On November 3, 2019, the online newspaper Terceira Via — a news portal in Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ — published a five-page article, citing recent reports of violence, sexual abuse, racism and mistreatment allegedly committed by the Association Heralds of the Gospel. The news interviewed the mother of a young camper who attended the Association for a few years, and conveyed the opinion of two ecclesiasticals: Don Roberto Francisco, bishop of the diocese of Campos, and Don Fernando Rifan, bishop of the Apostolic Administration St. John Mary Vianney.
Under the title "Heralds of the Gospel defend themselves — Group of the Catholic Church refutes allegations of mistreatment and sexual abuse passed on in the national media," the report also published Fr. João Carlos Barroso of the Heralds of the Gospel, to the questions asked by the newspaper about the origin of such accusations, as well as on how the Association is carried out in the face of the campaign it suffers.
For the interest these questions arise, we offer our readers this interview, which was published in full.
The third via report searched the Heralds of the Gospel in Campos. Through Father João Carlos Barroso, the press office of the order in São Paulo answered some questions about religious organization, and about the negative repercussion slated from the complaints conveyed by Fantástico.
Third Way: How does the Heraldcommunity of the Gospel react to recent media complaints?
The news published by the press comes from a tiny group of disaffections of the entity, which found support in a sensationalist and partial media sector
Pe. João Carlos: First of all, it is necessary to reiterate that the news published by the press comes from a tiny group of disaffections of the entity. They found support in the sensationalmedia to give vent to their lessons, which had been circulating on the internet for some time. Anyone sensible sees behind this media lynching an authentic religious persecution. The position of the community can be described as follows: on the one part, a lot of tranquility, knowing that all accusations are completely false or manifestly exaggerated. On the other hand, there is a sense of non-compliance with unjust, contradictory and mostly attacks based on anonymous testimony. From the disproportionate space dedicated to detractors and the manipulation of information – some of them under secrecy of justice – one is suspicious of the impartiality of certain media.
TV: How long have the Heralds been in Campos?
JC: The Heralds of the Gospel have been in Campos since the foundation of the entity in 1999.
TV: The religious order is known for devotion to Christ, and also for the disciplinary rigor of boys, does it?
JC: In fact, the devotion of every Catholic is directed first to Christ. This centrality, devotion to his Mother, Our Lady, and peter's chair, as pillars of the spirituality of the Heralds of the Gospel are also joined. The discipline in force in the entity follows the immemorial Catholic practices, in accordance with the laws of God and men. Now every Christian is called to evangelical perfection, to which he is not achieved without what is now called "focus". In other words, material and spiritual works of value always require order, willpower and concentration, always with the help of God's grace.
TV: For parish goers in Imperial Park and for the community, has anything changed in these two weeks?
As in all anti-Catholic persecutions, this campaign serves as a factor of fervor and growing support for our activities
JC: As in all anti-Catholic persecutions, there is great fervor of those who really know us and growing support for our activities. The community of Campos receives, like all others, a permanent formation on the spirituality of the Association. If the question refers to the recent media campaign, it is unnecessary any further clarification, because any member of the Heralds notices the desatino of the accusations.
TV: What do the Heralds of the Gospel intend to do after this negative projection in the media?
JC: To do as the Apostle Paul wrote (Rom 12:21), that is, to combat evil with good. On the one hand, it is a duty of justice and charity to inform the reality of facts and, on the other hand, to do what we have always done: preach the good news to every creature, for example, by the spirituality bequeathed by Jesus and charity to all, especially to the devalidations , like the incarcerated and the sick.
TV: In cases of disagreements of community members, how to proceed?
JC: With all the charity. Each is free to express their disagreement. If the observation is coherent, there is readily a good-up for the good of the persons involved and for the common good.
TV: Does the organization intend to defend itself judicially against the broadcaster that veified the report?
With regard to judicial defense, the institution's lawyers are studying the appropriate measures
JC: Yes, an article of this content is surprising and unprecedented, of about 25 minutes, for two consecutive Sundays. In fact, in the first broadcast, TV Globo veiculou several accusations, without offering the answers offered in the interview with the Heralds or omitting fundamental parts. Unlike the infamy disclosed, the entity emphasizes family union, the union between peoples, without any kind of racial privilege, and chastity, taken seriously in the institution. Religious prejudice extended in revealing distorted data from exorcistic blessings and so-called "chapters", confusing the minds of the people. As for the second broadcast, it was unfortunate that the broadcaster did not listen to people who wanted to express themselves on behalf of the association, with the consent of it. The new program repeated truculences and diatribes against the association. Attention drew attention to the dissemination of the symbolic slap of the confirmation, as if it were an aggression, omitting the successive embrace and manipulating the volume of sound. As far as judicial defense is concerned, the institution's lawyers are studying the appropriate measures.
TV: What is the best way to solve this situation?
JC: It's manifesting the truth. The Heralds, on the contrary, of what has been disclosed, promote good, wherever they act. For example, the Misericórdia Fund to support needy people has benefited, since 2005, 585 charities, in 200 more municipalities and 106 dioceses in Brazil. With regard to the intentions behind this disproportionate defamatory campaign, there is a very clear goal, namely: to undermine the conservative foundations, which defend the values of the family, Christian life and social peace, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church . The institution expects the end of this anti-religious campaign, which basically aims to target the legitimately elected government and, by table, all Brazilians of good will who crave the good of the nation. The Heralds of the Gospel are aware of past persecution and feel their metamorphoses in the present. However, they expect a different future, for Jesus promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against the Church.