Thursday, March 11, 2010

More terrific Legion posts from Deirdre Mundy

No time to blog today! Got the three-page list of choir music for Holy Week and Easter, and am dashing out to go start practicing all of it. Some good stuff, including Bach and Bruckner!

Since I can't write anything coherent until much later--or probably tomorrow--please go and read two more excellent posts by Deirdre Mundy about the Legion of Christ:

Taking Advantage of Youth


What (and Why) I Hate

Deirdre has been writing with such spirit and insight on topics relating to Maciel and the Legion; I couldn't agree more with what she's been saying, and I found that first post, about youth, especially valuable because of the connection she's made between the Legion's focus on the young and the way Maciel exploited the youthful tendencies for enthusiasm, loyalty and passion.

Go and read!


The Monk said...

Erin - I follow your blog (and Deirdre's.) I like your style!

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.

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.

So, should the Church shut the LC/RC down - or try to reform it? JC threw out the money changers but he didn't set the temple on fire. What would He do with the LC? Do we believe the Pope will speak for Him?

Red Cardigan said...

Monk, all due respect, but don't you see a rather big flaw in that sort of reasoning?

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.

The Monk said...

Red C -
You say: "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." I think that statement is wrong on so many levels - but we can agree to disagree.

I and so many others were attracted to a Christocentric formation, loyalty to the Pope, great idealism to contribute to evangelization and a methodology (albeit with serious flaws) that works. The LC has produced excellent priests and the RC thousands of motivated and committed lay people. Neither the LC nor the RC is "founded on sin."

No doubt your experience is extremely different to mine and I respect that. I repudiate MM's conduct - but to say that LC/RC is empty and worthless is more than a little over the top. I don't agree with them on lots of points... but fair is fair. Thanks for responding!

Red Cardigan said...

Christocentric, Monk--or centered around Maciel? I know for a fact that prayerbooks other than Maciel's were confiscated in the seminary. Nothing but Maciel was needed, seminarians were told.

Loyalty to the Pope, or to Maciel? Again, I have heard, and seen, how a subtle spirit of disobedience to the Church is fostered in the LC/RC. A parish that welcomes the Legion? Good and holy! A parish that shuns them? Caught up in the liberalism of the post-Vatican II Church, full of sins and errors.

Evangelization, or recruitment to the Legion? Oh, but it's the same thing! The call to the Legion or Regnum Christi IS the call to the Gospel! There's no difference! etc.

A methodology that works? Here I must disagree. The methodology works well to create spiritual secrecy, to foster psychological and moral dysfunction, to reinforce the levels of obedience and unquestioning respect that let Maciel get away with his predations for so terribly, terribly long--and may yet be allowing others to do the same; at least one of Maciel's own victims later turned abuser, if the reports are true--and there is little reason to suspect they are not.

Empty, empty, terribly empty. As if a structure that looked like a wedding-cake were composed entirely of the frosting outside, with nothing whatsoever beneath it.