By Vatican News
Following the Apostolic visitation begun in 2017, Pope Francis has approved the appointment of a Pontifical Commissioner for the International Association “Heralds of the Gospel” (Arautos do Evangelho), along with its two branches of consecrated men and women. The announcement was made by the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, headed by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, on 25 September and made public on 28 September.
On 23 June 2017, the Holy See Press Office published a press release expressing how the Congregation, in agreement with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, had called for "an Apostolic Visitation of the Association known as Heralds of the Gospel, of which the International Public Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right, Heralds of the Gospel, the Society of Priestly Apostolic Life, Virgo Flos Carmeli, and the Society of Female Apostolic Life, Regina Virginum, are members".
"After carefully studying the conclusions of the visitors, and having obtained the approval of the Holy Father, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life appointed a Pontifical Commissioner" to the International Association and the two Societies of Apostolic Life. The Commissioner is Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop Emeritus of Aparecida, with José Aparecido Gonçalves de Almeida, Auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia, and Sister Marian Ambrosio I.D.P., Superior General of the Sisters of Divine Providence, as his assistants.
The “Heralds of the Gospel” is an International Association of the faithful of Pontifical Right, the first to be erected by the Holy See this century, on 22 February 2001. Members are present in various countries around the world and are recognizable by their brown and white habit, with a large cross on their chest, similar to that of the medieval knights. Two Societies of Apostolic Life that grew from the Association, obtained Pontifical recognition in 2009. Their founder is Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, a former member of the Brazilian traditionalist and counter-revolutionary Catholic association TFP (Tradition, Family and Property), which was later dismembered. The “Heralds of the Gospel” was born from a branch of TFP that had become completely autonomous.
The reasons for the Apostolic Visitation, and the decision to appoint an Pontifical Commissioner for the Heralds, are linked to shortcomings concerning the style of government, the life of the members of the Council, the pastoral care of vocations, the formation of new vocations, administration, the management of works and fundraising.
As in similar cases, the decision of the Holy See should not be considered a punishment, but an initiative intended for the good of the Association, and an attempt to resolve existing problems.