Thursday, September 29, 2011

Like slow poison

When I made this list, I originally had a question mark by Zenit; while there were plenty of Legion of Christ connections, Zenit seemed to be rather quiet about the affiliation, and there was no hard confirmation of the Legion's ownership of Zenit that I could find online (and without that, knowing the Legion's propensity to harass and sue, I wasn't going to post Zenit as a "definite").

Today, I updated that post to remove the question mark. Here's why:
Jesus Colina, the founder and director of the news agency Zenit, has announced his resignation after a decision by the Legionaries of Christ to enhance the Legion identity of the agency. [...]

In an exclusive interview from Rome with Catholic News Agency, Colina explained the details behind his departure. [...]

How do you explain this decision?

Well, in reality I think this decision is the culmination of a gradual mutual loss of trust which began several years ago. The manner in which the Legion of Christ hid the information about Fr. Marcial Maciel, which was discovered bit by bit by the press, caused a breakdown of trust in this institution on the part of the director of the news agency.

I understand the difficult situation in which the superiors of the Legionaries of Christ found themselves. Now in public statements they have said they already had proof of Fr. Maciel’s different lives for years before his death. Nevertheless, despite the statement issued by the Holy See in 2006, they continued to present him as a role model, even at his death and after his death.

The superiors invited me to a Mass celebrated at the chapel of the Legionaries’ Center for Higher Studies 30 days after his death. During the homily, before hundreds of religious, Fr. Maciel was presented as a role model. This is particularly grave, because it is one thing to avoid a scandal in revealing the crimes or the double (although you would have to say the triple or quadruple) life of Fr. Maciel, and quite another to continuing maintaining this myth of sanctity that the congregation had promoted during his life.

Moreover, since a number of years had passed since the Vatican statement was issued calling on Fr. Maciel to retire and to publicly acknowledge his lies and crimes, the impression was spread among the religious and those close to the Legionaries that the Pope had unjustly punished him. This to me is very grave, especially considering everything that this Pope has done for the congregation.

Do read the whole CNA exclusive interview with Mr. Colina here.

Among those who still support the Legion or one of its many branches, affiliates, apostolates, missions, schools, etc. ad infinitum there have been some that have written or left comments from time to time asking me if I don't think it's possible for the Legion truly and sincerely to reform. Some have even asked, with that peculiarly passive-aggressive and self-serving form of "charity" for which the Legion is known worldwide, whether I don't think it's sort of mean to maintain such a list with its obvious negativity. Um, no, and no.

Let me clarify that first "no." Of course it is theoretically possible for the Legion to reform. But the Legion would have to internalize the idea that there was something that needed to be reformed. And this latest word from inside a Legion-affiliated apostolate is not exactly encouraging. Zenit was criticized, and rightly, for pulling its punches on the matter of Maciel until after the whole ugly story was already circulating.

But that was several years ago, some might argue. Sure--but as of last December, there was still concern about the idea that the Legion was not forbidding private study of Maciel's writings and even what might be called private "veneration"--because why else would people wish to keep photos? Have there been any changes to that policy? Are those within the Legion of Christ still permitted (or even subtly encouraged) to study the life of the Founder absent some ugly details, to focus on his written works (at least, the ones that don't appear to have been plagiarized) or to keep small pictures as if they were "holy cards" tucked into their prayer books?

It is my honest (and Constitutionally protected free-speech) opinion that the Legion's refusal to internalize a denunciation of Maciel is like a slow poison that will eventually destroy the Legion altogether. The interview with Mr. Colina seems to bolster that opinion.


love the girls said...

A number of kids I knew went into the legion back when it was The place to safely enter without fear of scandal or harassment.

Versus the more blanket statements, it would be nice to post, if you know, who was not complicit in the cover up.

Red Cardigan said...

Who was *not* complicit in the cover-up? Ltg, nobody knows that at this point, just as nobody officially knows who was complicit. Even Mr. Colina of Zenit said that he never suspected anything wrong about Maciel.

But clearly, given that money was being paid out to various partners of Maciel, some within the order did know. What did they know, and when did they know it? That's the question, isn't it?

love the girls said...

The question I want answered is who didn't know. Because at the moment everyone is being smeared.

Red Cardigan said...

I don't see it that way, LTG. Everybody knows now--yet some people seem to think that Maciel should still be looked up to as a role model, his life and letters studied (with notable expurgations), and his picture kept and honored. To me that's a sign of a serious systemic problem.

John E said...

Well that's an authoritarian cult of personality based religious organization for you, isn't it?

What's remotely comparable here in the US? Where the founder dies but the group goes on - without mass suicide, being killed by government authorities, or some combination of the two?

Scientology maybe? That's a good example of how a group of, say ten-thousand core adherents can keep a small elite center very well funded, I'd say.

Maureen said...

LTG - we'll never know who was *not* complicit in the cover-up unless those who were are identified. I'm not holding my breathe for anything close to that kind of openness and transparency from the Legion, or anything afiliated with it in any way.

John E said...

So would it be fair to say that expecting this group to denounce Maciel would be like expecting Scientology Inc. to denounce L. Ron Hubbard?

Maureen said...

I think there will be no transparency or denouncement as long as the inner circle remains intact, they have too much to lose. Those who see the need for root change, if they ever get power, may be willing to denounce MM. However, many are leaving as they come to realize those in power are not open to real reform.

Morris Howard said...

I glanced at the list, and it reminds me of corporate chicanery, with shell corporations, fronts, etc. I have only looked at the names, but it seems that these other organizations were deliberately set up and named to obscure their connection with Fr. Maciel. This should have been a red flag to somebody.

love the girls said...

John E writes : "Well that's an authoritarian cult of personality based religious organization for you, isn't it?

What's remotely comparable here in the US?"

Better question, what isn't comparable? Regnum Christi is just another one of the Catholic cults not really any different than Communion and Liberation, or Tradition Family and Property, or you name. Push comes to shove, every last one of them considers it an act of apostasy to leave the cult.

The Church is now loaded with them, some more strange than others like The Neocatechumenal Way. Or more strange that they end up being a cult such as NFP.

What they all have in common is enthusiasm which blinds the members to see that it's possible to be fully Catholic or fully married or what ever outside of them.

What they also all have in common is that there doesn't exist a local Catholic culture for them outside of their cults. So what do you expect to happen when it turns out the founder has feet of clay?

Everyone I know is rather chagrined over the entire affair, and want it to just go away, not through denial but because it's their lives which are also being dragged through the mud.

Maureen said...

LTG - The thing is that usually there is a lo0cal Catholic culture outside of LC/RC groups. It's just that the members have been conditioned to scorn/disdain those for lacking their piety or fidelity to the Pope or Mary because they don't take part in RC events or proclaim their daily, weekly, monthly and annual commitments from the rooftops.
The quietly faithful and diligently serving parishioners are seen as less than because they're not "building the kingdom" the Legion way.
These thought processes aren't obvious to the outer fringe of members but it becomes much more apparent as you become more involved. There's a sick utilitarianism. If you are not useful and readily available to LC/RC you will be sloughed off. The true servant's heart and seeing Christ in distressing disguises is not part of the heart of LC/RC life.
If those you speak of would allow themselves to really get to know and be open to truly hearing what their fellow parishioners have to say and offer they would likely find a great deal of community, just not as rigidly structured and controlled.

JMB said...

LTG - C&L is not a cult, nor is the Neo Cat Way. I can't see the comparison here with Regnum Chrisit. Because they are lay aposolates? Why do you think they are cults? Our C&L group is a loosely organized group that meets once a week to discuss Msgr. Giussani's writings. There's no membership or any requirements to join or even read the stuff. If it's a cult, it's a very lame one.

love the girls said...

JMB writes : C&L is not a cult"

Actually it is, which doesn't make it evil. A fair number of Italian college kids embraced the Faith through Communion and Liberation, but those same college kids in turn invariable held that it was only through C.L. that the Faith could be fully lived. I know, about 25 years ago I mistakenly started C.L. in my state when what I wanted to start was a youth group pulling together the orthodox kids, and spent hours fruitlessly attempting to explain to them that the Faith was not perfected in C.L.


And if you can't see the Neo Cat Way is completely whacked out, what can I say?

love the girls said...


Each cult has it's own chrism. The LC/RC chrism is simply very USE oriented. To say the least. Which in turn makes them especially blind to the real harm they have caused people.

Maureen said...

LTG- very true, and thus hard to pull out the weeds' roots as they so closely entwine with true sacrificial love. You have to know the hallmarks to see the differences easily.a

Charlotte said...


Sometimes you have to allow yourself to be whacked out to get to the truth.

Just saying.

scotch meg said...

Erin, Are you still trying to keep this list up to date? The National Catholic Register was sold to EWTN and is now run by them. I don't know about the others on the list, but NCR should be off it.

Red Cardigan said...

Scotch Meg, thanks. I haven't actively worked on the list, but will update it to reflect that, and any other major changes.

JMB said...

C&L is a study group. The Neo-Cat way is an adult catechesis group. Neither of these are a cult, despite what you may think. There is no membership in C&L. There is no secrecy and there is no leadership.

Martha said...


I added a comment to your listing post but it didn't show up. I have a copy of the Diocese of Dallas directory and it lists the RC apostolates in Dallas - it confirms what you have and adds 2 more.