This is why the Legionaries Need to Be Dismantled

…because apologies for “hesitations and errors of judgment” by the leadership of the Legion, which actively facilitated Maciel’s crimes for years and labored to destroy his victims, is like an axe murderer apologizing for making mistakes in not cleaning up after himself. This whole passive “mistake were made” approach just adds insult to injury and shows that they are *still* trying to perfume a turd. The words, gentlemen, are not, “through my hesitation, through my error of judgment, through my own most hestitant error of judgment.”

‘Sup to each member, of course, but if I were in the Legion I would bail.

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  • I cannot follow you here, Mark. I don’t have spontaneous simpathy for the Legion (rather, on the contrary) nor have I first hand information (nor even much second hand) about Maciel and his… accomplices’ crimes. But I cannot buy the notion that those crimes outweight… anything and everything; that in the face of that we don’t even need to evaluate the good that the Legion supports and the damage that its dismantlement could cause.

    Especially, considering the analogy: how you sentiment+argument is exactly mirrored in some anti-catholicism tirades. Just replace “Legion” by “Catholic Church” (and the crimes of Maciel by any other -or these same ones- crimes), and see how it looks.

    • Dave P.

      Good can come out of evil, and the good from this situation is that the Legion did produce many good and holy priests. But these men need somewhere better to exercise their ministry – perhaps joining other orders, or incardinated into a diocese, like many have already done.

      • Dan C

        I actually want to know what “good and holy” means when time and time again these same folks have chosen representatives and leaders of the order that keep making the same tone deaf bare minimum required statements.

    • A few things:
      1.) It isn’t just the crimes that besmirched the order. The leadership and almost everyone in the order knew of it, and they actively conspired to keep it shut, and waged a war of intimidation against a lot of people who were trying to speak out. That war of intimidation started from some of the highest backers in the Chuch. Justice might not be done on this side of heaven. But men like Cardinal Sodano will still have to answer for trying to save his wicked friend nonetheless.

      The behavior was systemic to the order. To this day, they are trying to preserve as much fo that filth as possible.

      Since there have been good priests, no need for them to suffer from this rot. The Legion is not essential to the Church’s survival. In many ways, it is a direct hinderance to it.

      That’s why you can’t just take out “Legion” and insert “Catholic Church.” It is the responsiblity of the Catholic Church to police stuff like this. When they don’t, it hampers her reputation as it already has. In regards to previous abuse scandals, the reaction should have been as swift as what is being proposed by Shea for the Legion, once it became apparent the scandals were deeply rooted in the episcopal leadership. Don’t care what anyone said, several bishops should have lost jurisdiction and even been defrocked and handed over to the State on a silver platter over what happened.

      Some day we are going to have to end that pattern of lax action. (Even Benedict’s rather decisive action of defrocking 400 priests, while laudable, more has to be done.)

      • Also, from our perspective, you can’t just replace “Legion” with “Catholic Church” because the latter is divinely founded, the former is not; so we can, if we judge it expedient and wise, abolish it. No one can abolish the church.

  • smk629

    I’m with you here, Mark.
    My husband is a member of Regnum Christi (the lay arm of the Legionaries), and several very fine members of my parish are also members and have ties to the LC – all of them very good people and devout Catholics. From what I can see, the whole set up is very focused on itself, and the members rather look down on those of us who are not members. They monetarily support their own seminaries/schools/priests/programs, and they are rather detached from parish, diocesan and greater Church programs. Their outreach seems limited to focusing on individuals who they see as good recruits. My husband is regularly asked for donations to these various programs. It strikes me as almost cult-like.
    I am in formation with the Secular Franciscans, and the contrast is startling. We are on the line at abortion clinics on a weekly basis, we never have a gathering that we do not collect donations and money for local parish food pantries, we are literally on the streets feeding and clothing the poor, we support and assist our diocesan priests, and we serve in our parishes. In other words, we attempt to live the Gospel (and I do not say this to brag, it is simply a fact.)
    My parish was recently visited by an LC priest who is the son of a parishioner. He has what appears to be a cushy job at the Vatican museums (which could be done by a layperson, from what I could tell), and during his stay he celebrated Mass at my parish and our sister parish. His homily consisted of name-dropping of celebrities he had encountered on his job, and encouraging us to buy his book. I am sure he is a worthy priest and a good man, but I couldn’t help but think we need him serving in a parish here in priest-starved America, not hobnobbing with the beautiful people in Rome.
    Please forgive me if this sounds hateful. I love the members of my parish who are connected to the Legionaries (including, of course, my husband!) It’s just that there is so much work and good to do for the church, and this organization does not seem to be quite “right” somehow.

  • I favor abolishing the order only because it delays the inevitable. As long as any of the old guard is even a member of the Legion, this stuff will continue, and in 10-15 years we will be having this discussion again.

    Their founder was a notorious sinner. The order was dedicated to upholding his personality cult at the highest levels via the coverups, victim intimidation, cult like behavior, etc.

    Suspending Maicel was the easy part once the evidence was uncovered. It was so overwhelming it had to happen. But how many other members of the Legion were suspended and had proceedings against them for their role in this? Until that happens, this stuff never gets settled.

    In other words, suppress the order and start anew, so those good priests can work with something better.

  • Why

    No one seems to acknowledge that Pope Benedict and the current papal delegate, Cardinal DePaolis and likely Pope Francis all firmly believe in the Legion of Christ and the work they do.

    • chezami

      I think “firmly believe” is bunk. I think what they firmly believe in is that even the most corrupt should have a shot at redemption and are still trying to see that through. I admire them for that, but don’t think it’s gonna happen and so I suggest a different route.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Every other religious order can look to its founder for saintly wisdom. On the other hand the Legion cannot do this. It is time to start completely anew with the Legion being closed down and qualified former members sent elsewhere.
    If this is not done enemies of the Church will always have easy targets with which to discredit the Church.