Welcome to Regnum Christi Live. Here you will find comment and clarification – and an opportunity to raise issues of interest. I’ll be your site administrator: Jim Fair, communications director for the Legion of Christ for the Atlanta and New York Territories.
I joined the Legion of Christ in May 2001 to help Legionaries and Regnum Christi members to improve relations with bishops and other Catholic leaders. I have the opportunity to work on a wide range of public affairs and media relations issues, and I’m a sometimes contributor to Catholic.net and the National Catholic Register.
I’m a convert to the Catholic faith and am grateful to my wife for her continuing efforts to save my soul. We have a great son and daughter.
Addressing the Legion’s challenges keeps me rather busy. Frankly, I would rather be fishing than doing just about anything else -- and I can do a reasonable imitation of a jazz/blues pianist.
Before joining the Legion I worked for a couple decades in corporate communications, and before that as a newspaper reporter, editor and photographer. I opted out of corporate life as soon as I was “retirement” eligible to fulfill a dream of working for the more socially laudable Legion of Christ.
I was aware of the allegations against Father Maciel, looked into them and became convinced that they were unfounded. After all – look at all the good the Legion had accomplished. And by working for the Legion I would be serving the Church, helping to re-evangelize society and making myself of real use to others.
As we all know today, the Legion’s founder committed many reprehensible acts. I don’t know now, nor will I likely ever know, the whole story of Father Maciel. Perhaps nobody will. Somehow, embodied in one man was the ability to do great good and to commit great evil. Most of us deal with the constant struggle of good and evil within us – in him it was a world-class struggle played out on a global stage.
When I think of Father Maciel’s failings, I am sickened. I am sorry for all the people he hurt, both directly and indirectly. I am sorry for the families for whom he was not a true father. I am sorry for the people he used physically. I am sorry for all the Legionaries, consecrated and Regnum Christi members he disappointed. And I don’t know of any members of the order or the movement who don’t share the same sorrow and shame that I bear.
I also know that it is Legionaries, consecrated and friends in Regnum Christi who have pulled me along the faith journey my wife helped me to begin. So while I am sickened by the evil in our founder I am grateful for the good I have received from the Legion.
Over the past couple years my professional (which is closely meshed with my faith life) changed from defending a presumably innocent man to helping explain who the Legion was working to separate the good from the bad. Each of us has gone through the grief cycle: anger to denial to depression to acceptance. The Legion also has had to go through the cycle as an institution.
I believe we have reached the point of acceptance. But that doesn’t mean that the pain has ended – or the shame. Healing will take time and I hope this blog will help the process.
A site like Regnum Christi Alive can play several roles:
- A response to a particular social or political issue (or candidate).
- A journey of self-discovery for the particular blogger.
- The shameless promotion of a particular product or cause.
- A forum for the sharing of ideas among people of common interest.
- A place to get answers to questions.
- A place to clarify things when an organization is facing challenges.
I plead guilty in advance to my full expectation that at times this site will fall into all those categories. Our primary purposes are to promote the good of the Church, clarify and correct misconceptions about the Legion and respond to comments. But so there aren’t any false expectations, we need some ground rules:
- I’ll be posting a commentary several times a week. During hectic news times, I’ll probably have something to say each day.
- 2. There will be a place for readers to post comments. I’ll have the discretion about whether or not to post a comment. A comment likely will be posted if it is relevant, rational and constructive. A comment likely won’t be posted if it is simply an attack, is longer than 250 words, is filled with profanity or involves a personal issue.
- 3. This site isn’t the place to report abuse allegations. If anyone has a question about safe environment policies or a complaint regarding sexual abuse of a minor by a Legionary or consecrated member of Regnum Christi, Fr Steven Reilly can be reached at Sreilly@Legionaries.org or called at 301 580 0340. His mailing address is 10211 Norton Road, Potomac, MD 20854. Having said that, if someone makes a comment that suggests there has been any sort of misconduct, I will report it to Father Steven and it will be reported to the appropriate authorities. In other words, I’ll react to a comment about abuse in the same manner an airport screener would react to a joke about a bomb in a suitcase. With what we have been through the past couple years you can rest assured that we take this with deadly seriousness.
- If you post a comment or question that is of a personal nature, I will do my best to respond to you and get an answer.
I have no illusions about this venture. I expect some who read this will fume at what I have to say. Others may enjoy it. I hope that we can open a dialogue and keep it going.
The Legion and Regnum Christi have been controversial. I believe we have done great good. We also have made many mistakes and, in some cases, hurt and alienated people. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can start to heal those wounds. I ask for your prayers.