Thursday, June 24, 2010

48 hours

I try to remain positive. It’s good for my health. But every once in a while I am forced to face the facts and let it all out. Today I am going to vent.

As I said in another post, one of my all time favorite movies is Crash. Here are the opening lines that set the tone of the drama.

“It’s the sense of touch”.
“What…”
“Any real city, you walk, you’re bumped, brush past people.
In LA, no one touches you.
We’re always behind metal and glass.
Think we miss that touch so much,
we crash into each other just to feel something.”

Read that again, but this time where it says LA, put LC. I call that a mask.

As you know I received a very positive response from my local bishop. That was Monday. Today is Thursday. I let the news sink in, and simply spent the rest of that day in bliss. On Tuesday morning, at 10:00, I fired off an email to my superiors (DG, DT, local, and one other). Four recipients. It basically had two parts. First, I related what had happened in my meeting and asked them to cooperate in expediating things. Second, I sounded off at how things are coming to an end for me in the legion, and as time runs out, there really is no way to show me, not in word, but deeds, that they are truly sorry for having treated me badly, especially in the past weeks. I was harsh, I admit. Probably didn’t make things any better. Probably foolish to vent my feelings at this stage of the game.

I fired it off at 10:00 on Tuesday.
It is now 10:00 on Thursday. A full 48 hours has past. Silence.

During the day on Tuesday, I kept my eyes glued to the screen, waiting for a response. I went to bed disappointed.

Yesterday I did the same. And as the hours went by and my inbox remained empty, a word began to form on my lips. At first I didn’t want to say it out loud. By dusk, every time I glanced at my inbox, I muttered under my breath, “Cowards!”

What was I waiting for? Anything!

And here is my point. I have tried for years to get through to them. I have tried longsuffering. I have tried dialogue with charitable words. I have tried crashing head on just to provoke a response, but it is all just so useless. “Cowards!”

They may think there is valor in their way of dealing with the situation of the Legion. They may think there is valor in treating individuals with silence. I call it cowardice.

What kind of response was I waiting for? Let me answer that with a translation of the email I sent to them this morning.

Dear Frs.
“It has been a full 48 hours since I sent this email and I am truly saddened that no one has responded in any way.
“I had expected, and eagerly waited for something like, “What great news! You have my support. Or course I’ll help you.” Or even, “I don’t think _______ will be a good place for you. I think your email was too harsh.” Anything would have been good.
“But I am saddened by the silence.
“I have done my best to be open. I have tried to provoke dialogue. But the only thing I have gotten in response is silence, and when you do speak to me, they are just cliché, well thought out responses that only serve to protect the image of the legion and the image of the superiors.
“I am truly saddened that there is no sincerity on your part. I, for my part, have tried to be open and sincere, even at this late hour hoping to rescue some kind of human relationship and not part ways as enemies, even if it means crashing head on to make it happen.
“I am truly saddened by your silence. I am resigned to the fact: I am never going to find out what lay behind these shadows in black cassocks.”

==== UPDATE ====
12:00 PM - 50 hours. Silence.
How long do you think it will take till I get a response? Any wagers?
==== UPDATE ====
2:00 PM - 52 hours. Silence.
==== UPDATE ====
4:00 PM - 54 hours and counting. This is getting fun.
==== UPDATE ====
10:00 PM - 60 hours and I'm getting sleepy. See you tomorrow.
==== UPDATE 6/25/2010 ====
8:00 AM - What is it now? 70 hours and no response?
==== UPDATE 6/25/2010 ====
9:35 AM - Local superior said, "I didn't respond because it is out of my hands." One down, three to go.
==== UPDATE 6/25/2010 ====
11:09 AM - DT responded: I was in cursillo, no PC or cell allowed, yesterday had meetings all day. I'm not excusing myself. Really sad you are suffering. Sorry to see you are interpreting things this way.I respect your decision, especially since you suffered so much. If I can help with anything just let me know.
==== UPDATE 6/26/2010 ====
11:26 AM DG responded, pretty much a standard response, void of content, not responding to specifics I had written. Case closed. Don't beat a dead horse.

35 comments:

  1. Fr Jack, I hope you, and all the other LC who are in the process of leaving right now, or have left, know that there are so many people who support you and pray for you, and are looking forward to all the best ahead for you, including many many RC members.

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  2. Okay Father. I'm going to challenge you a little but i offer it as a challenge in the manner that love challenges, not as critique. What exactly was your expectation when you fired off your original email? your second email? Why do you want to 'provoke' conversation or any type of response? Can you identify any attachments in your desire for response? You can trust i know about the brick walls and blank stares of Legionaries. Might i share something with you? My healing began when i stopped trying to change them. The first opening was when my gaze shifted from what the LC were doing/not doing, to what Jesus is doing. We know of Jesus' transforming presence, but there are a lot of people in His time [think Pharisees] and today [you fill in the blank] who do not want to be transformed. If we look carefully, we see that Jesus really didn't spend a lot of time nor energy on those who refuse transformation. He left them in the hands of the Father, and moved on. Yes, he was saddened. Yes, he was frustrated. Yes, he hoped for something different. But, he didn't wait 48 hours. Do we have the maturity of faith and person to act similarly? LC response or lack thereof cannot be an issue for you. I think among your strongest temptations just now is to keep looking at LC, thereby causing confusion, frustration, and hurt. You've made a decision. Leaving the Legion means you leave them, not change them. Conversion is turning away from one thing AND turning toward the new. Yes, there is process, but it is only process. You'll get through it. The Lord has brought you this far so it is very unlikely He will fail to fulfill his hopes in you. The invitation from the Holy Spirit is to shift your gaze and grow toward Jesus.

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  3. Dear Carol,
    I accept your challenge, and I agree with you 100%. I am living my life for Christ alone, and because of that, my priestly heart cannot help but long to bring back stray sheep. Jesus never stopped hoping for Judas. He called him "Friend", even as he was being kissed.

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  4. Just another thought. This isn't painful. I'm updating my post counting the hours it will take for a response. I'm actually having fun with this. Any wagers?

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  5. Father, I know this is hurtful for you. If it helps, maybe you can keep this in mind. You have been blessed with a healthy conscience and a healthy sense of self. It has taken a beating under the LC life, but it has survived, Thank God! Your superiors are not so blessed. You use the word "Coward", I prefer to describe them as "weak", they're weaker than you. It's sad, but true. You have opted to live in the truth, they have not.

    Hang in there. As I pray for you, I'll pray for these weaker souls as well.

    "Gladys"

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  6. Fr Jack,

    There is nothing wrong with wanting closure. It is actually quite healthy and mature. If you get it, amen! You will have some peace of mind. If, however, you do not, well it reconfirms your reasons for departure.

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  7. Fr, Jack.

    Mom asked me to post the following:

    DO IT ANYWAY

    People are often unreasonable,
    illogical and self-centered;
    Forgive them anyway.

    If your are successful,
    you will win some false friends and true enemies;
    Succeed anyway.

    If you are honest and frank,
    people may cheat you;
    Be honest anyway.

    What you spend years building,
    someone could destroy overnight;
    Build anyway.

    If you find serenity and happiness,
    they may be jealous;
    Be happy anyway.

    The good you do today,
    people will often forget tomorrow;
    Do good anyway.

    Give the world the best you have,
    and it may never be enough;
    Give the world the best you've got anyway.

    You see, in the final analysis,
    it is between you and God;
    It was never between you and them anyway.

    Mother Teresa
    1910-1997

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  8. This is more than just dealing with weak people. No priest is ordained without being accountable to someone, an order, a bishop. Many will not walk away (other than in the face of immediate harm) until that responsibility is shifted even temporarily. Weak people should never hold that kind of responsibility in their hands. But Fr. Maciel benefited from giving weak people precisely those responsibilities.

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  9. You know, Father Jack, back when you sent your email the Isner-Mahut tennis match was just starting. And that only took 3 days.

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  10. Fr. Jack, your experience highlights why it is so important for the delegate to come in and offer incardination to any LC who wants to leave. I sincerely hope and pray that your superiors are not hell-bent on delaying your move. [pun intended]

    I will offer my Mass tomorrow for a speedy and uneventful transition from here on out.

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  11. I hope you prepare yourself for the inevitable chastisement wherein they will simply sigh and say that you were not LC material after all. Pfft.....done with you.

    Make sure that you let other LC's in your group know the TRUTH!

    Hang in there. You are in our prayers!

    ATL Granny

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  12. Fr. Jack I know exactly how you feel. Since 2001 I have been in correspondence with the Legion regarding abuses. They are notoriously slow.

    They are of course up to their eye balls at the moment and will not be priorising your departure.

    I wrote a letter to Alvaro in December last year and got a direct reply from him in May this year.

    It will take weeks so just forget about it, yet I know how hard that is. There will NOT be anything immediate in their treament of you so don't depend on it.

    I would suggest you send a copy of your correspondence to them to your Bishop also, making sure the LC see clearly he is receiving it.

    In some cases the Legion has purposefully taken years to help LC priests exit either to incardinate in other diocese or to leave.

    This is unfortunate, but we could hardly expect charity or concern from a work of Maciel, who was greatly paranoid and saw those who left as people who abandoned HIM (perhaps realted to his father's disdain for him?)

    Perhaps you could make a distinction between a pastoral response from the LC and an administrative response. Which do you need, which are you expecting?

    Your frustration and your urgency niggle at me to think you require some pastoral help, some personal attention. Look for it, but not from the Legion.

    I know this is not easy for any of us, but know that you are not alone.

    I would also be reluctant to share my feelings with them.

    If you have time to spare, why not visit a monastery for a few days? Or family? Something different?

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  13. PS - The Archdiocese of Denver has incardinated several LC priests and taken in some LC seminarians and ordained them into his Archdiocese. It has experience in this regard and their practical and pastoral advice may be useful.
    Contact Archbishop Chaput perhaps?:
    shepherd@archden.org

    Oh, he was an Apostolic Visitor of the Legion as well.

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  14. Hi father.

    I have no idea who you are, I'm Fr Cathal Deveney. I left the Legion back in February of this year. At the moment, I am serving Christ and His Church in the parish of Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Archdiocese of Armagh. I am very happy as a curate in a parish and thank God for the opportunity that He has given me to serve His people. I do not regret for one moment having left the Legion. A well intentioned Legionary priest painted a kind of horror story of what the future would hold in diocesan life. Of course, he was so wrong!

    Life is so much more beautiful and a lot more simple. It is the way it ought to be.

    I can only say, that I hope things work out for you sooner rather than later. The sooner you get away and the sooner you'll feel more at peace and enjoy the freedom of serving Christ with great serenity.

    I am learning so much. The people are great. The priests are very friendly. I am suprised by the goodness that I have found.

    God bless,

    Fr. Cathal Deveney, Ph.D.

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  15. Fr Cathal,
    Thank you for the encouragement. I am so looking forward to getting out into a parish and living a real priestly life.
    BTW, you do know me. We were together in Dublin in 91-92. Surprise!
    I am confidente that, if the LC takes too long to respond, my bishop will place me in a parish. He knows what I am going through and is willing to help.

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  16. Silence hit me smack in the face to Fr. when I left RC. My closest friend, in and out of RC, took a full month to respond to me and then that didn't go so well. My SG also met me with silence initially, when I inquired why, after some time, she did respond with a very beautiful, touching, and accepting email. She was just tied up with numerous things and couldn't give it proper attention immediately. I must admit that I too have been silent with some of my former superiors too. After the experience, I went through mentioned earlier, I just kind of went into protective mode, but it is on my list of things to do. Hope you get the response you deserve, but also brace yourself because it may not go as you hope!

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  17. Father,

    I suppose we all have surprises. I am not surprised. I think it only natural that many priests in the Legion will discern that God is calling them to serve His Church in a diocese. How could it be any other way given all the things that have taken place.

    We were idealistic and, the hardest thing, I suppose, is to realise that what one thought was true is not. The things I thought were real, many of them were false.

    We were idealistic - we still have a great desire to serve Christ and the Church. I found out about what the founder had done back in July of 2009. I found out because I asked Fr Julio what he meant when he said that the founder had certain "desviaciones sexuales."

    Thanks be to God for the Holy Father's clear and determined handling of the situation. I thank him for the communiqué as I believe it is so clear and sets out a change in heart that the congregation must embrace if it is to survive. I don't know what the future holds for the Legion of Christ. I care about the Legionaries of Christ and pray that they will all find peace and happiness in the truth. I hope that they will let themselves be guided my the Holy Father and not by sentiments of "filial affection" for the founder.

    God bless and I hope you will be in touch.

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  18. Silence is a form of controlling others. I have used it at times with my husband or family - by not responding, I am in control and it can be a very selfish and sinful response.

    The best response to silence is not to care and not to expect anything from others..but it is hard.

    I too experienced silence of some folks when I left RC and had a few emails fall on deaf ears with no response. It is a wierd feeling. I just cannot imagine not responding to someone's email even if they said harsh things. Even a response like "I got your email and I need some time to respond" or "I disagree with your thoughts...this is where I am" sends a message that you still care.

    When someone just blows you off because you might disagree with where they are at, it hurts. True friends listen, empathisize and agree to disagree if they talk about a topic they have different ideas on. They talk things thru and do not avoid the hard topics. Macielism taught all of us the opposite. We were taught to protect the LC/RC at all costs, only say good things, if someone is negative about the Movement avoid them, do not question when and why someone leaves..just let them slip away.

    I remember telling some RC friends after the news broke last Feb that I was going on the internet to do my own research and enter into the mind of the abuse victims. Someone was telling the truth and now I believed it was them. My RC friends told me not to do that because I will become negative and how could I do that after all Fr so and so did and all the Movement gave me.

    My response was - "I am not betraying anyone...I was loyal and faithful and Maciel betrayed first. I was just looking for the truth."

    I was amazed at the learned response we all had that those who were negative or had an opinion against LC/RC were traitors and betrayed their vocation...and it even got twisted in some minds that we betrayed Christ by leaving RC.

    I know one thing - if we sent Jesus an email, he would respond back no matter how harsh it was. True love responds and is not silent.

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  19. Don't fall into their trap father! They remain silent so that you get exasperated and start sending letters and e-mails that show your anger and frustration. Then they have those letters forever that prove that you were in an unstable state of mind when you left. Maintain your cool. It will all be over soon. Just get out, and you will soon breathe the fresh air of freedom!!!

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  20. I'm convinced cold silence is a form of emotional abuse---it's a method my mother frequently used, so I suppose I am especially sensitive about it. People who love do not turn a silent cold shoulder to try to control those around them.

    I'm in agreement with the poster who warned you to be careful; I can totally see the Legion taking your emails and using them to shred your reputation, all cushioned in whispered suggestions to "let's all pray for so-and-so---he's not doing well mentally"

    But I'm sure you know more than anybody just how much you can't trust the LCs.

    Praying for you and joyfully awaiting the day you get to leave this suffering forever!

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  21. Father Jack:

    A bully gets to be a bully because they can intimidate people and victims back off out of fear of retribution. When someone finally pushes back they realize just how much of a coward the bully really is.

    LC has been just such a bully for years. The MAIN reason why you men inside LC have never heard what happened to all those men who suddenly disappeared is because they were bullied into silence.

    When you said you'd disclose your name and your family was fearful of retribution, I could only feel sorry for them. They've done nothing wrong. Neither have you. Yet, LC's well-deserved reputation for silencing dissent caused all of you to back off.

    That's how bullies win --- their reputation for hurting others is enough to cause people fear.

    How can that possibly be what Christ wants?

    I believe the tables are turning. The curtain has been pulled to reveal a bunch of cowards.

    Stand up and don't back down. Are you able to move without their explicit permission? Perhaps the Bishop can light a fire under them.

    The LC's that are left behind need people like you and Fr. Cathal to point the way.

    God bless both of you!

    ATL Granny

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  22. So because it was "out of his hands", local superior couldn't be bothered to say as much to you until 70 hours later? And because it is
    "out of his hands" he could not be bothered with something as simple as "Thank you for keeping me updated on your progress. You are in my prayers"?

    Let me guess....is this the same superior who wept such sorrowful tears with you a few weeks ago?

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  23. Fr. Cathal said "I am learning so much. The people are great. The priests are very friendly. I am suprised by the goodness that I have found."

    How sad that the incessant mantra within LC is that the job of a parish priest is so beneath their calling; that it is a thankless job and that priests who leave LC are doomed to be miserable in that role.

    Thank you, Fr. Cathal, for sharing your experience of joy as a parish priest. You are following Christ now -- not feeding a culture that left you always wondering if you could ever measure up to their standards.

    God bless you for speaking out so that those behind you can have hope for their future.

    ATL Granny

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  24. It takes courage to admit when you have wronged someone and ask for their forgiveness. These men believe that they have done nothing wrong, and that because they were doing "God's Will" they have not sinned. This is the false theology that the Legion superiors have always used. It is the "divine rite of superiors" that keeps them from being culpable form any of their sins against those under them. They learned it from MM, and it is all they know. They are cowards who learned from the master coward.

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  25. Father, it's like a grown child trying to connect with abusive parents. The hardest thing to realize, and to take, yet the most freeing, is that IT WAS NEVER ABOUT YOU! It's just about them. They don't care a fig about you. So take a sec and stand back and watch them whirl around in their own little imaginary world, then pick up your knapsack and whistle a tune as you go on your way. Sorry to be anon but can't remember my password...

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  26. Funny but when I sent my lc/rc concerns to Achbp Chaput, he did respond to my email and it didn't take 70 hours. Not even half that, God love him.

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  27. I have to add to the previous poster here. I too sent a lengthy email to Archbishop Chaput last summer, voicing my concerns about the Legion. He replied very quickly, if not within the same day, then by the next day. He didnt' cop out and use any excuses, one of which would have been completely understandable (hey, I'm up to my neck with this Legion visitation thing, sorry I did not respond sooner). No, He took the time to reply right away. I was very touched by that. I think that is how a concerned shepherd treats his flock. I agree with your use of the word "coward" Father.

    -Daniel

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  28. It's all a great misunderstanding---on your part, of course. Too bad so many people are so misinformed about the Legion. Good thing Jim Fair started up his website so he can clear up all these misconceptions. Perhaps you should try reading his website to get your head on straight when it comes to LC/RC??

    (yes, I'm being sarcastic)

    The problem is never with anything the LC does........just with people misunderstanding them. I've never known an order of priest so misunderstood before in my life.

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  29. Its very difficult to be hurt by people who refuse to acknowledge any culpability.

    I myself am working on this . there are certain ways I would never treat people and when I am treated in such a way or I see others treated in such a way I refuse to back down when I believe something unjust has happened.

    Sometimes this is a gift because I am a great advocate for the marginalized. However it can be a burden when God wants me to be silent and accept persecution, until HE himself justifies me. I have trouble discerning this sometimes. Are you Irish per chance :-)

    In short I think I understand what you are experiencing. The great news is that once you have left and are outside of your present environment and away from the mindset of those around you, these issues will slowly wash off of you like water.

    As it is now, you are constantly reminded of the unjust treatment you and maybe others have endured.

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  30. To Daniel,
    Thank you. The real mark of a shepherd of souls is prompt care, not leaving the sheep with a broken leg on the wayside until he takes care of the 99. I admit, I haven't been that kind of shepherd, and your words inspired me. THAT'S THE KIND OF SHEPHERD I WANT TO BE.
    Fr Jack

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  31. Fr. Jack,

    I wish you God's speed as you exit the Legion, a discredited order due to the debacle of their founder. Sadly, the culture of corruption, deceit, lies, manipulation, etc. that the founder manifested is still infiltrated in the current Legionary leadership. Therein lies the problem that may never be fully addressed. Based upon what you have posted here, like many of my Legionary friends who have left the Legion for diocesan posts, you will have an incredible impact in your new assignment. Hold your head high and keep the faith.

    My experience maps similarly to "Anon and out of RC". One is labeled as a traitor if you seek the truth. The sycophants in RC continue to be puppets of Marcial. Mind-numbed robots. I pray that someday they will all somehow grasp the truth.

    PROUD MICHIGAN RC SURVIVOR

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  32. " DT responded: I was in cursillo, no PC or cell allowed, yesterday had meetings all day. I'm not excusing myself. Really sad you are suffering. Sorry to see you are interpreting things this way.I respect your decision, especially since you suffered so much. If I can help with anything just let me know."

    Father Jack, you are looking for a pastoral response. Instead you're being treated as though you've just never measured up and good riddance. This total lack of compassion is LC through and through.

    Tell this DT that you do want his help -- you want out NOW!

    Then shake the dust from your sandals and begin your new life.

    ATL Granny

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  33. what did the DG say, Father?

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  34. Did the DG at least give you his blessing so that you can move on with incardination? If yes, how long should it take?

    ATL Granny

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  35. Dear Father,
    Listen to what the papal delegate is saying to you. You have likely felt quite abandoned, as many of us have, in the past few years. But….listen to what the papal delegate said in his letter to you. Read it and dwell on it. Blogging about this is only going to bring out those who wish to create further doubt in your mind. The Holy Father is trying to work as quickly as possible for you. Read what he is telling you.

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