Fr. Thomas Berg…

…on the stalled reform of the Legionaries.

Here’s what I think is the applicable text:

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out
to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these,
do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon
another, that will not be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:1-2

Take the whole thing apart.  Leave not one stone of the foul edifice standing upon another.  l.et people find something else to do with their time and energy besides support, excuse, and defend this unholy thing.  It was built by a monster to do the monster’s bidding and he built it so well it continues careening on its destructive path long after his death.  It can’t be reprogrammed.  It can only be destroyed.

Destroy it.

  • Timothy

    As a former Legionary seminarian who knows many good men that are a part of the Legion, I say emphatically: Tear the whole thing down.

  • RC

    The expression is: Legio delenda est.

  • Dan C

    “It is the Legionaries’ unquestioning allegiance and fidelity to the current major superiors which, in turn, is the principal obstacle to the emergence of new charismatic leadership from within the Legion’s ranks. Such blind loyalty to men who could have been gravely negligent in their dealings with Maciel is unfathomable. The Church has never required of its religious that, in obeying the superior, they check human reason or critical thinking at the door.”

    While the Church has never required it such obiesance, a clear culture in the hierarchy does, as has been made evident through the extensive testimony and documentation at the Lynn trial in Philadelphia, or the documentation so far from the Finn trial in Kansas City. Testimony at the Lynn trial demonstrated that priests who were pastors who balked at clerical re-assignments of abusers into their parishes were rapidly punished and demoted. The Legion is an extreme version of common day experience in the Church for many.

    The Church may not require it, but clearly the functionaries of the hierarchy and the hierarchy itself does. This culture is not different today than 10 years ago.

  • Dan C

    One of the arguments to keep the Legion is to contain the contamination. Honestly, men of power, as those in charge of the Legion are, will rise to power in other structures of the Church if the Legion is smashed. Powerful folks often do not see retributive justice in this life.

    Better to keep the Legion, and not permit any new seminarians. Suspend ordinations and ministries, and force the current Legion’s priests to remain within. Contain the contamination. Closing up the Legion, just means that these dirty tricksters go to the Vatican or elsewhere to cause trouble. Think: Cardinal Law. In such new positions, do not be surprised if they then seek vengeance on their enemies.

    These men are less damaging in a Legion that will shrink over the decades. And for the Church, and the rest of us, the Legion remains a constant reminder of the culture of blind obiesance and the consequence of loyalty to a culture war and not the truth.

  • Dan C

    Even when one reads the commentaries of the apostolic delegate to the order, his complaints are about what is characterized as a group of subordinate rebels who are questioning the authority of the order’s leadership. He is a representative from the Church hierarchy and he is supportive of the order’s status quo. If the order is suppressed, these current leaders will find plenty of “homes” to spread poor management, vengeance, and their disordered sense of authority throughout the Church. It is unclear that the hierarchy finds cultural problems within the order, but instead thought Maciel was a “bad egg,” not that there were systemic concerns within the order.

    As long as these folks stay in the order, they are contained.

    • Mark Shea

      Why not just send those leaders to do something useful like clean toilets for some order of poor nuns? Or perhaps send them to do penance in some remote monastery, preferably in sackcloth and ashes with a sign around their necks detailing their crimes?

      • Dan C

        I would be in favor of it, if I thought it a punishment that would stick. However, the Church leadership functions as medeival Princes with fiefdoms and vassals, and what more powerful a liege-vassal arrangement is the rescued, but extremely talented, skilled, connected, and now dependent and loyal former toilet-scrubber?

        The powerful do not have toilet-scrubbing happen to them. Even in chess, the kings are never captured, just check-mated until the next game. Such is the way whether in the Church or outside the Church. Pio Cardinal Laghi, who played tennis with members of Argentina’s bloodthirsty junta in the 1970′s, and who provided cover for that government, never stoped his rise in influence. He would later go to President GWBush and try to talk Bush out of war, as an emissary of the Pope.

        Temporal Justice, as it governs commoners like you and I, is unknown to the powerful. It has always been thus. As far as Divine Justice, I do not know how that is managed.

        • Dan C

          This Temporal Justice is a gift to us. It reminds us of consequences, unlike Cardinal Laghi who, knowing no such boundaries, has no problem consorting with depraved murderers. Or Maciel’s army of supporters who, steeped with power, wealth, and influence, has rare limits on the boundaries on their domination and manipulation.

          I will never have such temptations.

  • Qualis Rex

    @Dan – I believe you nailed it right on the head. I think the Vatican is stalling this precisely for that reason: let the “old guard” die out in a place where they have already done their damage and the participants have now knowingly decided/dedicated themselves to be willing accomplises (either out of misguided loyalty, personal guilt etc).

    I truly believe the order (note: NOT all members, but certainly at least some) was used as a) a tool for Satan b) a “trojan horse” to insert and impose liberal ideas in the guise of a legitimate order (i.e. homosexual/sexual impropriety/practice, married clergy etc). I think the leadership was poised to “come out of the closet” after Vatican II, but when things did not go as far left as they imagined, they then had to retreat into cover-up to remain in existence. I love our current and blessed Pope Benedict with all my heart, and am saddened at the incredible mess he inherrited from his predecessor, who I fault with at the very least the grave sin of omission in this specific case.

  • Ted Seeber

    I believe that Maciel was suffering from a form of PTSD from his time in the Chisteros as a boy, and that his duplicitous life, bad as it was, was merely a symptom of the extreme events of the Christeros revolution that he witnessed as a boy (for instance, he was witness to the martyrdom of Blessed José Sanchez del Rio, a horrific death of a boy just a few years older than he was). I fear that merely vilifying Maciel and tearing down the Legion isn’t enough if we don’t learn this lesson now- especially in the light that within a generation, we may yet face such persecution here in the United States. Obama is bad enough- but every president throughout my life has been worse than the one before- and we MUST find a way to protect our children from the side effects of such sin.

    • Qualis Rex

      Sorry – I don’t buy it. I lived in Mexico for many years and have even met people and their descendants/families who took part in the Cristero rebellion. Their accounts/stories are horrific, but no more/less than the horrors of ANY war in which Christian ideals were sought out for elimination (see: Nazism in WW II or Communism throughout the 20th century). If we seek to excuse or explain all evil as symptomatic of PTSD, poor diet, aloof-childhood-pet fixation etc then we not only whistle dixie at the victims of this evil, but we also diminish the true Saints and Martyrs who ALSO witnessed, suffered and trimphed in the face of the SAME hardships. It comes down to free will, personal choice and responsiblity. Maciel’s bad personal choices and horrific actions cannot and should not be rationalized by anything other than his active consent to sin, regardless of the events he witnessed or experienced in his life…and this goes the same with ALL of us.

      In other words, “by their fruits shall they be known”.

  • Dan C

    Maciel didn’t act alone. He had enablers and active apologists outside the order and had strong support within the order. When we label disasters by the most odious, criminal, we lose sight of the full participation of the superiors of Maciel and his underlings. Such problems are deep and systemic in an organization like the Legion to deep within the middle management layer, most likely. Many many folks contributed to this problem.

    Like the sex abuse crisis. Many contributed. Pastors, bishops, diocesan administrators. The problem wasn’t the number of priests, it is just that the entire system, especially including its leaders, contributed and promoted the problem. The bishops have not taken responsibility either.

    • Qualis Rex

      @Dan I get a bit itchy when I hear “the bishops” collectively, as many have apologized for not doing enough, even though they themselves are not guilty and some only recently installed to clean up the mess long after the fact (the Bishop of Dublin has done everything short of wearing sack-cloth and ashes, and I fully expect he may even do so at some point). So, I’d caution anyone speaking on this subject to reign in any hyperbole and generalization. But I don’t disagree that Maciel and his ilk had followers at the highest levels. I already stated that our current and blessed Pope is suffering from the decisions and lack of actions of his predecessor, specifically with regard to Maciel (who was a cash cow for his papacy, FYI).

      The fact is the Legionaries of Christ, like Opus Dei marketed themselves as traditional…yet not traditional enough to scare off the liturgical progressives. They fit in perfectly with the directives, style and objectives of the last Pope, while the real traditional orders such as the FSSP, SPPX etc who dared to continue the Tridentine liturgy got his full wrath.

      St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.


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