Thursday, February 5, 2009
Feet of Clay - Legionaries of Christ founder - found out
First thing, there are many excellent Catholics with the Legionairies of Christ as well as the Regnum Christi Movement.
I have met them and they are very good people. They do a lot of very good work.
It has however transpired that their order's founder was a sexual predator and serial womaniser who had two children by a Spanish woman dating from the 1980's.
It is trickling out that :
Maciel fathered a child who is now in her early 20's;
Maciel offered some money illicitly to his own family;
I saw this comment on the net and agree with all but the last sentence:
"The only amazing aspect of this kerfuffle is that the LC organization should have learned from the blunders of Americano dioceses during the Priestly Scandals of 2001-05. As in- come clean, mop up the mess, do it quickly and publicly, move forward. If LC’s appeal comes from the charism of one man, it will dry up like the orders of nuns who went cloud cuckoo. If it’s rooted in Christ and His Church- not Maciel’s Church- it may find, like Opus Dei during the Da Vinci Code hysteria, that bad publicity is better than none."
One ex-LC wrote: "The Legion must go forward, purged of the toxins released into its bloodstream by years of machiavellian duplicity, and recreate itself solely on the merits of its works."
According to the Wikipedia entry: "Internally, the Legion has collapsed and is now struggling to recreate itself on the merits of its works alone, with no reference to the Founder. His name and history are being purged from the Congregation' s internal literature, his pictures are being removed from the walls of the schools and seminaries of the Legion and his writings are no longer being quoted in homilies and preaching of Legionary priests."
This episode really shows the dangers of the cult of personality organisations with in the Church. Hero worship is always a temptation - this can apply to priests, bishops and even Popes - not excluding Pope John Paul II.
It was Cardinal Ratzinger himself who reopened the investigation on MM while he was head of the CDF.
As John Allen has said, "The centrality of the founder: The Vatican’s communiqué two years ago took pains to distinguish its conclusion about Maciel from any indictment of the Legionaries as a whole: “Independently of the person of the founder,” it said, “the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Association is recognized with gratitude.” Many Legionaries and other experts on religious life, however, warn that things aren’t that simple. The identity and spirituality of a religious order is deeply tied to the personality of its founder, and there aren’t many ready examples of orders which have flourished despite compelling evidence of moral corruption on the part of the founder. To acknowledge merit to the charges against Maciel, at least in the eyes of some, would therefore be tantamount to jeopardizing the viability of the communities he founded. It could also, of course, jeopardize the vocations of Legionaries intensely devoted to the figure of Maciel."
I hope this does not happen but that purged of aspects of a Cult of personality, the LC and RC will be solidified in the faith and Tradition of the Church and continue to flourish in the future.