Friday, July 2, 2010

Regnum Christi, Legion of Christ and "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines"

The following review of my memoir "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines: How an Irishman found his heart and nearly lost his mind" just appeared on Amazon.  I don't know the person who wrote it but, I have to admit, I am very pleased to read her comments.

In another posting, I mentioned that some few people suggested that the Legion or members of Regnum Christi would not want to read my book. In fact, the opposite has proved true - I have heard directly from several Legionary priests who say they thoroughly enjoyed it because it helped them make sense of the stories they heard about the founder. Former Legionaries, many of whom I never knew, share the same reaction and flatter me by saying they found the stories "inspirational".  By now you will have read Paul Lennon's (author of "Our Father - Maciel - who art in bed") thoughtful review.

This new review from Rachelle is the second written one from a member of Regnum Christi. I am taking the liberty of copying it here because I think it reveals a very healthy and encouraging pattern in the thinking of those who are still involved with the Legion and the Movement. Thank you Rachelle for being wise enough to want to understand the difficulties and for seeking to support Legionary priests who, together with you, face big challenges as they seek to purify the family from the sins of the father. I'm in your corner.

An Excellent Book on One Man's Experience of the Legion of Christ, July 1, 2010
By Rachelle Cournoyer

In the recent scandals involving Father Maciel, I wondered how the founder of the Legion of Christ could have established a powerful order of religious priests and a large lay movement within the Catholic Church while living a double life. Jack Keogh, in these memoires, recounts how he was recruited at the age of 17, and how he poured the energies of his youth founding key institutions in Mexico for the love of Christ. It is the story of idealism, dedication, generous service, and we see Jack flowering under the huge challenges that are given to him. The tension of living in a religious community is recounted with good humor, and anyone who has had the opportunity of living with religious orders will recognize themselves in his funny tales. We see a young order growing through the commitment and enthusiasm of its young men, under the direction of a mysterious. charismatic and charming leader who does not live in the community but drops into it periodically to give it inspiration and direction. Father Maciel is able to draw the best out of his young men, and does so repeatedly, squeezing every ounce of sacrifice from them, while remaining oblivious to their human needs. How Father Maciel betrays Jack Keogh comes like a punch in the gut. But this is not the end of the story, because through resilience, determination, and indomitable spirit, Jack is able to overcome formidable obstacles, put the Legion behind him, and embrace a new life. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a good human story that is full of hope, and to anyone wanting a fresh look at the inside story of the foundation and growth of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.

I particularly recommend this story to other Regnum Christi members because it will increase our understanding of the challenges that we face and how we can better support our young priests in the Legion in the upcoming Vatican-mandated reformation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even though I have yet to read your book, I think this review gives a hint at how someone who did so much evil (Fr. Maciel) was still able to do so much good. It was through dedicated, good intentioned men and women in LC/RC. Some find it preposterious that an order and movement founded by a scoundrel could produce any good fruit. It is simple to understand when one realizes that the vast majority of those in LC/RC (yourself included, Jack, naturally) were, and are, good Catholics, doing great work. The good fruit from LC/RC was produced by these people, despite the evil that Fr. Maciel was perpetrating at the same time.

I understand people want it all to shut down, and that may be what happens in the end. But I would caution people against forgetting/acknowledging the great work many good and faithful Catholics have done during their time in LC/RC. It can be hard to filter that out of the terrible actions of Fr. Maciel, but they are there. It is not the same as condoning or defending what Fr. Maciel did and was. It should in no way diminish the gravity of the crimes of Fr. Maciel, but unfortunately his crimes seem to diminish the good works of those that served under him, adding to the increasing number of people hurt by his actions.

Even though you were hurt by Fr. Maciel, Jack, and eventually left, I am confident you did alot of good during you time in LC, and any good reputation LC had in any circles can be attributed to people like you (both out of LC/RC and still in LC/RC).