Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'd Probably Side With the "Dissidents"

This is weird. After all the scandal with the Legion of Christ, and all the revelations about creepy stuff deeply engrained in that organization...the Cardinal in charge of the "renewal" is now apparently condemning those within the Legion who say that the reforms don't go far enough:

A year after assuming duties as pontifical delegate for the Legion of Christ, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis gave a speech evaluating the current situation of the religious congregation. He sharply criticized “dissidents” within the order who create division and internal tensions.

“While it is true that in 2010 the institute suffered its greatest losses, it is also true that the exodus has been contained with regard to priests,” he said.

However, regarding the abandonment of the order by its youngest members, Cardinal De Paolis noted “the negative influence exercised by some companions who, upon entering the process of renewal, have adopted an absolutely critical attitude towards the path of renewal.”

“From the beginning, a group of members have joined together and has been described, by whom I don’t know, as ‘dissidents’,” the cardinal continued.

“In reality it is not a very large group, as there are very few people leading it. In emphasizing a ‘structural contamination’ of the congregation, they have manifested a radical lack of confidence in the continuation and renewal of the congregation. And in every way they have become antagonistic towards the legitimate superiors, seeing themselves almost as custodians of the orthodoxy of the road that must be traveled. They are using the internet extensively, with a network that extends to perhaps 200 or more people, including Legionaries, ex-Legionaries or friends of Legionaries with whom they usually meet,” Cardinal De Paolis stated.

The pontifical delegate said these “dissidents” act like “depositories of a prophetic mission in which some think they have a particular vocation to take the place of their superiors, to set themselves up as masters of the spiritual life and masters of sound doctrine.” They exercise negative influence on the youngest members.

"This kind of information for some is the reason why the youngest members abandon the Legion,” he continued.

“Some of the leaders of this group are unsure about their vocations and share their doubts with others for no good purpose,” he said.

“As they are stuck on the harm suffered by the congregation, they seem to enjoy looking at the wounds and continuously reopening them, instead of looking toward the future with greater depth and hope, working for true renewal and taking the true path of conversion,” he added.

“We do indeed need to recognize that we are sinners. But to stop there is death! If that is a time for realizing that we need God, then it is a grace, and grace is what comes to meet us,” the cardinal said.

“The community, or our group of interest, is not an instrument for venting our frustrations or finding justifications. Our community is a not a ‘spit bowl.’ And we should feel humiliated when we are used like this,” he said.
If there's one thing the Legion scandal should have taught them, it's that "dissident" voices within institutions should be welcomed and that speaking-out when it comes to internal practice should be encouraged. I don't know exactly what's going on here, talk of spit bowls and all this, but it sounds like the Cardinal is basically complaining that there are people within the Legion who don't believe the renewal has actually changed systematic institutional problems enough, and that they should just shut-up and accept things because otherwise they're encouraging younger members to leave by sharing their doubts.

His whole tone is bizarre. The vague references to secret networks and meetings with ex-Legionaries, his hysterical panic about "the internet," the idea that certain "information" should be withheld in order to retain young members, the idea that doubts should not be shared, the way he speaks of the harm suffered by the congregation rather than the harm inflicted by its structures, this idea that critical voices (exactly what we need!) are hindering the renewal, that everyone should just get on board and follow things quietly and without question (which was exactly the problem before, I thought...)

Very strange article, very strange words from the Cardinal here.


Stephen said...

What's strange is why this group hasn't just been abolished completely.

I have no idea whether, or how often, the Church has ever just abolished an order completely, but if there was a group to do it to, this is the one.

Not that all the people in it are bad, but they need to be told to find a new, and ultimately better, place to live.

A Sinner said...

You're one of the dissidents!! Using "the internet" to sew your doubts, using the Legion as a spit-bowl!!! How can you have such a radical lack of confidence in the continuation and renewal of the congregation!?!?