Betty Duffy

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Regnum Christi, where to from here?

Over the past couple of days I've run through an emotional gamut as I consider the life of Father Marcial Maciel. Again, I'm not terribly impressed that a man who was purported by many to be a saint was actually a scoundrel who, as members of the Legion put it, "died in disgrace." Suffice to say God only knows where he is now or if he ever repented.

But I am trying to understand duplicity and the darkness of man's heart. My sister-in-law made an excellent point:

"I think it might be easier to contemplate the reality that duplicity reigns in the hearts of most men. Difficulty is exposing it to light, then you face the true contemplating question "Do I change or not? If not, what are the consequences?"

This is not the first time I have encountered the duplicity of man. I know what happens when people opt to keep their secret pleasures. Ultimately, there is a fallout and other people must dislodge all the shrapnel. I have never known sin of a serious nature that does not eventually become public. Grave sin almost always has victims; primary victims like a betrayed spouse, or children of divorce, and secondary victims, like extended family who are left to fill in gaps and redefine what's left of the family.

Well, here I am, trying to redefine my place in this family. And I am annoyed that I have been put in this position. I need to be able to say that I am annoyed. Father Maciel failed in a collosal way at carrying the cross of his humanity. He failed in a way that most priests would never allow themselves to fail. And because of his fall the entire priesthood and all the members of Regnum Christi and the Legion, are picking up the Cross for him, not necessarily with joy in our hearts.

I know some people who are taking this opportunity to bail on RC, and I don't blame them. It's a lot to ask of people to associate themselves with a Movement that was founded by such a remarkably fallen personage. It's humiliating. I write here under a pseudonym (though many of my readers know me), but in real life, I will always feel the burden of that humiliation in admitting my membership in this Movement. It's like wearing the scarlet letter that stands not only for sin, but for gullibility as well.

And yet, I still do not doubt the presence of God in this situation and in the hearts of the members of the Movement. God apparently insists on using broken instruments to do his work on earth. Can we recall that many medieval popes were also great sinners who still managed to protect the doctrines of the Church in matters of faith and morals? My generation has been lucky that we have only known good and holy Popes--a fortunate fact, since current culture has shown itself to be tolerant of almost anything but hypocrisy.

I know it's a leap here, but it would be a huge consolation for me if we, the members of Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ, heard a little something from the Vatican about how to proceed. I'm not about to stop living the prayer life I've discovered as a member of RC, but in terms of how to relate to the rest of the Church and society, I need something a little more substantial to go on than the testimony of Yours Truly.

American Papist: Not Your Average Catholic!: Maciel Meltdown: Day 3


Barkeep said...

At it's best, the LC/RC is just another part of the Church, at its worst, well, we're seeing part of that now. You say that you aren't about to bail on the RC, but are looking to the Vatican/PBXVI for direction here... what if "bailing" is what is recommended?

jenx67 said...

i love to learn new things, and i often do from your posts. no answers here. just wanted to let you know i read this. the disappointment from something like this - just overwhemling.

Betty Duffy said...

I absolutely yield to the Holy Father in this issue. RC has no purpose if it's not in the heart of the CHurch.

Betty Duffy said...

It's worth noting that the RC commitments are not much more than the baptismal commitments of any Catholic: Sacramental life, daily prayer and evangelization.

The Holy See may conflict in the way the evangelization is carried out, but the rest of it IS just being a part of the Church.

Jay said...

Betty, I'm with you in your frustration and confusion. It's truly a grieving process, with all the "normal" waves of anger and sadness and helplessness and emptiness. (I say "normal" because they're a normal part of the grieving process, not because this situation is anything close to normal.)

It does seem to me that we HAVE the direction from the Church that you're asking for. Cardinal Rode gave his remarks just this past December at the Youth and Family Encounter in Brazil; and Pope Benedict has been consistent in his encouragement although I can't quote anything recently. Both of these men knew of Fr. Maciel's sins awhile ago, which is why he was asked to recluse himself.

So we can say with confidence and courage that the Church wants us to go on. Please know that you and all my fellow RC family members are in my prayers. It IS difficult. It IS painful. It IS humiliating. And it won't be over by tomorrow.

But we have received our vocation from God, not from Fr. Maciel. And God and His Church want and need us to persevere.

Please contact me if I can do anything for you.

Betty Duffy said...

"Charism" is something that is difficult to expunge from the person, but if The Legion and RC were asked to disband as a Community, I go with the Pope.

Betty Duffy said... would, I believe, all members of the Legion and RC.

Betty Duffy said...

Jay, thanks for your thoughtful comment. It's nice to know we're all experiencing some common emotions.

Can you direct me to Cardinal Rode's comments if they are online somewhere, or send them to:

I was having a baby in December, so while I obviously didn't make it to Brazil, I also probably overlooked his remarks.

Kristin T. (@kt_writes) said...

"God apparently insists on using broken instruments to do his work on earth."

This is SUCH a true and important statement. Thank you for saying it, and doing the hard work of exploring it further.

I think many of the problems within the Christian faith, as well as so many of the issues non-believers have with us, are rooted in our inability to admit and accept this truth. We do no one any favors when we pretend that a true desire to follow God always results in good and perfect acts.

(Btw, I'm Protestant, not Catholic. My "we" refers to all Christians.)

Betty Duffy said...

Kristin, Thanks for your comment.

It has been difficult to watch the various responses in this case to the reality of which you spoke.

We are taught that the mercy of God is infinite--that no sin is beyond his forgiveness. The mercy of other Christians appears to be finite. I myself am working very hard right now to see how far, in my reluctance I can stretch.

Asking for your prayers.

Annie said...

Betty, Thank you for your candor!(Great blog by the way.) I have so much to say and have tried to write but cannot express myself clearly. I do not think we have seen the end of this horror. I hope that the Legion will be as transparent with us as they have asked us to be with them. I pray for Fr. Maciel's daughter - that God will comfort her even as her father's sins are exposed.

Jus said...

Praying for you and yours as well as he and his! Lord have Mercy!