Former LC seminarian/brother Bonum, Verum and Pulcrum recently blogged several allegations surrounding his experience of being shipped off to a Legion apostolic school as a young teen. Particularly gripping is the following, which I’ve broken up into paragraphs. The first paragraph describes Bonum’s homesickness, the second how communication reportedly was cut off between the teen and his family, and the third delves into what many would consider spiritual extortion:
I was thirteen years old and I was heartbroken. First day on the ground there in New Hampshire and the first of many heartbreaks had arrived in full force. I was so homesick I felt physically ill for the first four months or so. To make matters worse the fathers and brothers intercepted phone calls from my parents for the first two weeks, telling them not to call for awhile in order to let me settle in. They also opened all my mail before I got it in order to “safeguard my vocation”. As if my “vocation” was so fragile that I wouldn’t be able to handle a bit of bad news from home.
My letters to my folks were also screened before being sent. I submitted a letter to my mom and dad and the brother returned it to me and chastised me for submitting it closed. He told me that there were no secrets here and that from now on I was to leave all my envelopes open in order for the priests and brothers to read them first. This was a crucial time for them to start indoctrinating me and the other boys that had arrived.
We were told from the get go that our discernment process was over. God had led us to the Legion and it was safe to assume that was how he let us know that we all had vocations, all of us! We were told, in no uncertain terms that Christ had entrusted souls to our care. We were told that failure to remain in the Legion would result in the loss of those souls and certainly our own as well, was that something we could live with?
Read Bonum’s entire story by clicking here. I believe Bonum’s experience also answers former Legionary Jack Keogh’s (aka Monk) protest that “it’s gross overstatement to suggest that [LC/RC] ‘stake their souls’ on Maciel’s spiritual path.”
Anyway, I’ll leave it to readers to judge what’s ‘beyond the pale” for a 13-year-old receiving religious instruction while away from his family. At that age, my biggest worry was that the neighbors would think I’m a geek because my parents prohibited me for religious reasons from listening to Iron Maiden: