Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good thing I'm not in charge

My second post from this unusual source is coming from one of their blogs, written by Bryan Cones. Cones is writing about the Legion of Christ--and he isn't pulling any punches:

The Maciel case is a perfect example of seeing only what one wants to see, and one reason why victims of child sexual abuse are rarely believed. Who could imagine that someone so "holy" could ever be guilty of such crimes?

Maciel's victims, including his own biological children, continue to suffer, and the fact that the Legion of Christ still exists is a scandal. It was created completely in immorality through a web of deception and abuse woven by a man whose behavior can only be described as sociopathic. The order purchased its influence with the kind of bribery that would make the characters of the Godfather blush. And through its many arms, including Regnum Christi and the National Catholic Register, it has sown nothing but discord in the Body of Christ.

There is only one remedy for this corruption, and that is to eliminate it. The Legion of Christ must be suppressed, along with Regnum Christi. Its members must be helped to discern new communities in which to live out their vocations, and the order's billions of dollars in assets and institutions must be investigated and disposed of according to church law.

I have an easy time sympathizing with these words. But I recognize that the Holy Father may choose to act in a different manner, out of concern for those people, priests and lay, who are still so bound up in the Legion. I think the end result--the eventual disappearance of the Legion--will be the same whatever intermediate actions may be taken; I just realize that the Holy Father's pastoral care for the people still very much caught up in the Legion may make the total suppression of the Legion at this time not the best option (however much I might personally think it a good idea).

To put this in blunt language, I'd be pretty happy if the Holy Father also decided to suppress some of the orders--or at least local houses of orders--of nuns who may have been found to be more or less openly heretical during this apostolic visitation. I can't be sure how the blog writer at U.S. Catholic would feel about that, though. I think it's possible that he might argue that among those congregations were entirely innocent members who perhaps misunderstood or failed to grasp the seriousness of the group's slide into heterodoxy. Those members should be treated with pastoral concern, should they not?

Again, I'm not saying that out of my own desires. If it were up to me, I'd probably suppress the Legion outright and shut down all dissenting religious orders; then I'd can a couple hundred bishops (worldwide) and give Father Z. a red hat and make him head of the CDF (accepting Cdl. Levada's retirement, of course).

Good thing I'm not in charge. :)


Melanie B said...

A former roommate of mine from college is a consecrated member of Regnum Christi. I'm one of the few friends she's got who has maintained any contact with her at all. I've continued to correspond with hr through the years and see that even if there is much evil in RC, she is still a faithful woman who loves Christ and his Church and has a deep faith.

While I heartily agree on an abstract level that RC and the Legion should be suppressed, that has been tempered by having a face to put on those innocent members still caught up in the mess. I don't fully understand her experience but I do believe that I am being called to continue to love her and support her during this difficult time.

Perhaps it would be better if the Vatican moved more quickly in this matter, I don't know. I think maybe the debate is like the one over bandages: should they be removed quickly or slowly? Which hurts more and does the most damage? I do believe that the reason the Vatican moves slowly in addressing all sorts of wrongs in the Church (and they are legion) is out of pastoral concern and a belief that that's the best way to prevent the most harm.

People are resistant to change. It scares them, and rightly so. Too much change all at once was one of the reasons the "Spirit of Vatican II" did so much harm. I think Pope Benedict is committed to not making that same mistake in trampling people's feeling as he attempts to correct those errors. Sweeping changes might make me feel better; but there are many people who would lose their faith entirely. I don't envy the Pope whose concern must be for all the souls in his care, even those who love bad liturgy and sappy music.

Anonymous said...

The part of change I wish were immediate could be an explicit papal opening of the door to leave in peace of conscience and spirit, with no need to seek tortuous explanations and justifications etc.. - all vows, promises being declared null. You do not need divine portents to leave, rather you will rather need a higher bar of moral and spiritual certitude to stay, if at all, in a uncertain future. Ah yes, let them at least be relieved from the burden via a papal confirmation, that the time for carrying the burden of being God's greatest gift to the Church is now over. The gift of yourself outweighs any hold of charism,and this gift can serve beautifully and perhaps more powerfully in some other venue.

Anon out of RC said...

"The part of change I wish were immediate could be an explicit papal opening of the door to leave in peace of conscience and spirit, with no need to seek tortuous explanations and justifications etc.. - all vows, promises being declared null."

that would be nice...but I think the LC and those in RC leadership could help right now by speaking to their groups about true freedom in a Christian sense and how it does not include fear, guilt etc. They should encourage their members to seek outside counsel and priests and talk openly about how many LC/RC have left and why they have left. It would help even to have some brainstorming sessions with folks who are in and out and what they have learned on their spiritual journey. This should not be about saving LC/RC - it should be about souls in turmoil like Melanie's friend who want with all their heart to serve Christ but might need an OK from an LC or RC leader to talk openly and freely about their concerns and be told the truth about Maciel's life, the first visitation concerns, Jason Berry's research, let them read Vows of Silence, the Hartford Courant article etc.

We do not need to wait for the Pope to let people still in LC/RC just be real and human and think for themselves.

TROLL said...