We’ve already touched on how the deep rooted problems at the Institute of the Incarnate Word lead so many to leave the group – even after ordination and perpetual vows. (Our estimate was that at least 40% and possibly over 50% of priests ordained within the IVE have left the group.) What we didn’t know then and what has recently come to light is that even IVE Superior Generals have taken part it in the exodus.
Fr. Solari: Elected Then Ejected
In 1994 Argentine church authorities forced IVE founder Fr. Carlos Buela to resign and exiled him to Ecuador. In his place the IVE unanimously elected Fr José Luis Solari as superior general. Later, when Cardinal Sodano helped move the group out of Argentina to Italy, Buela was able to return to the order. Once Buela returned, Fr. Solari resigned as superior general and Buela was unanimously elected to his previous post. (Background on Fr. Solari here, here, and here.)
Did Fr. Solari willingly resign? Was he forced out? Was he ever really in charge or was Buela always pulling the strings? As is the case with other important aspects of the Institute’s history, the details of Fr. Solari’s resignation are unclear. What is clear is that, like so many other IVE priests, Fr. Solari left the IVE. He became a diocesan priest in Peru and his whereabouts are currently unknown, though one would imagine he may have retired by now.
A Very Bad Sign
There are far reaching implications when a superior general not only resigns his position, but leaves his order altogether. Priests and seminarians had taken a vow to obey this person (who was also under perpetual vows) only to see him leave. So to simply say this is scandalous is an understatement.
Beyond scandal, the real question is what conclusions should be drawn from this departure? Was Fr. Solari right or wrong to leave the Institute? If he was wrong, what does that say about the prudence of the IVE? They can’t even pick a faithful leader for their own group (remember, they unanimously elected him), yet they want you to trust your discernment and vocation to them? To take a vow of obedience to them?
And what if Fr. Solari was right to leave? If he was right to leave then he had to be compelled by serious issues concerning both Buela and the Institute – issues serious enough that they should be disclosed to those in formation and those discerning with the order – but obviously no disclosures have been made.
Right or wrong, Fr. Solari leaving a group where he was superior general for six years is evidence of severe problems within that group. These aren’t things the Institute discloses or likes to talk about (or is even honest about when questioned), but this is information you deserve to know before you ever give them your trust or consider entering.
The IVE’s Persecution Comes From Within
You see, the IVE like to dismiss talk about their troubled history by saying it’s the result of “persecution by mean liberal bishops.” Well, what about Fr. Solari? Who persecuted the IVE into unanimously voting him superior general? Who persecuted Fr. Solari into leaving the institute to join a diocese? (We can guess the answer to those two questions pretty easily and the answer is not “mean liberal bishops.”)
The IVE’s problems are real and they come from within. Fr. Solari’s departure is proof of that. They aren’t stories made up by “anonymous detractors” and they aren’t hardships imposed by liberal bogeymen.
But does the Institute ever disclose these issues to those who deserve to know? Have they attempted to address the people causing these issues? The answers are no and no.