Saturday, April 12, 2014

(2) Thomas Williams Agonistes

[Literary note: the title of Mr. Ruse's Crisis Magazine article on the reappearance of Thomas Williams in public life seems to harken back to a review T. W. wrote on Amazon regarding a book called C.S. Lewis Agonistes and which reads as follows:]
Does Not Disappoint,
March 12, 2006

This review is from: Lewis Agonistes: How C.S. Lewis Can Train Us to Wrestle with the Modern and Postmodern World (Paperback)
I've read so many books on Lewis, many of them disappointing, that I'm always wary when I begin a new one. I picked up Lewis Agonistes because of the promise in its subtitle--that I would gain insights from Lewis' work on how to relate truth to the postmodern world. Almost every Lewis reader understands that the great British writer's incisive logic and imagination effectively sliced through modern thought, but perhaps few consider how he also addresses the postmodern error. Markos did not disappoint me. His book demonstrates a rich understanding of Lewis' body of work and does an insightful job of showing how it refutes both modern and postmodern thinking. It's a fine addition to anyone's Lewis Library. -- Thomas Williams, author of The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia and Knowing Aslan.
Blogger notes: it would seem that Thomas Williams possesses a knowledge of Christian apologetic and of the work on the great CS Lewis.

The article provoking this and the previous blog was taken down shortly after it appeared. It seems that the reactions to the article by Mr Ruse were "controversial", passionate and/or divisive and the editors intervened. This blogger did not see the comments and so cannot express an opinion in their regard. We was able to salvage the article before it was taken down. Later, he may want to formulate his personal critique of the article -rather than of the life and times of Thomas Williams as such.

The article seems to have disappeared from the Internet.

The blogger could only find the opening paragraph, below:

Thomas Williams Agonistes

Each of us is called to discern the spirits that approach our heart. We must discern if they are good and to let them in or evil and to run away. While true for all of us, this is even more urgent for those under vows or promises because they have made these vows and promises to others and to God Himself.
A married person must dispel the evil spirit that tempts him from his wife. So too must a priest resist. Failure is an act of grave evil.
It is with this understanding that one approaches the breaking of the vow of chastity by a priest. It is with understanding that I must approach the subject even of a priest friend who broke this vow.
I have known Thomas Williams for many years. I first came to know him when he was helping to convert a dear female friend I was also helping to convert. Even then I thought they were too cozy and I worried, as did others. It is not uncommon that single orthodox women have what you might call “priest boyfriends,” that is, close friends who are priests. It is something that we chuckle about, at least nervously. Nothing (
untoward happens in most cases....the author went on to say)

Read more... 

and then Crisis Magazine says:

Have you lost your way?

The content you were looking for doesn't exist on Crisis. Try one of these options to find it:"

A Propos "Thomas Williams Agonistes"

 Thomas Williams

This blog is in response to concern expressed by a former Legionary of Christ, now active diocesan priest, to the article that appeared today in Crisis Magazine. Both his and my comments can best be understood in the context of the article by Austin Ruse, a former "follower" of the famous Fr. Thomas Williams, LC. who went through a "crisis of faith in Fr. Thomas" -the blogger's phrase- after Fr. Thomas revealed he had a son and had kept it secret for years, and is now "coping" with the reappearance of Thomas Williams, "avec femme" in the public eye.

I will not pretend to summarize the indignation of my good active priest friend. Here is what he commented to the article

I just read the Thomas Williams article.  I am very disappointed that you would even waste the time and the space to print such an article.  I was with the Legionaries of Christ for 21 years.  I know Thomas Williams.  What about all of the good priests that left the Legion or even the ones that are still in that mess, that are faithful and hard working?  Why not do an article about the faithful priests that are hard working and productive for the Church, but they have been screwed over by the Legion and even screwed over and over again by the institutional Church?  Your article is ridiculous and narcissistic.  How the hell does an article like this help young teens and college guys discern a vocation to the Catholic priesthood? 

And the blogger's personal response.
Well, I too was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in the Legion of Christ left the order; and four years later left the active Catholic priesthood. By the grace of God I did not leave to take care of a son or -to put things more honestly- to be responsible and live the married life with the woman I would have been in love with.  From what I gathered from the narrative the Legion of Christ superiors -and Fr. Williams himself until he was told to do otherwise by then Archbishop De Paolis- held the following priorities:
  1. Protect the good name of the priest; cover up his double life, etc. 
  2. Only later, when it was pointed out, think of the child that will grow up fatherless unless.... In the Williams case there is mention that the child has Down's Syndrome which would make him more worthy of our compassion -which compassion could encompass the parents as well to some degree.
  3. In third place, "the woman" (Often we blame her for the priest's "fall). Traditionally, she got very little consideration from the Catholic hierarchy or from the faithful.  In this case the woman got more consideration because she happened to be well known in Rome and was the daughter of a very famous Catholic intellectual and defender of Orthodoxy, Legion of Christ supporter, US representative before the Holy See, rich and famous, Mary Ann Glendon.
I was never a famous Legionary of Christ priest. I was not as photogenic as Fr. Williams and did not have a TV ministry or cuddle up to the rich and famous (The Legion's specific apostolate)
I began my pastoral ministry on the Missions -the only ones the Legion really has- in Quintana Roo, Mexico for four year as pastor of the proletariat Divine Providence parish in Chetumal. The trip to the Missions had been prescribed for me, abruptly interrupting my MA in school psychology and administration, by the ever-wise and benevolent Fr. Marcial Maciel. However, God being God transformed that "punishment" into the beginning of my recovery from Major Depressive Disorder and my further distancing from the "Spirit and Mystique of the Legion" created by Fr. Marcial Maciel...

For more, read the memoir, available on and Kindle

[Blogger may return to this at a more reasonable hour]