Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Shoes

(Here) is post by Fr. James Martin, S.J. at America's In All Things blog. I am not criticizing the content of the post, however I think it is worth evaluating and pointing to something more self reflective.
Justify Full
There is that old saying, "If the shoe were on the other foot."

I am going to leave this first excerpt of Father Martin's post just as he published it, then below I am going to change a few words around so that we can see somethings in a little different light.

Fr. Martin is pointing to the upcoming Apostolic Visitation of The Legionaries of Christ. Fr. Martin excerpts an interview with Fr. Thomas Berg a former Legionaries of Christ priest.

"This question - whether there is a genuine institutional charism present here or not - is very serious and, as it presents itself in the case of the Legion, unprecedented in the history of the Church. I hope that the visitors will turn up useful information that will assist the Holy See in discerning the answer to that question.

Finally, I fear there may be more victims of Fr. Maciel out there. Their welfare has to become more clearly a palpable and obvious priority for the Legionary superiors. I am hopeful that the major superiors of the Legion who may be now have acquired much more information in this regard will be entirely forthcoming with the visitors."

Now slightly changed.

This question - whether there is a genuine institutional charism present here or not - is very serious and, as it presents itself in the case of the (Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus) unprecedented in the history of the Church. I hope that the visitors will turn up useful information that will assist the Holy See in discerning the answer to that question.

Finally, I fear there may be more victims of ( the 40 Oregon Jesuits) out there. Their welfare has to become more clearly a palpable and obvious priority for the (Jesuit) superiors. I am hopeful that the major superiors of the (Jesuits) who may be now have acquired much more information in this regard will be entirely forthcoming with the visitors.

Go (here) to the back stories on the abuse cases of the 40 Jesuits and Oregon bankruptcy.

7 comments:

TonyD said...

It seems to me that both the Church and Priests are put on too high a pedestal.

At best, both are used by God.

We need to understand that, more often, those are people trying to interpret God's will.

When I look at most posts here and at "America", I see a community that tries to elevate the works of man to the works of God. The Church itself only rarely claims infallibility - so the "Magesterium" should really be seen in that light.

So I can't help but wonder if the Jesuits are really being better taught than the typical member and typical Church authority. I think their deeper understanding of the Church is what often gets them into trouble. (Ignoring the sex scandal. Those seem to plague everyone.)

Anonymous said...

The humanness of all religious orders is part of that great struggle to live in imitation of Christ. The Legion as the Jesuits have done many great works for the church and for humanity. The church would be stronger if the different religous orders remained focused on their own commitment to Christ rather than damaging each other.

Anonymous said...

What you seem to miss in Fr. Martin's posting is the meaning of the phrase "genuine institutional charism". What he is getting at goes back to insights gained at Vatican II, i.e., at the root of every religious order and congregation in the Church, there is a charism which marks the organization. And, that charism is normally grounded in the vision, experience, and spiritual gifts of the founder of the order/congregation. Hence, the importance of Francis for the Franciscans, Dominic for the Order of Preachers, Bruno for the Carthusians, Ignatius Loyola for the Jesuits, Elizabeth Ann Seton for the Sisters of Charity, and so on. In the history of the Church, the founder of the order is the one who is so often raised to the altars as a saint or blessed. What Fr. Martin seems to be getting at is a fundamental issue about religious life: was the moral character of the founder of the L.C. so defective, sinful, or spiritually distorted that, despite its rapid development in the last couple of decades, there is something basically wrong in the organization he founded and led? Indeed, we have seen the Holy Father intervene directly in the L.C. by abrogating the vows of secrecy which Fr. Maciel insisted be part of the congregation. And, in the history of the Church, I don't believe there is any comparable example of a significant congregation or order which had at it root or founding an individual with such a blatantly sinful and shameful history as the case of Fr. Maciel.

This is a very delicate and burdensome issue. And, the Holy Father's decision makes it clear that the apostolic visitation will have to grapple with the basic question whether the Legion can go on or must be changes or, even, refounded if it is to be an instrument of holiness and service to the Church.

Vis-à-vis the Jesuits in Oregon or any similar example (perhaps the presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Boston or the Diocese of Lafayette), the substitution in your comment is rhetorically clever, but actually misses the point of what Fr. Martin is trying to say. What is deplorable about the Jesuits in this example (or any other sexual abuse example) is the behavior of the members of the order (or diocese, etc.). What is NOT under question, however, is the authenticity of the charism Ignatius Loyola brought to the Jesuits as an organization.

Dawn Eden said...

The quotes you published are not from Father Martin. They are from ex-Legionary Father Thomas Berg LC, in an interview that Father Martin quotes at length in his post.

Anonymous said...

Poor Joe, either: you didn't read the interview:

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1339296?eng=y

or you are unable to understand what you read: as Dawn Eden points out the quotes you published are not from Father Martin. They are from ex-Legionary Father Thomas Berg LC.

Joseph Fromm said...

I sharpened the post.
Thanks Dawn.

JMJ

Joe

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are a BS artist.

One cannot compare an order whose founder was a total sociopath to an order that has done so much good, and the, a few hundred years later, had a bumper crop of rotten apples. At least not in good faith.