Pope Francis and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, walk to a meeting of cardinals in the synod hall at the Vatican Feb. 20, 2014. In a statement released by the Vatican Sept. 28, 2019, the pope named Cardinal Damasceno as pontifical commissioner of the Heralds of the Gospel and its religious branches for consecrated men and women. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis appoints commissioner for religious group in Brazil

By  Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
  • September 30, 2019

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis appointed the former archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, to oversee the spiritual life of a controversial religious association in the South American country.

In a statement released by the Vatican Sept. 28, the pope named retired Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida as pontifical commissioner of the Heralds of the Gospel and its religious branches for consecrated men and women.

He also appointed Auxiliary Bishop Jose Goncalves de Almeida of Brasilia and Sister Marian Ambrosio, superior general of the Sisters of Divine Providence, as the cardinal's assistants.

Established in 1999 by Msgr. Joao Scognamiglio Cla Dias, the Heralds of the Gospel is an offshoot of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, also known as TFP.

TFP was a traditionalist Catholic political movement founded by Plinio Correa de Oliveira, a right-wing activist whom the Brazilian priest considered a friend and mentor.

After de Oliveira's death in 1995, a legal dispute arose over ownership of the group; ultimately, Msgr. Cla Dias won and founded the Heralds of the Gospel.

Recognized by the Vatican as an international association of the faithful of pontifical right in 2001, the association and its branches for consecrated men and women, known as Virgo Flos Carmeli and Regina Virginum respectively, has people in more than 70 countries.

However, controversy arose in 2017 when a video of a meeting between Msgr. Cla Dias and 60 priests of the religious association was made public.

In the video, a priest standing next to the founder read several claims made by a demon during an exorcism, claiming that "the Vatican is mine" and foretelling the death of Pope Francis, causing some in the group, including Msgr. Cla Dias, to laugh.

Other videos released on the web revealed practices by the Heralds of the Gospel not included in the Catholic Church's Rite of Exorcism, including the use of the names of de Oliveira; his mother, Donna Lucilla; and Msgr. Cla Dias to drive out demons and physical abuse against people allegedly possessed.

Shortly after the video's publishing, the Vatican announced an apostolic visitation, and Msgr. Cla Dias said he would resign as the group's superior general.

However, in a June 2017 letter announcing his resignation, Msgr. Cla Dias said he would not "renounce my mission as father" of the group and would continue "to intercede next to God" as the "living model and guardian of this charism, entrusted to me by the Holy Spirit."

The Vatican said Sept. 28 that the reason for the apostolic visitation in 2017 was due to "shortcomings concerning the style of government, the life of the members of the council, the pastoral care of vocations, the formation of new vocations, administration, the management of works and fundraising."

The decision to appoint a commissioner, the Vatican said, "should not be considered a punishment, but an initiative intended for the good of the association, and an attempt to resolve existing problems."

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

The facts according to the victims and the reasons that led to the commissionate can be checked here:
https://exae.com.br/ and https://arautoleaks.com/

Danielle S. Desjardins
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

These days it is so important to be sure facts are correct. I suggest everyone check out:
https://www.arautos.org/secoes/arautos/on-the-commissionerate-of-the-heralds-of-the-gospel-272117
or
https://en.gaudiumpress.org/content/105471

Sheila MacIsaac
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.