Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Maciel


I just can't figure this priest out.  How could he deceive everyone for so long - including the pope?  (Not Ratzinger however.)  Like I said in the comment box on an earlier post - I've never heard of anything so bizarre except for the the story of the Devils of Loudun, a non-fiction novel by Aldous Huxley:  A historical narrative of supposed demonic possession, religious fanaticism, sexual repression, and mass hysteria which occurred in 17th century France.
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In 1632, Sister Jeanne of the Angels and sixteen nuns of the Ursuline convents, allegedly possessed by demons, threw convulsions and used abusive language. Father Jean-Joseph Surin exorcised the demons by inviting them into his body. He lost mental balance as a result. He inflicted injuries on himself and attempted suicide. Describing the plight he said that he was unable to understand what happened to him when the unknown spirit entered his body. He got the feeling that he had two souls and that the alien soul constituted a second personalitySource *

I watched a fascinating clip from Ken Russell's film, The Devils.  The sequence depicts Sister Jeanne of the Angels, played by Vanessa Redgrave, leading the community in the rosary, as she walks through the chapter room on her knees, writhing in a sort of ecstasy while experiencing "mystical visions" of Christ.  Christ in this case is represented by the person of a priest known for his promiscuity, Fr. Grandier - in persona Christi as it were, descending from the cross to embrace her.  The fantasy devolves into a twisted, eroticized variation of what has been recorded regarding the visions of some of the mystic saints who were embraced by Christ crucified - greatly exaggerated of course.  The "rapture" is so intense Jeanne of the Angels appears to produce the stigmata - although the viewer knows it was caused by digging the end of her crucifix into her hand.  The scene is disturbing and repulsive, yet for me it is a rather compelling glimpse into the nature of delusion, false mysticism, spiritual lust, and diabolic obsession.
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To view the clip click: The Devils.  Be advised of erotic content.  I would also avoid viewing the clip if you are accustomed to using the imagination in mental prayer, as the imagery could have a negative affect.
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UPDATE:
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Father James Farfaglia, a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi for nine years, was formerly with the Legion of Christ for 21 years.
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His response to the Vatican's recent statement on the scandal-plagued order?
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"When I read it, my first response was that of hurt and anger. I don't see how the Legion of Christ can reform itself by leaving in place the present leadership," Father Farfaglia said in an e-mail.
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Authentic reform will take place only if the Legion separates itself from its Mexican roots.
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"A member of the clergy who has no connection to the ecclesiastical, political and social structures of Mexico should be the one to direct the reform of the Legion. It has to be someone untouched by favors. And this is why, for the good of the order, Fathers Alvaro, Luis and Evaristo should resign immediately and a new, untarnished set of superiors should take over." - Full story.

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I too have been thinking along these same lines:  Who/what were Maciel's connections with secular persons and powers?  There has got to be more to his double life than sexual misconduct.

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*I'm not sure how reliable this Wikipedia excerpt is - from what I remember, Fr. Surin did not "invite" the devils into himself, though he was subject to attack and possibly diabolic obsession.
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Photo: Maciel
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Links:
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Fr. Farfaglia's blog
EXLBLOG
ReGAIN

12 comments:

  1. I would be unable to view the clip but I wanted to ask you what happened to this priest.
    Have you ever heard of Father Malachi Martin? He was from Ireland and worked for 3 popes.
    Thank you.......:-) Hugs

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  2. Apparently this guy Maciel was very, very good at telling people what they wanted to hear. Believe I'll skip the video clip, thanks all the same!
    I had heard that Malachi Martin left the Jesuits, not sure if he entirely left the priesthood. He wrote several works of fiction of a rather sensational nature; sort of a conspiracy/spy/what might happen in the future genre. I didn't know he worked for the popes.

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  3. Interesting story, T!
    Have you read "Mariette in Ecstasy" by Ron Hanson---somewhat similar but it's uncertain, at least to me, whether she was an authentic mystic or not....it's fiction.

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  4. From what I understand the Legion had a rule preventing people from speaking poorly about superiors …so if Maciel did anything suspicious it did not get reported or talked about as a result of that rule. I don’t know how Maciel fooled JPII … unless JPII could not reconcile the reality of the good done by the Legion and RC with the possibility of the accusations being true. You know, the question of how can good fruit come from a bad tree. I guess this shows us that God can use anyone, even a morally corrupt priest, to reveal His Glory and Majesty.

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  5. Anonymous10:25 AM

    Terry: One cannot blame JPII, because as Pope, I imagine that he meets a lot of people and the news that he gets about personalities is rather filtered. I would sooner blame thisse around him than JPII. He trusted his advisors with a deep sense of loyalty, because of his background in Communist Poland.

    thanks for posting I check your blog daily for inspiration and insight. thanks
    ray/priest of DC

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  6. Anonymous10:28 AM

    I am curious what you mean by spiritual lust- is it those who are attracted to religious leaders or beings? Or does it refer to those you receice impure images or desires while in prayer?

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  7. Hi Father - No - I don't blame the Holy Father for not knowing - but it is still stunning how Maciel got away with it.

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  8. Bernie - Maciel died. I have heard of Martin but I never read his work - I was never certain of his standing and therefore have been wary of his writings.

    SF - I never heard of the book.

    Anonymous - I'm referring to spiritual lust as St. John of the Cross dicusses it in the Ascent and Dark Night. I am not saying that this was exactly the case with Jeanne of the Angels, but the manner in which Redgrave portrays her, I couldn't help but think of the following from St. John:
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    "3. The second origin of these rebellions is the devil. To bring disquietude and disturbance on a soul when it is praying, or trying to pray, he endeavors to excite impure feelings in the sensory part. And if people pay any attention to these, the devil does them great harm. Through fear, some souls grow slack in their prayer - which is what the devil wants - in order to struggle against these movements, and others give it up entirely, for they think these feelings come while they are engaged in prayer rather than at other times. And this is true because the devil excites these feelings while souls are at prayer, instead of when they are engaged in other works, so that they might abandon prayer. And that is not all; to make them cowardly and afraid, he brings vividly to their minds foul and impure thoughts. And sometimes the thoughts will concern spiritually helpful things and persons. Those who attribute any importance to such thoughts, therefore, do not even dare look at anything or think about anything lest they thereupon stumble into them. These impure thoughts so affect people who are afflicted with melancholia that one should have great pity for them; indeed, these people suffer a sad life. In some who are troubled with this bad humor the trial reaches such a point that they clearly feel that the devil has access to them without their having the freedom to prevent it. Yet some of these melancholiacs are able through intense effort and struggle to forestall this power of the devil. If these impure thoughts and feelings arise from melancholia, individuals are not ordinarily freed from them until they are cured of that humor - unless they enter the dark night, which in time deprives them of everything." - Dark Night, Bk 1,Chp. 4:3

    Without going into detail here, I think this vice may be more prevalent today than we imagine what with erroneous teachings regarding Theology of the Body, and its counterpart, a homosexual spirituality. Naturally it is presented as a good in these circumstances and not a vice to purge.

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  9. I WATCHED THE VIDEO!

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  10. Austringer1:51 PM

    I agree with Suz: at a time when seminaries were emptying, here was a man who bore good fruit in regards to vocations to the priesthood. (Yes, yes, I know that there were concerns about their formation, but they weren't widely expressed, and it's hard to argue against their numbers or their orthodoxy.) People will be taken in by someone telling them what they want to hear, as Melody pointed out, and so you have that coupled with actual vocations -- I can see why he was able to deceive so many.

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  11. "How can this have happened?," I ask myself?
    This whole thing is absolutely satanic, horrid and beyond the understanding of even the most discerning.
    Maciel was an absolute psychopath who had "minions" to cover up for him.
    The thousands who followed this "charism" are now in a "hell" that is excruciating and humiliating.
    Pope Benedict knows what he is doing; he knew many years ago.
    Even if John Paul II gave all kinds of "accolades", it doesn't mean that this congregation, with all that is known at this point, is "exceptional".
    Saint Paul spoke of this...we have to be very wary of anyone who is "speaking one thing" and "doing another" (my paraphrase)...Satan is busy on all levels...Maciel is a very degenerate and awful example that puts before us the need for reparation, conversion and authentic witness to Jesus in His Church.
    God help the LC and RC who are struggling, who are lost, who are absolutely without any "bearings"...they're the ones I worry about.

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  12. Read about it (as my Latin prof used to say...)
    http://regainnetwork.org/
    This is so sad, to say the least.
    WTH (a mild comment on my part, I'm afraid)...?

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