Caritas of Birmingham is not a Roman Catholic organization
Date: March 27, 2010 , Originally published June, 2003
Category: Caritas of Birmingham and "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, Sterrett (AL), Alabama
By a former member of Caritas of Birmingham
Caritas of Birmingham, under the sole dictates of Terry Colafrancesco has developed a set of doctrines exclusively for itself. In many cases, these "doctrines" are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In light of this, Caritas can be seen as an isolated cult outside Catholicism.
All who support this organization erroneously believe that Caritas is Catholic. Caritas of Birmingham is not associated in any way or form with the Roman Catholic Church nor its local authority, the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.
Colafrancesco has stated that there is no priest on Earth that is capable of understanding his mission. He has also affirmed that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has not been given the wisdom that he (Colafrancesco) has been given regarding the purpose of his mission and the practice of some aspects of Faith and Morals.
Terry Colafrancesco teaches to his group that black people are "niggers," which were created by God for servitude and were much better off when they were slaves.
Terry also teaches contempt for women as the carriers of the "spirit of Eve".
The Catholic Church teaches universal love and respect for all human beings and bigotry is sinful and dangerous to the welfare of mankind.
Colafrancesco has taught the people in his group that venial sin accumulates to the point that after 4 weeks, if one does not go to confession, that person should avoid the Eucharist.
This is heresy.
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that receiving the Eucharist removes venial sin from the soul. The Church asserts that for Catholics, the Eucharist should be necessarily avoided only in the case of un-confessed mortal sin.
Mr. Colafrancesco strongly encourages the members of his group to confess their sins in the confessional via "generalities." This is to avoid any suspicion on behalf of the priest.
People may confess, "I was careless in guarding my senses." Rather than being specific by citing the particular sin such as watching television, which is considered a grave offense in Terry Colafrancesco's. This would alert the priest that the penitent is misunderstanding sin or being taught error.
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that sins are to be confessed specifically and freely. It is also outrageous for Terry to coach others as to how they should confess their sins.
Mr. Colafrancesco answers to no earthly authority. He has no spiritual director, no superior and no one who oversees his leadership. He has no credentials to teach, whatsoever.
The Catholic Church has a firm hierarchical structure of authority. There is no Catholic individual nor organization within the church that is completely independent. All laity, priests, brothers, sisters, parishes, orders, organizations, missions, bishops, and dioceses are accountable to authorities within the church.
Colafrancesco has manipulated and directed several individuals to make life decisions outside of their own free will. Terry has also on many occasions supported the notion of arranged marriages and has demanded that courtship be submitted to his direction and direct involvement.
It is a clear violation of Canon Law to interfere in any way whatsoever involving the personal decision of one's marital state in life. Marriages, whereas both parties have not given themselves fully and freely without duress and/or coercion, can be declared null and void according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The Children at Caritas have been instructed in the school by one of Colafrancesco's agents that the Colafrancesco bloodline is particularly blessed and elevated in holiness by God. The assertion has been made that there is a good possibility that St. Francis was a member of this same bloodline.
Since the birth of Christ, bloodlines are insignificant in the eyes of the Church and in the eyes of God.
Colafrancesco mocks the church's teaching on fasting as ridiculously liberal. He dictates the fasting and abstinence practices of his group, which include regularly scheduled nine-day bread and water fasts and exhaustive lists of excluded foods during the entire period of Lent. Interestingly, some of Terry's favorite foods and drinks are no so excluded.
The fasting and abstinence criteria presented by the church have been developed and implemented based upon the wisdom and foundation of 2,000 years of church history. Any man feeling as though he can improve upon this can easily be seen as arrogant.
Colafrancesco asserts that all disobedience is mortal sin. This is necessary to ensure complete control over his people. He maintains that when God calls you to a higher standard of holiness, some venial sins, such as general disobedience automatically become mortal.
This is heresy.
Venial sin is venial sin. Mortal sin is mortal sin. Their definitions are clearly outlined in the Catechism. They are not relatively applied from one individual to the next.
Mr. Colafrancesco maintains that the Holy Church simply has not yet discovered some truths that he currently understands, such as television is the beast of Revelation Chapter 12. And that going to a restaurant, buying a gallon of milk or a newspaper on Sunday is mortal sin equal to murder or adultery.
The very notion that a man has been given wisdom above the church and the church should conform to that wisdom is absurd, pathetic and dangerous.
Colafrancesco has subjected virtually all of the behavior of the people at Caritas to his scrutiny. Permission must be sought for simple things such as a parent going to a store to buy necessary clothing for a child. On one occasion, several members had to ask permission to bathe following a ten-hour workday outdoors in 90-degree temperatures, which was denied.
Pope John Paul II has taught and it is clearly understood in the Catechism and evident in our own American history that personal freedom is absolutely necessary for happiness. No man has the right to subvert this freedom. And the spirit of God is not present in the actions of those who oppress others.
Colafrancesco has continually undermined and effectively and gradually dissolved the structure of the individual families at Caritas since 1991.
Terry assumes all authority over the children in the group and the parents are forced to submit to him and his wife. Families are discouraged from spending time in their own homes. Colafrancesco asserts that the group is really one big family and Terry has made it known that he and his wife are to be considered "Father and Mother" to the group.
Pope John Paul II has maintained on numerous occasions that the family is the domestic church. This truth is fundamental to the Catholic Faith. Any undermining or re-defining of the family is clearly understood by the Catholic Church to be contrary to God's Divine Will.
Colafrancesco, while providing "spiritual" direction to a distraught caller, a Catholic woman, whose marriage was in trouble, recommended that the woman relent and practice artificial contraception to please her husband. Terry stated that obedience to her husband was the most important issue here and if she obeyed him, all else would then in turn, work itself out.
No informed Catholic may practice artificial contraception. And according to the Catholic Church it is sinful. No person is bound to commit sin under obedience regardless of the circumstances.
Terry Colafrancesco teaches a blind, fundamentalist version of wifely submission to his group and his readership through his writings namely, his book; How To Change Your Husband.
Manipulation of the Holy Scriptures especially in this area has seriously endangered the spirituality and in many cases the safety of countless people in abusive churches and cults around the world. Colafrancesco's version of wifely submission differs greatly from the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The above situations were witnessed first-hand by former members of the group Caritas of Birmingham and such practices and teachings were evident as of April 24, 2000.
It seems that since that time, some of the above teachings and/or situations may have been "recalled" by Colafrancesco, to give the impression that they never existed.
Considering the above, it can be concluded that if someone supports Caritas of Birmingham, they are supporting a strange, religious sect and this potentially, which may cause serious damage in an individual's personal and family life.
If you are Roman Catholic perhaps you should first seek spiritual direction from the recognized and historic Catholic Church, before becoming involved with Caritas of Birmingham and/or the Community of Caritas.
Additional detailed information on Caritas of Birmingham and self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje" (Terry Colafrancesco) are available in English and Italian languages online at: