Monday, February 16, 2009

I Love It When People Agree With Me

I'm not going to dwell on the Legion debacle; as I mention below, anyone interested can find comprehensive coverage over at Tom Peters' American Papist blog. However, I can't resist the opportunity to pat myself on the back (again) regarding how much eminent theologian Dr. Germain Grisez agreed with my take on how the Legion could move forward.

Here is the text of an e-mail I shared with some friends recently:
While I have been closely following the ongoing fallout over the latest revelations re Fr. Maciel on various blogs, forums, etc., I have been *trying* to stay on the sidelines and have avoided posting comments. That is, until last night.

While it's unfortunate, it is not surprising that a lot of LC/RC folks are still in denial about the situation or they still are willing to fiercely defend the Legion. Last night I was reading postings on the Catholic Answers forum and saw a fellow named "Marty" post this:

"Their main apostolates are FUNDRAISING and RECRUITING!"

Naturally, he was quickly attacked by other LC/RC defenders -- one named 'Toni" in particular. I felt compelled to then post (and this was my first comment on this subject):

No, Marty is right. I was involved with Regnum Christi for several years and, at the end of the day, that's what apostolates were all about: how many new members were you recruiting and how much money were you raising.

A few minutes later I added:

One final thought. Although the Legion's response so far has been pretty lame. (Ed Peters put it well when he said on his blog: "Is Legion leadership really going to continue talking to the Catholic world as if it were inhabited by idiot children?") While I largely agree with Dr. Peters' sentiments, I think the Legion really has no choice.

If the Legion was to say, "yeah, our founder was a pedophile and a womanizer", it would be over. They might as well shut down all their operations the same day.

As it is now, it may be the end for them anyway. Regardless of how one felt about the Legion before this latest development, the reality is that it will be very difficult -- probably impossible -- for the Legion to recover from this.

Face it. If you had a son or daughter considering a vocation and they said they were considering the Legionaries of Christ, someone -- a family member, a friend, an acquaintance at church -- is going to confront you and say something to the effect: "you're not seriously considering allowing your child to go to the Legion are you??"

As far as the Legion goes, the best response I've seen is Patrick Madrid's suggestion on his blog that the Legion dissolve the order and start over again. Personally, I think that is a great idea. While I had a negative experience with Regnum Christi, I still met many wonderful people during the time I was involved. I would like to think that all their time, effort, dedication and love for Christ and His Church could be salvaged if the organization was resurrected in a new form.
Of course, LC/RC defenders quickly trashed me too, but that's OK -- I expected it and ignored it. What is really interesting is this letter from Dr. Germain Grisez that Tom Peters posted on his blog today. (As you may or may not know Dr. Grisez is the pre-eminent moral theologian in the U.S., if not the world). He said:

You and all your good and faithful confreres share a common good ... . I do not think that good end can be realized by the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and its present leadership.

... [E]ven after the death of an institute's saintly founder, its members' service and life continue as cooperation with him or her. Regardless of Father Maciel's subjective moral responsibility—which only God knows—the evidence of his objective betrayal of his commitment makes it impossible for you and other good and faithful Legionaries any longer to carry on your service and life as cooperation with him. Unless you and your confreres proceed as quickly as possible to terminate the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and reorganize yourselves into a new institute, the common good you now share will begin to decompose: very few new men will join you, many in formation will leave, some professed members will separate, and the collaboration and support of the lay faithful will shrink.

I'm not trying to make light of the serious situation the Legion finds itself in -- but I do think it's pretty cool that Dr. Grisez's thinking aligns so closely with mine. Maybe he read my post on Catholic Answers before writing his letter. Gee, it would have been nice if he would have at least quoted me.

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