We need to begin reconciling as lay Catholics


Suzanne - my long-time friend, fellow Canuck, and fire team partner in the trenches of Catholic pro-life activism in the Great White North - is coming under fire for having believed in Maciel's innocence and disbelieved his victims (click here). I can understand. We go way back and I can corroborate her following reaction and description of herself:

It was a shocking level of duplicity. Very hard to digest. When you live your life to be honest and as simple as possible, it's hard to imagine that anyone would be so two-faced.

Which is why I find it impossible to be angry with her, or to seek hidden motives for her reaction, despite our past disagreements over Maciel, or the movement he founded. There's a small community of orthodox Catholics and pro-life activists in Canada. We're about the same age, and we both became active around the same time, when our numbers were even fewer. Hence the temptation to believe that anyone who professed Catholic orthodoxy was our friend. Without my background in canon law and wide exposure to Catholicism in the U.S., I would likely find myself in her shoes.

So no hard feelings Suzanne. I may question LC higher-ups who claimed to known nothing of Maciel's duplicity, but I don't question Suzanne's integrity for having believed them. For me this is another tragedy of this scandal. That such a kind, honest and devout young mother like Suzanne - that such a supportive friend and loyal ally in Canada's culture war - was pitted against Aaron, Glenn Favreau, Paul Lennon and other honest men who I consider friends and allies in the Church's internal struggle against Maciel's methodology.

So no hard feelings, my friend.


Pete - you make a great point. I was like your friend Suzanne and know so many other RCs who were like her. We were trying to find Christ and live an honest life thru what we thought was our vocation- RC and I was taught to fight against the abuse victims, Paul Lennon et al because they were hurting our honorable cause.

Maciel's double life was hard to swallow but what was unfathomable to me was what I watched over the last year with many LC and some RC continuing business as usual, praising the LC, still not acknowledging the truth of the victims sexual abuse and pain, spinning, laying on guilt trips. What I witnessed and experienced was putting an insitutution before truth and misleading many souls in the process. The Maciel lie was continued well after he died and even spun to an unbelievable level by Catholic priests over the last year....all to save an institution.

With the statements from the LC in March and Fr. Owens apology - I see a glimmer of hope that finally Maciel's lie is starting to die. Last Feb these same LCs still praised their flawed founder's methodology and the impact he had on their life (yet many of them knew what they knew this year but just could not admit it). I see their eyes starting to open. There is hope.....but to my left and right I see fallen RC women who have lost trust in any priests and have even lost their way in their faith and prayer life. Wounded confused soldiers trying to find their way.

Are they better off because they had all those years in RC? Most that I see (including myself)recognize the many gifts GOD gave us thru our time in RC but have needed alot of healing. The sad thing is that the LC priests who were there when we were giving our lives to the Movement were not capable to help us when we lost faith and trust in many things. They were hurting themselves and Fr Alvaro and Co were not even equiping their priests with the truth and guidance to help us.

But there was something else that was so sad. Nobody this past year was willing and able to lift off the burden on our shoulders of carrying Maciels lie and methodology. We were made to feel guilt if we could not be serene and "stay in the boat" or "suffer with the family." We had to teach ourselves to speak up about the truth we felt in our conscience even while we knew we could be hurting our friends feelings because they could not see it like some of us did. We still loved our RC friends but had to seperate from them because our conscience was in turmoil.

Fr. Owens letter finally lifted some of that burden of hurt I felt for the victims and the pain of betrayal off my shoulders. I hope some of his burden is lifted too. Fr Berg helped many RC immediately in Feb 09 and Fr Richard Gill's letter and leaving lifted off burdens too. The LC priest on the changobeer blog also really helped lift off the burden. It is amazing how a few priests speaking out in truth is so healing - but there were so few.

Gregorbo on Life After RC mentioned - where is the saint in all this to rise up and be a man and defend the truth and Christ? We all needed some LC priest to lift off our burden because Fr A and company only made it heavier this whole year.

All that matters is Christ and truth in his Church and love of ALL souls. The sexual abuse victims and bloggers who continued the fight for truth are heros and God is pleased that they did not back down.

'Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trepass against us ' most of us recite daily !

There is that poingnant and mysterious scene at The Last Supper where our Lord, in anguish (? even a call for help , to try to help Judas !) tells the Apostles wbout the impending act - 'One of you shall betray Me !' and seems they would know by our Lord then giving the morsel to Judas as to who and what !

Yet, seemingly , no action from any , not from St.Peter, who was curious to know who , not from St.John , who loved our Lord with a fatherly heart !

They had talked not long ago about wanting positions , about being selfassured of their own strenghts , to even be ready to die for Him , yet !

Now, if Mary Magdalene , the sinner who knew what it is to be in the throes of sin was there , would things have been diffrent -
she , who was forgiven much, also loved much and that love, even for those whom our Lord loved, would it not have moved her !

Yet,may such a scene had to be allowed , to give us eachbettr insight and hope too ,of the Judasic or lukewarmish , selfish traits and that a repentant sinner brings much joy to heaven !

Tragedy is , persons like Fr.Maciel, with power and money whom then all around care to ingrtaiate , possibly to furthur their own cause ( and many from just plain ignorance or other God allowed mysterious resons, like in case of Judas !) are hurt lots , from such inactions , like manya priest indicted in scandals who too could have been helped way before !

One can go back to his addiction days - if that was not rooted out with help from those who knew anything about same , and same addiction roots then sprang up , with lots more power, to satiate greed for more power and pleasure and all the destructive tendencies it brought upon and fostered in those around too !

May the Holy Spirit reveal to all, all the areas of our weaknesses and hungers, to help us to take it all with trust , to His infinite mercy and to be able to have wisdom enough to get/give help to those who have been entrusted to our care !

Hi Pete. Thank you for your kind words.

I was skeptical of the allegations at first because of who I heard it from first-- people with an interest in seeing the Church destroyed.

I gave them more credence when the Vatican started getting involved.

While prudence is always de rigueur, Catholics are wise not to believe every allegation against a leader, especially when it comes from hostile sources. This is the difficulty-- to discern the truth. Many people repeat what they hear without critical examination. In my case, the people who were uncritically repeating these allegations and trying to smear the Church just happened to be correct.

Suzanne, Pete:

It's quite lonely being on the outside of RC when so many years have been spent inside. Lonely, but peaceful. It's hard to pray but God has graced me with much faith, and trust in our Founder, Jesus Christ! The dreaded "human respect" RC-speak was thrown at me by my own husband, who thought my anger at the movement actually stems from what others think of me leaving RC. Kind of shocked me, we've been married a long time and I'm not the type that looks around for approval before making a move on anything. So this is how the methodology of RC infiltrates our families--he's blind to the issues that to me are obvious and repulsive, and is crediting my departure to a lack of personal virtue. So be it. He's a good honest man, and will come around in his own time.
I'll compelled today to write as a "fellow Canuck". Do you know of any forum for Canadian RCs-in-discernment to meet, console, strengthen, support, encourage? It has been good to read this blog and Giselle's wisdom on the life-after-RC blog, but what if someone needs to talk and get real spiritual guidance?

Not here to beat you up, Suzanne, not by any means, because we still have strong ties to the Legion. No throwing stones here.

But something in your post sticks in my craw:
"While prudence is always de rigueur, Catholics are wise not to believe every allegation against a leader, especially when it comes from hostile sources. This is the difficulty-- to discern the truth. Many people repeat what they hear without critical examination. In my case, the people who were uncritically repeating these allegations and trying to smear the Church just happened to be correct."

I am not sure if you mean that the people in your own personal life that happened to be spouting the bad news about Maciel were trying to smear the church? If so, then I have no problem with what you are saying. But if you are saying that the original victims, and the journalists to whom they turned when they could not get any help from within our Church, were out on a smear campaign, I can't help but believe this is still your RC training.

Just because somebody says something negative about our Church does not make them an enemy or a "smearer". JPII et al would have been so much better off if they had regarded these men as friends who were trying to protect other children and out a terrible evil within our Church.

I agree that discernment is crucial--and definitely not easy with the current state of journalism in general. But we have GOT to stop thinking of everybody who brings evil within our Church to light as an attacker trying to bring down our Holy Mother Church. Because quite simply, some of these people are crusading because they love our Church, not because they hate it. We should never be afraid of Truth.

If I have completely misunderstood you, I am sorry!

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on April 19, 2010 3:46 AM.

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