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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator


653 Posts

Posted - Jul 16 2008 :  2:56:57 PM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
Have you heard of this American Medjugorje site? The literature written by a frequent visiter of Medjugorje is BEAUTIFUL and LIFE CHANGING!!! I PROMISE. Check out the site.

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Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members

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USA
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JohnF
Mary's Servant



USA
428 Posts

Posted - Jul 16 2008 :  11:02:53 PM  Show Profile Send JohnF a Private Message
For your discernment:


Religious mission faced with defections, lawsuit
Associated Press

A multimillion dollar religious mission in rural Shelby County is under fire from critics and former residents who accuse the leader of brainwashing and financial mismanagement.

Longtime members have left Caritas of Birmingham after becoming disenchanted with the operation, and the organization is named in a federal lawsuit over its work to promote visions of the Virgin Mary.

The disputes center around Terry Colafrancesco, the founder and leader of Caritas, which has a publishing house and operates a travel service to Europe.

Complaints about the organization were revealed Monday in a story by the Birmingham Post-Herald, which said Colafrancesco did not respond to repeated interview requests.

An attorney who has done legal work for Caritas said Colafrancesco and his followers are good people with a "positive mission."

"Terry has always had the philosophy that he doesn't respond to people who say bad things about him," said lawyer Joseph Ritchey.

Ex-residents including one-time Colafrancesco lieutenant Pat Flynn accuse Colafrancesco of personally profiting from their donations and overworking both adults and children who live at the site.

"We were in a continuous state of people being overloaded with too much work," said Flynn, who left last year with his family and now lives in Michigan. "With the lack of sleep it would take on a tone of insanity. Morale was low."

Others accuse Caritas of being a cult that distances its members from their relatives. The mission has no TV or radios, and members are not allowed to read newspapers or magazines.

Three adult children of Ed and Patsy Locks of Jacksonville, Fla., live at Caritas, and the couple says none of them will see them or return phone calls anymore.

Gail McCausland of Memphis, Tenn., said her two children who lived at Caritas would hardly acknowledge her presence when she visited.

"They'd be working and they'd be very oblivious to us," said McCausland, whose son has left Caritas, where her 29-year-old daughter remains. "It was so hard to deal with because we were all so close. They were different people."

A lawsuit filed in California accuses Colafrancesco, the president of Caritas, of brainwashing people. The suit was filed against Caritas and other organizations by Phillip Kronzer.

Kronzer and his ex-wife once believed that children in the Eastern European town of Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, had had miraculous visions of Jesus' mother. Caritas' stated goal is to promote those visions and lead pilgrimages to Medjogorje.

But Kronzer now alleges the visions were a fraud, and he has filed two suits attempting to expose the entire movement as a hoax.

Kronzer's suit accused Colafrancesco of controlling the lives of Caritas residents, who are even told when they may have sex.

Most residents live in mobile homes on the Caritas property, located southeast of Birmingham. Colafrancesco and his family live in a $118,400 house across the road.

"Adherents are kept under primitive conditions in communal trailers or cabins without adequate heating, running water or sanitation. Children often sleep on the floor because of lack of space," the suit claims.

Caritas, a nonprofit organization that is required to file financial statements with the Internal Revenue Service, reported $3.4 million in assets and $1.5 million in income in 1997.

Flynn, who once ran a Caritas printing operation that distributes materials worldwide, remains a believer in the visions of Mary. He left Caritas because he was unhappy but wants nothing to do with Kronzer's suit.

"That man wants to destroy Medjugorje," said Flynn.

Franciscan priests who live in Medjugorje also have expressed deep reservations about Caritas of Birmingham.

"It appears that the organization does not follow good practice of church discipline as well as the discipline of its members in regard to their ways in which they are organized within," wrote the Rev. Kraljevic Svetozar in an August letter, according to the Post-Herald.
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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator



653 Posts

Posted - Jul 17 2008 :  08:45:43 AM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
Hadn't seen that. Thanks John. Do you know anything more about this? Is this AP article slanted because Medjugorje is a Catholic thing? For example, is the line "they are even told when they may have sex" something like sex must be within the confines of marriage? And is the founder the one that writes all the books and signs them without his name? Could it be that the info is good and the leader gone bad? Thoughts anyone?

Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members
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JohnF
Mary's Servant



USA
428 Posts

Posted - Jul 17 2008 :  12:04:14 PM  Show Profile Send JohnF a Private Message
Confidential settlement ends Caritas suits
Associated Press

A confidential settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against the Caritas religious group by former members who claimed they were brainwashed and drained of assets.

The settlement, mediated by Birmingham lawyer Arthur Hanes Jr., also settled similar suits involving Caritas in federal and state courts in California and Florida.

Terry Colafrancesco of Shelby County, near Birmingham, founded Caritas as a resident organization after a 1988 visit from an Eastern European woman who reported visitations from the Virgin Mary in Colafrancesco's cow pasture.

The visions were similar to those she reported experiencing for two decades in her homeland.

Marija Pavlovic Lunetti has returned periodically over the last 17 years and reported more visions. Her last visit, in May, drew thousands of people from across the country, and donations flow to Caritas from around the world. Lunetti is scheduled to return to Caritas in August.

In a lawsuit filed in 2001, several former Caritas residents and parents of residents accused Colafrancesco and Caritas of fraud, misrepresentation, undue influence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

They claimed that Colafrancesco enticed devout Catholics to Caritas and then drained their assets.

Caritas' lawyer, Daniel Burnick, told The Birmingham News for a story Thursday that "all litigation between the parties has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The terms and conditions of the resolution are to be kept confidential, as agreed on by all parties."

Burnick confirmed that the settlement also included suits brought against Caritas by California anti-cultist Phillip Kronzer, who was bankrolling the Shelby County action, and countersuits against Kronzer brought by Caritas.

"I'm glad it's over," plaintiff Laura Flynn said from her Michigan home. She said the parties to the suit were forbidden to discuss the terms of the settlement.




Caritas of Birmingham is not a Roman Catholic organization
By a former member

Caritas of Birmingham, under the sole dictates of Terry Colafrancesco has developed a set of doctrines exclusively for itself. In many cases, these "doctrines" are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In light of this, Caritas can be seen as an isolated cult outside Catholicism.

All who support this organization erroneously believe that Caritas is Catholic. Caritas of Birmingham is not associated in any way or form with the Roman Catholic Church nor its local authority, the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.

Colafrancesco has stated that there is no priest on Earth that is capable of understanding his mission. He has also affirmed that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has not been given the wisdom that he (Colafrancesco) has been given regarding the purpose of his mission and the practice of some aspects of Faith and Morals.

Terry Colafrancesco teaches to his group that black people are "niggers," which were created by God for servitude and were much better off when they were slaves.

Terry also teaches contempt for women as the carriers of the "spirit of Eve".

The Catholic Church teaches universal love and respect for all human beings and bigotry is sinful and dangerous to the welfare of mankind.

Colafrancesco has taught the people in his group that venial sin accumulates to the point that after 4 weeks, if one does not go to confession, that person should avoid the Eucharist.

This is heresy.

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that receiving the Eucharist removes venial sin from the soul. The Church asserts that for Catholics, the Eucharist should be necessarily avoided only in the case of un-confessed mortal sin.

Mr. Colafrancesco strongly encourages the members of his group to confess their sins in the confessional via "generalities." This is to avoid any suspicion on behalf of the priest.

People may confess, "I was careless in guarding my senses." Rather than being specific by citing the particular sin such as watching television, which is considered a grave offense in Terry Colafrancesco's. This would alert the priest that the penitent is misunderstanding sin or being taught error.

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that sins are to be confessed specifically and freely. It is also outrageous for Terry to coach others as to how they should confess their sins.

Mr. Colafrancesco answers to no earthly authority. He has no spiritual director, no superior and no one who oversees his leadership. He has no credentials to teach, whatsoever.

The Catholic Church has a firm hierarchical structure of authority. There is no Catholic individual nor organization within the church that is completely independent. All laity, priests, brothers, sisters, parishes, orders, organizations, missions, bishops, and dioceses are accountable to authorities within the church.

Colafrancesco has manipulated and directed several individuals to make life decisions outside of their own free will. Terry has also on many occasions supported the notion of arranged marriages and has demanded that courtship be submitted to his direction and direct involvement.

It is a clear violation of Canon Law to interfere in any way whatsoever involving the personal decision of one's marital state in life. Marriages, whereas both parties have not given themselves fully and freely without duress and/or coercion, can be declared null and void according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Children at Caritas have been instructed in the school by one of Colafrancesco's agents that the Colafrancesco bloodline is particularly blessed and elevated in holiness by God. The assertion has been made that there is a good possibility that St. Francis was a member of this same bloodline.

Since the birth of Christ, bloodlines are insignificant in the eyes of the Church and in the eyes of God.

Colafrancesco mocks the church's teaching on fasting as ridiculously liberal. He dictates the fasting and abstinence practices of his group, which include regularly scheduled nine-day bread and water fasts and exhaustive lists of excluded foods during the entire period of Lent. Interestingly, some of Terry's favorite foods and drinks are no so excluded.

The fasting and abstinence criteria presented by the church have been developed and implemented based upon the wisdom and foundation of 2,000 years of church history. Any man feeling as though he can improve upon this can easily be seen as arrogant.

Colafrancesco asserts that all disobedience is mortal sin. This is necessary to ensure complete control over his people. He maintains that when God calls you to a higher standard of holiness, some venial sins, such as general disobedience automatically become mortal.

This is heresy.

Venial sin is venial sin. Mortal sin is mortal sin. Their definitions are clearly outlined in the Catechism. They are not relatively applied from one individual to the next.

Mr. Colafrancesco maintains that the Holy Church simply has not yet discovered some truths that he currently understands, such as television is the beast of Revelation Chapter 12. And that going to a restaurant, buying a gallon of milk or a newspaper on Sunday is mortal sin equal to murder or adultery.

The very notion that a man has been given wisdom above the church and the church should conform to that wisdom is absurd, pathetic and dangerous.

Colafrancesco has subjected virtually all of the behavior of the people at Caritas to his scrutiny. Permission must be sought for simple things such as a parent going to a store to buy necessary clothing for a child. On one occasion, several members had to ask permission to bathe following a ten-hour workday outdoors in 90-degree temperatures, which was denied.

Pope John Paul II has taught and it is clearly understood in the Catechism and evident in our own American history that personal freedom is absolutely necessary for happiness. No man has the right to subvert this freedom. And the spirit of God is not present in the actions of those who oppress others.

Colafrancesco has continually undermined and effectively and gradually dissolved the structure of the individual families at Caritas since 1991.

Terry assumes all authority over the children in the group and the parents are forced to submit to him and his wife. Families are discouraged from spending time in their own homes. Colafrancesco asserts that the group is really one big family and Terry has made it known that he and his wife are to be considered "Father and Mother" to the group.

Pope John Paul II has maintained on numerous occasions that the family is the domestic church. This truth is fundamental to the Catholic Faith. Any undermining or re-defining of the family is clearly understood by the Catholic Church to be contrary to God's Divine Will.

Colafrancesco, while providing "spiritual" direction to a distraught caller, a Catholic woman, whose marriage was in trouble, recommended that the woman relent and practice artificial contraception to please her husband. Terry stated that obedience to her husband was the most important issue here and if she obeyed him, all else would then in turn, work itself out.

No informed Catholic may practice artificial contraception. And according to the Catholic Church it is sinful. No person is bound to commit sin under obedience regardless of the circumstances.

Terry Colafrancesco teaches a blind, fundamentalist version of wifely submission to his group and his readership through his writings namely, his book; How To Change Your Husband.

Manipulation of the Holy Scriptures especially in this area has seriously endangered the spirituality and in many cases the safety of countless people in abusive churches and cults around the world. Colafrancesco's version of wifely submission differs greatly from the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The above situations were witnessed first-hand by former members of the group Caritas of Birmingham and such practices and teachings were evident as of April 24, 2000.

It seems that since that time, some of the above teachings and/or situations may have been "recalled" by Colafrancesco, to give the impression that they never existed.

Considering the above, it can be concluded that if someone supports Caritas of Birmingham, they are supporting a strange, religious sect and this potentially, which may cause serious damage in an individual's personal and family life.

If you are Roman Catholic perhaps you should first seek spiritual direction from the recognized and historic Catholic Church, before becoming involved with Caritas of Birmingham and/or the Community of Caritas.


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Edited by - JohnF on Jul 17 2008 1:24:30 PM
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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator



653 Posts

Posted - Jul 17 2008 :  10:51:11 PM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
I was just about to post those articles. I was researching myself. It troubled me, so i talked to my husband about it. I'm trying to be open minded, as the literature was given to me and it really is beautiful... but this information is so contradictory. And so alarming. I emailed the articles to several of my Catholic friends who are very knowledgeable about various apparitions and am waiting to hear back from them. When I was talking to Andy, I was saying that Marija visits and how could it be wrong... and he reminded me that perhaps one visit or visits near the area could be exaggerated and deemed as accepting of the mission when in fact that is false. To claim that the Pope, especially Pope John Paul II who allegedly had visions of the Blessed Mother himself, isn't capable of understanding his mission is pure arrogance. And yet these groups continue to pull very good Catholics in (my interest was piqued and I like to think I am an active Catholic).... The same thing at the Holy Love Shrine. If these groups are true and real, why don't they go through the Pope? And yet their messages seem to make one thing that they are ecumenical and for all, not just Catholics, and that's why they don't go through the Pope. And that if you don't follow them, you will miss out or something....
I've been trying to discern these things for awhile, and it is a yo yo.... while I like the simple complexity of living in Holy Love - moment by moment with the Blessed Virgin's help... perhaps there is some truth but that truth ought go under the direction of the Pope. Urgh. I know. I sound like a lunatic, but I don't want to throw away something good for me if it truly is good.... and at the same time, I don't want to propagate something if it is false.

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy Love. Send forth Thy Spirit and Thou shall be created and Thou shall renew the face of the earth. O God who didst instruct the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may have RIGHT JUDGEMENT IN ALL THINGS and evermore rejoice in His consolation through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members
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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator



653 Posts

Posted - Jul 17 2008 :  11:08:26 PM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
This talks about the Poem of the Man God Books and Caritas....
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Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members
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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator



653 Posts

Posted - Jul 17 2008 :  11:17:57 PM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
And yet though condemned, Marija is going there again this Summer?

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What are we supposed to make of these contradictions? Anyone?

Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members
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BARBAQUED
Mary's Servant



USA
454 Posts

Posted - Jul 18 2008 :  7:19:34 PM  Show Profile Send BARBAQUED a Private Message
Consider this, many in the Church feel Christians should have enough faith so it isnít necessary for God to perform the miracles of the past. The truth is God is as he was and as he will always be. If he chooses to send the mother of his son, Jesus, he will. He is always reaching out to us. But many are afraid to approach him. They cannot believe anyone would be capable of the love he has for us. So he sent his word in the form of flesh to live with us and guide us to him, thank you Jesus. Even that is too much for many to comprehend, so Jesus sends an even more acceptable form to invite us into a relationship with him. Our blessed mother is the easiest way for many of us to approach our Father. I remember making my earthly father really upset, rather than approach him I went to my mother. Mothers always know how to make things right between us and our father. Thank you Mary for interceding on our behalf and for making it easier for us to approach the father.
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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator



653 Posts

Posted - Jul 18 2008 :  9:41:44 PM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
Thanks Barbequed. This sort of thing has triggered my scrupulosity, as I was given a load of good literature that actually made me feel closer to God reading it. But then I saw the site that was posted, and it does merit discernment. Being an anxious person, I just want to find as many ways as I possibly can to get closer to God, but I don't want to be led down a false path or disappoint God by going against His HOly church and His chosen leader. So I research and pray and research and pray.... and I can't make sense of it for awhile. That's where I am right now. In the midst of a big anxiety heist because I've found one of those situations that I can't find a peaceful resolution to right now. Peaceful that is, in terms of anxiety and what is right. Both sides of the argument are so steeped with information that seems good - so who is the master of information in this case, and how am I to know? My thought as it stands right now is to keep reading and praying.... and to see where I'm led. And I'm working on letting go, as even if I'm misled, I should REALLY KNOW that my heart was in the right spot and God will find me where I am. But it is hard. I just want so badly to feel Him in my life and I look for those connections.... and the fact that Jesus' Mom could possibly "touch down" in my country is just amazing.... but it may be wrong as well.... disgruntled ex-member and father of lies influence.... or a proper caution? Time. I guess, time will tell for my anxious soul.

Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members
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JohnF
Mary's Servant



USA
428 Posts

Posted - Jul 18 2008 :  11:47:23 PM  Show Profile Send JohnF a Private Message
The United States has a number of approved shrines already. Do we need to borrow from Medjugorje?


On October 13, 1956, The Blessed Virgin Mary requested that a statue of "Our Lady of America" be enshrined in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., as a special place of pilgrimage and a special safeguard for our Country.

Our Lady promised miracles greater than those of Lourdes and Fatima if her children heeded her warnings and fulfilled her requests.

She indicated that this would be accomplished through her loyal sons, the Bishops of the United States. It is to the fulfillment of these requests that this website is dedicated and it is to Our Lady of America that it is consecrated.


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Lil Flora
Mary's Servant



118 Posts

Posted - Oct 13 2008 :  6:02:38 PM  Show Profile Send Lil Flora a Private Message
That is... amazing!
I thought there was something strange going on!

St. Flora, Patroness of abandoned people, pray for us
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Pro-life Sarah
Moderator



653 Posts

Posted - Oct 24 2008 :  09:45:59 AM  Show Profile Send Pro-life Sarah a Private Message
Can you explain more what you mean Lil Flora?

Take Care and God Bless,
Sarah

Please say one Hail Mary a day for the intentions all forum members
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Lil Flora
Mary's Servant



118 Posts

Posted - Jan 03 2009 :  07:48:00 AM  Show Profile Send Lil Flora a Private Message
Sorry I took so long to answer your question.

My mother is, as we say, quite "into" this sort of thing, so I'm familiar with Caritas and their platform/beliefs/whatever you want to call it. But I also tend to disagree with it - sometimes rather strongly.

But I'm the type of person who tends to seize on anything to try and "prove" my opponent wrong, especially since I have no real means of doing so myself.

My apologies if I accidentally alarmed anybody; much as I try to control my inner anarchist, sometimes it manages to slip through.

St. Flora, Patroness of abandoned people, pray for us
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