Reader Glenn comments on my post about the options for people in the Legion if it is disbanded:
This is a bit more complicated. Especially number 4.
When we joined we wanted to be faithful to Christ and the Church. When it all ended, however it happened to end, for some of us the connections were just too tight. All of our heart and soul, and I mean of it, went into this dedication. And the methods of the Legion of Christ reinforced the connection. Vocation to the priesthood was intertwined to such an extent that I know of ex members who left the Legion and did not think twice about leaving the priesthood immediately, since the two were one and the same for them. There is no distinction in the Legion: it was all God’s Will, your vocation, punishable by damnation and sure failure in life if you were not faithful, i.e. were not generous enough.
Besides, what was there that I had not given to Christ IN the Legion? I could not wake up one morning and suddenly find another set of connections. I had POURED my heart and soul into this.
And now those still in would call me unfaithful to my vocation. Well, I was unfaithful to the lie in the end, so I think I am better off. But during it all, I gave it my all.
I think it is high time that everyone understand out there that this is not so easy a question. I am not saying that everyone who leaves the LC leaves that Church. That would not be true. But some do, and the reasons are very solid ones.
Also, in my case, I blame the Church for not protecting me. For allowing this to go on, and allowing me to be manipulated. I know it was just certain people in the Church, certain bishops, cardinals, Vatican officials, and maybe more than one pope, but what does that leave me with? I can only love the Church that I see, and what I have seen has left me sickened. Now-a-days, I see the Church much more in some civil-dressed nun living on her own in the projects helping Christ who she finds in the poor.
You are right: it is more complicated than my post. I was giving the four general options for Legion members, but of course each option encompasses a wide variety of people with diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences. My own experience with former members of the charismatic community I mentioned show that each person responds to such a situation in a unique fashion. But in general, their choices can be narrowed to the four options I gave.
I do not want in any way to diminish the harm caused by the Legion to you and countless others due to the scandalous behavior of its founder (and quite possibly by others in the leadership of the Legion). I try hard not to judge others, but I have to think that our Lord’s statement about millstones will apply to Fr. Maciel and possibly other Legion leaders. The culture that was built up within the Legion quite clearly was spiritually damaging to many souls, and I’m sure the devil has been quite happy with the havoc he has wrecked there.
I also cannot dispute that the Church Universal bears some of the responsibility here. The Legion enjoyed the favor of all levels of the hierarchy for years, and one of the duties of the hierarchy is to protect the sheep in the fold so that such things do not happen. So I think it quite normal – and even justified – that someone who was victimized by the Legion also direct some of their anger at the Church at large.
And yet, for some reason Christ has set up a human institution to be the instrument of our salvation. Yes, it has a divine founding and a certain divine protection, but the Church is also thoroughly human. As such it is as infected by original sin as any of its members are. But this is what our Lord decided would be the thing on which we hitch our eternal salvation on. I think most of us at one time or another wish that our Lord had chosen differently and that he kept the Church more pure and more perfect. But the truth is that the Church is a hospital and even the doctors have the disease. Yet we have a Divine Physician who can heal us in our pain and suffering and the primary medicine he uses is the Sacraments which he has only entrusted to the doctors of the hospital.
If you were in a hospital with a fatal disease and the doctor came in and told you that only he had a medicine that would cure you, would you hesitate to take it if you knew he had the disease as well? No, you would jump at the chance for healing, even if the doctor himself were sick. And all the doctors are sick because this medicine takes time to heal the disease – one is not cured instantaneously – and sometimes even the doctors reject the medicine. But this does not make the medicine ineffectual.
It is only in the Church that we can receive the medicine that will ultimately cure us. Its “doctors” may be terribly flawed and even notoriously sinful men, but the Lord will still use them to dispense his medicine to the sick. When people left Jesus after his declaration of the Real Presence of the Eucharist (John 6:66), our Lord turned to the apostles and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter responded with what I think are the most beautiful words in Scripture (John 6:68-69),
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus is the only way to heal our pain and suffering, and he has instituted a Church here on earth to dispense his healing medicine. Please do not leave the hospital but join the rest of us sinners in receiving the medicine of immortality, the Eucharist.