- Jan 17, 2020
According to one expert in Church law, carrying out the recent suppression of an Argentine religious institute is a complicated, messy and time-consuming process that no churchman looks forward to. Yet for victims thirsting for justice, explanations aren’t enough – they want action.
Similar to the Legion of Christ founded by the late Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado or the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) launched by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, members of the Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista tell of a toxic internal culture where abuse and manipulation ran rampant.
When the Vatican suppressed Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista this summer, the act was welcome news for ex-members, some of whom have been waiting for years to get justice for alleged abuses suffered under the group’s founder and other members.
When Chrystian Contreras Javier Gomez, entered Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista at age 15, he thought he was walking among spiritual giants whose life of contemplative prayer fueled a heroic service to the poor. Yet it wouldn’t take long for him to discover that there were more sinners than saints behind the community walls.
Pope Francis appointed the former archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, to oversee the spiritual life of a controversial religious association in the South American country.
There’s a quiet shifting of the plates in Catholicism today – a passing of the torch from religious communities to lay movements in many pastoral areas, without fanfare or political upheaval, but effectively saving the Church from having to abandon people it wants to serve.