Not allaying suspicion


Here's a case study in How To Miss An Opportunity.

On June 6, Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore wrote a letter to the Superior General of the Legion of Christ, imposing restrictions on the ministry of that religious institute and of the lay institute Regnum Christi within his diocese.

This is an unusual step for any bishop to take, and Abp. O'Brien was characteristically forthright about the reasons that brought him to the decision -- reasons which almost brought him to banning the two organizations outright. He and the pastors of his diocese repeatedly found themselves surprised by the two groups' activities among the faithful of Baltimore and particularly among young people. Pastors, who are responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the faithful, do not like such surprises.

In the left-wing NC Reporter, John Allen reported on the event June 12 and interviewed the Archbishop. The reliably orthodox Catholic World News reported on the event on June 11 and cited the Archbishop's letter to the Legion; and then followed up.

The Rome-based press outlet ZENIT, however, which is "promoted by" the Legion, and includes Legion priests among its writers, and is directed by members of Regnum Christi, doesn't appear to have reported on the story at all in its daily news digests.

Now that is the missed opportunity I'm writing about. When a vigorous, orthodox religious community and a vigorous, orthodox lay institute come under the suspicion of a stalwart bishop who holds the primatial see of the United States (in case anyone didn't notice the point), and are placed under restrictions by that same bishop, that's a news event. To say nothing about it in ZENIT's daily news only reinforces the suspicion that the Legion and Regnum have garnered, suspicion which inescapably adheres to ZENIT.

And it's one reason why I am deleting and ignoring the almost daily fundraising e-mails from ZENIT.

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The primary LC apostolate is to promote and run the RC (at a high level).

As a former member, I realised that there was always a premium placed on "mass media apostolates." Now it's obvious why. The Legion as filter can tweak the message to their own liking. I remember when the Communique concerning MM came out -- and the Register refused to report it or even comment on it, saying that they were called to promote the good news of Christ, not to debase themselves by repeating scurrilous gossip.

Interesingly, the Legion never counted on the internet, by which people could share testimonies and connect the dots. Even if we never read ZENIT, we can all find the news. The last hold they have on members is the firm teaching that to read and pass along such "gossip" is a sin against "gospel charity." Of course, that's another bedrock of the LC/RC philosophy.

Praise God for Archbishop O'Brien!

By way of contrast, here are some things that the Movement *did* find newsworthy:

Archbishop O'Brien Appointed to Baltimore:

Bishop Malooly visits Woodmont Academy:

I think this post is spot on: one of the great benefits for the Movement in controlling news organizations is that it can filter what its members read.

After the Vatican released its communique concerning Fr. Maciel, the Legion dissuaded Regnum Christi members from even circulating a link to the Vatican's webpage! Instead, RC members were encouraged to read, where the Legion provided talking points defending Fr. Maciel.

Good post, RC!

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on June 15, 2008 9:25 PM.

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