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Saturday, February 14, 2009



Dr. Peters's comments raise a question for me: What does guarantee the basic soundness of an organization within the Church?

In the case of religious orders, I thought the approval of the Church meant recognition of a charism, independent of the members of the order. Maybe I am mistaken. I supsect a genuine, candid comment from a LC would be that the order was and remains in good standing in the Church, until the Church says otherwise.

I really don't see much prospect of the Church allowing the LC to reform from within. Is anyone outside the LC really thinking the Church would tolerate that?


I'm amazed at every one's opinion and/or "educated" response to what is going on in the LC/RC movement. I know that what Fr. Maciel did was wrong. Shouldn't the discussions be focused on God's mercy and prayers for Fr. Maciel's soul? Those who have been affected by his actions were caused by Fr. Maciel, not the entire movement. It just seems to me in my uneducated opinion that we should be careful of what we say about movements in the Church that are truly trying to accomplish God's will. We are always so ready to attack when a mistake has been made. I'm not diminishing at all the sin that was committed, but I will leave that up to God's judgement. We just need to be more Christ like in these situations and not so ready to condemn those left to pick up the pieces.


I'd do the following,

1) Keep the name.

2) Give it a new mission. A ministry of healing.

3) Make it clear that the true founder of the order has always been Jesus Christ, put this over in such a way as to say that successful orders tend to forget this.

4) The writings of Fr Marcial Maciel should be read only in the light of Jesus Christ. This is where the ministry of healing comes in.

Ed Peters

Okay, well, there's scarcely an assertion in Reno's post that doesn't rest on at least one problematic assertion or another, so there's not much point in trying to respond to it.

Re David's post, well: to keep the name is to keep the terrible legacy of Maciel alive (or so it seems to me); I don't know how one tells an order to take up "the ministry of healing", but I see no L/RC talent there anyway; to call Jesus Christ the Founder of every religious institute is to equivocate on what Founders really are and what they mean; ditto for the advice about reading Maciel in light of Christ (who would that NOT apply to, if it's meant to 'apply' at all?)

Kirk: you are asking the right questions. Along with us all, in a way we've never had to ask them before.


I wasn't posting my comments for a response Mr. Peters. I am confident in what I stated. I am confident that the Church is allowing things with in the Movement to work out the problems. It (The Church) is well aware of what has happened and they are keeping a watchful eye on it.

I will never condone what has happened. There is definitely some things that need to be fixed, but the movement on the whole (I'm talking from experience) is something that has changed lives for the better. Of course there are always some who have experienced it in a different light and have experienced some horrific things. Let's let the Church direct what is going on.

In no way am I trying to be disrespectful to Mr. Peters. I am in Regnum Christi, and it's hard enough to go through this, let alone read everyone's opinions on "what should" be done. I know we are entitled to opinions but Christ's mercy is beyond any measurement, whether we think someone or some organization should "burn at the stake."

Mr. Peters, would you agree that if one lawyer makes a bad name for himself, doesn't make all lawyers bad? I know we are speaking of a founder but because of his sin, it doesn't make the whole organization bad. LC/RC will work this out with guidance from the Church and mostly through the Holy Spirit.

What David posted is something I know the Legion is looking into. We have to patient, which can be hard.

Brian Schuettler

Peters write:
Okay, well, there's scarcely an assertion in Reno's post that doesn't rest on at least one problematic assertion or another, so there's not much point in trying to respond to it.

Actually Reno expresses Church teaching.

The conjecture in your post, EP, is lacking in either Magisterial or Bibicial support.

Mark Brumley

I'm not sure I understand what you mean, Brian. Do you mean that there is something in EP's analysis that is contrary to Church teaching or the Bible?

Brian Schuettler


Ep's objection to # 2:

There is, I think, at least as much reason to wonder whether Maciel set up an institute in order to assure himself of ample access to sexual targets and unaccountable funds, or whether he suffered from some warped psycho-emotional condition that enabled him to compartmentalize pious devotional practices and sexual predation for decades on end, as there is to wonder whether he left a real charism to a Catholic clerical, religious, and lay organization.

This is pure conjecture.

"wonder"?....stated twice in one paragraph. Hardly the language of a lawyer, canonical or otherwise. Where is the Christian charity for a deceased priest?

Ed Peters

Brian, feel free to substitute "argue that" for "wonder whether"; it makes little difference really, as long as both options are expressed as being plausible. As for whether that amounts to "pure conjecture" on my part, I invite you to peruse the literature on sexual predation in service oriented professions. Altruism is not, alas, what it seems.

As for most of the posts above, golly, I would not know where to start unravelling them.

Brian Schuettler


"argue for " as a substitute for "wonder" doesn't change the CONJECTURE.


Anyone who wonders what RC's charism is, should check Fr. Bartunek's blog for a concrete example of that charism at work:

Good work, by a good priest.

Richard L

Reno wrote:

"Shouldn't the discussions be focused on God's mercy and prayers for Fr. Maciel's soul?"

No. Because 1) Fr. Maciel's malfeasance certainly required at least some complicity among the senior leadership of the Legion to carry it off and subsequently cover it up, and 2) even more so than most religious orders, Maciel's thought was used to form members of the Legion, particularly in ways which appear to have fostered secrecy and even duplicity.

There are some good people in L/RC. And it's for their sake that we should all want to see a genuinely outside, unbiased examination of the Legion and its charism to see what can be salvaged. Maciel was simply too central to the Legion's identity, and too close to the senior leadership for anyone to have confidence that his sins can simply be isolated, compartmentalized, and presumed to be unrelated to anything else in the Legion's life by an internal Legion investigation.

Ed Peters

Rachelle writes about B's website "Good work, by a good priest." Agreed. Quite.

Now, what's the charism? I went to the website, as you suggested, because I thought I'd get an insight into what the L charism was. I missed it, I guess, unless, charism is just a word for "good work by good priests." The discussion about what the L charism IS, of course, goes quite beyond what we can handle in a combox, but, we're talking past each other: I keep getting evidence that the L structure put in place by MM is deeply, deeply flawed, and people keep responding to that evidence with how many wonderful L priests there. Okay, if the presence of holy priests in an organization is proof of the fundamental soundness of the organization, fine. We can go on to other happier matters. But, if it is not proof the soundness, we need to talk, no? So far, almost no one is recognizing that THAT is the (or at least one of the main) question.


I will admit up front that I am beginning to lose patience with those who are so stout-heartedly defending Fr. Maciel and LC/RC. First of all, everyone has had at least two years--since the Vatican's silencing of Fr. Maciel--to investigate the order themselves. Using the Internet, there is an abundance of information out there to try to sort out this mess. If one acknowledges the book, Vows of Silence, there has been almost ten years of public questioning about the health of this order.

Each time something is made public about LC/RC, the tendency has been for them to try to shoot the messenger--including the Pope. Fr. Maciel was portrayed as a victim of unjust persecution by the Church instead of accepting that maybe the Church was trying to quietly tell them something was very awry in their order.

I am still waiting for someone in the order to humbly acknowledge the evil that their founder perpetrated upon numerous people and apologize abjectly for the calumny that was heaped upon those who were trying to expose this evil. I heard very little Christian charity used by the order in dealing with those bringing this information to light--unless you call suing people turning the other cheek! It would seem that the order would be offering all that they possess to those who had suffered public condemnation from the order to try to atone for this injustice. Again, it is not as though this was dumped upon them abruptly, they have had at least two years to accept and acknowledge these facts.

As to the order's ability to be reformed, either internally or externally, that would seem to depend on a very important point which may be nearly impossible to discover, but is still very necessary. One would need to discern whether the order was started for a valid reason or whether Fr. Maciel started the order to provide a means to indulge in his perversions. Given the shaky beginnings to Fr. Maciel's priestly vocation, this would seem to be a very valid question.

Knowing this would also go a long way to understanding how the Church could have approved of the order if it was not of God. If Fr. Maciel began this order from the beginning in order to deceive innocent people, then it could be understood more easily how so many people from the Pope on down could have been misled. This sounds harsh and uncharitable, but the reality of what went on is extremely evil. Christ said something about millstones, I believe, when it came to harming his little ones.

Also, it needs to be acknowledged that Fr. Maciel's disorders have affected the teaching and operation of the order. My husband and I discerned some of these problems when we were asked to become members and were not comfortable with committing to the group for this reason.

As far as individuals receiving good through this order, I have heard the same statements being made by people trying to justify the validity of false marian apparitions. Ultimately, many of these people ended up outside of the Church because they trusted the apparition more than the Church.

I agree that we need to be praying for Fr. Maciel, especially since I have yet to hear that he acknowledged and repented of the terrible things he did. Even after being publicly silenced by the Church, he refused to acknowledge what he had done. That, to me, is a sign of a very spiritually ill person.


I am very afraid that the Vatican authorities responsible have failed to adequately handle the emerging evidence of very serious problems with the LC spirituality, formation and operations, as well as with MM's activities. Presently, there is still little indication of any change. The LCs/ RCs may be unique in the very large numbers of people who have left sometimes after most of the best years of their lives were given to Maciel's vision. Unique too is the very high proportion of faithful Catholics amongst that exodus, including many active, devoted priests. Today, the LCs/RC and exLCs/RCs do a lot of good . Their undisputed holiness and their good works are probably more to do with the protection of the Holy Spirit and the graces of the Church than Maciel's unique "charism". Their formation is deeply flawed and now they face the reality, that has been kept deliberately from them, that their pattern of life was built on a lie. The "charism", formation, spirituality is regrettably tainted by Maciel's twisted justifications of secrecy, deception,duplicity, manipulation. Many of those commenting here with some experience of the RCs or LCs will know little of the Constitutions and operations. Novices profess without any kind of adequate access to the full Consitutions and rule of life expected of them. In contravention of the the Church's teaching on religious life, novices are rigorously denied any kind of adequate time for personal prayer and reflection about their vocation. The crisis is very serious for all faithful Catholics and not just those in the orbit of the LCs and not just because of the sexual abuse issues. The solutions must come from the Church's highest levels and the experience of those who know the order well, both those who left and stayed, should be allowed to guide the deliberations. It is about time, that reflexive defenders of the status quo, realise that many of the critics have been speaking out because they love Christ and his Church and have compassion for all those affected. They also love what the LCs might have been if such a weight of sin and dodgy theology had not got in the way.


Re Maciel personally. I am in no way wanting to justify his behaviour. I am very angry about the damage he has done to those whose lives he has touched and to the Church. I am also angry that not enough was done to look into complaints and concerns and to see through the "holy" facade of Maciel. However, we ought to pray for him if we have been affected by him, and also to pray for help to forgive. I understand that many people have easily been taken in by his charisma and ostentatious displays of humility and other virtues. However, psychiatrists may well conclude that Maciel was most probably gravely unwell and damaged, making him very vulnerable to temptations to engage in sexual abuse and in the astonishing double life now becoming apparent to those outside the inner circle. He was most likely sexually abused as a child himself. He seems to have suffered some kind of severe narcissistic disorder and perhaps may also have suffered some kind of splitting of personality. These things are very serious disorders and if he in fact suffered them then we must entrust his soul to the Lord and do our best to understand the importance of good parenting, stable family life and the evils of sexual molestation of children.


I'm sure the LC has done some sort of good in the world, but their official charism has always seemed to be primarily about denial - of a deeply challenging and nuanced modern world, in favor of a militaristic march backward to a simplistic and idealized past. Such reactionist and phobic movements are bound to fail. Vatican II formally opened the door to the modern world, and orders like the LC only seem formed to avoid walking through it.

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