This letter was sent by Father Daniel Brandenburg to explain recent events. It reveals some disconcerting plans:
Thy Kingdom Come!
Dear members and friends in Christ,
It’s been a while since I last wrote. Many good things have been going on and others not so good – just like life in every family – so I just wanted to send you these lines with a quick update of the main highlights.
You may have heard rumblings from down in Florida. Here is a note Jim Fair sent out about 10 days ago:
Dear Friends in Christ,
You may hear media reports of the decision by the archbishop of Miami to prohibit Legion ministry in that archdiocese. We are responding to media with the statement below and you may use it with people who have questions. This is a burden for our members in Miami, so please keep all of them and their families in your prayers. While this sort of situation can be discouraging, it should not damper the desire of Legionaries, Consecrated and Regnum Christi members to be active in their parishes and dioceses, serving the needs of the Church.
statement regarding Miami decision:
The Legion of Christ is surprised and disappointed by Archbishop Favalora’s letter banning the order from ministry in the Miami Archdiocese. We will be obedient to his directives. We hope to gain a clearer understanding of his concerns and demonstrate our ability to serve the local church. It is our deep desire to work in close communion with dioceses and parishes wherever we can be of service.
Yours in Christ….Jim Fair
Communications Director Legion of Christ
Since that initial communication, Fr Scott Reilly – the territorial director for the Legion in that part of the country – had a chance to sit down with the vicar general of the archdiocese and clarify some of the misunderstandings. With God’s grace and some time, I’m sure the situation will continue to improve. Patience, good communication, disinterested service and love for the Church can help heal these types of misunderstandings over time.
During this same time, we’ve been able to offer our service more effectively in many other places. For example, in September we just began a new collaborative effort with the archdiocese of Montreal where Cardinal Turcotte has welcomed us with open arms to serve as the of St. Peter Claver parish while simultaneously supporting the youth work with several other parishes in the downtown area. While we look for a residence for the Legionary priest and brother helping there, the Cardinal has invited us to live in his own cathedral rectory. This is opening all kinds of doors in this metropolis, and with God’s grace we hope to continue serving there for many years to come.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, our apostolic visitator, came for several days to Thornwood, NY, to interview many of the priests and religious working throughout the New York territory. What a man of the Church! His initial homily was very encouraging as he spoke of his own experience as a new bishop in , having to deal with a sexual abuse crisis in the first weeks of his arrival to the diocese, and how he worked through that to bring healing. In my own interview with him, I found him to be cordial, fatherly, insightful and quite candid, neither ignoring the tough issues nor needlessly picking at wounds [See excellent comment in update below]. The Holy See certainly picked the right man for this difficult task, and it personally gives me great confidence to have someone of his caliber carrying out the Visitation. We do not know if or when any formal statement would emerge.
The spirit I see among the brothers and consecrated women in the formation centers across the territory is truly extraordinary. They are aware of the challenges of this period, but know that the needs of the Church and our society are real, too, and in the midst of the many obstacles they are seeking to discern and follow God’s plan for their lives. The generosity we see in their young lives is extraordinary, a real testimony for all of us. I suppose if we all spent more time in adoration like they do, we’d have great peace in our hearts also.
I witnessed that same spirit this past weekend while helping out with a mini-Youth & Family Encounter in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Close to a hundred people, including a Regnum Christi , joined together in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, for reflection on “Regnum Christi: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” and also for some enjoyable family time. There were concerns and worries shared, and answers given, but above all there was a great spirit of family and renewed hope. It was particularly helpful for many to see the steps that the Legion has been taking (cf. letter of territorial directors from early September) and to understand better all that Fr Álvaro and our directors have been doing during these months. Peace and joy are , and that is what we find in our hearts when we keep our gaze focused on Christ and work seriously through the issues. That’s also what happens when we see so many children and young families responding to God’s call to holiness and apostolate in this spiritual family of Regnum Christi.
Let’s continue to support one another with our prayers and words of encouragement during this time. Like every good family, we unite in prayer and work to forgive and heal. May our Blessed Mother watch over each of you. Count on my prayers and let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you.
UPDATE: From a reader:
Self-inflicted, masochistic, pseudo-Christian suffering. That's what this is. That's what melodrama is. It detracts and distracts from the real drama of Christ. Those "wounds" that he implies others are picking at. Not real wounds. They are wounds of ego, pierced pride, and offended vanity. They detract from the real wounds of Christ crucified, found in Maciel's victims, wounds that the Legion has poured battery acid in by their refusal to do what is good and holy regarding the victims. If your pride is raw from fraternal correction, its not a wound being picked, its a boil being lanced. Onward Christian soldiers.