International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities (IO-MLC) 

Region of North America, Asia, Australia, and Ireland

February- 2019

What are the Root Causes of
Clergy Sexual Abuse and Cover-up?

What Can a Lay Marianist Do?

By Susan Vogt
Root causes of the problem

  • For the sexual abuser it is a disordered sexuality combined with opportunity because of a position of power.

  • For those who covered up the abuse, it is a misguided belief that the reputation of the Church is more important than the lives of the abused.

  • For all of us, it is clericalism – the belief that priests and vowed religious are higher and holier than mere lay people. Such belief sets the stage for abuse of power.
What can WE do?

Marianists, lay and religious, are in a unique position to respond to clericalism. Our spirituality calls us to a Discipleship of Equals . Marianist Lay Communities become knowledgeable about our faith, accept leadership, and collaborate as equal partners within the Marianist Family.

In my own parish, St. Francis de Sales in Cincinnati, OH, the Marianist pastor challenged the congregation to respond to the scandal in his homily . He knew that his voice was compromised and it would take a strong lay presence to take the lead.

Here’s what happened:
MLC’s in South Bend, IN and Cleveland, OH , have also met to decide what to do.

Principles that guide the groups:

  1. Prevention (Educating themselves through joining VOTF (Voice of the Faithful), reading related articles in the National Catholic Reporter and other Catholic news services, committing to Virtus training, etc.)
  2. Transparency (in the actions of your MLCs and requesting it in parish affairs)
  3. Prayer (for victims, clergy, and anyone in Church leadership roles)
  4. Support for survivors and priests of integrity (developing caring relationships with both)
  5. Advocacy for structural changes to combat undue clericalism (i.e, giving more authority to Laity.)
What can you do? 
Pray. Listen. Talk. Act. 

For more information, contact Susan Vogt .

News from the MLC in Haiti…
by Saul Demestoir, National Responsible for Haiti

Dear International Team,

Haiti has had a lot of activity during the past year. To close 2018 we organized a prayer meeting followed by a gift exchange to celebrate our brotherly bond as members of the same family.

Then we celebrated the Founding Day on January 20, with a Eucharistic ceremony in the Parish of St. Mark in the city of St. Marc. We had a dozen devoted members attending.

Finally on January 27 we organized a recreation day especially in honor of our newly consecrated members.

Saul ends his note with this prayer: May the Virgin Mary continue to show her love of us!
Josee Roberge, National Responsible for French Canada, who translates for Saul, also noted that two young Haitian men took their perpetual vows for the SM in Paris, France on January 30. They were Jean-Eddy Pierre and Franzy Perier. The picture shows the two young men with Fr. Florian Royer-Chabot who was the first SM in Haiti.
Jean-Eddy Pierre, taking his perpetual vows in Paris, France.
Franzy Perier took perpetual vows in Paris, France in January.
Let Us Pray...
Prayer of Saul Demestoir for the New Year:

I send my prayer for all of our laity that this new year inspires more love, joy and peace! 

I have hope that we will continue to have very good collaboration within and among our communities. 

May the Virgin Mary continue to show her love of us!

And may our Mother of Heaven protect us and keep us in her maternal love!  Amen
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