Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Suppose Mr. Smith is a member of the Board of Governors of a nonprofit hospital. As a Board member, Mr. Smith has a fiduciary duty of loyalty to the hospital to support its financial stability, growth, and success. Suppose Dan Donor decides to make a $3 million donation to the hospital and pledges this money to the hospital. Now suppose Mr. Smith talks to Dan Donor and convinces him to rescind his pledge to the hospital. Suppose Mr. Smith goes even farther than this, and convinces Dan Donor to instead donate the $3 million dollars to a private highschool, which will enable the highschool to expand and to get classroom resources. Suppose that Mr. Smith stands to benefit from the donation to the highschool: maybe Mr. Smith's child is a student there, or maybe Mr. Smith is the principal of the school, or maybe Mr. Smith is Chairman of the Board of the school and would like donations in order to keep the school afloat.
Now I don't have enough knowledge of corporate law, so these are honest questions:
1. Has Mr. Smith violated his duty of loyalty to the hospital?
2. If Mr Smith breached his duty of loyalty to the hospital, is there any remedy or possible cause of action by an interested party at the hospital against Mr. Smith for the loss of the $3 million?
3. Is this hypothetical essentially the same, or different (and thus distinguishable), from what happened here, when Monaghan convinced a donor to rescind his $3 million pledge to AMU and to instead donate it to the grammar school?
Friday, February 27, 2009
First, AveWatch has the rest of the story on the AMU Board member who recently resigned. It looks like the Board member will still be supportive of AMU, but he did set out a series of concerns about AMU (and which I find to be similar to those expressed many times by people associated with the college in Michigan and the law school). From the Naples News:
The school, [former Board member Melfa] said, has not paid enough attention to feedback....Second, AveWatch analyzes Monaghan's deposition in the Ave Maria College wrongful termination lawsuit which is still ongoing.
Melfa also expressed worry about Ave Maria's financial situation, citing the five-year-old school's newness, high growth and reliance on Ave Maria town real estate.....
Another issue, Melfa said, is the schools relationship with the Catholic Diocese of Venice and Bishop Frank Dewane. Ave Maria is independent of the diocese, and needs formal approval to call itself a "Catholic university," as per church law.
Finally, let me take this time to remind everyone that tomorrow is the Fifth Annual Ave Maria University Gyrene Gala! If you're attending, let me wish you a hearty "Semper Fi!" (Last year, I posted about why Monaghan's hubris in naming AMU after the Marines bothers me.)
A couple weeks ago the school announced ABA approval (notably two days after Naples News announced it).
This week has been tons of announcements of Michigan faculty starting to teach next august.
Something doesn't add up. Or, is the law school not moving this summer (or maybe not next year either? Two year contracts suggest so)
What do you think?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
First, Sandro Magister gave a report without much opinion, but leading to Weigel's end on the issue of Legion collapse. Note also, that Maciel wasn't the only Legion priest to be sanctioned, but in 2005 Fr. Gino Buressi was punished for similar accusations, which people seem to keep forgetting. Spanish newspapers have been discussing Maciel's other alleged children there.
Second, on the matter of the SSPX. I commented early on that the dissolution of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops was a shot across the bow of Vatican II progressives. Apparently, various Russian Orthodox legates in Europe agree, and have not only been praising Pope Benedict for the annulments, but have been echoing his three points of unity, tradition, and adherence to the Magisterium made on occasion of the Russian Patriarch's election. The Russian Orthodox ( 1 2 (note the bad translation, though) ) have been blasting the media (I don't have english of some pretty acrid articles in Russian) and other Catholics for not understanding the Pope's action was a necessity for the Body of Christ as well as explaining that any reform of Vatican II was not proper if it pushed legitimate members of the Body of Christ out of the Church. This is going to be a fun few years.
Now, we can return to the Ave Maria thing having made note of the larger storms in the Church.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Welcome! You may have noticed that our name has changed from "Ave Maria Grammar and Prep" to the Rhodora J. Donahue Academy of Ave Maria. This happened in February 2009 in recognition of a generous donation from the Donahue family. Everything else about the school remains the same!Great. So Monaghan thought it was a good idea to remove Our Lady from the name of the school and name it for Mrs. Donahue. (It looks a tad strange to see a person's name in the blue oratory logo usually reserved for "Ave Maria.")
But that is not what makes this story interesting, according to AveWatch's investigative journalism:
-it appears that Mr. Jack Donahue had donated $5 million for AMU's Recreaton Center to be named in his honor (the "Donahue Recreation Center");
-Monaghan approached Donahue and got him to shift the money from the Recreation Center to Ave Maria University's "operating expenses";
-Monaghan then renamed the grammar school in honor of Donahue's wife.
1. Ave Maria University's financial situation is mysterious. Monaghan nixes a $5 million earmark for a future Recreation Center, because economic circumstances prohibit its construction, and needs the money for current operating expenses. This is similar to Monaghan announcing that high construction costs prohibited Ave Maria Law School from building on AMU's campus and moving the law school to Naples. Yet Monaghan has $3 million for one of the world's largest ever sculptures of the Virgin Mary called "Our Lady of Annunciation," set to be unveiled on Monaghan's birthday, in 2010. (Monaghan was born on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.)
2. Ave Maria University and the Ave Maria Grammar School are supposed to be separate and independent institutions. Yet, if AveWatch is correct, Monaghan renamed the grammar school in recognition for money donated to the Ave Maria University, not the grammar school. But the grammar school website implies that the renaming happened due to a donation to the grammar school. So what exactly happened? Someone at the grammar school should ask about the nature of this Donahue donation which lead to the school's renaming.
UPDATE: Commenter "justfacts" points me to the official AMU press release which gives more information about the Donahue donation:
In 2004, the Donahues generously pledged $5 million to the capital campaign, initially to secure the naming rights for the sports and recreation facility. However, as planning for Phase I evolved, with the Donahues' permission, the funds were redirected toward other more eminent buildings. Ave Maria University Chancellor and Founder, Thomas S. Monaghan approached the Donahues and asked if they would agree to allocate $3 million of their gift toward the naming rights of the rapidly growing grammar and preparatory school.I assume that the grammar school and AMU are supposed to be wholly separate institutions, and yet, no one seems to give a second thought to the fact that a donation for one is being diverted to the other. If this type of thing happens with AMU and the grammar school, how do we know that this hasn't happened with the law school before? Has Monaghan ever suggested to law school donors that their donations to the law school be directed instead to his other endeavors which need more financial support? This so clearly illustrates Monaghan's conflicts of interest in controlling so many different institutions. How can Monaghan possibly act in the best financial interest of one institution that is competing with the financial interest of another institution?
Monday, February 23, 2009
Now our old friend Doug Kmiec is at it again. Kmiec has written an article in Time on the Pelosi story, not discussing the implications of being a pro-abortion politician and a Catholic, which would be the natural commentary to this story. (I wonder whether Kmiec is dodging this issue because it would reveal the weaknesses in his position that "Obama's policies are Catholic and pro-life.") Instead, Kmiec jumped on the Vatican statement as being a radical call for Catholic judges to betray their oaths upholding the written law and to legislate from the bench.
Well, Kmiec's criticisms of the Vatican are entirely unmerited. American Papist absolutely embarrasses Kmiec by pointing out that the Vatican never made any such radical claim, and that Kmiec needs to check the original Italian text before conjuring up such criticisms out of thin air. And why is Kmiec still being called on to offer thoughtful commentary?
The general unwritten rule is that a Fumare contributor has domain over the comment box attached to his or her post, with the ability to edit, censor, or modify the comments of his or her post. One Fumare contributor will generally not touch the comments of another's post. Personally, I try to keep my comment boxes as areas for reasonable discussion - though I've sometimes edited pointless inanities and vulgar language, I've never censored opposing viewpoints. In fact, I welcome open and vigorous discussion from those with alternate points of view. Casimir, on the other hand, will sometimes capriciously modify comments to his post. It's a policy with which I vehemently disagree, but that's what Casimir chooses to do. So please be warned about Casimir, and please keep on visiting our blog!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Estimated cost is $3 million. (but some say it will cost 6 million before it's done because other building projects there cost twice what is projected).
I'm not complaining about making a nice thing for the Blessed Mother, but it's not for the Blessed Mother, and they tell places like the law school they have no money to put them on campus as they promised. Always a prevarication with them (in my opinion).
Rather than tell everyone that the new law school campus was moved the second time to the Vineyards campus because Tom can't dump the property and needs to put something on it to sink the land costs, they say it was always meant to be at Vineyards and forget they promised to be at Ave Town. In my opinion, it's a prevarication.
The law students should be happier to be located in a place with stores and grocery, but it should be reminded over and over again that the law school was to be moved to the Ave Town. Then it was said, there was no money to put the law school in Ave Town because we have no funds to build buildings.
It may be true they don't have money for the law school to build the building Monaghan promised, but that doesn't mean there isn't the money -- it means Monaghan's multi-million dollar carrera marble sculpture birthday gift is more important than the promises to the law school.
Get used to it AMSoL, you're fourth class sloppy seconds within the Ave hierarchy no matter what you are promised. Tom's ego first. Tom's whims second. University big things third. You fourth, after the janitor is paid. It's better to be fourth class anyway as that will match being driven to the bottom of fourth tier.
Ave Maria University will never achieve serious recognition in Catholic academia, unless it strictly complies, in both words and actions, with Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Since the opening of the new campus here in Ave Maria in August 2007, I have seen the expectations and the morale surrounding AMU deteriorate day by day. The current situation is not only damaging to its distinguished faculty, but also to the future of the university, as well as to the Town of Ave Maria.The dispute centers primarily on the liturgical battles occuring at AMU and the tension with the local bishop. This liturgical struggle is one that Ave Maria School of Law never experienced (at least, I never noticed it during my time). But the AMU liturgical struggle seems to be closely related to the AMSL struggles for faculty governance and academic freedom: Monaghan is unwilling to cede less than complete control of his entities to those who have a legitimate right to being involved in the direction of the entities, whether it be to a truly independent Board of Governors and the faculty at AMSL or whether it be to the Catholic Church and local bishop at AMU.
In light of the serious issues and questions presented above, as well as in consideration to the faculty, current and prospective students, parents, residents, donors and benefactors, it is incumbent upon the Board of Trustees to take the necessary steps to begin the process of requesting the resignation of the current administration at Ave Maria University, and to seek a new leadership -- leadership that will sincerely and faithfully support and live up to AMU's logo -- Ex Corde Ecclesiae - Veritatis Splendor.
UPDATE: I should add that I have absolutely no knowledge of what is going on at AMU/AMT in Florida besides what I read in the papers, and so I have no idea as to whether the allegations in the open letter are true and whether the demand in the letter is reasonable and justified. Some commenters are saying that the letter bears no resemblance to reality. I defer to those who have better knowledge than I.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
From: Milhizer, Eugene RAn almost identical email was sent to the students with this added announcement: "I invite you to meet with me today at 12:15 p.m. in Room 269 to discuss this important accomplishment."
Sent: Wed 2/18/2009 10:07 AM
To: All Alumni
Subject: ABA Acquiescence
I am pleased to announce that Ave Maria School of Law has received the acquiescence of the American Bar Association (ABA) to our relocation to southwest Florida. Our Law School will retain its full accreditation after it relocates. This decision is the result of careful planning and close collaboration with the ABA.
I am grateful to the ABA for the manner and speed with which it considered and approved our application and look forward to a continuing cooperative relationship. The Law School is an approved applicant for licensure by the State of Florida Commission for Independent Education. Receipt of the ABA's acquiescence is a final step in completing the licensing process.
I would like to thank all of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have been so supportive of the Law School as it has proceeded through the acquiescence process. Preparations are well underway to implement the relocation of the Law School and we look forward to a bright future in southwest Florida.
Eugene R. Milhizer
Acting Dean and Professor of Law
If you are in attendance at the meeting, please consider sharing your observations with us in the comments.
The Ave Maria School of Law has received a final blessing from the American Bar Association for its move to Southwest Florida and will relocate to Collier County from Ann Arbor, Mich., on July 1.
Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan, who sits on the boards of both Ave Maria University and the law school, served as keynote speaker for the event. Monaghan said the trials and tribulations that surrounded the sanctioning of the move are in the past now.
"We were originally going to be located on 1,600 acres near the Domino's headquarters in Michigan, but we couldn't get the zoning approval, so we decided to come to the best place in the world - Southwest Florida," said Monaghan, who founded Domino's Pizza in 1960 and once owned the Detroit Tigers.
Monaghan said many of the same problems that plagued the opening of Ave Maria University also plagued the law school's move to Naples.
"It's proved incredibly difficult," he said. "There were some faculty members who really dug in their heels and resisted the move, in addition to waging a smear-campaign in the media. With the final hurdles out of the way for the move to Florida, we're a little wounded, but the most important components are still intact."
Those components, Monaghan said, include a world-class faculty and the goal of establishing a top-tier Catholic law school.
"There's a real need to have a law school that produces ethical lawyers," Monaghan said. "Lawyers run the country, and unfortunately, most of the law schools are blatantly liberal. This country needs a school like the Ave Maria School of Law to bring God back into our courtrooms and back into society. Everything is in place for us now to become one of the finest Catholic law schools in the country, and one of the finest law schools, period."
A couple of observations:
1. The article notes that "Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan, who sits on the boards of both Ave Maria University and the law school, served as keynote speaker for the event." Can anyone say "conflict of interest"?
2. "... we decided to come to the best place in the world - Southwest Florida." Monaghan has this quirk about always using superlatives, which gets more and more unrealistic the longer you listen to him. It must be the salesman in him.
3. "Lawyers run the country, and unfortunately, most of the law schools are blatantly liberal. This country needs a school like the Ave Maria School of Law to bring God back into our courtrooms and back into society." That's an unfortunate quote, the type of quote which harms AMSL's credibility among the legal community. Monaghan needs to be more knowledgeable about AMSL's mission and needs to discuss it thoughtfully in terms of natural law and the Catholic intellectual tradition, instead of using language which is so overly simplistic and inaccurate ("Law schools are blatantly liberal!" "Bring God into the courtrooms!") But I don't think that Monaghan has the intellectual ability to articulate the mission of AMSL. It's almost proof that Monaghan didn't start AMSL himself, but that the original mission came from elsewhere (i.e., Safranek, Myers, et al.)
4. "There were some faculty members who really dug in their heels and resisted the move, in addition to waging a smear-campaign in the media." No comment from Monaghan on whether falsely accusing someone of sexual harassment is an example of a smear-campaign or not.
UPDATE: AveWatch has commentary.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Maciel deserves to be reviled by the Legionaries of Christ. By "deserves" I mean his revilement is a debt of justice owed all Catholics by the Legion. This is not on account of Maciel's sin of sexual weakness, nor even on account of the sin of denying his sexual weakness. The fact of the matter is that Maciel was publicly accused of specific sexual crimes, and that out of personal moral cowardice he enlisted honorable men and women to mortgage their own reputations in defense of his lie. The lie was the lie of Maciel's personal sanctity, which Maciel knew to be a myth, and which the fact of his bastard child (putting aside the more squalid accusations) proves that he knew. To the villainy of sacrificing the reputations of others, Maciel added the grotesque and blasphemous claim that the Holy See's sanctions were an answer to his own prayer to share more deeply in the passion of Christ, as an innocent victim made to bear the burden of false judgment in reparation for the sins of mankind. The Legion cannot share Catholic reverence for the Passion and fail to repudiate Maciel's cynicism in portraying himself as the Suffering Servant.
Yet the LC leadership persists in allotting Maciel a role of (somewhat tarnished) honor: praising him with faint damns, and suggesting that his spiritual patrimony remains valuable in spite of his personal life. This won't work.
Many of the greatest saints were repentant sinners. Yet not only did Maciel (as far as is known) go to his death without repenting, but he used wholesome Christian spirituality as a tool in the deception of others.....
Or consider a woman whose husband ingeniously hid his infidelities from her for many years. Once she realized she had been deceived, the gifts he brought back from his business trips would be understood to have been instruments in that deception. Far from cherishing the jewelry he gave her, she'd feel that the diamonds now mocked the affection and fidelity they symbolized. By the same token, Maciel's addresses will be spiritually kosher -- he was after all a highly successful deceiver. But those addresses dishonor the very truths they expound, and it's impossible that they can cause anything but distress and confusion in those who continue to feed on them.
To repeat: the fact that he was a flawed priest is not the reason for repudiating Maciel. The Mexican priest-protagonist of Graham Greene's novel The Power and the Glory was enfeebled by lust and alcoholism and despised by those he served; yet, because of his concern for souls, he kept himself in the arena of danger and died a martyr. Maciel presents Greene's image flipped on its head: he was a Mexican priest with an internationally cultivated reputation for sanctity. He lived surrounded and cosseted by admirers, and yet in reality he held divine retribution so lightly that he went to his deathbed without undeceiving those he'd taken in, leaving behind him shattered consciences and wobbly faith.
When I speak of the Legion's duty of revilement, I do not mean they should issue so many pages of rhetorical denunciation of Maciel's sexual iniquities. What is required is an unambiguous admission that Maciel deceitfully made use of holy things and holy words in order to dupe honest and pious persons into taking false positions -- sometimes slandering others in the process -- in order to reinforce the legend of his own sanctity. Since Maciel's treachery was sacrilegious in its means and in its effect, he should posthumously be repudiated as a model of priesthood and of Christian life.
Monday, February 16, 2009
UPDATE: AveWatch has posted the press release about the whistleblower case.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
It will make your head spin, though. Take this piece of rhetorical crap, for instance:
How do you explain Father Maciel’s behavior?How keenly aware that last phrase is considering the push to canonize him and legitimize themselves. Yes, he's dead, but they keep trying to bury his victims with him and that's one of the major things making them look so silly.
It’s very hard to understand. We are not able to grasp it fully, and we probably never will. It’s part of the mystery of human behavior, and involves: moral and psychological factors, circumstances, etc. It’s especially hard to mesh all the good that we knew about him with the facts that are emerging now. At any rate, he has already passed away.
Read the rest for yourself and it's pretty easy to see that none of the PR so far has stepped outside of the control box in that document.
Wait and see if it gets out that his letters were part crafted by staff writers. For more information on why anyone would staff write for him, click here.
Friday, February 13, 2009
“He is the founder and he always will be the founder of the order. That’s one of the mysteries that we all see in life is that sometimes good things come out of less than perfect human beings.”The only mystery here is how they still think the rest of us are so clueless. Check out this quote from Fr. Fichter (who left the LCs 14 years ago):
“Father Maciel was this mythical hero who was put on a pedestal and had all the answers,” Father Fichter said. “When you become a Legionarie, you have to read every letter Father Maciel ever wrote, like 15 or 16 volumes. To hear he’s been having this double life on the side, I just don’t see how they’re going to continue.”Check out Fr. Fichter's comments about the cash, too.
Another hat tip to madpriest, who dubbed it Legionaries Disease from the 4th as well. (comments there are worth a glance: " a double life? he was a bisexual priest, right? ... at least." And another that explains that they aren't so much powerful as they take advantage of the priest shortage to be available.)
What is literally amazing, however, is that although Regnum Christi claims to have 70,000 members, and there are 1300 seminarians, you see no evidence of them discussing their surprise, shock and dismay on the internets anywhere. The deafening silence does seem to implicate the whole controlled speech thing and fear of saying the wrong message -- even despite Fr. Berg's admonition that they should. at pt. 4. (why would he have to write they were "free" to talk to anyone if they weren't controlled? and why was it "embargoed" if this is all transparent?).
Surely they'd have some open discussion among 70,000 people if they weren't afraid to talk or if they were truly surprised. 70,000.
Be sure to also check out this piece about ZENIT so that you read their releases eyes wide open.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Surely they'd jest. But they don't. The image must still be conveyed and that image is that Maciel is boss, we are all perfect, and we must advance our mission by any means. Today those means are trying to mitigate their loss to one man and a flurry of PR designed to make most people think they are dealing with it, and that they can reform themselves (as if Legionnaires disease could cure itself).
Their Superior General, Fr. Alvaro writes a letter to them that is totally devoid of any mention of the cause of their suffering. That means anybody could insert whatever cause they want into it. Given what is said elsewhere, you can read that letter with the mind of an RC and see that his letter only continues to feed the delusion that the accusations are from devil people and Maciel is OK. Just a few years ago, in 2002 Maciel posted this statement to ABC News in which he expressed loving concern and basically made off like these false accusations were terribly hurting him. He twisted the whole mess back onto the men victimized and made them look crazy. Note the utter lie:
"before God and with total clarity of conscience I can categorically state that the accusations brought against me are false. I never engaged in the sort of repulsive behavior these men accuse me of, and nothing could be further from my way of dealing with others, as is evident to any of the thousands of legionaries who knows me."Reread that statement again and this time realize that Maciel said this in 2002. Oh. And in case you think this mess was just about pedophilia and having children to mistresses, there were charges of drug use, not keeping the "military self discipline" always ascribed to him by the Regnum folks, and not saying his priestly office or following the orders own rules back in 1954. FUMARE linked to these docs in this post of Feb 3.
Lies, distortions, exaggerations, and deformations of the facts, are “habitual” with Fr. Maciel. The writer was Fr. Maciel's personal secretary for five years. On one occasion when I tried to point this out to him, [he said to me] that [I] was too naive and did not know how Superiores were supposed to act.(link to whole doc) deformations of the facts. nice. from 1954. And, he already had that "attack the reasonable critic" thing down pretty sick by then. Imagine how refined such tactics had become 50 years later! Given his response above, lies, distortions, and deformations of fact were obviously still a habit to Maciel.
That doesn't even really get into the stupefying drugs part, but you can read that for yourself. The point here is that 50 years of a cult centered around focusing on him and everybody was shocked? Had they never heard of ReGain, exlcblog, and all of the others? Surely they knew of the accusations because you can read the RC and LC comments on these things. I say surely because they were quick to label the kid from the Cheshire video as a "hypochodriac."
Maciel taught them how to dispose of criticism, though. People who criticize the Legion are obviously just bitter they weren't good enough to be one. They are possessed. It is proof that they are God's chosen apostolate. etc... 50 years. 50 years of entrenched "deformations of fact".
Thales post singled out a line: "Lord, help us to adhere totally to the charism you inspired in our founder." What is the charism you ask? I tell you it is precisely what that personal secretary said in 1954: Their charism (habit) is: "deformation of facts to project a positive image and achieve Legion goals. (ends justify our means)." Some might call that fraud, and in fact I've heard some say that through the years that fraud seems to be their thing. Think about it. Why do all the LC priests look alike? Why do they have a synthetic mannerism about them? Image. They have to present the image that gets money in the door and advances the "movement."
Matt Abbott said last December that the "Legion had lost it" in its fight with Fr. Eutenuer of HLI. I say Matt was wrong -- the Legion did exactly what it set out to do -- make nice with Sean Hannity and secure their in roads at FOX. Moreover, the LC had to start making moves against HLI because LC/RC apostolates are becoming the front of the pro-life and Walk for Life movements. $$$$$
Were you swindled into a free viewing of that paper-thin movie Bella? They knock you for a donation and then tried to guilt you into paying for a full line theater ticket again? Once was enough for that crappy movie. But that's how they work.
It's a disease, and it needs to be eradicated from the body of Christ.
Pay attention to the press releases coming out of the LC. It's a menagerie of controlled statements -- this priest Berg professes "outrage" and wants an internal investigation. But pay attention to his letter, he wants the group preserved, and he wants the investigation to be handled by controlled means. That's like telling the robbers to turn the lights off on their way out.
Even the PR term being spun by the LC/RC of a "double life" -- that's how the Atlanta territorial director who leaked it spun it. Double life is crap -- 50 years worth? really? They say he shuttled funds to the women. He didn't reach in his pocket and pull cash out. He had to tap funds managed by accountants. They didn't notice?
The regnum christi member running the National Catholic Register, Tim Hoopes, was allowed to speak publicly on the matter -- he had to because the NCR is subscriber based. Antyhing less than a total recant on his part might affect income. $$$$ image control, you see.
And then the FOX News priest and the Rome correspondent priest showed up on the World Over. Even the timing of the "leak" is suspect to be timed on the wake of the Bishop Williamson mess. (see one theory here)
If you think this isn't orchestrated and carefully controlled process to control your emotions and reactions to them, you're nuts.
None of them suggest doing what Weigel's first things article really suggests which is an investigation by a guy apart from the "system" because 50 years of cover ups shows that the LC's are skilled at gaming the system.
The only upside to this is that its very easy to find LC/RC tools in the Catholic media these days.
All of the LC/RC PR have the surprise, shock, and even outrage, that show all of the synthetic emotions so that people can find whatever they are looking for, preserve income and operations, and keep the $$ moving in the movement, EXCEPT for a sincere expression of reform and an allowance for a process to reform them that might not be under their control.
This isn't some little problem contained in the life of Maciel -- it's a whole way of thinking and a charism he gave to an entire order. Kill the disease before it gets into the brain of the whole. Oh wait...
UPDATE: Baptists agree on the orchestration of LC/RC PR (btw... doesn't the LC logo look a lot like the Legatus one?)
.... Lord Jesus, you have entrusted to us the mission of furthering the Legion and Regnum Christi... This mission comes to us as an utterly free, unforeseen, mysterious reality, out of all proportion to our abilities.This prayer illustrates the extent to which the Legion is wrapped up in Maciel's legacy. I don't know how a community can continue honoring the "spirit" or "charism" of Maciel, or look to Maciel as the one who has "made known" the traditions and lifestyle of the Legion, now considering Maciel's double life and his utter rejection of the "spirit" of the Legion. Simply taking Maciel's picture off the wall and stopping celebrations of Maciel's birthday and baptism day is not going to correct this problem in the internal workings of the Legion.
Since the Legion and the Movement will be vigorous and will flourish as long as the spirit of our founder is present and active in our lives and behavior, we ask you to open our eyes to the urgency of learning, assimilating and passing on the doctrine, spirit, apostolic methods, genuine traditions, discipline and lifestyle of the Legion and Regnum Christi, just as our founder has made them known to us, since this is our responsibility.
Lord, help us to adhere totally to the charism you inspired in our
... we ask from you what you ask of us: faith, great faith in your work, love for it, trust in its mission, docility, loyal collaboration, humility, a sense of responsibility, and fidelity. Amen.
UPDATE: From Vatican II's Perfectae Caritatis, the Council's decree on religious life:
2. The adaptation and renewal of the religious life includes both the constant return to the sources of all Christian life and to the original spirit of the institutes and their adaptation to the changed conditions of our time. This renewal, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Church, must be advanced according to the following principles:I don't know how the Legion can do that any more. That is why a dissolution and a refounding is necessary, in my opinion.
a) Since the ultimate norm of the religious life is the following of Christ set forth in the Gospels, let this be held by all institutes as the highest rule.
b) It redounds to the good of the Church that institutes have their own particular characteristics and work. Therefore let their founders' spirit and special aims they set before them as well as their sound traditions-all of which make up the patrimony of each institute-be faithfully held in honor.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
After considering Grisez's article posted by Thales concerning the situation of the LCs, I saw parallels to the situation at Ave Maria. Namely, here was Maciel who it is beyond contention had power to distribute and a society of people under religious vows to obedience and non disparagement of him. It really is the religious equivalent of what Monaghan appears to demand from his henchmen. After all, if you so much as question Monaghan, the people around you accuse you of sin. The only difference with the LCs is that they had the power of construing the vows to implicate you. Not only do you get labeled as a sinner, and uncharitable, but both of these organizations make regular practice of calling criticism, however reasonable it may be, as the devil's work and the people who question, as possessed or agents of Satan against their great work.
What's scary is that while the Ave world seems pretty closed, the LC world is far more closed. At least with Ave you could go to some parish outside of it and escape. For the people in Maciel's Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi to some extent, you have no outside escape! The LC priest is contained entirely. RC people suffer loss of social groupings, their priests, and assistance.
Troubled with the apparent similarities, I turned to an old and trusty practical guide on the catechism handed down to me. Unlike the modern catechism which approaches a bit too abstractly and from the clouds, this catechism is a nuts and bolts "how to" guide with some very pragmatic and practical examples. I looked up authority and got several pages about the responsibilities of direct and apparent authority.
This paragraph struck me most:
[...]The common weal, not the benefit of a single individual, or a few, should be their object, and they should be ready generously to sacrifice their own interests for the good of their subjects. [...] Those who are in authority must beware of acting unjustly, or of allowing themselves to be corrupted by bribes (Ex. 23:8). They must not favor the rich and powerful, and be induced to give unjust judgment, as was the unhappy Pilate. [...] [In the end, despite his attempts to placate, Pilate nonetheless got what he was afraid of anyway as he was banished to France].So much for the leader. That section not only tells the story of the Florida move and what happened to the college and the law school (whose interests were being demanded to be served???) but it doesn't really discuss the phenomenon around the bad leader. Then I saw this section (referred to from the above) on dissemblance, lying, and flattery (nice).
Those are hypocrites whose lives are far from irreproachable. To feign sanctity in this manner is worse than to sin openly. They are like Satan, who can assume the form of an angel of light. Some appear very devout, they cross themselves and smite their breasts, but all the while, their thoughts are very far away; they are dissemblers. [for the teens and low LSATs, dissemblers = fakers]Palliate his misdeeds. Palliate. 1. make a disease or its symptoms less severe without removing the cause. 2. allay or moderate. 3. disguise the seriousness or gravity of an offense.
Flattery consists of praising another immodestly to his face, against one's conviction, for the sake of advantage.
[...]The flatterer seeks his own advantage. He is like a cat which purrs, and the dog which fawns on his master to get a piece of meat. Crafty people cringe to others if they think anything can be gained. FLATTERERS FREQUENT THE PRESENCE OF THE RICH, for from the poor they can get nothing [...]
Flatterers praise immoderately, i.e., they ascribe excellences in a man which he does not possess, or they exaggerate his good qualities and palliate his misdeeds.
They are dangerous acquaintances, because they hide a man's faults, instead of endeavoring, as a true friend would, to correct them. It is a matter of indifference to them whether they do harm or good, if they only get themselves a favor [...] Flattery feeds sin as oil feeds a flame: it is a nursery of vice.In this way FUMARE has done far more good for and been better friends to Monaghan than his henchmen. Monaghan doesn't want friends, though, he wants flatterers and dissemblers in order to preserve his public perception of being an angel of light, in this author's opinion.
So much for the familiar. Considering the reactions and dissembly of the LC since the evidence became irrefutable, it's obvious that, in this blogger's opinion, they are far more corrupted than what we've seen from the Moneyhand™ empire. Perhaps that's why they have all the same friends between them and seem to have very similar methods of dealing with public discovery of their sins. For years, the LC has outright denied and destroyed people bringing complaints. Sort of like how things work in the Moneyhand empire.
To consider what it means for the LC situation, imagine if tomorrow Monaghan was gone... do you think the empire would be clean and wholesome immediately? Hasn't his insistence on flatterers and dissemblers caused the problem to be systemic?
Now take that same systemic problem and wrap it in the brutality of the nondisclosure, nondisparagement settlements typical of the Moneyhand empire and consider that the LCs don't wait until you are leaving, but get the same agreements up front in a religious vow. How much more ingrained is that mess!
Moreover, consider how they treat people who leave: with ridicule, detraction, and calumny. They destroy the person. (and then preach on human dignity and parade their acts of PR charity) Dissenters and terrorists are what Mongahan called them. The Legionaries call their people hypochodriacs, imbalanced, and the like. Birds of a feather.
Considering all of this, it almost seems to me like Grisez's suggestions are a bit too light. but as far as the title of this post, it's obvious that Monaghan's reliance on palliation puts him in the same place as those getting palliative care in hospice: the disease isn't cured and the patient just dies with a happy morphine smile. So it is with these leaders that the flattery is the deodorant for the stench of corruption.
It is apparent that Grisez is trying to be a friend. But like FUMARE, he'll get thrown under the bus for it.
Just like we see happening with the Moneyhand™ Empire, without a true routing of the corruption, the LCs will rot from the inside unless something like Grisez's (or more) suggestion isn't headed.
Monday, February 09, 2009
"Last year in the Ann Arbor Business Review (link here) dated December 11, 2008, Monaghan was interviewed. Besides his usual whining that we persecuted him here, he, with the other side of his mouth talks about the most beautiful office building we let him build with a golden urinal he claims he never used but President Ford did. Anyway, beside his duplicity, he says that as of that date, only 250 homes had been sold in Ave Maria town down there in Florida. 250. Wasn't he telling you people that he expected to sell 1000 by close of 2007? he's a year late with only 25% of year old projections, and yet that guy says,
"If I wasn't in the pizza business, I think I would have liked to have been a developer.""The gall of that man is incredible. He blames us for his bad real estate practices. Thank you FUMARE for calling a spade a spade. I'm tired of being called this man's devil.
"I also want to point out to you people that there is evidence of people being on the take down there from his own mouth:
"We also picked the worst possible time to build buildings. We had hurricanes and booming growth - you just couldn't get the subcontractors. We ended up paying double over a three-year period from what our original bids came in at. We had to cut back on what we build - we still don't have a gymnasium.""paying double? Is he for real? They didn't pay double total cost. he paid double what he thought he'd have to from his own pocket. that's because he didn't sell what he thought he would. So he had to pay twice what he expected to come out of his own pocket.
"And yet he says he wanted to be a developer. Either he is an incompetent boob or a liar, but I'm surprised he thinks anybody believes what he says. Thank you for putting the numbers up there, but I thought you'd appreciate the actual numbers from the horse's mouth."
"Thanks Harold... we'll keep you posted."
I think Harold's point are interesting. I also think that paying double what the bid price was could mean changes (say going from a crystal cathedral to a stone facing), or mean that they didn't have good bids (suppressed in order to make the real estate profits look higher?). But in claiming that the amount of buildings was less than what they projected, but still paid twice, does that mean they got less than half of what they thought?
I also like how Harold picks up on the fact that Monaghan is playing developer right now and did in Michigan. So far, in both places, it's not going well. So AMSOL is nothing more than a piece to be pplayed in Monaghan's hobbies?
An what's up with the urinal comments from Monaghan? Do you really believe he never used it?
Sunday, February 08, 2009
For the zip code or google challenged, zip 34142 covers Ave Maria, FL. roughly 290 sales in 2007. roughly 105 in 2008. One third. Yeah, that endowment is just soaring!!! Some may have forgotten that there were supposed to be about 1000 sold by close of 2007. Not only are sales down, but the price in zip 34142 (sorry no graphic for this), is down 33%. So in order for the endowment to grow at the predicted rate, the projections have to be increased by roughly 50%. The 33% reduction in price is not a 33% reduction cost after all.
But everything is fine! I wonder if KO had even looked at such stats before she listened to all that glossy swag Monaghan whipped out on her?
this next chart is for all of Collier County. It sort of shows that Monaghan's dreams of catching the housing bubble burst the sales bubble.
This next image makes me glad I am not a 20-something guy living in Ave Maria... ummm guys:gals(in the twenty something) is 5:1... Talk about slim pickins.. eesh.
UPDATE: update moved to separate post.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Back in 2002, the local television station to the Cheshire seminary (home base) of the LCs ran this investigative report:
NOTICE the tactics: 1. deny any allegations. 2. if something is irrefutable, minimize it and ridicule the source (he is a hypocondriac). (anybody remember the academic terrorist comment? Or how about N.C. Dollarbranski's initial denial of the existence of the Falvey report?)
In hindsight, pay attention to the comments about the investigation:
this film raises questions about it all, too (but they also have people who allege sexual misconduct) but I think they are a little late with the film content and need to update the comment about hoping the pope would come right out about the pedophilia (they did that already):
It's interesting to see them milk the LC propaganda that JPII loved them (which really is propaganda, especially if you pay attention to the way JPII qualified what he said)
Friday, February 06, 2009
You and all your good and faithful confreres share a common good that includes realities of great value: your communio with one another, your experience and habits of working together, and material means of carrying on your common service and life. All that should be protected, salvaged, and, if possible, kept intact. I do not think that good end can be realized by the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and its present leadership.
Sex-abuse involving diocesan clerics and members of religious institutes has been dealt with up to now solely by sanctions against those guilty of abusive activities and by measures to prevent such activities. The bishops, religious superiors, and others who were guilty - of complicity in such wrongdoing, lying about it, irresponsibility toward victims, and so on - have in general not honestly admitted, much less rectified, what they did and failed to do. For that reason, the injury to the Church continues to fester. Still, those past experiences might seem to some Legionaries to provide a model by which your present plight can be overcome.
That would be a grave mistake for two reasons.
First, no matter how corrupt the hierarchy may be, faithful Catholics cannot do without it, but we can do without any particular religious institute. Everyone realizes that Father Maciel's double life required the complicity of associates, some of whom surely are still members of the institute, and some of whom probably are functioning as superiors. Unless those who shared in the betrayal are identified and faithful Legionaries cleanly separate from them, the latter group's common good will not continue receiving the support of faithful Catholics, and will not be preserved.
Second, when a bishop dies, the diocese's priests cease cooperating with him. But even after the death of an institute's saintly founder, its members' service and life continue as cooperation with him or her. Regardless of Father Maciel's subjective moral responsibility - which only God knows - the evidence of his objective betrayal of his commitment makes it impossible for you and other good and faithful Legionaries any longer to carry on your service and life as cooperation with him. Unless you and your confreres proceed as quickly as possible to terminate the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and reorganize yourselves into a new institute, the common good you now share will begin to decompose: very few new men will join you, many in formation will leave, some professed members will separate, and the collaboration and support of the lay faithful will shrink.
Kate O'Beirne: "an accomplice who persuades others to buy goods from a manipulative self-aggrandizing salesman."
AveWatch has part three of her deposition transcript here.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Now there is much more reason to be leery about the LC/RC. Though the particular details are still unclear and there is undoubtedly more to come, it is reported that Fr. Maciel, the founder of the LC/RC who died last year, did not live a wholly virtuous life, had a mistress, and fathered at least one child. American Papist has all the details and a good round-up of reactions to the news here. The Legion's response is that the news is "surprising" and "difficult to understand" and that there were aspects of Maciel's life "that weren't appropriate for a Catholic priest."
Now over the years, there have been many reports of questionable conduct on the part of Maciel, but too often, they have been dismissed as calumny made by disgruntled former LC members. (Hmm, where have I heard that characterization before?) Some of these reports include allegations of pedophilia, excessive use of drugs, lack of a daily prayer life, lack of a spirit of poverty and humility, and a propensity to lie, among other things. These reports seem more credible now. These allegations about Maciel's behavior are coupled with the allegations that LC/RC is a group that is highly controlling, highly secretive, and in excessive adoration of its founder, Maciel - that the group is, in short, cult-like.
I should say that I know that much good has come about from the LC/RC and that many members of the LC/RC are faithful members of the Catholic Church who are committed to truth and holiness. But these new revelations of Maciel's unholy lifestyle raise some important questions: What is the future of the LC/RC?
In my opinion, even though I recognize that there are many good people doing God's work in the LC/RC, I think that the whole organization should be dissolved. The LC/RC is just too closely connected with Maciel at every level, in its mission, its vision, its structure, its institutional writings and teachings. For other orders, such as the Jesuits and Franciscans, no matter how wacky its members get, the organization is founded by true saints, who are examples of holiness and who have imparted holy teachings and writings to its followers. This cannot be said of the LC/RC. A mere reform of the LC/RC is not possible, because there is no solid foundation to which the organization can return by means of a reform. If there is a willingness to continue a community among current LC/RC members, there should be a clean break, and the members should create a new organization, with a new mission and new structure.
UPDATE: Nice to see that I'm thinking along the same lines as canon lawyer extraordinaire Ed Peters. Check out his opinion on the future of the LC/RC:
The Legion should (if it can, and I'm not sure it has the self-possession to do this) identify every official who knew of Maciel's canonical crimes or who suspected them, but did nothing (let alone cooperated with them!) and expel them under 1983 CIC 696. Canonical crimes by a number of persons might well have been committed here (see e.g. 1983 CIC 1389); these should be pursued.
. . . . .
The Legion could survive, of course. How, I don't know yet. How do priests live the 'charism' of Maciel? How can a religious institute disavow (as the Legion must eventually) its founder but at the same time carry on his work? It's too bizarre to think about.
But another thing could happen here: the Legion could dissolve itself. Hear me out.
The Legion will never outlive the ignominy of having been founded and entirely shaped by Maciel, and the Nixonesque mentality of Legion leadership saps any credibility the organization qua organization might enjoy. So, what is there to build on?
As I see it, the only, or at least the main, strength the Legion retains is its many good priests . . . .
. . . .the other LC priests who might wish to remain together could dissolve the Legion, and reconstitute themselves as a new institute under a dramatically new form of governance (not simply with the correction of some strange points in the Legion rule as occurred under Benedict XVI) and with a substantially new charism.
But everything that came from Maciel must be chucked. Absolutely everything. Starting fresh means starting from scratch. If that sounds like an 'impossible' solution, well, I can only say, I find it 'impossible' that the Legion has landed itself in such a massive and unprecedented debacle as this one in the first place.
A. When was the LC founded?
B. Who founded the LC?
C. Did Fr. Maciel really demand unquestioned obedience--to the point of violating the natural law--and the occasional [fill in the blank]-job from his seminarians?
D. Did Fr. Maciel have something other than spiritual children?
If you answered C. and D. you are correct. Uncle Di has more here. Madrid has some here.
It is incredibly discouraging to see O'Beirne, who was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the governance of Ave Maria as an independent Catholic law school, fail so completely in her duty.
Monday, February 02, 2009
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