Thursday, July 22, 2010

He who lies down with dogs....

Father Z has a pretty sad post about an Anglican minister letting communion go to the dogs.  Literally.

In a way it's a natural progression -- we already have serious political discussions about whether it's all right to treat human beings as if they were dogs.  We talk about putting grandma to sleep when she's too old to be worth saving, sterilizing people who've had enough kids, eliminating genetically unfit offspring.

Now that we're practicing animal husbandry on people, why not allow animals to practice religion?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Notice to New Readers

I seem to be getting some new readers for the Regnum Christi and Legion of Christ posts, so I wanted to explain, once again, why I’m blogging on these topics.

I know and respect a lot of people involved in these groups. When the Maciel news hit back in 2009, I was completely flummoxed – I tried to ask friends in RC about it, and they met all inquiries with a stony wall of serenity and a few words culled from Legion press releases. It seemed out of character for people who, in other discussions of religion and politics, are smart, funny, passionate and quick to think through implications for larger issues.

Time passed, more news came out, and my friends remained ‘serene.’ So I started researching the group and discussing it on line. And eventually, I started blogging about it.

Maciel conned a vast swath of American Catholics, not just the ones who joined his group. Richard Neuhaus got conned. Mary Anne Glendon got conned. Patrick Madrid got conned. Scott and Kimberly Hahn got conned. Heck, even Servant of God Father John Hardon, SJ got conned.

I got conned. I never joined, but I took the claims about the Legion and Regnum Christi at face value. If I’d run across them in college, I probably would have been set afire, dropped everything, and run off to join the 3gf. If I’d run across them a few years from now, when I will be looking for alternatives to the Girl Scouts, I would have enrolled my daughters in Challenge and tried to get my husband to enroll the boys in Conquest.

Basically, I was saved by timing. My friends, the people who have given many hours and much money to the building of Maciel’s kingdom, joined because, at the time, with the information available, it looked like the right thing to do.

We now know that the “Kingdom of Christ” was not what it claimed to be, that it was built on lies. But many of us on the outside still have friends on the inside. And they’re still ‘serene.’ So we pray, like St. Monica did when her son was trapped in a lie. And we write and we think and discuss and then write some more, hoping that justice will be done, that our friends will be freed and healed, and that next time a conman disguised as a saint comes along, we'll be ready.

Monday, July 12, 2010

On Regnum Christi and Shunning

I’ve been hanging around on Life-After-RC for some time now, and I need to comment on a disturbing trend, one that seems to be unique to Regnum Christi.

Many women have reported that when they leave the movement, they are shunned. Their children are shunned. The women who have been their friends for years, sometimes decades, suddenly treat them like garbage.

They feel like they’re going crazy. They’re lonely and depressed. They wonder if it was really worth it to leave in the first place.

If you left RC and are being shunned, You are not the crazy one. Your former “friends” are not the ones suffering, like Christ, from betrayal. You are the one suffering betrayal.

For those of us on the outside, the shunning seems like madness. Catholics don’t shun. Even if someone leaves the Church, we’re supposed to love them as Christ loves them. And the women who’ve left RC haven’t left anything close to the Church. They’ve basically left a club. The Knights of Columbus doesn’t shun inactive members. Why does Regnum Christi?

I think the whole practice of shunning is evidence that RC has, in fact, set itself up as a parallel Church.

The most famous examples of religious shunning in America are the Mormons and the Amish. Both groups shun lapsed members – they cut them off entirely from friends and family. Shunning usually has two purposes: 1. To pressure the shunned woman into returning to the congregation and 2. To protect the people still inside from her ‘taint.’

Why do Mormons and Amish feel justified in delivering such a cruel punishment? Because both groups believe that they hold the keys to salvation. By leaving, the woman has damned herself. If she encourages others to leave, she is damning them as well.

Now, look at the women who’ve left Regnum Christi. They’re still Catholic. They still attend Mass, go to confession, volunteer in their parishes and believe in Christ. THEY ARE NOT DAMNED. They’ve just decided that there are problems in Regnum Christi, and that the best decision for their families is to pull back and focus on more important things. In the eyes of the Church, they are like a woman who decides that Vincent De Paul is eating up too much time, and so decides to quit volunteering.

Actually, given the CDF investigation, they’re more like a woman who prudently decides to avoid an unproven Apparition. She should not have to defend her reasons for avoiding “Our Lady of The Bridge” or whatever she’s avoiding. The burden of proof is with the people who choose to stay with a group that was founded by a man without scruples or religious sentiment and that is UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE CDF.

Yet Regnum Christi continues to shun ex-members. They have no reason to shun unless they believe that “Outside Regnum Christi there is no salvation.” They’re equating RC with the Church. THIS IS HERETICAL. The very fact that they shun is proof that the group is not Catholic.

Catholics don’t shun. Even if you believe someone has left the Church, Catholics, like St. Monica, love, pray, and entrust precious souls to the Blessed Mother.

If you’re currently being shunned by Regnum Christi, I am praying for you. You’ll need strength and grace, but God will prevail.

If you’re currently shunning those who have left, I am praying for you as St. Monica prayed for St. Augustine when he was ensnared by the Manicheans.

If you are in Regnum Christi, and are afraid to leave because of the shunning, take courage. There are more Catholics on the outside than on the inside, and shunning takes its power from group-think. Step outside the group.

Regnum Christi is not the Church. More and more, it’s looking like it’s not even vaguely related to the Church.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Laundry Prayer

I stand in the basement surrounded by hampers. I sort. I stain treat. I add vinegar to the diaper load. I am thankful for the laundry.

I am thankful for the diapers and the two boys who wear them. One still nurses round the clock and fills my day with chubby squeals. The other is trying to make the change to Spiderman underwear. My diaper load is shrinking, but my ‘slightly damp underwear’ pile grows.

I am thankful for the towels. They’re used for many baths and showers, for swim class twice a week, for cleaning up the water that gets all over the bathroom floor when the big kids try to help. There’s no room for the heaps of towels we’d need to make it through the week, so I wash and I dry and I fold.

I am thankful for the stains. Blueberry, Mulberry, Watemelon. Chocolate Ice Cream, Grass, Mud. They’re proof of an Indiana summer well-lived. And so I treat them, instead of preventing them.

I am thankful for the permanent press load. Button down shirts, dress pants and socks get washed separately. Early on, I learned a hard lesson while mixing my husband’s work clothes with my children’s play clothes. It involved a pocket full of crayon fragments and a new wardrobe for the man who works all day so that I can stay home with our children. Now, I carefully check the kids’ pockets, but I still wash their father’s clothes separately, just in case I miss something.

I am thankful for the quiet cool of a basement on a hot day, for electricity restored after a raging storm, for appliances that work and for children who play.

I hate doing laundry, but I am thankful that I have laundry to do. The alternative, a life where laundry is three loads once a week and occasional trips to the dry-cleaners, a sterile life without spit-up or mysterious juice spills, is too horrible to contemplate.

I am thankful for my laundry.