Sunday, August 01, 2010

Fill In the Blank

Yesterday, I encouraged a renewed sense of charity by citing Saint Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. I'd like to take my own advice and "help a brother out" this morning.

My brother in the Lord over at Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit - Joseph Fromm - sometimes forgets to include the entirety of a quote he puts up on his blog. Quoting from another, Fromm quotes an exchange between the original author of the story and the venerable Father Hardon, SJ:

When my high school friend (not I) expressed an interest in the priesthood, Father Hardon offered advice: "I wish that I could recommend you apply to the Society of Jesus," he said in his careful way. "I love the order, and wish it could be saved. But I cannot in good conscience send any young man into its seminaries."

This quote has elicited several comments to the effect that many Jesuits cannot/will not encourage vocations because it will endanger the faith of young men (while these Jesuits, who so fear for the souls of others, remain at their own grave peril in an apparently toxic spiritual environment?).




What is interesting is what is not quoted. I'm sure Fromm's neglect of the rest of the quote is purely innocent, so allow me to finish it:

When my high school friend (not I) expressed an interest in the priesthood, Father Hardon offered advice: "I wish that I could recommend you apply to the Society of Jesus," he said in his careful way. "I love the order, and wish it could be saved. But I cannot in good conscience send any young man into its seminaries. The closest thing today . . ." And that was how Father Hardon sent my friend and me to visit the Legionaries of Christ.
How curious! As those who keep abreast of Catholic news are aware, these are hard times for our brothers in the Legion of Christ. Who could have known that the founder of Legion would turn out to be immoral, "deprived of scruples and authentic religious feeling," and guilty of "true crimes." Who would have guessed that Marcial Maciel would bamboozle the Holy Father John Paul II and so many of his closest associates? Who ever would have guessed that the rigid clericalism that looked to outside world as a demonstration of their sanctity actually provided the perfect mechanism to conceal a vast swath of abuse and deceit?

I am not one who derives any satisfaction from the ignominy that these revelations about its founder has brought to the Legion. It is sad that so many generous seminarians and priests - not to mention the countless number of women and men in their Regnum Christi movement - have been so shamed by the actions of their founder. My heart and my prayers do go out to them and I hope that they are able to reorganize and begin, with vigor and zeal, to proclaim Christ's Gospel to a world sorely in need of it.

Nevertheless, and in keeping with my reason for this post, I do think it necessary to "fill in the blank" as it were. Mr. Fromm has a way of cherry-picking quotes that can be slightly misleading. Thus do I feel it my duty to help give greater perspective to what it is that he writes. Even if Father Hardon was right about the Society of Jesus - and I do not think that he was - his counsel to enter the Legion of Christ might not have been the indictment of the Society that Fromm interprets it as.
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