From the Editor’s Desk (Friday, 10-05-2019, Gaudium Press) Heralds of the Gospel released a statement to the press on their web-page about the recently published news appearing in the Holy See’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, September 29, 2019, p. 7, titled “Pope approves Commissioner for ‘Heralds of the Gospel'”. This news also appeared on the semi-official website www.vaticannews.va
The statement reads:
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Regarding the nomination of a Pontifical Commissioner for Heralds of the Gospel
On September 28, Heralds of the Gospel received at their Rome address notification of the decree nominating a Pontifical Commissioner for this International Private Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right. The news was quickly and widely reported in the media in Italy and in other countries.
Some organs of the media, nonetheless, have attempted to misrepresent the official words of the Holy See by giving to understand that the action taken has the character of a penal sanction and that it would include even more investigations. Instead of adhering to the note published by the Holy See – which generically outlines the reasons that led the Holy See to nominate a Pontifical Commissioner for the Institution – they have based their reporting on outdated and erroneous information without duly verifying the facts. However, with the rapidity that news nowadays spreads, these distorted reports – fake news – have quickly been disseminated through the Internet to the detriment of the image and reputation of the Institution to such an extent that it could lead to the filing of compensatory claims.
With this in view, it is a duty of justice and of charity to clarify the following:
1) The apostolic visit carried out by an archbishop, a bishop and a female religious superior began in 2017. All the houses of the Heralds were visited and almost all the members were interviewed including many companions. Furthermore, countless former members, members of family of members and of former members, also gave their testimony. Favorable statements about the Institution were very numerous. And, throughout the course of the investigation, hundreds of commendatory testimonials were received from cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests from around the world.
2) After a diligent investigation, which lasted just over a year, the apostolic visitors completed this procedural step. According to the testimony of the visitors themselves in meetings and in informal conversations at which the General President of the Heralds of the Gospel was present and which were duly memorialized in notes, they asserted that nothing contrary to good morals or sound doctrine or to ecclesiastical law or civil law had been found.
3) In August of 2018, the visitors submitted eight questions from persons openly opposed to the Heralds that contained false accusations that were circulating widely on the Internet. The response – totaling 570 pages and included an additional 75 appendices comprising 42 separate volumes – was prepared by a special commission of professors and doctors in the fields of theology and canon law as well as civil law. Neither the visitors nor the Holy See have submitted comments on this response from the Institution.
4) It must be remembered that the designation of a Pontifical Commissioner is a practice foreseen in the legal system of the Church and that it can serve as an instrument of communion. According to the official news in L’Osservatore Romano, the motivating cause would be certain lacunae and that it should not be considered a punishment. Any reporting to the contrary to these observations is obviously defamatory.
Finally, the Heralds of the Gospel respectfully and in a spirit of ecclesial communion welcomes the appointment of His Eminence Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno De Assis, Archbishop Emeritus of Aparecida, as Pontifical Commissioner, as well as his assistants, His Excellency José Aparecido Gonçalves de Almeida, Auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia, and Sr. Marian Ambrósio, IDP, Superior General of the Sisters of Divine Providence.
Beseeching the maternal and infallible help of the Virgin Mary, the Heralds of the Gospel are at the disposal of the competent authorities with a spirit of filial and confident transparency, certain that this new phase will be an occasion to witness to their uninterrupted affective and effective communion with the Holy See and with the bishops, successors of the Apostles.
São Paulo, October 1, 2019, the memorial of Santa Teresa of the Infant Jesus.