Friday, April 24, 2009

Legionary Visitation Material 2: Academic Incompetence

That the Legionaries now have a memorandum of understanding to buy Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, Georgia raises a number of questions (are rumors of their access to limitless Mexican money true? the Vatican is now investigating them: have they no shame?) But the question that interests me is: what do they know about conducting a liberal arts college anyway?

It’s regrettable the Legionaries shut down the Regain discussion board with a lawsuit in 2008. The board could have served as a good supply of investigatory leads and witnesses for the apostolic visitators. But I have a good memory of what people used to post there about what terrible educators of their own the Legionaries have been.

Former Legionary Todd J. Carpunky, now a corporate and finance attorney and graduate of Florida State and Michigan Law School, wrote on the board January 22, 2004:

The Legion tells us how great our "intellectual" formation is... anyone who has attended a true "top-notch" institution can tell you that the Legion's intellectual formation doesn't even compare. Is the Legion's intellectual formation terrible? No. It's better than a lot of places. By the same token, Howard Johnsons are better than a lot of run down motels... but Howard Johnsons are not a Ritz Carlton.... If the Legion were ranked with the rest of the Universities in the world, it would be in the fourth tier (of four tiers).

A Prof. of mine in Salamanca (a Legionary) was often incorrect in his Latin. I would point it out. The Rector later told me to not correct him when he made a mistake, that he was TEACHING us. I asked the Rector what I should do... he said "just take notes and write it down even if it's wrong." There is no intellectual challenge in the Legion; there's no questioning. Things are to be taken as they are given. What kind of truly intellectual formation is that? The vast majority of Legionaries who have left tend to find out that the formation they received was subpar and irrelevant for moving on with their lives....

(Todd gave me permission to quote him by name. Other Regain board correspondents I will call by their Regain user names.)

exlc1998irish, an Irish former Legionary who had studied in Spain wrote:

The Legion tells its prospect recruits (or their families) that in the Legion they will get the best possible education, far superior than that which they would ordinarily get. This is far from the truth. While there is great intensity in the classroom and study hall, maximizing efficacy so to speak, the education received is often substandard, teachers being usually LC Brothers who haven’t even finished a degree in anything. (April 10, 2005)

exlc1998irish was frustrated when as a pre-university student in Spain he had to sit for a state literature exam without having read Celestina or knowing who Bécquer was. “Of course I failed literature because I had no idea... I was quite angry because I felt I had been given a substandard education and expected to get top marks.” (January 30, 2005; May 15, 2004)

Another former Legionary felt unprepared for graduate theology work in a US school after Legionary theology studies: he had never before so much as read, digested, or briefly reviewed a scholarly book.

Regnum Christi consecrated women were notably victimized by Legionary anti-intellectualism. lia792, a consecrated woman studying in Rhode Island, was disappointed not to be reading books, but to be learning how to demonstrate how clever we are before we try to recruit someone:

... in culture class, we learned about all kinds of writers, but we never read any of them. I can recognize the names of the famous Spanish writers, but I can't tell you what they wrote since I was never exposed to any of it. There was no place for literature in our studies. (May 14, 2005)

bigtex wrote of what she learned of how Regnum Christi taught consecrated women:

...they hadn't actually read any… books although they were aware of the titles and authors. I was confused until they explained that [their] literature class had involved memorizing the title, author, and plot summary of a long list of classics. They also memorized one sentence which summed up the moral lesson to be learned from this book. (October 11, 2005)

lia792 wrote how wide reading was disallowed:

the thing about books was that the director pretty much controlled what was allowed in the center and what wasn't, and from Rome they made the big decisions.... On an individual level, your spiritual guide decided what YOU could and couldn't read. For example, I asked permission to read the Bible from cover to cover, and that request was denied me because my spiritual guide thought it would be a waste of time to read some of the books. (May 14, 2005)

carragher, a former Regnum Christi consecrated woman, felt that when she started a university degree outside Regnum Christi

my 4 years of formation would be a good asset to my uni studies. In some ways I had an advantage, but for the most part, I really was starting from scratch.... university is all about researching and writing, is it not? Two things that we did none of in formation. I never wrote a single research paper in the whole four years I was in the 3gf. I hadn't even heard of the MLA or APA formats, didn't know how to cite works, do a bibliography, nothing academic whatsoever.... we were never taught the fundamental purpose of university: to become a critical thinker. Of course it was explained that there was no time, the sense of urgency, the mission and the souls were waiting for use to be prepared, etc. therefore there was no time to waste writing or researching because all we needed had all been said or done; we just needed to learn it, rehearse it, believe it, and regurge it. (January 29, 2005)

So too exlc1998irish:

A companion of mine, who was in the apostolic school in mexico and continued on to begin philosophy, left after ten years in the legion. He returned to mexico and had to go back to preuniversity level education to be able to enter university. He has recently graduated from university after spending last seven years in education after the Legion.... I also had to sit further pre university exams to bring myself to level necessary for entry. So not only are their educators substandard, but the level of education expected is as well. (April 10, 2005)

People wrote of their experience of Legionary anti-intellectualism in elementary schools across the country. quidquo, who had taught with a Master's at Cypress Heights Academy in Louisiana, resigned. She wrote:

They disregard everything that the teacher learned in professional training and force him or her to teach legion pedagogy. The teacher knows that the pedagogy doesn't produce strong readers, and begins to ask questions for the sake of the students. The recruiters begin to complain about the teachers "methods" to other parents because he or she is not totally compliant to the real mission of the "school." What is the real mission? The real mission is not stated to parents; the real mission is recruiting new members.... Cypress Heights, like other Legion Schools, is doing such a poor job because they put parents with no experience in charge. Powerful administrators have very little experience in the classroom, and they have no business in administration.... Their operation is corrupt. The school plays lip service to a real education. I began to wonder why they avoided teachers with high credentials. They often claim they can't afford good teachers because they have budget problems. But I have seen teachers who had good credentials, but were willing to work for the legion because they thought it was a good cause, discredited in front of parents by legion members The RC/LC operation looks wholesome and good at first look, but they are not true leaders or educators. They offer what I call a "double." It looks like it is flawless, but is deeply shallow and corrupt underneath. (March 18, 2005; July 22 and 24, 2006)

National Consultants for Education is the central authority for Legionary elementary schools. Bismarck wrote of them:

The Legion educational practice takes decision making out of the hands of even local administrators and decides what is said in morning meeting, grading policy, report card structure, textbooks, what is taught and how it is taught.... Teachers and administrators accustomed to the practice of discussion and decision making leave the Legion system. Thus Legion schools tend to have all the charm of schools in the old Soviet system. (July 24, 2006)

jeeves wrote from Highlands School about a colleague who said:

...the NCE is filled with shockingly uneducated people. They were supposed to be developing curriculum, but were in his view, stunningly disinterested in the life of mind. (May 28, 2005)

kat wrote of the "larger problems surrounding honesty and integrity" and the Legion's "unspoken agenda" :

If you don't understand this and you're not on board with their vision, then you will eventually be disillusioned and frustrated. This disillusionment happens to unsuspecting new hires -- teachers or administrators -- who come in without really understanding what's going on.... talented people won't put up with Legionary roadblocks and they will quickly figure out that the PRIMARY mission of the school may not fit in well with what they want to accomplish in their subject area or with what they are comfortable with as a professional. (August 28, 2005)

All told, there is widespread evidence that as students and educators in Humanities, the Legionaries are unprofessional, utilitarian, incompetent, and uninterested in the life of the mind. If a teacher in their schools is uncomfortable, then the Legionaries reply with their sanctimonious motto: "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called."

Good priests need not be scholars and teachers: the Church may well need a movement and an order for the intellectually and culturally unadventurous. But the Legionary imposture, as these posters made plain, comes of falsely claiming dullardy as academic excellence and of aspiring to found schools and universities with the goal of empire-building and self-legitimizing rather than admitting that you're just not an intellectual order.

I think I’ll reconsider sending my children to Southern Catholic College.

3 comments:

  1. I know a Legionary who has left the order, is now an active member of RC, changed his professional area of interests to biophysics and he always points out that even if some courses were not perfect - it happens in every school - this was not the most important aspect of the education. He claims that most important were spiritual formation and openness. He does his new studies on 'normal' university (there's no Legionary university in Poland) and AFAIK he was able to speed up the whole process doing two yrs in one.

    Definitely - if you have doubts after reading the above text you SHOULD NOT send your children to SCC. This would not make sense.

    But if you're ready to face the challenge of spiritual formation and if you're ready to be honest with yourself and the teachers of you children - this may be an option for you.

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  2. I myself was a legionary, and I myself have studied in Salamanca and in Rome, and I passed all those state exams, and even with good grades. They taught me how to study, how to write, how to analyse, synthesize, relate my knowledge. They awakened that part of my "soul" which I may call artistic; and gave me an structured mind. Now I am able to work as a software engineer as well as writing a doctoral dissertation in Philosphy. That's why I think this article is misleading.

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