Father Carlos Miguel Buela, founder of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, has been found guilty by the Vatican of sexual improprieties with adults, the community's home diocese announced on Monday.
The accusations against Fr. Buela “regarded actions in sexual matters
which harmed religious and seminarians of the Institute,” a spokesman
of the Diocese of San Rafael announced Dec. 12.
“The competent Congregation of the Holy See, having ensured the
exercise of the legitimate right of defense of the accused, determined,
in conformity with the canonical procedures in force, the veracity of
the accusations and the imputability of Father Buela of improper
behavior with adults,” he stated.
The diocese made clear, however, that there are no “cases of the abuse of minors attributable to him.”
Fr. Buela founded the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), a
religious institute of diocesan right, in San Rafael, Argentina in 1984.
Associated with the community is a women's institute, the Servants of
the Lord and the Virgin of Matara.
The Vatican also ruled that Fr. Buela, who retired as general
superior of the IVE in 2010, “is absolutely forbidden to have any
contact with members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.”
“Neither can he make statements, appear in public, or participate in
any activity or meeting, whether it is personally or by any other means
In late November, the Mendoza Digital website presented the case of a
man identified as “Luis” who reported being sexually abused by a
priest inside IVE's Mary Mother of the Incarnate Word Major Seminary in
the Diocese of San Rafael.
The San Rafael diocese stated that as soon as they were informed by
the victim, they proceeded with an investigation “with responsibility
and speed” and brought the case “to the competent authority of the Holy
The Argentine diocese said that they are currently awaiting the
decision of the Holy See and “maintaining a cordial dialogue with Luis.”
Bishop Eduardo Maria Taussig of San Rafael emphasized that “these
problems do not tarnish everything that is most important that unites
us, which is belonging to the same diocesan Church, to Jesus Christ, and
“I certainly understand and make my own the pain of all the Incarnate
Word family in face of this news, and also as the father of each one of
them I am at their disposal,” he said.
Bishop Taussig said that “the Institute of the Incarnate Word has a
rule approved by the authority of the Church which ensures that whoever
follows it can be holy and have a recognized charism, and has in fact a
great many works and in very many parts of the world that are
commendable” including “the brothers and sisters who are in Syria under
bombardment, with very heroic and noble testimonies.”
The prelate pointed out that IVE “has had difficulties, not just
regarding Fr. Buela, but also with governance,” and so the Holy See
intervened in the election of the highest authorities of the institute.
The IVE, he said, “is in a process, accompanied and guided by the
supreme authority of the Church, which is a good sign that it will be
able to promote everything that is good and put in order the things that
have to be corrected.”
The Bishop of San Rafael also pointed out that “a fallen tree should
not make one lose sight of the forest that is growing. There are so many
good Christians, so many good religious, so many good priests, the
bishops and the Pope.”
In addition, he recalled that “the Catholic Church leads the world in
procedures and regulations to avoid this kind of abuse of minors and
has created a process in the last 15 years which is exemplary and goes
to the forefront of everything that is being done in the world.”
“Every measure is being taken so that this does not happen again, and
in the Diocese of San Rafael, like the Church in general, we have all
the resources and alerts well in place to act immediately and if there
were someone to wanted to have or had what I call new information he not
only has the freedom but also the obligation to make it known and we
will do everything that can and ought to be done.”