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The Legion disaster drags inexplicably on

December 13, 2013

I have long held that nothing can rehabilitate the institution known as the Legion of Christ nor any of its affiliated works, and I’ve seen nothing in the last three years that gives me any reason to change my views. The LC and its progeny should be completely and forever dissolved. Period.

The question of “what to do with” the many wonderful people taken in by the Legion is partly pastoral and partly practical. Obviously, the good people therein need to be invited and welcomed into authentic Catholic institutions; priests in particular should be assisted to incardination elsewhere (several savvy bishops have already incardinated highly talented former-LCs into their local Churches). As for Legion property issues, canon law has norms governing the assignment of goods once belonging to (dissolving) canonical juridic persons. Bottom line, the Church is master of ecclesiastical assets, assets don’t control her. No insoluble problems lurk there.

But, in my opinion, the protracted efforts to resuscitate the LC, the LC what? – - – the LC corpse seems not too strong a word—need now to cease. Indeed, even proposals to let Legion survivors, clerical and lay, as survivors, found new canonical institutes seem quite unsound to me. Ask yourself: what, besides their Catholic faith, do survivors qua survivors of the Legion have in common, except that they were all deceived into affiliating with a deeply disordered institution founded by a sick and/or evil con-artist? Such shared traumas might make for some level of survivor-bonding, and they certainly leave such persons deserving of special pastoral outreach, but they are not the foundations on which lasting, healthy religious institutes are built. Do we have to say that?

The Catholic Church has zero tradition of institutes of perfection being founded, directly or even indirectly, by predatory charlatans. Admittedly, Maciel, we see now, seemed to pull that off for a few decades, but his cult imploded almost immediately upon his death.

What I can’t fathom is why we are still talking about ‘reorganizing’, or ‘reforming’, or ‘refounding’, anything having anything to do with him or his concoction.

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