Ed Peters speaks the truth about the Legion of Christ

Sez he:

I have long held that nothing can rehabilitate the institution known as the Legion of Christ nor any of its affiliated works, and I’ve seen nothing in the last three years that gives me any reason to change my views. The LC and its progeny should be completely and forever dissolved. Period.

Take the whole monstrous colossus apart bolt by bolt and leave nothing left.  Help its members find things to do in other apostolates.  Set its leadership (the ones who knowingly enabled and covered for Maciel) to useful work such as cleaning toilets. Take its assets and divide it among the alien, orphan, and widow. Let nothing remain of this giant robot built to facilitate and protect the crimes of a monster.  As long as it goes careening on it will do what it was built by its evil designer to do.

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  • kenofken

    Cant we just imprison them in something like the Phantom Zone from the old Superman movie?

    • Dave P.

      Tempting. I think the closest equivalent might be an isolated Scottish island like Papa Stronsay.

      • kenofken

        Personally, I favor Nauru.

        • Dave P.

          Too nice a climate. The Orkneys, Hebrides, etc are a bit more challenging in that regard.

    • Dan C

      I think keeping the LC open and keeping these folks inside can be the same. A quarantine.

  • Tony

    Totally agree, was a member, the place is a den of thieves

  • Dan C

    The people in this organization are people I want in this organization and not in general circulation. By keeping them in this organization, these people that re-elect the enablers of this sham, we quarantine a group of folks who I want marked as “crazy.” Being part of these organizations does this. Smashing this organization will only release them and we would have to pretend that their views, which will be oppressive and whack, are to be respected. I say close the doors to entry to the LC but keep everyone inside. It serves as a way to cordon off those contaminated.

    Normal folks and normal diocesan structures will know to avoid the LC. It will show who is to be avoided.

    I have no interest in pretending this type of matter doesn’t happen with a lot of assistance from outside and inside the order. These leaders and folks inside the order will leave and become generally problematic.

    • Dan C

      The problems are everyone in the order, not just a few. Keep them cordoned off.

      • Fr. Denis Lemieux

        I do hear you, Dan, and I assure you I hold no brief for the LC (my actual opinions of the whole matter are, frankly, not capable of expression in language befitting a Catholic priest!). But my concern with your approach is really for the younger members of the order – we can’t just abandon some of these young guys still in their 20s or 30s. I tend to agree that the order is irreformable and should be disbanded, but there is a serious pastoral need towards these guys who are for the most part victims of the situation. ‘Cordoning them off’ doesn’t sound to me like a viable or charitable solution, with all respect.

        • Dan C

          Why aren’t these younger guys problematic too? The younger guys chose this amidst enormous warning signs.

          I do hear you, and don ‘t encourage enforcing a rule that says “once in, always an LC member” but unless they volunteer to leave, I would say let them remain where they are.

          These younger guys are very likely still part of the problem. As such, unless they want to change, they can choose the community they so desire.

          • Fr. Denis Lemieux

            Oh, problematic yes. The whole blessed situation is problematic, and a horrible, horrible problem. A disaster. Believe me (!), totally granted. But I have a lot of compassion for the young men in question – many of them were/are duped, and there is much goodness there – a real desire to serve Jesus, to be holy, to preach the Gospel. I do realize that you identify yourself as a ‘liberal Catholic’ and probably don’t see too much of that in evidence there. But I see it, and feel really very sorry for the whole mess.

            • Dan C

              I appreciate the concern for these men. I certainly appreciate that, but I worry too about what games and formation they have had.

              I think they can serve God as they choose, and if they choose to stay in the LC, that is their choosing.

              The Church not only supported this group but enabled it. As such, I think the Church is responsible for these folks who have been formed in this manner and should not just cut them loose on the rest of us, especially if they want to stay. That would leave a bitter army of priests out there.

              • Dan C

                Someone below notes it is a den of thieves. I only offer a possibility.

                I think a swarm of Maciel-formed men without supervision may be worse than the LC existing. These men are competent, smart, know how to say the right things and get ahead. They will find leadership positions throughout the world.

                On another note, younger adherents tend to avoid the moderation of middle and senior ages in the priesthood.

                This is a concern.

                • Fr. Denis Lemieux

                  Well, you are correct. It is a huge pastoral problem. To be honest, I’m mightily glad I’m not tasked with trying to solve it! I think the best thing we can all do is pray for wisdom for those who are so tasked, and for mercy for all. God bless you.

              • Anna

                The fact that the Church is responsible for them is why we can’t either cut them loose or cordon them off, but do need to help them learn healthier spirituality. We had a similar situation (though *far* smaller, making the logistics easier) in our diocese with a group that had to be disbanded. Some chose to follow their former leader and break away from the Church; those who decided to obey the bishop were given a place to stay, spiritual direction to help discern what their next step should be, assistance in joining or beginning a new order or becoming diocesan priests, and good theological and pastoral instruction. Something similar needs to happen with the LC/RC so that they aren’t just cut loose, but can make better decisions in the future (especially since they have been trained to make terrible decisions or none at all for themselves). But your solution and reason (that they chose this and are clearly unhealthy for doing so) sound much like leaving someone in an abusive relationship rather than having a shelter for abused spouses with assistance in learning how to avoid such relationships in the future. Remember, much LC/RC recruitment is done on children sent to boarding schools and college students volunteering, both with very limited (and always monitored) parental contact. They are hardly making a free, adult choice.

                • Heather

                  I remember when I was considering a religious vocation several years ago (before the scandal broke) I read a feature article about them in a vocations magazine whose title eludes me now… Young women of 19 or 20 talking about how they went to a summer program and became consecrated members of RC then and there. Even then I thought that seemed a bit shady. What was the rush? Where was the discernment?

          • Heather

            One problem with this idea is that it assumes that leaving would simply be a matter of opening the door and walking out, and anyone who remains is there because that is what they have of their own free choice decided to do and it’s their own mess to lie in.
            But one major hallmark of cult-like organizations (and from what I understand this had some very creepy cult-like aspects) is that they deliberately structure themselves in ways that impair the free will of their adherents. Even if you know on some level that you are in an unhealthy situation, it’s hard to just leave something when you’ve been trained to think for instance that to leave is to betray God and everyone who cares about you, that there is no place for you outside, how will you support yourself anyway–you wouldn’t want to be starving on the street would you, your family and friends that we have so carefully distanced you from don’t care about you…