Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vocation Rustlers and Community-building

A few years ago, when the LC wanted to move into our Diocese, Bishop Melczek was disturbed. His main argument was that they were "Vocation Thieves" -- they took the boys with vocations to the Diocesan priesthood and to other orders and corralled them into LC.

At the time, I thought he was crazy. How could ANY order steal vocations? Vocations were such a personal thing, and the calling to Diocesan life is NOT the calling to religious life. And being called to the Jesuits is not the same as being called to the Benedictines....

So when he relented and let them in, I was glad that he was acting in a sane, rational manner.

EXCEPT - Maciel was rotten from the start (even the CDF says so!). There never was a charism. Maciel created LC/RC to scam orthodox Catholics.

There never WERE any Vocations. The bishop was right. They are Vocation thieves. (Vocation rustlers? Rounding up the 11 year olds on retreat and rebranding them with the Legion seal?)

I appreciate the fact that there are good, kind, caring people like Jo in RC. I think they'll be OK no matter how this turns out.

What concerns me are the 'stolen vocations'. I worry about the men already in formation, the men who've been with the Legion since they were 11 or 12, and the boys who are still sent away from home to join order that never existed in the first place. These guys have been told that they were called from all eternity to a group led by an evil man. Now they have a choice-- to realize that the Legion lies, or to believe that GOD lied (yoke = easy, burden= light...etc.).

One of the things that really appalled me as I dig deeper into Legion land was the tendency of Legion seminarians to use MISERY as proof that they're doing God's will. They're missing out on the peace and joy that comes from answering God's call. They need to spend some time talking, one on one, with members of other communities.

I hope that the new commissioner has the Legionary priests and seminarians go through an intense period of prayer and discernment. God didn't call them to follow Maciel--we're never called to follow evil. God calls us to freedom, NOT to slavery.

They've missed the fact that God loves us intensely, and that he calls us to a life where we 'fit' and will find joy... He knows us better than we know ourselves and He WANTS us to be happy.

God was calling the Legionaries somewhere when the vocation rustlers got them. I pray that these guys can heal, and eventually get to where they were going in the FIRST place.

As for RC members like Jo, God may be calling you to attend a particular prayer group, or to engage in a particular ministry. I can't know that--it's a private thing. BUT if you are a wife and mother, I CAN know that he's calling you to a life of service to your family, and to grow in love for Him as you serve them -- so I'll pray you get all the graces you need for that! Please pray the same for me! (I will readily admit that I need more grace than most just to do SIMPLE washing my floor!)

Basically, most of the people I know from RC are like Jo-- nice women who were looking for a way to grow in Faith while fighting the horrors of overflowing toilets and whining kids. And this does point to a huge hole in modern Catholic life-- we're more isolated than our grandmothers were. Between work and school and activities and everything else we do, we don't have as much time as we'd like to pray together, to study together, and to work together.

We DO need to form communities. In that, RC was not wrong. It was wrong because was pre-packaged community created by an evil man to further his own ambitions. It was wrong because it asked you to force your sons and daughters into 'vocations' that were the creation of Maciel, not God. Maybe now, under Vatican guidance, people like Jo can turn RC into something beautiful.

Even if they do, this is a wake up call to the rest if us. We need to form communities in our parish. We need to reach out and be a good friend and a good neighbor (even if we're hermits who'd prefer to do all our socializing via facebook and blogs! :) ) Maciel was so successful because he created a good-looking product that filled a gap in modern Catholic society. We need to close the gap, so it can't be exploited by other conmen in the future.


Anonymous said...

"Even if they do, this is a wake up call to the rest if us. We need to form communities in our parish. We need to reach out and be a good friend and a good neighbor (even if we're hermits who'd prefer to do all our socializing via facebook and blogs! :) ) Maciel was so successful because he created a good-looking product that filled a gap in modern Catholic society. We need to close the gap, so it can't be exploited by other conmen in the future."

Excellent point, I agree.


Anonymous said...

You're right, we need community. The weekly meeting was a good part of RC for me. I pray that people like Jo find the courage to go back to their teams and say something really radical:

We don't need the LC.
We don't need Mission Network.
We don't need RC Conventions.

I propose we do the following:
Quit RC. From here on, we are no longer part of "the movement".

Now that we are no longer a RC team but just a group of Catholic women (or men as the case may be) let's meet here every week, and continue to share out faith.

Let's look out to the big wide world of the Catholic Church, and all she has to offer, and find some fresh formation material to study.

Let's talk to the pastor of this fine parish in which we are meeting, and ASK HIM, how can we be of service to you and the needs of your parish? Let's serve the REAL Church, not the elite parallel church we've been serving.

I could get behind that. If that happened with my old team, I could go back.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that it takes a lot of courage to shed the "Groupthink".

Ironically, for those versed in the terms "contemplative and conquering", it takes a "conquering" apostle who has "contemplated" well and independently to have the moral courage and frank truth-telling ability to say "team, we need to talk."

Groupthink - an ugly impediment to reform for RC.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think the easiest way to break up 'groupthink' is to get the people involved to spend less time with the group.

Well, that, and encouraging people to really think about and analyze the statements they've received from the group. The Socratic method can be really helpful here.

When people are really busy, they don't have the time or mental energy to spot the contradictions between Maciel's teachings and Church teachings. When you've got small kids, it's hard to find time to think between the chores and spills-- add in the RC obligations, and when is there time to reflect?

(Ok, admitedly, I actually get ALOT of my thinking done while working on dishes, weeding, laundry etc. But I'm a VERY poor housekeeper, and the 'thinking time' is almost a bribe to get me to WORK! :) )

Anyway, time off from RC/LC may be the best way to break group think. Of course, what you'd get afterwards wouldn't be LC/RC anymore--

The more I read and learn about LC/RC, the more it reminds me of the World of the Ants from T.H. White's "Once and Future King"-- when your language is limited by an outside authority and certain topics are considered not OK for discussion, you lose your ability to think clearly about the situation.

Once upon a time, I actually believed the LCs line that they were "just like the Jesuits, only without the heretics." Now, I realize that if you value intellectual freedom as much as the Jesuits do, it means letting some people be free to come up with stupid ideas.

(Yes, I'm talking about you, Anthony DeMello! Some of your stories are good, but many are not really Catholic! *#%* cracks in the pot making beautiful flowers.)

Sorry that went on so long! First comment of the morning and the caffiene hasn't kicked in yet! :)

brian said...

I have a friend who is a religious priest. As a high school student he correesponded with several religious communities, after a while he narrowed it down to just one. The vocation directer told him he was too young to make a vocation choice but correesponded with him as he shapered something of his life,his family and his interst in school activities.
Then legion drove through his small Iowa city.
Someone told them he was considering priesthood, they contacted him and tried to convince him to get in the car and ride back to conn. with them. All without knowing anything about him, his family life and the reasons for his interest in religious life.
This is the way they disern a call to religious life.

brian said...

Discern? sorry, it's late.
God bless your family.