Saturday, July 31, 2010

Open thread for 4Real visitors

Hello! I just wanted to provide a place for those who wished to share opinions on the question of whether or not T.O.R.C.H. is too closely tied to the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi to be useful--and for those who think any affiliation wouldn't matter anyway. All opinions, of whatever strength, are quite welcome so long as conversation is courteous.

I do think that LC/RC connections are red flags to joining a group. Does it mean all people who have ever been involved with LC/RC are "tainted" in some way? Not at all. But the order/movement is famous for hiding or downplaying its role in or connection to various apostolates, and it is a legitimate concern to wonder if, nationally speaking, T.O.R.C.H. leaders are tied to Regnum Christi and would, eventually, seek to move the group under the Legion's affiliations or otherwise "integrate" the T.O.R.C.H. group with Regnum Christi.

If you agree, if you disagree--tell me why below! :)

20 comments:

Roger said...

T.O.R.C.H is not necessarily "good" or "bad" because an affiliation with one group or another. I think the program can be judged on its own.

That being said, if it is a tool of manipulation or control of any particular group (whomever it may be) and not truly an "open" instrument for good quality Catholic education, beware!

Hope that helps.

Lindsay said...

I don't really know enough about TORCH to have an opinion, but I do agree that it is important to be aware of the affiliation when making decisions about it.

I can imagine a situation where I would consider joining a group. There are families where TORCH is the ONLY Catholic home school group around. I can't imagine isolating myself on that account alone.

Also, if a group where no member were RC were to join TORCH, I wonder if there would be a strong enough connection to indicate a problem? I do know of some people who have been a part of TORCH groups for years without realizing the connection. Even if that indicates some sort of secrecy on the part of TORCH (which, being uncertain about how strong the ties are, we don't know), it would also indicate that the recruiting aspect were not terribly strong.

However, I generally avoid things affiliated with RC (and have for years), so the knowledge of a connection would definitely weigh heavily in any decision I would make regarding the organization. Most people I know would agree its a pertinent point if not a deal breaker in all circumstances.

Thanks for opening up the topic here. It can be one that is quite heated at times, and it is good of you to make yourself available to take the heat, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Like I said in the thread at 4Real, any RC member spending time as leader of a TORCH group (is there such a TORCH group where NO ONE is an RC member - honestly, I don't know as I have been away from the movement for a few years now, but from experience, I would highly doubt it.) is 'accountable' for that time. As a previous TORCH leader and RC member, I know that I was. ANY RC member working in any apostolate is required to report on recruitment/integration/cultivation of that particular apostolate.

Lisa said...

Roger,

The group cannot be judged 'on it's own' because it is not 'on it's own.'


Lindsay,

Some members can go for years w/o knowing the TORCH/RC connection because only 'certain' Catholics are targeted for recruitment: 1. Wealthy 2. Those with many handsome boys 3. Those with some kind of assest to serve the Legion other than monetary. (land, buildings for meetings, some kind of public talent, etc...) This happens in all of their apostolates, the most painful experience I witnessed this was with a very sweet woman in FAMILIA. It is very subtle, yet very very strong.

Roger said...

Dear Lisa,

Please read carefully. I didn't say "group". I said "program". A program can be good in and of itself. Wouldn't you agree? T.O.R.C.H. may just well be be a marvelous program.

Of course, the "developers", "applicators" and the "application" of a program have to be considered. What are their intentions? What is their orientation? What is their ultimate goal in promoting and supporting the program?

Sacred Scripture is Holy and from God. It is marvelous and very valuable. However, groups can abuse and misuse it. It can become an evil tool. Even the devil quotes it.... Christ, too, quotes it and uses it, but correctly.

So a marvelous program in the hands of the right people or group is a wonderful tool. In the hands of the wrong people or group, it could do a lot of damage. That was my point.

Now, if T.O.R.C.H. is only a group, then I stand corrected.

God bless you.

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Roger,
My experience with T.O.R.C.H. was from many years ago so my information might be out of date, but it is my understanding that it is a group/affiliation offering homeschooling support, not a program in and of itself. To look at their website now, it seems very much the same only more developed than it was then.

Anonymous said...

This topic interests me greatly. I am the co-chair of our local TORCH group. The current chair is not an RC member. Neither am I, although I went to an information meeting and also spent many months in discernment. I decided not to join, after feeling pressured in subtle ways. I was also put off by the fact that you weren't supposed to criticize or question anyone else. It made me feel weird, is all I can say.
Some of my best friends are RC, and a lot of our members are too. I know that some of the original founders of TORCH were RC also.
I know that these women are wonderful, and strong Catholics. They are like my family. I question RC, though, and am glad I waited.
I think that some of them are waiting to see what the Pope determines.
Our TORCH group is the only Catholic group in two counties. There are other groups, but they are either secular or fundamental, with statements of faith to sign for membership.
I think that it is very important to be around other Catholic homeschoolers on a regualr basis, if possible. I intend to do whatever I can, this year as co-chair and next year as Chair, to help our group grow.
I understand the concern shown by many, yet I hate to think that there are Catholic homeschoolers who are missing out on fellowship.
Starting a new group is not always possible.
As far as what we get from TORCH, so far, I have never received a newsletter, lol. Not in years.

Leocea

Deirdre Mundy said...

Leocea-- Does Torch collect dues? Do they go to a national chapter? Is there clear accounting of where all the money goes?

I ask, because in the past RC/LC has taken money collected for certain projects and used it for other things (i.e. support of Maciel's mistresses, travel, etc.)

So if there is any money involved and there's even a PERIPHIAL LC connection, I think a prudent Catholic needs to investigate where it's going.

After all, we should be at least as vigilent with Catholic groups as we are with corporations and other non-profits (Komen foundation, Girl Scouts, etc.), right?

Red Cardigan said...

Just popping in to say that I appreciate everyone's comments, and the kind and civil tone being maintained! Please feel free to keep discussing this--I'm learning a lot.

Leocea, I especially was interested in hearing that you did feel pressured to join RC. But your point that some Catholic homeschooling moms not having other options is a good one, too--I once lived in a rural, not Catholic area, and though we weren't homeschooling yet (still had babies) the lack of Catholic fellowship was something we keenly felt.

Rebecca in CA said...

Wow, I've been in our local TORCH group for years, and hadn't the slightest idea there was a RC connection! I don't think any of the members are RC. There have been questions lately about maintaining the connection, because we do pay dues. I think half of the yearly $25 goes to the national group. So everyone has been wondering whether we should just break off, since we're not really receiving anything from the national group. I think we're one of the largest branches though; covering a large section of the SF Bay area.

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Rebecca in CA,

In line with what Roger posted, would you say that currently TORCH is a program or an association? Based on what you said, "since we're not really receiving anything from the national group" it seems as if they are only an association for purposes of support, but not really a program of any kind. That was my impression when we looked into them years ago and I'm curious if you would agree.

Anonymous said...

I have hears so many times over the years from TORCH members, "we don't get anything for our dues" I really have to wonder where all the $$ is going to...

Rebecca in CA said...

Charlotte, it's definitely an association and not a program. We members use all kinds of programs for homeschooling.

LeeAnn said...

There is an all new leadership team at TORCH. The website is spruced up and new items are being added. So I guess that is "what you get for the dues"

I was a member of TORCH for 8 years and never bumped up against any RC leanings. If my local group was RC I would have heard, as I was being "courted" by a non-homeschooling family in RC. 10 years ago my kids were in Kids for Jesus, and my sons were in Conquest. In fact my one son was a Conquest youth leader up until the papal delegate was announced and we decided he needed to step back from the apostalate.

Mary Liz said...

Just for the history books, my mom was one of the founding members of TORCH - in fact, from what I remember she was the one that named it back when it was just a Maryland homeschool group. My mom and the initial members were not in anyway affiliated with RC.

However, one of the moms that joined shortly after the initial formation of TORCH was herself very highly involved with RC. Ironically, that mom is usually the one that gets the credit for founding TORCH.

It was because of that mom that more RC affiliated families were brought in and TORCH first developed a reputation for being affiliated with RC. But, from what I understand, the affiliations were never official. RC only had influence over TORCH insofar as they had influence over it's leadership on a personal level.

Needless to say there were many falling-outs over it along the way.

I don't know anything about the new leadership team. I hope the best though.

Roger said...

Right on, Red Cardigan! Good discussion. Many important concerns are being raised.... I hope you are able to get to a true understanding of T.O.R.C.H. and its convenience or inconvenience for those who are seeking a positive support group and good affiliation for home schooling families. Surely, there must be some other alternatives out there. Does anyone know of any?

Rebecca in CA said...

Honestly I don't see the need for any affiliation at all. You just find each other at Church or whatever, you start a yahoo group for e-mails, and if you get big enough you decide to appoint some officers and have a newsletter.

LeeAnn said...

Rebecca, that is exactly what I decided to do last year. Our group went quickly from an idea in my head to almost 15 families and 40 kids strong! The only "affiliation" we have is with our church.

Blair said...

I found this link and realize that it is from over a month ago, but wanted to chime in too. I am a former RC member and am active in the homeschool groups in my area.

I have never (aside from rumors) encountered any RC affiliation with TORCH. In fact, I was on some of the RC leadership teams (AFIRE) and was familiar with all the "apostolates" of which TORCH was not one, at least in my city. They always promoted the LC school, so homeschoolers many times were left out because we were not able to participate in RC activities as much as schooling families.

I am very doubtful that any dues would currently be going to RC/LC. They are now required to post their name on any website or handout, for example, "Affiliate of Mission Network. Sponsored by Regnum Christi." So it's fairly easy to figure out what apostolates are affiliated with RC these days. I don't want my money to support them either so I can understand the concern. But overall I'm hopeful that TORCH does not have a RC affiliation.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Just happened across this blog. I am an old home school mom. I formed one ofthe first homeschool support groups in the country and later one of the very first Catholic groups.
Several years into our established presence an RC woman joined out group. She eas insistant on obtaining our full list with addresses and phone numbers. Several months later she complained about a new mother whose child had no friends and asked if we could please link her up to members nearby. We gave her the list and within weeks she contacted every member, gave them a meeting date and left several of us in the dark. During the meeting she announced she was the "New leader of the support group" and said ,"Let;s not reinvent the wheel,let's go under Torch."For myself and several others original members who were uninvited , it all came as a surprise when homeschool mothers called to tell us what had happened. I called seton home study and was told that I,".... was the eleventh call that week from all over the country with the same complaint that an RC member had come in and split their catholic homeschool group in an underhanded and less than charitable way."Marianna Bartold gave an accurate account of these takeovers on her KIC blog.Yes it was considered a Regnum Christi "apostolate" to infiltrate and overtake home school groups using the name TORCH.
I cannot believe that it has come so full circle now! Sadly, some of the friends I once had have children who were abused.
http://www.life-after-rc.com/