In case the Movement doubted its perfection, there are many who are still willing to tell everyone how great the group remains, despite its founder, despite the massive defections, despite the closing schools, despite the lack of leadership and despite the fact that it will take years to sort through the constitutions to see what can be salvaged. Fr Moreau is the latest to discern that God wants him elsewhere, and Monk left decades ago, but both assure us that the Movement is awesome on stilts.
Jeannette responds specifically to Monk's list of "10 Reasons to Like the Legion of Christ" with a reality check (and my additions are in red):
- Professionalism. [I beg to differ, because every discipline they enter has a penumbra of questionable credentials, hijacking of other's initiatives and the grave side effect of making alert Catholics paranoid about what apostolates they can trust to be Legion-free]
- They attract people who think they're the best and brightest. In Catholicism, we don't actually consider this a good thing. In fact, we refer to Pride as one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Professional celebrations and Well Fitting Garments! Again, in Catholicism, Vanity isn't a plus. [I'll take the shabby garments of the Cure of Ars any day. As for Gregorian chant, all we ever had in RI or GA was a single piano, a couple of guitars and nouveau hymns in Spanish -- did we miss something?]
- Numbers. They're popular! Again, not an actual virtue in Catholicism. [And further, now we know those numbers were not only massaged, but the whole "sell sell sell" mentality was fueled by lies about "memos from the Holy Father!"]
- Those Legionaries who aren't willing to practice Legionism? They're banished to Quintana Roo, where they do a pretty good job of practicing Catholicism [and providing photo ops of humble, pious natives for whenever a fundraiser comes around]
- Lots of news outlets! This isn't really a major sin, but it's just not something that Real Catholic orders usually trumpet [post scandal, of course, we find that owning news outlets was a crafty move to allow the Legion to play gate-keeper with the facts, and selling off NCR and F&F would undermine the point, no?]
- Many Schools (many currently closing, many are accredited by fake accreditation groups (like NCE). Education doesn't appear to be acknowledged by real schools, when students attempt to get transcripts [and this point is further undermined by the notes from General Chapter that said that the primary purpose for the existence of schools is not education but recruitment]
- Loyalty to the Pope. Seriously? Not in 1956, when Luis Ferreira was fed laxatives so that he couldn't do his job during the Great Blessing, nor when Maciel snuck back in after Pius XII's death. Nor in 2005, when the LC leadership produced a paper from "the Vatican" saying there was no investigation (in fact, Msgr Scicluna was at that time already interviewing "more than 20, less than 100" people in his investigation of Maciel. Nor in 2006, when the Pope was compared to Pilate for his censure of Maciel. They don't appear to be respecting the May 1, 2010 letter at this time either. Does Legionism have a different definition of loyalty, or do they maybe have a different pope??
- Efficient fundraising. Ooh, yes, this is definitely a Legionist virtue [and yet how many claims exist that the intention for which the money was raised was not its ultimate destination? How much have they really sent to Japan for the relief of tsunami victims? And what about the new fundraiser to pay for their "free housing" for 3rd world bishops at JP2's beatification?]
- Attract many youth. Unfortunately, recruiting the young is actually a cause for alarm to many of us because it's a polite way to say "preying on youth because they don't recognize red flags as well as wiser adults do," and often, children are encouraged to keep secrets from their parents in sd, etc. which violates "Honor thy father and mother." [Furthermore, when complaints about intergenerational abuse remain unanswered and unresolved, their broad access to youth adds another red flag to the whole setup.]
I do love my brother Monk, who in his combox suggests a truce for Holy Week, which I respected, but one cannot allow the ten points to go unanswered. As for the three additional points provided by one of his readers, those are Catholicism 101 -- which can exist apart from the Legion. The question remains: what unique and beneficial elements do the Legion provide to the Church, and as of yet, apart from its scandalous foundation, we have yet to answer it. Charism to be determined (CTBD). Peace.
UPDATE: Frank offers his own response, which he posted at Monk's site as well.
I have always believed that you bring a unique perspective to the entire Legion/Regnum saga. Though I don’t always agree with you, I have always believed (still do) that yours is a voice worth hearing. With that in mind, it is with great disappointment that I read your “10 Reasons to Like the Legion,” as your reasons are patently absurd. Rather than focus on the entire list, I would like to focus on the second reason you offer: “They attract great vocations: One can complain about the methodology but historically they have had a great ability to attract the best and the brightest.”
Now Jack, I would like to offer you the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps you wrote this in a hurry without thinking through the logical implications of your statement. If you did, and will acknowledge such, then we have no issue. I, at times, have been guilty of the same thing. However, if you really believe this, then you, and any Legionaries who believe this, should prepared to defend this assertion.
Do you really believe that this year’s newly-ordained Legion priests are superior to those priests ordained for the dioceses of New York, Arlington (VA), Denver, Witchita (KS), or any other diocese? Are they superior to the men who will be ordained this year for the Dominicans, Oblates of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fraternity of Saint Peter, Jesuits, or Fathers of Mercy? If so, please explain. Where is your evidence that Legionaries have superior education, talents, credentials, and abilities when compared to the men of other orders or dioceses?
You, Jack, are the one who made the assertion that Legionaries are the “best and brightest.” Again, where is your evidence? Has the Legion yet produced a theologian on par with Ratzinger, de Lubac, or von Balthasar? How about philosophy. Where is the Legion equivalent to von Hildebrand, Gilson, or John Crosby? Or in canon law, is there any Legion priest whom you would rate as an equal to Raymond Burke or Edward Peters? And since you are impressed with the Legion’s well-tailored vestments, let’s examine their liturgical achievements. Can you name a single Legionary liturgical expert on par with Josef Jungman, SJ, Msgr. Klaus Gamber, or Giles Dimock, OP?
Regardless of whether you consider the Church-related disciplines (theology, philosophy, liturgy, etc), or the secular disciplines (law, medicine, architecture, psychology, etc), the Legion has yet to produce a single man who has either achieved a broad-based respect from his academic peers, or has produced any definitive body of work that is commonly referenced by fellow scholars.
Take the Legion’s Institute for Psychological Studies. While the Legion, in typical poser fashion, attempts to thrust itself on the forefront of Catholic psychology, they have yet to produce a single first-rate intellect in that field like Conrad Barrs, Anna Truwe, Greg Popcak, Ray Guerrendi, or Richard Fitzgibbons. For an order with 60+ years of history, the Legion’s academic and scholarly achievements lie somewhere between astonishingly thin, and outright barren.
You may not realize, Jack, but you stepped on a landmine with your “best and brightest” assertion. One of the things I, and many others, find so irksome about the Legion is their corporate arrogance. Through that thin veneer of faux-humility, I saw up close and personal how the macielists believe that they are superior to other clergy. In reality, Legionaries are basically grifters in Roman collars, taking and using the genuine work, success, and achievements of others and appropriating it to themselves.
To that end, perhaps we have stumbled upon a single, genuinely Legionary achievement: when it comes to being takers and users, Legionaries truly have no equal anywhere in the Catholic Church.
Jack, please reconsider your position. As one who has respect for your opinions, I find this completely beneath you. If you can respond to my request for evidence, without questioning my motives, I eagerly await your response.