Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Taking Issue with Thomas Peters

Minor stuff, or major difference?

Thomas Peters stated the following on his blog concerning Maciel when reporting Fr. Richard Gill's departure from the Legion of Christ:

What is clear is that [Maciel] was a gravely sinful man, and what matters at this point, when it comes to the future of the movement he founded, is who knew about his sins and colluded with him to hide them, especially if these persons have any ongoing involvement in the Legion.

Although an important question in the grand scheme of things, this blogger thinks that the key question when it comes to the future of the movement he (Maciel) founded is more along the lines of what Fr. Gill says in his letter:

I have believed that a rigorously honest approach to this terrible series of events was the only way to proceed. Furthermore, I felt that if done so, and counting on the help of the Holy See, it could even lead to true healing and renewal for the Legion and the Movement, even in spite of the truly serious questions it raises about the charism of the congregation.

The first question to be answered, and the one that will determine what future the Legion of Christ may or may not have, is "What or who was this man from the very first moment of the foundation of the Legion, and what did he really found?"

Faith does not answer this question. Neither does backward looking logic.

And it is going to take a lot of balls to face the answer on the part of the Legion and the Church, as well as every Catholic out there.


giselle said...

I think Thomas has missed the point, you're right, but then so do most people. Folks who get their Legion news from headlines and sound bites are stuck on shallow, and those who reduce it to theological boilerplate ignore the essence. This is about authentic freedom, conscience and the limits of authority -- even Church authority.

Anonymous said...

What is odd here Giselle and is the cause of the greatest concern in how the Holy See is addressing the issue, is that precisely certain 'theological boilerplates' established by the Church herself which in fact are very relevant in regards to an order's charism are being ignored. Michael Dunnigan's article (some time ago)[] along with others, witnesses well to how the concept of founder and charism in canon law and conciliar documents revolve around the founder's witness of life, or at least a healthy history of foundation w/cofounders and these points were being ignored by the Holy See and others in the debate. Comments like the holiness of the founder have no bearing to the holiness of the work are now reported to have been said by one of the Visitators (unconfirmed).
One pervasive questions needs to be asked where is the charism? can someone find it? It must be a wellspring of renewal for its members for ages to come, and it must be specific to the institute- no generic reference to Christ or the Church in general will do. Without it, a supposed work of God will come apart at the seams at the first moment of trial- leaving a wake of damaged souls in the aftermath.

Anonymous said...

Where oh where is that charism?
The only possible sources are these:

A) In Legion’s founder’s life? No one on this earth would even go there at this point. Comparing him to Biblical figures who in all truth knew ever deepening moments of conversion and repentance (which from what is known, he did not) and were not in themselves charged with the same life’s mission of giving a witness to holiness is lame. How sad because consecrated life is all about a witness of life more than any works of apostolate, and here in the most vital mission of a founder has he has failed in the extreme.

B) In the writings of the founder? First we have to separate all that he plagiarized, and then just maybe a few might be worth noting. But then, as Fr.Damien Karras put it, Hitler painted many religious images at one point in his life; what devout soul would ever want to hang an image of Mother and Child on their wall painted by Adolf himself? Reading or listening to a selection however short and sweet of the spirituality of the founder-now psycho will mean nothing, in fact only deepen the conflict and scandal many feel.

C) In the co-founders and the history of foundation itself? The real history is filled with manipulation and deceit of the Church herself (please read about the lies and manipulation of the everything from the first Visitation to the very approval of the Constitutions of the order) and the members of each other. Cofounders who today cover-up and lie to their own, or the ones who left over the years destroyed by the illusions and mind games. How can the ‘work of God’ be observed when the Holy See itself, after only 60 years of foundation and cofounding now has to subject the order to major reforms leaving the very dissolution of it still a close second option?

D) In the Constitutions and norms: Once we actually get to the real ones, i.e. the ones the Holy See has and not the one’s that he actually has on his bookshelf. Well, here we at least have what keeps the human structure of the Legion in communion with the Church, but can you see it as representing a charism in itself?

The Church is merely recognizing in it a valid interpretation of the evangelical counsels and works of the order as printed. It is giving a supposed charism a structure within which it can be protected. The rule itself is not charism however, otherwise it could never change, and often they do. Now what will happen 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now etc… when there is controversy of both interpretation and legitimacy of certain customs and rules, and change is needed to adapt to new circumstances? Where will you go to find a new application of the spirit of the rule in a way that is specific to the institute? In the case of LC, not the founder, not the history, not the writings- all putrified by the real life of MM. The history of religious life in the Church would predict one train wreck after another if this is your starting point. The charism if it is out there somewhere has no reference left other than the norms themselves, leaving the LC condemned to an unending legalism and an authority-based only understanding of charism, which is not what a charism is at all.

You cannot base a spirituality specific to an institute solely on a series of norms, but on a genuine witness of life of the founder, or in its absence at least a truthful foundation that renders that same witness.

Anonymous said...

Extraordinary text, dear Anonymous. Thank-you.

Anonymous said...

Given the tremendous spiritual and psychological damage and deformation maciel, et al, have caused in ALL the men, NONE of them knows what genuine religious life is.
ALL of them, for their own good, should be set free and sent home. They need counseling, recovery, freedom to rediscover themselves.

Closure is the only true and just solution, not some sort of reform or 'refoundation.'

Another exLegionary said...

I can't believe the Legion is still around. That's just ridiculous. I mean, are we really still entertaining the notion that it could continue on? Such a conclusion is just an indictment of the Church's leaders, who through omission let this snowball roll downhill in the first place.

Just clean up the mess you let happen please. kthxbye.

Another exLegionary said...

Surely not for nothing that the Holy Father invoked St John Vianney, patron of diocesan priests, as an example for the newly ordained...

Aaron said...

Have you seen this latest LC gem? Don't look at it on an empty stomach :(

El Trastevere comments that this is backed by Jesus Maria Delgado, TD for Europe although his involvement with the two "diocesan" seminaries the LC run is not clear.

He says that he receieved promotional material from the LC and a cover letter with LC headed paper signed by Jesus (maria delgado vizcaino, not the other one).