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Miles Jesu founder dismissed for ‘totally unacceptable’ behaviour

By on Thursday, 29 July 2010

Miles Jesu founder dismissed for ‘totally unacceptable’ behaviour

The founder of Miles Jesu was removed from office because of “serious mental and physical health problems”, it was announced today.

Fr Alfonso Durán, who founded the ecclesial family in 1964, stepped down as superior general of Miles Jesu in 2007 because of mental and physical problems, Fr Barry Fischer, the priest appointed to reform Miles Jesu, said on the institute’s website today.

Fr Durán is well-known for promoting the Path to Rome conferences, which brought together prominent Catholic converts. One of the conferences took place in Britain in 1999.

After Fr Durán’s removal, 13 members of the institute asked for an investigation into irregular practices. Cardinal Camillo Ruini appointed Fr Anthony McSweeny to conduct an Apostolic Visitation which brought to light “a number of irregularities and questionable practices”.

In 2009 Cardinal Agostino Vallini appointed Fr Fischer to act as Commissary for Miles Jesu and write a new constitution “which defines the charism, spirituality, and apostolic nature of the Institute; to develop adequate vocational discernment and formation policies (ratio formationis); to review the financial policies, and in general to completely revise all its practices and customs”.

Fr Fischer said that in the 17 months he had been working with Miles Jesu “it has become clear and undeniable, that the founder, Fr Alfonso Durán, presented erratic behaviours that were totally beyond the scope of the powers given to him”.

He said that the structures of the institute facilitated Fr Duran’s behaviour, which “was totally unacceptable” and was not “supportable in any way by a healthy sense of consecrated life”.

He said: “Some members have identified wounds caused by the inappropriate exercise of authority under his leadership. The mistaken sense of allegiance and obedience instilled in the membership facilitated his behavior, which was totally unacceptable and not in accord with the discipline of the Church nor supportable in any way by a healthy sense of consecrated life.

“Members who challenged his actions or behavior were often ostracized. The internal discipline and customs of the Institute provided protection for the Founder. It must be said in justice, that most of the members had no idea of the improper conduct of the Founder. Some of the allegations against Fr. Duran are hearsay and have not been verified. However, many are factual. It is important for all that the truth be disclosed, which is the reason for this public statement.”

Fr Fischer said that members were reviewing the customs and practices of the institute with a particular focus on “developing new government structures ensuring the proper exercise of authority and promoting an active participation and co-responsibility of the members in the life of the Institute”.

Stephen Ryan, who was a member of Miles Jesu for 22 years, said: “Fr Fischer reached out to former members of Miles Jesu to bring the truth to light and he should be commended for this. I trust and hope he undertands how essential it is he continue to do so. Knowing and assimilating the fullness of truth is an ongoing process, essential for a better future, as he says.

“We are all entitled to a better future and this public apology by Fr Fischer on behalf of the Church and Miles Jesu is an essential and healing step. It is not, however, the last step. I would like to think His Eminence, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, accompanies us as well and that we also have a right to a future. I believe there are many who may suffer for years to come, and they should not just be forgotten or put to the side because they are no longer official ‘members’ of Miles Jesu. They too are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, and deserve the Church’s support. Their love of God and their desire to serve Him can be judged to be no less than that which Fr Fischer praises in those members who chose to remain.

“There are those in the Institute who will need much healing as well. There is no monopoly on suffering, both for former and current members. A true sign of healing will be that day when former and current Miles Jesu members might come together in Christian charity, look each other in the eye and say: ‘I forgive you, my brother. I forgive you, my sister.’ I, for one, am willing to take that step.”

Miles Jesu has community houses of celibate members in the United States, India, Spain, Nigeria, Italy, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. The General House is in Rome.

  • CathCath
  • Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    I met Fr General & saw his Latin temperament but holiness too. With mental difficulties he may have been unaware of some behaviours. Sadly some of my good friends left the Institute but I remain in contact with some. as a married member of Miles Jesu I benefited from good spiritual formation & our daughter who just qualified as a doctor often stayed in the women's community in the Czech Republic. We have good friends still..some in the US or studying in Rome. The late Mgr Graham Leonard was a member with his wife & I think Fr Ian Ker is too. I am sure the difficulties can be sorted out. In Corde Matris Jackie Parkes MJ

  • CathCath

    To give one example was banned from the Archdiocese of Chicago back in the 80's or 90's. Call them up they know about it. Although they are probably hiding it as well. Or call up the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas and ask them why many of the priests were against Miles Jesu setting up in the Eastern Church in the United States.

    Fr. Duran was not “holy”. If you think Fr. Fischer's communique gives the whole story you are wrong. Yes, perhaps it can be fixed, but this communiqué is not the half of it. Fr. Fischer says these allegations are not verified. Well….why not VERIFY them? That is the point of an investigation isn't it?

  • CathCath

    correction: “Fr. Duran was banned”

  • Jackie Parkes MJ

    Well we don't know the state of another's soul really so I suppose I can't say he was holy..just that our family experienced a deepened faith by the prayers, & spirituality of such recommendations of St Anthony Mary Claret etc..not perfect..but none of us is. I'm not denting anything & know very little. It's quite sad really & I hope it works out now the Vatican has taken control..God bless

  • CathCath

    Right Jackie, I understand your point. But that has been the ex-members' point all along is that there are serious problems in Miles Jesu that were not being addressed because every time someone DID address them, they were accused of “persecuting” Miles Jesu for its orthodoxy or for persecuting a group that was helping people to grow spiritually. Of course there is good in Miles Jesu. None of us would have joined it if it was ALL bad. And after all it is a Catholic group and the Catholic Church is the one true church of God.

    The problem we really have now is that some family members of the ex-members as well as those who were directly abused by Fr. Duran are estranged from the Church because of Fr. Duran's and Miles Jesu's behaviour. So yes, you benefitted much from Miles Jesu. I am glad to hear that. No one can deny that there were many good things that Miles Jesu promoted: Queen Isabel, Dr. Abraham Low, St. Anthony Mary Claret, reverent Novus Ordo Masses, etc. But still what are we supposed to do about those others that are estranged from the Church because of Miles Jesu's actions?

    Fr. Fischer is trying his best I believe (and he probably receives orders from above as well) but I believe these are only the FIRST steps of what needs to be done.

  • Juan

    Me gustaría saber si Miles Jesu va a traducir este comunicado para el beneficio de sus simpatizantes en España también.

  • http://jamiemacnab.wordpress.com/ Jamie MacNab

    Yes, Mrs Parkes, I am sure that the difficulties will be sorted out, now that they are being investigated. I'm inclined to wait for the findings of the investigation before judging individuals.

  • CathCath

    The investigation was concluded a few years ago.

  • Janet_baker76

    Juan would like to know if Miles Jesu is going to translate this information [into Spanish] for the benefit of sympathizers in Spain, also. (I think!–I am guessing about 'este comunicado'–this communication, not sure if he's referring to the press release as given here, or not, since this press release is not Miles Jesu's.)

  • JoeD

    I had not heard of Miles Jesus before, until I read this article. I must say that it and its report of “allegations” are all rather vague and an invitation for those unfamiliar with Miles Jesus to project their own speculations, especially in this volatile climate of priestly child abuse. Though the article may resonate with those familiar with Miles Jesu, it is for me uninformative. It may as well have been written as a newsletter article for internal circulation.

  • elizabeth

    What do Regnum Christi, Miles Jesu, and Opus Dei have in common? Secular institutes founded by Spanish Priests who cultivate cult like allegiance. Google “characteristics of a cult” and be shocked by the similarities.

  • someone who knows

    @Joe D…
    yes it's very vague… pretty simple why, they do not want to mention the specific abuses committed because they are afraid of what exposing the truth will do and want to keep people saying…”well it can't be that bad…”, nonsense! Expose the TRUTH! Many know what it is and many more will know soon enough.

  • anonymous

    I knew them in Chicago. I felt pressured to join. THANK GOD I DIDN'T! But I helped them out with donations and then was hounded for more EVEN THOUGH I WAS UNEMPLOYED! I knew there was something wrong there and am glad this is FINALLY being investigated. I did meet the founder – he did not give off a holy impression at all – he was haughty – ignoring everyone, acting important and palling around with one of the handsome young members he had as an aid. As far as calling the archdiocese of Chicago for is concerned – good luck getting an answer – they never answered any of my calls, messages etc. I feel sorry for the good, but naive people that joined – there were a lot of them – and I thank God and the Blessed Virgin for protecting me. I remember Fr. Fisher – great person, great priest, shame on Fr. Duran for deceiving him.

  • Catholic

    Opus Dei? With a Canonized founder? What cult-like characteristics do they display, not including the falsifications of the so-called DaVinci Code?

  • Stateman26

    Sounds as if the Falangists are on the rise again and have invaded yet another Catholic order. Signs that Spain is heading towards civil war again.

  • Irenaeus

    Hello Elizabeth,

    Regnum Christi is associated with the Legionaries of Christ which was founded by Fr. Marcial Maciel, who was born in MEXICO, not Spain. Am I missing something?

    Irenaeus

  • Francisco

    I did not meet Fr. Duran, but I did spend almost three months in discernment with Miles Jesu, before returning home.
    Their zeal and love for God and service to the Church was second to none. I hope and pray with them as they restructure their constitution. May the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of the Epiphany pray for her sons and daughters.

  • Robert S

    I know these people. They celebrated mass in my home. I don't know what to think.

  • FlangeSqueal

    The Archdiocese of Chicago is currently being overly friendly to the Legioinaries of Christ – the outfit founded by pederast and bigamist Marcel Maciel…to the point of allowing this band of misfits to run a school – called, innocently and deceivingly enough “Everest Academy” – right in Lemont, IL It coctc over $9K to send a child here – it's a GRADE SCHOOL ! They use textbooks prepared by their OWN cult and don't allow for visitors to tour the facility.

    Time to get limping Cardinal George OUT of Chicago.

  • FlangeSqueal

    Opus Dopus – a cult of personality – their Founder was made a “saint” just like about 900 others by that Saint-Happy JPII.

    They're merely 'catholics' playing at being as haughty and judgemental as ignorant evangelical Baptists.

  • Fredempsey

    Many of the Saints canonized by JPII were groups of martyrs of the Spanish civil war. There were some other martyrs this past century, too, from Mexico, Russia, Germany and Poland. Or perhaps you didn’t notice. Just in case your Catholic guilt reflex kicks in, as sometimes happens with ex-Catholics, you might like to know that the canonization of a saint is an infallible proclamation. Name me anyone canonized by JPII who was not saintly.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    “Members who challenged his actions or behavior were often ostracized.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————
    What’s so strange about this? Sounds like an average day in the Vatican.

  • Neville DeVilliers

    “Many of the Saints canonized by JPII were groups of martyrs of the Spanish civil war”

    Many were Falangist operatives and collaborators of Franco. I wonder how many of those priest saints were Loyalists?

  • Kiebrana A

    It’s so sad to find out how such infighting has destroyed good vocations, religious communities and the image of the Catholic Church all over the world. I am glad that action has been taken and the surviving community members will embark on a very long path to reconsilition, healing and recovering. I now wonder whether similar types of hostile community environment were responsible for the death cruel of a Catholic nun in Kenya. The incident which was reported in a local newspaper (East African Standard), stated that the nun burned her self to death (self-immolation) in the church compound while members of her religious community were attending Sunday mass during last week. The details were sketchy but it’s reported that she took her own life aftre having received a dismissal letter from her supriors, informing her that she was no longer a member of the religious community, whose name was not indicted in the news article.

  • LeFloch

    “Loyalists”? Do you mean those renegade clerics who backed the Reds? Saints? You’re having a laugh, surely!

  • Daniel P Ewald

    The need is for prayers and patience. As a former member of Miles Jesu I can say this much, The Institute has very good and holy members striving to learn God’s will. As for Fr. Duran, he had problems that came from his illnesses and medicines that he was taking. This caused many of the actions to be harsh and inconsistent with the founding principles of the Institute. When anyone raised questions of concern about this the questions were dismissed or ignored. The person many times suffered from ridicule at times for their views and silenced. This has been the real sufferings caused. As to the concerns of one in these comments, there has been no indications of sexual abuses in the Institute on the part of Fr. Duran. I do think of him as a holy but also a disturbed man, who has the effects of medication and illness that clouded most of his judgements. Still his love for God and service for the Church was and is undeniable. Along with Steve Ryan I wish only to extend a prayerful and helping hand to all the members and the former members of Miles Jesu. I thank God I am not with them now, but I also thank God for knowing the many faithful servants of God who I meet and served with inside of Miles Jesu.
    I sign this with my name  Daniel P Ewald

  • Ydl

    les crapules “canonisées” par wojtyla sont nombreux: jean xxiii, frassati, et le fameux fondateur de “l’opus judei”…jp II lui meme heresiarque notoire va etre canonisé par son successeur moderniste et apostat!!!

    masi tout celà va avoir une fin!

  • Taitofli

    My opinion is the following:  Having been a member for a year and a half, i really did love the devotion, care and learning about the Church, the mind, soul of the person.  Not only but lecture, but by example of priests and member of how to serve God.  Yes, there were some faults that could not be ignored, but put them against each other, and there was more good.  My experience with Fr. Duran is one troubleing.  On one side, a very simple person who had all the zeal to serve Christ and the Church.  On the other hand, wanted to proyect an almost mystical being within himself.  Pride?  you can say that.  Many medications, definitly.  Poor man who is sick.  No judgement because i am not a judge. 

    I pray for all the members and ex-members.  Before criticinzing the group or the person, look at yourselfs.  You are not perfect either.  Many wrong was done.  Thank God that the situation has been dealt with.

    For a commentator who wants to know the wrongdoing, why?  what can you do now?  why do you want judge?  You do not have the authoirty to do so.  An opinion, yes but you can not solve the problems.  Better pray for the group that at least follows Holy Mother Church.

    Ex-member;
    Wilson Melendez