Friday, December 27, 2013

The Shape Of Reform

Consider the following items.

First, there's the Legion of Christ. Despite whatever good folk might be or have been affiliated with it, this does not change the fact that it was the source of all sorts of horrors ranging from the sexual abuse of seminarians to fornication to theft. It's also known that the Legion had powerful defenders in the Vatican, most notably Cardinal Sodano. Pope Benedict began the dismantling of the Legion when he ordered an apostolic visitation back in 2009.

The process is still ongoing, as this article illustrates. Make sure you read the whole thing.

Second, there's the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. This group has had no scandals until recently, when a percentage of a percentage of the membership complained to the Vatican. I don't mention what the complaints were because it's all very confusing, nobody seems to know exactly what the deal is or was. I feel comfortable saying that the charges don't arise to the level of molesting prospective priests.

Rorate has been covering the story. So that nobody accuses me of taking particular sides, I offer an alternative perspective on the events from Catholic World Report.

This post isn't about taking sides. It's about a study in contrasts. For example, the FFI were subjected to closure of their seminary and a suspension of all ordinations for a year. As Tancred reports, they seem to be getting squeezed out of existence. The LOC? Nothing of the sort. In fact, they are losing members due to the fact that so many feel that the needed reforms will never come.

So we must ask ourselves. Why the deliberate pace for one, while the other is immediately put on the cusp of suppression without nearly the same level of investigation? Is it simply because of their relative sizes? If the LOC is that unmanageable, is it wise to be expending the resources being used against the FFI? Why not dedicate all hands on deck to reforming the LOC? They are losing members due to the current snails-pace.

It seems the real lesson in all this is that not all reforms are created equal. It's anyone's guess how much the Holy Father actually knows about what is going on, regardless of who makes claims about what is done in his name and by his order. The Curia are still in charge. The wolves will not be slain easily.


BONIFACE said...

This is a wonderful observation...when we complain about the pace of reform and conservatives point to this document or that gesture and say 'The Church is trying!', we can point to things like the FOI as evidence that reform can happen tremendously swift and powerful - IF the Church wants it to.

Throwback said...

Absolutely. It has ever been the case. Granted, with the parties of dissent, they have little regard for the unity of the Church and so feel free to threaten schism and other such scandals.

Parties like the FFI will be docile and shoulder their cross with humility.

Should it matter that a de facto schism is made de jure? I used to think that it did. Not so much now.