I wanted to share with you some more thoughts on my previous postings called “The Elephant in the Living Room”…
I received a comment today which very accurately described something I couldn’t overcome, the ‘serenity’ that seemed to not match my reason (intellect), and which I desired to have, but couldn’t find, no matter how I prayed and tried… The author of this comment writes very well, and I thank her for her contribution to this discussion. My response follows the comment.
“The serenity of the RC ladies is a normal, healthy response, I should think. They are detached from MM, as they should be. They entrust the past to the mercy of God, and the future to Divine Providence, carrying the burden of today only. They will not be crushed by what does not belong to them.
After all, the focus of the ladies is on Christ, reinforced by the cycle of their daily devotions. All answers are in the Gospel, the daily Rosary liberates from any preoccupations. And the Encounter group provides that essential support in living the good Catholic life.
But know that any group made up of human beings is an imperfect one, a sinful one. Only God is God, and we must bear the difficulties imposed upon us by others, the betrayals and disloyalties with courage, fortitude and trust in God. Know also that Christ never takes your freedom, and that if you feel you have ceased to grow in Regnum Christi and that it was only a step in your journey, that that is blessing in itself. God bless you.”
‘sunnyshadow’… I am so glad you wrote. You have perfectly illustrated what I tried with every fiber of my being to have, this ‘serenity’, the focusing on Christ against all odds, and the ability to believe I can truly be detached from MM and still belong to the order he founded.
But your message stings, as it did coming from the current general director, and from other RC ladies who told me the same thing. And the reason it stings is that there is compassion missing from this message… And a glossing over of such an obvious wrong and betrayal that I don’t believe comes from the Gospel or charity. I am not saying this about you personally, but about this message, which I have heard many times before. A ‘healthy response’? This would look something like this: ‘oh my goodness, this is awful to find out we have been betrayed. I am so sorry you feel hurt. I myself feel at peace because I believe I can overlook MM’s sins and the secrecy of his protectors… But I totally understand you wanting to leave the group…’. THAT I believe would be a true sister in Christ. When many of us were met with a cold ‘serene’ explanation for such a grave betrayal (in less fancy words: ‘get over it.’), I think that is what showed us billboard-style that something was terribly wrong and… unhealthy.
You are right, all groups and even the Catholic Church contain sinners. But as far as I know, founding and leading a huge movement requires near sainthood in order to avoid the enemy’s takeover or infiltration. Where in history has any religious order that exists today been founded by a professed child molester? I don’t know of any, and most all ‘founders’ of religious orders I know have been canonized. The point is, yes, of course, any good Christian endures persecution and betrayal… But to FOLLOW an organization set up by the betrayer is a lack of wisdom. There is no way to separate MM from LC/RC because he founded it, until the organization is completely changed, name and all. Tried as I might, I just couldn’t convince myself that I could still call myself a member of RC, focus only on Christ, and not be associated or in some way supporting MM.
The people in RC (perhaps like yourself) for the most part, are good and are seeking holiness just like I am. The people who were duped are not the problem… It’s the leadership and association with the founder. Nazis will always be Nazis, even if Hitler is dead and Nazis decided to change their work to good and holy motives. There is no way to separate the name Nazi from Hitler… People would have to leave and/or change the name.
I want to add also that Jesus was greatly grieved over the betrayer, Judas. He wasn’t like ‘oh well, what a bummer.’ It was a BIG DEAL and ended in such tragedy that Christ said it would have been better for him not to have been born. It is healthy to be intensely hurt and anguished (as one commenter to this post wisely put it) by betrayal. It shows you are real, you are human, you are… healthy. I have seen the ravages of people not admitting pain. Look at post abortion syndrom. Some women go 20 or 30 years before letting it ‘get to them’… and then there was a huge grief process, and then they moved to the world of health, both spiritually and mentally.
I did not need to go through a HUGE and heart-wrenching healing process from leaving RC. It was definitely difficult and at times painful, but I hadn’t invested myself nearly as much as others, so in a way, that protected me from so much grief (even though I had some) and kept me able to look at things in a more balanced way (I believe). I used to joke that I was an RC slacker 😉 But for those who invested their whole lives into the movement, we should have serious compassion for them. I grieve for them, because their pain is or will be greater than mine. And when we try to gloss over the betrayal to them, we are twisting the knife. I really believe compassion and understanding is how those in RC can reach out to those who have left, those who feel hurt and angry.
You mentioned that you follow the good and holy cycles of the Church… That is awesome and what we all should be doing… It is all contained within the Catholic Church! My question is, why do we need RC in order to be good Catholics? Could it be that we are attached to those relationships or even a job within the movement? I understand the difficulty of leaving if ones life is completely immersed in RC… It is a scary prospect to leave. I had difficulty leaving, too, because I didn’t want to lose the friendships I had formed and the intimacy of the Encounters. But if we CAN’T leave, it means we are attached to something more than Christ. But I do understand, because I am guilty of subscribing to all sorts of things because of attachment (check out my conversion story 😉
It takes much courage to step away from these attachments. And grace and healing. This is evidenced in people’s feeling that they need to remain anonymous when they are leaving RC, or even long after they left… Or even if they are in it! Why is that? Where is the fear coming from? This isn’t healthy either, and a sign of negative fruit that has unfortunately been passed on from MM and still exists today. For everything else, we tend to use our real name… But for RC? Very interesting… Logically (with ones intellect) we would notice that we only hide our identity for serious reasons, either for fear, or wisdom like to protect us from things like identity theft.
My name is Shalimar, and I am a Roman Catholic wife and mother. I left RC. I am not afraid to share with you who I am, and secrecy is rarely a good thing. It devastates families, kills people’s faith, kills marriages, and damages the entire Church. I believe in honesty and transparency, and that, my friend, I believe is healthy 😉
This is not meant to hurt you or anyone… We are both sheep on an equal path of complete dependency on Christ, our Shepherd. We can all be misled. We all HAVE been misled at various times in our lives.
I thank you for you courage in writing and defending what you hold dear. I pray that you are blessed, and open to the Holy Spirit, and I pray this for myself as well!!!