A Forum on how the NON-ORTHODOX LEGION pulls the wool over the eyes of ORTHODOX CATHOLICS
I continue my dialogue with the Irish man who spent some time in Mexico. Can I call him
orthodox? Not in a put- down way…but because of his views and stances?What is the proper way to designate such believers, besides ‘Orthodox Catholics? I have seen the LC/Regnum designated in Spain as ‘Ultra-Orthodox Catholics’
it is dawning on me as we move beyond the polemic stage that for this Catholic the possibility that Maciel/Legion/RC could be guilty makes the whole edifice of his faith tremble and go into crisis/emergency mode, and that is why he must resist this possibility with all his might.
He has wrapped into one bundle Maciel/Legion/Regnum in such a way that the trinity cannot be divided. Maciel’s ‘sin’ would contaminate and destroy the other two.
At the same time he is infected with the virus that sees that trinity intimately and inseparably bonded with the Pope and the Church.
Is this why people, Orthodox Catholics are so scared, so resistant to accepting the possibility of MARCIAL MACIEL’s ‘guilt’?
As I don’t think/believe like this, I am having to make a paradigm shift to understand this position. Am I on the right track? Help me understand,
.. The Critic
Bingo. Exactly .. that’s the rub! I think that’s why I’ve been mystified .. I assumed wrongly that you knew this. I remember the earthquake, the moment, even exactly where I was standing when I accepted the fact that Marcial Maciel was evil. I remember it like it was yesterday, because of the consequences for my faith, which I knew beyond a doubt to be absolutely true. WHERE did that leave the faith? After prayer and mental wrangling, I could separate out the evil Legion even with the personal accolades of JP2 and approval of the constitutions. They were accepted BECAUSE they tote the line on orthodoxy (even as a scam), NOT because they are running a scam.
Logical reasoning: Orthodoxy is the cover, the cover was accepted as authentic, the cover is now blown, and the Legion will be blown away. Capice? Faith still untouched. .. Giselle
Orthodox Catholics taken in by LC Hall of Mirrors
Dear Friend, the Critic:
Yes. Yes!! YES!!!!!! That’s exactly right!!! More than twenty years ago, the clever PR men in the Legion saw that the ranks of the orthodox faithful in the USA was a VAST untapped resource. Then they, being skilled marketers and scamsters, cut their cloth to fit the customer, realizing that in the 70s and 80s there was no where else in US Church-scene for the orthodox to go. Their activity reminds me of being panhandled in NYC by a man who wanted to donate flowers (wilted) for Indian women and children .. and I fell for it and gave him $2.00; he said,
Is that all you care about the poor Indian mothers and their children? Ashamed, I gave him a $10. My husband said to me later that that my $$ would never get to the
Indian women and children .. but I, who knew that women and children needed some champion somewhere, was naive enough to believe a slick fellow who accosted me in Rockefeller Square. The Legion is like that; they size up what sort of people they’re looking for, then accost or mug them on the streets, churches, schools, where ever. ..
You cannot imagine what the LC advertising did to folk like me! We were such easy and naive pickings for those wilted flower-sellers! We, who were drawn by the BEAUTY of orthodoxy .. and drawn to the immense freedom and yet protection that orthodoxy gave us .. who had been beaten up around the ears for years were perfectly willing to believe the slick fellows in collars who asked for money for
Indiana women and children or whatever the cause the LC was that day accosting. This may be very hard for you to grasp. Your personal experience was that orthodoxy was misused and abused to keep you captive; different experience prevents you from understanding what we orthodox-types are attracted to in the Church. Those who have been ham-strung in the LC/RCs straight-jacket will not now be able to grasp the objective love and faith and trust that we had/have in orthodoxy (Tradition, Scripture, Sacraments, Magisterium). If orthodoxy has been twisted by the Legion into a trap for mind, will, and soul, it cannot be seen as beautiful and attractive. For those who have been in the Legion, orthodoxy is identified with oppression and mind control.
Furthermore, Pope Benedict was our hero as Card. Ratzinger, head of the CDF, precisely because he stood for orthodoxy for decades when so many of the trendier-than-thou Catholic clerics were trying to be like the Episcopansies and throw out all claims of moral goodness, loyalty to friends, and the Church’s claim to objective truth. It was this in us
orthodox types that was so easily preyed on by the Legion through their priests and ecclesiastical claims to being
pro-life, pro-family, pro-Pope, pro-Mary, etc. However, when the chips are down, the Legion is NOT orthodox.
As Giselle said, I recall exactly the moment and the situation when I first realized that the Legion .. and Maciel .. was not what I had thought it and he was. It was one evening about eight or nine years ago when a dear and wise friend said to me (this was when Gerald Renner’s first story broke in the HC) that I was going to learn about this anyway, and so it might as well be from a friend .. and she told me the whole story that she’d had advance copy to read from the story about to break in the HC. My mind reeled and I said that I didn’t believe a word of it! My friend said to me:
This is a perfect cover-up for a sexual predator. To tell parents and the world that ‘our order does not tolerate homosexuality’ puts them off their guard when all other orders are busy defending homosexual activity and ‘feminization’ within their own ranks. I said,
It’s impossible! And she said, quoting St. Augustine,
Believe the impossible. So, in the following days and weeks and now years, I suspended judgment and belief, looked at the LC/RC, at their behavior and Modus Operandi that I’d been excusing as
growing pains until then. And what I came to was square in line with today’s Gospel reading:
by their fruits you shall know them. I came to see that, root and branch, this was a bad tree with bad fruit.
What then? Was the LC a hall of mirrors, that it reflected what the viewer wanted to see as
The Legion could go through the drama of high liturgical drama .. and appearance of reverence for the sacraments; they could have the statue of Mary to put everyone off guard; they could, in so many ways, make a
sexy appearance of what had begun to be a sleepy, tired, and shop-worn image of religious life. It put many people off their guard, but it was only the appearance of orthodoxy, not the real McCoy. However, the young men that are drawn to the Legion are almost always from families that are authentically orthodox, and it promises to give them a proper challenge for their intensity. Overall there’s this convincing appearance .. a Hall of Mirrors. A closer look into the life of the Legion and one sees that all that is lovely is twisted and tortured and betrayed.
Authentic orthodoxy will stand, can withstand, the fall of the Legion. But the Legion has nothing upon which to draw if the appearance of orthodoxy is socked out of them. Orthodoxy can withstand much more than many people realize, but when it is identified with the Legion and the Legion is under attack it seems to be the Church that is assaulted. In a world terrified with unrest and danger .. people LONG for the Pax Christi through the Church. So they get really terrified when it seems to be in danger of failing. But it is not the Church, but rather the Legion’s hall of mirrors that is failing. Orthodoxy, and the true Church, has been held captive but the Church needs some real men, real heroes to come to the rescue.
I hope this helps. Frankly, I think that you’ve shown amazing openness and humility to even ask this question about orthodoxy. Most discussions between
conservatives go nowhere. Personally, I make the distinction between conservative and orthodox. Read, if you will, G. K. Chesterton’s book, Orthodoxy, which he wrote before he was a Catholic.
What a time we are living through! Love and prayers
Woman for All Seasons
Orthodoxy, ideology, traditionalism, and liberalism
Thanks for your good letter, which was so very generous .. as were the replies by Giselle and S. and C. .. that I want to try to respond in kind.
First, I think that we would do well to consider the distinctions .. despite some areas of overlap .. between orthodoxy, ideology, traditionalism, and liberalism. These distinctions are important, especially in the current moment as we await the coming Tsunami from our Regain high-ground and consider how to help those who will survive the coming Flood. Whether or not one holds with traditional Catholic teaching, it is important to acknowledge that there has been deep dismay, even desperation, in the souls of those whom we name
traditionalists. To dismiss this desperation is to misunderstand the main reason that the LC has won so many of them to its side .. and why those traditionalists who are
won over to the Legion tend to cling so desperately to the claims of the Legion of being pro-Pope, pro-life, pro-family, etc.
What is the source of the desperation in the traditionalist soul?
Two things: loss of mystery and abandonment of morality. Primarily, I think that the desperation comes from the loss of mystery and romance from the liturgy .. with all its bells and smells .. of the Church. Someone said that the loss of the Tridentine Mass was the loss of the greatest living work of art in the West. I have never seen a Tridentine Mass, but I have been to some really ugly, even blasphemous,
progressivist and modern liturgies that are trite and petty and totally lacking in taste or reverence, let alone any mystery and romance. And with the denial of romance and the numinous, especially in the 1970s and 80s, the traditionalists clung the more to what they saw being thrown away (the mystery and morality) by the disillusioned Roman clergy itself. To many traditionalists, the #1 Enemy of the faith became the trendy Roman cleric. Therefore the appearance of the Legion, with their manly bearing and decorum as being
on our side won over so many traditionalists, who might otherwise have used better judgment.
Further, with the traditionalist persuasion comes a decided preference for and respect for the priesthood. Thus, most sadly, the activities of
rogue priests .. and especially the public sex scandals of recent years .. sent many traditionalists straight into the arms of the Legion, precisely because the Legion SAID that they were to be trusted to defend the priesthood, faith and family, especially in matters of sexual morality. Even if one does not agree with the Church’s teaching on sexuality, it is important to acknowledge that this is what happened and that the Legion’s crafty marketing ploys made the most of this need of the traditionalists. That so many disillusioned clerics rejected Humanae Vitae caused vast confusion among the married laity, who looked to their priests for guidance in sexual purity, at least until recently.
In the Church, traditionalists have been associated with
conservatism and conservatism has become almost synonymous with orthodoxy. Thus, in church circles, orthodoxy has come to be associated with traditionalism .. the inheritance from the past .. and with suspicion of the
new as being heretical. The desperation of many traditionalists has made them absolutists, even ideologues, but that is not what is meant by orthodoxy. So please do not take this as a red flag, but I want to make a distinction b/n orthodoxy, traditionalism, and ideology. I think it’s important in our discussion regarding the Legion and in the present and future conversations this will become very much to the fore.
Ideology is an absolute position .. to the exclusion of all other positions .. and that position always has a grain of truth upon which the ideologue depends. An ideologue is an absolutist .. someone who takes up a single position and excludes all other claims for consideration.
Orthodoxy is beautiful and good because it is quite simply, the wholeness of revealed truth about God and man. It sets forth our greatness as created in the image and likeness of God, and sees all creation as good. Orthodoxy begins and ends with the greatest event in human history: the Incarnation. Orthodoxy is, as the word implies,
Right Teaching, and orthodoxy, therefore, seeks for the Truth in all its immense wholeness. It is not a stone that crushes, but a window into a greater reality.
Orthodoxy is very inclusive, but all of it turns on the claims of the Incarnation; every bit of it .. including sexual ethics. Orthodoxy points the way to our universal vocation to Love, and that is why it is so very, very important to many of us who do not necessarily side with the traditionalists, but who cannot go along with the sexual ideologies that have ridden rough-shod over all other considerations these past thirty years .. and into which battleground the Legion moved, making false promises to those who had been ridden down.
This is why I was drawn into the circle of the Legion. They promised me companionship and help in living the life of faith that I’d already recognized from afar as very desirable. But when we discovered that the Legion was lying, that they were using what I loved (liturgy, sacraments, friendship, and orderliness) in order to get our kids and our money .. then I became very confused, then angry beyond all anger, then nearly despaired.
It was you P. and K. and others exLCs .. who helped me to see that there was a vast difference between what the Legion SAID they stood for and the reality of the situation. The reality is that they are not orthodox. They do not hold that life is sacred, or that it is vast and deep and very worth living. They do not reverence the Church, nor are they pro-family, pro-life, or even pro-priesthood or pro-friendship. A priest stands for the inner life, and he does not betray a confidence; a friend does not betray a friend. The Legion produces IDEOLOGUES of the worst sort; their one overriding idea is money: Money and Power. It is all about the evil in-crowd at the core of the Legion’s black heart, who will use anything to increase their power and money .. and to ensure that the worst sort of predatory behavior goes undetected and unchecked.
I agree with C. and J. that prayer .. and right reason .. is so important in our doing our part in Regain .. for each other in healing, and for others, whom we have not met. Please let me say how much I love each of you; how fortunate I’ve been to be in exchange and friendship with you. We pray for you .. and for all still enthralled .. daily. Now, let us keep on watch for tidal waves…
THE GOOD OF ORTHODOXY
The Critic wrote:
I believe your essay is quite marvelous and should be posted in some shape or form. I think we might even have a short book with this latest correspondence, questions and answers that started with my attempted dialogue with the Irish catholic man and the feedback to that. I think we are getting close to articulating the Regain ‘theological’ position.
A slight caveat to so much ‘orthodoxy’ or talk thereof, however. ‘Orthodoxy’ in its human form does have its ‘downside’ and that is the danger of dogmatism, closed-mindedness, exclusiveness, judgmental attitude, etc….. (Whatever!). Exiting and exited LCs, in particular, squeezed through the mangle of LC methods and mental torture, are sometimes so devastated and in so much ‘disarray’ that they are in ‘survival mode’; in which situation ‘an ounce of human kindness is better than a ton of dogma’, if you will pardon the exaggeration.
The phrase that comes to my mind as one of the group’s ‘wounded healers’ of exLCs is what St Paul advocated for the Gentiles entering the Church. When faced with the prospect of asking them to observe the entire Law of Moses (Torah, the Jew’s Orthodox Doctrine): his position was
not to lay on their shoulders more than they could bear.
Woman for All Seasons wrote:
We’re getting closer all the time. But I must emphasize that this is not an intellectual discussion we’re having about orthodoxy. We’re trying to define a reality, ask its relevance for us, and distinguish it from an ideology.
Also, you mentioned the Pauline advice not to lay heavy burdens on others… Doesn’t that passage refer to Gentiles and the circumcision of adult males? What an apropos passage! And, as you recall, circumcision did not become part of the
necessity? of Christian/Catholic faith. That was an early distinction between Jewish law and Christian orthodoxy! The understanding of what circumcision for the Lord meant led our early Christian fathers to promote the circumcision of the heart, whereby we part from Jews on the letter of the law, even though we continue to share the spirit of circumcision. Do not the Jews make a religious statement, through circumcision, that sexual matters belonged to the Lord and the foreskin was the symbol, the
sacrifice? that acknowledged this? The spirit of the Catholic orthodox teaching is that our sexuality belongs to the Lord. Most of us don’t begin with that assumption, but many of us who were so wounded by the sexual revolution have come round to it through Catholic sexual ethics. As we grow ever more into the understanding of how wonderfully and mysteriously made we are, we have the opportunity to grow into the orthodoxy of sexual matters .. which is essentially that all acts of intimacy are for the sake of Love and Life. The alternative .. sexual activity means the pleasurable release of tension .. which our poor jaded world offers does not really help us get much further along the human-way than the bugs and the monkeys. And in our unhappy age I think of irregular sexual relationships as being rather like alliances in war-time and so I tend not to be too judgmental and to cut a great deal of slack in that area (and that attitude, also, has basis in orthodox teaching on justice and mercy!).
Orthodoxy is the claim of the GOOD of the inner life, the promise of healing and wholeness, of full and happy life in this world and promise of the world to come. I UNDERSTAND that people are wounded, that we all are. However, orthodoxy does not add to the infection or pain of the wounds, but rather gives hope. Rather than think of orthodoxy as moral rectitude, perhaps we can think of it more as the creative ideal. If an artist looks at a glorious sunset, with the mountains and streams below reflecting back the beauty of the sky, and then the artists tries to paint the scene, he will fall short of the reality. The painting is like orthodoxy. When the painter fails to capture the scene, however much he may try, we all accept this as one of the limitations of art, even at its best. But to say that the scene in nature is oppressive or hurts the artist’s creative wound because he cannot accomplish nor achieve that ideal on canvas is much like what people say about orthodoxy! Sinners though we all are, we are not so depraved that we cannot still see .. and hope for .. the beauty and peace of God’s kingdom where all tears are wiped away and all is healed in Divine Love. That’s what orthodoxy holds forth to a very wounded and confused world. Why has it been so misunderstood? When did it begin to take on the misinterpretation that Orthodoxy was the opposed to the intellect? Orthodoxy is revelation and we can use right reason to think about what it might MEAN all of our lives .. and it never gets boring. It is not stone, and I do not understand why so many people think that it is an
oppressive set of rules.? Nothing could be more misguided! Orthodoxy is a window into a greater reality; it gives the image of heaven to our souls, even as a painting does to one who has not seen the glory of a sunset.
My husband tells me that
translation was the KEY that Boethius gave to the Church in the 6th century, regarding the common meaning for Latin speakers of the great concepts of Greek philosophy and Christian theology. Translation is the key for us all today, IMHO, not rejection or ossification of orthodoxy .. but translation into lived experience of the here and now; and we must try to help each other, for there’s not one of us who can claim the respectability or righteousness of the Pharisees. The secret of translation is asking
what does this mean? rather than
what does this force me to do?
So I hold to the GOOD of orthodoxy, even as (in my own life) I hold to the good of the family .. even though I know that there are plenty of people who have been terribly sinned against by their clergy and parents, abused by those whom they SHOULD trust in their families, as you know ever so well as priest and therapist. Likewise, there are heaps of people who CLAIM to be orthodox who are just bullies in disguise, who brutalize their kids in the name of
respect and tyrannize their spouse with a demand for
service. Such people live a life of
ritualized superstition and do not have any knowledge of the things of God in the inner life. I most whole-heartedly agree with you that those who come through:
the mangle of LC methods and mental torture, are sometimes so devastated and in so much ‘disarray’ that they are in ‘survival mode’; in which situation ‘an ounce of human kindness is better than a ton of dogma’.
But while I agree with your healing attitude, I would hold that dogma-as-drama is the guardian and protector of the heart. Orthodoxy-as-dogmatism is a harsh and stony thing if it is not a window into a greater reality, a symbol of God’s truth leading ever closer to authentic love.
Let me now try to convey another parallel to orthodoxy, not just the creative action, but also the ideal of the vocation of marriage and family. It is important to me to try to share something of what this has meant to me and how orthodoxy has helped. So I’ll try to set forth what it means to be my husband’s wife and a mother. It is not that I can say that I’ve been a success as either wife or mother, but at least I know that THAT is what I want to be when I grow up: a friend to him with whom I have chosen life and vowed fidelity and also a mother.
Tomorrow, as it turns out, is our wedding anniversary .. 38 years! We knew absolutely nothing about healthy marriage, having both come from some seriously disordered original families ourselves .. oppressively stereotypical roles that defined life as conventional
man’s job/ woman’s job and alcoholism. It was terrible. But my husband and I really loved and respected each other and tried to find a new way to raise our six kids. Obviously, we no longer have responsibility for the lives of our adult children .. and we are all friends, now, even though we’re scattered far and wide .. but when the kids were little there was ONLY my husband and me to stand between their lives and the marauders in our society, including brothers and sisters who had given in to hippy life-styles and promoted stuff that we knew would hurt or hinder our little ones. As parents, we were alone; we could not rely on family, church, school, or society to give us any help at all.
I desperately needed help .. and decided to LEARN what the Catholic Church had to say about marriage, sexuality, and being a woman; I already knew what the Church taught about the
greater arcana .. doctrine and revelation. It was orthodoxy that had the answers that I needed. This was not an intellectual exercise; the stakes were WAY too high for that, but rather very urgent questing for some greater reason to tell the kids why they should do this and not to do that other than
It’s bad for the environment, or
It bugs me! or
Daddy doesn’t like it.
No one is more in need of back-up than a woman with six little kids .. but instead I found derision and contempt at every turn, from our own family, from medical people, from neighbors. I was scorned for being
a brood sow and criticized for
having too many children, who are going to take up air-space from others and challenged by Episcopal clergy who said,
you’re not Catholic, why don’t you have a sterilization operation? and even my own parents… My OBGYN accused me of having inherited guilt in my past (she assumed that I was Catholic, which I was not at that time), and that was why I was pro-life; she said,
Why can’t we (pro-life and pro-choice) all just get along? And my only reply to her was,
We’d be glad to get along if some of us weren’t killing others of us.
That was the last time I saw her. Then we tried to find allies in school and church activities. What happened? Our young-teen kids were approached by sexual predators when they went to church youth meetings and they were taught in Catholic schools many things that were directly contrary to their happiness and confusing to their sense of identity, purpose, and faith.
Friend husband and I were trying to build
the domestic church (a radical teaching, that), to make our family a community of love, mutual support, encouragement, and comfort. Our home was a really fun place to be .. most of the time. But, even as home and parenting can be misused to make children enslaved to their parent’s egos and wills, so also can the Legion DELIBERATELY misuse the religious life to control and bully and blackmail young men into submission. That was what we tried to avoid as parents. Again, it was orthodoxy that served as a check to our egos and that brought us to see what was going wrong with the Legion!
Orthodoxy gave us the vision of greatness to which we are all called, but also (o joy!) relieved me of taking on too much guilt and overwork. Orthodoxy helped me to realize that no matter how much as a mother I gave to our children, to our family, they would always take and need more than it was possible for me to give. But the orthodoxy that I held .. which was up to me to make reality in our family, to the best of my limited ability .. had to be
translated into hospitality: conviviality, warmth, harmony, and affirmation.
About 25 years ago, before I embraced Catholicism, I had found Humanae Vitae and then Familiaris Consortio. These became my road-maps. It was up to me to figure out how to do what these documents gave to me as the plumb-line for building the house of my life and marriage. Now, I have no guide for what it means to live fully with all children gone and in the beginning of the last phase of my life. There is little written about this, especially as regards marriage and family, yet I know where to go for that road map, again. We need to keep asking ourselves,
What do I want to be when I grow up? And in that question, there is no room at all for tired resignation and old regrets .. I’ve had a terrible, wonderful, life and know one thing for certain: orthodoxy is the guardian of love. It is not oppressive, although those who implement it wrongly make it oppressive. I’ve chided women who dash off to Mass while their kids eat the dog’s breakfast for their own, or who demand of their children that they pray the family rosary .. or ELSE! Nonsense! That’s not good mothering! I love to pray the rosary, but am not going to bang my beads against the heads of my kids who don’t or in my husband’s face because he’d rather read science fiction!
Along the way by God’s providence, I met Giselle, whom I love dearly, and with whom I worked for several years in a multi-faceted ministry to broken-up women like us .. who had no where else to turn for help. There were scads of publications on how to pray and do churchy stuff, and heaps of Cosmo-porno-mags that tried to tell us how to be more sexy and feminine, and lots of home-decorating magazines that gave us tips on how to make our homes into art works. But nothing, NOTHING that gave us any idea of
authentic femininity and Catholic vocation as women .. fully human and equal in dignity, though different, to our dear men folk.
As we exLC/RCers are committed to helping others who have been brutalized by the Legion, so do women who are committed to the care of souls and lives need to teach other women what orthodoxy and what family life .. bed and board .. can be, so they don’t fall into oppressive and misguided behavior; and so that they don’t run after nonsense like the Legion’s empty promises.
So, here’s my love letter to my husband and my blessing on our kids. And that’s why I still have to speak up for orthodoxy to those who have suffered the most from its misuse.
Blessings and prayers,
Woman for All Seasons
Enter into your heritage and do not, as is said in another connection, be afraid with any amazement. (Lord Peter Wimsey to Harriet Vane in Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers)