Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One very bad dude!

This whole article was taken from Life After RC. It was so good I had to reprint her here.  I hope those of you in RC realize that if you were to remove Catholicism from this scenario Maciel would be seen as a predatory con-man pure and simple. It is only our faith that muddles this situation. Like the author says, LC and RC really has no charism. It's just real Catholicism dressed up as a movement. Go back to authentic Catholicism and practice it in your home parish among your family and fellow man. Leave this group to wither like chaff. ~Rachel

A con-man

Glenn Favreau summarises our current understanding of Maciel:

I was a Legionary of Christ for nearly 14 years. I have been working with Regain for nearly 10 years now, and I have followed the genesis of the downfall of Marcial Maciel since the first Hartford Courant articles in 1997 more closely than most people. It has been my business to help ex-members as they leave the group, to counsel parents, and to provide truthful information both about my experience and about the group.

Over the years, I have come to an intimate knowledge of the workings of the Legion and the place that Maciel is given in these workings. I have carefully studied many diverse responses to the person of Maciel as his private life and public activities have come to light and been commented upon. I am of the opinion that Marcial Maciel began the Legion of Christ with no spiritual motivation whatsoever.  He was a con man. He was a very good con man. Whether he was caught up in the typical con man's dilemma of believing his own con or not will probably never be known, unless he confided to this to individuals outside of the Legion of Christ.  

If Maciel were of any other profession (outside of the Catholic Church) and committed this type of fraud in any other framework, we would call him a con man with out any hesitation. Unfortunately, we naturally try to save the perceived "spiritual" aspect since we share in it as Catholics. I say “unfortunately” , because if we could overcome our own bias in this regard, we could put this entire saga into the annals of the history of the greatest cons of our time, and make peace with the fact that we bought into it, we were mistaken, and we can move on.

When you compare the reaction that faithful Catholics have about the "gifts" that Maciel left to the Church, no one can beat Diogenes for an analogy:

[C]onsider a woman whose husband ingeniously hid his infidelities from her for many years. Once she realized she had been deceived, the gifts he brought back from his business trips would be understood to have been instruments in that deception. Far from cherishing the jewelry he gave her, she'd feel that the diamonds now mocked the affection and fidelity they symbolized. By the same token, Maciel's addresses will be spiritually kosher -- he was after all a highly successful deceiver. But those addresses dishonor the very truths they expound, and it's impossible that they can cause anything but distress and confusion in those who attempt to nourish themselves on them.

If we consider that the victims of Maciel (not the physical abuse victims, but the hood-winked rank-and-file) are in the position of the foolish wife who trusted a man despite the warnings of others, we will understand their trauma, their reaction, their fumbling about for explanations. Betrayal is a horrific thing and it takes tremendous grace -- especially humility -- to arrive at the fullness of truth. It takes grace -- and time.

If it helps, we can remember that he fooled the hierarchy as well (the one's he didn't pay off to help cover his game) and his cloak of orthodoxy is a "plug and play" for those who understand the faith. As his followers attest, the "charism" is nothing more than Basic Catholicism -- so he didn't even take the time to invent something new. What the Magisterium didn't provide, Stephen Covey did. A clever con, but only a con in the end.


GregK said...

Yes, Maciel was a con man. IMO he was a transparent fraud, but I've been fooled by frauds as well, so I can see how that sort of thing happens.

But I think the real lesson of Maciel is what it says about the reliability of group testimony.

I wrote more about that here.

Marie said...

I can't track down where I found this, but I came across this homily today: http://www.zenit.org/article-25248?l=english

Rachel said...

Your piece was awesome. I loved it. Do you have a blog? I really, really liked it. I hope anyone else who stumbles upon this post will read your linked article. THANK YOU!

GregK said...


Thanks for the kind words.

Yes, I have a blog that my brother and I write, but I don't often do religious topics there. It's at http://crowhill.net/blog.

GregK said...

Rachel -- what's happened. Have you given up blogging?