Monday, March 12, 2012

Jubilee Ad Experimentum

"And if they are not redeemed by these means, they shall nevertheless be released, together with any children, in the jubilee year. "
(Leviticus 25:54)

Any reform by groups or individuals requires one to "step outside the Legion shell" (literally as per Fr. Berg or otherwise) . Not having any canonical vows to be dispensed from, a significant number of consecrated women in Regnum Christi have judged that immediate separation from all of the trappings of Maciel's world is the surest path to a true Jubilee.

One of the apostolic visitors to Regnum Christi forwarded this request and the Holy Father asked Archbishop Ezzati to provide diocesan approval. The ad experimentum approval begins with one year. May this Jubilee Year be fruitful in discerning a path forward unencumbered by the dead weight of Maciel's legacy.  

Group splits from Legion of Christ's female branch
"The female branch of the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ religious order was in turmoil Tuesday following the resignation of its leader and the decision of some 30 members to split from the movement.

Malen Oriol...revealed that a group of consecrated women had decided to leave the movement and live out their vocations under the authority of local bishops — a blow to the Legion that suggests that groups of reformers are now stepping outside the movement because their superiors are refusing to change...

What makes the exodus of the 30 consecrated members significant is that they are seeking to continue living out their religious vocations under bishops — something that is potentially problematic for the Legion's survival since it shows a potential avenue for continuing similar lifestyles outside the Legion, if others were to follow suit.

The Rev. Thomas Berg, an American who left the Legion in 2009, said the only way forward for the Legion is for groups like these to emerge and "step outside the Legion shell and propose a renewed form of religious life."
Interview with Archbishop Ezzati
Q. What happened with the Legionaries of Christ? You approved the creation of a new group of former consecrated.

A. Just today I was with about 40 consecrated members of Regnum Christi who came to ask me the same thing. In November I received a request to recognize in the archdiocese an association of faithful, of persons who pertained to the consecrated of the Legionaries. And the bishop has the duty to recognize the right of laity to form associations. I told them I would not take any step in accepting an association of faithful of former consecrated of Regnum Christi without an opinion from the Holy See. I did not want to do it because, first, I was one of the visitors to the Legionaries appointed by the Pope. Therefore, I sent a note ... I was convinced that the answer would not be positive. But finally we got the answer: that the Holy Father considered it viable, he sought and wanted a renewal of Regnum Christi, and wanted hopefully all back together again in the future. And finally they developed the statutes, and on February 22, here in the chapel of my house, I received them, I celebrated Mass with them and celebrated the decree of approval.

Q. And do you expect something similar with men?

A. The women received only a diocesan approval (without pontifical approval) and was adopted ad experimentum for one year. The situation of men is a little different, because they are members of a congregation with vows. The women are volunteers. And what happened to the priests is that some have asked to be incardinated in a diocese, then they are no longer Legionaries. I know there are a handful of them who also wanted to form a fraternity and are apparently linked up to the Archbishop of Madrid. He has embraced them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goodbye, Agent Smith

"You willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. "
(John 8:21)

If you only take away one thing from this blog, whether you are staying, leaving, just out, or long gone...Live the Jubilee. Return every corner of your only property - your heart - to its orginal owner. Challenge every groove and rut and obstacle that keeps you on Fr. Maciel's spiritual hamster wheel.

If you missed it last year this excellent essay by Mark Shea on real fruits deserves to be read in full:

"Once again, Father Maciel is instructive here: a man of massive organizational charisms who used those gifts to create an organization whose purpose, in the final analysis, was to supply him with means to pursue his proclivities and guard him from being discovered. 

He designed the robot so well that it went lumbering on defending him even after he was dead — because organizational systems, like computers, don’t do what we want them to do. They do what they are designed to do. 

Father Maciel perverted his charism to fool people into trusting him and then organized those people into a phalanx of defenders. He understood the Number One Rule of the Con Man is that a con man does not fool people. He gets people to fool themselves."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Declaring a Jubilee

"You shall not sow,
nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee,
which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.
In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property."

Leviticus 25:11-13

The first post in this blog examined Maciel's re-imaging of the Church in the image of the Legion and the false notion of the Church Militant as a command and control center.

This 50th post is about the Jubilee. The time has arrived for the year of fallow. To use the next twelve months as a sabbath year in which to find and reclaim your patrimony.

It's not enough to wait for leaders formed by Maciel to dismantle Maciel's system of formation. Each must personally claim the Jubilee. Set aside the imperatives of growing the Kingdom. Listen. Study. Reform conscience. Tear down walls. 

There is nothing more to be said, so start the Jubilee and claim the year of fallow. Now is the time for prayer and sacrifice. Act freely and without obligation or fear wherever that leads you.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."

Julius Caesar IV.3 

God Speed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Duc in Altum

"Put out into the Deep" (Luke 5:4)

Sometimes when you run aground you need to question your perspective and start seeing things as they truly are. The foolish cling to the past. The wise find new horizons. Seeing what needs to change is largely a matter of  perspective and focus.

Vatican communique:

"The need to redefine the charism of the 
Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ 
preserving its true core, that of 
the 'militia Christi' 
which characterises the 
apostolic and missionary 
activity of the Church 
and which is not the same 
as efficiency at any cost."

John Paul 2 reminds us that "Nobody can use a person as a means towards an end, no human being, nor yet God the Creator" and that even "Christ's command to love is based on the personalistic norm".

Benedict 16 reminds those formed by the Legion that Maciel twisted their understanding of the Church's mission into "efficiency at all costs".

The more you have been integrated into Maciel's system of efficiency at any cost, the further you are from the true understanding of militia Christi that the Legion's charism must be refounded on.

The time has arrived to put out into the deep and leave behind the shallowness of Maciel's system.

Anyone looking to turn away from coercive activism would do well to turn to Dietrich Von Hildebrand  "one of the great ethicists of the twentieth century" (JP2) and "most prominent among the figures of our time" (B16). Especially to his great spiritual work Transformation in Christ written at the peak of his struggle against efficiency at the cost of human freedom:
"They apply the categories of mechanism to the province of organic life and even to the realm of spiritual personality and culture..."

"Facility is their watchword; and their complacent pride impels them to treat all things in a cavalier fashion..."

"They imagine themselves able to solve every problem and to arrange everything according to some simple prescription..."

"They denature the object of their attentions and with a kind of glib dexterity doctor it, as it were, until the problem appears to be solved or, rather, enchanted away...

"They do not treat things adequately but merely tamper with them, though often with a show of success..."
UPDATE: Read Alice von Hildebrand's Right Ways and Wrong Ways to Influence People. (h/t bigtex)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

True Docility

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

The Legion preaches a lot about docility and depends on that preaching to protect its understanding of the Kingdom.

This is a serious reminder that the path from Macielism depends on  discovering the real meaning of docility and the real nature of the Church. True docility to the Holy Spirit and the Church must overthrow the sham docility that has silenced consciences.

Anyone contemplating next steps is encouraged to meditate carefully on just how much needs to be undone and redone. Freed from the LC/RC from all eternity mantra, each must discern whether true docility is possible without a fresh start.

The Vatican's communique demonstrates three areas are of urgent concern to the Church:
Fanatical Denial:

The first Apostolic visitor concluded in 1957 that the Legion "offers hope insofar as it can be freed from fanaticism. Which seems doubtful". This fanaticism was amply demonstrated in 2006 when the Vatican exiled Maciel to a life of penance. The Legion characterized Maciel as an innocent man ""following the example of Jesus Christ" and the decision as “a new cross...that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement”.

The 2010 communique observes the Legion was formed by a man "devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment" and identifies the crippling of the Legion with the "relationships created by Fr. Maciel... to gain the trust, confidence and silence of those around him" 

For more on the history of denial the Legion needs to overcome read this fanaticism summary.
Impaired Conscience:

As Fr. Berg observed the Legion "occasions unholy and unhealthy restrictions on personal conscience...a simplistic, and humanly and theologically impoverished notion of God's will ... that breeds personal immaturity".

The 2010 communique observes "the behaviour of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion" and highlights the urgent need to "review the exercise of authority, which must be linked to truth, in order to respect conscience".

For more on the toxic consequences of Macielism the Legion needs to overcome read this toxic legacy summary.
Using People:

John Paul 2 wrote: "Nobody can use a person as a means towards an end, no human being, nor yet God the Creator... Anyone who treats a person as the means to an end does violence to the very essence of the other"

The 2010 communique zeroes in on the central error in Legion thought by contrasting the reality of the Legion to the  "'militia Christi' which characterises the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church  which is not the same as efficiency at any cost."

For more on the pervasive utilitarianism the Legion needs to overcome read this utilitarianism summary.

The time to be serious is long overdue. Each much find their own way. If they seek it with real docility  many will conclude with Fr. Jonanthon Morris that their fresh start is best accomplished outside the Legion and that the purification of the Legion is advanced by not dedicating self or others to today's Legion:
"I’ve discerned I’m not called to dedicate my priesthood to the 'profound revision', 'purification', and 'redefinition' of the Legion of Christ the Holy Father has wisely ordered"

True Shepherds

"I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the Lord". (Jeremiah 23:4)
Warning in a parish bulletin:
"These camps are ministries of the Legionaries of Christ and their lay ministry, Regnum Christi. These groups are currently under investigation by the Vatican for numerous revelations of gross moral and financial impropriety. The founder’s double life was protected by his subordinates, and the founder's tendencies may continue as a structure of the groups. Parishioners should know the Legionaries and Regnum Christi have been expelled from several US dioceses for brainwashing young people (and their own members) into thinking obedience to their superiors should trump their own conscience in the face of wrongdoing, sin, and actual crimes. Until these and other matters are clarified by the Holy See, I do not recommend participation in any of these camps."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Signs of the Times

"You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah"  (Matthew 16:3-4).

Some seem to believe that the problems of the Legion do not touch them or their section; that the malformation was either buried with Maciel or exists elsewhere;. that the recent communique about the Legion merely confirms what they already knew; that Vatican is simply encouraging a course of reform that the Legion would have taken anyways.

There is a word for assuming that everything you are comfortable with does not need to change: presumption. For those who need a little help getting past denial and contemplating serious spiritual realities I've provide some scriptural considerations to mediate on:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Come, Holy Spirit

"But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth." (John 16:13)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Great Novena

Join us for the next nine days in prayer for victims, for authentic vocations, for guidance for the Holy See, and of gratitude for deliverance:

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Thursday, May 13, 2010


"And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven" (Luke 24:49-51)

The story of Maciel's Legion hasn't reached its end. But it has reached the beginning of the end. The Church has named the evil. And it is "efficiency at any cost." A voracious spirit that swallowed up souls and formed them in its own image.

Now that liberation is close at hand, redouble your prayers. That each may see that the time to wait for direction from Maciel's enablers is over. All that remains is for each wayfarer to discern the path forward.

The days leading up to Pentecost are not a time to wait on plans and reforms. They are a time to wait on the courage to discern and act on that discernment.

Tomorrow we will begin the Great Novena to the Holy Spirit. The novena we'll using is from here. It will also be posted on this site each day. Do join us and accompany those who are waiting on God's Spirit to transform their lives.

Grace and Nature

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)

Missed this 2 weeks ago with the Legion driving the news, but I'm circling back to highlight an enlightening duet in the blogsphere. Both the original article, and the response article ought to be read in full.

John Zmirak:Erin Manning:

As Dorothy Sayers once observed of Goethe's Faust, "He is much better served by exploiting our virtues than by appealing to our lower passions." Some of the worst crimes in European history were committed by men devoted to Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. These values, as John Paul wrote in Memory and Identity, are secular forms of the theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Charity. Why should it surprise us that the Father of Lies can mislead men into misreading even these? ...

There's one sure test for determining whether an action really lives up to the theological virtue we hope we're practicing. It's simple: Does this action violate any natural virtues along the way? ...

Simple Justice is what each of us owes the other in an unconditional debt. We cannot violate that Justice in pursuit of Faith, Hope, or Charity. When we contemplate any action that stokes in us the sentiment that we're being "more radically Christian" and really "living the gospel" by going beyond "merely natural" virtues, every alarm bell in our conscience should start going off. We can no more attain theological virtues by violating the natural ones than we can build the dome on a cathedral by pulling steel from its foundations...

We cannot practice Charity toward the poor through confiscation from the rich; only if something is owed the poor in simple Justice should the state make sure they get it (as Pope Leo XIII taught in Rerum Novarum).

At the height of the high Middle Ages, the Church never furthered the salvation of souls by confiscating non-Christian children, baptizing them, and rearing them in the Faith. At age 18 I wondered why not, till a wise priest explained to me that the natural rights of pagan parents could not be torn away in such a "higher cause."

Likewise, the natural rights of parents, and the state that represents them, to defend their children from rape cannot be sacrificed on the altar of priestly solidarity, compassion for "troubled brother priests," or the need to avoid bad publicity for the Church.

Remember that most cases of abuse were covered up for fearing of "giving scandal." Satan has a real sense of humor.

John Zmirak has written a truly interesting, thought-provoking article at InsideCatholic today...

I can't tell you how important I think this is, and how few Catholics there are who understand it; I myself have only really started to understand this within the recent past. The four cardinal natural virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, and as this article so clearly points out, these virtues are not to be dismissed just because we think a theological virtue (faith, hope, or charity) demands it.

Yet to look at just one example--how many members of the Legion of Christ or Regnum Christi understood this? How many times were they asked to ignore prudence ("Sure, you can take on another apostolate for the Kingdom! God is asking you!"), justice ("Your family will just have to learn that your work for the Movement is important, more important than fulfilling your wifely or motherly duties!") fortitude ("Stay away from all those anti-Legion websites and their hurtful rumors, or your faith might be shaken!") or even temperance ("You know, other families in your daughter's Challenge group bought ten tickets each for the PureFashion show...").

But I'm not just singling out the Legion here. I've heard good, intelligent Catholics of every sort react to the notion that prudence should have some play in their decision-making as if the person making the suggestion was in league with the Tempter; why, faith in God is all that is necessary, even if one's actions repeatedly cause one to end up broke, or exhausted, or the victim of some new swindle dressed up to look like a legitimate Christian ministry. Justice and fortitude are perhaps less often swept aside, at least from the vantage point of an ordinary Catholic laywoman, but temperance--ah, temperance! ...

The point is, God never asks us to lay aside prudence, justice, fortitude, or temperance--or, indeed, any other virtue--as a test of our faith, or of our hope, or of our charity. He may, and does, ask us to lay aside other things to follow His will: selfishness, laziness, fear, inertia, anger, pride, and so forth; but these things are not even remotely virtuous, and laying them aside to embrace His will is a natural and necessary thing to do.

False Pieties

"Empty and false are the hopes of the senseless, and fools are borne aloft by dreams. Like a man who catches at shadows or chases the wind, is the one who believes in dreams...Can the unclean produce the clean? can the liar ever speak the truth?" (Sirach 34:1-4)

A shameless liar "devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment" robbed so many of a true understanding of vocation and discernment and substituted false thought stopping pieties.

False Piety #1: God brings good out of evil

Deirdre Mundy:
"God took the loaves and fishes and multiplied them into a feast. He turned water into wine. He did not take rotting food and transform it into a feast or mud and turn it into wine... God does not turn evil to good ... He's bringing good out of conscious decisions to be brave, or honest, or self-sacrificing".
False Piety #2: God draws straight with crooked lines

Deirdre Mundy:

"Sin is not a crooked line. It can't be made straight. It's not a detour, it's a roadblock. The only way to get a 'straight line' after sin is to repent and start over. God could not bring good out of Maciel's evil, because Maciel did not repent. He started sinning at the founding, and he kept piling sacrilege upon sacrilege up until the moment of his death".
False Piety #3: It's been so good for our young people

Deirdre Mundy:

"He promised them a chance to do big things, when other adults just wanted their help with donut day... He gave them rallies. He gave them VOCATIONS. He made them feel special and needed...But he gave them nothing in exchange. He took their time, their money, their enthusiasm, and used them feed his own sinful desires. He was like a great gaping mouth, swallowing the good and repaying it with evil. He took their enthusiasm and turned it to his own ends with faulty theology and thought stopping phrases".
False Piety #4: The evil done by one man does not detract from all the good being done by so many.

JP2, To The Youth of the World:

"the evil implanted by [the evil one] from the beginning may receive its development from man himself, from systems and from relationships... so as also to become ever more a 'structural' sin, ever less identifiable as 'personal' sin. In other words, so that man may feel in a certain sense 'freed' from sin, but at the same time be ever more deeply immersed in it."
False Piety #5: I would leave if God gave me leave to do so, but He has not.

No. It was the deceiver who schemed for you to feel this way.

Envoy II Letter 80, p. 186:
"Consider that much of your perseverance rests on your identification with your vocation to Regnum Christi. If Regnum Christi becomes an intimate part of what you are, if it is no longer something stuck on but becomes your very flesh and bone, you will never be able to turn your back on it without a thought, because you would feel a terrible wrenching, as if part of your body was torn away

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seed of a Charism

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8:34)

If the the following was an easy task, there would have been no need for visitors and commissioners:
"4a) The need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving its true core, that of the "militia Christi", which characterises the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church and which is not the same as efficiency at any cost".
UPDATE: On the one side there is Maciel's patrimony based on "efficiency at any cost" and controlling authority. And on the other, the Church's patrimony of developing free persons in love. At issue is the attachment to Maciel's aims and methods which obstruct the development of a real charism defined by love.No matter what understanding of charism, founders, and foundations one brings to the terse reference to 'redefining' charism (one of the many chores awaiting a papal commissioner!), the Legion is orphaned to the extent that it remains Maciel's "efficiency at any cost" fish tank. And it has a real future to the extent that it is fully grafted to the "apostolic and missionary activity of the Church"

Paul Siena at American Papist compares two points of view, one from the inside, which assumes that that the patrimony of the Church has not been profaned by the patrimony of Maciel, and the other from the outside, which is scandalized by that presumption:
"Graces that are rooted in the holiness of the Catholic Church are being held in a profaned vessel...Those inside, are experiencing good that are proper and part of the Church’s own patrimony in preaching, sacraments and tradition. Those outside the LC/RC world are outraged by the profanation that has been carried out by the crimes and intentions of MM and his entourage, and want to see these goods returned back to the Church at large..."
What unifies the two views is that both have the same goal: i.e. the return of these spiritual goods to the Church at large. But one assumes that this has already happened. The other understands that this process must seriously get under way:
"The LC world has lost all sources of reference right now for a charism other than a two-worded source of hope [Militia Christi] which the Church wishes to assign to it as it casts aside every vestige of profanation...These two words, Militia Christi, are not a charism- just a seed. Until a patrimony can be flushed out to give it meaning, spirituality, and reference points for action it will be only those two word- neither a charism, nor a vindication of the past- only a hope that the Church with its founder, and its holiness can offer..."
This seed of a charism is the great Hope that the Church brings to those who must confront head on the structures, methods, and spirit that Maciel installed in every facet of Legion life:
"Whether anyone else sees it, there is a very strange character to this communique. The Holy See in the first part decimates the patrimony of the Congregation which are the sources from which any charism is lived...This was a wrecking ball, not an interior decorator that passed through the institute. In the midst of the ruins...The Militia Christi is being drawn from rubble, and the Church, with its own authority has assigned this charism as the beginning of what really is a re-foundation, not a preservation of some sacred moment or event that somehow went awry."
UPDATE 2: It might help to think of the charism as the foundation that an order can always return to. So when we speak of re-defining a charism we are talking about re-doing the foundations. Whereas reform means returning to the foundations.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Roots

"There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone" (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

UPDATE: The next post examines the seed of this 'redefined' charism.

A reader dropped by with this comment on the problem of redefining or defining or finding a specific charism for the Legion based on the Church's shared tradition of "militia Christi":
Other orders already have the "militia Christi" charism down. You can't "re-define a charism." It is not a product of a committee. You can't make one up. It comes to the founder or not at all. The Legion's doesn't even have a "true core" because it was conceived as the expression of the Founder himself.
Orders of pontifical right can extend around the globe and across the centuries. The Church understands that a charism (differentiated from shared characteristics of the Church like "militia Christi") is critical to their survival. Without that core they have no roots and cannot be renewed across generations.

In the long run there is no alternative to a charism rooted in history. But if an unrooted order can be guided until it acquires roots (a daunting and uncertain task), there is nothing in Church law that would stand in its way. Facts on the ground are stubborn. Attempts to reform/refound may fail. But Church discipline is flexible. Just ask the Dominicans and Franciscans.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Humor Alert

"But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." (Luke 19:8)

Erin Manning's peers into the face of Legion reform
I have a few ideas. Granted, some of these may come across as flippant; but they're not meant to be. Anyone who knows how controlling the Legion was of the smallest details of seminarians' and priests' lives understands this. So, in no particular order -- reformed Legion priests:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blessing or the Curse

" I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

UPDATE: Excellent comment added to the Register combox by lifegoeson that says it much better than I could:
"As Nat correctly observes, the Militia Christi mentioned is the what 'characterizes the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church', and the statement clearly states it is precisely to protect the Church’s Militia Christi that the charism of the LC needs to be redefined.
This situation can only occur and a redefinition of the LC charism only required if the charism of the LC is based on an INCORRECT definition of the Militia Christi of the Church. That is the same as saying the core or essence of the LC is not Catholic, it is not the Church (as it must be), rather it’s charism must be defined to protect what must be the 'TRUE' core of a congregation, the Church’s Militia Christi.
That is also why the word 'redefine' is used. The first meaning of the word 'definition' in the American Heritage Dictionary is: 'A statement conveying fundamental character.' There you have it, the fundamental character of the LC must be redefined, because the current definition is wrong. That’s as strong a condemnation of the reality of a congregation as you can get, and the deepest level of reform as can possibly be carried out."

As Pete Vere pointed out the Legion must now choose the blessing or the curse. They can no longer deny or delay or minimize.

At least that's what you'd expect in the face of a Vatican statement linking "serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion" and an "at any cost" charism to a founder "devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment" and to the "silence of those around him."

Monday, May 3, 2010

37 days

“Beware of the leaven- that is, the hypocrisy- of the Pharisees. There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known" (Luke 12:1-2)

The last 37 days have not been kind to Maciel's enablers. They have been identified as the problem not the solution, so the next 37 days won't be any easier.

UPDATE: Placed Legion and Church quotes side by side for quick comparison.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Three Strikes and You're Out

UPDATE: The contents of this post about half a century of fanatic denial have been moved here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Decompression Time

"Out of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy." (Psalm 130:1-2)

Giselle on the case against immediate dissolution:
"Friends, I am of two firm minds about what Benedict should do about the Legion and trust the Holy Spirit to guide him in his response to the filth and fraud that has passed in the name of orthodoxy. I hear everything that you say about why he has to make a firm stance against the scandal AND I understand the pastoral concerns about those whose sincerity has been used as both wallpaper and mask for those who despise the authentic mission of the Church".
In sorting out what should be done, half the battle is comprehending how little the Legion has done over the last five years and especially the last year to "stop careening on like a headless giant continuing to do the stuff Maciel built it to do".

Imagine a diver buried under tons of water. He can make two very different fatal errors. One is to refuse to come to the surface when warned of danger. The other is to pretend that the trip to the surface doesn't require decompression. A diver with either belief would be better off putting his trust in Christ of the Abyss than in his own knowledge:

We have two recent apologies from the Legion (see below) that highlight the crippled pace at which the Legion has come to grips with reality. These apologies, in spite of their evident sincerity, bring the reader to two strong convictions about the LC. The leadership and Regnum Christi must go. And the LC priests need a sabbatical. No more ocean floor trawling. They need a year to decompress and unlearn the teachings, methods, and norms that Maciel immersed them in. This may lead some to the diocesan priesthood and others to a new foundation. But all should have complete freedom to discern their path without guilt trips or coercion.

Fr Álvaro Corcuera, LC
"We all had to go through a process of gradual assimilation, in many cases a necessarily slow one, requiring an uncommon store of human and spiritual resources. it is...natural that everyone is not at the same point. Some, having received a special help from grace, can say that this is now behind them, while another will still need time and prayer to finish processing and give closure to this chapter in their conscience. We have to be very considerate in respecting and understanding each one’s individual pace."
Fr. Owen Kearns, LC
"I realize, though, that even if I don’t feel quite ready to talk about my role in defending our founder and the grief my words must surely have caused, the readers of the Register are ready and it is better that I speak now. To be honest, they have probably been ready for some time...All of these revelations have been extraordinarily difficult for me to comprehend, let alone assimilate...I’m sorry this apology has taken so long".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Prayer and Air

"Why could we not drive it out? He said to them, 'This kind can only come out through prayer.'" (Mark 9:28-29)

In the life after RC combox Deirdre Mundy applies G.K. Chesterton's thoughts on morbid logic to waking folks up from Maciel's spell.

G.K. Chesterton:
"There is such a thing as a narrow universality; there is such a thing as a small and cramped eternity; you may see it in many modern religions. Now, speaking quite externally and empirically, we may say that the strongest and most unmistakable MARK of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction. The lunatic's theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way...".

"He is in the clean and well-lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point. He is without healthy hesitation and healthy complexity..."

"Theology rebukes certain thoughts by calling them blasphemous. Science rebukes certain thoughts by calling them morbid..."

"If you or I were dealing with a mind that was growing morbid, we should be chiefly concerned not so much to give it arguments as to give it air, to convince it that there was something cleaner and cooler outside the suffocation of a single argument..."
Deirdre Mundy:
"if someone is really integrated in Maciel's spirituality, you CANNOT reason with them... Their #1 axiom is that God created LC/RC, and that the health and safety of the Church is tied to LC/RC. #2 is that all attacks on LC/RC come from the devil..."

"Until someone starts questioning the axioms, until he starts to wonder how Maciel COULD build something good and if the Church REALLY needs LC/RC, logic can't work. Remember, insanity is a closed system-- crazy people are often PERFECTLY logical --it's just that their assumptions are wrong..."

"That's why the praying is necessary-- once there's a little crack so that God's love and their guardian angels' warnings can get through, THEN logic starts to work..."

"I think we'll make more progress with acts of love than acts of logic at this point. Help out when people need dinners. Be a good neighbor. Let the people stuck in RC know that we love them for who they ARE, not for what groups they belong to. That way, when they do start feeling the urge to leave, they'll know that they'll still have people who care about them..."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Harvesting Rot

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away." (Matthew 13:24-25)

life after RC:

while we cannot ditch the world (God will in His own sweet time) we can jettison those things which are so entwined with depravity that they detract from the human condition, rather than enhance it. That's what a healthy society does.
Yes, the enemy will always sow weeds into hearts, families, and societies. Good will always have to struggle against evil. And always with great love for persons and their free response.

But when the enemy sows weeds among the wheat and STAYS to manage the fields and groom the wheat to enable the weeds, good cannot imagine that the harvest of that particular field is far off.

The truth is out about Maciel, his teachings, his methods, his rules, and norms. And the wheat, that grew up enabling weeds, is now calling on the Servant of the Servants of God to replace the managers and the rotten foundation that they built on.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Monster Trucks

"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." (Luke 19:8)

A modest proposal. The Register publishes a Mark Shea blog (not to be confused with the Mark Shea blog quoted below). If the Register is interested in outside opinions of the Legion reaching their readers, why not invite Mark Shea to write on leaving behind the "stuff Maciel built it to do"?

Fr. Kearns (full post):
To avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, the Register recused itself from further reporting of the events. We adopted the objective policy of covering the scandal by using reliable news reports produced independently of the Register and of the Legionaries.

I regret that in my defense of Father Maciel I took to task Gerald Renner and Jason Berry, the writers who broke the story, and their editors at the Hartford Courant. They didn’t get everything about the Legion right but they were fundamentally correct about Father Maciel’s sexual abuse and I ask forgiveness — too late for Gerald Renner, who is deceased.
To Father Maciel’s victims, I pray you can accept these words: I’m sorry for what our founder did to you. I’m sorry for adding to your burden with my own defense of him and my accusations against you. I’m sorry for being unable to believe you earlier. I’m sorry this apology has taken so long.
Pete Vere (in Register combox):

"I think Paul Lennon and Aaron raise an excellent point. The apology should be followed by restitution. In Paul’s case, I personally think that renouncing the settlement imposed upon ReGAIN, which first helped bring to light many of the accusations, would help establish the Legion’s sincerity in apologizing. Likewise, a just offer of restitution to Aaron."
Mark Shea (full post):
"Personally, I think the best contribution to the combox fracas is Pete Vere's because it puts legs on what the Legionaries need to do next if they are really serious and not still doing the spin, minimization, and damage control that has hitherto characterized their leadership's approach. In short, the Legion needs to renounce the settlements imposed upon victims and make some serious restitution to the people they screwed, the reputations they trashed, and so forth. Apologies are fine and are a good start. Now let's see some Zaccheus action. The Legion had lots of money for graft and influence peddling. How's about that get funnelled toward all those victims and their defenders who got royally shafted by the Legionary Smear Machine?
Not that it's the task of Fr. Kearns to do this personally. His apology is, so far as I can see, a personal one, not an institutional one. And I accept it. But the Legionaries--the giant machine Maciel built--has to stop careening on like a headless giant continuing to do the stuff Maciel built it to do. Or, it needs to be taken apart piece by piece. At least, that's my opinion. Rome may have some other plan to deal with it in mind. Thank God it's not my responsibility."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Passage to Freedom

"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

life after RC marked the million post mark with the above quote and this image:

"Picture, if you will, a camel that needs to go down on his knees to gain access to a wider freedom. He may even sustain bumps and bruises, but they will pass"

I suggested last week that members don't need the Legion and should leave the camel and its burdens at the door and walk through to freedom.

But Giselle's version is even more direct and personal. If you are burdened and have been burdening others, then give up those burdens, get down on your knees, and trust God to bring you to freedom. No matter how awkward those next steps feel.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sacrificing the Intellect

UPDATE: Read Part 1 and Part 2 of her story.

"False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect". (Matthew 24:24)
A blogger has perfectly captured the end result when everything is seen as a positive ‘case study’ where Christ is found in every feature of the Legion:
Shalimar (full article):

What I discovered was a mixture of reactions, which is to be expected of any group of people, considering different personalities and pain thresholds. But I did encounter one reaction more common than my own… that ‘tranquil peace’, the ‘joy’, the gratefulness that Fr. Maciel was also a sinner like the rest of us… the ‘let’s move on’ attitude, especially from our suffering priest leaders...

It was the belief in an ideal that sacrificed the intellect; that asked us to continue down a road when we had been lied to by the founder of our group and his cohorts… grave lies and deception, and that we were supposed to believe that our remaining associated with the founder and his movement would bear good fruit, and we were supposed to gloss over it, move on, and simply focus on Christ...

I have heard some compare Fr. Maciel to King David who committed grave sins, or St. Peter who denied Christ. But I don’t think those comparisons are accurate. Both of these Saints repented publicly, in Scripture, for all to see, and amended their life. I compare Fr. Maciel to Judas...

There is no way to make Judas look good, or gloss over his sin. We should never start a group imitating Judas or claiming him as our leader, or associating with anything even related to him... God did not inspire Judas’ sin, anymore than I believe God inspired Fr. Maciel to found an order. But God has, and will, bring good out of this man’s grave sins...

The elephant has been exposed, and elephants are elephants, no matter how attractive we want to make them. To deny the elephant is to sacrifice our God-given intellect, and that is a sign that we may have fallen under the influence of someone or something with power over our mind, however minor, and that is a dangerous place to go, because Jesus doesn’t ask us give up our intellect.

(Click photo to visit the elephant @ Exlcblog)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


"Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence... At this, Jesus said to him, "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'" (Matthew 4:8-10)

It took years for the Legion to admit that the CDF was morally certain about Maciel. In the meantime they pretended the Pope had subjected Maciel to a dry martyrdom that would rain new graces on the Legion and the Church.

How did they get so many people to suspend critical thinking for those years? The way Maciel taught them to. Keep them busy in pursuit of a grand cause and wrapped up in their own subjective experiences.

John Zmirak:
What is more, from all I have witnessed, [Maciel] used in his lay movements a modern technique mostly employed in political groups. I learned of it from a book by Douglas Hyde, Dedication and Leadership, in which the author (a former Communist converted to the Church) sorts out the methods of Leninists, searching for those that are morally neutral and highly effective, which could serve the Church. (I read this book at a right-wing activist camp, so I know that others are using it, too.) The key to making people commit themselves to a movement, the Communists learned and Hyde revealed, was to keep them busy. To make them work harder and longer than they'd ever thought possible -- even at tasks that don't really need to be done. A person's devotion to a cause, Hyde coolly explained, is proportionate not to what he gets from it but what he puts into it. So don't make things too easy. Make people feel useful, and keep them digging up holes so others can fill them up. (It's telling, perhaps, that Hyde rejoined the Commies and died outside the Church.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Leave your camel at the door

"'There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' But when he heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich." (Luke 18:22-23)

Jason Berry via Damian Thompson:

"In 1997 [Ratzinger] gave a lecture on theology to Legionaries. When a Legionary handed him an envelope, saying it was for his charitable use, Ratzinger refused. 'He was tough as nails in a very cordial way,' a witness said"...
"In 2004, John Paul – ignoring the canon law charges against Maciel – honored him in a Vatican ceremony in which he entrusted the Legion with the administration of Jerusalem’s Notre Dame Center, an education and conference facility. The following week, Ratzinger took it on himself to authorize an investigation of Maciel"...
"The Italian newsweekly L’espresso estimates the Legion’s assets at 25 billion euros, with a $650 million annual budget, according to The Wall Street Journal"...
That's a $1 million budget for every 3 priests or seminarians. 3M, American Express, and Coca-Cola bring in roughly that revenue per employee.

If the Legion is serious about escaping from Maciel and all his works, the first thing to go must be the fund-raising network.

Shut down Maciel's perpetual motion machine of buying eyes and scooping up cash and children. And check that camel at the door and walk through the gate without Maciel's burdens.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When the saints go marching in

"The work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it" (1 Corinthians 3:13)

2 months in 1938

Vows of Silence:
"The day before Bishop Guizar died, he had been heard shouting angrily at his eighteen-year-old nephew, Marcial Maciel. He was giving Maciel a dressing-down after two women had come to the bishop's house to complain about Maciel, who was their neighbor. Father Orozco, who was among the original group of boys to found the Legion of Christ in 1941, said he heard the women had complained about the "noise" Maciel was making with children he had brought into his home to teach religion. He said that the seminary officials blamed Maciel for his uncle's heart attack and subsequent death..."

"[LC priest and biographer Fr. J. Alberto] Villasana reports that two months after the 'holy death' of his uncle, 'the vicar-general of the vacant see and the new provisional rector expel from the seminary 'the Bishop's spoiled nephew who is planning a foundation'--a religious order."
3 weeks in 2006

April 28:
"Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree on the miracle thus paving the way for [Bishop Guizar's] canonization. His tomb in the Catholic Cathedral of Xalapa attracts thousands of worshipers who come to ask for his help and intercession".
May 19:
"...After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided - bearing in mind Fr. Maciel's advanced age and his delicate health - to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pontifex Pilate?

"Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet that run swiftly to evil, the false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers". (Proverbs 6:16-19)

So how did the Legion miss the CDF's moral certitude? Sometimes the reason you don't hear is because you are way too busy lying:

Church is Sanhedrin, Pope is Pilate, Maciel is Jesus.
Rorate Caeli, May 20, 2006 (full article):
...While the Holy See's communiqué was clear in the distinction between the founder and the movements he founded ("Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association 'Regnum Christi' is gratefully recognized"), the Legion of Christ institutionalized the personal misgivings of Maciel Degollado and rushed to issue its own response to the communiqué, a response which can only be described as galling and offensive.

Read carefully this passage: "Facing the accusations made against him, he [Father Marcial Maciel] declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way".

"By comparing Maciel Degollado to Christ under trial, the Official Response makes clear the indirect reference it wishes to make. Maciel is Christ; the competent Church authorities -- the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Holy Father himself -- are the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate (and Herod, the only one before whom Christ was actually completely silent)"...

"It is certainly fair to call this invitation a cross: even fair punishments are crosses we are to bear. Yet, here once again, the "Official Response" crosses the boundary of appropriateness: "he [Father Marcial Maciel] has accepted this communiqué with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement". The troubling messianic aspects of this paragraph are evident"...

"What a misfortune that such a beautiful spirit had to be squandered by sectarian gall. This official response only deepened the links between the Founder and his movements, which the Holy See had been careful to separate -- and, instead of the spirit of a Saint Joan of Arc, was filled with the spirit of self-righteousness. There may have been pharisees in this succession of events -- but they were not in the Vatican".

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Running Nowhere Fast

UPDATE: Blogging will be light to non-existent over Holy Week. May you be blessed abundantly as you follow Jesus Christ from his entry into Jerusalem to his last night with his apostles and onwards to his Crucifixion and Glorious Resurrection.

"As the dog returns to his vomit, so the fool repeats his folly." (Proverbs 26:11)

The Legion took 46 months to admit that the CDF had been "morally certain" in 2006 that Maciel was a pederast. For most of that time the leadership pretended that their founder was an innocent martyr winning even more graces for the Legion.

Legion of Christ, May 19, 2006:
Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way...

Fr. Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, he has accepted this communique with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement...
Legion of Christ, March 25, 2010:
At that time, the CDF reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Fr Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place
 They have been running nowhere fast because their leadership knows no other head than Maciel. Until this week they avoiding admitting to his abuse of their seminarians. The leadership group should be severed. Appointed Pontifical delegates can best guide the members to healthy forms of service in a re-foundation or elsewhere in the Church.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ultimate Toxic Cleanup

If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. (Matthew 18:8)

In the last four posts we looked at the falsifications of Christian life that Maciel deliberately built into his system:
  • A false Gospel of Efficiency
  • A false Idol to Trust
  • A false Love for the Church
  • A false Obedience opposed to Truth
[Ed. note: the previous 4 posts have been consolidated here]

Now we turn to the ultimate question. How to clean-up these toxic brews deeply embedded into every facet of the Legion?

The worst possible response would be to assume a charism can be cobbled together by retaining parts of Maciel's mission, vision, teaching, and methodology. Rather than focusing on what can be saved, the Legion must be willing to lose all of the limbs Maciel provided them with.

If any group in the Church in 50 years time traces its history back to this sorry mess, it must be be contemplative not conquering, humble not ambitious, and must serve the laity not enroll them into it's mission.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Toxic Obedience

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Toxic Ecclesiology

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Toxic Idol

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Toxic Gospel

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Friday, March 19, 2010


UPDATE: This is the first of a series of posts to investigate the systematic poisoning of Christian ideals by Maciel. We begin with excerpts of a single RC Facebook discussion to illustrate the scope of Maciel's program of thought deformation. A toxic cleanup is nearly impossible when its victims believe "It does not matter if the pipe is rusty the water stills go through."

[Ed. note: the next 4 posts have been consolidated here]

"Why could we not drive it out? He said to them,
'This kind can only come out through prayer.'"

(Mark 9:28-29)

RC Members Facebook discussion, February 5-6, 2009

Jason: Unfortunately, the Legion and Regnum Christi will not be able to continue as they are today because they are so tied to the history, charism, writings, and thoughts of Father Maciel...

Ricardo: I disagree, The Legion and the Regnum Christi have done so much for the Church, for ourselves and our families, all of this thanks to Nuestro Padre and the charism he taught to us...So we must keep working to conquer souls for God.

Jacquie: Now is not the time to dissolve. The charism is NOT Father Maciel...The charism is to form leaders, to initiate apostolates, to be contemplative and conquering...

Stephen: I have doubts about the continuance of the Movement in its present form. There is a side to the Legion, especially at the apostolic schools, which centers around and bases itself entirely on Maciel's instructions and writings...

Ariana: We need to understand that those aren't Father Maciel's instructions, writings and thoughts those are God's instructions, writings and thoughts, Nuestro Padre was just the instrument, and what an instrument! because even with his faults he was able to create this giant family! and this is not a man's work this is God's!

Roadblocks and Detours

"Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth". (3 John 1:4)

Deirdre Mundy reminds us that detours go around roadblocks and return to the straight path:

Rhetoric and Wisdom
According to his followers, Marcial Maciel wrote (or plagiarized) many beautiful things...But while words can lie, deeds don’t. Maciel lied. He stole. He raped and sodomized. He was not a wise man. He was not worthy of emulation. He cannot teach you how to follow Christ.
On Crooked Lines:
Sin is not a crooked line. It can't be made straight. It's not a detour, it's a roadblock. The only way to get a 'straight line' after sin is to repent and start over. God could not bring good out of Maciel's evil, because Maciel did not repent. He started sinning at the founding, and he kept piling sacrilege upon sacrilege up until the moment of his death. We can only pray that he was given the mercy of a deathbed conversion. But his congregation? His rules? His writings? His inspiring talks? They’re a rock slide blocking the road to holiness.

An evil man cannot create a good spirituality. A man seeking only his own will cannot teach others to seek God.

There is no crooked line here, unless, somehow, your own suffering as you leave this tainted soil helps to purify you for what lies ahead
UPDATE: Deirdre reminds us that the Legion also twists the expression "God draws good from evil":
God took the loaves and fishes and multiplied them into a feast. He turned water into wine. He did not take rotting food and transform it into a feast or mud and turn it into wine.
UPDATE 2: Thomas Aquinas on the greater good of God delivering us from evil:
"For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom; hence it is written (Rom. 5:20): 'Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.' Hence, too, in the blessing of the Paschal candle, we say: 'O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!'"
Evil is the corruption of good. Drawing out evil from good involves separation from evil. God can remove us from corruption. If we let him.

UPDATE 3 (June 2010):  An interesting comment by Ginger that Jim Fair over a few days published, deleted, and restored:
"The good came from the virtue and spirituality well-meaning people brought with them to the LC/RC movement. The good could not have flowed out of a man the Vatican has declared to be completely unscrupulous and irreligious---in other words, a man without any real virtue whatsoever...It would have been better had Maciel been stopped in the 50s, during the first visitation (we know this because Christ himself said it would be better for Maciel's ilk to have a millstone tied around their necks and thrown into a lake----harsh judgment from Our Lord himself). But he was not, and now the Pope and the Delegate have the difficult work of trying to salvage the good God has mercifully allowed to survive in all the souls who have been affected by this debacle, while at the same time making sure justice is served for all those damaged by it."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Untangling the web...

"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." (John 21:16)

CDF (American Papist post):
"Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association 'Regnum Christi' is gratefully recognized."
changobeer (multiple articles):
"Anyone who belongs to the LC/RC knows that this kind of mental separation is not only impossible, but flies in the face of everything we've lived and been taught in the Movement since the beginning".
R. Michael Dunnigan (full article):
"Legion spokesmen are correct that they cannot go on without their founder. However, they have drawn the wrong conclusion from this. They conclude that they therefore will go on with their founder, but the correct conclusion seems to be that they simply cannot go on."
Much has been revealed and little has changed since the Legion was asked to separate from its founder. The Legion has taken down some pictures and republished Maciel's writings without Maciel's name. And they've soldiered on with the spirit, character, norms, and methodologies of Maciel. All the while changobeer's blog followed this slow motion wreck and discovered the seeds of the Legion's methodology were rooted in Maciel's sins.

John Zmirak (full article):
the Legionaries and Regnum Christi face a crisis of identity: Centered as they were so fixedly on the personality and, above all, the techniques of a single man, they're threatened with simple dissolution. Not by some decree issued in Rome, but rather by the private, anguished decisions of thousands of members. The longer the leadership of these groups clings to the illusion that they can simply take Nuestro Padre's picture off the wall, but go right on using the methods they learned from him, the worse the damage will be in the long run to souls and to the Church.

...They have to face the likelihood that much of what they learned from Father Maciel -- even that which still seems to them innocuous or second nature -- was tainted, distorted, or twisted. A very smart, faithful Jesuit has written on how the Legionaries misread St. Ignatius's notion of obedience. I encourage every person who was formed in the Legionaries or Regnum Christi to read that article prayerfully, and fight against the temptation to follow old habits of mind. Consider, really consider, whether these movements gave due respect to the human dignity of their members.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What a tangled web we weave...

"But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

CNS (full article):

"A key question for the future, according to Legionaries and Vatican officials, is to what extent a religious charism based on Father Maciel's teachings is still viable."

We keep hearing from some that the Legion has no valid charism and from others that a charism can be found in the lived experience of the Legion. So what is this charism and why the interest in locating it? More importantly what does the Church say it is and why is it important?

Caution: This post will highlight sections of Canon Law that seem relevant. For expertise go here or here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Change Hurts

"Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build." (Psalm 127:1)

Anon out of RC:
"My prayer is that the truth all come out and Maciel be renounced as founder, the true victims be taken care of by our love, prayers and restitution for their needs and we all surrender to the will of God as to what He chooses to do with each of us individually to continue to serve Him and His church in freedom and love. I don't know what that means for the LC/RC organization, but frankly it does not matter to me. It is not about the LC/RC. The first day the news of the scandal came out, I surrendered my opinion of what should happen to the Lord and have only tried to search for truth and to love. God will take care of the rest"
Indeed. You can't change until you are open to the truth and willing to change. Even then only God can "give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts" (Ezekial 36:26-27)

The four years since Maciel was forced into retirement have shown the futility of removing pictures from walls and the author's name from words and assuming that a system shaped by a predator can be fixed by removing some of the defects.

God willing the Pope will appoint delegates to start the refoundation that leaders formed by Maciel cannot do.

And if anyone says that real change won't hurt, they're lying.

C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

Don't let the door...

"He said in reply, 'I will not,' but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, 'Yes, sir,' but did not go". (Matthew 21:29:30)

Sandro Magister (full article):

After this [2006] sentence, the congregation of the Legionaries bowed to the papal command. But it continued to show veneration to its founding "father," as an "innocent victim" of false accusations.

It was only after his death and the revelation of other scandals that the directors of the congregation acknowledged some of their founder's sins, but without denying the goodness of his work.

Love and Conscience

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Love and Freedom

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Love and Ministry

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Love and Neighbor

UPDATE: The contents of this post have been moved here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crooked Company

"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths" (Matthew 3:3)

Google lists hundreds of web pages applying this proverb to Maciel:
God writes straight with crooked lines
Stop. Think. Sometimes what God is writing is:
Take your Children and Run.
UPDATE: Giselle comments:
Your new prayer book still uses meditations and prayers [originally] attributed to Marcial Maciel, acknowledged to be a womaniser, a paedophile and practicer of incest. Does that bother you?
UPDATE 2: Deirdre Mundy comments on Crooked Lines

Taking Advantage of Youth

"And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones" (Mark 9:42)

Deirdre Mundy (full article):
"He promised them a chance to do big things, when other adults just wanted their help with donut day... He gave them rallies. He gave them VOCATIONS. He made them feel special and needed...

But he gave them nothing in exchange. He took their time, their money, their enthusiasm, and used them feed his own sinful desires. He was like a great gaping mouth, swallowing the good and repaying it with evil. He took their enthusiasm and turned it to his own ends with faulty theology and thought stopping phrases.

(Lost Vocation, Sure Damnation! It rhymes, so it MUST be true.)"

Lost Without Truth

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Benedict 16 (Charity in truth):
Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality...the word 'love' is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite.
Augustine (quoted by Aquinas):
Every virtue not only has a contrary vice manifestly distinct from it... but also a sort of kindred vice, alike, not in truth but only in its deceitful appearance
Chesterton (on Aquinas confronting a counterfeit):
"falsehood is never so false as when it is very nearly true. It is when the stab comes near the nerve of truth, that the Christian conscience cries out in pain"
Vatican Press Office (on sex abuse in minor seminaries):
"the correct starting point is recognition of what happened and concern for the victims and the consequences of the acts committed against them."
Don't ever let the Legion hide the truth behind charity. Benedict 16 abolished the Legion's secret vow of charity.

False Shepherd

"A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them" (John 10:12)

Therese Ivers (full article):
...An individual founded an international organization with vows and promises structured to further his ambitions and which helped shelter him from consequences from much of his criminal activities

...this organization exhibited most of the characteristics of a dangerous cult and violated the rights of potentially thousands or tens of thousands of souls. One tactic this organization is said to have used is violating the consciences of its members and mixing up internal and external forum governance

...Often, it is precisely those communities or movements which look like they are hard core Catholics which do the most damage to people’s souls if under the control of frauds, manipulators, and/or malcontents who look like sheep on the outside but are wolves on the inside

...Sometimes it is necessary to point out the less than ideal side of human nature. At times, the best way of doing that is by calling attention to real live examples of problems which occur when canon law, civil law, or even just plain and simple common sense isn’t followed
h/t Giselle

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Protecting Children

Leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:24)

The Vatican statement is a breath of fresh air:

"the correct starting point is recognition of what happened and concern for the victims and the consequences of the acts committed against them" (full article)

From start to finish it is an invitation for everyone in and out of the Church to use common sense in protecting the interests of children.

Whether in a prudish or in a hyper-sexualized society, the best place for kids is generally at home.

Alternate caregivers must always always act strictly in the interests of children and their families.

Alternate caregivers must not imagine that there is some magic in the air or lofty goal that excuses them from common sense and vigilance.

Alternate caregivers should let the benefits of their care speak for itself and never prey on parent's fears.

It is not a coincidence that the Legion's apostolic schools fail on every point. The Legion was groomed by a predator.