Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roman Polanski and Fr. Maciel

The following comment from Ryan A. MacDonald merits not be lost at the end of a preceding thread. That is why I am re-posting it here. I think Ryan makes some valid points and brings to bear the perspective of someone who knows far more about the tragic case of Fr. Gordon Mac Rae than I do. Ryan is responding to an "Anonymous" commenter on this blog. 
Some of the comments here have been quite interesting, and beg responses from someone familiar with the case of Fr. MacRae and with his posts on Roman Polanski and Fr. Maciel. First of all, for someone who presumably enjoys freedom to tell a wrongly imprisoned man that he "just needs to learn how to forgive" reminds me of what Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to as "cheap grace." Flatly, that's easy for you to say. I have read and re-read Fr. MacRae's post on Fr. Maciel, and in no way do I see anywhere therein a defense of Fr. Maciel. MacRae writes with no judgement on whether the man is guilty of none of it, some of it, or all of it. That is for God to judge. The point he makes is that all of this discussion is taking place after Maciel departs the scene and cannot answer for any of it. The greater point is the vast difference in media coverage of the Roman Polanski case and that of Fr. Maciel and other priests who have been accused, some with evidence but most with none. The issue of the varying agendas is crystal clear to me. There are many commentators who now use the Maciel case to attack the reputation of another man who's no longer with us, Pope John Paul II. If you doubt this, just have a look at Joseph Bottum's "The Cost of Fr. Maciel" on the First Things website. I commented there, and some of the other commenters used what I wrote to cast doubt on whether the Church should pursue the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Alma Guilliermo Prieto did the same in the New York Review of Books article cited by Fr. MacRae in his post. It's also interesting that Anonymous seems to call Fr. MacRae's own credibility into question simply because he expressed a contrary opinion on the Maciel case. I think that person just proved Fr. MacRae's central point about guilt by association. It's easy to make these claims, but it's also easy to make them anonymously. 


poman said...

I am in agreement here. It has always bothered my how some have taken the Maciel situation to call into question the character of JPII. That is very sad and I believe Fr. Maciel will be accountable to God for causing that as well.

The fact that JPII may have been fooled by Fr. Maciel says to me how masterful he (Maciel) was at deception. I am sure some people do not like JPII and what he stood for, so this is just cherry picking for them to cast aspersions. But i can't help but wonder if some do not like to think that Fr. Maciel really could fool someone like JPII because it could mean that he really did fool most of LC/RC as well, even some in leadership? To admit that LC priests, regardless of one's regard/disregard for them,may be innocent AND hurting (and, dare I say it, victims too) can be difficult. I know I am sometimes uncomfortable/unsatisfied when I do not have someone else to blame, but that is just my faulty sense of justice.

I am not pointing fingers, nor am I trying to distract from the gravity of Fr. Maciel's sins, or any failing of those in LC/RC, just interested in the psychology of it all.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. MacDonald,
You have to understand the background on the comment to Monk.

“You should tell Father Gordon MacRae he just needs to learn how to forgive. I’m sure he’ll thank you”

That was stated sarcastically, as Monk noted in his response. You see, much of the Monk’s activity in the blogosphere has to do with the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. Many of his comments towards critics of the Legion or Regnum is that the need to forgive and move on. I count myself as both a critic and a victim. Monk has told us repeatedly that our criticism is a sign of our lack of forgiveness, and that we should forgive and move on, “rewrite our grievance story”. It gets tiresome, and frankly, hurtful. As any victim would do, I follow this story as it unfolds, and I discuss it on a blog where other Ex-members and victims meet to make sense of their experience.

Monk seems to be selective about which circumstances call for forgiveness. He doesn’t admonish Regnum Christi members or LCs to forgive their critics.

Father MacRae is apparently a victim of an injustice, and he speaks out about these sorts of injustices. Can you imagine if Monk told him to “get over it” or “rewrite his grievance story”?

The Monk said...

Anonymous@August 26,6:08 PM

I respect that describe yourself as a "victim" and a "critic." Just using those two terms suggests we have a lot in common. If you don't grasp my meaning here, you have a lot of catching up to do.

However, it's not quite accurate to characterize me as telling anyone repeatedly that "criticism is a sign of our lack of forgiveness, and that we should forgive and move on, “rewrite our grievance story”.

"Rewriting the grievance story' is a method for helping manage anger - that is the contex in which I have used it. Venting anger is perfectly healthy and useful although, frankly, it can be equally tiresome to listen to. Fr. Maciel has gone to meet his Maker. The Vatican has clearly stated its postion on him and on the Legion of Christ. There is a process underway to deal with the situation. I'll leave the admonishing to the Holy Father. His attitude seems to be decidedly more charitable.

On another of my postings I quoted,

"Mercy is the trait of those who realize their own weakness enough to be kind to those who are struggling with theirs. It is, as well, the measure of the God-life in us." My autobiography addresses my criticisms of the Legion and Fr. Maciel. However, as I get older, I have come to realize that between forgiveness and condemnation the former is more healing and, often, more Christian. Peace!

Anonymous said...

My purpose in posting as not to take you to task, there's been enough of that. However, I didn't want Mr. MacDonald to go on thinking someone was suggesting Fr MacRae just needs to forgive.

On the other hand, I wonder why you've never suggested to RCs (the Scarlet Letter poster or others) that they should forgive people who criticize, or that they might try to be more merciful?

I'll sign off as Kris until I figure out how to sign in with either a google account or other method, so Mr. MacDonald is not further offended at anonymous posts.


Kris said...

I am all figured out, success at last!

The Monk said...

Kris, August 26, 2010 7:16 PM

Good question as to why I don't take LC/RC to task for not forgiving those who criticize.

I suppose I feel enough people have brought that to their attention and beat them (rightly) over the head with it. But I take your point. I do deal with it in my book but I certainly could be more vehement. Thanks for your interest.