Natural theology hinges on a basic axiom: there is always some similitude between the cause and the effect. Indeed, we can say that “God is good,” only because we have the experience of good things during our lifetime.
With regards to the Legion of Christ, we hear a totally opposite reasoning among some members of the congregation or the RC movement: the flawed life of the founder had almost no consequence for the Legion itself. The Holy Spirit, who is still at work, would have been able to use Father Maciel “in spite of himself” to create without any defects”the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.
I do not believe this claim, and I would like to explain why. This article is the mere fruit of my personal thoughts, and I understand that it can shock some people. I hope that people will forgive me, if I am wrong.
After having disobeyed God and eaten the prohibited fruit, Adam and Eve “discovered that they were naked” (Gn 3,7). They made some makeshift clothes with fig leaves. Then, hearing the footsteps of God who was walking in the Garden, they were frightened, and hid themselves (Gn 3, 8-10).
The Holy Scriptures present here the two immediate consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve:
– Horizontal consequence: the relationship of mutual trust between Adam and Eve has been broken.
– Vertical consequence: the relationship of trust in God has been also broken.
The symbolic text of Genesis points out that sins usually undermine our human relationships (through fear, greed, envy…) and our understanding about the mercy of God (introducing fear of a vengeful God).
Why is that? Because we judge the other as we are.
When our intentions are flawed, we tend to think that the intentions of others are too. The shame of being naked symbolizes the need to protect oneself from the other. Between Adam and Eve a conflicted and possessive relationship appears.
For the same reason, the relationship with God is broken: Adam and Eve”aware that they had disobeyed God”imagined that God would punish them, as they would have done certainly if they were in his place. In other words, they measured the mercy of God with their own capacity to forgive. And that was indeed their real sin.
So, here is my point: I think that the Legion of Christ is carrying some anti-evangelical values inherited from its founder, throughout its spirituality, its way of living the rules of religious life and its apostolic methodology. Those values, the consequences of a man whose sins are incalculable, are imbedded in every nook and cranny of Legionary life, but are often unfortunately imperceptible, because of the shiny brightness deliberately created through the Legionaries? external appearance.
The Legionaries have three main missions: looking for vocations, looking for money and impressing the Church authorities. For those three purposes, they use a unique method: seduction.
When they come to visit a family, they have no more than two or three hours to gain the respect of all the family members. They have to make some jokes, to look interested in the hobbies and interests of the mother, inquire about the father?s job, they must present the image of young, confident and “very kind religious,” as well as play with the kids, even contriving some magic tricks, etc.
When the Legion of Christ receives a visit from a Bishop or an important benefactor, there are <q>action stations</q> everything should look perfect. The seminarians, wearing their nice cassocks and showing white-teeth-smiles, play some music for their guest; and traditionally, a seminarian recites some words of welcome. (Something strange: during all the years I have spent in the Legion, this task was always entrusted to the “nicest” brothers.)
The most shocking thing, though, is the case of those brothers who are sent to look for money. They are usually very young, nice and attractive, and”usually, dare I say it?”Caucasian. I was asked, one day, to accompany a Legionary priest (who left the priesthood some months afterward) to visit an elderly American multimillionaire widow, who was living in France. I still feel nauseated when I think about the acts of seduction that I witnessed “appalling!” This woman was so happy to see this nice priest, coming every week to offer her a visit… that she signed the check!
What I want to say is that, the habitual atmosphere in which the Legionaries of Christ are living is totally non-chaste, because chastity does not consist only in self-control of sexual impulses, but also in the fact that we maintain healthy relationships with our neighbors. In this sense, any possessive relationship is not chaste.
The brothers must be clean, elegant, with hair nicely done, etc. And if it is not the case, their superiors will quickly call them to order! What a strange video, on the website whynotpriest.org made by some seminarians of the Congregation to promote the sacerdotal vocation: we see a young man, looking like a film actor, walking toward the seminary, while a band, made up of young seminarians, plays a soppy and sentimental song at Saint Peter?s Square in the Vatican. Who could have thought that it was performed for a video to promote priestly vocations???
But, on the other hand, if seduction is so important for the apostolates of the Legionaries of Christ, it is nevertheless very strange to see how totally “sanitized” most of the Legionary universe is. There is a strange contradiction: on one hand, an amazing work of seduction, leading the brothers to have ambiguous ties with the world… and on the other hand, a universe in where we extol “out of love for Christ” the most extreme abnegation to any personal feelings. For example, in the Legion, all information is controlled. It is strange to see some newspaper even such as Famille Chretienne or Le Figaro, where someone cut conscientiously some pictures, because they were too sensual!
A real halo of guilt grows very quickly around sexuality, thanks to the many conscience exams and other aspects of daily life. Of course, Legionaries are not allowed to speak about those problems to anybody, other than their Spiritual Director.
After having heard a great number of testimonies of ex Legionaries, it appears to me that this contradiction was very painful for most of them and that, finally, it was becoming a source of continual frustration.