Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Legion of Christ adopts new norms regarding founder Marcial Maciel

Zenith.org reports the Legionaries of Christ have divulged new norms regarding their founder, Fr. Maciel.
They were published Friday by the general director of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, Father Alvaro Corcuera, with the authorization of the pontifical delegate, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis.

• The Legionaries of Christ and its lay movement Regnum Christi will no longer refer to their founder as "Nuestro Padre," celebrate his birthday, or hang photos of him in their centers.
• In institutional writings, the way of referring to Father Maciel will be as 'founder of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi' or simply 'Fr Maciel.'" Among the Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi, it was general practice to refer to the founder as "Nuestro Padre" (our father).
• Photographs of the founder alone or with the Holy Father cannot be placed in Legionary or Regnum Christi centers
• Father Maciel's personal writings and talks will not be for sale in the congregation’s publishing houses, centers, and works of apostolate.
• Legionaries and consecrated members of Regnum Christi to keep a photograph among their personal belongings, and to read Father Maciel's writings or listen to his talks in private.
• The writings of Father Maciel may be used when giving talks and sermons, but without citing the author.
• Maciel’s priest's birthday, baptismal day, name day and priestly ordination anniversary "are not to be celebrated," and "the anniversary of his death, Jan. 30, will be a day dedicated especially to prayer."
• The burial place of Father Maciel, located in a cemetery in his native Cotija, Mexico, will be given the value that pertains to any Christian burial place, and will be treated as a place of prayer for the eternal repose of the deceased. In the same cemetery, members of Maciel's family are also buried, as are several Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi consecrated members.
• The retreat centers in Cotija will continue offering the same services, but a place for prayer, reparation, and expiation will be created there.


Anonymous said...

"and to read Father Maciel's writings or listen to his talks in private.
• The writings of Father Maciel may be used when giving talks and sermons, but without citing the author."

This is SO unethical. This is a complete and total lack of integrity. I have been reeling from shock ever since I read it on the RC website.

They want to hide MM away from the laity and put him underground and cover him up with silence and continue feeding on him without anyone knowing.

There is no way I can continue to associate with either the Legion or Regnum Christi. The dishonesty is too much to bear.

OJane said...

I'm wondering, what are your thoughts on these newly adopted norms, Jack?

poman said...

To the first anonymous, I think you may be misinterpreting the purpose of those norms, in particular the part about not citing the author.

As distasteful and horrible the things Fr. Maciel did are, there are some things in his writings that are very profound and true, even if not original. Is that hard to acknowledge? Very much so! The world has a hard time seeing redemption, the Church does not. If there is truth there, do we ignore it? No. But they are saying let's not give credit to Fr. Maciel in any way. Let's give credit where it is due, to God.

I have personally thrown out everything with his name on it. But should I never encourage my fellow Catholics to work tirelessly for the Church and Christ since our time on earth is so short? That was a consistent them in many of Fr. Maciel's writings. He may have not been genuine, or may have had ulterior motives in saying so`, but the truth remains. I will no longer reference him in saying these things. I can even find some saints that say similar things and maybe reference them. But I don't have to stop saying these things, sharing these truths since they belong to the Church if they are truths of God, even if I first learned them from his writings.

That sucks for me, perhaps not being able to fully purge that association from my head, but I trust that God will take of it in time.

BTW, these norms have been in practice for quite some time now, just never formalized and apporved by the delegate.

Anonymous said...

Dear Poman,

I would not be able to get away with doing that in my professional life. I can't see how secular ethics can trump those of a religious organization. Sure, in Catholicism, the bar is so high that we invariably fail to meet it, but we are better people for trying.

I can understand that if all you have been schooled in is Maciel, that you might resort to his better concepts to fill a short term gap. But at the same time, should you not seek out something more substantial and true spiritual reading, especially if you are in charge of feeding others?

It is the decision not to do so that is like an ice shower. How can there be hope for a refoundation if you build it up on shifting sands?

Anon One

OJane said...

Poman, I bet Adolf Hitler said some things that were profoundly true too, but I don't want to sit through a talk in which HE is quoted but his identity as author is hidden.

Sometimes, the evil nature of the messenger transcends the quality of the message. Therefore we have to toss out all of his words. The world is not devoid of spiritually enriching teachings, and the LofC will never run out of quality material from saintly men and women. I sat through enough LC talks on humility defined as "living in the truth". To cling to the writings of MM that formed them as priests is to NOT humility, it's a sign they are spiritually crippled when it comes to judging honestly the value of their founder's influence.

What does it mean if you or I have the sense to chuck MM's writing right where they belong? If LCs still cling to them, pray them, preach them, teach them, then they are NOT reforming or changing, they're just taking their cult of personality underground. Not a good way to embark on a reformed Legion, imo.

poman said...


You mentioned people "clinging" to Maciel's writing. I can only speak for myself. I do not cling to any of his writings. I have thrown them out. If there are others who do, I would question them on why they do. But I cannot speak for them.

When there is a comment like "Sometimes, the evil nature of the messenger transcends the quality of the message. Therefore we have to toss out all of his words." that cannot be objectively substantiated it's hard to respond. I could say the opposite "Sometimes, the quality fo the message trascends the evil nature of the messenger, therefore we can use it." But me stating it does not make it true. Please understand, I am not saying your statement or my statement is true/false, just that we cannot say such blanket statements as true without backing it up. I would not venture to use Monk's blog to get into a discussion on debating/logic techniques, so I won't.

It's interesting you bring up Hitler, as I refrained from using him as an example, simply because I am not sure of my stance on such things. I despise all that the Nazis did and stood for. But what do we say of the advances that we, mostly unknowingly, profit from because of their work (which was most often from very immoral means, such as human experimentation)? There are many medical advances and insights (such as the body's response to freezing) that we know because of their unethical experiments. Do we ignore their truths, or use them for good now, without crediting Hitler? If we do use the knowledge, but never mention Hitler's involvement, is that "hiding" the truth, or just ensuring that he, and his philosophies, are not given any more credence? I am not sure of the morality of such things, haven't really sat down to mull it over alot, but it is a good question.

The reason I don't go into this is simply because I trying to clarify what the Church had approved re: the writings of Maciel. I was not defendning anyone's decision to do so, nor was I suggesting that I was going to do so. The Church has approved these norms, so to say they are "unethical", as "anonymous" did, I think may show an misunderstanding on what the norms are meaning. I trust the Church would not approve something unethical.

The Monk said...

Poman, I think I understand what you are saying and I tend to agree with your argument. There is much in the founder's writing that is entirely orthodox and motivating for any Catholic.

I think the problem is more related to "public relations." As you say, the norms have been in effect for some time and have now been been "formalized." For some reason, they felt the need to state that private use of MM's writings is OK and, in principle, I can't disagree with that.

Except... Maciel is the designated "false prophet" so it doesn't seem smart to make such a public statement, at this time, about the freedom to read his stuff. I think it sends entirely the wrong message when things are so sensitive and the congregation is under such scrutiny - which I think Anonymous and OJane are picking up on.

My take is that the institutional LC is acting as if they don't "get it." Profound changes may be underway - but most outsiders and many insiders will not believe that is so, so long as such poorly thought out (from a PR perspective) norms are released. I think they would have been better off retiring all of the founder's writings until the "renovation" process is over and some sense of calm is restored.

People are being classified as being staunchly with the disgraced founder or against his reprehensible conduct. Hence, I think a clean break with the writings is the common sense option. Otherwise, the impression I get is that some do not want to let go.

My sense is that the original Visitors would not agree with the public statement about private reading. I believe they wrote the May 1 Vatican declaration which was signed by the Holy Father. It's hard to reconcile those statements with some of these norms.

poman said...

I agree about the perception and PR look of that statement. My reaction was similar to most. Like I have stated before, I have personally divested myself of anything with Maciel's name on it and would never quote him or his words. So to even consider using his writings is not an option for me.

Since I have no inside knowledge about why or how this came about, I can make personal assumptions. I wonder if there wasn't a question put toward the delegate about what to do with his writings, and the response was what we read in the norms? I can imagine in trying to figure out where to take the order it must be a tough decision what to consider and what to toss out. Unfortunately, one cannot just ignore the reality of Fr. Maciel and his hand in the founding. It is written in history. Now they must do the tough job sifting through Maciel's rubbish to find where God possibly had His own hand. And that may include his writings?

Again, my assumptions. I am just glad to be sitting on this end of the situation and not having to make those tough calls.

Anonymous said...

If the task in hand is a truthful re-design of the Legion's charisma then it would appear that the continuation of Maciel's writings as spiritual inspiration is a distortion . Using quotations from him , even without any reference, will sustain his teachings and methodology.
Anyway we now know that many of the writing attributed to him are not his own. He often delegated others to write the letters.
Finally the mind boggles at the thought of reading his writings and asking oneself....why did he not do this? . What is the sense in prolonging the hypocrisy and making hypocrits of those who quote him.
This only manifests the wretched poverty of innovation in the Legion that the existing formation curbed so effectively