Monday, March 29, 2010

The Legion as Greek Tragedy

The story of the Legion seems to be one of victims and tragedies. We’ve seen the pain of the abuse victims, the secret families, and the ex-members who were thrown aside as soon as they were no longer useful to the movement. But, in the end, the greatest victim of Maciel’s methodology may have been the man himself.

Maciel used his warped definition of ‘charity’ to make sure that no one could criticize his behavior. He surrounded himself with lieutenants whose greatest desire was to protect the movement. He lived within a bubble, where sin had no consequences.

Sometimes I wonder if Garza, Corcuera and company actually hated Maciel. After all, by practicing Legionary ‘Charity,’ they may have damned him.

In Legion-speak, charity means not criticizing other people. It means excusing sinful acts and remaining silent in the face of a superior’s unjust behavior. In contrast, Christian charity calls us to admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant. We are called to care more for the souls of others than for our own comfort and popularity.

Maciel taught his followers to practice an inversion of Christian Charity. As a result, they were either unwilling or unable to call him out for his behavior. Even worse, they happily portrayed him as a living saint. They insulated him from the temporal consequences of his actions and let him live as an unrepentant sinner.

In the end, we have a story that is more in keeping with a Greek tragedy than with the history of Catholic religious orders. Maciel thought he could use God and the Church for his own gain. Instead, he harmed others and destroyed his own life. He may have even damned himself.

Last week, the Legion apologized for Maciel’s actions. Now I want to see them apologize for their own actions. They owe their followers an apology, for leading them astray. They owe the Conquest and Challenge kids an apology, for encouraging them to model their lives on Maciel’s. But, more importantly, they owe Christ and his Church an apology. We’re responsible for the spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters.

The souls of the Legionaries may have been in Maciel’s care, but he was also in theirs. When Corcuera and Garza allowed him to sin with impunity, when they didn’t force him to accept punishment for his crimes, they abandoned him. They put Mammon above Mercy and Luxury above Love. Maciel goes before them as Marley went before Scrooge. They have had their warning – they have seen the consequences of a lifetime of lies. It is time for them to repent.

Fortunately, we have a pope who will not allow them to escape the consequences of their actions. He can’t force them to ask God for forgiveness, but he can remove them from power and hopefully provide the catalyst for their conversion.

This holy week, I’ll be offering my prayers and sacrifices for my friends who remain tangled in Maciel’s web of lies, fear and control. I originally started blogging on the subject in the hopes that I could use it to start a conversation with friends in town who shy away from in-person discussions of LC/RC and who keep insisting that everything’s GREAT! I am now fairly certain that it hasn’t reached any of them. So my only option is to take to my knees and plead with the Holy Spirit. I suspect many of you are in the same position – so let’s storm heaven this week.


Debbie said...

Do we know Corcuera was complicit?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Well, on the one hand, at this point we don't have any PROOF. But given that he spent so many years working so closely with Maciel? It seems like most of the upper echelons would have to be either complicit, or incredibly stupid.....

So, my guess is complicit. I guess it is possible that some of the leaders were so warped by Maciel's formation that they didn't realize that what they were doing was wrong. However, that bodes far WORSE for LC/RC than a cover-up would...because that would mean that all the men formed by the legion have severely deformed consciences.....

Anonymous said...

By his own admission of knowing about Maciel's fraud in 2005/2006, he is most certainly complicit, at the very least, of perpetuating this great fraud in the time since then. All those priests still being formed on the methodology of a man Corcuera knew to be a child-molesting pervert. All those victims of this man's infamy who had to watch the Legion continuing to extol this man's virtues and sing his praises, long after Corcuera now admits to knowing Maciel was a fraud.

He was at the very least complicit in continuing this charade unabated for 4 or more years. Why would I be shocked at the thought that he was complicit from Day 1, perhaps even having been a victim of Maciel's sodomization himself, totally and forever warped by what was done to him as a child?

I don't think we'll ever know the full extent of who knew what when.

Anonymous said...

I have a letter he sent to leaders in RC saying the Fr M was "our example" to follow as leaders and that he was "in heaven" watching over us. It was written in March 2008, a year before the scandal broke and several years after the Pope's communique and the LC admitted they knew he fathered a daughter and now they say they understood his guilt with "moral certainty" of pedophilia in 2006.

I am not sure he was complicit but he was certainly trying to continue the myth of a saint to all in LC/RC and that is terribly wrong.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great; very well written and perceptive. Thank you.

I was involved with LC/RC for 10 yrs and severed all contact 15 yrs ago because I instinctively knew something was not right. I am positive that the leadership was/is complicit. They work very closely together and seem to be extremely well informed about their benefactors lives; I don't believe for one minute that Fr. Garza and his buddies were ignorant of Fr. Maciel's activities.

gregorbo said...

Left this comment some time ago at Life-After-LC blog, apropos, Legion as Greek Tragedy:

"Just finished reading an excellent essay on Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex" in which the author describes one of the themes of the play thusly: "For the Christian, the chief action of 'Oedipus Rex' symbolizes the unveiling of the roots of pride and self-rightiousness. It reveals the tendency to govern one's life by setting up a structure of virtues rather than submitting to God's will."

"Here, I think, is expressed something of the paradoxical situation for those still in LC and RC who personally had no knowledge of abuse and experienced and knew only the "good" of the Legion and Regnum Christi.

"Even if we might argue that Maciel himself did not infect an otherwise good institution, all available evidence suggests that the very institution he designed and built up was a "structure of virtues" as a substitute for a submission to God's will.

"So even if the vice that such a "structure of virtues" masked is rooted out, we are still left with a "structure of virtues" rather than true submission to God's will. It is this, I think, that works over time to de-form the Legionary spiritually and psychologically and accounts for the lack of a recognizably Christian and Catholic response to this disaster on the part of LC and RC themselves. Does that make sense?"