UPDATE II: I am simply updating this post, because it's too hard to move all the comments on Pope Francis which have accrued since his election. One commenter found an interesting article on how then-Cardinal Bergoglio dealt with another problematic group, the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) that was using the support of Cardinal Sodano to undermine local authorities:
These moves by Sodano were a "great humiliation" and a "slap in the face" to the Argentine Bishops. So much so that then Cardinal Bergoglio even traveled to Rome to meet privately with Pope Benedict and express his concern over influence that Ambassador Casselli (and his ally Sodano) still had in appointing Bishops (such as the lone Argentine supporter of the IVE, Bishop Hector Aguer.) Like an excerpt from a Godfather movie, Casselli, Aguer, and Sodano coordinated together and the Sodano and Casselli families even had close economic ties.
This may be unrelated, but the broad brushstrokes (and personalities) are the same. That might lead one to conclude that the new Pope is no pushover, nor a stranger to these sorts of games.
AnonObserv has some trenchant thoughts in the combox as well:
Well let me at least put in that as far as possible moves of Pope Francis, I doubt he will radically undo what has been done thus far with the LC, i.e. the program of a renewal without a dissolution/re-foundation etc.. but he does have an opportunity to bring about some radical shifts in what still remains which is the completion of the constitutions that preempts the General Chapter to come in a year or two. Some ideas of what an experience provincial and novice master may consider:
1. He would clearly know from his lived experience that the appointment of Provincial by a Superior General rather than electing them creates an institutional environment of cronyism, hyper-centralization of authority, and the consequent cult-like paternalism of the great spiritual father the person of the director general is to be for all. I have many places pointed out how AC assumed this persona, and Fr. Sylvester is following in perfect step..
2. He will know what passes for valid spirituality and what does not. A founder-less, and a-historical foundation that has no integral witness behind it, with only rules and abstract mottoes of seemingly a bunch of Jesuit wannabes, must look awfully empty to him once you get beyond the doting papal subservience and peacock display of youth.
3. The new Pope will have the opportunity to define the apostolic charism of the LCs, and even more precisely what is "the work with leaders." The Jesuits have labored in this vineyard before- they know where the sophisms are. They know the conflict of a pretended elitism vs the Christ-like witness of humble service incumbent upon any religious. One can perhaps even say their participation in the Theology of Liberation may have been simply a misguided effort to reconcile a conflict that the LCs have yet to identify. And this theme is still very much in the press with the scandal of the Mee fortune.
We do have some evidence that the LC website only notes the name of the founding ordinary of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Quarracino. No note of Bergoglio has been made even though he did permit them a school which in some ways was tied to a Mano Amiga program that followed shortly after. This suggests the relationship was not a warm one.
THE REST (the original post) CONCERNS THE REMARKS OF FR MORRIS THAT OBFUSCATE REALITY
UPDATE: Fr Morris says that Benedict acted quickly to remove MM, and that the ambiguity before that was on the part of the Vatican alone. Let's recount a few inconvenient facts:
- Benedict removes MM in 2006;
- Legion protests that he is innocent;
- Legion surrounds MM's death with false hagiography, including this nugget: "I talked to John Paul II's secretary, Cardinal Estanislao Dsiwisz, who was very moved and said how important Nuestro Padre was for him and the Pope... I spoke to Card. Rode and he spoke about the wonderful things he had done for the Church, to Card. Bertone, same thing and the secretary of the Pope. To Cardinal Sodano, who said he really had been for him a prophet for the Church because he had transformed many decisive aspects in the life of the Church. And so all the Cardinals, Norberto (Rivera) Cardinal Sandoval, everyone has been very very close to us" (minute 8:25 of remarks by Fr. Álvaro Corcuera on the phone with the team of consecrated women, January 31, 2008).
- Did these men really say these things? or did Alvaro make them up in order to prolong the lie?
- Remember that at least one of MM's female consorts was at the deathbed (with Alvaro).
- Consider now that we know MM refused the Last Rites and was belligerent in the end.
- If Benedict's action provided the clarity that Fr Morris needed, then why was he the only one who understood?
- Why did the Legion directors spread patent lies about both the state of MM's soul and the words of the Cardinals mentioned?
- Why does Fr Morris say that the Vatican was responsible for the cover-up when Alvaro's words here reveal the monstrous duplicity of the Legion?
Much of the world's attention will be directed to the College of Cardinals, who are now charged with electing a new Pope. This is when each news agency brings out a knowledgable pundit to walk them through the process and provide accurate background information. Fox News has long relied on Fr Jonathan Morris, who (while a Legionary) previously neglected to put an LC after his name. Now he is out and incardinated into the Archdiocese of New York, so there is no direct association, but he has chosen to explain that one black mark against the previous pope's name, John Paul II's enthusiastic endorsement of Maciel.
He goes about it in this way:
To understand how Benedict came to his decision, we should recall that during the long sickness and eventual passing of John Paul II then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict, headed the Vatican department that oversaw cases of clerical sexual abuse.
Cardinal Ratzinger would have witnessed -- first hand -- the consequences of a long-suffering pope without the full use of his faculties. He would have witnessed the dysfunctional handling of sensitive and urgent issues with far-reaching effects on the life of the church and on its members.
In many cases these issues were left in the hands of his personal secretaries and other Vatican officials without the power or the courage to act.
One of the sensitive and urgent matters he saw tragically mishandled was the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the once powerful and fast-growing religious order, the Legion of Christ.
When Ratzinger became pope he immediately removed Maciel from public ministry and sentenced him to a private life of prayer and penance for misbehavior that included the abuse of minors, drug abuse, misappropriation of funds, and the fathering of multiple children.
This case is especially present to me, since at the time I was a member of this religious order.
Four years ago, after Pope Benedict acted, and then when I eventually found out the truth about Fr. Maciel, I left the order and applied to join the Archdiocese of New York, where, thank God, I am very happy.
For many years, I had heard accusations against Fr. Maciel, but in great part because Vatican officials continued to praise Fr. Maciel, publicly, I assumed these accusations were patently false.
I now know that during the prolonged sickness of John Paul II the Vatican already had sufficient evidence against Fr. Maciel. But John Paul II's handlers, and other Vatican officials, who were running the shop as John Paul II grew increasingly weak, succeeded in keeping the case quiet.
In practice, this meant many young men and women, who thought they were devoting their lives to a religious order led by a saint, were in fact continuing to live in ignorance of the reality that their leader was in fact a sociopath.