A recent scandal has revealed some strange practices during exorcisms for the "Heralds of the Gospel"
Placed under strict surveillance since the resignation of their superior, Bishop Clá Días, the “Heralds of the Gospel” – Evangelii Praecones – were created in 1995, after the division of the TFP that followed the death of its founder, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.
From the afterlife, Plinio Correa de Oliveira, while sitting next to the Virgin Mary in the sky, is also regulating climate change and working in favor of Pope Francis' imminent death: these are some of the absurdities supported by the leaders of the Heralds of the Gospel, an association created in 1995 and recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 2001. A canonical investigation has been commissioned by the Holy See and several measures have been taken.
Thus, on June 12, 2017, Bishop João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, founder and superior general of the Evangelii Praecones or Heralds of the Gospel, presented his letter of resignation. He avoided making any reference to the thorough inquiry being conducted by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, but nobody is fooled.
The decision made by the Congregation for Religious was denounced by some members who cried foul and claimed it was a witch hunt being led against the institute on the false pretext that it was too traditional. This counter-fire, however, has convinced no one.
Indeed, the case is overwhelming. Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, who revealed the affair, explains that they practice “a sort of secret and extravagant cult to a kind of trinity composed of Plinio Correa de Oliveira, his mother Donna Lucilia, and Monsignor Clá Días himself”.
Plinio Correa de Oliveira, who died in 1995, was born in São Paulo, Brazil. He was a Catholic politician, journalist, lawyer and university professor, and saw himself as part of the Catholic counter-revolutionary movement. He confronted the liberal and egalitarian revolution and its avatars, Communism and Socialism, with the three pillars of Christian Civilization, which, according to him, are Tradition, Family, and Property. Hence the foundation of the TFP in 1960. After his death, a split in his home country led to the creation of the branch of the “Heralds of the Gospel”, founded by João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, also a native of São Paulo.
A recent video, recorded in the presence of the knights, shows Bishop Clá Dias and his priests speaking of their use of self-made exorcist rituals, as they believe those of the Catholic Church to be ineffective. To drive out the devil, the Heralds of the Gospel pronounce several formulas including, “May the curse of Monsignor João fall on your head”.
The video also reveals the very secret nature of the cult they practice towards Plinio and his mother Lucilia. It shows Bishop Clá Dias giving credit to delirious theories and encouraging his priest to do as much. Who is the source of these pseudo-revelations? According to the now resigned bishop, it is the devil himself speaking to the knights, during the many exorcisms they practice without much discernment.
One of the highlights of the video – a real piece of evidence for the file – is when Bishop João Clá tells the enthusiastic priests what the devil supposedly said about the Holy See and Pope Francis. Some choice morsels of these statements from Hell: “The Vatican? It’s mine, mine!”; or “[the Pope] does whatever I want, he’s stupid!”; and we mustn’t omit his reference to the deceased founder of the TFP: “Plans depend on God and Dr. Plinio”, who “is encouraging the death of the Pope”; and lastly, the identity of Francis’ successor: “Cardinal Rodé, the next pope”; he will “be good”.
Indeed, the Slovenian cardinal did support the Heralds of the Gospel. It was he who in 2009, when he was prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, obtained Pope Benedict XVI’s pontifical approval for a clerical branch of the Heralds of the Gospel and for a branch of female religious. On August 15, 2009, he gave Bishop Clá Dias the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, an honorary distinction to reward him for his service of the Church and the papacy. Cardinal Franc Rodé is currently 82 years old.
In November 2016, Cardinal Braz de Aviz, Cardinal Rodé’s successor, stated that seventy new communities have “problematic” aspects and that fifteen founders were currently undergoing canonical investigation. So the new evangelization desired by John Paul II in the wake of Vatican II bears “problematic” fruit. Duly noted!