Sunday, November 29, 2015

Church Documents: Due to Morally inappropriate behavior Fr Carlos Buela was Forced to Resign and Sentenced to a Monastery

SUMMARY: After an investigation by the Vatican, IVE founder Fr. Carlos Buela was forced to resign in 2010 as head of the IVE and to reside at a monastery due to “morally inappropriate behavior”.  The sentence to a monastery is very harsh and usually reserved for extreme cases of sexual misbehavior, such as when Fr. Maciel was forced out of the Legion of Christ. The IVE have been lying about this for years and continue to lie: to their own priests, sisters, seminarians, donors, and prospective members.

Fr. Carlos Buela, founder of the IVE, was ordered by the Vatican in 2010 to resign his position as head of the IVE and reside at a French monastery after investigations revealed "morally inappropriate behavior of Father Buela with several youths of the Institute."  The revelations came to light via testimonies from IVE priests seeking dispensation to the laity.  This is according to a leaked church document, shared below in its original form and followed by translations into Spanish and English at the end of this post. 

As we mentioned in a previous post, the circumstances of Buela's resignation in 2010 were never clear, in or outside of the IVE.  Buela claimed his resignation was due to "poor health" - a dubious excuse given his active international travel schedule before and after the resignation.   Inside the Institute it was whispered to be the result of "Church politics."  There were rumors of something more material - and the IVE leadership surely knew the truth - but nothing was ever shared and the IVE repeatedly denied that this was due to abuse or that there was a punishment beyond his resignation as head of the Institute. 

Then, later in 2013, news leaked that Buela was to enter a Monastery Europe under order of the Vatican.  Apparently, although he was persuaded to resign in 2010, he had not yet relented to the additional sentence of separation from the IVE and residency at a Monastery.  Exactly how he was persuaded to finally obey his superiors is not clear and as outlined here his stay did not last long.

What we do know is that around this time, little by little, more information trickled down to IVE priests from their leadership - anticipating rumors and the fact that Buela would no longer be conducting his worldwide visits to houses of formation.  Yet to this day the whole story has never been shared with IVE priests, seminarians, nor any prospects of IVE's (or SSVM's) very active recruiting efforts. 

As evidenced by the IVE’s lying and cover-up of this information the last five years, this new revelation from the Vatican sheds light on much more than the just the problems of one man.  Like the Legion of Christ, the defects of the founder are institutionalized in the groups he founded: the IVE & SSVM.  These defects cause a very large and disproportionate percentage of IVE priests to leave the institute and ask for dispensation to the lay state.  Ironically, it was through these testimonies that Buela’s behavior came to the attention of the Vatican.  

We will have much more commentary on the above soon, as well as more details on how many priests leave the IVE.  For now we’ll leave you with the church documents and translations below. 

The First page of the original document is below.  The full PDF is here

In English

For Institutes of Consecrated Life
and Societies of Apostolic Life

Prot. N. DD. 2037-1 / 85


It is the function of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to promote and regulate the practice of the evangelical counsels and to monitor the life of the Institutes with regards to their formation, religious discipline,  apostolate, and government (cf. § 108 PB 1).

Such institutional function of the Congregation is done in the name and by the authority of the Supreme Pontiff (can. 360) which has been widely and repeatedly informed about the case treated here and decided together.

Regarding the Institute of the Incarnate Word founded by Carlos Buela, priest in the diocese of San Rafael, Argentina, the Holy See has been interested in it for several years because of the conflict of this young institution with the diocesan Bishop and tensions even with the Episcopal Conference of Argentina.

In seeking to ease the situation, hoping to clarify and correct some canonical points and therefore allow a calm and orderly development of the Institute, three Papal Commissioners were successively appointed to no avail since their work was systematically rejected.

Subsequently, receiving credible allegations of morally inappropriate behavior of young Father Buela with several youths of the Institute, the Holy See ordered an investigation to ascertain the truth of the facts, their seriousness, and the accused’s responsibility. 

In response to the facts, Fr. Buela was given the opportunity to offer his own defense. In the allotted time, which was extended upon request, Fr. Buela presented a report in his own defense of 119 pages with 74 pages of attachments.

With repeated forceful assurances of his own innocence with regard to each of the facts as related to him, Fr. Buela deemed the investigation biased and prejudiced, the facts unproven, a lack of evidence, and admissibility of the statements of the parties. The charges, according to Fr. Buela, were the result of a plan hatched by the Episcopal Conference of Argentina to destabilize the Institute of the Incarnate Word using those who had left the Institute and invented falsehoods against it’s Founder.

After a dialectical analysis of the allegations and the evidence on which they support and defend the arguments of all genre widely illustrated, the Congregation has reached the following conclusions:

1. The insistence of a plan to destabilize the Institute of the Incarnate Word was found lacking any foundation whatsoever..

2. The testimonies are fully worthy of consideration not only by the quantity of witnesses and the logic and consistency of their statements, but also because a lot of them were in posession of further sources and more knowledge of the facts, since they were, or had been, members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

3. The truth of the facts is proven especially with the statements of the victims, according to what  is provided in can. 1536 § 2, where we read: "In cases which concern the public good, however, a judicial confession, and declarations by the parties which are not confessions, can have a probative value that is to be weighed by the judge in association with the other circumstances of the case, but the force of full proof cannot be attributed to them unless there are other elements which wholly corroborate them."  Other elements that should be considered in this case are the quantity and concurrence of the statements especially given the following circumstances: a) they were made tempore non suspecto, that is, when there was neither planned nor open an investigation against Fr. Buela. b) they were made while asking for dispensation to the lay state. It is, therefore, declarations and valued and taken as true by offices of the Holy See. c) The statements have not been recanted even when the witnesses have been informed of the investigation on Fr. Buela and that their statements have been entered into the dossier as evidence.

Once established the existence of multiple testimonies, their gravity, and Fr. Buela’s greater accountability in his condition of Spiritual Director, General Superior, plus the fact that he is a Founder, this fully assembled Congregation finds its duty to take appropriate measures for the well being of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

With this Decree the Congregation provides:

1. The removal of Father Carlos Buela the office of Superior General of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

2. The obligation of Fr. Buela to reside, until further notice, far from the Institute in the Abbey La Pierre Qui Vire, under the authority of the Abbot that can regulate Buela’s contacts with members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

Case hereof the Holy Father has been duly informed and has specifically approved the provisions given here in the audience granted to the Hon. Cardinal Prefect Franc Rodé, CM, dated July 4 and October 1, 2009.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary.

Given in Rome on January 22, 2010.

Gianfranco A. Gardin, OFM Conv.
Archbishop Secretary

P. Sebastiano Paciolla, O. Cist

En Espanol

Para los Institutos de Vida Consagrada
y Sociedades de Vida Apostólica

Prot. N. DD. 2037-1/85


Es función de la Congregación para los Institutos de vida consagrada y las Sociedades de vida apostólica, promover y regular la práctica de los consejo evangélicos y vigilar acerca de la vida de los Institutos por cuanto respecta a la formación, la disciplina religiosa, el apostolado y el gobierno (cf. PB 108 § 1).

Tal función institucional el Dicasterio lo realiza en nombre y por autoridad del Sumo Pontífice  (can. 360) el cual ha sido ampliamente y repetidamente informado acerca del caso aquí juntamente tratado y decidido.

Respecto del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado fundado por el sacerdote Carlos Buela en la diócesis de San Rafael, Argentina, la Santa Sede se ha interesado durante diversos años a causa del conflicto de esta joven institución con el Obispo diocesano y del reflejo de tensiones incluso con la Conferencia Episcopal Argentina.

Para procurar una distensión y normalidad del desarrollo, para clarificar y corregir jurídicamente algunos puntos y permitir, así, un sereno y ordenado desarrollo de la Asociación, fueron nombrados sucesivamente tres Comisarios Pontificios, cuya obra fue sistemáticamente rechazada.

Posteriormente, recibidas denuncias verosímiles de comportamientos moralmente inapropiados del Padre Buela con jóvenes del Instituto, la Santa Sede dispuso una investigación tendiente a comprobar la verdad de los hechos, su gravedad e imputabilidad respecto de la persona acusada.

Como respuesta a los hechos, se le otorgó al P. Buela la relación de la causa a fin de que pudiese exponer las razones de su propia defensa. En el tiempo asignado, prorrogado después, a pedido, el P. Buela presentó una memoria en su defensa de 119 páginas con 74 páginas de adjuntos.

Repetidamente asegura con fuerza su propia inocencia acerca de todos y cada uno de los hechos a él imputados; el P. Buela juzga tendenciosa y prejuiciosa la investigación, considerando los hechos no probados y una falta de testimonios e inadmisibilidad de las declaraciones de las partes. Las acusaciones serían fruto de un plan de desestabilización del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado organizado por la Conferencia Episcopal Argentina que, con ese fin, ha instrumentalizado a quienes abandonaron el Instituto (los Nobles), los cuales habrían inventado dicha falsedad contra el Fundador del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado.

Analizadas dialécticamente las acusaciones con las pruebas sobre las cuales se apoyan y la defensa de los argumentos de todo género ampliamente ilustradas, el Dicasterio ha llegado a las siguientes conclusiones:

1. Se debe considerar privada de todo fundamento la insistencia de un plan de desestabilización del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado.

2. Los testimonios son totalmente atendibles por la cantidad de los testigos, la lógica y la coherencia de sus afirmaciones, y la posibilidad de mayores fuentes de conocimiento de los hechos, en cuanto que los testigos fueron miembros del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado.

3. La veracidad de los hechos está probada sobre todo a partir de las declaraciones de las víctimas, según lo que está previsto en el can. 1536 § 2 donde se lee: “En las causas que afectan al bien público, la confesión judicial y las declaraciones de las partes que no sean confesiones pueden tener fuerza probatoria, que habrá de valorar el juez juntamente con las demás circunstancias de la causa, pero no se les puede atribuir fuerza de prueba plena, a no ser que otros elementos las corroboren totalmente”. Elementos capaces de valorar bajo todo aspecto tales declaraciones, pueden ser consideradas la multiplicidad y convergencia de las declaraciones y, sobre todo, las siguientes circunstancias: a) Han sido realizadas tempore non suspecto, es decir, cuando no estaba ni prevista si quiera abierta una investigación contra el P. Buela. b) Han sido expresadas en ocasión de un procedimiento para el ingreso al estado laical. Se trata, por lo tanto, de declaraciones ya valoradas y tenidas como verdaderas por Organismos de la Santa Sede. c) Las declaraciones no han sido tratadas nuevamente ni siquiera cuando las personas han sido informadas de las investigaciones sobre el P. Buela y sus declaraciones entradas en el dossier como elemento de prueba.

Cerciorada la existencia de múltiples hechos, su gravedad, aumentada por la calificación de Fundador, Superior General y Director Espiritual de quien los ha cometido y, finalmente la imputabilidad a cargo del P. Buela, el Dicasterio, reunido a tal efecto en Congreso, ha tenido como deber tomar adecuadas medidas para el ben del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado.
Con el presente Decreto el Dicasterio dispone:

1. La remoción del P. Carlos Buela del oficio de Superior General del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado.

2. La obligación para el P. Buela de residir, hasta nueva orden, lejos del propio Instituto, en la Abadía La Pierre Qui Vire, bajo la autoridad del Abad que puede regular sus contactos con los miembros del Instituto del Verbo Encarnado.

Del caso aquí tratado el Santo Padre ha sido debidamente informado y ha aprobado en forma específica las disposiciones aquí dadas en las audiencias concedidas al Exmo. Cardenal Prefecto Franc Rodé, CM, con fecha 4 de Julio y 1º de Octubre de 2009.

No obstante cualquier disposición contraria.

Dado en Roma el 22 de Enero de 2010.

Gianfranco A. Gardin, OFM Conv.
Arzobispo Secretario

P. Sebastiano Paciolla, O. Cist

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our Concerns about the Institute of the Incarnate Word


This site presents our concerns about the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) and their female branch, the Servants of the Lord and Virgin of Matara (SSVM), also known as the Servidoras.  The information on this site is intended specifically for those discerning a vocation, but could also be relevant to current seminarians, sisters, as well as family and friends of those involved.

As Catholics, we understand this can be a difficult topic, but we feel we have a duty to make this information available broadly and will approach it as reverently as possible. Below we would like to explain our motivation for creating this site and how we hope it assists you on your journey.


The Institute of the Incarnate Word makes a very good first impression. They have a very strong web presence - certainly stronger than comparable religious communities. They are very active in public events and always show up with a large number of young smiling faces in cassocks and habits. They appear as a very orthodox group and are attractive to those who want to serve God without concerns about heterodoxy or certain types of “abuse” that have clouded seminaries in recent decades.

That was our feeling as well.  Unfortunately, as we got to know the IVE from the inside, we realized our first impression was a bit amiss and that the IVE is not completely honest about itself. The reality is that the IVE is a congregation with very big problems.  They have a very troubling history, very questionable practices in their recruiting, approach to discernmentadmission processes, major issues in their formation process, a plethora of practical, legal, and spiritual problems, and (we believe as a result of all these problems) a huge "drop-out" rate among their priests after ordination.

These are not trivial problems.  Souls are being put at risk.  Priests are leaving without dispensation.  Many sisters who leave are so harmed by their experience they leave the Church altogether or enter churches and attend mass only with great difficulty.  Because there is no screening process, many more who are not equipped or prepared for the IVE "formation" process are hurt emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

As faithful Catholics we overlooked the warning signs when we first became aware of them.  We gave the Institute the benefit of the doubt until our own experiences forced us to face the truth.  Young people with limited experience don't have the background to make an independent judgement.  Faithful Catholic parents aren't familiar enough with religious orders to notice the warnings signs.  Neither do most have a reason to be skeptical or to reach out for a second opinion  - "these are priests", "we should put our faith in God and trust", etc.  People allow themselves to be hurt because they want to serve God and therefore trust these priests giving them advice.  This makes it very easy for the Institute to take advantage of them.

We created this site to give you the background to understand where the IVE are wrong, to give you reasons to question and be skeptical about their advice, and to give you the moral obligation to seek out sound, informed third party advice before you engage with this group further.


This is the problem most relevant to our intended audience: the institute will not encourage or even help you to discern before or after entering.  Don’t take our word for it:  their own literature shows how they play on a person’s desire to serve God and “guilt” one into entering.  If discernment comes up – and it rarely does with them - they will say you can do that after entering, but don't believe them.  The truth is, after entering, the “D” word is never mentioned.

This is especially troubling because, since most that join had not properly discerned their vocation prior to meeting the IVE, they will never properly discern their vocations until they leave the group (and leaving can be a very painful process.)  

This is also why we highlight the IVE’s very high attrition rate, before and after ordination.  Although it is a sensitive subject, it is important and relevant, because we believe it is a direct result of the group’s discouragement of discernment and poor formation. 


If discernment is too subjective or nebulous a topic, we also outline serious practical and legal issues that should give you cause for concern.

These practices are why people have been complaining about the IVE for well over 25 years – just not in English.  In fact, Pope Francis even tried to shut down the IVE when he was the Primate of Argentina.   There have been complaints, there have been multiple investigations, the founder has stepped down twice, and one superior general has even left the institute.  

The IVE will never tell you about these things, so we document all of them to the best of our ability. As they have done for years, the Institute will pull the veil of orthodoxy over their shoulders as they deny any problems, dismiss these testimonies, attack accusers, and blame all the past investigations on jealous, liberal Bishops (though we wonder how they might respond now that one of those "jealous, liberal" bishops is Pope.)  

Yet there are many points in the IVE’s story that are not supported by the facts.  This is why we give examples of behavior that should raise suspicion and highlight  certain associations that, while not in and of themselves wrong, undermine the image and story the Institute would like to present. 


We are sorry we have to put this site up.  These issues have been brought up via legitimate channels for years, yet the institute not only refuses to address them, it refuses to acknowledge the problems even exist.   When the Church in Argentina first attempted to shut them down, the IVE went over their head to Cardinal Sodano at the Vatican.  Since that time, despite numerous appeals, the Church's hierarchy has shown the same reluctance in addressing the IVE that it has shown in addressing the abuse scandal at large - mostly ignoring the laity and finding ways to silence the few that don't go away after the first letter of complaint. So in lieu of an appropriate response, we felt compelled to make this information available publicly.

This situation is not unprecedented and it’s not a worst-case scenario.  A worst-case scenario would be when the scandal and damage is so great that it makes the press, and the church as a whole take the blame for one small group’s problems.  

Many good, well-intentioned individuals are attracted to the ostensible orthodoxy of the group and many themselves are victims of the group's practices.  The problem lies primarily with those in leadership positions within the Institute and affects primarily those that join the seminaries or Servidoras.   Still, one should be wary of anything IVE-related, especially their 3rd order.


We would urge you to be cautious in getting direction from any IVE priest or nun on the subject of discerning a vocation and all that it entails.  Since they themselves are products of this flawed formation process and dysfunctional environment, it's fair to question whether they can give sound and prudent advice on the subject.

We would also be skeptical of their office of vocations.  They have had girls under temporary vows (who later left the order) acting as national vocations director for the women.  Freshly ordained priests in their 20's are regularly appointed as novice masters and national vocations director for the men.  Based on these appointments, it's fair to question whether they give proper attention or charity to those considering a vocation with their institute.

That's why we would encourage you to get spiritual direction from a 3rd party (ie. a non-IVE director)  well before you consider joining.  We'd also recommend reaching out to multiple orders so you can have different perspectives on the process and the decision you are making (email us if you need some ideas on who to contact.)  Additionally, links are provided on the sidebar to resources on discernment.