Friday, September 24, 2010

Legion of Christ:: "what’s good will be kept safe and what needs to go will be duly culled"

I am sure many Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi members are tired of the on-going analysis of their predicament in the wake of the revelations about the scandalous life of Marcial Maciel the disgraced founder.

Joan Kingsland over at the Regnum Christi blog, just penned some thoughts about the process of reform that is already underway. It seems only fair to give some time to her analysis. Here is my paraphrase of her comments where she compares what the Legion is going through to the culling of blueberries - separating the good berries from the rotten ones.

In his May 1st Vatican Communiqué, the Holy Father spoke of “the need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ”. He didn’t say the Legion has no charism at all, or that its charism is somehow up for grabs. Rather, right then and there he put his finger on the heart of the Legion’s charism by identifying its “true core, that of the ‘militia Christi’ that characterizes the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church.”

In his June 16 letter naming Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, CS, as his personal Delegate, the Holy Father words were slightly different, while maintaining his same line of thought. He spoke of “the need and urgency of a path of in-depth revision of the Institute’s charism”. Certainly an in-depth revision implies the serious matter of culling; but it’s with the aim of protecting and perfecting what’s already there, something good that underlies and inspires the entire process.
This sheds light on why the Legion and Regnum Christi Movement remain open to new members and to ordaining deacons and priests. You don’t revise what’s rotten: you simply throw it out.
 How is this “culling” (an analogy to picking blueberries) going to take place? Above all through an in-depth revision of the Legion’s Constitutions, hence the specific mission of the Delegate of the Holy Father. The July 9th decree, approved by the Holy Father and signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, specifies that “the paramount task of the Papal Delegate is to initiate, accompany and complete the revision of the Constitutions.” It makes sense that this is to be the pathway for the Legion’s renewal since the authentic tradition of an institute is “present in its rule, constitutions and statutes” (Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consacrata, n. 36). This same decree specifies that members at all levels of the Legion are to participate in the revision of the Constitutions. No doubt it will be challenging to consult so many people, but the results should be very enriching.
 The Pope’s fatherly interest and closeness to us along our current purifying pathway, provides great security and peace that what’s good will be kept safe and what needs to go will be duly culled.

I join Joan in praying that what’s good will be kept safe and what needs to go will be duly culled. And the sooner it happens, the better for everyone - especially LC & RC members who are stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Anonymous said...

I join Joan's Parents in trying to get her out of the Regnum Christi

The Monk said...

Is that just a sarcastic comment or is it based on your personal knowledge? Personally, I think it's a low blow to make that comment anonymously. I'd appreciate your clarification. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I see good news and bad news in Joan's post.

The good news - apparently she concedes that there is some sort of bad fruit that needs to be culled. This is actually a momentous admission, and possibly reveals a glimmer of hope?

The bad news - she doesn't say what it is that needs to be culled. Therein lies a big problem for me- who in the movement will speak honestly to what exactly it is that needs to be culled (reformed, fixed, modified, outlawed...) ??

There is a tendency to express dismay at MM's misdeeds, as though that unfortunate Maciel-mess is the (only) bad fruit. So, isn't the culling done? He's dead, the Vatican has communicated very succinctly their position on MM's lack of religious sentiment and criminal acts. If that's all there is, then theres nothing to be done. But then, why did they need a Visitation? Why do they need a delegate?

I would welcome a truly honest, transparent post from Joan, an LC leader, or any RC for that matter which expresses what exactly it is they think the bad fruits are and how they will be culled.

On a final note, I wish the LC/RC would quit commenting on the Pope's "closeness" to them. It really is an inappropriate sort of spin. It seems creepily cultish to read "closeness" into the Pope's actions and words, imo.

poman said...

Anonymous wrote "It seems creepily cultish to read "closeness" into the Pope's actions and words, imo."

The Papal Delegate, during a homily to the Legion on July 13, 2010 stated "The Pope sends his delegate to tell you that he loves you and that he is close to you."

In a letter sent about a week later, but dated July 10, 2010, he wrote "For the Pope, the Pontifical Delegate is his personal Delegate. As he carries out his task, the Delegate must act in a way that he is “for this Religious Family a concrete sign of my (the Pope’s) closeness and act in my (the pope’s) name." " (parentheses are from the original)

You are free to express your opinion on the appropriateness of anyone mentioning it. I just wanted to clarify that no one is reading "closeness" into the Pope's actions and words. They are his words.

My opinion is that it brings comfort, like an abused child, to know that someone that important is close to them, is not abandoning them. I have no problem with that, especially since the Pope has indeed said it on at least a couple of occasions. I think he realizes the comfort such a simple phrase could bring.

Anonymous said...

I get your point about closeness as expressed by the Pope. However, there is a difference between "Vatican-speak" and how you or I speak or expect to be spoken to. As such, the Vatican can SAY "closeness", I would personally HEAR "gravely concerned and paying close attention to your harrowing circumstances"

Maybe the RC consecrated speak in flowery Vatican-style language? If so, I find that to be an equally troubling affectation, as cult-like as their resolute insistence on serenity in awful times. What I'd like to see is RC "consecrated" living in the truth, being real.

poman said...

I guess everyone "hears" things differently. Not to belabor the point, but the first quote said "The Pope sends his delegate to tell you that he loves you and that he is close to you."

To interpret "close to you" in this context as "gravely concerned" seems incongruent. I am interested in being balanced on both sides. If we just perceive the consecrated, or label them in general as "cultish", then we may tend to view everything they say as "cultish". I think in this case they are using/understanding "close(ness)" in a proper way.

I know it's a cliche, but we've heard the saying about a broken clock being right twice a day. My view is that we can all help the reformation/revision/whatever of the Legion/RC by making sure we are not guilty of the same things we accuse others of. I think this kind of discussion is healthy, as long as we keep things cordial and balanced, which I find is often the case on this blog.

Anonymous said...

We can sidestep the obvious all we want, in the name of charity. However, I have met several 3gfs (I refuse to call them consecrated, because they're not) I've had them in my home, and they are CULTISH. I'm sad for them, I'm sad they've been lured into this awful fake vocation, but the reality is, they've been duped, misled, and misused. The fact that the Vatican has scheduled a visitation on a group of laity (which they are) speaks volumes to the gravity of their predicament. That's reality folks, whether you like it or not. You can split hairs over the Vatican's "closeness" but it does nothing to change the truth.

poman said...

I am not trying to set up an argument about "cultish" behavior, or trying to split hairs, just to clarify some things so that we can discuss with all the proper information.

Whether they are properly called "consecrated" or not, they are laity. Religious sisters are considered laity as well.

Not downplaying the seriousness of the situation, but according to the Vatican's own report based on the Visitators reports, "The Holy Father will send a visitator to the consecrated members of the "Regnum Christi" Movement, who have insistently requested this."

The Vatican may or may not have taken this course, but the current reason for visitator comes from an internal request of "the consecrated members" themselves.

The Monk said...

Anonymous, September 30, 2010

I think it fair to mention that all religious orders of nuns in the US are currently undergoing a Vatican visitation.

Recently, I've been told that there are two other relgious congregations in more or less the same predicament as the LC. I have no way of knowing if this is true or if we are talking congregations of men or women. However, my source has been extremely well informed up to now...

None of this, of course, means an awful lot. The 3gf did ask for a Delegate. And as I've commented on another blog, I don't see much difference between Opus Dei and the RC structure... which, like the RC came to the fore under Pope JP 11. I haven't much personal knowledge of current 3gf. But I truly believe that the LC/RC machine is quite well aware they need "culling." That for me is enough. I can understand how many of them have no real clue as to what might entail, exactly.

Anonymous said...

Be careful of reading and extrapolating from official reports written in carefully worded Vaticanese.The fact that the requests for a visitation came from SOME of the 3gfs does not mean that the 3gfs ALL unanimously requested or believed they were in need of a visitation. In fact, of the 3gfs I know, I'm sure NONE of them believed they were in need of a visitation and none of them were the ones requesting it.

I'd bet the request for a visitation came from a minority of current 3gfs, and their request was combined with the sheer volume of reports to the AV by ex-3gfs as well as people like me whose families were, shall we say, shattered by the influence of RC "consecrated".

The 3gf are both victims and perpetrators of harmful effects of l/r. There are no words the Vatican will ever use to describe these complicated facts in any of it's communications.

Anonymous said...

The RC 3gf are not "religious", as real nuns are. Correct?

Anonymous said...

My perception of the visitation on US women religious is that there are varying problems with some orders, emphasis on "varying" and "some". It makes sense therefore to conduct a visitation on them all.

The difference with RC consecrated is that their investigation is focussed solely on RC consecrated, for a set of problems unique to RC consecrated. Their visitation is being conducted completely independent of the US visitation. Completely different mandate, different personnel involved.

Anonymous said...

Monk, it's comments like this damage your credibility - "Recently, I've been told that there are two other relgious congregations in more or less the same predicament as the LC." I say baloney there's 2 other religious congregations in more or less the same predicament as the LC, you know it, and you're better than this. Maybe you don't intend it, but it makes it appear you're saying "hey, there are other congregations that have problems too, so the LC isn't alone". As though the problems elsewhere somehow dilutes the gravity of the LC situation.

If we go down this road, we can also say things like "there are starving children in the world, can't we worry about that, aren't they more important?" Some comments have the appearance of being "thought-stopping comments". The LC calls these "talking points".

poman said...

The visitation of sisters in the US was started by the Vatican. The visitation of the 3fgs was at the request of some/many/few 3gfs. Certainly different situations, agreed. One can look better or worse than the other, I guess it all depends on the person.

The Monk said...

Anonymous, October 5, 2010 9:18 AM

I take your point. In no way do I intend to imply that because other congregations have problems the LC's problems are diminished. I think your phrase "thought-stopping comments" is apt for the news I was given just four days ago. I confess it had that effect on me, perhaps because of the credibility of the source.

I wrote more here in my reply to you - then I decided it was too long for a comment - so I've inserted it a new post with today's date. Let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Monk. I'm flattered to think I may have inspired a new thread!!

Careful what you ask for - "let me know what you think" bwa ha ha ha!