UPDATED: Legionaries of Dan Rather

UPDATE: On second thought, there is something to be added to Giselle’s comments. Something addressed to LC superiors only, and not to rank-and-file LC/RC:
The scandal is not about you or your feelings; it’s about Fr. Maciel’s victims. They are the ones most deserving of an apology from you. The longer you wait, the angrier Catholics become. This includes a growing number of your members, in my experience, some of who blind carbon copied me their letters and emails to the apostolic visitators. And they’re asking why, seven months later, the victims still have not received a public apology from you.
So you need to apologize to Fr. Maciel’s victims for the abuse they suffered. Then you need to apologize to them again for the harm they suffered to their reputation. Then you need to apologize for not apologizing sooner.
Initial Post
With Fr. Alvaro visiting the RC’s Atlanta section this Thursday, a Legion priest has apologized, kinda…

Thy Kingdom Come!
Dear Regnum Christi brothers and sisters in Christ,
I want to thank you for all your prayers during these difficult times. I would like to reach every one of you to ask for forgiveness for all the hurt you are going through, especially this year dedicated to the priest who ministers God´s mercy. I know that time will heal and the grace of Christ, who is always with us as a good Friend, will never abandon us. This is his work and we are only his instruments.
With this in mind I am pleased to announce that Fr. Alvaro, our general director of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, will be in Atlanta on Thursday, August 27th and celebrate mass for us. The mass will be at Pinecrest at 7pm and an informal reception will follow at the Upper School Dining Hall.
I am very grateful to Father Alvaro for his visit. Thank you for all your hard work and support. Keep praying for us!
Yours in Christ and the Movement,
Fr. Emilio Diaz-Torre, LC
Local Coordinator of Apostolate, Atlanta

There’s little I can add to Giselle’s commentary.

Priests, like soldiers, should show moral courage

I’m away today doing canonical research, so I won’t have telephone or Internet access until 8. p.m. at the earliest. Before I leave, however, I just want to comment on something that’s been troubling me in emails, phone calls and blog comments from friends still on the inside of the Legion of Christ (LC) and Regnum Christi (RC). It’s the widespread belief that as individuals most Legionaries are good priests.
I can accept that they are fervent, as well as doctrinally conservative for the most part. Prayerful might also be an adjective that describes most Legionaries.
However, I simply don’t see evidence of the moral courage that I would expect from good priests. Especially among an order that has adopted a military motif. Of course it goes without saying that I am judging actions, and not what is in each Legionary’s heart. Nevertheless, unless God has granted us the grace to read souls like He did to Padre Pio, actions are what we must go by.
As some readers know, many of my friends and readers are military. One of the basic virtues instilled in soldiers by the military is that of courage. Soldiers are taught two forms of courage. The first is physical courage, like when a soldier faces down a terrorist firing an assault rifle at him.
The second is moral courage, which is the courage to do the right thing despite potentially uncomfortable consequences. A friend of mine witnessed an example of moral courage during his basic training. He and his fellow recruits were having a difficult time learning a new parade drill under an extremely crotchety drill sergeant (or what the Marines would call “Heavy Hat” during Marine Corps basic training – that is, the sergeant who is perpetually grumpy and picks apart everyone over the slightest mistake). The sergeant was so upset by their failure to learn the move that he kept them an hour into their next timing.
Now I have to pause here to add a few details. Timings are sacrosanct in the military. If you’re not on time for something, then everyone else suffers. And in theater the suffering can be fatal if another group of soldiers are relying on you for cover from the enemy, supplies, etc. Additionally, the timing happened to be a lecture being given by a Major, which is a senior officer. You simply don’t keep senior officers waiting, especially for an hour. The marching NCO, whose job it is to get recruits to their next timing on time and who I will call “Corporal Bloggins,” had reminded the sergeant a few times that he had gone over his time limit. (Oh, and one last detail, the recruits were very grumpy too because it was a hot summer day on the black parade square.)
Suddenly, the drill sergeant looked at his watch and said: “Oh my goodness, we’re an hour over our next timing. The Major is going to be upset.” (Okay, I’m paraphrasing in somewhat less colorful language given the family nature of this blog.)
The drill sergeant had several options. He could blame the recruits for marching like a sack of hammers due and lacking motivation that afternoon. He could also blame Corporal Bloggins, the marching NCO, for not having been more forceful in his reminder. Instead, the drill sergeant turned to Corporal Bloggins and said: “You will march them over to their next timing right away, and I order you to tell the Major that it is my fault they’re an hour late. It may be your duty to get them their on time, but the Major is to hold me responsible.”
That was the moment, my buddy tells me, that the recruits went from dreading the drill sergeant to admiring him. Why? Because of his moral courage in taking responsibility for a major faux pas. As upset as he was with the recruits’ poor performance, he didn’t pass the blame down to them. Nor would he permit the marching NCO to take the blame for keeping a senior officer waiting for over an hour. The recruits knew that their drill sergeant was a soldier who practiced what he preached, holding himself to a higher moral standard than that which he held the recruits.
Most importantly, the recruits now knew that they could trust the drill sergeant. There was moral substance behind the show. He wasn’t just spit-shined boots, razor-thin creases, starched hat and snappy drill movement.
So how does this relate to goodness among Legionary priests?
Well, with the exception of Fr. Berg (and a couple of others) who has now left the order, I have not seen the moral courage that I would expect from soldiers, and definitely not what I would expect from priests. I’m not saying that it isn’t there – that isn’t for me to judge; I simply haven’t seen it.
To quote George Orwell: “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” This is especially true when universal deceit threatens the salvation of souls, negatively impacts the reputation of good men such as Pope John Paul II, and destroys the reputation of legitimate victims who showed moral courage in bringing the truth to light. All because nobody appears to want to take responsibility for the Legion’s questionable handling of Fr. Maciel’s actions. In short, good priests don’t allow their founder’s sexual vices and deceit to endanger the eternal salvation of souls. Good priests don’t allow their founder’s victims to continue suffering unjustly with sullied reputations. Good priests don’t drag out public scandal to Catholics and non-Catholics by employing Clintonesque communication strategies.
Moreover, while I speak for no military, I know of no soldier who would trust a person lacking in moral courage. Especially if the person avoiding responsibility is a man of the cloth, in a position of responsibility over others or claims to be a soldier of some sort. Failure to own up to the truth and accept the consequences of one’s actions is not simply a mistake, but a failure of character in the opinion of most soldiers I know.
This may seem harsh to those who consider themselves part of a spiritual elite building God’s Kingdom, but that’s the real world. If one soldier in uniform sins, especially if that soldier is among the senior ranks, then all soldiers are tainted with the scandal. All soldiers in the unit are held in disgrace by the public. And the stain to the unit’s honor and reputation can only be removed if the fault is corrected, the perpetrator held responsible and the truth made known. All of which require moral courage.
Nor do I buy the excuse we cannot judge because we’re not in their position. As my Tyranny of Nice co-author Kathy Shaidle often says, to put forward this excuse is to assert cowardice as one’s defacto position. Moral cowardice is contrary to goodness and the example of heroic virtue lived by the saints. Look at St. John Fischer. Nobody reading this blog lived under the reign of King Henry VIII. Yet none of us as Catholics invoke the intercession of the other bishops living under his reign – those who followed their monarch into schism because they lacked the moral courage of St. John Fischer. Those who were kept from speaking the truth openly because of pressure from above.
Now western society no longer has kings who lop off the heads of clergy for expressing Catholic orthodoxy. Rather we have media barons who make or break reputations. A good example of such, in conservative circles, is Sean Hannity at Fox News. Hannity is a former seminarian who believes the Church’s traditional teaching on contraception is outdated. Which of the following is an example of moral courage among the priesthood? Going on national television and correcting Mr. Hannity, or using one’s position at the same media outlet to publicly attack a brother priest for zealously defending Catholic teaching and admonishing a Catholic in error?
Of course the former, a retired Marine, understands the value of moral courage. And thus his actions provide a living example of the Marine motto Semper Fi (“Always faithful”). Which is why I and many other pro-life Catholics look up to him as a good priest.
Therefore – and I am speaking now to each and every Legion priest reading this blog – it is your responsibility before God to show moral courage, come forward with the truth, and repair the great injustice that your founder’s deception has inflicted upon the Church. This is the way of a true soldier and a good priest.

Fr. Maciel had dual personality, says Cardinal

In a story circulating South American and European media, Santiago’s Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz appeared nationally on Chilean TV and said: “Los médicos cercanos al padre Maciel han dicho que tenía dos personalidades distintas. No solamente un tema de doble vida. En un momento era el fundador y en otro era un pobre hombre.”
Here’s how a Spanish-speaking reader translates His Imminence’s words: “Doctors close to Father Maciel have said that he had two distinct personalities. [….] In one moment he was a founder, and in another he was a poor man.”
The article also states that Fr. Maciel injected himself with Demerol, my translator tells me, adding that seminarians ran the pharmacy for him. Coincidentally, Demerol is believed to have been Michael Jackson’s pain-killer of choice. This begs the question whether Fr. Maciel apologists, attempting to gain sympathy for the founder, are now shifting from the Clinton strategy to the Michael Jackson strategy. (Maciel and Michael are both reported to have suffered a stormy childhood at the hands of abusive fathers, both attracted millions of followers making noise that people wanted to hear, both faced legal investigations over allegations of sexual abuse involving minors, and now the addiction to Demerol allegations.)
That being said, there’s serious questions to be asked if the dual-personality explanation is taken at face value. Why do no one in the Legion notice Fr. Maciel was switching back and forth between personalities? If it’s because he was never the “hombre” when around the Legion, then how was he able to switch so conveniently between personalities? And how sure is the Legion leadership that the Hombre Maciel personality never played a role int eh founding of the Legion of Christi/ Regnum Christi movement?
I’m afraid this attempt at an explanation raises more questions than it resolves.
Speaking about cardinals and Fr. Maciel, Cassandra has just posted another blog entry on who knew what in the Holy See. Cassandra speculates that recent news reports implicating Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone in the coverup may have confused Pope Benedict’s longtime loyal supporter with previous secretary of state Cardinal Sodano. Not only is Sodano a close friend of the Legion, but his relationship with the current pope has often been stormy, and he has reportedly tried to undermine Pope Benedict’s papal authority in the past.
As Cassandra states:

Sanjuana Martínez reported in CIMAC that one of the babymommies alleges that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, is implicated in the payment of hush money. That would make for a stupendous scandal if the churchman organizing the apostolic visitation had been previously involved in silencing witnesses, especially after calling for “transparency” in the letter announcing the visitation.
I do not and will not believe that allegation without further evidence. But I wondered if either she or Martínez could have meant to name rather the emeritus Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, whom we know to have been at the service of the Legionaries in the past.

Maciel wasn’t made for the Legion, but the Legion for Maciel

In response to my earlier post Maciel, Mom and the Messiah, Still RC – For Now, Anyway shares an interesting comment at Life-After-RC:

My understanding of “Mama Maurita’s consecration” is that it happened shortly before she died (within a year perhaps?) and that she was exempt from the ban on smoking cigarettes that all the consecrated must follow. “NP” himself exempted his mother and no one I know complained of “special privilege” because, really, are you going to tell your elderly mother she can’t smoke?

Did Christ exempt His mother from suffering at the foot of the cross?
There are two reason why I find Fr. Maciel’s exception for Mama Maurita so interesting. The first is that special exceptions for the founder (or those close to him in this case) is one of the red flags canon lawyers use to determine that something is amiss in a new religious movement (click here and scroll down)..
The second reason is that many people report that Fr. Maciel was perpetually accusing the Jesuits for having lost their charism of fidelity to Rome. So how was Fr. Maciel’s reaction any different than than the Jesuit response to Pope Pius XII’s ban on religious smoking?

Maciel, Mom and the Messiah

While ExLC was translating the latest news to come from Spain (click here) and Giselle was surveying Regnum Christi membership decline in local sections (click here), I thought I would take a moment to poke through alleged LC constitutions available on Wikileak. (As an aside, has anyone heard from Cassandra or Fr. Damien Karras concerning recent allegations?)
I won’t go into the Legion’s structure, or ask why they include regulations on how to properly tip one’s soup bowl when dining. Rather, what stood out to me in glancing through the documents was the following hagiography of Mama Maurita, venerated among LC/RC as Fr. Maciel’s mother. In fact, the movement is currently pushing her cause for beatification:

Historical material pertaining to Our Founder

472. To gather historical material pertaining the family of Our Founder, especially Mama Maurita [the mother of Marcial Maciel Degollado], the instrument chosen by God to give life to Nuestro Padre and to prepare the earth in which his vocation as a Christian, a priest and the Founder of the Legion of Christ would germinate.[emphasis mine]
473. We consider it appropriate at this time to inform you that the Commission for the Cause of the Beatification of Mama Maurita has now been put in place and will in time be releasing information on the steps which it has been taking. Meanwhile, the Chapter Fathers invite our legionary brothers to intensify their prayers so that God may grant us the grace of seeing in the not too distant future Mama Maurita placed on altars, for the good of the Church, of the Legion and of the Movement.

Okay, anybody else troubled by this?
Not to say Fr. Maciel’s mother wasn’t a holy woman. She may or may not have been – I don’t know and that’s not where I’m going here. However, whatever her level of sanctity, does she deserve the same to messianic hagiography as the Blessed Mother, who prepared the way for Christ? Especially given that Fr. Maciel ended his life a disgrace to the Church.
The contemporary Church doesn’t even use this type of messianic language for St. Monica, who bore St. Augustine – a great convert, confessor, father and doctor of the Church, not to mention founder of the institute bearing his name. However, in Advent-like narrative, Mama Maurita was uniquely chosen by God to prepare the earth for and give birth to Fr. Maciel!
Suddenly, I understand why Fr. Maciel compared himself to Christ suffering on the cross in silence when the Holy See invited him to retire to a life of prayer and penance.