Traditional Catholics/Legion of Mary Loyalty and Traditionalists
As a follow-up question to your article on the Future of the Legion of Mary, did you ever get permission to start a Praesidium at an Independent Chapel? The reason is that those at Independent Chapels would probably make better Legion of Mary members.
One unfortunate problem I have observed with many of the "modern" Legion of Mary leaders (even some Council and Senatus officers) is that the seem to be self seeking. Many of them will deliberately break the Legion rules in order to gain more members and thereby increase their potential client base. I believe it says in the handbook that God gives more graces to religious orders that observe their own rules.
The Legion of Mary was NEVER meant to be a business networking organization. Unfortunately, it is frequently being abused for this purpose in the Novus Ordo Church. Some of the rule breaking even involves a misuse of funds.
For instance, some Senatus' encourage groups to denote Legion funds back to their parishes. While other Senatus' have forbidden this practice. I agree that it should be forbidden. The Legion was never intended to be a parish fundraising organization. Further, the handbook does not include this as an appropriate use of Legion funds. The Legion funds belong to the Legion and the excess Secret Bag funds should go to the higher councils and ultimately the Envoy Fund, not the parishes. If a member thinks their parish needs more money, they should increase their own Sunday envelope donation, not misuse Legion funds. "The members who want to misuse Legion funds for this purpose are only trying to curry favor with their parish priest. The choir doesn't pay rent and neither should the Legion of Mary." This was a quote from an officer of a "good" Senatus. Further, parishes do not charge "rent" to their own parish-sponsored groups. If their parish did not have an appropriate meeting room and the group had to rent a room elsewhere, that is a different matter and I would agree that only in that case should a group pay rent. However, that is not the norm.
I am not going to reveal my geographical location. In my council, I have expressed my desire to follow the rules. However, I find that I'm surrounded by business networkers who are very lax. As a result, this council has a pathetic attendance record, and so does their higher Senatus. (By their fruits, you shall know them.) I was once in another geographical location that was much more faithful and observant of the rules. As a result, their attendance was record was very high.
Please advise on what you think the appropriate remedy should be.
When I was Vice President of the Curia (a position I only served in for a month or two before transferring over to Secretary, or more specifically, "Acting Secretary"), the fact that I was a Catholic came to everyone's attention as I sought a Catholic wedding with my (then) new wife. Though some few Catholic weddings have been known to be arranged on some few Indult sites (and probably a few more now in "Motu Proprio" sites?), none of this was of any use in California where that was flatly unavailable. Since I insisted upon obtaining a Catholic wedding from a real (traditional) Catholic priest, despite having already registered a "marriage" with the Novus Ordo (so that our baptismal certificates, which are regrettably in the hands of the Novus Ordo, nevertheless reflect the fact of our marriage), this became a major topic of discussion.
At that time they promptly stated that I was to resign from all President and Vice President roles (it seems they were OK with the idea of me continuing as an active member and even being Secretary or Treasurer, but only the Curia Secretary position needed an occupant). This came just after I had already volunteered to step down from Curia Vice President so as to be Curia Secretary, since no one was willing to take the job, but someone was willing to be Curia Vice President. But it did mean that I had to step down from being President of our Presidium and from being the Chairman of our Patrician Society.
Since this situation arose between my acceptance of the Secretary role and its ratification at the Senatus, I ended up remaining as "acting secretary" for the remainder of my service at that level. They were supposed to be working stuff out or figuring stuff out, but nothing came of it as they seemed quite willing to let the current situation just continue.
It is in that time that the largest bulk of my writings on this subject were penned.
I had hoped that all of this would come to a peaceful resolution, but after serving as acting secretary for nearly a year, they finally decided (after much deliberation, I am sure) that they didn't want a real Roman Catholic in their midst.
In all of this, the (now former) Los Angelus Senatus had a real opportunity to step in to more significant and worthwhile works, but instead, once my presence was no longer wanted, I realized that it was time for the Senatus to continue with me and not with them.
The members of the local Presidia were willing to let me and my wife continue as active members, secretly. Generous as that offer was (of those offering that to us), I explained to them that unless their legion can openly accept Catholics within its ranks (instead of merely secretly), my wife and I would have to continue the Legion without them.
I vividly remember warning them, "If we need to leave your group under such circumstances, understand this: If we go, we take Our Lady with us." Rather comically, they thought I meant that I would take the statue of Our Lady that they used, and I had to explain that it was not the statue, but She herself, her blessings, which would come with us, and depart from them. Nothing changed on the part of their attitude, so my wife and I withdrew from their now fake and unblessed "Presidia," "Curia," and "Senatus," and continued the Presidium in our home, with Our Lady's blessing, while they "continued" of sorts without her blessing. After all, where Catholics are not welcome, and specifically and only because they are Catholics, she does not go either. As a sign of her blessing, a minor miracle provided for there being a Vexilium at our Legionary Altar in our home.
The hope and expectation was that the other members, gradually coming to realize how they cannot truly function as Legionaries without her blessing, would eventually come over to our Presidium meetings, maybe one or two at first, then more and more until maybe even the whole group. In the meantime, my wife and I trudged on, trying our best to keep the Presidium going, though with only the two of us as only two out of four officers a Presidium needs in order to function, it was very hard with me having to be President and (ironically) acting Secretary and she having to be Vice President and acting Treasurer, all in anticipation of the others joining us. The idea was that once enough of them returned to the Presidium to at least run it fully with all four officers and hopefully more members, we would then write to the Consilium in Ireland about affiliating directly with them, if they should be willing.
In the meantime, I wrote to the Ecclesia Dei commission about the same proposal, to which Msgr. Perl responded with a short letter requesting more information. It sounded like the commission might be interested. If only their support could have been obtained, that would have gone a long way towards helping the Consilium be able to decide in favor of keeping Catholics in their midst. So I sent the requested additional information and materials, but never received a reply. I guess they are just not willing involve themselves in any arrangement in which they have no opportunity to subvert the Faith of Catholics.
Unfortunately, the other members never showed up. After all they and we had been through together and all we thought we meant to each other, not a one of them cared enough about retaining or regaining Our Lady's blessing as to continue in what they had formerly done so well. Our Lady is with us, but no one else is. Oh well. In time, we suspended the meetings, since you really can't have a Presidium with only two members. But even now, should anyone be interested in placing themselves at the service of Our Lady, all know where to come, and are still welcome. But without a full functioning Presidium, I have not written to the Consilium since the very reason to do so has never arisen.
So the upshot of this whole long sad story is that I have not written to them. Sorry. But in your case, it seems there is a whole lot more to complain about. I think the best thing to do is simply start working with whatever real Catholic "independent" church you reasonably have access to. Meet with its priest, explain what the Legion does and is all about, and invite him to have a Presidium in his church, drawn from regular members thereof, should enough be interested.
Don't even bother to try to report this to your Novus Ordo Presidium or Curia (as "extension and recruitment," for example) but just do it. (By the way, you would also do well to consider becoming a member of such a priest's traditional parish as well, for in attending the Novus Ordo (unless you have a Motu Proprio or "Extraordinary" Mass you exclusively attend there) you are no different than an East Orthodox who is accepted into the Legion, if even as well off as they.) It is your own discretion whether you resign promptly from their Novus Ordo Legion of Mary simulation, or continue as such for however long they will tolerate a Catholic in their midst, as I did. Some must leave immediately in the interest of protecting their sanity or state of Grace, while others may have a more iron constitution and be able to stomach the nonsense while they stay (only in Legion meetings and traditional Masses if there be any) so as to, like the Apostle Paul did, "preach in the Synagogues" until being cast out.
For interest, I present an extract from an allocutio given at a Curia meeting, as annotated in my minutes:
"Msgr. F. ... discussed the closing down of the [other city in another state] Curia, citing the trivial and unchallenging work of the Legion there as the cause of that shutdown. He stressed the importance of doing heroic works, and especially on being obedient to carry out those unpleasant and challenging assignments." What could have been more heroic than being able to work alongside the New Wine which we traditional Catholics comprise, and allowing themselves to be "shown up" by our sterling example? Oh well.
Imagine this scenario: Fr. Holy of a traditional chapel has a group of his regular parishioners meeting weekly to do all the Legion of Mary works and activities. They go door to door inviting all in the neighborhood to come to the real Catholic Church. The Novus Ordo gets word of this and puts out a stinkpile of bogus warnings. They tell the Legionaries to cease and desist, but the Legionaries simply respond with "we must obey our priest" and continue in their works. Then they talk to the priest, who simply responds with "these are true Legionaries; come to their meeting (time and place given) and see for yourself. Why? Are you claiming that you have some Legionaries as well? Then perhaps your presidia and ours should form a Curia."
Always let those of the Novus Ordo be the ones to throw up the walls and barriers, not us. They pretty much will almost always do so, for in their heresies they must separate from us who are the Church as the schismatic sectarians that they are. But on the small chance that someone of good will may be found, we must never respond in kind but always be inviting. We've built our half of the bridge, and it remains standing. But so long as they do not meet it with their half of the bridge (which they refuse to build), what is there to be done, other than our own progress towards sanctity, whether with them or without them. Remember, we don't need them; they need us. We traditionalists are the Parent, loving and providing and bearing the authority; they are the child, rebellious and wild. How we long to gather them under the sacred Wings of Catholic Tradition, but they will not have it, as they prefer to stone the prophets.
Don't know how much this helps, but I do hope at least comparing notes can provide some consolation, God bless!