This isn't a new cult. But I thought I'd add a thread about it for those who are interested. At some point, this place will probably explode with
issues ... either like the Branch Davidians in a literal fireball of death ... or in a court of law with long term jail sentences for the cult leader.
(IMHO) Considering the amount of money involved with this cult, I'm guessing it'll be jail terms for the leadership when all is said and done. Which
ever way it goes down, when it happens, this thread will be here for reference.
These people are Catholic, but they are considered a break away group. They are completely devoted to the 'alleged messages' of Mary in Medjugorje.
Medjugorje is a town in Bosnia in which six children (who are now adults) claim to have been having visitations by Mary, the Mother of Jesus. They
claimed visitations daily since 1981. They claim messages from Heaven. They claim that they each have (or will have) 10 'secrets' to tell the world
and they will reveal those secrets eight days (I think it's eight days) before the event happens. The Catholic Church has not ruled that Medjugorje
is authentic. (It can't until the apparitions are 'finished'). But it also haven't ruled them to be false. The bishops of the area believe it to be
false, however the Vatican stepped in and has taken over the investigation process.
'Messages' from 1981 - Present here
As I said, they are completely devoted to the 'messages' of Medjugorje. They live their lives by them .. to an extreme level. All other teachings ..
be it the bible or the Catholic catechism or writings of the saints or other spiritual leaders .. is not given attention. ONLY the 'alleged messages'
of Mary from Medjugore. They call their cult compound 'The Tabernacle of Marys Messages'.
Whole families live in the compound. They bury their dead on the property. They raise and school the children within the compound. They work long
hours, 6 days a week, giving their lives and their properties and monies to the cult leader and his 'mission'. This is classic cult behavior ..
working for 'the cause' round the clock without proper sleep and without letting in any outside 'normal life' ... immersion in the cult mission.
(side note - I don't care if people want to live like this. That's their business. I feel bad for the brainwashed, but it's their choice. HOWEVER,
large amounts of money are being fleeced from people and there are some wonky international money deals going on .. so not only is what is going on
with the brainwashing immoral, but it now crosses over into the potentially illegal zone)
The name of the cult leader is Terry Colafrancesco
. There have been multimillion dollar lawsuits
against him and the cult. He won the lawsuits on a technicality. He continues to draw people in with the claim to fame that one of the alleged
visionaries from Medjugorje - Marija - visits each year and experiences apparitions of Mary there.
It should be noted that all the visionaries except Marija, all the priests of Medjugorje, and many others who are well placed in the Catholic church
have said that people need to stay away from Caritas of Birmingham because it's a cult and a money making business for the cult leader.
Disclosure note - I have been to this place two or three times in the early 1990s to check them out. It gave me a very uneasy feeling. I thought
they were 'nice but nutty' back then (20 years ago). I have also been to Medjugorje back in 1991. (I saw supernatural events - I can't say if they
were from Heaven or Hell ... but they were absolutely supernatural)
The Official Website of Caritas of Birmingham
Articles on Caritas of Birmingham
Former Cult Members
Nancy Wilstach, The Birmingham News, Birmingham, Alabama regarding Caritas of Birmingham: "Former residents and parents of residents accuse the
Shelby County, Alabama, Caritas of Birmingham community, led by Terry Colafrancesco, of fraud, misrepresentation, undue influence, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment. They say Colafrancesco lures devout Catholics to Caritas and then takes all their money."
... "The community draws its membership from such people, who give up their property when they move into Caritas. The community also receives
donations from the devout around the world."
Several former Caritas of Birmingham members underwent treatment at the Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center in Albany, Ohio, the nation's only clinic
specializing in the treatment of people influenced by abusive religious groups.
Caritas of Birmingham business still drains millions of dollars from gullible Catholics in donations. In recent years, it was annually $3-4 millions,
according to words of the leader of Caritas of Birmingham, self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje", Terry Colafrancesco in 2011
"In early 1997, Terry, Joan and I flew to Tucson, Arizona to ask yet another rich couple for $3,000,000.00 to clear up all Caritas' debts and set
us up in a good position to "evangelize"."
"Many times during the nine years I was there, Terry needed money for certain things. We were told the money was needed to pay property tax on
Terry's acreage. The way they would handle this was that Ruth McDonald would give us a Caritas check for a certain amount. This check was then
deposited in our checking accounts and we then wrote a personal check to Terry for the amount. I and my bank have proof of all these transactions and
copies which totaled more than $33,000 in 1996 and 1997 alone. And mine was only one of the checking accounts being used to funnel money to Terry."
"The last two shipments of humanitarian aid to the Medjugorje region were bogus. We used the guise of charity to smuggle without tariffs our own
goods and building materials for our own purposes. We placed at the last two feet of the container things such as blankets, clothing, and other relief
supplies that make it appear as though the entire container was filled with these things.
Shake downs, fleecing, money laundering .... Many more stories like those at the above link.
Local Man Escapes Alabama Cult
Tom O'Neill, a Xavier graduate and former teacher at LaSalle High School, was also in the FBI for 20 years. But none of his past work prevented
him from making one of the biggest mistakes of his life. Now, his daughter is the one at risk.
"What is happening at Caritas is exactly the same as Waco, Texas," claimed O'Neill.
In 1993, federal investigators easily recognized the 80-member Branch Davidian compound as a cult. The same realization came with Heaven's Gate and
after 187 people committed suicide in Jonestown in 1978.
O'Neill is trying to shut down Caritas in Alabama before it too becomes a devotion disaster, taking his daughter down with it. But, his efforts are
edit on 11/11/2013 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)