In August, 2011, famous retreat leaders Sr. Briege McKenna and Fr. Kevin Scallon withdrew their endorsement of the American alleged mystic Anne a lay apostle and her organization Direction For Our Times.
The following is a copy of Connolly’s letter.
Dear lay apostles,
This is a brief letter to inform you of a new position we are taking on a matter which emerged a few years ago. The prudence of this organisation has been heavily borrowed upon and we are now setting a firmer boundary regarding this issue.
Most of you are unaware of this but for the last four and a half years we at DFOT have been the subject of bullying behavior by a religious sister and a priest who works with her. Some priests and lay apostles have been told false stories by them and then sworn to secrecy under the guise of confidentiality. Confused by the request for secrecy, many have phoned to let us know. Indeed, this is how we have come to understand the extent of what has been circulated. We are grateful to the priests and bishops from several countries, as well as religious and lay people, who have not only been disturbed by these actions, but felt it their responsibility to alert us.
In other arenas in the world, this behavior would be classified as character defamation. The entire organization and specific members have been subject to false accusation, and yet never directly, always covertly. We have written reports of this and summaries of how it was done and I have dealt with this in many countries, at every level.
Some prayer groups were instructed by these individuals to stop reading the monthly message and either cease their prayer groups altogether or change them entirely. Others were told they had to burn their books. Letters written by them and people associated with them were passed along to us and are in our possession. Aspersions have been cast on the bishop, the staff and the writings. And again, in most cases, people were sworn to secrecy, suggesting some form of a covert campaign.
Burning books with an official Church Imprimatur? Lay apostles, we are steering our organization into healthy portions of Human Development for a reason. Indeed, as we piloted our human and spiritual development program in high schools in our diocese, we realized that we were advising responses to bullying that we, ourselves, had not implemented. Specifically, we tell the young people that secrecy is a red flag and that we must bring these issues into the light of day.
To be clear, the claims of these individuals have all been examined by the competent authority, Bishop Leo O’Reilly, as well as the official diocesan commission formed to evaluate Anne’s experience and the writings, as well as the organization, years ago. The claims of these two people, some of which were specific, were deemed unfounded and objectively false. Furthermore, it must be noted that these individuals have neither competence nor authority to make claims or assessments of any kind.
As stated, these types of actions are not uncommon in the world and can be seen within the Church, at times, in a particularly insidious way, creating confusion and uncertainty. Because we are human, this is inevitable and we know that many of you may have experienced similar situations in your lives. However, we are all responsible for our feelings and how we choose to act upon them. In this situation, several of the people who have alerted us as to what is being said and done, have expressed fear that if we make their name known, they will also be targeted. Clearly we wouldn’t do that except to our bishop. Nevertheless, the only mature and transparent action at this point for us is to name this openly and call it unacceptable.
One final reason for sending this email is that as we move into this next phase of the mission we will be drawing a line under this matter. For the last several years we have treated this as a distraction from our work and given it little attention, except when absolutely necessary. In the future, we will be passing along all evidence of further coercive or covert behaviors for the attention and handling of the appropriate authorities, including their own superiors. If you have experienced this behavior please contact me. If you have suggestions for us around this issue, we would like to hear them. In turn, I can help you to understand how this is happening and that you are one of many who have been approached in this way. You can email me at the below email address.
We continue to work hard with you in spreading the many blessings we have received in this Apostolate and we wish to support all lay apostles out in the field working. We thank you for your prayers and remind everyone that this work belongs to Jesus Christ.
Father Darragh Connolly
Direction for Our Times
Filed under: Direction for our Times |