Monday, February 16, 2009

When Scoundrels Seem Faithful

The Legion of Christ has been known as a supposedly magisterial order, faithful to the pope and to the the teachings of the Church. This makes the current scandal of their founder's evil deeds more shocking--after all, wasn't he doing so much good?

Con men and scoundrels will often do good, in order to do evil. It is a good strategy to put on the mask of piety, if one wants to defraud or debauch.

Years ago, when I was in seminary, there was another seminarian in my class who was somewhat famous as a visionary, a seer of visions of the Virgin Mary. I remember elderly ladies gushing about what a saintly young man he was. He would sit entranced during the daily holy hour, and those sitting near him would sometimes smell roses as he prayed.

He was thrown out for homosexual behavior, and was later arrested for child pornography, and is now serving time in jail. A thoroughly dishonest man, playing us all for fools, but in conversation as earnest and saintly and orthodox a man as you could want.

The dishonest will use orthodoxy as an angle, a way to take advantage of pious people. It happens all the time.

How can you guard against it? You can be as wise as a serpent. Suspect those who offer you spiritual goods, especially if they do it in a way that magnifies themselves. The genuine spiritual father or mother will not ever point to self, but only and always to Christ.

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