Pope Benedict minds sex abuse

Pope Benedict has just released his letter to Irish Catholics concerning sexual abuse against children. Although we knew His Holiness would take a tough stand – he’s become less tolerant than his predecessor in punishing priestly abusers – this letter is nevertheless a bombshell for canonists.
One of the most important principles when applying canon law to a situation is that one interpret the law according to the mind of the legislator. Pope Benedict is the Supreme Legislator within the Church. This letter reveals Pope Benedict’s mind on this horrific topic in a manner that leaves little room for ambiguity in its interpretation. Although addressed to Irish Catholics, the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi would do well to pay attention. After all, any attempt from the Holy See to impose reform on Maciel’s movement will follow the mind of Pope Benedict. So you – and I’m speaking directly now to LC/RC canonists – would be foolish to dismiss this letter as addressed only to Catholics in Ireland, and not to your movement.
I urge everyone to read the entire letter here. Here are some key paragraphs that stand out in light of LC/RC handling of the Maciel scandal:

I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them.

Notice the apparent absence of Romanita and Bella Figura in His Holiness’s words. Popes in modern times don’t talk like this. He considers the sexual abuse of children sinful, criminal and treachery. He will publicly shame an entire Church hierarchy to make his point.

It is true, as many in your country have pointed out, that the problem of child abuse is peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Church. Nevertheless, the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community, and to do so with courage and determination.

The fact that children are sexually abused outside of the Church, or in other parts of the Church, is no excuse for inaction. Focus on the problem in your own background. You have a duty to confront this problem and to fix it.

At the same time, I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children. Such an acknowledgement, accompanied by sincere sorrow for the damage caused to these victims and their families, must lead to a concerted effort to ensure the protection of children from similar crimes in the future.

There is no recovery without first acknowledging the wrong done, the serious of the wrong done, and the vulnerability and innocence of the victims. This must be followed by sincere sorrow for the wrong done, and a pro-active approach to preventing similar harm to children in the future.
The pope then shares good advice on praying for God’s grace and turning to saints for their Christian example. This is fairly strait-forward.
That being said, the following statements reveal that His Holiness sees bad methodology as a contributing cause to this crisis:

Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. […]
Certainly, among the contributing factors we can include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favour the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person. Urgent action is needed to address these factors, which have had such tragic consequences in the lives of victims and their families, and have obscured the light of the Gospel to a degree that not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing.

Finally, he makes it clear whose side he is taking in this scandal:

On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future. I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them.

Not only has Pope Benedict met with the victims personally and listened to their stories, but he has acknowledged their suffering and prayed for them. This is the response one would expect from good and holy priests. And since Christ calls the Pope as head shepherd to lead by example, this is the response the Pope himself expects.
Notice what is absent from the Pope’s letter: No blaming the victims for their (supposed) lack of charity; no passing the entire responsibility to the abuser alone, no silly cliches like “God writes straight with crooked lines,” no chastising the faithful for their outrage or for not also recognizing the good that abusers had accomplished. No use of euphemism to describe painful sind. No denying the effects of abuse upon the victims. No covering up for the sake of avoiding scandal in the Church.
What’s even more interesting, in re-reading His Holiness’s letter a second time, from the beginning, is that he calls the Irish hierarchy to account for their handling of the situation. Yes, the Pope is intervening to help fix the situation. However, it is only because the Irish hierarchy failed in their responsibility to do so. This should be a sobering reminder to current LC/RC supporters. Just as “I was only following orders” has been rejected as an argument for moral justification, so too does Pope Benedict appear to reject “I was only waiting for orders to follow.”
Which is why LC and RC should ask themselves what they (not Maciel) have done to correct the situation, and whether it lives up to the Pope’s expectations. This is the question he asked of the Irish bishops. And this is the question he will ask of you.
Or to quote the Holy Father in a part of the letter addressed specifically to bishops (after saying religious superiors should follow the advice he gives bishops):

Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church to which we have consecrated our lives. This must arise, first and foremost, from your own self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal. The Irish people rightly expect you to be men of God, to be holy, to live simply, to pursue personal conversion daily.

The Holy Father concludes the letter with several excellent recommendations for prayer, fasting and reform.


  1. The following paragraphs of the Pope’s statement should also be kept in mind for the LC situation:
    7. To priests and religious who have abused children (exerpt):
    Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.
    10. To the priests and religious of Ireland
    All of us are suffering as a result of the sins of our confreres who betrayed a sacred trust or failed to deal justly and responsibly with allegations of abuse. In view of the outrage and indignation which this has provoked, not only among the lay faithful but among yourselves and your religious communities, many of you feel personally discouraged, even abandoned. I am also aware that in some people’s eyes you are tainted by association, and viewed as if you were somehow responsible for the misdeeds of others. At this painful time, I want to acknowledge the dedication of your priestly and religious lives and apostolates, and I invite you to reaffirm your faith in Christ, your love of his Church and your confidence in the Gospel’s promise of redemption, forgiveness and interior renewal. In this way, you will demonstrate for all to see that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (cf. Rom 5:20).
    I know that many of you are disappointed, bewildered and angered by the way these matters have been handled by some of your superiors. Yet, it is essential that you cooperate closely with those in authority and help to ensure that the measures adopted to respond to the crisis will be truly evangelical, just and effective. Above all, I urge you to become ever more clearly men and women of prayer, courageously following the path of conversion, purification and reconciliation. In this way, the Church in Ireland will draw new life and vitality from your witness to the Lord’s redeeming power made visible in your lives.
    11. To my brother bishops (excerpt)
    Clearly, religious superiors should do likewise. They too have taken part in recent discussions here in Rome with a view to establishing a clear and consistent approach to these matters. It is imperative that the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland be continually revised and updated and that they be applied fully and impartially in conformity with canon law.
    Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church to which we have consecrated our lives. This must arise, first and foremost, from your own self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal. The Irish people rightly expect you to be men of God, to be holy, to live simply, to pursue personal conversion daily
    12. To all the faithful of Ireland (Exerpt)
    In confronting the present crisis, measures to deal justly with individual crimes are essential, yet on their own they are not enough: a new vision is needed, to inspire present and future generations to treasure the gift of our common faith. By treading the path marked out by the Gospel, by observing the commandments and by conforming your lives ever more closely to the figure of Jesus Christ, you will surely experience the profound renewal that is so urgently needed at this time. I invite you all to persevere along this path.
    It is important that Benedict’s letter, in its totality be considered.

  2. Mr. Vere, recently Rod Dreher (and undoubtedly others) have criticized the pope for not removing bishops who have covered up. Is such an action possible for the pope, under canon law?

  3. Has anyone seen Archbishop Burke’s comments in a CNS article? I was unable to access the direct link, but it is interesting. Maybe Pete could help explain what he is saying.
    He said, “The Church is quite prepared to deal with this; it has throughout the centuries, and what I am saying is that we have to make that discipline clear so that when cases happen, they can be dealt with”.
    He also said, “Thanks to the media and lawyers, the public has a mistaken impression that the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law is not capable of dealing effectively and decisively with accusations against priests”.
    Honestly, I don’t feel that due to the media and lawyers we have a mistaken impression, I believe it is due more to the manner in which the Code of Canon Law has been exercised.
    Please help Pete if you understand this.

  4. Pete, what is your response to David Clohessy’s (and SNAP’s) criticism that the Pope did not really do anything to punish the predators? He said that words alone are not enough.

  5. Re: Abp Burke’s comments about “lawyers and the media.”
    I’m inclined to believe that the good Archbishop is correct if not particularly helpful.
    At the risk of being accused of beating a dead horse, consider the media reaction to the disciplining of Father Maciel in 2006.
    Many in the press–both Catholic and non-Catholic–interpreted the invitation to retire to a life of “prayer and prenance, renouncing all public ministry” as a slap on the wrist and “more of the same” in light of the poor handling, in the United States, of the priest-sex-abuse-scandal.
    The Legionaries, in my view, took advantage of a paucity of knowledge of Canon Law in announcing that Maciel accepted his discipline with “serenity” while simultaneously maintaining his innocence and likening him to Christ in accepting “gratefully” the cross of unjust and untrue accusations against him (and thereby not so subtly implying that Pope Benedict had played the role of a modern day Pontius Pilate in handing down the sentence).
    But as Pete Vere and other canonists might say, for a Canon Lawyer, the language of the commungue and the remedy arrived at was unambiguous: The Vatican had credible evidence not only of the original accusations of sexual abuse, but also of abuse of the sacrament of confession (in forgiving his abuse victims of a “crime” he himself induced them to “commit”).
    I was following the case intently at the time and even reporting on it and I noticed that ignorance of Canon Law procedures was largely to blame for a broad misinterpretation of the meaning of the discipline handed down to Maciel. In the press, the lack of a canonical trial was interpreted the way we would interpret a “no bill” from a Grand Jury investigation in the U.S.–i.e., a “no bill” means insufficient evidence for conviction.
    But in the process the Church does, that is not the case. The fact of the discipline itself is an indication that the Vatican was convinced of Maciel’s guilt sufficiently to punish him. The Vatican would have given Maciel the opportunity to ask for a trial to clear his name.
    Obviously, Maciel declined the trial and the Vatican was polite (truly charitable) about it in the way it described it in the communique.
    Had Maciel wanted a trial, a trial would have been held.
    So–Burke’s comments about the ability of Canon Law to “deal” with such cases, I think, is correct–but will be interpreted negatively–even, perhaps, as arrogant. But I don’t think he is wrong.
    The Pope’s letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland is a strong indication not only that the Church is equipped–it’s an indication that this Pontiff is willing.
    Now–Pete–correct whatever errors I’ve rendered above . . . .

  6. T. Chan:
    While it is possible for a Pope to remove a bishop under canon law, it goes against almost 20 centuries of ecclesiology. The Church is not a multi-national corporation in which the Pope is president and CEO. So the more appropriate response is to hold the bishops responsible, force them to confront and clean up their mess, and hold them accountable if they don’t.
    I agree with Archbishop Burke that canon law was able to deal appropriately with clergy who sexually abuse minors. The problem was that bishops and religious superiors were unwilling to apply the full weight of canon law in these cases.
    I also agree with Greg that a lack of knowledge of canon law is what in part fueled this controversy, as the hierarchy was able to use this lack of knowledge of canon law among the laity to help perpetuate the coverup, and laity were unaware of their rights and obligations under canon law to pursue justice. So they turned to the media and civil lawyers instead.
    In fact, this is one of the reasons my friend Michael Trueman and I wrote Surprised by Canon Law; Surprised by Canon Law 2; and Jacqui Rapp and I wrote Anullment: 100 Questions and Answers. All three books in the series are available from Servant Books, an imprint of St. Anthony Messenger Press.
    White Tree:
    This type of letter from the Pope won’t lay out punishment for the perpetrators. That already happened when Cardinal Ratzinger, as head of the CDF, convinced Pope John Paul II to give him oversight of cases involving priests who sexually abuse minors. Additionally, Ratzinger took an even tougher stand upon becoming Pope Benedict, as under his papacy many cases that use to end with an invitation to prayer and penance are now going to trial for dismissal from the clerical state.
    So while the punishment of perpetrators is important, it is outside the scope of this letter, which is to focus on apologizing to victims, bringing about their healing, and restoring trust among Catholics.

  7. It is not an old problem but an ongoing problem, with gay organizations pushing to gain entry into the school system via teen gay anti-discrimination programs. The rational used is that gay teens, in order to express their sexuality, need older men, because they are isolated. You also see it in the gay push to both reduce the age of consent for homosexual sex to that of heterosexuals, while pushing the heterosexual age limit lower. And that is only at the level of gay lobbying organizations where they issue public statements and organize lobbying campaigns.
    It is not only the Scouts who have the problem, but every teen boy’s sports program. It is a problem in the schools.

  8. I agree, Not Richard, it is everywhere and has been for a long time. What confuses me is how we got so warped when we have been Christians for such a long time. Why do we as a people continue to be so perverse? Why hasn’t Christianity transformed us? These things are so base, why do we engage in them?

  9. Reading up /praying the pslams with its fury and hatred against evil may do lots of good for dealing with what is all around us !
    ‘Oppose O Lord , those who oppose me , war upon those who war upon me ‘ – Psalm 35 , and inviting in the Bl.Mother ,as the ‘army set in battle array’ against evil , to recite these with us , on behalf of all who need such deliverance – glad the Holy Father has put the emphasis at the right place , which again brings to mind why Pope John Paul 11 seemed not to have been able to do much ,atleast in our judgement !
    Just as he has not been seemingly able to do much , in the severe abuse that is abortion or other evils !
    Lining up enough troops , with hearts of prayer that made the consecration possible ,may give us a clue as to what need to happen !

  10. Lauretta, we are tainted by original sin. Though free of the sin itself through baptism, the consequences remain: that of our animal nature. It is only through God’s free gift of grace that we can rise above temptations. Even St Augustine had an epic struggle with it. Read The Confessions. Our relationship with God is that of a sick person in need of a physician. The sins of the flesh, are not the worse, because they leave survivors. The genocides are far, far worse. And how many genocides have we seen in a lifetime? Too many to count.

  11. Mr. Vere, I understand the ecclesiological argument and certainly many of those who are complaining do not, but I would ask this — how would the pope hold bishops accountable without some threat of disciplinary action or punishment? If the bishops of Ireland, for example, do not apologize for the role they have played, do you think they should be asked to resign?

  12. Not Richard, your vision of gay men as predators is, simply put, evil and wrong. It is also apparently shared by the pope, and is one of the many reasons I will never again willingly set foot in a Catholic Church: you serve Satan.

  13. Mike, I keep abreast of the gay movement by following Egale and what they post on their website. Everything that I said about gay lobbying is fact.
    As for the Church, it says that people with homosexual desires are deserving of respect and dignity, but that homosexual acts are wrong.
    To find out how to be gay and Catholic, read Dreadnought at: http://johnheard.blogspot.com/

  14. Not Richard,
    I read Augustine’s Confessions many years ago. It seems to me, from my poor memory, that his struggles with his vices were primarily before his baptism.
    The way we Christians live our lives seems to me to have gutted the sacrifice of Christ of any power. How are we any different than atheists in the way we act? I come from a whole family of unbaptized people who are able, on their own, to avoid as many temptations as most Christians I know. How can the world recognize us if we don’t look any different in the way we act?

  15. Laura, you might find this link at Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s blog to be helpful:
    Here are the points he makes:
    Penn State professor Philip Jenkins (who is not a Catholic) has written the most objective book on the subject, and he summarizes his arguments in this excellent article. In light of his work, we should remember some basic facts and principles:
    * Priestly celibacy is not the issue – married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried
    * Most child abuse takes place within the home.
    * All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.
    * Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.
    * Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children–not clergy.
    * Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.
    * Catholic cases of pedophilia make more headlines because of anti Catholic prejudice and because the Catholic Church is bigger and more lucractive to sue.
    * Pedophilia and Euphebophilia are different problems. The former is sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. The latter is attraction to teenagers. Most cases branded ‘pedophila’ are actually ‘euphebophila.’
    * Most of the cases of euphebophilia are homosexual in nature, however the politically correct do not want this problem to be associated with homosexuality.
    * The number of Catholic priests guilty of pedophilia is very small.
    * What we now call ‘cover up’ was often done in a different cultural context, when the problem was not fully understood and when all establishment organizations hushed scandals. They did so for what seemed good reasons at the time: protection of the victims and their families, opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender, the avoidance of scandal to others. It is unfair to judge events thirty years ago by today’s standards.
    * When lawsuits are looming people smell money. We must be wary of false accusations.
    * The accused must be entitled to a fair hearing. The church should insist on hard proof of the abuse, and for the sake of justice, ensure that the innocent are not prosecuted.
    * When guilt is established the offender must be punished, not sheltered.
    * Distinctions must be made between types of abuse. Some offenses are worse than others. Verbal abuse or corporal punishment during a time when that was acceptable, while lamentable, is not the same as sexual abuse or extreme physical abuse.
    * Sexual abuse of an adult, or a sexually experienced older teenager is wrong, and damaging, and should be punished, but it is not the same as the sexual abuse of a younger, innocent child.
    * Number of offenses must be considered. One lapse is not of the same seriousness as repeated, persistent and premeditated offenses.

  16. “…we are tainted by original sin. Though free of the sin itself through baptism, the consequences remain: that of our animal nature. It is only through God’s free gift of grace that we can rise above temptations. Even St Augustine had an epic struggle with it. Read The Confessions. Our relationship with God is that of a sick person in need of a physician. The sins of the flesh, are not the worse, because they leave survivors. The genocides are far, far worse. And how many genocides have we seen in a lifetime? Too many to count.”
    Is this another attempt to excuse sins? You remind me of the deeply integrated RC members in my area. They excuse only their sins and no one else’s. They ask for forgiveness and never change their bad behavior. It’s like a roller coaster. Sin. Ask for forgiveness. Sin. Ask for forgiveness. Isn’t that what Maciel did after he sodomized little boys? It seems like his warped spirit is still alive in the Legion and Regnum.

  17. Hmm, I remember a gathering of bishops (Nov ’07 or ’08?) where a John Jay study was discussed; it was reported that priests abuse at exactly the same rate as the rest of society-yay, they’re average! (not). I think it was Bp Curtiss who was happy about that. What you have to keep in mind is the damage to immortal souls that’s done when a child is molested by a priest rather than a teacher, skating rink operator or Scout leader. I don’t remember the statistics I looked at, but I did some extrapolating a while back and came up with an estimate of 100,000* ex-Catholics in the US due to sexual abuse by a priest. I think this is more serious than any number of ex-Scouts, ex-students, and ex-roller skaters (referring to the VIRTUS video here, btw) there might be due to abuse.
    *feel free to come up with your own estimate. I don’t think the actual number is as important as the need for the Catholic Church to try to reach out to them. I appreciated the Pope’s meeting with US victims and also his message in this letter.

  18. The statistics, while interesting, do not address the issue that I am concerned about. There should be basically none of this sort of thing among Christians. If Christians do things at the same rate as everyone else, what is the point of being a Christian? We should be different because of our faith in a noticeable way.
    Salvation is not some future thing that happens when we die. We are being saved from sin–that means right now. To me, this is one of the things that we need to be reflecting on as a result of this scandal. Why are we, as a group, as Christians, not experiencing freedom from these sorts of horrible behaviors? We are doing something seriously wrong.

  19. Not Richard wrote “…we are tainted by original sin. Though free of the sin itself through baptism, the consequences remain: that of our animal nature. It is only through God’s free gift of grace that we can rise above temptations. Even St Augustine had an epic struggle with it. Read The Confessions. Our relationship with God is that of a sick person in need of a physician. The sins of the flesh, are not the worse, because they leave survivors. The genocides are far, far worse. And how many genocides have we seen in a lifetime? Too many to count.”
    This is what seems to be implied: Any sin that Regnum Chrsiti or LC is associated with is because of our sinful nature – so we all share the same condition and are guilty. In fact we who are not supporting Regnum LC are double guilty because we are recognizing that they are in the company of Saints. I mean, it’s not like LC committed genocide – so stop the fuss. Anyway it’s a numbers game.
    @Not Richard (RC) I cannot follow such logic because I am Catholic and I am not a materialist or utilitarian. Therefore, I believe in the dignity of each person – body mind and soul as precious to Almighty God. I also do not believe in human sacrifices to further the organization of LC even if it may produce numerous “fruits”.
    Also, I find it offensive to use St Augustine’s sins in this discussion in order to sheild ones self or cause.
    Let us praise the justice and mercy of God and pray for a participation in His life. But let us not use these beautiful mysteries to constantly justify ourselves in sin or our pet organizations. That is ugliness.

  20. Sin exists, independently of whether you or I think it should. And from what I can see, sin is not limited to LC or RC. We live in a world that calls itself post-Christian, encourages all kinds of sexual license and selfishness. So how to we deal with all of that? St Augustine’s response was that we throw ourselves upon the divine physician and beg for healing and grace. What held for his age, holds for ours, IMHO. Augustine also had to face the sins of the Church head on in the Donatist controversy, and the outcome of that fight, is that we are not a Church of Saints, a Church of the elect, but a Church of sinners in desperate need of grace, because we can never justify ourselves, not even by practicing RC forms of piety. Recognizing this is not justifying sin, or even trying to hide it in a cloud of incense, so how you can read that into my words is beyond me.

  21. Not Richard wrote “…we are tainted by original sin. Though free of the sin itself through baptism, the consequences remain: that of our animal nature. It is only through God’s free gift of grace that we can rise above temptations. Even St Augustine had an epic struggle with it. Read The Confessions. Our relationship with God is that of a sick person in need of a physician. The sins of the flesh, are not the worse, because they leave survivors. The genocides are far, far worse. And how many genocides have we seen in a lifetime? Too many to count.”
    Sorry if I misunderstood the above post. Not Richard(RC). I do think it is doesn’t make sense *in the context* of these discussions. And that is a communication pattern of Regnum Christi/ LC : Taking statements that have some truths and applying them inappropriately.

  22. Not Richard wrote: “The sins of the flesh, are not the worse, because they leave survivors. The genocides are far, far worse. And how many genocides have we seen in a lifetime? Too many to count.”
    Not Richard , Do you think it is appropriate to say that in the context of a discussion on sexual and spiritual abuse? Not only is it not relevant, it is obtuse in my opinion.

  23. Not Richard, you smack of the same psychologically malformed men of the legion who for decades were formed by a diabolical monster. Logic would tell you to seek a good Catholic counselor to deprogram your Maciel infested mind. I’m sorry. Did I hurt your feelings? Forgive me – I am a sinner. Thanks!

  24. Pete, you have obviously never worked with those who see things that are not there. Meds help greatly in those situations. They are even essential.

  25. Actually, I have worked with these folks. I’ve even given presentations to a canon law convention on the canonical rights of such folks. Which is why I have little tolerance for individuals like yourself who would use their suffering as a source of Maciel-inspired “charity” against other commentators. Perhaps a day or two on moderation might teach you real Christian charity for others less fortunate.

  26. Lauretta,
    It was in the middle of the post, but I did say, “What you have to keep in mind is the damage to immortal souls that’s done when a child is molested by a priest rather than a teacher, skating rink operator or Scout leader.” So yes, I agree that it’s much more damaging to a child if a priest molests him/her, than if someone else sins. It causes people to become ex-Catholics, ex-Christians, ex-theists.
    Not Richard, what you’re missing is this: Yes, if Maciel repented, he would escape Hell. But it doesn’t undo the great damage he did to thousands of souls, nor removes the guilt of other sins committed by his followers “for the sake of the Kingdom”. Not just the stolen childhoods of his sexual victims and his victims’ victims and his victims’ victims’ victims et cetera, but the warped theology that has misformed some souls even worse than yours. I strongly urge you to investigate REAL Catholicism.

  27. Sorry, Jeannette, I was referring to the statistics that Not Richard was quoting from Dwight Longenecker’s site. My point in all of this is that we Christians should not be sinning at anywhere near the rates of atheists. Particularly in the horrendous area of abusing children. We are supposed to be a light in the world, not blend in and be just like everyone else.

  28. Not Richard,
    By now, I hope you’ve come to realize that the problems with the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi are not limited to the founder; he was a very sinful man, and put things/ideas into place that are almost Catholic but not quite. If the problems stopped with Marcial Maciel, there would not be an Apostolic Visitation. The non-Catholic aspects of the Legion are usually only hinted at in Legion writings, but there are many people who have given testimony, that these aspects are part of Legion formation. So an “integrated” member of the LC/RC demonstrates these non-Catholic traits.
    The first and most important difference between Catholicism and Legionism is the one from which all the other problems flow: Deceit. From the start, the Legion practices deceit, sometimes referred to as “discretion”. Those of us who were never in LC/RC only see the outer layers: RC/Mission Network programs arrive at a parish but rarely do they acknowledge who they are (I admit here that Pure Fashion was much more open about its RC links than the other RC groups that have advertised at our parish). The 3gf’s are referred to as “consecrated” even though they aren’t really consecrated-most of the 3gf’s don’t even understand this lie! Many former LC and RC members have given further testimony about pressure to be deceitful “for the sake of the Kingdom”. In REAL Catholicism, if you practice deceit “for the sake of the Kingdom”, you’re working for the wrong Kingdom. Many of us who speak up against the Legion have found a whisper campaign against us, where RC members speak false innuendo in order to trash our reputations. In REAL Catholicism, we try to follow the Eighth Commandment.

  29. Jeanette, you have not answered my questions as to what a REAL Catholic is. Remember, you said: “I strongly urge you to investigate REAL Catholicism.”
    You are answering me by sending me back to the Legion and providing me with negatives and accusations.
    Is that where you want me to investigate REAL Catholicism?
    If the LC are not REAL Catholics, where can I find out about REAL Catholicism?

  30. Hmm, I’d forgotten about the Maciel-worship.
    Maciel was obsessed with his own birthday (referred to repeatedly in “Envoy II, a carefully selected, edited collection of his letters to LC members), making it a first-class feast day when the Blessed Mother’s feast day was only a third-class feast day.
    When Maciel was punished by the Vatican, the official Legion response was to compare him to Christ and imply that Pope Benedict XVI was like Pilate.
    Maciel was not subject to the 100’s of pages of rules regarding Legion life. He ate special food, traveled in luxury, came and went as he pleased with no restriction on money spent. He rarely celebrated Mass, did not participate in prayers, did not live a celibate life. Yet he was allowed to be venerated as the “perfect Legionary”. Even after his troubling death*, the Legion continued to portray him as a saint. *What’s this about a fire and demonic presence??! See #18 in the recently-released interview between Garza and some 3gf’s.

  31. Not Richard, my understanding is that you think the Legion is Catholic, so I’m giving you differences.
    Real Catholicism seeks Truth, not discretion; Real Catholics worship God not Maciel.
    Next example,
    Real Consecrated Virgins Living in the World. A Consecrated Virgin, according to the USACV, http://www.consecratedvirgins.org, is a virgin who, after years, usually decades, of living in a single state, decides to make her virginal life an official consecrated state. She contacts her bishop, who works with her (usually through her chosen spiritual director) to discern whether or not this is God’s will. She has a paid job, an apartment, car, medical insurance, etc. The bishop celebrates her consecration,and her status is noted on her baptismal certificate. She and the Church consider this to be a lifelong state, and her vows can be dispensed only with the same difficulty as a priest, brother, nun or sister would encounter. The 3gf is intensely recruited at a young age, makes private promises, isn’t necessarily a virgin, doesn’t have to be female! (3gm’s), and is often dismissed arbitrarily from her state with little or no notice; she is free to marry immediately. As several bloggers have noted recently, the 3gfs do not have canonical status and are therefore not subject to the current Apostolic Visitation of Consecrated Life. None of this is officially contrary to Catholic teaching! The Church views their private promises to God benignly, just like your Lenten sacrifices. Hmm, but the 3gf’s mostly think they’re just like nuns, that they are in fact “consecrated” to Christ! So either
    1) They’ve been lied to by Legion priests and their 3gf superiors.
    2) The Legion priests and the 3gf superiors are utterly incompetent at communicating the 3gf’s official status in the Catholic Church to them or
    3) The Legion priests and 3gf superiors don’t know much about the Catholic Church, are only vaguely familiar with the Church’s teaching on Consecrated Life with respect to Canon 604.
    For the past 40-50 years. Next is spiritual direction, after I do some of that pesky “real life”.

  32. I’ll just chime in with one addition contrasting the Legion with real Catholicism.
    Freedom. The Church is very insistent on personal freedom, particularly in the area of discerning one’s call in life. It is even in Canon Law concerning both marriage and religious life. If I weren’t so lazy, I would look up the specific paragraphs but you can do that yourself if you are interested.
    The Legion is famous for telling people they have vocations to whatever. I have heard that from youth attending week long summer camps, attending their schools, etc. Not only do the “spiritual directors” (another non-Catholic thing as far as children are concerned) do this, but many parents as well. I know several children who were browbeat by their parents about Legion religious life. Most of them resisted but some did not.
    I have heard stories about young people who wanted to leave Legion schools but were not able to discuss this with their parents. This is not Christianity. I don’t care if similar things were done in the past in the minor seminaries and religious houses. It is wrong and has been corrected almost everywhere except in the Legion.
    Authentic Catholicism does not try to control every aspect of an individual’s life. The individual’s dignity does not allow for that sort of control. That should be a sign to look for in all things Catholic. It is not only in the Legion.

  33. Lauretta and Jeanette, you have been spectacularly unsuccessful in telling me what REAL Catholicism is. I suspect that there may not even be such a thing.

  34. Not Richard,
    I get the strong impression that no matter what I wrote, it wouldn’t penetrate your wall. I’m sure that when you really do want Catholicism, God will help you.

  35. Recognising that the anguish – ‘why such horrors , right in the midst of the Sacred Sanctuary ‘ is possibly echoed in many hearts and the possibilty of despair too .
    There were the plagues of the middle ages ; the rats as a cause was not recognised till scriptures brought out the truth , through the episode of the returned Ark, with the mice offerings, after the outburst of plague among the Philistines !
    Could it be that sin does not seem to spare Catholics much these days is that the enemy has been let in , by those in The Church recieving the Sacraments in a state of sin !
    And we can pretty much know what are the easy areas of these sins ! Well, may be even not , because with the prevalence of T.V and all the bad voices that come with it ,it could be a reverse of what happened to Elisabeth, who was filled with the Holy Spirit when hearing the voice of The Mother !
    Hence , hoping that this abuse situation can be used by the whole Church, for deeper repentance at all personal levels too where the sacredness and dignity of the person has been hampered or destroyed , for what is deeemd as the ‘good ‘ of the organistaion or powers in place (as though as well seen in this spectacle, such a foundation on sand would even last in The Kingdom !) . Now, since such kingdoms of evil do seem to stay strong around us in the world , we might even have reasons to thank Him for His mercy that this one did not !

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.