Catholic Answers forum: Legionaries of Christ; discussion
Yesterday, October, 13, 2009, 12:46 pm
Trial Membership Join Date: October 13, 2009
Re: Legionaries of Christ
Originally Posted by J:
Does anyone know of any orders of priests with a charism similar to the Legionaries of Christ, e.g. a similar missionary zeal for saving souls, orthodoxy, living in community, idealism, a committment to conquering the popular culture and media?
He may be correct that his only choice is laicization. He says the burdens of his vocation feel too great for him to continue. I am very sad for him and would like to think it a simple matter to go elsewhere with his vocation. But I see it is not simple. So sad that the sinfulness of a few has such a profound and far-reaching effect on so many.
Each order is so very different. The problem with the Legionaries is that they are taking no steps to make any needed reforms. Their founder got away with a very sinful life, and you would have to assume that the leadership aided and abbetted him in some way. At the very least, some of the top leaders should have resigned and they should have brought in people untainted by the scandal and unconnected to Fr. Maciel. So far, they seem to be circling the wagons and trying to protect the status quo.
Let's just say that my brother has come to the conclusion that many of the criticisms of the Legion over the years are true and he feels he is living a lie by staying there. He has never been drawn to the Diocesan life, and feels it would be too solitary and lonely for him. He loved the community life of the Legion. I hope and pray that after he gets away and takes some time to heal, God will show him where he needs to go. But he is afraid that if he does not apply for laicization now, that option will be forever lost to him. I suppose the thinking is that the Vatican will be positiviely disposed to grant laicization to Legionaries in light of the scandal. He is feeling angry and betrayed right now. He took a lot of pride in what he thought the Legion was. Another lesson in humility, I think.
Thus asks/states the sister of Legionary priest who is questioning his allegiance to the order, his priestly vocation, and talking laicisization
Just for shock value, in reply to your opening question, I might suggest the Jesuits. You know that Fr. Maciel copied much of the Legion Constitutions from the Jesuits? You would probably call them "The Old Jesuits". Fr. Maciel was very conservative in doctrine but very liberal in morals.
Seriously, there are quite a number of former Legionaries who have made a good transition to the diocesan priesthood.
Transitioning to another religious order is very complicated as you have seen from other responses.. It's not like being transferred to another soccer team...
Your question reveals a serious flaw in the Legion system: members have very little opportunity to look around them and find out what is outside their group. They may not even be able to consult with an "outside" priest. An LC priest who is considering leaving should have Spiritual Direction/Guidance from a priest outside [independent] and BE FREE TO ENGAGE IN THE PROCESS OF DISCERNMENT.
Discernment is a serious process where one has to know oneself deeply and not just jump into a group that "seems" to fulfill one's calling. I am convinced that many join the Legion WITHOUT PROPER DISCERNMENT, i.e. they skip that painful and soul searching process. Instead they jump into a group that seems to fit. [A group that like a chameleon will change its colors to fit his needs and "capture" him.]
The priest needs to start his discernment all over again. And that is a lot of hard work. It also implies trusting people he has been trained not to trust....
Sounds like he is taking a leap in the dark.