Friday, May 24, 2013

Cults and Common Sense - Part II: 4 Antidotes

This is Part II reviewing Fr. Longenecker's thoughts on cults in the Catholic Church.  In part I we looked at 4 warning signs to watch out for.  Here in Part II we'll take a quick look Fr. Longenecker's antidotes for troubled groups and how they should be applied to the IVE.

4 Antidotes to Cults within the Church

1.  The Local Catholic Parish

"One of the antidotes is actually the Catholic parish system. If we all went to our local parish and put up with the priest we didn’t happen to like and the people who were just there because, like us, they lived there–we would be more realistic and we wouldn’t fall into personality cult problems." - Fr. Longenecker

Men entering the IVE aren't necessarily avoiding their local parish, but many are avoiding diocesan formation.  In some cases, problems in the diocesan system will cause them to overlook what initially appear as less serious problems within the IVE.  

In other cases seminarians just wouldn't be accepted into diocesan formation at all due to things like immigration status, childhood abuse, criminal history, or mental illness (see here for more info.)  Since the IVE lets anyone in with little to no application process they make it easy to avoid the Church's traditional system that has been implemented within the diocese and established orders.  

The best cure to discerning with the IVE is simply to talk to vocation directors at a few diocese and orders.  If you need tips on where to look for good orders, drop us a mail.  

2. Common sense: "If something or someone seems to be too good to be true, they are"  

If you have sufficient common sense you will eventually figure out something is wrong with the IVE.  However, unless you have some background in religious orders and know what to look, then it may take a while.  

We didn't see the IVE's problems until after we entered and that's just too late.  We created this site so you can be aware of these problems upfront, before you quit your job or leave school.   So please take advantage of the information we have provided, research, visit with the IVE and other orders, ask questions, and you will have been spared much pain. 

It is important to do this beforehand, because once you enter you will not be able to turn around and leave without some damage being done.  (We will have a later post on why leaving the IVE is so problematic and why that makes entering so dangerous.)  

3. Open-ness to criticism and dissent

There is no criticism or dissent within the institute.  Absolute obedience is demanded.  Any doubts are from the devil.  As we will cover in a later post, being outside the "spirit of the institute" can get you kicked out with as little as a one-hour notice and can put your vocation in jeopardy since a recommendation from the Institute will usually be required to join another seminary or order.  

4.  Finally, real religion is just that. It’s real. It’s humble.

Read this and decide for yourself if the environment sounds down to earth, real, and humble. 


There is a difference between a successful institution and a successful religious institution. The world judges an institution by the numbers of members, its popularity, and its power. This is how the IVE judge themselves.  

The success of a religious institution, however, should be judged by different standards. It should be judged by the quality, not quantity, of its members.  It should understand that one of the surest things that can harm an order is to prioritize growth over virtue.  It leads to a lack of discernment on both sides that ultimately harms both parties.  Instead of size, popularity, and power the Institute should instead be focused on the sanctity and virtue of its members.