The Press Department of the Heralds of the Gospel published on August 28, 2019, an extensive report entitled "Persecution of the Catholic Church in Brazil?", in which the fallacious statements contained in a report entitled "The secrets of Heralds: what hide the walls of castles inhabited by ultraconservative Catholic group", published on August 23, 2019 by the news portal Metropolises.
See the overall response plan here.
Ii. Chapters of the report
First of all, it is absolutely false to state that this "private association of 'priests' (in reality: of faithful) of pontifical right" performs any kind of "secret ritual", basis for the title of matter. Moreover, it is slanderous to affirm that it abuses people physically and psychologically. On the contrary, the entity is governed by statutes approved by the Holy See, by civil and ecclesiastical laws, guided by the most genuine principles of the Church and Catholic Morals, and is based on the right to religious, conscience and worship freedom, as the constitutional legal system of the country.
1. House of cards
a) Boarding School: an institution recognized for centuries by advanced countries
The authors suggest that the boarding school regime in the Heralds of the Gospel would be something irregular. Thus, children would be in the residences of the institution "reclusive" and isolated from the "external world". Once again, the objective of denigrating becomes explicit, mentioning a presumed regime of "confinement" or "seclusion". As we know, only animals are confined and only inmates are reclusive.
However, the boarding or semi-boarding school regime for minors is something not only normal, but of recognized efficacy for academic, human, social and ethical education (besides religious in certain cases). This system is common in England, the United States, Canada and Switzerland. Some of the best and most prestigious schools in the world, such as Wycombe Abbey School for girls and Eton College, for boys, both in the UK, follow this safe and valid system, whose origin dates back to medieval public schools run by monks. The latter came out no less than twenty British prime ministers. Why then reject said regime a priori?
In fact, it is clear the intention to make matter an instrument to induce the reader to the equivocal idea that the Heralds would isolate people from society through a miraculous process of "brainwashing". We'll get back to that.
b) Laws and rules exist for all
There are several criticisms of the internal rules followed in the Herald Colleges of the Gospel. Even the millennial bell touches are ridiculed… and the existence of schedules – pasmem! – to wake up, pray and sleep, to feed, serves as a matter for defaming. The report, however, pretends to ignore that in any school or work environment that is valued – even journalistic – there is usually an appropriate schedule regime. Even human legislation requires you to book a specific lunch schedule, for example (CLT, art. 71). This applies even more, of course, to a regime of religious inspiration. Already St. Benedict in the 19th century. VI prescribed the hours for meals in his rule (cap. XLI). Was he wrong? The longer than millennial duration of your Order proves otherwise.
The Church has always had "norms of behavior" different from those of paganism. Therefore, He exhorted St Paul: "If we live for the Spirit, by the Spirit we also stick our conduct" (Gl 5:25). But this way of spiritual action displeases the totalitarians of others's will, in direct affront to the exercise of individual freedom, provided for by the law of men.
In any case, any body or government is governed (or at least should) by certain standards. For example, it is necessary to recall that the National Federation of Journalists has a Code of Ethics, where it urges that "the dissemination of accurate and correct information is the duty of the medi[…]a" (art. 2, I). In addition, it is not possible to "use journalism to incite violence, intolerance, agency and crime" (art. 7, V). Too bad not all press vehicles follow these salutary prescriptions…
The other descriptions of the "Ordo de Costumes" are distorted from reality and clearly aim to mock the most reliable religious beliefs and freedom of conscience itself. The authors' conclusion is even more surprising: "The adherents confer hierarchies on the body parts." True, the Heralds do not believe that the head has the same value as the feet, for example. After all, the head serves to think…
Finally, discipline and manners as they present are insistently chincalhadas. But, let's face it, any competent physiotherapist recommends "walking with the head and shoulders raised," any decent hospital today prescribes washing hands methodologically to protect health, and any pension from the suburbs of the metropolises contemporaries said standards for maintaining order. By the way, would they also be "ultraconservative" for demanding the minimum civility of their guests?
On the religious level, nothing more false to say that one is obliged to attend "at least one Mass daily". It is enough to know a little of the daily life of the Heralds of the Gospel to see the untruth of this statement. This is freedom of worship, provided for by law, that no human power is capable of preventing. And the law was made for everyone to comply.
c) A manic and (partially) deaf accusation
Another obvious falsehood concerns so-called "penalties". The Metropolisportal cites as an example the punishment of staying "knee hours" (sic) or days in complete silence. If the Heralds spent "knee hours" (one?) surely they would have serious locomotion problems. The photos presented prove, moreover, the opposite. As for the alleged penitential silence imposed, well that reporters could have taken a test in trying to interview some Herald in their under-reptitious visits. Too bad you only heard the slanderers…
d) The boomerang always returns
Then the report "accuses" that in the Heralds the "sexual organs are taboos. They should never show up in conversations." And the text follows: "Everyone is recommended not to observe any naked body, nor their own, let alone those of colleagues." It sounds like a lie, but this was shamelessly described by the report.
Well, would this be an insinuation of the authors in promoting injury or offense through low-slang words? Would the report have rushed, indirectly inciting child pornography (ECA, 241, in toto)? Or, do they intend to compel a Catholic-inspired institution to "facilitate or induce access to the child of material containing explicit or pornographic sex scene in order to perform lipobidinous act" (ECA, 241-D, I)? Would it be an apology to these crimes that the report would be suggesting to readers? This accusation is a boomerang: it turns to the accusers themselves. As Jesus warned, "Ai of whom scandalize one of these little ones!" (Mt 18.6).
Finally, it is worth noting that the Heralds strictly comply with the Statute of children and adolescents in the treatment of minors, besides having a specific protocol for their protection, in force in all their homes and also in the Herald Colleges of the Gospel. The pedagogical proposal of these educational institutions follows, in moreover, the National Curriculum Parameters proposed by the Ministry of Education. Any accusation in the opposite direction is mere ilnation, which needs to be proven.
Well, this chapter talks so much about castles. In fact, the only authentic one found in the report is a house of cards, full of fake jokers… With a blow it fades.