Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It took seven months for this?

The Legionaries of Christ recently issued directives requiring some aspects of the "cult of Maciel" to be dismantled from their order:

.- Under Vatican authorization, the head of the Legionaries of Christ announced that he is implementing new changes regarding their deceased founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel. The new norms include not celebrating his birthday, not selling his writings and removing his photos from group centers.

A statement on the Legionaries' website said that current leader, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, issued the norms on Dec. 6 following the approval of Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, whom Pope Benedict charged with reforming the order last July. [...]

New changes – which are the result of ongoing dialogue between the leaders of the religious order and lay movement – mandate that significant days related to Fr. Marciel's birth, baptism, and priestly ordination can no longer be celebrated by members.

The founder will also be referred to simply as “Fr. Maciel” instead of “Nuestro Padre” (our father) and his personal writings and talks will no longer be available for purchase at Legionary publishing houses or centers.

New norms also require that photos of Fr. Marciel either alone or with the Pope be removed from Legionary and Regnum Christi buildings.

But, alas, private devotion to "Nuestro Padre" can continue unabated:

The statement emphasized that leaders should respect the “personal freedom” of group members and allow for individuals to keep a photograph of the founder, read his writings, or listen to his talks. The content of Fr. Maciel's writings can also be used by members without citing the author.

Which is really convenient, considering how many of Maciel's writings have been shown to have been plagiarized.

Every time I think the Legion can't underwhelm any further, they manage to sink even lower than I might have expected them to. This latest communication is no exception. Seven months after the Vatican described their totally disgraced, sexual molester/pedophile/con artist founder in the strongest words: "The serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling..." the Legion finally gets around to requiring its members to quit treating Maciel like a saint: celebrating his birthday (and his mother's, apparently), plastering his picture all over their institutions, reading from and quoting his books and letters as if they were holy material instead of material evidence in the most successful con game of the twentieth century. Oh, but individual Legion priests and Regnum Christi members can go right on ahead venerating Maciel; this is "personal freedom" instead of being seen as signs of a deeply pathological psychological disorder, as it really is.

If the Legion were serious about reform, they would be performing acts of public penance in reparations for all the evils Maciel caused, tracking down donors and benefactors to make reparations for money given to Maciel which was not used to "build up the Kingdom" but to pay off Maciel's various mistresses, and ceremonially burning every "writing" reputed to be his (but really, often, someone else's entirely)--all of this as a sort of preface or prologue to the real work of reform, which would take at least a century to accomplish (and which would require some actually holy person to become the new founder at some point). Instead, the Legion has been acting as though reform is almost complete--things are fine--everything's good! And at the same time, it took them far too long to decide that perhaps having pictures of a sexually deviant pedophile/con artist all over their walls, and throwing a party on his birthday, were not perhaps prudent in light of the Vatican's stern denunciation of their wicked founder.

Anyone who is still involved with this parasitic and incurable order ought to take note of the huge, blinking signs indicating that the Legion isn't at all serious about reform. I imagine that there are some Legion members who will keep their little photos of Maciel tucked away in their books of his writings, under the firm but hideously misguided belief that this is all a huge mistake, and that history will eventually vindicate their persecuted saint--or, if not quite that, then that God will miraculously reveal how He came to do this great work of the Legion and Regnum Christi through a flawed vessel (but hey, aren't we all?) at which point it will be fine to celebrate Maciel's birthday again.


Anonymous said...

Hey, in terms of organizations, that's really fast. If anything, on many levels, I find this encouraging.

Deirdre Mundy said...

If you count from Feb 2009 (When the news first came out) it's nearly 2 years, not 7 months.

Also, I find it creepy that you can preach on him AS LONG AS YOU DON'T CITE THE SOURCE.

Seriously? So I suppose ANYONE is fair game for preaching, as long as you quote them but just say "A man once said....." Or "I once read..."

Just peachy. To me, this whole new policy seems to be a carefully crafted effort to give the APPEARANCE of progress while leaving the destructive spirituality of Maciel in place.

Red Cardigan said...

Deirdre is, of course, right about the timeline; I'm only dating it from the Vatican statement because of the strength of that particular condemnation.

But I don't think in terms of organizations that taking seven months to remove the pictures of a sexually deviant con man "devoid of scruples and genuine religious feeling" is quick at all. Organizations may move slowly on some things, sure. But we're not talking about some minor, morally neutral matter; we're talking about the continued veneration of a man known to have fathered children in violation of his vows and credibly accused of sexually abusing those same children along with other men. The pictures should have come down the day the Vatican statement was issued at the very *latest,* not seven months later--and they may not be down yet; this is just an instruction to do so!

Red Cardigan said...

I worded that awkwardly: credibly accused of having sexually abused his own children *and* of having sexually abused other boys and men. The way I unfortunately worded it sounds even worse than the reality--which is pretty darned hard to do!

Roger said...

Yea..... Gee whiz, Where's the "personal freedom" to choose one's spiritual director or confessor? Where's the personal freedom to speak out against abuses regarding the internal forum? Where's the personal freedom to live Christian charity as Christ proclaimed it? Where's the personal freedom to speak out against inappropriate use of funds? Hmmmm.... Personal freedom to STILL venerate Father Maciel..... Oh my!

Dave said...

I wonder if any more priests have bailed out?

Speaking of two who are in the process of doing so, please keep praying for Frs. Cliff Ermatinger and Bob Weigher, who are seeking incardination in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Fr. Cliff has been a perfect fit for his parish (mostly Hispanic with a strong Anglo contingent, one of the largest Catholic schools in the country, good liturgy and excellent choir).

Anonymous said...

After ALL they know about maciel WHO would want to keep his picture even if they hide it from the public?
I guess Alvaro will keep the picture of him %#$@&* maciel!