The bright and shiny LC of old--the one that so impressed the wider Church--was not sailing on its own steam. Whereas all Catholics ride on the shoulders of giants (the saints and theologians who have built the institutional Church over the last two millennia) most of us are clear about the people and teachings on which we depend. When we quote the Summa, the Rule of Benedict, or Sister Faustina's Diary, we gladly refer to the primary source who received inspiration for the good of the Church. They were humble channels of God's gifts, and didn't try to make a buck or advance personally by the material.
When people praise the Legion for their orthodoxy (deserved or not--that's another issue) they recognise that the Legion subscribes to the traditional theology of the Church; the problem, though, isn't with the content, but the Legion's relationship with the original sources, which is uniquely problematic.
1. Salerio de mis dias: This was a book passed off as Maciel's, which he lifted entirely from another source. Here is the copyright information which is still registered in the USA:
Type of Work: Text
Registration Number / Date: TXu001275065 / 2005-12-12
Title: Salterio de mis dias.
Copyright Claimant: Legion of Christ, Incorporated
Date of Creation: 1991
Authorship on Application: Marcia Maciel-Degollado.
The interesting part is that in the examination of the application, the Examining Attorney asked the applicant whether the term had any significance (because, under trademark law, generic terms cannot be registered as trademarks, and descriptive terms must be shown to be identified with the applicant for the services -- thus if the term were found to have significance in the field, it could not be registered as a trademark, at least without some showing that the public associated "Integral Formation" mainly with LC/RC as of the date of a statement to that effect during the application process). The question by the Examining Attorney (July 2007) was as follows:"Applicant must specify whether the wording “INTEGRAL FORMATION” has any significance in the relevant trade or industry, or as applied to the services described in the application. "
The applicant's response (through its Texas attorney) was as follows:
"The wording "INTEGRAL FORMATION" does not have any significance in the relevant trade or industry, or as applied to the services described in the application, other than in association with Applicant as the provider of such services." (January 2008 letter from attorney)In other words, LC/RC, through the National Consultants for Education, represented to the United States Patent and Trademark Office that they were the only ones to be associated with the term "Integral Formation."
- the Legion still doesn't show horror at these lies (it only responds after long prodding with tepid apologies)
- the Legion even now doesn't know how to respond to the Founder's ACTUAL writings in a healthy way -- suggesting that the content will be fine if they don't attach his name to it (a curious follow-up to institutional deception);
- Legion schools still claim that Integral Formation ® is their gift to the Church;
- Regnum Christi will continue to operate on the Opus Dei model without attribution;
- and most importantly: the charism question cannot be solved when the content of the Movment was derivative from the very start. That makes it either human or diabolical, according to this account.
The Church's defense of her patriomony is stilted at best, and the worst suggestion came this week:
Questions have been raised over the past three years about whether the Legionaries could continue to be true to the order's founding charism or inspiration when the Vatican itself said their founder had been guilty of "seriously and objectively immoral behavior" and "real crimes," and had lived a "life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious meaning."
"Something that we are becoming more and more aware of," Cardinal Aviz said, "is that you must distinguish between the founder who brings a charism and the charism itself. This is a distinction we are learning to make because, honestly, it applies not only in the case of the Legionaries, but we have several similar cases, both ancient and new."
The cardinal did not list other problematic founders, but said: "Not all founders who bring the church a grace that is good and beautiful live according to the grace they communicate. This is something we must recognize. This is how it is."
Fortunately for the church, the cardinal said, "Sometimes the founder and the grace coincide."
Stunning. "Sometimes?" Note that he doesn't indicate any other order, nor could any foibles of a genuine founder be compared to deliberate fraud from the initial step of foundation. (This reminds me of the Legion's defense years ago when MM was banished for the last time. They started swiping at Saint Francis, reminding us that he had to dive into a few thorn bushes to control his passions. VILE.)
Here the Church is trying to say that the Legion has clearly been operating within the normal boundaries of authentic foundations. We cannot let this lie stand, ever. Not only are they pilfering the patrimony, but those charged with guarding the treasures are opening the back door for the thieves.
At present in the case of Maciel and his closest collaborators' evil means and evil intent were used to found the group. By accepting the fruit--the Legion today--they are at least materially accepting the means that created the group. We are not referring only to material evil (remote from intentions) but formal evil, evil that was intended as part of the act of founding. (Sex Abuse, deceit about history, manipulation of conscience, invalid approvals..)
This dark provenance stings every unsettled spirit now looking at the work of Maciel. Victims like Barba, Alarcon, and Amenabar can now ask: "Was my personal degradation an acceptable means to the Legion's existence today?" Their lives were wronged not only by a singular extraneous act, but by the core style of life and way of being that made the Legion come to be in their day. These men all say the same thing--the Legion of their day must be destroyed.