Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Money and Sex - How to Gild the Vatican

Finally, a report that discloses clearly what we always knew to be true.

When I was in Rome, the Mercedes bus carrying the Legionaries of Christ would sometimes pause at the light while I'd cross the street on the way to class. They  were, to a man, incredibly handsome in an identical way. Dark hair meticulously parted. Square jawed. Tall. There was such fear in their eyes as they looked at me and then quickly looked away. They kept to themselves. Rarely did they interact with us at the Gregorian University. We were in jeans and they were in identical black suits and Roman collars. Some of them escaped. This is a sad chapter in Catholicism. This is not an era of saints.


Jeremiah Andrews said...

What a very damning report. I think I read about the Legion some time during my papal studies.

They were written about by David Yallop in "The Power and the Glory" Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican.

It seems that now Cardinal Dziwisz has kept many secrets. Do you think he is going to talk?

Peeling back the layers of the onion does not bode well for the Vatican.

Let us know when part 2 is posted, I will bookmark NCR as well.


Tony Adams said...

Dear Jeremy, I've read that book and most of the other earlier coverage about this, but this article pulls no punches. I don't think Catholics are prepared for what they are learning about their leaders.

Surely now they will stop giving money to the church, an act akin to giving money to a drug addict who is still using. Time for the tough love.

Sebastian said...

Tony, not all of those seminarians are dark and handsome. Some are blond and handsome.

The Legion has done two things extraordinarily well. 1. They raise money efficiently. To do so, they have stepped on some toes, recruiting the donors of other groups and dioceses. So while they have some hierarchs in their back pocket, others are holding on to their wallets when the Legionnaires approach. 2. They have vast numbers of seminarians, who they keep in seclusion and control excessively. They start boys in their seminaries at age 13 or 14. That was once common but is now rare for other groups. But the number of their ordained priests does not increase proportionally. They have a very high attrition rate from the seminary, and a high rate of resignations after ordination.

The Legionnaires who I have met have been universally polite, kind, interesting, well educated in a deep but rather narrow way, and utterly clueless about much of the world. They speak the party line convincingly, and live personally poor lives. But they are in an organization which is built on rotten roots.

Tony Adams said...

Dear Sebastian,
Everything you say is true, but I don't remember any blonde ones. I remember thinking that their recruiter had a certain type that he favored.
I think there is the possibility that this order will overcome its "rotten roots". Other orders have done that. If they swap out all the original leaders, they could become a healthy, albeit conservative order. They looked so sexually charged. In a bad way. I felt sorry for them.

steve said...

I liked your comment Tony, but I think this earlier post was some of your best prose.

"He's dead.

I was fascinated by his seminarians. In Rome, I'd see them in their Mercedes bus, perfectly dressed in clerical garb and reading their breves on the way to the Gregorian University while we of the American college walked the route in our jeans, smoking and stopping for coffee/and. They were so handsome, and all cut from the same heartbreakingly gorgeous cloth. He had hand-picked them. Thick shiny and wavy black hair identically and neatly cut. Square jawed. High cheek bones under dreamy sad eyes. Broad shouldered. Kept in regimentally perfect shape. Large hands turned the pages of those prayer books nestled in the smoldering laps of their athletic bodies. I'd always catch the eye of one or another of them and in that instant, he would know that I knew what no one was supposed to know."

thomas tucker said...

Ironically, it was Benedict, the object of your hatred, who finally caused Maciel's downfall and established an investigation into the order. You should give him some credit for that.

In the Kitchen With Don said...

Father Tony, you ever come across any dirt on Opus Dei? They are another group that have always concerned me. I know they are very secretive, but there have been several bishops in this area with ties to Opus Dei and they are really scary guys. Don

TedBear said...

Fascinating article, Fr. Tony.

Tony Adams said...

Dear Thomas Tucker,
OK. Credit applied. Still not a passing grade.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Gild should be rewritten as Geld. Then, perhaps, the altar boys will be safe. Or, at least, safer.

In the Kitchen With Don said...

Part two has been published.