Saturday, July 27, 2013

Give me Your Heart - The Institute Lying Again?

A big topic on this site is the IVE's approach to discernment, recruitment, and admissions to their houses of formation.  We don't think the Institute is completely honest or open with you on this subject and will even take advantage of your ignorance.  Our aim in this post is to give you the information the Institute won't so you can protect yourself.  

Revisiting "Give Me Your Heart"

It's sad that you can't take a religious order on their word, but as we have documented, that's unfortunately too often the case with the IVE.  That's why, after re-reading an earlier post, we again feel compelled to comment on the IVE's book "Give Me Your Heart", a book on religious vocations that's part of their "Youth Series".

It's worth noting that, while some of the IVE catechisms and pamphlets have Imprimaturs, "Give Me Your Heart" does not.  No Bishop has approved this book as being consistent with Church teaching.  It's purely the work of Fr. Buela, with no support from the Church.  Of course, that doesn't stop the IVE from handing it out to children. 

What struck us on re-reading the book this time was that the 2nd chapter actually made sense.  Ironically, it made sense because it is the one section of the book the IVE doesn't actually ascribe to.  

You can read the chapter yourself, but the relevant passages from Chapter 2 follow. 

Desire for the Vocation is Necessary

We don't want to focus on discernment or vocational calling too much in this post as it has been dealt with best elsewhere, but we will say that this is one of the few quotations from the IVE on the subject that seems in the proper context (emphasis in all following quotes is ours):
"6 St. John Bosco says, "Those who in their heart feel the desire to embrace this state of perfection and holiness may believe, without any doubt, that such desire comes from heaven because it is too generous and is well above natural sentiments."
That's right.  If you feel a desire to that state.  Not if you've just thought about it.  Not, if in your pursuit of God's will in your life, you recognize this state as a potential option.  Not if you feel a calling to loftier things, but aren't sure what that means.  Not if someone suggested it to you.  No.  If you feel a desire to embrace that state, then it comes from God. 

In a footnote on the same page they quote Pope Paul VI who echoes St John Bosco:
The Most characteristic sign - indispensable to a priestly vocation - is undoubtedly a righteous intention, that is, a clear and decisive desire to be totally consecrated to the Lord's Service (Editor: ie. to that priestly vocation.)
Again.  A clear and decisive desire to the priestly vocation is indispensable.  Yet if you read our previous post you'll know that in the eyes of the Institute even thinking about a vocation, even if that thought is planted by an IVE priest, is pretext to enter formation.  Then, after entering, any doubts about your new 'vocation' are "temptations" from the devil - in IVE-logic these doubts, rather than a sign you are not called to that vocation, are instead a confirmation of the calling!  

(See the trick?  "No doubts?  Great!  You have a vocation here!" and "You have doubts?  Great!  That's the devil, he doesn't want you to be here and that means you have a vocation here!")

An Obligation to Gauge Candidates Suitability? 

Later the chapter outlines the Church's responsibility in judging and gauging a candidate's suitability.  It's all very prudent and sensible.  The only problem is the IVE doesn't practice any of it.  
"8 The threefold suitability of the candidate must be: Physical (and psychological), intellectual and moral (which implies having the right intention.)  If the suitability is lacking, it is a sign that God is not calling and thus, that the Church should not call. "
It's shocking that the IVE would even admit that psychological suitability should be a pre-requisite, since that certainly isn't what they practice.  We know they don't have any psychological exams in Italy and we doubt they have any in Argentina either.  In the US, unlike every other religious order who give psych exams (and background checks for that matter) prior to entering, the Institute doesn't give psych exams until the 2nd half of the Novitiate in the Spring.  Even then these tests have no bearing on the candidate moving on to the seminary and temporary vows, even when problems unearthed by these exams would preclude someone from entering any other seminary in the US.

As for intellectual suitability, they make no attempt to gauge this prior to entering in any way.  In fact, they regularly admit students without high school diplomas that barely speak the language of instruction.   Even then, the intellectual formation at the seminary would be lacking for even the most proficient candidate. 

The same applies to moral suitability.  There is no effort made to gauge this prior to entering.  If questioned the IVE will usually say that they live so closely with you they will be able to make those judgements over time - though other seminaries and orders could say the same thing, yet they still try to gauge suitability beforehand.  

While it's swell for the IVE that they have a way to gauge suitability of the seminarian years after he enters, where is the concern for the candidate?  If a candidate isn't fit, shouldn't they make at least some attempt to gauge that before he enters?  Wouldn't that be the charitable thing to do?  Their own book says they have an obligation to do so, yet they make zero effort: 
"9 the ecclesiastical authority not only has the right but also the obligation to use all necessary means to know the candidates suitability and thus to be able to make a strict selection."
Of course, the book also says: 
"11 We customarily make selections prior to entering the novitiate… Before admission to holy orders (or temporary profession), a rigorous selection must be made."
Actually, this is not what they do at all.  It's their custom, rather, to never make any selections prior to the novitiate.  If you want to fill out an application they won't stop you, but it's certainly not required.  Most enter the novitiate with nothing more than a phone call and maybe a conversation with their local IVE parish priest.  All the IVE really want to know is A) do you have a lot of debt and B) are you an active homosexual.  If the answers are "no" and "no" then they'll tell you to show up.  

As a result of this lack of screening, candidates enter with all sorts of psychological issues and various histories of issues.  Further, since none of the canonical questions are ever asked prior to entrance, people will even be allowed to enter without having received any or all the sacraments of initiation.  As strange as it sounds, it's quite common to see someone during the first month or two of the IVE novitiate receive baptism and/or confirmation.  So these candidates weren't even part of the Church, yet the IVE already has them lined up for holy orders.  

The reality is that the psychologically fit candidate who has attempted discernment and had spiritual direction prior to entering (which would make up the majority entering most other US seminaries today) is the rare, rare exception with the IVE.

Is It All For Show?

We can't help but think that, like their constitution, this chapter of the book is simply for show.  As with many of their practices, we feel this is deceptive and untruthful.  They are playing with people's vocations (and souls) with no regard for what is best for the candidates.

Please, for your own sake, be very skeptical when taking any advice from the Institute.  You are better off steering clear of any group that has such large problems with telling you the truth.  

Aquinas Warns Against Deceivers

...entices another (to enter religious life) by lies: for it is to be feared that the person thus enticed may turn back on finding himself deceived, and thus "the last state of that man" may become "worse than the first" (Luke 11:26).
Does the Institute lie?  It certainly doesn't tell the truth.  True to St Thomas' warning, many who enter leave so wounded they not only leave the Institute, but the Church altogether - their last state worse than their first.