Several readers have pointed me to this post criticizing critics of the Legion, authored by Jo Flemings at the Just Jo blog. I will not slag her for venting her heart. I believe I read somewhere – though I may be mistaking her for someone else – that she and her husband are converts, that her husband is a former Protestant minister, and that together they have around a dozen kids. From glimpsing through her blog I noticed her oldest daughter graduated from Southern Catholic College, that her husband and at least one child is RC, and that one of her sons is a Legionary brother (seminarian) while another son is at the Legion’s apostolic schools. Sounds to me like she was recruited.
She seems like a sincere and prayerful Catholic mom, which is why I believe God will honor her prayers vis-a-vis the LC/RC. When He does, the scales will drop from her eyes. And Jo will likely find herself in a world of hurt. Seen it dozens of times with other sincere Catholic moms in her position – including Giselle. Nothing we tell her now can prepare her for the pain of this particular cross is revealed. When one’s children confront one with the truth about their experiences in the movement. Pray that her children not lose their faith over it.
That being said, a good fisking is in order when it comes to her reader D.A. Burke’s response to her posting:
Jo – I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. I am currently reading “Pope Fiction” which deals with the question of how and why we can stay confidently committed to a Church that has regularly been subject to scandal, and abuse, and… has regularly overcome its own sin enough (by God’s grace) to do more good in the world, time, and eternity, than any other institution known to man.
This book was written by Pat Madrid, a dear friend of mine. In fact we even co-authored another book together on extreme forms of conservative Catholicism. When we started writing More Catholic Than the Pope, Pat was a supporter of the LC and tried to recruit me to RC. By the time the book was published, he had left RC and come to share many of my reservations of the movement. Today Pat is openly critical of Maciel, the Legion, and how the movement has treated Maciel’s victims.
Those who would have us abandon the Movement because of the grave sins of the founder would find themselves in a completely untenable position under many of our past Popes.
This is called hyperbole. Outside the Legion no salvation is not a defined dogma of the Church, despite the best attempts of Maciel and his supporters to make it one through their mantra Lost vocation, sure damnation. The Church can exist without the Legion of Christ or Regnum Christi. The Church existed for 19 hundred centuries without either movement. Thousands of saints were canonized without the intervention of Maciel. Dozens among the Jesuits alone.
On the other hand, Maciel’s death reportedly showed all the visible signs of final impenitance – which Catholic theology traditionally holds to be the unforgivable sin mentioned by Christ in Holy Scripture.
Would they apply the same logic and leave the Church?
The Church was founded by Christ. Christ is God. Christ is perfect. Christ guaranteed the Church’s indefectibility when He promised us the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. No such promise exists for any order within the Church. Especially not one founded by an incestuous and unrepentant pedophile. In fact, Christ makes other promises about incestuous pedophiles who harm children, not to mention religious authorities who abuse their office, and these promises are not nearly as cheery or reassuring.
Peter denied Christ! Is there any worse sin than that?
Yes, stating that one has never denied Christ (or the Holy Spirit) when one in fact was a serial child molester. St. Peter never molested or photographed himself molesting his eight-year-old child. He was, however, sorry for his sins.
Paul was a murderer before his conversion.
The word “before” here is key. Paul was not a murderer after his conversion. That’s why we speak of Paul as a convert.
Yes, they repented. Many of our corrupt Popes did not. What are we to leave?
Our false comparisons. Maciel was head of a movement. It was a movement he founded to feed his various perversions, by using the guise of Catholic piety (i.e. Vow of Charity) and orthodoxy to acquire, abuse, conceal and protect his access to unsuspecting victims. Thus the entire methodology is corrupt.
On the other hand, no Pope is head of the Church. Christ is. The Pope is merely the visible head. The Pope assumes a vicarious role on behalf of Christ. Yet Christ remains the true head of the Church.
In contrast, the longer this controversy drags on without proper apology or restitution to Maciel’s victims, especially for the role played by individual supporters in covering up for Maciel and persecuting his victims, the more it becomes clear that the movement is truly headed by the spirit of Maciel. I believe this is what other orders refer to, when speaking of the spirit of the founder, as the founding charism. In the Legion, however, the founder’s spirit has become a curse.
SHUT. IT. DOWN.