Ever since the deceitful and harmful life of Fr. Maciel was revealed after his 2008 death, the Legion of Christ has struggled with the Fiasco of its Founder and the desperate search for a Charism. What do do about all the bad -some possibly evil, things Maciel and the Legion did to others? Besides making many excuses, side-stepping responsibility, there has also been some talk about "Making amends;" and I say "talk" advisedly.
Yesterday while browsing a book, I found some advice which I dedicate to my Legion confreres. (I will take it to heart too) and I wish they had put into practice. Without it asking forgiveness is shallow and self-serving (precisely what Maciel was!)
"The amends process, I believe, is a process of
- Claiming our own lives,
- relinquishing our defensiveness and
- doing what we need to do to become right within ourselves.
- Making amends is a personal act. We make amends for ourselves.
- Amends are not made
- to make others feel better,
- to change others' attitudes toward us or
- to elicit forgiveness.
- (or get ourselves off the hook)
- We make amends because we need to.
- We make amends because we know that our recovery, our growth, our development cannot proceed unless we claim those things we have done of which we are not proud that have harmed others.
- We need to own that we have behaved in ways that have been alien to our beliefs, morality and spirituality."
Adapted from Anne Wilson Schaef, (1992) Beyond Therapy, Beyond Science, a New Model for Healing the Whole Person, Harper San Francisco, page 8