[See addendum below]
While some might say that AP is piling it on, we are actually grateful that one news outlet relentlessly reminds us what is at stake. Everything in this article is true, and even if it weren't said, it would remain true, and come back to haunt those who wish these details would evaporate:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — First, one of the Legion of Christ's top officials abruptly quit the troubled religious order in frustration over the slow pace of change. Then priests in the cult-like movement empowered proteges and associates of the order's disgraced founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, to vote for their next leader.
The past month has seen some setbacks the Legion's efforts to rehabilitate itself as it moves toward electing a new leadership next month, the culmination of a three-year Vatican experiment aiming to overhaul a damaged order. Yet even as the Legion prepares to present a new face, high-ranking members continue to speak nostalgically and even reverently of Maciel — a sexual predator who molested his seminarians, fathered three children and was, in the words of Vatican-appointed investigators, "devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning."
It all means that hopes are dwindling that the Vatican's effort to radically reform the Legion has succeeded, raising the question of what Pope Francis will do with the once-powerful and wealthy order after the mandate of the papal envoy running it expires.
The Legion itself -- as well as ardent RC members may believe their own press releases -- but they must come to grips with the fact that the future of the Legion is a bellwether for the larger Church and its credibility with the non-Catholic world.
The problem with cult-like communications methods and cult-like mental constructs is that there is a tremendous difficulty in understanding what those outside the group think. While members may thrill at the upcoming ordinations, outsiders remain aghast at how anyone can link himself to an unreformed group with grave [unacknowledged] problems with spiritual manipulation.
To be sure, some progress has been made during the past three years of Vatican receivership: The order rewrote its constitutions, released statistics about sex abuse cases, and a well-respected priest recently begged forgiveness from Maciel's victims for how he and the Legion ignored and defamed them. But if recent elections in the Legion's consecrated lay branches are any indication, the membership itself has voted for the status quo.
That mindset has driven dozens of disillusioned priests and hundreds of seminarians and consecrated members out of the order: On Saturday, the Legion will ordain 31 new priests, half as many as were ordained just three years ago.
Last month, the Legion's reform-minded governing counselor, the Rev. Doamar De Guedes, announced that he was not only resigning his position but was leaving the congregation altogether, a major blow coming just weeks before the Jan. 8 assembly to approve the new constitutions and elect a new superior.
In his farewell letter, De Guedes said he didn't have the strength to carry on. But the Legion's spokesman, the Rev. Benjamin Clariond, acknowledged that De Guedes was often the "minority" in pressing for deeper and faster reform and that this was a source of "tension" for him.
"We grant that the reform has gone slowly up to now," Clariond said in an email. "That is because we intend to effect changes that are not just cosmetic, but that address the underlying causes of the problems ... As is understandable, this takes time."
Honest self-reflection would help the reform, but the slow progress reminds us that they are still lacking that ability. MM cuckolded the Church, and continues from beyond the grave to cuckold members through the methodology. That must go before healing can come, and there is no sign of that as long as current leaders think that this is a "work of God."
ADDENDUM: A reader notes in the combox
Alejandro Pinelo Leon in his facebook wrote this: «At Cotija's crypt I was able to receive a beautiful light that is the new stage of mercy that we all should live (...) Beyond the differences, beyond the pains, beyond so many defections, is the merciful love of God to everyone (...)».
His face has a picture of MM tomb with many flowers... The most astonishing part is that 72 people liked It, including Carlos Skertchely (he will attend the General Chapter).
Many have spoken of the undercurrent of affection for Maciel. Still. Here is an important red flag for those who may have doubted. The original reads:
«En la cripta de Cotija he podido recibir una luz hermosa que es la de la nueva etapa de misericordia que debemos vivir todos. Más allá de las diferencias , de los dolores, de tantas salidas, está el amor misericordioso de Dios a cada uno. Eso me invita a amar más a cada uno y a valorar a cada uno. Debe notarse una nueva legión, un nuevo movimiento, en donde todos somos iguales y todos nos amamos realmente y prácticamente. Pedí a Jesús por cada uno de ustedes mis hermanos del Regnum Christi q para que nos amemos, nos perdonemos y seamos más familia que nunca. NUESTRO FUNDADOR NOS ENSEÑA MUCHAS COSAS Y ANTE SU TUMBA PUDE EMOCIONARME Y AGRADECER TODO LO QUE POR SU MEDIO APRENDÍ DE DIOS. Un abrazo y mi bendición desde Cotija»
[Even if he sees fit to erase that post, it will remain here for the ages.]