Let us prey...


Giselle says I shamed her into posting about how the Legion churns out Fr. Eye Candy for women. I don't claim to understand it, but I also don't know of any other Catholic order so particular about its grooming practices as to reportedly include them in its institutional norms. Moreover, as a guy I know there are certain priests - HLI's Fr. Thomas Euteneuer being a good example - that just strike us as a men's men.

That being said, I've often wondered over the years, privately, why most Regnum Christi members I know are women, while most of my Opus Dei friends are men. Of couples I know in "mixed marriages," the husband belongs to Opus Dei and the wife belongs to Regnum Christi. I've never met a Regnum Christi husband married to an Opus Dei wife.

But back to Giselle's comments. She says something that immediately sets off my spiritual spidey-sense:

Spiritual headship is not a trump card with these women because the Legion priests have undermined it all these years, teaching the women to wheedle their husbands for more time and money for the Legion. (There is a reason the women's sections always outnumber the men's sections.) For those who don't go to the brink of divorce (or split outright), there is a squaring off within marriages whereby the wife makes her RC commitments sacrosanct and the husband acquiesces for the sake of his sanity.

I've been present while the Legion pitches this. One Morning of Reflection, we were all led along the path: "You are princesses (because you are daughters of a King!)" Well, technically yes (though I like "You're a worm and no man" better). But many of the women were in tears. What the priest touched on cleverly was their brokeness, their insecurities, and their random experiences of abuse. He built them up, using his own brand of "self esteem potion" so that they were putty in his hands. They literally fought to cook for him and to be the most active and industrious volunteers in the coming years.

Some of the nastiest annulment cases I have ever participated in are those in which a priest came between husband and wife. I'm not talking an abusive situation where the priest advised the wife to get out for the personal safety of her and her children. Rather I'm talking about cases where the wife spent more time with the priest than with her husband. Most of the cases involved Catholics who would be considered orthodox.

The relationship between wife and priest was rarely one of sexual attraction. Rather, husband is busy at work, while Father is busy in the parish. Wife becomes active in the parish because Father is "such a holy priest" and she begins to put his needs before those of her husband and family back home. Relieved at the help he's receiving, Father affirms wife for everything she contributes to the parish and gives her more responsibilities. He intentionally avoids questioning wife about her marriage and home life because he doesn't want to know. He needs help in the parish! So long as the relationship isn't sexual, he can justify it as necessary for the greater good of souls. And Father will tell the tribunal that wife is a good woman who hubby grew to resent when she began to take her Catholic faith seriously.

Not really. The vocation of wife and mother is not the vocation of woman religious. Both vocations are good, but there's a reason God has separated them. No apostolate should come before one's family.

I am also troubled by Giselle's story of grown women being described as "princesses". Sure I refer to my own daughters as princesses, and with three of them Disney has cost me a small fortune in Princess swag. But that's part of the charm of being father to little girls. You raise them hoping one day they will find their Prince Charming.

However, I don't see "princess" as appropriate to an audience of wives and mothers. As St. Paul says in 1 Cor 13:11: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways." Thus I find it charming when our parish priest greets my daughters before Mass, saying "Hello princesses." But I would find such flattery creepy if Father addressed my wife in the same way. So would she.

What pops into my mind is St. Ignatius Loyola's Thirteen Rule of spiritual discernment - a rule drilled into the head of every Jesuit prior to ordination:

Likewise, [the devil] acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. For, as the licentious man who, speaking for an evil purpose, solicits a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his licentious words and depraved intention, because he easily gathers that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.

Beware of flattery. It's never from God and there is always some seduction behind it.

And on that note, I'll end this post by answering Giselle's priestly pin-ups with my own:

What you see, dear reader, is 100 percent Semper Fi!


The more I read these posts and comments, the more I thank God that in our association, we have respected the marriages of our members and have been very careful to understand the meaning of a type of "consecration" within the Sacrament of Marriage. Many times family obligations will come before being able to attend formation meetings or community events. We have had to learn to be very flexible without diluting the commitment to the group. We have married members whose spouses are not members. As long as the other spouse gives consent, they may be a part of formation. We are not intrusive into the intimate details of finance, other commitments and obligations. Freedom and conscience, as I have said elsewhere, must be protected. I am not bragging here; there is tension, at times, about this issue. But I am thankful that we have been given the counsel to follow the teachings of the Church and good spiritual guidance. May the Holy Family intercede for all those who are in such pain and conflict.

Wow how slanderous can you get! Does the Legion have to put on display now the ugly priests they have so they can prove that 'seduction' is not the draw for RC women? Giselle and you are just way over the top on this one.

And the comments here show how easily you read suspicion into everything... Let's come back to a few basics
1. It is a sin to make false accusation without subtantial basis to prove the facts. Here you must prove this more than anecdotally on a few cases, and that this IS their intention, otherwise you are committing a sin on two counts to accuse the women in RC and the priest of creating this type of enviroment of "attraction.'

I wonder how the other 1000's of RC women who never read this blog would feel about implying how gullable and shallow they must be that they could not see through such tactics?

I wonder how many marriages Lc priest have saved (including mine) in their marriage renewals and spirtual directions that would never see the light of day on Catholic "light" or is it becoming 'lite'.

I have known the LCs for about 12 years now, and the rank and file are just downright good men. You have no right on this earth to brand them the way you do.

2. They are priests,priest in good standing and I might add one whose work is still "recognized with gratitude" by the universal Church and one ought not to malign in such a flippant manner their reputations without serious cause.

I suggest both of you send this particular comment to Germain Grisez and ask him if this commentary is within the bounds of basic CHristian charity...

Fair enough, Fed Up RC. Perhaps a Legionary "saved" your marriage, or perhaps Christ did. I tend to think the latter did the heavy lifting, along with the sacramental graces He generously attached to your bonds.

I think if you read the Legionary norms of behaviour, you would be a little surprised, and I think if you were ever a woman receiving direction in a LC confessional, you'd be shocked. I'm glad they appeal to you, but the shredded marriages outnumber the "saved" unions 10-1 easily.

And as one of those "gullible and shallow" women for over seven years, I'm delighted finally to be able to talk freely and say what's on my mind. These young poorly-formed priests have very little business giving anyone direction, given their track record. Let's agree to disagree. Peace.

10 - 1 that Fed up RC is a woman!

And one more thing. Miss Manners likes to point out that point of manners and etiquette is not to tell you when OTHERS are acting incorrectly, but to tell YOU how to act. Same goes for sin. The ten commandments and the various explanations of them by the Church are there to tell US how to act. They are not there to be used to whack OTHERS over the head. But every damn time (oh whoops! I swore) an RC/LC defender comes roaring in to defend this organization, we get a lecture on how we are sinning.

Gosh, where do they all learn that?

Fed Up RC, I'm happy to respond to your points:

1) What false accusations did Pete Vere make? Please provide the examples.

2) In my personal experience, you are probably the 50th, if not the 100th, RC member to claim that RC/LC/FAMILIA saved your marriage. I'd like to ask you how many times you personally have told others that - how many times you've used it as a testimony, for instance. Hopefully you've been very quick to point out that the actual savior here was Christ via the graces of the sacrament of marriage and NOT the LC, or RC, or FAMILIA, etc. Certainly the latter might have had some role in pointing you to Christ here - and that's great. Clarity and an honest acknowledgement of where the credit should go are crucial, I think, if the RC wants to be taken seriously as "well formed Catholics".

3) Why are you responding to Pete's commentary by accusing him of sinning? Again you are probably the 50th, if not the 100th, RC member do use this strategy in the blogosphere since the MM disgrace broke in Feb. This isn't RC encounter - it's a blog. It's a realm of ideas - some good, some bad, some helpful and some not. If you have ideas or views that counter the ones that Mr. Vere has proposed, please put them on the table so they may be assessed. Resorting to accusations of "sin" is an easy and cheap shot - a way to blow off some steam, perhaps, but certainly no way to make a convincing argument. I won't even go into the whole issue of why is it so many RC members are more willing to call Pete Vere or Thomas Peters a sinner than they are Maciel.

4) What does it matter how the 1000's of other RC women "feel"? Either there is a problem with superficial attraction to these LC priests or there isn't. "Feelings" don't make the argument either way. I happen to agree with Pete to the extent that I've seen this phenomenon in my own section (and believe me some were so fawning that they were actually mocked, behind closed doors, by the LC priest and formator in charge. I know because the conversation was repeated to me "in confidence". How's that for charity??).

5) The Legion of Christ was "recognized with gratitude" in the Vatican press release over three years ago. There have been a few "negatives" revealed about MM and the Legion since that time. These "negatives" are taking up time and other resources that the Holy See should have been able to devote to more urgent needs of the Church but instead needs to devote to the LC because the latter can't fix it's own problems. When there is so much work for the Church to do, and so many demands on Benedict's time, the LC is, frankly, an embarrassing drain. It's inability to look beyond it's own "crises" smacks of self-centeredness. Whether you agree with this assessment or not, surely as an RC member you must agree that they are problematic possibilities that need addressing before anyone can make an honest assessment of whether the Holy See still "gratefully recognizes" the LC.

Fine, let Fr. Kearns apologize, but I think you know better than using the excuse of two wrongs making a right. You have done better in other places in grounding comments in specific and solid facts not overly speculated, this is worth reading- the rest has the appearance of just gossip mongering, or just Legion- bashing par excellance.
Let me just say, I am not hung up on the founder for example. I think there is adequate proof he is an absolute fraud, and the title of founder stripped from him, and if the Legion needs refounding, fine. I have no problem with some reforms which at this point no new movement in the Church seems to have been exempt from (including OD). I do know however good is there in what is going on, much good, and I just cannot see the reason for so many Church approvals (which of course here count for nothing)and the Legion working in so many dioceses under so many bishops that there is not much good here. (of course here you only cite the ones who have issues with the LCs) It is a question of more balance, more context of seeing good and wanting to preserve it.
I think it is kind of obvious I was referring to the LC as instruments which gives me the freedom not to go bonkers if some have their quirks, yet none of the oddities you seem to construe I find- just my experience of course. An it is interesting here that you have cornered the LC several times into being damned if they do and damned if they don't:
1) If they do good- then we are wrong to attribute it to them, only to Christ and there should be no reference to it relating to the good in their formation ; if they do bad well this proves our point- miserable little priests that they are. 2) They are emotionally disconnected- damaged and unable to relate as you noted on your previous post yet they are also warm and affective able to tap into the deepest emotions so as to manipulate.... Maybe some time to pause to we can at least put together a caricature that has some logic to it.

Additionally the 10 to 1 is still a very subjective comment of yours, which seems to be your trend of late. If you cannot find evidence for your suspicion you throw tendentious comments that are just plain irresponsible. I have no problem hearing your personal opinion it is when you project it on the world, as if you have facts, that I have issues.

There are numerous other diocesan priests in my diocese who have been along side the LCs here who have nothing but the deepest respect for them, and have no problem calling on them for confession help and the like.

As far as knowing their formation, I have full confidence in the Visitation to clear up things we cannot see.

I won't accuse anyone of anything but here is what I wish for myself and for what I read/hear:

1) In speaking of priests we recognize that they are indeed ordained and have become in the person of Christ through the Church. This calls for utmost charity.

2) In speaking of these priests we recognize their dignity as human beings and no more deserve to be demeaned by being called "Fr. What a Waste" as I do being called "hottie."

It doesn't matter who does it; it is unnecessary. And it isn't countered by showing how "He did it too!"

I read these blogs as an ex-RC, and it really strikes me in a bad way when I see the discourse devolve into personal attacks and conjecture. I would just like the facts, please.

1. "They are emotionally disconnected- damaged and unable to relate as you noted on your previous post yet they are also warm and affective able to tap into the deepest emotions so as to manipulate.... Maybe some time to pause to we can at least put together a caricature that has some logic to it."

This a fascinating comment, Fed Up. It seems to indict me for inconsistency, but actually it makes my case. The problem with immaturity, abuse, manipulation and utilitarianism is that they each deform the integrity of the human person so that he is a collection of inconsistent responses that are triggered by different needs (psych 101). This happens with children who are molested -- they are distant some times, and then bizarrely intimate at the wrong times, not knowing what the appropriate boundaries are. Same with affect regulation disorder, in which there are few proper intermediate salutations but only deep encounters out of the blue. Fascinating stuff and worth studying. (Actually, Juan Vaca, who was so maligned by Fr Kearns, studied psychology after leaving the Legion in order to understand the psychopath who destroyed his childhood.)

2. "Additionally the 10 to 1 is still a very subjective comment of yours, which seems to be your trend of late. If you cannot find evidence for your suspicion you throw tendentious comments that are just plain irresponsible. I have no problem hearing your personal opinion it is when you project it on the world, as if you have facts, that I have issues."

I just checked my in-box, which has to date 3358 messages concerning the Legion and Regnum Christi, most written to highlight experiences, frustration, details and anecdotes that are rather dark. I've gone a little beyond "personal opinion," backing my "tendentious comments" with an enormous pile of evidence that has mostly been sent with the understanding that I would always guard the correspondents' confidentiality. The fact that what I write resonates with those who have begun the healing process indicates that my words are grounded in enough truth to be helpful.

If you cannot relate to such truths, then there may be other reasons for your alienation.

Susan wrote: "I read these blogs as an ex-RC, and it really strikes me in a bad way when I see the discourse devolve into personal attacks and conjecture. I would just like the facts, please."

I'm confused, Susan. The com-boxes are filled with stories of how the RC's saw their priests (as Fr what a waste, or whatever) and Pete and I try to show that it flows from the superficial formation. And then you seem to attack Pete because the discussion has devolved. Highlighting such conversations IS fact -- facts about which we should all be horrified. We are tying to indict the methodology, not the people.

Does highlighting the words of Owen Kearns also constitute a personal attack? How about the actions of the founder?


This is the first I've heard that "Fr. Damien Karras" (Fr. Francis Snell) has left the Legion. Do you know this for fact?

It seems to me that Pete was simply pointing out that the apparent lack of Fr. Kearns remorse (as evidenced by the fact no public act of restitution of the good names he smeared has been attempted by Fr. Kearns) does not seem to offend the RC/LC who defend him, nor does the ORIGINAL act of slander seems to bother them at all, at least not from what we have been able to gather from the comboxes. I've only seen the use of the term "slander" applied to critics of the LC by the LC/RC supporters, NEVER to any of their own.

Peter put up a very good argument for the fact that not one iota of what he posted was slanderous and backed it up with facts, plain and simple. Yet "Fed-up" has no problem with accusing Peter of slander, which in itself is slanderous! Ah, the irony.

To Susan: it was the RC who were calling the LC priests "Fr. What-a-waste" NOT Giselle. So I, too, am very confused by exactly what you are finding offensive.

Criticism, which generally involves pointing out some negatives, is NOT uncharitable. I think everybody who has been involved in RC/LC needs to seriously re-evaluate the virtue of charity, because the definition of it as taught by Maciel and happily absorbed by his order of priests for 65 years is NOT the true virtue of charity as defined by our Church. Charity has been distorted and exploited by Maciel&Co for decades, and the results of that malformation are evident nearly every day in the comboxes. How effectively Maciel was able to twist charity into a way to silence his critics! How enthusiastically his priests did follow suit! Meanwhile, Maciel was able to continue with his life of fraud and sexual predation.

Oops, that should have read: "does not seem to offend the LC/RC who defend the Legion". I don't think I've seen anybody defending Fr. Kearns' act of injustice to the original victims, but I haven't seen the LC/RC calling for public restitution of the good names of these men, either. Silence speaks volumes (I do realize a small handful of LC priests have acknowledged their part in the maligning of these victims). It seems to me the rank-and-file are accepting this slander and subsequent lack of restitution with quite a bit of "serenity".

If the Legion had any integrity, they would not only be restoring the names of these men, they would be expressing public gratitude to them for their perseverance in trying to out this child molester/abuser/fraud for decades. Instead, they reserve their gratitude for the criminal Maciel. It doesn't take a degree in rocket science to realize something is very wrong with that picture.

If Fr. Karras is indeed Fr. Francis Snell, he is currently listed on the website of Sacred Heart Parish in Hartford as "Rev. Francis J. Snell, LC".

Doesn't sound like an "ex" to me.

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on September 8, 2009 1:27 PM.

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