Friday, May 19, 2006

There is no pleasure in this...

Of course most of us have read "the statement" from the Vatican by now. (I read it at Amy Welborn's.)

"After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided - bearing in mind Fr. Maciel's advanced age and his delicate health - to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions."

This of course is the result of an investigation into certain crimes alleged against The founder of the Legionnaires of Christ and the lay movement Regnum Christi. As you can read in the comment boxes, many think this is solution leaves much in the air. The LC themselves have released a statement saying in essence (my interpretation - read it at the first link for yourself) this is an unjust penance (basically denying any allegations), but which coming from the Vatican, they will obey. Of course the Vatican statement implies the founder's guilt, but does not specifically either identify the crime or the weight of evidence.

Most religious orders, especially during the time where the founder is alive and the few generations following his death, rely tremendously on the spirituality of the founder's words and writings. Fr. Marciel was not just the head of the order, he is the founder. I have been on several (wonderful I might add) condensed Ignatian Retreats with the LC. When they do the stations of the cross, they use meditations from the founder. When we ate, we listened to readings from the Founder. You get the picture. I think their weekly (Regnum Christi) meetings also rely heavily on the founder's meditations. The founder's spirituality permeates their lives.

How do they go on? They can either deny (as they seem to have been doing) any wrong-doing by their founder (and the Vatican statement almost gives them this option by its vagueness); or they can try to purge the order of his influence. Either way, it seems to me irreparable damage is done.

I have met many good LC priests. I have several good friends in Regnum Christi. I am sad this day especially for them.

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