Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vocations, Charisms, and Videotape

I've been following the whole Legion/Visitation saga pretty closely since last February.  I live near one of the Apostolic school, and many friends from our Parish and our Homeschool group are heavily involved in the Legion and Regnum Christi.

One thing I've realized is that the Legion IS very different from other orders.  I'd never looked too closely at them before, I assumed that their words meant the same thing as everyone elses, and that life on the inside was pretty much like life in the Jesuits.  After all, everyone said they were "Like the Jesuits, but Orthodox."

Anyway, over the last year I discovered that they're really not at all like the Jesuits - or any other order.  A  video that Giselle at the Life after RC blog posted really makes that clear.

Contrast it with a Dominican vocations video.  Notice how the Dominicans talk a lot about what makes their life unique.  They quote Thomas Aquinas, they're very specific about their charism, they try to explain what it means to be a Dominican priest, as opposed to any other sort.

The Legion seems to be talking about priesthood in generic terms. One young man decided to become a Legionary because the kneel before the tabernacle and have a love for the Eucharist?  All priests love the Eucharist-- if they didn't, how would they last in a life dedicated to Christ?

Also, the emphasis on sports in the video confused me.  It occupied the place the Dominicans gave to study and teaching (big parts of their charism).  So are we to assume that the main thing that sets the Legion apart is its devotion to intermural sports?  Can sportiness really be a charism?

Jesting aside, the video was also pretty depressing.  The shots and audio of Maciel really hammered home what's at the heart of the foundation.  How many of the boys in the first photo were abused?  Can Maciel really be anyone's model for the priesthood?  How can idealistic young men be twisted so that they follow a philandering, embezzling, abuser? 

The whole situation just gets darker and darker.  I honestly don't know how anyone associated with this group is hanging on... unless they hope the Vatican will step in and GIVE them a charism?  Maybe the Salesians or somehing?

On a final, brighter note, I also checked out the Jesuit Vocation Channel on Youtube.   The "Should I date before Novitiate" video was hilarious.  They interview 3 Jesuits... and none of them agree with each other!  Isn't that the essence of Jesuitness?  "Ask us a simple question-- and we'll consider all sides of the argument and give you anything but an answer!"  Good to know the Socratic method is alive and well.  I also loved the "What do Jesuits do for fun?"  videos.  Answer?  Apparently, they read alot.  And watch movies.  And write.  And argue.  Yup, sounds about right.

I know some of you are probably thinking, "But the Jesuits are heretics! And the Legion is Orthodox!"

So a few quick points:

1. Orthodox groups do not get investigated by the CDF.  By the time they launch a full scale visitation, they're already SURE there's a problem.  It's just a question of how to fix it.

2. While individual Jesuits may be heretics (When you allow intellectual freedom, sometimes you get idiots.  It's the way of the world), their rule and charism are sound.  Why?  Because the founder, and most of the early Jesuits, are Saints!  The Jesuit life led them to holiness-- it should be able to lead others to holiness too.  Meanwhile, given the history of Maciel and the current actions of the Legion's leadership, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that the rule and 'charism' are sound.  

3. The ends never justify the means.  Even if the Legion is somehow turning out good and holy priests, if it's doing it through morally suspect methods (i.e. denying personal autonomy and free will, abusing confession and spiritual direction, disobeying local bishops in spirit, if not in the letter of things) then it is no good.  Bad means = a bad group. 

BTW-- I'm not commenting on blogs (other than my own) this Lent, but I might as wwell out myself here (and later over at the other blogs.)  I am Mouse from AMP.  I'm sorry that I believed Legion spin over the victims' testimonies.  I'm sorry I recommended Legion-sponsored groups to others.  And I'm sorry I hid behind a pseudonym for so long.  There was no reason to, really.  I owe it to my friends and neighbors to be honest and forthright about where I stand on these issues, and to speak the truth, even when it's unpopular.

(But I'm also a coward.  So pray that I have the courage I need to be truthful in the coming months!)


jane said...

Of course it's Mouse from AmP! No wonder it made so much sense. you have been one of my favorite posters.

Very brilliant and fresh perspective, Deirdre. I like this: "Orthodox groups do not get investigated by the CDF" Exactly!

This is a good one to copy and send to our friends who have yet to find their way out of RC.

I am adding you to my favorites!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mouse!

Anonymous said...

Just curious...do you also have an issue with the Women Religious who are being investigated by the Vatican? By your logic, they too are corrupt, don't you think? We don't hear much about their abuses. Why is that?

Is it more correct to criticize a group that says it follows the Pope and the Churches teachings-guilt by association-than a group who is vocally opposed to him and all that he stands for? Apparently it is. Curious, isn't it?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Jane and Anon 6:29-- thanks for the kind words-- I'll be back to commenting over at Giselle's place after Lent-- I just needed a break from hitting 'refresh' constantly! :)

Anon 4:40- Yes, I actually DO have a problem with the nuns under CDF investigation-- and they haven't been covered much in the MSM, but the Catholic Blogosphere has been on the case.

If your order is using Reiki and Enneagrams, working at abortion clinics, and teaching wacky things about womyn priests, you ALSO need a CDF investigation.

Honestly, I think a lot of American Catholics have a problem.. they confuse 'Conservative' and 'Liberal' with 'Orthodox' and 'Heterodox.'

Not all liberals are heterodox, and not all conservatives are orthodox-- politics and religion are two different things.

The Legion got as far as it did because the conservative APPEARANCE fools most of us into thinking they're Orthodox. It's only when you find out the details of life on the inside/ seminarian formation/ etc. that the alarm bells start going off.

But yes-- the CDF is also investigating the sisters because there are clear indications of heterodoxy! I think, as Catholics on the street, we tend to notice the Sisters' problems more because there are more sisters and they broadcast their problems to the world in editiorials and on tv.

The Legion's problems are quieter, because they hide behind orthodox -seeming words. So it's easy to assume they mean the same things by 'charity', 'spiritual direction' and 'fruits' that you do.... even when the words have new, twisted meanings.

gto said...

One can support the Pope and the Church's teaching AND caution friends to stay clear of a group that needs a lot of prayers to separate itself completely from the practices, methods, and group think that were created by and for the purposes of a sexual predator.

Risking one's good name to warn friends about things that they run into in daily life. Refreshing.

Using the good name of the Church to smear critics? Just one of the fruits of Maciel's Legion.

gto said...

Should have guessed Mouse is a writer. But who knew she hung with an evil secret society.

God Bless your Lent and good luck with your MG novel!