July 28, 2005

The First Sentence from Prefect Levada Makes the Legion Tremble


by Sandro Magister

ROMA, July 28, 2005 On July 19, the Catholic newspaper "Avvenire" published the following note from the general secretariat of the Italian bishops' conference (CEI):

"Following the decree handed down on May 27, 2005, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, notice is hereby given that the following canonical provisions will be applied to Fr. Luigi (Gino) Burresi, of the congregation of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

"1 revocation of the faculty to hear the confessions of any member of the faithful in any place, as provided in canons 966 and 969 of the code of canon law;

"2 definitive prohibition against carrying out the ministry of spiritual direction for any of the faithful, whether a layperson, a clergyman, or a consecrated religious;

"3 revocation of the faculty of preaching, as in canons 764 and 765;

"4 prohibition against celebrating the sacraments and sacramentals in public;

"5 prohibition against granting interviews, writing in newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, or on the internet, or participating in radio or television broadcasts on any matter involving Catholic doctrine, morality, or supernatural or mystical phenomena.

"This is made known for the understanding and profit of the faithful."

Practically speaking, the CEI has made it known that Fr. Gino Burresi, founder the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, must leave the ministry and retire to private life.

Among the reasons for the action taken, the decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cites abuses in confession and spiritual direction. But Vatican sources have confirmed that to these reasons must be added the accusations of sexual abuse made against Fr. Burresi by some men who were his followers and seminarians during the 1970's and '80's.

Posted by kshaw at July 28, 2005 04:35 PM