Sunday, May 26, 2013

Unqualified Supervision and Gross Negligence

Considering the recent abuse scandals and subsequent reforms put in place at seminaries,  one would have to consider the IVE's lack of admissions & screening to be grossly negligent.  This might seem gravely irresponsible to anyone from the outside, so how does the IVE get such God-fearing people to go along with such negligent practices?  Well, the IVE does it, in part, by assigning very young, unqualified people to 'oversee' the process.  

For example, the SSVM Sisters have had national vocation directors who were still under temporary vows and who later left the group themselves.  The two priests who have been novice masters in the US (Novice Masters also act as vocation directors for the men) have arrived from outside the US, freshly ordained, and in their 20's - even when more experienced priests are available.   Regardless of whether these individuals are responsible for the flawed process, their lack of age and experience virtually assures it doesn't get fixed.

If you or a family member is considering joining the IVE, keep this in mind.  Those advising you on the process were only put there because they are young, true believers, unlikely to find fault with what their superiors handed them.  They are not and likely will never be people who are actually going to help you discern or help you arrive at the decision that is best for you.  The answer from them will always be "enter."

Sister under temporary vows in charge of your vocation - then leaves the order

The sisters have actually assigned someone to the role of national vocations director who was only under temporary vows and who later left the order.  This wasn't a temporary assignment.  She was in that position for at least a few years.  

Think about how gravely irresponsible that is.  Imagine if you were thinking about joining a novitiate and the order had a 22 year old seminarian advising you on discernment, determining your fitness to join, and counseling you on the process.  Would you think that was prudent, charitable, or responsible? 

We aren't trying to find fault with this individual.  We certainly can't blame her for leaving and she was only doing the job she was given.  However, we can find great fault with the superiors that care so little about the girls and women 'discerning' with their order that they couldn't be bothered to appoint a permanent sister to the role - and there should have been plenty available.  

The Institute claims 1000 professed sisters, so why weren't there enough that one under perpetual vows could be assigned to the very important post of National Vocations Director for North America?   Is this a case where the sisters have an attrition problem like the men and don't have nearly the number that they claim?

Maybe they want a young, inexperienced girl in charge so she doesn't question the crazy, negligent process they have in place?  Or maybe the leadership itself is too incompetent to appoint the proper personnel?  These explanations aren't mutually exclusive - all could be true.

This isn't limited to the position of vocations director either.  The female branch regularly has women under temporary vows acting as house superiors at their 'missions' even though they themselves are still in formation.

Giving your absolute obedience to someone in their 20's might not be a good idea

The men are hardly any better.  They take newly ordained priests in their 20's, fresh from Argentina and appoint them as novice master in charge of both vocations and "formation" of the novices - despite the fact that older, more experienced priests are available.   

The novice master is then given numerous other responsibilities, including spiritual direction of the majority of the female novices - despite the fact that they will have had no real experience at spiritual direction.  The novice master will be so busy they will almost never be at the novitiate.

Maybe the reason the IVE feels they can appoint such junior people to oversee their vocations process is because they really don't have one?  Or maybe the IVE approach to formation is so offensive to reason that a young "true-believer" is needed in order to carry it out without questioning it?  

Quantity, Not Quality

These practices are grossly negligent.  It is hard to believe given the abuse scandals of the previous decades, but unfortunately it's the case.  Ultimately the IVE are very concerned about growing in numbers and this is the result: growth is prioritized over the well-being of those in their care.