as the preparatory formation of the members before deepening their commitments."
What Father Gelis doesn't mention is that this external superior is being imposed over Miles Jesu after an investigation that was started after approximately 19 members in May of 2007 (including members who were former members of Miles Jesu's governing body, Miles Jesu priests, as well as members who had been in Miles Jesu for over 25 years) reported witnessing over the years in Miles Jesu the following abuses: manipulation of possible recruits to join Miles Jesu, financial dishonesty, practices against Canon Law such as non-confidential spiritual direction, not providing all members with adequate health care/insurance, Miles Jesu's teaching that one's salvation strictly depends on joining Miles Jesu, it's prohibition of many members to pursue higher education, it's appointment of a Vicar Directress over the women's branch with no formal education in theology or Canon Law, sexual abuse, and various other abuses that show Miles Jesu has cultic qualities.
Up until now these members have been afraid to speak out and warn the Catholic faithful of this dangerous group because they were intimidated with legal threats by a lawyer working for Miles Jesu. After years of suffering they have also not been helped in any way by the Vicariate of Rome, the Congregation for Religious, or Miles Jesu. (Nor did they receive any help from Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix or Cardinal George of Chicago.)
Hopefully this new superior, Fr. Barry Fischer, will be willing to help victims of Miles Jesu who after years of trying to serve the Church in Miles Jesu are left in destitute situations. Hopefully, he will also prevent Miles Jesu from harrasing ex-members with legal threats. (From what I've been able to determine, lay apostolates received room and board but no salary. When they leave, they truly are destitute.)
If you, like so many others, have been abused, deceived by, or adversely affected by Miles Jesu at any time either as a member or a benefactor, please contact Fr. Barry Fischer, CPPS. To find out how you can talk directly to Fr. Fischer directly please call Miles Jesu's publically listed number (773) 262-0861 (Chicago, IL USA house). No member of Miles Jesu can impede you from speaking to Fr. Fischer. If you are aware of abuses it is your duty to inform Fr. Fischer, so that you can help him to reform Miles Jesu.
The Vatican seems to have it's hands full with investigations. The sad thing is some of these investigations of orthodox cults should have been conducted decades ago, but John Paul II thought these groups were the future of the church and they were off limits no matter what was reported about the groups or their leadership. John Paul apparently saw all these combination groups of clergy and lay apostolate as the Church's future. In reality they are predatory cults cloaked in the Catholic mantle, but they brought in a ton of money and wealthy lay supporters.
There is a sad story coming out of Mexico told by the daughter of one of the women bilked by Marcial Maciel. According to the daughter of the now deceased woman, when Maciel was getting started he assiduously courted this recent widow, who at the time was one of the wealthiest women in Mexico. However, after he had gotten 50 million from her and she was no longer able to contribute, he never saw her again nor answered any phone calls or correspondence.
It would be pretty difficult to find another serial pedophile who was this financially successful. There is no question being a priest really helped and then Maciel did have great friends in very high places. This assured he had a great deal of credibility. The Great Pedophile had a Great Enabler.
When I look at the charges leveled against the Legion and Miles Jesu, and then the suspicions about the LCWR, I can't help but wonder which of these groups has really and truly harmed the Body of Christ. I doubt the Vatican will find any member of the leadership group of the LCWR that lives in opulent splendor, has bilked wealthy supporters, treated lay apostolates like dirt or changed them into robots. I doubt the LCWR investigation will turn up any evidence of retention or recruitment abuses since the Congregations in the LCWR don't use deceptive recruitment techniques and well, they're supposed to be dieing anyway.
I see these three investigations as symptomatic of a fundamental core rot in the Vatican. It took forever for the Vatican to investigate the Legion. It took them forever to investigate Miles Jesu, but the LCWR gets two investigations in short order. This seems to say that allegations involving the actual sexual, emotional, physical and spiritual abuse of the laity is a lesser evil than intellectual speculation and dissent. This is further underscored by the fact no bishop has ever been sanctioned for enabling wide spread clerical abuse. There's another story today about President Lugo of Paraguay which underscores this lack of accountability.
It now appears he has three children, all fathered on different women, while he was a bishop. Another Paraguayan bishop, Rogelio Livieres admitted they all knew about Lugo and intimated there may be more revelations to come. "The church hierarchy knew for years of this misconduct by Lugo, but kept silent. Now there's nothing that it can do." Really, that's true, there is nothing you can do, but this begs the question as to what you should have done and didn't.
A reasonable person might balk at the notion that a hypothetical scandal based around open theological dissent is worse than a scandal based in real abuse secretly and silently covered up.
A reasonable person might translate the second kind of scandal as truly being scandalous because the real reason for the silence and secrecy was the embarrassment factor to the clerical structure, not any concern for the laity.
Finally, a reasonable person might look at these three investigations, comparing the reasons and the charges, and wonder if the Vatican is truly capable of discerning the real threats to the People of God.
Personally, I kind of doubt it.
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