MM did appeal to young people - me included (when I was young!) By the time I left the LC I had become aware (over a period of let's say 5 years) that MM was Machiavellian, a manipulator. Deep down I thought there was a deeper problem - the lethal combination of narcissism and charisma. That particular combo can lead people to abuse their follower's minds and bodies. During my time, I never say any hint of child molestation. I could believe that he might have had an affair - but I never saw any evidence.And here's my reply:
That's all a belated way of saying that despite his awful sins I do think that God, through the good priests of the LC (not really through MM) attracted lots of young people to the Church. They are not all "manipulated" and led astray. Let's face it, I don't know of too many Catholic movements successfully attracting young Catholic leaders.
Monk, all due respect, but don't you see a rather big flaw in that sort of reasoning?I invite others to join the conversation! Let's be respectful, though. I'm especially interested in hearing from those who have been or still are involved with the Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi, or any of its various apostolates (including Challenge and Conquest clubs, Pure Fashion, K4J, etc.) or who buy or make use of things which are tied to the Legion (including Faith and Family magazine, National Catholic Register, etc.). What's your perspective on this? Has the Legion produced enough "good fruits" apart from Maciel to deserve to continue? Is everything irreparably flawed? What would you do, if the decision were up to you?
The idealism and passion of youth demands purity of heart from their leaders. Deirdre referenced the Soviets, but I can't help but think of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Some of its actors, too, were very young, swept up in a notion of a pure new way of doing things; and some of these young men, including Robespierre own young brother, perished on the guillotine when the corruption within the very leaders of the Terror became known to the public.
What attracted young people to the Legion? Maciel, and his ways of doing things. His picture was everywhere; his followers spoke of him reverently as "Nuestro Padre," or "Our Father," as if he were almost on a par with God; the belief that he was a living saint and would be canonized soon after his death was held even after he was ordered by the Vatican to seclusion. His acceptance of those orders was held to be the humble holiness of a man of God, knowing his accusers wrong, but refusing to defend himself like Christ during His passion.
Maciel didn't attract young people to the Church, but to the Legion. He encouraged them to believe they had found a better way to holiness than the rank-and-file in parish life. He fostered a subtle spirit of--not disobedience, but pride, that deadliest of all deadly sins, the pride that said, "We are not as other men." After all, they were the privileged attendants of a living saint, were they not?
Now all of that has collapsed into a stinking, rotten pile of ruin. What are the "young leaders" attracted to the Church by Maciel to do now? Oh, wait; they were not attracted to the Church, but to the Legion--and the Legion is so badly, so deeply, so pervasively flawed, that instead of recoiling in horror from the relentless bad news about Maciel, many in the Legion are circling the wagons. Maciel was a flawed vessel, some of the accusations are probably wrong, these new revelations from the second family we've heard from are motivated by greed and likely untrue or at least exaggerated, God doesn't want us ever to leave the Legion because it is His work, we were promised Heaven if only we embraced our vocations or apostolates, we can't leave without placing our own salvation in extreme jeopardy because we will have proved ourselves unworthy of God's great gift of the Legion--we are the true victims of Maciel, because the real charism he somehow had founded something so great and holy that only the flawed or evil will ever abandon it...and on and on, in a the nightmare symptoms of a badly co-dependent relationship, not of a real call from God.
You say, "Let's face it, I don't know of too many Catholic movements successfully attracting young Catholic leaders..." as if that somehow makes it imperative to preserve the Legion at all costs. But what attracted young people to the Legion has proved to be something empty, worthless, and founded on sin, not something holy, eternal, and founded by a humble follower of God. We could probably attract lots of young people to the Church by sins other than pride, you know, but that wouldn't make it right.