Friday, March 26, 2010

A fair question

In the comment boxes below this post, Ian of Aquinas and More writes, in reply to an anonymous commenter:
1) is part of the LC.
2) gets affiliate commission from the storefront.
3) If 1 and 2 are true then isn't obvious that the Legion is getting the commissions? I don't understand why you have such a hard time with this and why you seem to think that I'm being shady with my answer. You are striking at shadows that aren't even there.
But is it obvious that the Legion is getting the commissions? Here's what was posted at Faith and Family, remember:
Making your purchases through The First Communion Store at is one way that you can support Faith & Family while finding some beautiful gifts. [...]

Though you are guaranteed the same low price, a portion of the proceeds from all purchases made at the store goes to support the work we do at Faith & Family ... in the magazine, on the blog, and in our podcasts. We appreciate your support!

Suppose someone is still reading, subscribing to, and supporting Faith and Family, but other than that has serious reservations about supporting the Legion generally. The question I have is simple: does a purchase from Aquinas and More via support Faith and Family exclusively, or does it support the Legion generally?

I think that's a fair question to ask. Don't you?


Anonymous said...

It is a fair question as I am currently subscribed to F&F having only recently discovered some connection to LC. I've enjoyed the mag and never noticed anything weird in the contents, but if there is something that amounts to unnecessary remote material cooperation with LC, then I'd certainly entertain the notion that I should ditch it. I'll watch this dicussion with interest.

Ian said...

As far as I know the funds all stay with Circle Media (Circle Press, F&F, NCReg,

You may be surprised to know that all of these ventures are subsidized by the Legion and not the other way around. The reason CM approached us was because they were told they had to stop being such a drain on the Legion.

Marie said...

The reason CM approached us was because they were told they had to stop being such a drain on the Legion.

Then I feel sorry for them that they are being dealt with so by the Legion but not surprised considering the Legion's MO. I encourage them and whatever non-LC/RC benefactors they have to find a way to totally sever their relationship with the Legion. I would gladly re-establish my subscription if they did.

Charlotte said...

Romish Grafitti said: "I've enjoyed the mag [F&F] and never noticed anything weird in the contents..."

That is exactly why I hold the Faith & Family Live! blog suspect: It's too shiny, too squeaky clean, too perfect. Before it just annoyed me and made me feel like a bad Catholic mother. But as I continue to read about the LC/RC thing on every other blog in the Catholic blogosphere now for months, I'm starting to wonder if this "perfect veneer" is also an LC/RC method of operation.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte you are right on about the squeaky clean veneer. When I subscribed (2 years ago), they were regularly writing articles about troubled marriages that found healing in Christ (these were very inspiring - I admit), but many of them highlighted how FAMILIA is the group that helped them. Then you'd read awesome stories about teenagers doing apostolic work and inevitably a lot of them were RC families whose kids were doing RC related apostolates. No all were like this, I admit, but it just seemed to me that they used their magazine to promote their stuff. I guess it wouldn't feel so bad if the situation with the Legion weren't what it was...and if I didn't know that this is how they regularly operated to draw people in....

Anonymous said...

What you said about Danielle was false. Every fair and honest person can see that. The money goes to Aquinas and More which clearly isn't the Legion. Admit your error and apologize. This should be an easy one for you; someone so good at judging others. Just admit your error and apologize to her. You'll feel better and regain whatever credibility you had before this blunder. Maciel refused to apologize. Don't be like Maciel.

Red Cardigan said...

Anonymous, what I said about Danielle was that the way she chose to word her post troubled me. As in, I felt troubled by it.

Should I apologize for my feelings?

Besides, Ian above *says* the *donated* money goes to the Legion. That's what we're talking about here. When I realized my original post was unclear about that, I updated it--much earlier today.

If this one incident ruins my "credibility," well, then I didn't have much to lose. In my book, anonymous commenters who find me guilty of judging people lack a lot more credibility than I do.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ian, I found it, I found it! Woo-hoo! Now take a moment - it's a long one and it looks like I have to break it into two - but here ya go, buddy:

"Anonymous said...
The work of the Legion must be suspect; the entire formation of everyone and everything in it is intrinsically bound up with Maciel. Google the legion formation papers and read them for yourself.

Don't think that Faith and Family are involved in the cover up? Read this, posted in one of the comboxes in life-after-RC:

"I am posting here because it seems like this is a good place to get a few answers. 

As a Catholic mother, I do like to read and comment on some Catholic mother blogs. One of those blogs was the popular writer and mother of 8, Danielle Bean's blog ( Danielle is linked by a large number of popular Catholic blogs; she also writes for and Faith and Family magazine. One feature that she started up quite a few months ago was "Coffee Talk Tuesdays", where she'd leave an open thread so that all readers could raise topics and discuss. About a month ago, she started directing every Coffee Talk to Faith and Family, who recently went online. I thought nothing of it then, but now? Bait and switch?

So on Tuesday someone asked the reasonable question: does anyone have opinions about lay Catholic apostolates? Pros? Cons? And a few were mentioned: Communion & Liberation, Focolare, Regnum Christi, Opus Dei, Legion of Mary, etc.

Some responses were positive. And soon, one was warning, but did not name which organization she had a bad experience with. And then someone did mention RC and the problems she had with it. Secrecy, heavy recruitment, and someone mentioned something about exhorbitant suggested donations to the LC school she was sending her kids to...with the punch line that whoever gave $5k would get their own Adoration hour dedicated to them!

Well, sure enough Danielle jumped in the combox to...wait, I'll copy and paste:

"About Lay Movements: 
Honest questions and discussion are necessary, but we’re going to have to call foul on any comments that blithely denounce what the Church has pronounced valid. All the movements mentioned here --without exception-- have had their statutes approved by the Church. That doesn’t baptize everything movements or their members do or place them beyond criticism, but it is the Church’s authoritative judgment that it is God’s will that those movements exist and flourish, and we should speak of them accordingly.
Constructive criticism is a boon to all concerned even when it’s painful to hear. But remarks that simply tear down—or question the validity of—approved works of the Church can’t have a place here.
 There are many helpful posts here on this topic; let’s change the conversation to other topics." comment...

Anonymous said...


Now, I didn't get how you could say discussions are necessary but then turn around and say we should change the topic. 

So I wrote:

"They've all been approved? Really? Even TFP? I don't think so. 
Neo Catechumenal Way has their own liturgy and was recently given direct orders from the vatican to stop doing some things in their mass that were illicit. I believe they did. Obedience is a good thing.
TFP is not a religious order and yet they take young boys and, well, take them. The men live celibate lives off on their own. I think that robs the real celibate vocation of the priesthood, imo. It's too weird.

Regnum Christi/LC does some very good work in terms of their publications, notably National Catholic Register, but there is no doubt they are very secretive. This thread has been going on all day and no one from faith&family has even chimed in that this very blog is LC. Wasn't there a recent admonishment from Rome that LC-run things had to be up front about being LC? Again, I have a problem with this "lay consecrated" vocation; shouldn't those girls be entering convents instead? And what, exactly, do these lay consecrated do? Staff hospitals? Teach? Work emergency pregnancy centers? House/feed the poor? I've never seen that. What I have seen them do is...recruit.

My biggest problem is Maciel. Bottom line was that when he died the pope said: nothing. Very unusual to not get any word upon the death of a founder of a religious order. Odd thing was just a few weeks later Chiara Lubich died - the founder of Focolare - and the pope did put out a message of condolences and praise for this woman.

On the other hand, even though there have been attempts to smear Opus Dei, their founder is a saint.

To me, that speaks volumes."

The comments continued, back and forth, and then one person wanted to know: 
This blog is LC? RC?

And then Danielle posted this:

Posted by Danielle Bean on Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 6:33 PM (EDT):
 "I’ve asked that we stop discussing this topic because it always does become acrimonious in online discussions. That doesn’t benefit Catholic families and thus it is not within the purview of this site.
 I recognize that there are strong feelings on this subject and as a result it seems most of us can’t help but continue to discuss it. Consequently, I am going to close comments on this thread.
 To clear up the connection: Faith & Family’s publisher is Fr. Owen Kearns, a Legionary priest. A small percentage of the laypersons on our team are members of Regnum Christi. Both the magazine and the blog have always had the one goal of bringing all Catholic moms and their families closer to Christ. For some people that will involve membership in a lay movement. For others it won’t.
 I hope and pray that we can continue to encourage and support one another in all of our unique and individual vocations in future discussions here at Faith & Family Live."

And a little while later? 
My post was removed. Only mine.

They are part of the secrecy. They are part of the problem. It's all a cover-up. It's all part of the cult."

Ian said...

@Anonymous Have you written to Danielle asking why her response wasn't clear enough or why your post was deleted?

I agree that her response could have been better but that was only after someone pointed out that if someone says that the owner of Aquinas and More is a member of the Knights of Columbus it doesn't necessarily follow that the Knights own the store.

When I read her comment I thought it was obvious that if a Legion priest was the publisher it was obviously an LC publication.

Since I had to repeat my statement about where commissions go three times in three different ways when I thought I was being quite clear each time, I can see how you would have a problem with her reply.

Joe ( said...

I wasnt going to jump in this "fray" because well... these sort of inter-Catholic squabbles usually don't affect me, nor are their effects felt by me. Not only that, but I probably wont read these comments again to respond to my comment.

Yet, I have people that I admire and respect on all sides of this issue, at almost all levels. So I wanted to give the old college try and see if maybe parties will read what I have to say, take 10 minutes and think about it, then 20 minutes praying before creating a response in their heart or mind.

What I wonder is if the parties in this debate haven't begun to talk past one another?

What I mean is this. I dont think that Erin's original take on Danielle's post was in sync with Danielle's post. I don't think that Danielle was being nefarious or sneaky. I honestly think by analyzing her words, that she legitimately typed what she meant. Now that IS NOT TO SAY that Danielle doesn't know that RC is at the end of the day a lightning rod and that had she SAID that the $ would eventually hit the RC that it would be taken well... but there isnt a definitive directive on how to react/treat the RC.

Now as to Erin, I completely understand why she treated Danielle's post with suspect concern. With the RC in the news lately, and with the RC On her mind... she is KEYED to the BIGGER picture. What I mean is this: My wife reads F&F, well their blog posts. She might or might not know what RC or LC is. I am sure she read the post and understood it at face value. Now... if you were to tell her who runs F&F, the store, or that it all ties back to RC then well... she might think twice about financially supporting them. But I dont think she would think that Danielle should be required to post a disclaimer EVERY time she seeks support for her projects.

The same is true of me. I run a small little blog. I am an AnM affiliate. If you click on their banner on my site and buy something I get a % applied to my account which I can then use for books at AnM. Now I could choose to get a smaller % back, I believe (if that program is still around) by means of a check. Now lets say I then donate to a SSPX church? Or LifeTeen?

This begs, or at least makes one question what responsibility we have as Catholics to ensure that our money does or doesnt go to a group adverse to our Faith or our beliefs. Just like we should ensure that we don't send money to abortion causes... but this is the BIGGER QUESTION, the one I think Erin and the rest of everyone are asking, or SHOULD be asking... rather than indicting folks in a round-about way. I dont think they intended this... but at this point both sides are guilty of this.

So why not move this disdcussion to the larger question... rather than accusing people of things we DONT KNOW FOR SURE that they did... lets make this an intellectual exercise.

What responsibility do we as Catholics have to research where are money is going? And do people like Erin have a duty if they know something that they view as questionable, to bring this to light?

Joe ( said...

For example... should someone like Erin make a post explaining to folks that F&F is part of RC and when you buy, donate, indirectly buy, etc... things that support them, a portion of your money goes to the larger RC/LC group. If this is WRONG to post, I think it begs why? A group should stand by what it does... and if simply saying that X is X is "libelous" then there is guilt somewhere along the line.

I dont think though, that the debate that is raging is really the crux of the question and i think it could descend into speculation, rumor, and uncharitable guesswork. I dont think either side has descended too far yet, but why not shift the debate out of this danger area and on to the real questions at hand?

I might have made mistakes, and I am sorry. I thought about this today though, and as someone who works for a judge, I am used to looking at both sides of an issue, and I really think on this one that both sides have moved beyond the original questions and have dug their heels in fighting over sub-issues that were never in the initial debate... and we have lost focus on what the real issue or problem is.

Anonymous said...

"@Anonymous Have you written to Danielle asking why her response wasn't clear enough or why your post was deleted?"

No. Because it's not my responsibility. It's hers. I'm her reader; her customer, so to speak. She removed that post. She was obfuscating. She owes ME, and her readers, an explanation, not the other way around.

"I agree that her response could have been better"

Well, why? What could - or better, SHOULD she have said? You tell me.

"When I read her comment I thought it was obvious that if a Legion priest was the publisher it was obviously an LC publication."

Then you are so much more special than most of us, since we just didn't see the "obvious" connection, especially in light of the fact that clarity was just requested of her. Keep in mind this was all pre-Maciel-as-baby-daddy news; they were all still in deep cover-up mode. And she was caught doing it.

So if some Jesuit writes for a publication, that automatically makes it "ovbious" that that publication a Jesuit-run one? That is so wrong, it's laughable. Your thinking is illogical.

Ian said...

@Anonymous She didn't say that an LC priest wrote for F&F. Again, you twist things. She said an LC priest was the publisher. A VERY different thing. It is clear now that you WANT her to be a liar.

Again, you declare her a liar without proof. You declared that she used bait-and-switch tactics without proof. YOU are the one who needs to think about what you are doing.

Before you can in Christian justice call someone a liar you have to find out concretely that she intended to lie. As you didn't do that before and insist that it isn't your responsibility to do so while at the same time insisting that she must have been lying, you are the one displaying a lack of Christian justice.lessin

Ian said...

@Anonymous As it is clear that you have misrepresented what Danielle said in order to maintain your case that she is a liar and further that you have no intention of confirming your assertion, there is no reason for me to continue posting anything here. It is obvious that you don't want the truth, you just want to win.


Jeannette said...

What Danielle Bean did is exactly the LC/RC M.O. If you ask around, online and in person, you'll find that the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi organizations have a very strong track record of not being forthright about who they are. It gets frustrating because lots of Catholics have major concerns about the Legion of Christ and want very much to avoid spending time or money on the Legion, but we have to go out our way to do so. So the Legion and Danielle Bean now have rightfully earned a reputation of not being forthright. And as usual, the people who dislike misrepresentation are the ones who've committed the sin, in the eyes of the Legion folks. You've just demonstrated that no matter what Fr Corcuera wrote, people with the Legion aren't actually sorry for the cruddy way they treat people.

This spring, someone named Ian advertised the Leadership Training Program in the DC area. OF COURSE, there was no mention in the bulletin or on the recruitment flyers that LTP is LC-related. No "Regnum Christi". No "Mission Network". Nada. Was that you, Ian?