Wednesday, October 27, 2010
From the Original Catholic Encyclopedia*:
"Charismata. — The Greek term charisma denotes any good gift that flows from God's benevolent love (charis) unto man; any Divine grace or favor, ranging from redemption and life eternal to comfort in communing with brethren in the Faith (Rom., v, 15, 16; vi, 23; xi, 29).
The term has, however, a narrower meaning: the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his task in the Church: "Every one hath his proper gift [charisma] from God; one after this manner, and another after that" (I Cor., vii, 7 etc.).
Lastly, in its narrowest sense, charisma is the theological term for denoting extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others. These, or most of these, are enumerated by St. Paul (I Cor., xii, 4, 9, 28, 30, 31), and form the subject-matter of the present article. They are: "The word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the grace of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of speeches" (I Cor., xii, 8-10). To these are added the charismata of apostles, prophets, doctors, helps, governments (ibid., 28)."
In the case in question, does the Legion/Regnum founded by Father Maciel possess a special God-given gift to bring souls to holiness, build the Church/Kingdom of Christ in the world?
Does the Legion of Christ and its affiliated Regnum Christi Lay Movement possess a Charism, a special gift from God to lead people to holiness/Jesus/God?
Could the degenerate founder have possessed such a gift and passed it on to his creation?
Could God have given this gift to the Order and the Movement despite the sinful life of the Founder?
The debate has raged over the past decade and became exacerbated after Maciel's double life was revealed by the Legion of Christ in 2009; the previous allegations of pedophilia, misuse of funds, a luxury life style of jets and hotels, plus tyrannical leadership had not been enough to have Catholics and his followers question the Founder's Holiness. Breaking his vow of celibacy by having heterosexual relations and engendering children seems to have finally convinced Orthodox and/or Conservative Catholics of the Legion Founder's Depravity.
Everyone then accepted that Maciel was a scoundrel. Narcissist and Sociopath [specifically, Anti-social Personality Disorder] diagnoses were introduced to explain his decades of double, triple, and quadruple lives.
Could a Sociopath have a religious charism and could he transmit this to a religious order that he founded?
According to Cardinal designate Velasio de Paolis he could, he can, he did. With all due respect, this interpretation seems to be justified by passages from the Apostolic Delegate's 2nd Letter to the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement.
3. The charism of the Legion
Another very delicate question is that of the charism of the Legion. The absence of a distinction between constitutional norms and norms of law has perhaps hurt efforts to specify the charism. But it seems undeniable that it is sufficiently clear and precise; and it is also more than ever for this time. There is the need to reflect and study this in depth.
I would like to mention just one aspect. Our current culture is secularized, infected with immanentism and relativism. Such a mindset is the hallmark of the culture of our times and of those who today shape opinion or are considered the drivers of culture. It is a matter of culture and therefore a matter of leadership, i.e.: of those who hold the reins of society in their hands. We have before us a society that no longer evinces personalities of Christian and markedly Catholic cultural depth. At the same time, we know that the faith cannot be pushed back merely to the private level.
If today’s society is to be Christianized, it needs people capable of assuming responsibility for the society of tomorrow, and who are formed in schools and universities. It needs priests, consecrated people, and committed lay people, all well formed. It needs apostles for the new evangelization.
The past must guide us in taking our place in the present. The Church shaped the past and contributed to a Christian vision of life, through monasteries, universities, studies and culture. The Church reaffirms this when she speaks of the new evangelization and launches a new Dicastery for the new evangelization. I believe that the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ finds its place to serve the Church precisely in this area. And this brings good hope for the future.
* Charismata in Original Catholic Encyclopedia