Of all the unholy revelations that have surfaced about Fr. Maciel over the past year, the one that surprises me the least is that he stopped praying in his final years. This is consistent with most cases of serial abuse among clergy that I have encountered as a canonist. Long before these men began preying, they had ceased praying.
In fact, I think this is why Maciel’s writing always turned me off. I could only read his writing in bits and pieces before headache-inducing foggy confusion came over me. One cannot give what one has not received. It is now clear that Maciel’s writing (at least that which was not ghost-written or plagiarized) was not based upon prayer. Nor does prayer appear to come naturally for many of my LC/RC acquaintances. They come across as too focused on activity, with prayer scheduled in between (and heavily scripted) like one would schedule the reading of a business file during coffee break.
Which is why, come Good Friday, I invite you to join me in praying the Divine Mercy Novena for Aaron, Jose Barba, Juan Vaca and all other victims of Maciel and his movement. As Catholics let us pray for those who were preyed upon in the name of the Catholic faith. To find out more about this special Novena, please click here.
In a similar spirit I invite readers with LC/RC background to check out the following Jesuit blogs, of which two focus heavily on prayer:
Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit
The Spiritual Exercises Blog
Father Brian Van Hove’s Blog