No go for Jo


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.



Pete - great post. I blogged some comments for Jo at her site and referred her to your blog and Giselle's blog. It seems she is not reading all sides of the story.

I was there after 2006. I was so confused about the Pope inviting Maciel to a life of prayer and penance and saying "independent of the founder". I only listened and read the LC response (that Maciel was innocent and like Jesus and would not say anything bad about his accusers and carry this cross). I liked it - it worked for my RC life and puffed up my pride a little more that we were in the midst of a living saint who was so charitable he would not say one thing bad and be a suffering servant. I now admit I was slurping some serious kool-aid and the only way I came to grips with it was re-reading the Pope's statement, the LCs response, asking questions, reading blogs, getting the bigger picture and lots of prayer and tears. It was like ripping my heart out.

I chose not to read the blogs out of charity to Maciel and obedience to my superiors. I was proud of myself. I realized that once this scandal broke - I had given a voice to Maciel for 8 years and I know had to give a voice to the victims and all others out there who were hurt. The guilt I felt even clicking on the blogs was terrible (not healthy!) and it took me months to even give my opinion (not healthy!). I felt like a traitor (not healthy!)...but slowly through prayer, tears, pain, the Lord showed me the bigger picture. All my good in RC does not justify staying when my conscience was in turmoil that the LC leadership had not treated Maciel's victims with Christianity 101 (clear public apology for slander, restitution, compensation).

So I say to any RCer, I cannot tell anyone what to do or what the HS is saying to you. Every day I pray "Lord open my eyes and show me where I am wrong". But I do think a normal, healthy thing to do is to be able to read all sides of this scandal, take time on it, pray, ask questions, know that there will be negativity and upset people which makes total sense - we have all been hurt and duped. Let's not let Maciel hurt our relationships and keep dialoguing in love and respect with a goal to live in truth no matter how painful it is. (and trust me, leaving RC was one of the most painful decisions I have made in my life, which, by the way is not healthy either).

The Church and Jesus is my salvation and not an institution. It was a tool for my journey to holiness and God used it and gave me many, many gifts (especially the priests and the people), but it became an obstacle when I learned the methodology was inspired by a fraud. (I am not being uncharitable, that is just a fact that all LC/RC deserve to know.)

The methodology was inspired by the CIA, which is why it works so well: terrorist cell/ RC encounter group, both cells; both focused on writings; both creating loyalty and bonds within the group. Worked for Maciel the way it worked for Ben Ladin.

Amen Pete, and Amen Anon! We need to pray for all of them when the scales are removed. I consider myself to have a strong faith, and boy has it been tested. I left 9 months ago. Most know, yet I haven't "told" them. Anon, you have convinced me that I need to write that letter to the dear friends who are still in RC. We need to be there for them.

I am grateful to the HS for convincing me that any goodness that I saw in RC/LC is indeed the good from the Holy Catholic Church. I am not lost when I am in the Church. We were manipulated for our desire to serve Her. I must say too, that Billy Joel's quip, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the Saints!" has new meaning for me. The Church is a hospital for sinners. The cult of RC and the Legion indeed sets itself apart as superior.

It is completely self serving.

May God comfort all when they discover the sordid truth.

Just another thought about the Legion "apologies." Something I try to teach my children when they apologize is not to say, "I am sorry I did this when you did THIS." Just apologize and be sorry for what you have done!

It is not a real apology to bring up what the other person may have done! If the Legion were truly sorry, or at least knew anything about charity, they would release a statement that just said, "We are sorry for all the sufferings our Founder caused you. We are sorry that we were not quick to comfort you in your difficulty and in the past accused you of calumny. We have failed in true Christian charity and we ask your forgiveness."

No, we have never seen this. We see apologies with caveats. It is incredibly immature. And Evil.

Lord, have Mercy!

"We are sorry that we were not quick to comfort you in your difficulty and in the past accused you of calumny. We have failed in true Christian charity and we ask your forgiveness."

Would that the previous pope had set such an example.

RC cannot exist without LC ... it is set up verbatim as to the Masons and the Eastern Star. And we certainly know where they come from...

Please ask Jo one question:

The LCs called my home and invited me to send my 14 year old son to their ConQuest meetings, with the possibility that they take him on a trip to Rome.

Should I let him go?

Would that be an objectively good thing to do?

Yes or no?

It looks like Jo didn't like the attention her blog was getting and pulled it down. I hope the feedback from that post gave her food for thought.

The Legion may like to talk like her internally, but they could not have been thrilled to see that on a public site.

I seriously doubt that they saw it, nor would they be much concerned. Jo handled herself quite well spouting the party line. Plus, she was sincere. It made me sad to see that nothing being said was getting through.

Pete, You chose to 'fisk' a comment someone else dropped on Jo's blog and to cut Jo some slack in her confusion.

After she deleted her blog I did some googling and will only say how very right you were to suggest that this is someone who needs compassion more than anything else. Pray for her faith in God and His Church to soothe her grief and the scandal she sees and doesn't see.

To be able to go to the order's website at this late date in March 2010 and find this misleading profile of "Our Founder" is truly incredible:

Leave a comment

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on March 7, 2010 12:29 AM.

How do you define 'juxtaposition'? was the previous entry in this blog.

The monk who stole juxtaposition is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.