The kids and I are out with a bad cold, which thankfully, has spared my wife who is looking after us. So your homework assignment for today – particularly those who are new to the debate – is to read and reflect on the following:
1 – Former Legionary priest Jack Keogh (aka Monk)’s response to Pope Benedict’s letter to the Irish, Is it time to convene the Third Vatican Council. Although it would be a gross exaggeration to proclaim Monk as an unofficial blog spokesman for the Legion, I have found that his missives around the net often line up with what appears to be current Legion thinking concerning the crisis. So it’s worth a read, even if I disagree with much of what he wrote. (For some clear thinking on Pope Benedict’s leadership in addressing the sex abuse crisis, read John Allen’s following reflection on the topic.)
2 – Thus I’m curious to see whether in the coming month or two the Legion hierarchy attempts to throw Pope Benedict under the bus – not by full out accusations of complicity, mind you, but rather by indirect suggestion. That being said, I’m not Irish. My Catholic ancestors were Italian and Polish, and I was schooled in the French Catholic school system. All this meaning that stories about monks and cows and sayings like “God draws strait with crooked lines” were not part of our Catholic curriculum growing up. Rather, we were taught the expression ‘Qui mange du pape, meurt.‘ This loosely translated into English as “Whoever eats of the pope will choke to death.” So to my Regnum Christi readers – as well as Legionary resisters and philosophers – beware if the Legion tries to throw Benedict under the bus. Historically the bus has a funny way of missing the pope and crushing the crowd. Re-read my posting from a year ago – How schism becomes an option.
3 – Speaking of French-Canadian Catholicism and schism becoming an option, throughout this controversy I have often drawn comparisons between the Legion and the Fils de Marie. At one time – I am told both by former Legionaries and former Fils – the two orders were extremely close allies in Rome among new ecclesiastical movements. Their seminarians were allowed to mingle freely and unchaperoned, I am told, a privilege neither order afforded to any other outside order. In fact, the Fils de Marie are probably the reason the Legion was unable to garner much of a following in French-speaking Canada until recently. Thus I recommend reading Rick Ross’s dossier on the Armee de Marie/ Fils de Marie, which you can visit by clicking here.
4 – By now, several Regnum Christi readers are saying “Schism? That could never happen to us, we are totally obedient to the Pope.” Here’s a cautionary tale. Cutting through canonical jargon, I’ve seen several movements suddenly go into schism after years of claiming total obedience to the Pope. In the vast majority of cases, members never thought the movement would become schismatic or disobedient to the Holy See. Yes, it happened to other groups that claimed Catholic orthodoxy and total submission to Rome, but folks believed their particular groups was different. “Just look at the fruits,” is a common argument. What happens is that the claim of total obedience to the Pope is often a facade for avoiding criticism or oversight by local Church authorities (like diocesan bishops). The movement portrays local Church authorities as liberal dissenters who hate the movement for its orthodoxy. When the Pope sides with the wider Church, members feel betrayed and come to believe the Pope is part of the conspiracy, although they will usually argue at first that the Pope is an unwilling part. Think of the “Maciel took a hit for the Church because the Pope was under pressure by the Church’s enemies” argument put forward after the 2006 communique.