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The LC in the WSJ

posted by awelborn

The WSJ continues its interest in matteres religious, examing the role of the Legionaries of Christ in Mexican society:

The Legion’s close ties with the elite are most evident in Monterrey, a city of four million that has long been dominated by businessmen in the so-called Group of Ten. For decades, Jesuits played a major role educating the children of the wealthy there, but the order veered leftward and was expelled in 1968 by the local bishop, who accused Jesuits of backing a strike at a local university. Since then, the Legion has set the social and intellectual tone for Monterrey’s wealthy through a web of schools, clubs and charitable organizations.

Many of Monterrey’s entrepreneurs and executives send their children to single-sex Legion schools where they make connections that last a lifetime. "They are very good educators," says Mr. Slim. "My children studied with them."

Middle-class parents struggle to pay the high tuitions of nearly $900 a month, convinced that their children will benefit from school ties, says David Martinez, a former member of Regnum Christi who studied in Legion schools and is now managing director of the New York-based hedge fund Fintech.

At the Legion’s after-school youth clubs, where the catechism is mixed with soccer and games, "vocation hunters" recruit candidates to become priests or consecrated women. As a first step, teenagers are encouraged to donate a year to the Catholic Church by volunteering for the Legion’s world-wide operations. Around Monterrey, Legion priests dress in smart double-breasted black suits and sport cufflinks along with a clerical collar. Consecrated women wear ankle-length dresses.

In October, Monterrey’s establishment turned out to see a newly ordained priest, the Rev. BenjamĂ­n Clariond — whose father and uncle are former state governors — celebrate his first mass in the city. The event was amply covered in the society pages of Monterrey’s leading newspaper, which put 64 photographs of the event on its Web site.

Like the Clarionds or the Garza Medinas, almost every prominent clan in Monterrey has a son who is a Legion priest or a daughter who is a consecrated woman. Talk at dinner parties of the "movement" or the "kingdom," referring to Regnum Christi, is common. Mr. Martinez, the hedge fund manager, says Father Maciel is "worshipped" by Mexico’s upper class because for 60 years he has made Mexico’s rich feel as if "Christ loves them more than other people, and is using them as part of a divine plan."



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carolyn

posted January 23, 2006 at 1:41 pm


Appalling–The hijacking of a religious movement for social advancement. Just an exclusive club; sort of like certain country clubs or elite colleges “…where they make connections that last a lifetime.” No wonder the US has so many immigrants from Mexico. The elite ties up all the opportunities.
I doubt this is what Jesus had in mind.



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Liam

posted January 23, 2006 at 1:43 pm


“…Father Maciel is ‘worshipped’ by Mexico’s upper class because for 60 years he has made Mexico’s rich feel as if “Christ loves them more than other people, and is using them as part of a divine plan.”
Ah, the joys of the Prosperity Gospel. Oral Roberts et al., take note.



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Dan

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:11 pm


What is the problem with elites being devout followers of Christ? I think it is a good thing. The perpetuation of privilege through expensive private schools is a separate issue. That of course happens here and would happen in Mexico regardless of whether the private schools in question are Catholic. Would you prefer that Mexico’s elite be trained in the ideology of Planned Parenthood?
Speaking of PP, has anyone noticed how Planned Parenthood and its friends seem to be stepping up efforts to make inroads in Latin America? Is there a better antidote to this than organizations such as Legionaries of Christ?



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MS

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:17 pm


Actually, I don’t think that what the article refers to is the Prosperity Gospel. I understand PG to mean that if God loves you, you will prosper (and conversely, if you are suffering, God does not love you.) Which strikes me as vomitous. I think what the hedge fund manager is saying is that Fr. Maciel has flattered these people into thinking they are more special than everyone else, because God has given this mission to them. I can’t say if that is true but I can say that LC puts a lot of emphasis on “God has a specific mission in mind for YOU, and he has entrusted it to no one else.”
Also, I have always found it interesting that the Mano Amiga schools for poor children that the article also mentions, are paid for by the high $900 tuitions that those other parents are paying. And this is made clear to everyone; it’s not a secret — you know that if you send your child to one of the expensive LC schools, part of the tuition is going to this school for poor children. (my husband visited one of these schools and its partner Mano Amiga school once.)
As Catholics who can’t begin to afford our area’s Catholic schools, my family has always been intrigued by that idea… but they don’t do that outside of Mexico. :)



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Rod Dreher

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:18 pm


In other news, Beltway Republicans have pretty much sold out their principles to get in bed with K Street lobbyists and have helped expand the government more quickly than any administration since LBJ’s … but hey, they ain’t Dimmycrats!
Come on, we have to do better than this.



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Liam

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:18 pm


Dan
The thing in question is the encouragement of the idea that Christ loves the rich “more than other people.” One cannot square that idea with Christianity properly understood. It’s a poisonous idea, best confined to Oral Roberts and all those preachers of the Prosperity Gospel.
The Catholic notion, if anything, is that the closer someone is to Christ, the closer they will get to the Cross.



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Liam

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:23 pm


MS
Well, the circular Calvinistic precursor to the Prosperity Gospel — its negatively phrased parent, as it were — was that those predestined to heaven would have evidence of that predestination in the form of material and spiritual blessings. And, of course, if you lacked those, it was evidence that you were predestined the other way.
I see the flavor of that in what was articulated in the article.
Calvin did not generate the notion out of thin air: he systematized and expanded upon a minority/heretical strain long within the Catholic mindset and not entirely gone everywhere.



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Woody

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:31 pm


Amy, many thanks for posting this, so I can in turn post my email to the Journal, which I assume will not see the light of day there. Here it is:
Dear Friends,
Thank you for your very interesting article on the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. As one with some familiarity with them (although I speak only for myself here), I would like to add several thoughts:
The foundational charism of the Legion and Regnum Christi is love of God and neighbor. Thus they in fact devote a great deal of time to furthering the spiritual and physical condition of the poor as well as the more wealthy (who can, after all, be needy for spiritual goods if not the material ones). Work with the poor includes numerous schools such as those under the “mano amiga” program, medical clinics and missions, Holy Week missions, in which thousands of Regnum Christi members give up their holidays to work for the spiritual good of others, and the spiritual care of the missionary diocese of Yucatan. Legionary seminarians also spend time working on manual labor projects in Latin America as part of their lengthy formation process.
Working with limited resources, it makes sense for the Legion and Regnum Christi to evangelize leaders of society, industry and culture, who then may influence many more people, so that Legionary efforts can have a greater ripple effect into our society, a society which needs to be more thoroughly informed by the Gospel charity for which the Legion and Regnum Christi work. In rare cases, such as that of divorce mentioned in the article, the love may seem to be tough love, but social disfavor is the primary means whereby any society enforces its values; the question is what are the values. We in this country would do well to ponder whether it would be a good thing for our society if divorce were discouraged more, so that families could be more stable and productive, even if the spouses have to work harder to get past their issues. Can anyone seriously doubt that the high level of divorce in this country and western Europe are contributing to the demographic catastrophe that your columnist Mark Steyn wrote about earlier [“It’s the Demography, Stupid”]?
The many programs offered by the Legion include spiritual retreats inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. When my wife and I lost our younger son in an automobile accident two years ago, it was remembering a point from such an Ignatian retreat given by two Legionary priests only a couple of months before that most helped me to get through that difficult time, and to help her do the same.
Yours truly,
Woody Jones



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Simon

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:31 pm


Geez. Doesn’t anybody read the newspapers with their critical faculties anymore?
The LCs may be good or bad, and the Church in Monterrey may be a model or a mess. I don’t know.
What I find bizarre is when people read a reporter’s interpretation of an activity along with a quote from an ex-member and react with outrage as though all of that is stipulated fact. Whatever the situation down there, I seriously doubt the Legionarries themselves actually preach a “prosperity gospel” or that their devoted supporters are involved for purposes of cynical social advancement.
And couldn’t those same accusations, based on more or less the same fact patterns, have been made against the Jesuits anywhere and any time between the late 16th century and, say, 1968?



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Marie

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:33 pm


“I can’t say if that is true but I can say that LC puts a lot of emphasis on “God has a specific mission in mind for YOU, and he has entrusted it to no one else.” ”
I’m sure I’ve read this somewhere before, except that it was written by Newman a long time before L of C came along. I confess that I don’t understand the objections to evangelizing the wealthy — after all, didn’t Jesus say something about this being a tremendously difficult job along the lines of moving camels through the eye of a needle?



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Tony A

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:33 pm


The sooner the CDF case against Maciel proceeds, the better. I don’t think anything has happened since Ratzinger re-opened the case.



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Dan

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:35 pm


I think it is highly unlikely that The Legionaries of Christ, which is very orthodox, encourages the idea that Christ loves the rich more than other people. That idea virtually contradicts the Gospel, which emphasizes the blessedness of the poor and the difficulty that the rich have in entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Apparently the notion that the Legionaries of Christ preaches a “prosperity gospel” comes from the fund manager who is quoted as saying that Father Maciel makes members feel that “Christ loves them more than other people, and is using them as part of a divine plan.” I think what the fund manager meant by this is nothing more than that members are made to feel that their faith is a gift. The fund manager in any event isn’t an official spokesman for the Legionaries. His only qualification is that he is a “a former member of Regnum Christi who studied in Legion schools.”



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:38 pm


I’m not a member or particular supporter of RC or LC or whatever, nor have I ever been (nor anyone I know).
However, I think this article is a cheap shot, for a couple of reasons.
(1) Many countires, states, regions have “elites” which share some features, including particular religious community. Nothing new or unusual or unsavory here. No conspiracy theory required.
(2) The source for the comments like “he has made Mexico’s rich feel as if ‘Christ loves them more than other people, and is using them as part of a divine plan'” is an ex-member. (“David Martinez, a former member of Regnum Christi who studied in Legion schools and is now managing director of the New York-based hedge fund Fintech.”) If you want quotes to bash an organization, any organization, you can do better than to track down ex-members.
Mr. Martinez is not doing too bad financially himself. He was in the news in November 2004 for buying “New York’s most expensive apartment,” spending $45 million for a 12,000 square foot condo at Time Warner Center. As a very successful, young (late 40’s?) international businessman with intersts in Europe, the US and South America, I’m sure he is a very expert source on RC/LC, with lots of time to study theological and ecclesial issues of new movements in the Catholic church.



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:40 pm


Correction, that should be: If you want quotes to bash an organization, any organization, you can do NO better than to track down ex-members.



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Liam

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:41 pm


Dan
Duly noted. I limited my remarks to the article. And the reason I bothered is that I have witnessed some Catholics make similar allusions in other contexts from time to time, and even if Maciel and LC do not partake of them, those that do should be corrected immediately in that regard.



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Mike Petrik

posted January 23, 2006 at 2:42 pm


“I see the flavor of that in what was articulated in the article.”
The article is pretty will done — with both critics and supporters getting some say, even if it does seem to focus more on the former (the WSJ reporters are famously liberal unlike the editorial page). That said, the only way one can “see the flavor” of PG/Calvinism from this piece is if one chooses to believe the critics.
My intersection with the Legion has been pretty limited, but uniformly positive. I have friends who have had good experiences as well as bad experiences — but nothing really to do with PG. I’m inclined to think it is a good order that makes mistakes, but I could be wrong.
I do find it amusing that we in the Blogosphere complain endlessly about how the cultural elite have abandoned religious faith and how their members have malignant and disproportionate affects on society at large. The Legion makes the case that evangelizing this group can pay special dividends given its influence. Taken at face value see nothing wrong with that. It is not the same thing as PG.



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Jason

posted January 23, 2006 at 3:06 pm


“[Don Bosco’s] co-workers often discussed with him the field of activities which Divine Providence would probably entrust to them. On one such occasion, April 3, 1864, the conversation shifted to the possibility of one day conducting a boarding school for the sons of noble families. ‘Oh, no,’ Don Bosco interrupted. ‘Not as long as I live! Never, if I can help it! If it were only a matter of administration, we might consider it. Not otherwise. It would ruin us just as it has ruined many illustrious religious orders who started out with the poor and ended up with the rich. The outcome was that they ran into envy, jealous, and attempts to supplant them. Wealth and hobnobbing with the rich are common temptations. If we keep working for the poor boys, we shall be left in peace, if for no other reason than that some will put up with us in pity and others will perhaps praise us. No one will covet ur possessions. They wouldn’t care for our rags.'”
–“Fourty Dreams of St. John Bosco”, pp. 54-55)



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tim

posted January 23, 2006 at 3:25 pm


the LC is a solidly orthodox group and about as good as a novus ordo movement gets. if you really want to celebrate the full truth of catholic teaching in a spirit of poverty and of rejection by the elite, attend your local traditionalist parish run by the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, the FSSP, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, or the Society of St. John Cantius.



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Cornelius AMDG

posted January 23, 2006 at 3:40 pm


I have no affiliation with LC or RC, and I am troubled by the allegations against Fr. Maciel, but the Regnum Christi website has excellent daily meditations, and I’ve never seen the Prosperity Gospel preached there.



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Giselle

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:02 pm


So, Old Zhou, if people leave, are they no longer valid voices? Those who were members for years and imbibed the “never speak against the Legion” policy that is part of the Movement’s methodology find it very difficult to speak out now. Only the shredding of families makes them go against the grain like this.
And for the record, there are now 24 accusers on record against the Founder.



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Rick

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:19 pm


The Legion makes the case that evangelizing this group can pay special dividends given its influence. Taken at face value see nothing wrong with that. It is not the same thing as PG.
Yes.
As John Allen might say, a focus on evangelizing the rich is more the LC version of “trickle down economics.”



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:21 pm


Dear Giselle,
Please let’s not get into “you won’t validate my feelings.”
Would you learn about the Catholic Church from an ex-member who is now part of True Gospel Evangelical Church?
Would you learn about St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco from an ex-member who is now a Catholic Carmelite nun?
Ex-members are “ex-” becasue they decided to leave. Obviously, there are things they disagree with. I’m an “ex-member” of a Chinese evangelical Protestant Church. Clearly, I have my reasons.
But would I suggest that someone come to me to find out about the church I left? No. And it has nothing to do with validity of my criticism.
It has much to do with intellectual honesty and humility.
If you want to find out about the church I left, then:
(1) Ask me, and I can refer you to lots of source material from the founders and their teaching. You can read, study and evaluate on your own.
(2) Ask me, and I can tell you where to find the church, and you can talk to current members, and make your own conclusions.
(3) If, then, you want to have a discussion of the church from an external perspective, I can also refer you to scholars of church history and ecclesiology who study many churches and movements, throughout history, and try to put them into a proper perspective and relationship to one another.
After you have (1) read the sources; (2) interviewed current members; (3) read the scholarly, external analyses, well, then you don’t really need any informal criticisms from me, do you? Who am I, anyway?
But, you know, doing steps (1), (2) and (3) will take a lot of time and effort, maybe a year or five to do a decent job. It is just so much faster, and easier, to find some high-profile ex-member and copy down a few quick jabs over the phone that support your planned conclusion. Oh yeah, doing (1), (2) and (3) might show that your planned conclusion is wrong.
Doing the real homework, the real research, on these this is so much less fun.



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carrie ryckman

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:24 pm


I read the article this morning, and will show the co-leader of my daughter’s Challenge group (a part of Regnum Christi) this evening. I’m curious what her reaction is, since she is one of the “teenagers encouraged” to volunteer a year to helping the Church. She, nor we, are one of the super-rich. I’m always amazed how many young, bright women they attract for a year of much prayer and volunteerism (which, by the way, includes many activities for the poor). I’m also impressed with how they can relate to teenagers “in the world” through sports, fun activities, and campaigns for the poor and unborn.



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Kevin Jones

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:30 pm


Zhou,
Was Martinez a critic? I read him as somebody who has bought into the Prosperity Gospel and is possibly interpreting his LC experience through that lens. Judging from his position, he’s a very WSJ-friendly commentator.
Is it all that difficult to leave Regnum Christi? I saw no evidence in the article that he departed on other than friendly terms.



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Ray Marshall

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:34 pm


I don’t know much about Mexican elites and whether or not the prosperity is being preached there.
But I do believe that the real elite in Mexico has been the PRE political party which until recently had been undefeated and has perpetuated discrimination against the Church, prohibited religious dress and public religious ceremonies.
If the Legionaries have had a bit to do with the loosening of those restrictions, that is very good.
I also read the LC daily meditations and find them wonderful.
And, for some reason apparently known only to him, Archbishop Flynn in St Paul-Minneapolis won’t let them come to Minnesota.
We’re all sinners, aren’t we?



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Giselle

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:38 pm


Old Zhou, my brother in Christ, I am also a convert from protestantism. I am still an ardent Catholic and would meet all your standards of orthodoxy. Please don’t equate leaving the Legion with heresy. That is their standard argument:
LC loves the pope (and he loves us); therefore, if you dislike the Legion, you must be wobbly in your faith.
Perhaps, they are not what they pretend to be. We’ll see. Some have seen another side.



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Tom Hoopes

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:46 pm


I am a member of Regnum Christi, and so are many friends. None of us is rich. The LCs in the seminary eat donated food. I was at the leadership offices the other day, and they were eating old unappetizing looking leftovers, and hadn’t turned the heat on during a very cold day.
The Legionaries, thank God, try to start apostolates with those who can fund them, and whose funds can fund their substantial outreach to the poor.
But the WSJ, it seems to me, didn’t do due dilligence. How much do the LCs have worldwide, exactly? And how much more does, say, any one order’s university, or any one house of Holy Cross fathers or Jesuits, have in comparison to the entire worldwide LC order?



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:51 pm


Old Zhou – the sources of LC spirituality are not made public (just some fluffy letters of the founder), e.g. Principles and Norms, esp. #573:
567. Out of love for the Legion and a sense of responsibility take care not to communicate to outsiders anything that might be misinterpreted about the diverse context of religious life in the Legion, anything that might be used against the Legion, anything which superiors have not authorized you to communicate, and anything that might imply scorn of the Legion.
568. Always maintain great self-control, even with your own colleagues, in order to avoid passing along negative or unnecessary news, or speaking of problems, learned through visits or by other means, of other religious, communities or apostolates with the goal of respecting charity, which is the source of a true spirit of peace and harmony in the Congregation and in its communities.
569. Never facilitate, without serious cause, oral or written distribution of reports or facts about legionaries, or writings of the Legion without authorization by superiors. Be very prudent and discreet in your comments so as not to unnecessarily damage the Legion.
570. Be shrewd when dealing with strangers. Respond with precision, moderation and discretion to questions they may ask, keeping in mind the good or evil they are capable of doing to the Legion and to each other in passing along a fact or expressing an opinion.
571. Be especially discreet in regard to anything that you may learn in an official capacity, including anything of an apostolic nature, or through dealings with secular members, or through interaction with superiors, bearing in mind that you are the keepers of a confidence that should not be betrayed.
572. Avoid dealing with or discussing personal problems with your companions. It is better to refer these problems to those whom God has designated to help you on your road to loyalty and satisfaction.
573. Be very careful to guard the custody of the writings and documents of the Legion (constitutions, letters from the founder, manuals, statutes, chapter decrees and communications, etc.). Do not leave them within the reach of strangers, always keeping them in designated places and not lending them out without authorization from the appropriate superiors.



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Barb N

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:54 pm


Hmmmmm… super schools for the wealthy. Poor schools for the poor. Hmmmmmm…. I was told once by a Legionaire that this was necessary because the super rich would not mix with the poor. It’s a cultural thing. Hmmmmm….
The problem so many of us have had with the Legion is not that it is “evangelizing the wealthy.” But my experience is that it is hardly as disinterested as that. They go first and preferentially to people who can write big checks. It always strikes me as icky.
I would feel better if they “evangelized the wealthy” while dressing in rough, poor garments, and living in barrios – the way the Missionaries of Charity do, or the Franciscans of the Reform do. It’s that the LC’s seem to love all the trappings of wealth – lots of focus on personal appearance, houses set in the wealthiest neighborhoods, recruiting efforts shamelessly focussed on the richest families.
Like I said, always feels kind of icky.



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 4:55 pm


Hey Tom Hoopes – The WSJ says that “Today, the investigation remains open,” unlike the lies of the National Catholic Register claiming “Maciel Exhonerated!” I trust you noticed the difference. In other words, “not foreseen” (especially from the wrong congregation) does not equal “exhonerated.”



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Tom Hoopes

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:06 pm


People thought it was icky that Jesus ate with rich people, too, Barb.
And, yes, I did notice that they said the investigation was ongoing, exLC … but also that the article de-emphasized the allegations a lot.
I’ll be glad when that’s all cleared up and no longer mysterious.



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anon

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:09 pm


Are not a few if not more of the super wealthy in Mexico and Latin America into illiegal activities? (Vicente Carrillo Fuentes and the Juarez cartel)
It is at least worth investigating.
anon



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:10 pm


Really, Tom? Then let’s see The National Legion Register run a correction to their big “Maciel Exhonerated” article, something like… “NLR Wrong, Maciel Not Exhonerated” or even more truthful: “NLR Deceives Public On Maciel Case”



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:24 pm


Old Zhou,
#2 – Interviewing members doesn’t work either:
See 570, 571, 572 above.
They take a vow not to speak critically of the superiors or their actions, and to inform/squeal if anyone else does.
Also, with family, for example:
65. When receiving family visits, always appear happy, cordial, attentive, grateful and satisfied with the vocation that God has granted you….
66. Do not fall into states of sadness or homesickness in your relationship with your family and do not become accustomed to discussing with family members your emotional state when you are experiencing depression or some unresolved difficulty so that you do not disturb them with problems that relate solely to your personal relationship with God and with the Legion.
67. Punctually and responsibly fulfill your obligation to correspond by letter with your parents as called for in the Constitutions. Whenever possible use this medium to talk about God.
68. Try to rouse family members sympathetic to the Legion so that they may support it with their prayers and sacrifices, in word and in deed, and especially so that they may become instruments in the search for new vocations.
69. Avoid becoming involved in the problems and temporal matters of your own family.
70. Never ask for or give any gifts to your own family without authorization from your superior.



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:30 pm


Dear exLC,
Your website seems to be a placeholder, so allow me to ask you a couple of questions here, having no other way to reach you.
1. You post items 567-573 of a “Principles and Norms.” May I ask how many items there are in the entire document? Can you provide chapter or section headings?
2. Taken at face values, these items 567-573 don’t seem much different from conditions under which many chancery staff, or religious superior staff, or a party to legal actions, or even corporate executive staff operate. In other words, they are common practices of organizations operating in a possibly competitive or hostile environment. Wisdom and prudence. I think we could use more, not less, of this sort of thing.
Do you feel these are bad points? They seem wise to me; of course they are out of context.



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:32 pm


Old Zhou,
In summary, of your 1,2,3 steps:
#1 – read sources. There really aren’t any. The LC hides the real documents from outsiders.
#2 – inteview members. As mentioned above, LC are trained to conceal information and only to speak positive propaganda, even hiding their perspectives from their family.
As a consequence of #1 and #2, there is no prominent #3 – external scholarly analysis. Exception: if a person is willing, to review the articles, information and forum discussions at the REGAIN site. This is the only place where any real homework and research on the LC/RC can take place.
How I wish to God the information had been made available to me before I entered.



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Margaret

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:33 pm


One of the problems with the Church’s post Vatican II “preferential option for the poor” is that it is also used as a justification for socialism. Implicit in the constant harping on the poor is that only they are likely to love God or have hope for heaven. The Church needs to get back to the salvation business. If members actually were taught faith and morals as the means of converting their lives, would lead to both help for the poor and a healthier society.
In the US, there is no excuse for healthy adults of normal intelligence to be poor — their poor choices lead them to poverty and misery. To “guilt” Christians into supporting programs that enable these folks to continue their destructive lifestyles is not moral.
Good for the Legionaires. They are ensuring that the wealthy elites of Mexico turn their attention to the systemic issues of their society that shut out the Indians from prosperity forcing them to flee to the US. If they are successful in reconverting Mexico to Christianity, they will solve Mexico’s problems and our immigration problems.
Also, our US pastors preaching socialism don’t hesitate to cultivate and flatter the wealthier members of their parishes to raise the cash for their pet projects.



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:35 pm


Dear ex-LC,
Your points 65-70 sound very much like policies for seminarians and young religious before 1965.
Again, I don’t see anything objectively wrong with this.
Many evangelical communities which make converts of college students (and this is the prime age for converts), as well as Mormons, and other groups, induce tension in families. This is more an aspect of the sociology of religious conversion. I don’t think it is an LC-specific issue.
This is not to say that some religious conversion experiences are not handled badly in regard to familial relationships. Some are. This has always been the case, however. For some it is a rite of passage, a cutting of the apron strings, a making religion their own as adults.



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Simon

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:39 pm


I think Old Zhou’s point, which I agree with, is not that the views of ex-members (of any group) should be ignored, but that they can not be taken as authoritative per se.
Hypothetical: 5 years ago, Group X had 100 members. Since then, 10 new people have joined, and 10 members have left. Of the 10 who left, 5 say Group X does some good things but just wasn’t for them. 5 others say Group X is a terrible, cult-like organization.
If I want to learn what Group X is all about, should I focus especially on the 5 unhappy ex-members? What about the 5 neutral ex-members? Or the 10 people who recently joined it? Or the vast majority (90) who never left?
Not saying anything one way or another about the Legionaires, by the way. Just that this “quote the ex-member” approach inherently distorts the coverage of just about anything.



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:52 pm


Old Zhou,
The version I am currently looking at has 840. Perhaps to you the rules seem harmless. In the bigger context of what the LC calls formation it leads to grave harm. In the LC formation, the spiritual director is normally the superior, something forbidden by Canon law.
Have you read the article on LC recruitment of NAC students on the Regain web page, or begun your research?
My point is that Old Zhou’s point – follow his steps 1,2,3, – aren’t effective for a group like the Legion, precisely because their rules are designed to prevent it.
Since they also control media – National LC Register, Zenit, etc., the steps are even less effective.



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Marie

posted January 23, 2006 at 5:59 pm


“I would feel better if they “evangelized the wealthy” while dressing in rough, poor garments, and living in barrios – the way the Missionaries of Charity do, or the Franciscans of the Reform do. It’s that the LC’s seem to love all the trappings of wealth – lots of focus on personal appearance, houses set in the wealthiest neighborhoods, recruiting efforts shamelessly focussed on the richest families.”
You might feel better, but I doubt that the wealthy in need of evangelizing are going to be better served by a man dressed in rags than a man who looks like the wealthy person’s friends and neighbors. What many powerful and successful people most need to see is that other people Just Like Them are madly in love with Jesus Christ. That Jesus came not just for the poor and lowly (the “suckers,” as Henry F. Potter called them), but also for them.



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:11 pm


Hmmm, according to the Vatican’s Index of International Associations of the Faithful, with 122 entries, the Apostolic Movement Regnum Christi has 47,000 members all over the world. I’m fairly confident that they are not all mindless zombies. And I’m pretty sure they are not all wealthy elites. I expect most are just Catholics looking for a way to live a life of holiness, which is what God called them to.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity seems to have regular contact with Regnum Christi. I have more confidence in this than either “hit pieces” by journalists or websites run by ex-members.



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carolyn

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:14 pm


“They are ensuring that the wealthy elites of Mexico turn their attention to the systemic issues of their society that shut out the Indians from prosperity forcing them to flee to the US.”
Or more likely, solidify their hold on the levers of power to perpetuate their elite status while luxuriating in the feeling of moral rectitude. Why not kill 2 birds with one stone? Just sayin’



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Giselle

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:26 pm


Marie: Francis’ charism called him to disrobe as a way to renounce his possessions. We’re not all called to that, but surely you’re not saying that rich people can’t hear God’s message from someone without a Prada bag. That sells them a little short. We don’t dress like prostitutes to evangelise the hookers.
There’s something Holy Mother Church teaches about being a Sign of Contradiction.



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exLC

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:26 pm


I believe PT Barnum said “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
The confident are easily conned, especially the ones that don’t do their homework thoroughly.



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Dave Pawlak

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:28 pm


Margaret writes:
One of the problems with the Church’s post Vatican II “preferential option for the poor” is that it is also used as a justification for socialism.
Abusus non tollit usum.
Implicit in the constant harping on the poor is that only they are likely to love God or have hope for heaven.
Nothing of the sort. Rich and poor and everyone in-between must have heaven as their ultimate goal. But remember Our Lord’s comment about the Needle’s Eye…
The Church needs to get back to the salvation business. If members actually were taught faith and morals as the means of converting their lives, would lead to both help for the poor and a healthier society.
Faith and morals include the Corporal Works of Mercy, and not committing the sins of oppressing the poor and cheating the worker of his rightful wage (two of the Four Sins that Cry to Heaven for Vengeance. Read Matthew 25: 31-46, also Amos 8:4-7 and James 5:1-6.
In the US, there is no excuse for healthy adults of normal intelligence to be poor — their poor choices lead them to poverty and misery. To “guilt” Christians into supporting programs that enable these folks to continue their destructive lifestyles is not moral.
So what about the working poor? What about those who are laid off because their well-paying jobs are moved overseas, and what’s available isn’t enough to feed the kids and pay the mortgage? What about 50somethings who are laid off because they’re too old (companies are very careful to conceal this), and can’t find anything because they’re too old? Have they made poor choices?
I am by no means a liberal. I despise the modern welfare system, and I support every initiative which helps break the cycle of poverty. And I will agree that “poor choices” perpetuate that cycle. But those maladies are not limited to the poor. Ask Fr. John Corapi about that sometime, since he’s seen both sides for himself.
The Christian thing to do is to help the poor and less fortunate here and now to meet their present needs, and also for the long term to get them out of their situation. If the Legionaries are doing this, God bless them. If they are doing things like giving the poor students less of an education than what their rich boarding-school students are getting, then they need to retool. Quickly.



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Simon

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:30 pm


Or more likely, solidify their hold on the levers of power to perpetuate their elite status while luxuriating in the feeling of moral rectitude.
carolyn,
Your frank assumption that these people are motivated by their material interests to become involved with the LCs is straight out of Karl Marx. All that spirituality talk is obviously just cover for the dominant social class’s pursuit of its objective economic interests. The real issue here is who controls the means of production.
Please. This sort of reductionism with regard to human beings and religious impulses is an intellectual and spiritual dead end. Can one really be a believing Christian and confidently judge the motives of others in this way?



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:36 pm


Personally, I think the Jesuits are much more creepy and dangerous than Regnum Christi.

INDUCTION AND EXTREME OATH OF THE JESUITS
When a Jesuit novice is about to be inducted into the higher levels of the Order, he kneels on a red cross before the Superior of the Order. Before him are two flags, the familiar yellow and white flag of the papacy, and the black flag with a dagger and red cross above a skull and crossbones, the flag of the Jesuit Order. On the Jesuit flag is written the words, IUSTUM, NECAR, REGES, IMPIOS. (It is just to exterminate or annihilate impious or heretical kings, governments, or rulers.) The Superior of the Order hands the novice a small black crucifix which he presses to his heart, and the Superior then presents to the novice a dagger. The novice grasps the bare blade and presses the point to his heart. The Superior, still holding the hilt of the dagger then speaks to the novice.
Superior
My son, heretofore you have been taught to act the dissembler: among Roman Catholics to be a Roman Catholic, and to spy even among your own brethren; to believe no man, to trust no man. Among the Reformers, to be a Reformer; among the Huguenots, to be a Huguenot; among the Calvinists, to be a Calvinist; among the Protestants, generally to be a Protestant; and obtaining their confidence to seek even to preach from their pulpits and to denounce with all the vehemence in your nature our Holy Religion and the Pope; and to descend so low as to become a Jew among the Jews, that you might be enabled to gather together all information for your Order as a faithful soldier of the Pope.
You have been taught to insidiously plant the seeds of jealousy and hatred between communities, provinces and states that were at peace, and incite them to deeds of blood, involving them in war with each other, and to create revolutions and civil wars in countries that were independent and prosperous, cultivating the arts and sciences and enjoying the blessings of peace. To take sides with the combatants and to act secretly in concert with your brother Jesuit, who may be engaged on the other side, but openly opposed to that with which you might be connected; only that the Church might be the gainer in the end, in the conditions fixed in the treaties for peace and that the end justifies the means.
You have been taught your duty as a spy, to gather all statistics, facts and information in your power from every source; to ingratiate yourself into the confidence of the family circle of Protestants and heretics of every class and character, as well as that of the merchant, the banker, the lawyer, among the schools and universities, in parliaments and legislatures, and in the judiciaries councils of state, and to “be all things to all men,” for the Pope’s sake, whose servants we are unto death.
You have received all your instructions heretofore as a novice, a neophyte, and have served as a coadjutor, confessor and priest, but you have not been invested with all that is necessary to command in the Army of Loyola in the service of the Pope. You must serve the proper time as the instrument and executioner as directed by your superiors; for none can command here who has not consecrated his labors with the blood of the heretic; for “without the shedding of blood no man can be saved.” Therefore, to fit yourself for your work, and make your own salvation sure, you will, in addition to your former oath of obedience to your Order and your allegiance to the Pope, repeat after me.
I, M———- N———-, Now, in the presence of Almighty God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the blessed Michael the Archangel, the blessed St. John the Baptist, the holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul and all the saints and the sacred hosts of heaven, and to you, my ghostly father, the Superior general of the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, in the Pontificate of Paul the Third, and continued to the present, do by the womb of the Virgin, the matrix of God, and the rod of Jesus Christ, declare and swear, that his holiness the Pope is Christ’s Viceregent and is the true and only Head of the Catholic or Universal Church throughout the earth; and that by virtue of the keys of binding and loosing, given to his Holiness by my Saviour, Jesus Christ, he hath power to depose heretical kings, princes, states, commonwealths and governments, all being illegal without his sacred confirmation and that they may safely be destroyed.
Therefore, to the utmost of my power, I shall and will defend this doctrine and his Holiness’ right and custom against all usurpers of the heretical or Protestant authority, and all adherents in the regard that they be usurped and heretical, opposing the sacred Mother Church of Rome.
I do now renounce and disown any allegiance as due to any heretical king, prince or state named Protestants or Liberals or obedience to any of their laws, magistrates or officers. I do further declare that the doctrines of the churches of England and Scotland, of the Calvinists, Huguenots and others of the name Protestants or Liberals to be damnable, and they themselves damned and to be damned who will not forsake the same.
I do further declare that I will help, assist and advise all or any of his
Holiness’ agents in any place wherever I shall be, in any other kingdom or territory I shall come to, and do my uttermost to extirpate the heretical Protestants or Liberals’ doctrines and to destroy all their
pretended powers, regal or otherwise.
I do further promise and declare, that notwithstanding I am dispensed with, to assume any religion heretical, for the propagating of the Mother Church’s interest, to keep secret and private all her agents counsels’ from time to time, as they may entrust me, and not to divulge, directly or indirectly, by word, writing or circumstance whatever; but to execute all that shall be proposed, given in charge or discovered unto me, by you, my ghostly father, or any of this sacred convent.
I do further promise and declare, that I will have no opinion or will of my own, or any mental reservation whatever, even as a corpse or cadaver, (perinde ac cadaver,) but will unhesitatingly obey each and every command that I may receive from my superiors in the Militia of the Pope and Jesus Christ. That I will go to any part of the world whithersoever I may be sent, without murmuring or repining, and
will be submissive in all things commanded to me.
I furthermore promise and declare that I will, when opportunity presents, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do, to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, nor sex or condition; and that I will hang, burn, waste, spoil, flay, strangle, and bury alive these infamous heretics, rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants’ heads against the walls, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race.
That when the same cannot be done openly, I will secretly use the poisoned cup, the strangulating cord, the steel of the poinard or the leaden bullet, regardless of the honor, rank, dignity, or authority of the person or persons, whatever may be their condition in life, either public or private, as I at any time may be directed to do so by any agent of the Pope or Superior of the Brotherhood of the Holy Faith, of the Society of Jesus.
In confirmation of which, I hereby dedicate my life, soul, and all of my
coporeal powers, and with this dagger which I now receive, I will subscribe my name written in my own blood, in testimony thereof; and should I prove false or weaken in my determination, may my brethren and fellow soldiers of the Militia of the Pope cut off my hands and feet, and my throat from ear to ear, my belly opened and sulphur burned therein, with all the punishment that can be inflicted upon me on earth, and my soul to be tortured by demons in an eternal hell forever.
All of which I, M—— N——, do swear by the blessed Trinity and blessed Sacrament, which I am about to receive, to perform and on my part to receive inviolably; and do call all of the heavenly and glorious host of heaven to witness these my real intentions to keep this my oath.
In testimony hereof I take this most holy and blessed sacrament of the
Eucharist, and witness the same further, with my name written with the point of this dagger dipped in my own blood and sealed in the face of this holy convent.

Who needs Dan Brown when we have real Catholics?



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T. Chan

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:49 pm


???
I hope that was a joke about the Jesuits.
http://pub28.ezboard.com/fexaminingprotestantismfrm21.showMessage?topicID=11.topic
No doubt someone has a copy of the Constitutions handy.



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Samuel J. Howard

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:49 pm


Was that a joke? Was that not the real Zhou?



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 6:59 pm


Portions of the Jesuit “Extreme Oath of Induction”
as recorded in the Congressional Record of the United States of America.
(House Bill 1523,
Contested election case of Eugene C. Bonniwell, against Thos. S. Butler,
Feb.15, 1913, p.3215-16.)



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chris K

posted January 23, 2006 at 7:02 pm


Keep in mind that the conservative qualities of the WSJ are on the editorial page, not the front page.
And remember that those with the power, wealth, and thus influence to not only promote, but conduct things like experiments on human embryos, or introducing your children to mandated education of acceptance of all kinds of intrinsically immoral behavior absolutely need a containment by equally influential and monied persons. So far no one seems to be too upset by the monies flowing into and out of all of the liberal rich think tanks, university laboratories, endowment foundations funding the mass killing of Planned Parenthood and the like industrial complexes. And they can only be stopped by those of equal influence with traditionally moral principles. Those types are being told, not that they are favored by God because they are rich, but because they have been favored in that particular way they have a moral responsibility to help those in need of same and to help change the values within the social realm. To whom more is given more is expected.
But, the spin continues, and it takes the logic and experienced thinking of an Old Zhou, Dan, or Woody to lower the hysteria level, elicited by a couple of handy quotes, to calm reasoning.



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Michael Pakaluk

posted January 23, 2006 at 7:05 pm


It would have been nice to see some evidence in the WSJ piece–of the sort that Allen provides about Opus Dei in his book. The article is simply, “Some say…”, stated in such a way as to suggest the allegations are plausible.
Might someone say what the purpose of such an article is in the Journal? Helping American businessmen who work with Mexicans in RC understand them better? (Hah!) Giving American observers of the Mexican economy a grasp of some important factor in economic change? (Not likely.) Curiosity, as in the famed WSJ center-column stories? (Nope–not sympathetic enough to appeal to curiosity.)



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Old Zhou

posted January 23, 2006 at 7:06 pm


Yes, that was really published in the US Congressional Record in 1913.
So, do not believe everything you read, even if printed in a “reputable” publication.



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Kevin Jones

posted January 23, 2006 at 7:07 pm


Lots of stuff gets into the Congressional Record. It’s a dumping ground for bloviations.
Which says something about rumormongering about the cult-like propensities of successful religious groups.



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Catherine L

posted January 23, 2006 at 8:05 pm


“Middle-class parents struggle to pay the high tuitions of nearly $900 a month, convinced that their children will benefit from school ties…”
I grew up in New Orleans and went to Catholic schools. My parents struggled to pay tuition for 5 children to go to single-sex Catholic schools, convinced that these schools offered a better education than the holding pens they called public shools. Imagine that…parents making sacrifices for their children.
The tone of the article is pretty bad in some places, such as reporting a set of rumors about the firings of some people at the Univ. of Monterrey. I wouldn’t think that would be worthy of a front page WSJ article.



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Donna V.

posted January 23, 2006 at 8:11 pm


Might someone say what the purpose of such an article is in the Journal?
Given that the LC seems to have some very wealthy and influential Mexican businessmen involved in it (which, does not, by itself, make it nefarious), I can understand why the WSJ would be interested in doing a story about it.
Since I had never heard of the LC before, I’m not going to make a snap judgement about them based on one article. What struck me, as an American Catholic,was the mention that the founder had belonged to “a Catholic aristocracy” with 3 uncles who were bishops. And the observation that many well-heeled families have a son who is a priest in the order.
There have been tons of aristocratic princes of the Church and some have even been holy and devout – see “Lives of the Saints” for lots of examples. But from an American perspective, it’s jarring. The only “Catholic aristocracy” we’ve ever had in this country is the Kennedy clan(hardly notable for piety) – and they had pretty humble origins, as did most of the rest of us, including the hierarchy. It’s well-nigh unimaginable to think of the sons of wealthy American Catholics flocking to the priesthood.



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Kevin Jones

posted January 23, 2006 at 8:17 pm


“Aristocracy” in the American mind also connotes tyrannous oligarchy, as does “Mexican businessmen.” The potential for misunderstanding is huge.



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Donna V.

posted January 23, 2006 at 9:19 pm


Kevin: I’ll say. I’m not exactly a left-winger, but the idea of priests wearing expensive tailored suits with their Roman collars and tooling around towns which are terribly improvished in their Mercedes bothers me.
On the other hand, there’s this:
Talk at dinner parties of the “movement” or the “kingdom,” referring to Regnum Christi, is common.
Now, just try to imagine our elites seriously discussing Catholicism at a Manhattan or L.A. dinner party. I can imagine them discussing New Age “spirituality” or astrology or Hinduism or Dan Brown seriously. I can imagine them making altar boy jokes and mocking “fundies.” But taking Catholicism seriously?
And the author of the article interviews a pyschologist who says prominent people involved in LC are afraid to get divorced because they might be shunned. The article makes that sound terrible, but gee, I think a Regnum Christi lady might have an advantage over the middle-aged wife of an American tycoon who notices her husband’s eyes are starting to stray to the cute blonde babes at social events. ‘Cause, God knows, we got over that particular “hang-up” a while ago. No fear of becoming a social leper here due to divorce, no sir!
Lotsa culture shock for me in this article.



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Marie

posted January 23, 2006 at 10:07 pm


“Francis’ charism called him to disrobe as a way to renounce his possessions. We’re not all called to that, but surely you’re not saying that rich people can’t hear God’s message from someone without a Prada bag.”
No. I’m saying that many people who are powerful and successful are more likely to respect, and therefore, be open to evangelization by, someone who is well-educated and successful.



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Catherine L

posted January 23, 2006 at 10:12 pm


“Kevin: I’ll say. I’m not exactly a left-winger, but the idea of priests wearing expensive tailored suits with their Roman collars and tooling around towns which are terribly improvished in their Mercedes bothers me.”
I second your concerns, Donna, but you have to read between the lines of the article. I am in RC and have had occasion to meet a good number of Legionaries. The cars they drive in the U.S. are half-broken-down Chevies. They do wear Roman collars; the suits are double-breasted and they do seem to fit, but I would not call them “expensive tailored”, much more off-the-rack department store. They also wear them until they’re threadbare and the shoes until the soles have holes. I do not know what the situation is in Mexico, but accusing the Catholic clergy of living high on the hog is not a new phenomenon.



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Rebecca Teti

posted January 23, 2006 at 10:51 pm


If as soon as we become holy, we start shunning rich people because they’re “icky,” exactly how does that fulfill the command to make all men His disciples? I think Regnum Christi actually shares Mother Teresa’s view that the greatest poverty to be found in the West is precisely among the wealthy. (And, believe me, she didn’t find the wealthy “icky.” Read the late Malcom Forbes’ anecdotes about his dealings with her.) Materialism, we must recall, is not having stuff, but thinking stuff (or the lack of it) is all that is –or all that matters.
I take nothing away from those who serve the materially poor, but most Christians are drawn to that beautiful and necessary work. And in the meanwhile brothers and sisters who have wealth and influence are dying inside because they have no idea that God loves them –and they’re often putting their considerable resources to pernicious use. Wouldn’t it be great if Warren Buffett converted and didn’t leave his billions to Planned Parenthood as he’s promised? Shouldn’t someone try to get to him? Do you suppose you do it by walking into his office in rags and shoving a holy card at him? I stipulate all the dangers of approaching such a man.It’s still the Lord’s work.
Not that “the wealthy” are even the biggest mission field for Regnum Christi, but this visceral dislike of the wealthy smacks more of typical American middle class prejudice, no? (I say this as someone who’s middle class and — candidly– shares the prejudice.)
As for appealing to wealthy people’s feeling they’re “special.” Um, isn’t this basic Christianity –you have a unique personal dignity because God loves you and Jesus died for you? And by Baptism you’ve been called to a mission? For the record, the LCs told me I had a special, God-given mission –something only I could do for Christ– when I was a penniless Protestant. And I’m still penniless –but thanks to their Catechesis– no longer Protestant.



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Donna V.

posted January 23, 2006 at 11:34 pm


Catherine L and Rebecca Teti: Thanks for the additional information about LC.
And in the meanwhile brothers and sisters who have wealth and influence are dying inside because they have no idea that God loves them –and they’re often putting their considerable resources to pernicious use.
I think the Opus Dei priest Fr. John McCloskey (who was once a Wall Street stockbroker and was instrumental in the conversion of some pretty high-profile people, including Sen Brownback and Robert Bork, as well as more ordinary folk)has said much the same thing.



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J. Paul Lennon

posted January 24, 2006 at 1:14 am


Jose de Cordoba attended the Regain Dallas Conference in June 2002. He pretty much ‘sat on the fence’ at that time, and has been doing so ever since. He has been unwilling to commit to attacking the Legion or Fr. Maciel. He has painstakingly researched and interviewed for almost four years. This is the first and only article he has written on this subject.
I think he deserves to be read more carefully. The issues he touches upon are so hot that most of the posters have ‘reacted to’ the article in a somewhat impulsive way, pro or con, following preconceived ideas and attitudes.
Maybe it deserves to be read a couple of times, in a reflective and prayerful mode, trying to discern whether or note it does contain any kernels or truth, or doubts, or questions.



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Richard W. Comerford

posted January 24, 2006 at 9:08 am


J. Paul Lennon:
Thank you for your good advice to carefully read the article in question. I took it and now have a question. Has the proper and responsible authority in the Vatican issued an official statement that it is currently investigating Father Marciel?
I do not mean an article in a newspaper that alleges an investigation. What I mean is a formal declaration that the competent authorities in the Vatican are conducting one.
I would appreciate if you or anyone else could enlighten me. Thank you.
God bless
Richard W. Comerford



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adjuration

posted January 24, 2006 at 9:34 am


Richard Comerford:
John Allen wrote a summary of the situation concerning Fr. Maciel last summer:
http://nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word052705.htm
He had a follow-up a couple of weeks later:
http://nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word061005.htm



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Richard W. Comerford

posted January 24, 2006 at 10:40 am


Adjuration:
Thank you for your kind response.
God bless
Richard W. Comerford



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Jeannette

posted January 24, 2006 at 10:45 am


“The apostle of the Movement I have always dreamed of is the exact opposite of the person who lives attached to himself, unwilling to contribute, content to vegetate; the person filled with himself, indolent, giving off no spiritual warmth; giving himself body and soul to the capital pleasures of sloth and avarice, or who is hostage to his envy, pride and veiled anger. (Here’s the good part) Don’t expect to find any enthusiasm for the apostolate in these people or any reflection of what is eternal, for they are void of human worth. In their spiritual dimension they are truncated, unrealized, maimed, monstrous, and they do not measure up to a minimum level of human honesty.” Marcial Maciel, “Envoy II”, letter 70, page 130



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J. Paul Lennon

posted January 24, 2006 at 10:51 am


INVESTIGATION OF FR MACIEL, YES OR NO?
Richard,
thanks for you question. I am almost an authority on that question by now. For the record see http://www.regainnetwork.org/article.php?a=47245926
The short answer is NO; there is no statement from the Vatican. Although the Legion performed a kind of ‘pre-emptive strike’ in May 2005 with a ‘Press Revlease’ to the effect that there never was any investigation, one could say that the ‘lack of verification’ might make us all ‘neutral’, or equally divided, about whether or not there is an on-going investigation. Such an investigation by its nature is ‘secret’, at least in the Vatican’s mind and practice. The Vatican will not reveal the presence of a ‘secret process’, as this would be contradictory. So, perhaps for now, Catholics might be divided in their ‘belief’ regarding an ongoing investigation into the behavior of Fr Marcial Maciel, Founder of the Legion of Christ.
If the short answer is NO, there is no official Vatican statement, the longer answer might begin…
We are on the horns of a dilemma: How can the Vatican PUBLICLY declare it is conducting a confidential or SECRET investigation into the behavior of Fr. Maciel, Founder of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement for sexually abusing his seminarians and other violations?
Because of my own concerns, ‘belief’, or ‘bias’, I have an ongoing ‘friendly’ dialog with the editor in chief of Catholic News Service. Just like yourself, he is asking for ‘verifiability’. In an effort to resolve the dilemma, I have asked the (one and only!) Vatican Promoter of Justice to give us a ‘sign’. I am waiting for a reply. Meanwhile, I think each Catholic who is interested in this theme must make a ‘judgment call’ in the presence of the Holy Spirit, the facts, testimonies, his own experience and convictions; almost like an ‘act of faith’!
On one occasion circa 1980, when he accused me, then a Legionary, of improper conduct with a woman, Fr. Maciel used a Mexican expression along the lines of ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’. If we were to apply his popular wisdom to his own case right now, where would he be?



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Jeannette

posted January 24, 2006 at 10:52 am


(Next paragraph)
“The Movement offers us a different model. In the life of a man or woman of the Kingdom, the fundamental law of life consists in growth and conquest, for these are intrinsic to the Christian vocation.”
I looked, but I didn’t find the Nihil obstat or imprimatur.



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Richard W. Comerford

posted January 24, 2006 at 11:14 am


J. Paul Lennon:
Thank you for the further information. I will pray for your intentions on this matter.
God bless
Richard W. Comerford



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Kevin

posted January 24, 2006 at 12:06 pm


Come on Zhou. This is beneath you. This is anti-Catholic propoganda. You going to post the alleged Knights of Columbus oath next?
http://www.geocities.com/okc_catholic/articles/jesuit_oath.html



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Old Zhou

posted January 24, 2006 at 1:32 pm


No, Kevin. But I think I’ll call my Congressman and see if we can get the Da Vinci Code slipped into the Congressional Record.



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Lee Penn

posted January 24, 2006 at 1:46 pm


Dear Zhou:
Interesting idea on inserting the DVC into the Congressional Record. Would doing so put the book into the public domain?
Lee



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Raul Alessandri

posted January 24, 2006 at 2:55 pm


I wonder if this article is adequate for the octave of Christian Unity? If we, Catholics, criticize each other, we will not be living well the new commandment. I am not in any way asociated with the Legionnaires.



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Giselle

posted January 24, 2006 at 3:10 pm


Jeannette: as a member of the Movement for years, I (like all the others) was called to read and meditate on writings of the founder daily. We were discouraged from reading other writings, and praying anything other than approved prayers in approved ways. It’s not that it wasn’t orthodox, but it compartmentalised us in an “elitist” sort of way. As though everything we needed for salvation and growth in Christ would be received through the hands of the Movement. There was little use for the richness of the saints and writings of others, except as occasional window dressing. It finally became oppressive.
I use the word “elite” because as we were reminded in our trolling for new members among the other groups of active Catholics that Regnum Christi was God’s gift to this generation, and superceded the good that other groups were doing.
(Btw, I was even discouraged from reading “Converstations with God” for a change of pace because it was an outside book.)



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Giselle

posted January 24, 2006 at 3:26 pm


“In Conversation with God”
(you know what I meant)



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Old Zhou

posted January 24, 2006 at 3:27 pm


After reading Giselle’s last comment, it seems to me that Regnum Christi has many features in common with my Chinese evangelical Protestant Church.
Can a current or former RC member tell me if these things sound familiar:
– Community based on one very gifted leader. In my case this was Watchman Nee, 1903-1972. His grandfather was a congregational preacher, so the family had some years of Christian influence (and in Chinese culture, Grandfathers have a lot of influence on Grandsons).
– Community based on principles of “recovery” of truths lost in practice in the larger, surrounding church.
– Community which endured significant political and economic turmoils (in this was, the War with Japan and then the Communist Revolution).
– Community which eventually spread to be a global “faithful remnant” focused almost exclusively on the teachings of the founder and his faithful co-worker (in this case, Witness Lee.
– Community attacked by other Christians as being exclusive, closed, “superior,” a “cult.” (Although, actually, many members do get real help to lead very good lives in the community.)
– Tendency to gain more “seeking Christians” than actual un-baptized pagans.
– Bitter divisions among leaders over the decades.
Does this sound like RC? Maybe it is a species of religious movement common to the early 20th Century in places of conflict, whether Protestant or Catholic.
In my case, the day came when I resigned my ministry because I could no longer limit myself to what was approved by the founders. It was not a bad place, it is just that I feel I outgrew it. A bird needs to start in a small and limited place–a nest. This is absolutely necessary for survival. But after some time, if it grows, it must spread its wings and fly in the dangerous skies. This is also necessary for survival and growth. The Catholic Church, the “general Church,” is that big sky for me. Who knows, perhaps I will be lunch for some clerical hawk. But I have to fly.



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Catherine L

posted January 24, 2006 at 4:12 pm


Dear Zhou,
I was wavering on whether to respond to Giselle’s comments, but your post has spurred me on. I have been in Regnum Christi for nearly 3 years. During that time I’ve received regular spiritual direction from Legionary priests. I have never, ever been discouraged from doing outside reading. In fact, as far as I know all members are encouraged to seek additional education in the faith, whether it’s through your diocese, a college, etc. I am encouraged to read the letters of the founder in order to more fully understand the charism of the movement. We also commit to reading the Gospel daily, praying the rosary, the Nicene creed, Mass, Eucharistic adoration and other traditional Catholic devotions. I have never heard any denigration of the Church, the Holy Father, the bishops, or other movements. We are all called to cooperate in building the Church through our parishes, diocese, and wider evangelical efforts and outreach. Yes the movement does focus on making baptized Catholics stronger in their faith, but there’s no prohibition on evangelizing non-Christians.
The movement is in and for the Catholic Church.



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Old Zhou

posted January 24, 2006 at 4:28 pm


The comments of Catherine L. could have been spoken in my Chinese evangelical church, just without the “Catholic.”
In regard to the limitation of outside reading, there was a sort of ebb and flow. The founders, of course, read extensively. In the early stages of “globalization” of the movement, members were also encouraged to read extensively. But as the founders got older (and endured more separation of their early colleagues), and especially after the death of the last founder (1997), there were strong pushes to avoid “contamination” of “unhealthy” and “divisive” ideas that can happen under the best-intentioned wider reading. So, better to stick with what the founders already deemed to be “healthy.”
It works for some people.
It helps some people; and some of them are very intelligent (being university professors), or successful (politicians or businessmen).
But for me, with strong inclinations toward ancient languages and sources and history, it was just too limiting.



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Catherine L

posted January 24, 2006 at 5:11 pm


“there were strong pushes to avoid “contamination” of “unhealthy” and “divisive” ideas that can happen under the best-intentioned wider reading. So, better to stick with what the founders already deemed to be “healthy.”
What you’re describing, Zhou, is not Catholic. The Regnum Christi leadership is answerable to the Holy Father and the priests are obedient to the bishops of their respective dioceses. If there was any opression of members along the lines of what you suggest, it should be reported to the local bishop and/or the Vatican. Giselle has suggested in prior threads that she (or her organization, I’m not sure which) has done just that. We’ll just have to wait for the outcome.
I guess I wasn’t clear in my initial remarks, but the Movement exists for the service of the Catholic Church, not some new sect dreamed up by the founder.
At any rate, it’s wonderful that you are now part of the Catholic Church. I love your posts–clearly you are wise and well-read. I hope to see more of them in the future.



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exLC

posted January 24, 2006 at 5:30 pm


Catherine, the LC/RC, that you claim “are obedient to the bishops” have been BANNED from St. Paul, Minneapolis and Columbus, OH, and warnings sent out in Baton Rouge, LA.
The relevant links are found here:
http://www.regainnetwork.org/article.php?a=47245877



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exLC

posted January 24, 2006 at 5:36 pm


Permit me to quote the letter from Archbishop Flynn to Fr. Bannon LC:
“I feel very strongly that any group of religious who minister within this local Church needs to do so in a way which promotes unity and cooperation. Rather than experiencing such a spirit, our pastors continue to sense that a ‘parallel Church’ is being encouraged, one that separates persons from the local parish and archdiocese, and creates competing structures.
This is simply unacceptable.
As a result, I have decided that Legionary of Christ priests are not to be active in any way in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”
Catherine did your crea



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exLC

posted January 24, 2006 at 5:40 pm


Ooops, hit the wrong keys. I meant to write:
Catherine, did your recruiter “forget” to mention this? As I demonstrated before, generally no negative information about the LC/RC is given out to the members. This is why the National LC Register has never once mentioned the charges against Maciel, except in a false propaganda piece claiming “exhoneration.”



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Catherine L

posted January 24, 2006 at 7:13 pm


Well, exLC, I’m truly sorry for whatever experiences you had.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul incident occurred after I joined. I don’t really know anything beyond what I read in the Catholic press except that the Legion has obeyed the bishop and ceased to work in that diocese. I also happen to be from S. Louisiana and have very near-hand knowledge of the incident at the B.R. high school from non-RC members (in fact parents of students at the school). Since I am not prohibited from reading outside literature I am free to look at information from all sorts of sources (even Regain) and form my own judgements about this.
I’m sorry you got drawn into this, I was merely trying to provide Zhou with more information about Regnum Christi and clarify my earlier comments. You of course are free to do the same.



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exLC

posted January 24, 2006 at 8:17 pm


Well, Catherine, your attempt to provide Zhou with more information left out material directly conflicting with your statements.
The consecrated LC/RC members do not have that freedom to read outside literature, nor to have access to any information contrary to the party line, to be able to form their own judgments.
I suggest you do, in fact, read the REGAIN pages and reconsider your involvement. You don’t have to be a fool to be fooled. I was fooled for many years and thank God for freeing me. Because I know, firsthand, that the group is not at all what it claims and appears to be. It is a con game, and you are a mark. I feel so sorry for you and for all LC/RC members.
You are familiar, of course, with the 3 levels of the 2nd degree membership?



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Catherine L

posted January 24, 2006 at 8:31 pm


I feel sorry for you, too, exLC. But I will not be drawn into this.
This is the quandary when arguing with conspiracy theorists. You’re either a) blowing the whistle on the conspiracy, b) duped by it, or c) in on it. There is no d) the conspiracy doesn’t exist.
I’m out. I hope you find peace.



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exLC

posted January 24, 2006 at 8:38 pm


Nice implied label of conspiracy theorist. It’s irrelevant because your options imply no information is available. Which of course, as documented above, is how the LC would prefer it.
On the contrary, I invite all open minded people and all LC/RC members who can, to read the articles, testimonies, and documentation presented on the REGAIN web page and forums to learn more about the group and make up their own minds.



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pablo

posted January 25, 2006 at 1:50 am


I fail to see how the LC being banned in 3 dioceses makes them disobedient to bishops. They did cease operating in those 3 dioceses, as I understand it. That would seem imply that the LC is obedient to the bishops.



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pablo

posted January 25, 2006 at 1:54 am


Also, you have repeatedly linked your screen name to http://www.regainnetwork.com which is just a bunch of commerical advertising. I think the ReGAIN website is http://www.regainnetwork.org



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exLC

posted January 25, 2006 at 7:45 am


Thank you, Pablo, the site is:
http://www.regainnetwork.org
(both .org and .com used to be valid, but that is another story)
The LC was disobedient, and as a consequence received the strongest reprimand possible – banning. To argue that they are obeying the ban (how does one prove that?) and that is a sign of obedience misses the point – the bishop felt it necessary to ban them after trying to work with them!



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Simon

posted January 25, 2006 at 10:48 am


A google search turns up an irony in Archbishop Flynn’s action: The Archbishop apparently had previously presided at Legionary ordinations and gone out of his way to introduce young men to the order and promote it.
See here: http://www.legionariesofchrist.org/eng/articulos/imprimir.phtml?se=91&ca=264&te=193&id=8384
I wonder what happened?



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Giselle

posted January 25, 2006 at 10:57 am


That’s the point. They cannot dismiss him as a liberal crank who was uncomfortable with their orthodoxy. He was completely in their corner, and they abused the relationship. He found they were rifling through chancery materials and taking advantage of access.
He becomes part of what is know as a FFL (Former Friend of the Legion). Members of FFL are … legion.



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Simon

posted January 25, 2006 at 12:33 pm


“rifling through chancery materials”!?
Sounds like Watergate. :) Do you have a link?



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Jeannette

posted January 25, 2006 at 1:56 pm


“Do not live outside the spirit of the Movement because then you will open a chasm between God and yourselves. Never underrate it, because that would mean you undervalue God’s love which in it has given you an easy and fast road to holiness. (Cool! an alternative to the narrow gate!) Do not leave it because sooner or later you will find that it was your egotism, pride, vanity or sensuality you were feeding your lives on rather than God and his (sic) holy will.” Envoy II, page 288, letter 95.
I believe one of Bishop Flynn’s concern’s was that the Legion was building a “parallel Church”.



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Jeannette

posted January 25, 2006 at 2:13 pm


Catherine,
Have you been reading the writings of “Nuestro Padre”?
First General Chapter, #177. The first duty of a legionary is to love and esteem the Legion.
You are free to follow this man, but I don’t think it’s Catholicism.



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Giselle

posted January 25, 2006 at 3:18 pm


Those, Jeannette, are just the frightening words that explain the problem.
“Do not live outside the spirit of the Movement because then you will open a chasm between God and yourselves.”
Don’t you see that what that means in reverse is that to leave the Movement is to endanger the soul?? Telling impressionable kids that — kids who want to serve God — is a terrifying thing. They honestly fear that once associated with LC/RC (“God saw you here from all eternity” is a classic line) they will damn themselves by leaving.
What I could have tried to explain in copious words you have just verified with the exact quote from Maciel. LC/RC = salvation.



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Jeannette

posted January 25, 2006 at 5:08 pm


Giselle,
I was never in, so I’ll let you do the analysis. His whole book really gave me the creeps, though.



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Michael Pakaluk

posted January 25, 2006 at 6:11 pm


I’ve always thought it was a Christian imperative to put the best possible sense on what someone says.
“The first duty of a legionary is to love and esteem the Legion.” That could mean, of course: “The first duty of someone, as a legionary, is to love and esteem the Legion”–which would make sense. (Compare: “The first duty of a son, considered as a son, is to esteem his parents.”–also true.)
“Do not live outside the spirit of the Movement…” that is, if you are in the Movement. Also makes sense, huh?
(And maybe some readers of this blog have to brush up on the theology of the new movements. Cardinal Ratzinger’s address–I think it’s from 1998–might be a good place to start.)



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giselle

posted January 25, 2006 at 6:26 pm


Michael — it distinctly says that leaving the Movement is stepping far away from God. Knowing that, would you let your kids join in the first place?



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Michael Pakaluk

posted January 25, 2006 at 7:04 pm


Dear Giselle,
I would like to look at the entire context of that quotation.
But it seems to me that, to answer your question, one needs to consider:
1. Is it possible to make a commitment to God that is, in normal circumstances, irrevocable?
2. Can it be good to make such a commitment?, and,
3. Can a person’s relationship to a Movement have that character?
I would say ‘yes’ to all three. And if a child of mine discerned that it was God’s will that he or she make such a commitment to a Movement, then –it could not of course be a matter of ‘letting’ or ‘permitting’–I definitely would support it.



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Jeannette

posted January 26, 2006 at 10:24 am


Well, Michael, I suggest you read more of Marcial Maciel’s writings, to put the quotation into context. As I said, it’s from Envoy II, a compilation of letters from “Nuestro Padre” to his followers. Read all you can about him and by him. Ask everyone you know about any experiences they’ve had with the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi/Challenge/ConQuest/K4J(Kids for Jesus)/Youth for the Third Millenium/Newoman/Center Harbor/Everest Academy/the Donnellan School/Cypress Heights Academy/Zenit/National Catholic Register/Catholic.net (not catholic.org) for starters.
Please.



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Joe S

posted January 26, 2006 at 7:06 pm


Que Lastima that Mama Maurita didn’t follow planned parenthood! …and the Lord cast out the Devils whose name was Legion!
Remember that “Antichrist” in Hebrew means “in place of Christ”, as in another misguided movement distorting His true message!



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Bill Cork

posted February 1, 2006 at 10:10 am


Barb N. said, “I would feel better if they ‘evangelized the wealthy’ while dressing in rough, poor garments, and living in barrios.”
Is that how ActOne evangelizes Hollywood …?



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tanarri.ru

posted July 19, 2014 at 7:21 am


Hi there,behind reading this prodigious paragraph i am too delighted to share my familiarity here with colleagues.



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