Friday, April 9, 2010

Faith and Family and the Legion

An interesting post by Danielle Bean has come up on the Faith and Family website--thanks to this reader for letting me know!

A Faith and Family reader made a comparison between Tiger Woods (who was being discussed by a Faith and Family blogger) and the Legion. Danielle writes:

I am neither unable nor unwilling to talk about the Legionaries of Christ. Circle Media, which is the publishing arm of the Legionaries of Christ, owns Faith & Family—as well as the National Catholic Register, Circle Press, and

The Legionaries of Christ have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Faith & Family over the years because they believe in what we do. It is only because of the generosity of the Legion that Faith & Family magazine and this website exist as a means of support and encouragement for Catholic families, and I am deeply grateful for their support.

But Beth wants to know how we can deal with the terrible truths about Fr. Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ ... Quite simply, I can’t.

I cannot come to terms with the monstrous things I’ve read and heard about Maciel’s double life. I cannot reconcile the good things we do at Faith & Family, the dedicated men I know who are Legionary priests, and the many good men and women I know who are members of Regnum Christi with the evil things that man wrought throughout his life.

As with all sexual abuse scandals within the Church, the truth about Maciel’s double life is deeply wounding, and I can’t make sense of it. I’m not sure how any of us could. But I do know that the evil doings of one man do not negate the good work we have done and continue to do at Faith & Family.

There is more; read the rest here.

Let me say again that I don't wish any criticism I have here to be taken as a personal attack against Danielle or some kind of unfair bashing of Faith and Family. But I think that those of us who are taking a more cautious, "wait and see" approach to any of the Legion's many works and affiliates during this time while the future of the Legion is uncertain may find this way of looking at the matter a little frustrating.

For instance, the "generosity of the Legion" may indeed have been poured out upon things like Faith and Family, K4J, Familia and other programs. But as reporter Jason Berry has been writing, the "generosity of the Legion" was also responsible for buying goodwill and a lack of criticism of the Legion from among the powerful in Rome; it was responsible for supporting Maciel's secret families and children; it was responsible for purchasing a good image and sufficient media to create a view of Maciel as a persecuted saint, and to cast his accusers in the role of Judas--or to insinuate that they were faithless, crazy, diabolically-influenced, or all three.

And then there's that talk, as is usual, about the good Legion priests and the good Regnum Christi members and even the good that Legion works (specifically Faith and Family) do--and no recognition of the problem that an order which gets its charism from a sexually-deviant con man who lived a lavish, luxurious, sinful life while expecting his seminarians and lay followers to give themselves heart and soul (not to mention financially) to the Legion and the Movement and the Kingdom must sooner or later face: the prospect that there has never been any lasting good done by the Legion which can outweigh the deep, pervasive, significant harm, the spiritual rot and corruption, and the number of souls potentially at risk of eternal damnation because of Maciel and because of the way in which he created and used his religious movement. To put it bluntly, it is entirely possible that any good the Legion ever did is now so clouded with the sins and evils of Maciel as to be vanishing away completely--while the evil that Maciel did will live on long after his death. Pious platitudes about God drawing straight with crooked lines will not cut it anymore--God may draw straight with crooked lines, but God does not mistake a rotten twig for a writing implement in the first place.

And that is what strikes me when I hear, as I have heard and read before, this idea that the evil done "by one man" does not detract from all the good being done by so many. There have been lots of times in history when "one man" has not only done a great deal of evil, but founded and established a culture in which evil could thrive, even if evil was not the original intent of those identifying themselves with the founder. In fact, there are many such people in history; some combination of wrong ideas and dysfunctional practices modeled after a person's life and work that has eventually led to egregious evils being adopted and accepted by the group as something normal or even good. To give just one such example, consider the early Mormon practice of polygamy. Even though mainstream Mormonism now rejects that practice, plenty of small offshoots insist that polygamy is the right thing to do--and they can point to founder Joseph Smith and to the actions of other early Mormon leaders in support of their claim that polygamy or plural marriage is a true Mormon practice.

What does all of this boil down to, for me personally? (I wish to be clear: what I choose to do about the Legion may not be what anyone else chooses to do; each person must consult his/her own conscience, and if necessary his/her own spiritual director.) For me, it means that there were three kinds of activities going on in the Legion during Maciel's lifetime:

--works that were actively evil (e.g., abuse, concealment of abuse, restriction of legitimate criticism, spiritual blackmail, ill-formation to prevent disclosure, the unjust taking over of other people's apostolates or ministries, stolen vocations, bribery, flattery and appeals to pride especially of rich potential benefactors, the payment of money to Maciel for his sinful lifestyle and to continue keeping that lifestyle secret, and many other similar things)

--works that were of dubious morality (e.g., the careful crafting of the Legion's image so that it appeared to be an orthodox and pious order that was prospering under the direction of a "living saint")

--works that were good, but which were used by the Legion to further the first two types of works (and here I would include things like Faith and Family; how easy for Legion leadership, when asked to comment on Maciel's "retirement," to say, "Oh, he is like Christ, accepting a (likely unjust) punishment without complaint. But we know the charges against him are all balderdash! Why, look at this lovely magazine full of traditional Catholic themes and ideas--how necessary such a thing is for the world! And look, here, at these wholesome boys' clubs and girls' clubs--why, what a counter to our evil secular culture, and how blessed the people who have found there way to such safe harbor for their children!" etc. ad infinitum.) It is simply the reality that the "good things" funded and financed by the Legion were used to deflect attention and criticism from the bad--is it really the case that this is no longer true? Or has the order become so accustomed to answering legitimate criticism with what amounts to, "Yes, but look over here! See the good?" etc. that they don't even recognize this for the manipulative tactic it is?

Since this is my personal evaluation of the problem, using the ordinary gifts of discernment and prudence God gives each of us, I am still inclined to avoid all of the Legion's works until such time as real change is shown to have been ordered, implemented, and successful in rooting out the types of dysfunction I've listed here. I respect those who choose otherwise, of course, and I join Danielle in waiting to hear from Pope Benedict XVI as to the future of the Legion of Christ.


Nat said...

This is one of the better summaries as to why "me and my house" will stay well clear of the machine that Maciel built (until the Vatican does whatever it takes and however long it takes to reform or refound or replace the whole thing).

Thank you.

I indexed some of the most debilitating features of Maciel's system of forming priests here.

Anonymous said...

It is really quite simple: one should be absolutely horrified at the founder's life and deeds, and therefore RUN! The company we keep always ends up rubbing off on us.

It is telling that many people engage in mental gymnastics in justifying away the horror.

Who would voluntarily associate themselves with a registered sex offender in the neighborhood? Would we without concern let our children near such a person? No matter how much "good" he may have done elsewhere.

It is a matter of sound judgement as well as trust: can a man really be trusted who violated not only his priestly vows, but also the very dignity of human beings in his care and environment?
I think not.
That's why it is quite simple, really.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing. The Holy Father has already spoken. He called these abuses "filth".

Do we really need to wait for the results of the AV? Do we really need to wait for the Holy See to make additional statements?

It is clear: FILTH; one might add stinking and rotten.
I join Nat: me and my house will stay well clear of anything LC/RC for good! Nothing the Holy See might do or say in addition to "FILTH" will change my mistrust in anything and everything that has only remotely to do with them.
Giselle once called it the "degree of separation" - for me it is radical.

Anon out of RC said...

Think the quote below from JPII applies well and gives some context to this comment from Erin:

"There have been lots of times in history when "one man" has not only done a great deal of evil, but founded and established a culture in which evil could thrive, even if evil was not the original intent of those identifying themselves with the founder."

It is something for all of us to ponder...those of us who were or are in LC/RC enabled the methodology of Maciel and structure of LC/RC which concealed the evil sin of the founder in the cloak of Holy Mother Church. All people and apostolates must be seperated from Maciel - including Faith and Family. There is lots of good stuff in that magazine and great people writing for it but it is tainted with ties to the founder of LC/RC.

"There is no need to be afraid to call the first agent of evil by his name: the Evil One. The strategy which he used and continues to use is that of not revealing himself, so that the evil implanted by him from the beginning may receive its development from man himself, from systems and from relationships between individuals, from classes and nations—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. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter, Dilecti Amici, To The Youth of the World, n. 15 "

Anonymous said...

If you borrow a million dollars from a man (Church) and build a house worth 500K (LC), there is a net loss of 500K to the man. No matter how many times you say 'look at the new beautiful 500K house' - it is still a large, negative loss.

Unknown said...

I disagree with Erin's analysis. A group of women from my parish(a few dozen) have been involved in FAMILIA over the last few years. Most know that it is a Legion program, but some do not. Most of those who are aware know next to nothing about the Legion and could care less. But FAMILIA (which really is nothing more than a discussion of papal encyclicals and other official church docs, compiled by the Legion) has made a real change in our parish. Womens' eyes are being opened about the faith, and families are coming together to pray together. I, for one, am grateful for FAMILIA.

Anonymous said...

TJ, I don't get your point.

Are you saying, since they are ignorant of the filth associated with LC/RC ventures, it doesn't exist?

Do the math on "Familia" versus "Together", and see that you would get the same product, at a lower price, from a source not affiliated with suffering and scandal to the Church.


Deirdre Mundy said...

Not only that, but you don't NEED the Legion to have an encyclical study group-- Anyone can print the encyclicals online and there are other, non-legion sources for study aides.

Also, one thing that has come out in the last year is how the Legion subtly twists Catholic Doctrine and gives it new meaning.

For instance, they define Charity in terms of "Believe all the good you hear, and excuse internally the bad you see." What the heck? When they go on about the importance of Charity, they don't even MEAN the same thing the Church does. The same is true about the way they treay things like 'Vocation" and "Discernment."

SO if the fountain is tainted, how can you know the water you're getting is safe to drink? The mountain spring LOOKS OK, but you'll pick up some nasty parasites that eat at you for years.... Better to stick with the municiple water supply. You know it's safe and wholesome.

We know Maciel was evil. We know he was an 'absolute dictator' when it came to LC/RC. We know he approved NOTHING unless it advanced his own ends. So, with respect to F&F and Familia, you have to realize... they look nice, but they advance the ends of Maciel.

Better to avoid them all together.

As for Danielle, I think in her current position it would take a lot of courage to speak out against the LC. I think the best thing to do at the moment is pray for her and her family. But since she's also a public person who MAKES HER LIVING by giving advice to "Catholic Moms" I'd have to say that her defense of the Legion severly hurts her credibility. If she's so wrong on this matter, how can anyone trust her judgement on anything else?

Will Duquette said...

Erin, I honestly think you've gone too far with this one.

I don't have any connection with the Legion at all; I don't know any Legion priests, good or bad; I'm not a user (so far as I know) of any of the Legion affiliates you've spoken of. And I'm certainly not denying the gross evil, manipulation, and mendacity of Maciel's life as it has been emerging. But I think this is simply wrong:

To put it bluntly, it is entirely possible that any good the Legion ever did is now so clouded with the sins and evils of Maciel as to be vanishing away completely--while the evil that Maciel did will live on long after his death.

The Church refers even to Adam's sin, through which all of humanity was afflicted with Original Sin, as the "felix culpa", the happy fault that led to the Son's Incarnation. It would have been better for Judas that he had never been born; and yet God used him in bringing about our salvation.

And yet you are seeming to say that those ministries involved with the Legion are so tainted that God can't use them for good.

And then, I remember Emeth, the young Calormene soldier in The Last Battle. He trusted his god, and his leaders, and did his best to lead a blameless life for them, though they were not worthy of it...and was rewarded for it. Is it not possible that many in the Legion are in the same position?

Why must Maciel's evil be such an all-consuming poison? I can see that those who still esteem him need to get a clue. But I can't see why all those who are even tangentially related to the Legion have to judged "unclean".

Erin Manning said...

Will, I respect your opinion, and appreciate that you took the time to comment.

Let me see if I can clear this up a little.

We do speak of Adam's sin as the "happy fault," and we do recognize Judas' role in salvation history. But of Judas, it was said by Our Lord Himself that it were better had he never been born, and in the case of Adam, of course, all humanity was and continues to be punished for what Adam did. We owe our fallen natures, darkened intellects, pain, suffering, and even death to Adam's sin.

The point is that sin itself causes a "ripple effect" going outward from the originator. In Adam's case, Original Sin touched us all in a specific and tangible way; in the case of other sins (including our own) the effect may be less tangible or more limited, but it is still there.

Now, what does this mean for the Legion? It means that in order for any of their apostolates, ministries, works, etc. to do any good, they have to repudiate Maciel entirely, quit using his words (even if they no longer attribute them to him) in their prayerbooks, and most especially quit the Legion practice of using all of their ministries/apostolates primarily as a recruitment tool to get young men to sign up for Legion seminaries and lay people to join Regnum Christi. I have not seen the slightest sign that this is happening. In fact, I know of other things--people told, in effect, that if they're not prepared to hand over their young sons to the Legion they may as well quit the Familia/ConQuest/Challenge/etc. programs they are currently in, because they are "wasting the Legion's time."

I'll have more in an upcoming post--this is getting too long for the comment boxes.

The Monk said...

I think Will Duquette makes a good point. The Church has endured many egregiously sinful leaders in its long history. So far, the gates of hell have not prevailed against it. When Catholics no longer believe in Redemption is when the barque of Peter will truly be rocked.

Maciel, the founder, is beyond defending. His conduct is reprehensible. He has gone to meet his maker. Meanwhile, what is the Legion to do? Leave all their apostolates and take a collective siesta? The AV is underway; they are waiting for the results like the rest of us - and their future hangs on the outcomes. It's beyond naive to think that the Vatican is not now pulling the strings and orchestrating every move in this tragic dance.

Legal and theological evaluations of what is right of wrong had their place... I wonder as we wait the Holy See's decision on the Legion what greater good is served by piling on more criticism on those who continue to be involved such as the people at Faith and Family?

If the Legion doesn't accept the Vatican's decisions then it's open season. Meanwhile they must be waiting - and suffering more anxiety and worry than the rest of us. Better to light a candle now than to continue to curse the darkness.

Anonymous said...

Since when do we need the Vatican to tell us the right thing to do? The Legion already survived one AV, and we see how beneficial the results of that investigation were for the Church, the Legion, and the many children who were victimized by Maciel and the methodology for decades after.

Since when is fraternal correction and pointing out grave problems in the methodology considered "piling on" by our Church? Since when has our Church advocated shutting up so and waiting for the Vatican to direct us rather than using our God-given reason? Since when is it good to quit discussing issues important to the Church so that nobody's feelings are hurt?

Your notion that any such discussion is "piling on" and therefore should be discontinued (seemingly in the name of charity?) seems like the direct result of Maciel methodology: any criticism is persecution and piling on, and we need to just be "docile" and "serenely" wait for the authorities to tell us what we should think and do.

So many of us bought that song and dance for years. I, for one, am not buying it any more.

TROLL said...

The Good Lord spoke about planting a good field of wheat, and later that night, the enemy came and planted weed seeds. Later when the servants came and asked the master if they should go pull out the weeds, he said no, because in so doing, the wheat would also be pulled out. All would get sorted out later, on the winnowing floor.

If that is what worked for the Lord, and what he recommended, it can work fine for me. I would say to Danielle, keep on doing the Lord's work in Faith and Family. Trust in him. Hope. Love. Have faith. Know that you are free. Discern. Know that he came for the sinners and has already atoned for their sins. That frees you up for the only important thing: LOVE, and follow the call of your Baptism.

Jeannette said...

Monk, Regnum Christi will not be dissolved because it isn't one of the options on the table. So there's no waiting for the Holy Father to make her get out of Regnum Christi. One must use her own discernment on this.
And I suspect it will take a while no matter what the Vatican says. Heck, it took almost four years for them to become "independent of the Founder" after the May 2006 message.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I am still inclined to avoid all of the Legion's works until such time as real change is shown to have been ordered, implemented, and successful in rooting out the types of dysfunction I've listed here.

It strikes me that there are some people in the world who likewise to choose to avoid all of the Vatican's works until such time as real change is shown to have been ordered, implemented and successful in rooting out the dysfunction which allowed scandalous perpetuation of a sexual abuse scandal.

There have of course been steps taken to correct that dysfunction. I paused over your latest comment at Rod Dreher's site, because it raised some important issues, more or less of due process, and of understanding what specific acts meant in the context in which they were taken.

Still, the parallels suggest that everyone of us looks at scandal through the eyes of pre-existing loyalties, not solely through the objective facts of a specific case.

Erin Manning said...

Siarlys, while that's a fair point to make, I'd like to reply by saying that of course for a Catholic there is a world of difference between the Church, which we believe is of Divine origin, and any religious order, which necessarily has a human founder. Should the founder of a relatively new religious order turn out to be a sexually deviant con man, as in the case of Maciel, it is prudent for the Church to re-examine the order to determine if it has a valid charism or not, and to take appropriate steps concerning it. Any Catholic is free in the meantime to act prudently concerning an order unfortunate enough to be in this position.

A Catholic is not similarly able to decide that the whole Church is neither of Divine origin nor necessary to his/her salvation--that is, if he/she decides any such thing, he/she has effectively ceased to be a Catholic.

So while looking at it as a matter of "loyalties" may be fair enough for someone outside the situation, for Catholics, it's a little more complicated. Decide to have "nothing to do with the Church" until some arbitrary conditions are met (be those Scandal reforms, female priests, change in laws against abortion or homosexuality, or any such thing) and one has decided not to be a Catholic at all anymore.

AV said...

I agree with anonymous above--I don't think we can trust the Vatican to be able to come up with a solution. Unfortunately, our own JP II was fooled by this man--I am sure there are others in the ranks as equally liars. I just do not think it is possible to uncover all who were involved in this on the inside. I can't imagine the Vatican is going to come up with something that really gets to the root of all the dysfunction.

I think those on the inside of RC/LC have a great deal of denial still going on as to the scope and reality of the dysfunction and sickness. (It was one man and he is dead now...right?) I pray simply for God's help for them. They signed up for something not knowing the truth and now they are stuck trying to carry on the party line. Some of them financially dependant on the group.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Fair enough Erin. I try to always remember, when speaking to someone whose premises and fundamental values are not my own, that I have to look for consistency in what, e.g., a Roman Catholic, espouses, in terms of their own criteria, not mine. In any case, there is a difference between the lapses of functionaries heading a centuries old institution, and the lapses of a relatively new sub-set.

AV offers the other side of that: if the Vatican cannot be trusted to come up with a solution, then either it cannot be of divine origin, or there is a real problem with the very fundamental premise "God is good."

I'm not at all sure that the Vatican cannot come up with a solution. I tend to agree with those, in and out of the Roman Catholic church, who find that so far clericalism trumps honest house cleaning. But it need not remain so.

John Thayer Jensen said...

Siarlys - quoting someone else:

AV offers the other side of that: if the Vatican cannot be trusted to come up with a solution, then either it cannot be of divine origin, or there is a real problem with the very fundamental premise "God is good."

I think this doesn't quite understand what is meant that the Catholic Church is of 'divine institution.' It means the Church cannot fail - and it means that obedience to the Church is always right. It does not mean that no part of the Church can fail, nor that obedience to any particular part of the Church is always right.


Unknown said...

My point in my post above was simple: FAMILIA was offered in my parish, and women and families have benefited tremendously - some in dramatic ways. Yes, if I were in charge, I would recommend a different program (I'm unfamiliar with "Together"). But the good that has come is good nonetheless.

Of course I'm not saying that the "filth" doesn't exist because these women don't know about it. My point is that for these women, here and now, what Maciel did is not relevant. They're being given church teachings they otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to. And no, suggesting that a group of women just form their own group to read papal encyclicals is not a reasonable alternative for typical suburbia Catholic moms - they wouldn't have gotten started without a program of some sort.

Anonymous said...

Some women were enthusiastic when FAMILIA first came. Regnum Christi leaders didn't tell us it was a Regnum Christi Apostolate. The leaders in Regnum Christi tried to get the women from Familia to join Regnum Christi from the 1st year group. The ones that declined ceased to be in any further groups. In fact I don't think there were 2nd year groups. The ones that joined Regnum Chisti ceased Familia too and became busy in their own little world of Regnum Chrsiti. The people who didn't join were more or less discarded. Some that did join Regnum Christi Movement ended up suffering from it years later. I realize there are plenty of positive stories - probably more than the negative but to God its not a numbers game. This is all very real stuff that has ramifications for real people/families and the dynamics of parishes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a greater good that come come from all this is that these people who were leaders and participants in Regnum Christi will cease affiliation with such a group - cease the Movement and do those types of activities such as study groups in their parish wholeheartedly. The dynamic would be more natural and maybe even more fruitful without the affiliation with a that Movement. It may not be as easy, but Jesus didn't tell us take the glitzy easy way.
Again, it is not the numbers game that is pleasing to God.

Anonymous said...

I reserve the right to boycott any group affiliated with the LC or RC in any way. If F and F continue to enjoy this relationship with the LC/RC, they need to know that it impacts perceptions of F and F, some people lose respect for F and F and anyone associated with it, and it will hurt their circulation. Fruits or no fruits. So the relationship better be worthwhile to them.

As I have lost trust and respect for the LC and RC, so I withhold trust and respect for people who continue to do business with them.

I have the right to be careful in light of all that has happened.

Susan said...

Monk said, "The Church has endured many egregiously sinful leaders in its long history. So far, the gates of hell have not prevailed against it. When Catholics no longer believe in Redemption is when the barque of Peter will truly be rocked."

Are we once again equating the Legion with the Church? This is the worst thing that the LCs/RCs do, without even realizing it! (I have been guilty of this!) It is part of the methodology to believe that by helping RC/LC one is helping the Church. LC/RC always claims to be a "means" to "build the Church."

The truth is, and always has been, that the Church is and has been the means to build the Kingdom of Maciel... a.k.a. Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ. This cannot be denied any longer. The 60 year con is about to end.

It is a counterfeit. Legion "charity" is anti-charity. Regnum Christi is an anti-Church, or "parallel church." The Church has always been USED by the LC, just like Maciel used all his victims.

Any "good" is from and belongs to the Church. The light in the darkness is the Church, not the LC or RC.

So Monk, if you are talking about the Church prevailing, you are right on. If you are talking about the Legion prevailing... don't bet on it.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Susan. Regnum members believe that everything they do for Regnum Christi Movement is for the good of the Church and Christ. That may be the intention of many of them, but it is not the truth.
That type of sublimation is very effective in garnishing loyalty and generosity though. Their seem to equate their loyalty to Christ desire to serve God to the Movement. Growing to love and serve God according to His will no matter what to infinity is of the best order. Growing in loyalty to love and serve the Movement no matter what (even the loss or damage of souls) is very disorderd.

Dan said...

I've noticed that you've written more than one post calling out Danielle Bean and the ladies at Faith and Family but I don't believe I've seen you apply the same standards or criticism to your friend, Mark Shea, who works for the National Catholic Register, also a product of Circle Media. Why is that? It seems to me that you direct and inordinate amount of your anger toward your sisters in Christ. Might be something to watch.

Erin Manning said...

Actually, Dan, I have several blogging friends who have had things published at National Catholic Register, including Mark Shea. Mark does not, however, *work* for National Catholic Register, as you say; neither do my other friends. All of them are freelance writers who are doing some freelance blogging (as I understand it) for the Register. They are not employees of the Register, of Circle Media, or of the Legion.

Now, I'll be honest--I hope that each of them has spelled out carefully what they are and are not willing to write about, and that each retains the freedom to criticize the Legion and to end the freelance relationship at any time. And even so, I wouldn't personally choose to write even a freelance piece for any Legion-owned publication--but as I have said from the beginning, each person has to decide how much "Legion" he or she is comfortable with. For some of us, the answer is none at all; for others, there may be marginally acceptable activities (e.g., to write a freelance piece for a Legion publication, or to let one's children attend a K4J summer activity, etc.). It's up to the prudent and conscientious decision of each person.

But that prudent and conscientious decision making process is not helped when someone who works for the Legion says, in effect, that she hates what Maciel did, but that after all, the Legion is good, because good people are doing good things. There is a deeply problematic aspect about that way of looking at the situation.

Mark Shea, to give him credit (and I'd be honored to be able to consider him my friend, though we don't know each other personally) has never ceased to write scathing denunciations of the Legion on his personal blog. The day he announces that he's now a full-time employee of some Legion affiliate and that by the way the Legion is wonderful and always has been except for that guy whose pictures used to be on all the walls who we don't talk about anymore and anybody who says otherwise is just uncharitable is the day I call him out--and that's true for any of the other people I know who may be writing the odd bit for the Register here and there. You have my word on that.