Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Friday, May 19, 2006
Fr. Maciel: Vatican action in the case of Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi founder Fr. Marcial Maciel has now happened, and it doesn't look good for the accused. Read the link. Now, my $0.02:

1. I am not in the Legionaries or Regnum Christi. I know two RC members, one well, one slightly. The first is definitely, and the other is as far as I know, a solid apostolic Catholic, an excellent professional in his/her field, and quite a normal person. I don't know any LC priests, but I know sound Catholics of good judgment who do, and who admire them.

The LCs rescued the National Catholic Register (not Reporter!!) from its yellow days as "The Intifada Update" and "The Medjugorje Messenger" -- my own spleenful but accurate nicknames for it in its pre-LC days -- and turned it into a serious weekly paper.

The only thing I personally know to the LCs' discredit has to do with their recruiting; like yellowjackets at a picnic, you know; or the mosquitoes at Camp Lejeune. "Don't make eye-contact" -- that's the advice I've heard given to students at sound-and-orthodox Catholic colleges re passing the LC table at vocations fairs. But this, by itself, is more an annoying tick than a grave corporate vice.

2. Any kind of Schadenfreude over the Maciel news -- such as is demonstrated by the statements from "Regain" spokesmen in the linked article, imo -- is inappropriate. The second spokesman's Jacobinic appetite for "the maximum penalty" is unbecoming to anyone concerned with the good of the Church.

To be very frank, I have known "anti-cultists" in the Church who are more cultlike in their obsessions than the "cults" they spend so much of their time accusing. I predict a round of "ah-ha"-ing from them over the Maciel news that will reflect an agenda beyond the vindication of Maciel's victims. Based on this, I suspect that they regularly google the blogosphere to find target-related posts to comment on; they should be showing up here any minute now (talk about yellowjackets at a picnic).

3. It is now nearly impossible to maintain that Fr. Maciel is innocent; apparently even LC does not claim that he is: it only repeats his denials.

4. The CDF's calling of Fr. Maciel to "a life reserved to prayer and penance, renouncing any public ministry" suggests that the offenses were grave and on-going and perhaps not even today fully repented-of. The part about abuse of confession is particularly grave. For Dante, that's an 8th-circle offense (fraud). (Sodomy is 6th-circle, a sin not of incontinence but of violence; illicit straight sex is 2nd-circle.)

5. The sentiment attributed to Maciel by the CDF -- that this finding and the penalty are "a new cross that God, the father of mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement"-- is exactly the right way for LC/RC and Fr. Maciel to view this development. To the extent it reflects Maciel's real views right now, it does more than his denials to rehabilitate him.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls (ah yes, I met him once -- it was in 1985, at the Extraordinary Synod: he was being so pestered by a gaggle of Italian pressies that he was downright relieved that someone just wanted to meet him) says in the linked article: "independently of the person of the founder, the well-deserving apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the association Regnum Christi is recognized with gratitude." Roma locuta est.