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The Thomas Williams article at Crisis Magazine was deemed too controversial and therefore removed. Unfortunate because it brought out several good points and highlighted the way many LCs, TW included, have been brainwashed by the Maciel system,instrumentalizing God, manipulating even his Divine Mercy to serve their own ends.

To Concerned, Scipio's Buddy, AnonObserve, Estatua, Aaron, and HonestyPlease who responded to my questions about violation of the Seal of Confession in the Legion,

Thanks for weighing in and offering input on this issue. On one hand, it was extremely helpful and valuable; on the other hand, these comments raise even more questions. Of course, that is not due to any deficiency in the points all of you have raised, but rather your comments shed light on some of the strange dynamics of this situation.

To clarify something I mentioned in the earlier post, the Legion appears to use this systematic violation of the Seal in two areas:

1) Those LC's preparing for priesthood (novices, temporarily and perpetually professed religious); and,

2) In the parish setting among First Degree RC's, including those not yet in the movement but identified by LC as useful to the movement and targets for recruitment. Perhaps this also occurs among those involved in LC activities, such as the children in the Conquest and Challenge clubs, as a way to bring these children into the movement and gain a foothold into their families. It isn't unthinkable, either, that LC priests exploited married couples using information gained in confession, playing one spouse against the other in those cases where one spouse was pro-RC and the other spouse had reservations.

For now, I will just focus on the Point 1 above, namely how LC religious brothers have their confessions violated.

To begin, we are looking at how those responsible for the formation for priestly formation can share information with one another without violating the Seal of Confession. The Church has figured this out a long time ago; it really isn't that complicated.

For instance, in a religious order, those responsible for priestly formation include the novice director, seminary faculty, the candidate's spiritual director, the superior of the particular house/community where the religious brother lives, and territorial provincial. Of course, the ranks and titles are different in each order, i.e. a Jesuit provincial and Benedictine abbot are roughly equivalent in rank and responsibility in their respective orders. And, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the community, members of the community also have input as to whether they think a man on the path to priesthood is a good fit for their community.

In the diocesan system, there is a direct corollary: seminary faculty, the seminary rector, the diocesan vocation director and diocesan bishop all have input as to the seminarian's suitability for being admitted to Holy Orders, with the bishop, of course, having final authority.

Whether the system is diocesan or religious, all those involved in priestly formation know how to discuss a seminarian's strengths, talents, struggles, progress, and areas needing further development **without** violating the seal of Confession. Why religious orders and dioceses, regardless of whether their orientation is liberal or conservative, can pull this off without a hitch, while the Legion fails to get this right begs a lot of questions.

Really, folks, this isn't rocket science, but based on the extremely insightful comments made by others here, it appears that once again we have the Legion trying to game the system and exploit loopholes wherever possible.

As a follow up to the previous post, if anyone can comment with knowledge or experiences they have had where LC priests have violated the seal of confession in more of a parish-based, lay Catholic setting, this would be very helpful to the discussion.

I recall some comments made here at LARC several years ago where a few people mentioned that during the time they were involved with RC, it was very peculiar to them how they would confess certain sins to an LC priest, only to have another LC priest come along a short time later and steer the discussion to those particular sins, as if they had direct knowledge of it.

TW still has the legionary disorder of personality

I took the article as TW (via his friend Austin) throwing some **** at the wall to see what would stick.

The diarrhea apparently didn't make the cut (sorry! Just seems to apt a metaphor to resist)

How much you wanna bet that shocked him?!

He was probably gobsmacked that everyone didn't find his story--and his desire to return to the stage--heartwarming and inspiring.

Fooled No More: Too controversial or too hypocritical? It seemed from the article that Austin was giving his good friend TW a pass after having been critical of others in scandalous circumstances. Perhaps someone with a bit of common sense pointed this out to him.

However, let's hope that Austin's plans to get himself invited to the Williams's for dinner -if they'll have him was the wording he used, I believe - won't be affected. He did try to help them, after all. And perhaps the Mr. and Mrs. will need some good friends to stick by them, given that TW may be irritating the daylights out of the Catholic world by refusing to keep his name out of print.

Astrid - so good to have you back. We missed you and are so glad you kept the Faith! A Jesuit helped me also. This story about TW is craziness. He wants to be held up as an example of God's mercy? Their actions were scandalous, made worse by his continuing to be a spokesman for LC and the Catholic faith on MSNBC while writing books on moral theology. What kind of an effect has he had on all the seminarians he came in contact with over the years? Wonder what St. Paul would say if he were here?

A&W in Atlanta, unfortunately I missed the article, was already taken down. Forgiveness and God's mercy is available to everyone who asks for forgiveness but I am a bit surprised he would want to go back into the limelight. it seem off!

God's forgiveness and mercy does not come with an asterisk. The woman at the well was forgiven for her scandalous life, period. I have personally fallen in many ways, big ways, and I have confessed it all and I am forgiven, there is no asterisk beside my same that say "forgiven, but keep her out of the public eye, and let's never forget what she did." If this was true, I would not have responsibilities in RCIA, I would be hidden in the basement somewhere doing parish laundry and stuffing envelopes, where my asterisk won't be visible to the public.

Thomas Williams has repented, he has publicly owned up to his sins. Do we put an asterisk beside his name forever?

I read the interview regarding his own personal fall as a priest, I think he said all he could, and his contrition was convincing to me.

I was never satisfied with the way Williams dealt with the issues in the Legion. But if he didn't handle that well, that's on him, it's not on me to point it out to him or anyone else. But I know I can't let my dissatisfaction with his inaction regarding the Legion scandals affect my overall Christian hope for him as a husband and father going forward. And I can't place an asterisk beside his name and say "he must now work somewhere out of sight". If we're scandalized, or angry, or vindictive, this says more about us, and our faith in the teaching of our Church than about him. I am as angry and burned over this whole LC/RC fiasco as anyone else, and hell yes, I feel vindictive. But all through this Lent, I have been dwelling particularly on the line "forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us". Believe me, I want to be forgiven in big ways, always, and not limited to my pitiably weak record, thus far, on forgiving those who have hurt me.

Sandra, read the Crisis Magazine comment section. Cached article:‎
Good Holy Week,

Sorry, the above link does not work directly, one has to copy and past it into the browser

or copy and paste the following URL‎
into the following website and press google cache

You've demonstrated one huge difference between Legionism and Catholicism, thanks: In Catholicism, the penitent is asked to face the consequences of his behavior with humility instead of arrogance. Also, the penitent does not ever get to set the timeline for the wronged person's forgiveness process. I am cringing at the thought of you misforming new Catholics with your false understanding of a most basic Church teaching.

There's certainly nothing wrong with stuffing envelopes or doing the parish laundry, Sandra. Work gives us dignity. Being too important for the small stuff is exactly the old RC punchline.

Part of the problem with TW is that he comes across as completely clueless and disingenuous. This doesn't help his cause. Has he considered, for example, that his story actually mimics on a smaller scale that of Maciel? Or that he was a prominent commentator during the Maciel scandal? Or even that he seems to have left a few details out of his "sin" story: namely that he obviously had been skirting around his congregation's strict norms and that he blew off his superiors for several years when they requested he step back from the spotlight.

The Crisis article included TW's claim that he didn't believe he had been leading a double life. HELLO????

No one wants TW to be wearing the Scarlet Asterisk - I'm sure everyone wishes him and his family well. Perhaps If he opted to journal his new life as a husband and father to a special needs boy he'd find a sympathetic and interested audience. Otherwise there's not much else, given the disconnects noted above. Anything he had to say would mainly be about TW.

The (deleted) Crisis article is rich -- almost a caricature of the kind of muddled, deceptive, hornswoggling nonsense that the cult has been doling out over the (too many!) years.

The article reminds me of a certain commenter here, in its brazen, impudent and straight-faced truth-twisting.

It was worth it to read the insightful comments, though.

Oh Jeannette, come off it. Is it possible to communicate without the hostility? I have thoroughly and completely rejected anything remotely Legionist since 2009.

As I said, I read the TW interview, and he does seem very contrite about his fall as a priest. He doesn't seem arrogant, he seems like someone who has been thoroughly humiliated, his sins publicized extensively. I wanted to hate him, I truly did, but at the end I felt like "meh. What more can he say?" I simply had no ammunition left for the guy. Personally, I was satisfied. By "personally" I by no means am telling you or anyone what to think.

He also never told anyone what the "timeline is for forgiveness", nor have I. He expressed doubt that anyone could forgive him, he expressed regret that people trusted him and he betrayed that trust. I assume, Jeannette, that you never read the interview.

Cringe away, Jeannette, over my apparent shortcomings as a catechist.


"he must now work somewhere out of sight"... YES! if that causes scandal

The rescript (document that grants dispensation from celibacy) includes a prohibition of exercising any sacred ministry. Thus the priest may not participate in a parish as a lector/reader, eucharistic minister, or any functions of a deacon or priest. A priest dispensed from clerical celibacy and a fortiori, a married priest, is to avoid places where his former status as a priest is known. The Ordinary of the place of residence of the petitioner, however, after consulting the Ordinary of the place of incardination, or of a Major Religious Superior, may dispense from this stipulation of the rescript if the presence of the petitioner would not be seen as a cause for scandal.

TW was informed of this regulations in his rescript. He CAN'T be cause for SCANDAL!

My point, ITDS, regarding laundry or envelope-stuffing is not that they are lesser services, but rather the idea of hiding away those sinners who may have repented but who we'd still like to limit their place in the public Catholic world. I have a big appreciation for the small stuff, and I do not subscribe to the RC punch line.

And I am not speaking of the Crisis magazine article but rather the interview published a month or so ago, in which he was interviewed by Robert Moynihan. It wasn't publicly available, you have to buy it, which I did. If you read it, you may find that some of your criticism of his cluelessness is lessened.

That being said, I don't think you and I are far apart in our opinion of TW.

Thanks, Estatua.

"he must now work somewhere out of sight"... YES! if that causes scandal

But we don't know yet where he is working, do we?? And since the workplace of a Catholic theologian is, well, Catholic, don't you trust that he will be employed in a way that utilizes his gifts in appropriate ways? If it's too scandalous to bear, I expect he will simply remain unemployed.

If I were TW, I would lay low for a long time. Not really good to have a wife and child as a priest. Just sayin.

Sandra I did happen to read the Moynihan interview. While I found his answers to be detached and compartmentalized, that might be due to the passage of time and perspective. Or perhaps it's easier for him to discuss his own behavior in theological than personal terms.

Still, he's clueless if not dishonest. Just a few examples: anyone trained in moral theology would know pronto what his responsibilities were to his child and the mother. He had to rely on his confessor to tell him not to walk away? Gimme a break!!!! And his comments on Maciel just seemed bizarre and disconnected from his own situation. Again - HELLO???. As for the part in which he (finally) admits he should have been less public and apologizes for that - well, one wonders if it really took him 8 or so years to arrive at that revelation or if he's only sorry because he got caught.

Call it lack of proper introspection or a deliberate decision not to be more forthcoming or whatever . . . this interview revealed some thoughts that were just a bit too neatly tied up with a lovely bow. Makes me a bit nervous about the thought of him helping others discern right from wrong.

Sandra, I am not nor was I feeling any hostility. But you, on the other hand, seem quite cranky today. Maybe it's that if TW is feeling pressure from some other people to step away from the public eye he seems to crave, it implies that maybe you should, too? Dunno. I don't personally care much if TW appears in TV shows since I watch very little TV. Your personal attack on me in lieu of a substantive response tells me you probably don't have anything more. I'm sorry my cringing a few hours ago upset you so much.

Personally, I'm dying to see him hop right back up on center stage. It can only help the cause of showing the Legion for what it really is and just how much it actually deforms people.

The more limelight for TW the better, I say.

But deep down, I know it is his soul that matters more than any cause, and while I don't want to go all pious on everybody, I do believe that if anybody really loves the man, they will counsel him against the temptations of the stage.

Somehow I doubt he is receiving much counsel that way, though, and I fully expect to see him in the limelight again, one way or another, very soon.

So I might as well be grateful for what he does for the cause in the process.

ITDS - I would agree with your characterization of "detached and compartmentalized", excellent description.

In their defense, at least they chose to keep their child. How many of us would have opted for abortion in their situation? With minimal retooling I am sure he could find a good job as a school teacher, for example. Some of the critical comments we also over the top. Austin does courageous pro life work, but he is also human. The article was retracted.

I can understand wanting to return to the limelight as a way of supporting the child.

After all-- what skills does he have EXCEPT limelight? And 'fallen man repents' does sometimes come with good speaking fees....

By the way-- the cancer thing... was that true or not?

Anyway, in his position, I could see thinking that 'limelight' was the only other way to earn a living. Does he have any experience as a teacher? Was his writing based on anything other than his supposed wholesome character? How expensive is it to raise a special needs kid in Italy?

I don't think he SHOULD return to the limelight (he's mistaken about whether there's even a market for it, for one thing), but I can see why, as a person desperate to find a paying job, his gut reaction would be to fall back on what everyone always told him was his 'special talent.'

I'm glad Fr. Barron is the media's new favorite priest, though. I think he's got a decent humble streak-- have you noticed he never talks about himself? Except to describe what he's read or watched?

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