Pope dismisses founder of Miles Christi Institute from clerical state

CasaFormacionSanJose MilesChristi 03022020 Miles Christi formation house in San José de Luján, Argentina. | Miles Christi Institute.

Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state Argentine priest Roberto Juan Yannuzzi, founder and superior of the Miles Christi (Soldier of Christ) Institute, who has been found guilty of abuse.

The order has locations in the U.S. dioceses of San Diego and Detroit, as well as Argentina, Mexico and Italy.

Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, where the institute was founded, said in a Feb. 2 statement that Pope Francis made the decision because Yannuzzi "has been found guilty of crimes against the sixth commandment with adults, the absolution of the accomplice, and the abuse of authority."

The abuse involved male religious who were members of the Miles Christi Institute, which Yannuzzi founded, the statement said.

"For that reason, in agreement with the new authorities and said Institute, the current Archbishop of La Plata (Victor Fernández) sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a complete report about this case on March 11, 2019."

Dismissal from the clerical state means that Yannuzzi can no longer exercise the priestly ministry publicly or privately, in any way. He is also prohibited from teaching in seminaries or other education centers under Church authority, the statement said.

Miles Christi was first established as a Public Association of Clerical Faithful in the Archdiocese of La Plata on Dec. 20, 1994. After fulfilling the requirements of the Church, the association became a Clerical Religious Institute on Feb. 2, 1999.

Miles Christi is comprised of priests, coadjutor brothers, consecrated women and lay associates.

According to its website, its mission is the sanctification of the laity, especially young people. The institute's apostolate focuses on spiritual direction, giving the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, retreats, camps and religious education. It offers formation groups, courses, and conferences.

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