Fr. Maciel embraces Paul Lennon on November 26, 1969, just after Paul was ordained at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Rome
The American press sometimes refers to the Legionnaires of Christ, perhaps in an allusion to the French Foreign Legion, or American Legion, and maybe because it sounds better to U.S. ears.… I believe the official name is Legion of Christ and Legionaries of Christ. The order/group, founded by Mexican Catholic seminarian Marcial Maciel in Mexico City in 1941, sprouted a lay movement in the 1960s called Regnum Christi -along the lines of the Opus Dei movement- and, together they morphed into Regnum Christi Federation a few years ago.
I joined at the age of 17 in Dublin in 1961. I could be considered an Irish co-founder of the order, “cofounder” being a coveted title at the time. I became bilingual and bi cultural Spanish during my 23 years in the Legion, leaving in 1984 after an altercation with then superior general Fr. Maciel. I have the honor of being one of the few members who ever dared to confront the untouchable founder in front of other members.
Maciel garnered the admiration of popes, especially Pope JP II, until his pedophilia and philandering were finally acknowledged by Church Hierarchy and Legion around 2005 -by which time Maciel was 85! Just imagine the decades of silence, avoidance, minimization and coverup!
ReGAIN sprung from the concern of parents, friends and former members in the late 1980s seeking to help active, exiting and former members to recover from their traumatic experience.
ReGAIN has published extensively about the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation since the 1990s where you will find an abundance of info/critique, perhaps the largest in the English language. Presently there are other blogs in Spanish and French that carry out the same mission: facebook’s Legioleaks, La Verdad os hará Libres, and l’énvers du décor …
U.S. Catholic investigative reporters, Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, were instrumental in bringing the story of Maciel, the sexual abuse of his seminarians, the secretive nature of the order, and the founder’s love of money and luxury to the world beyond Mexico and Spanish speaking countries to world-wide attention in the Hartford Courant in 1997, and later publishing their critique of Maciel and the Legion with Vows of Silence (2004).
Don’t forget the Legion was founded by Mexican priest, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and most of the literature about it is in the Spanish language. Fr. Maciel saw the Irish as the Legion’s gateway into the USA and other English-speaking countries. Although the Legion would like to cast itself as an international organization – it is present in many countries- there has always been a strong Mexican element: most major superiors are Mexicans, followed by Spaniards, Irish and U.S., with an occasional German or Italian thrown in for good PR. Unfortunately, Legion and Regnum Christi leadership has consistently been tainted by the leaven of founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, arch abuser, conman, manipulator of conservative Catholics and popes, and a bare-faced liar.
ReGAIN, in principle, avoids criticizing “The Church” as we believe that the Catholic Church consists in the union of all baptized catholics, irrespective of their rank (dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, chapter 2, The People of Gd. We, thus distinguish between the Catholic Church and the Catholic Hierarchy (LC chapter 3). In general, we also avoid criticizing “the pope”, as if he were solely responsible for every sin that every one of the billion members of the Catholic Church commits.
On the other hand, we hold pope, hierarchy , clergy and religious responsible for their actions and omissions, especially when it comes to grevious offenses against children and the vulnerable.
Together with many other Catholics, Christians, believers, and people of good will, we complain about the way the Catholic Hierarchy has failed to punish Fr. Maciel, and to investigate and censure several cult-like or coercive religious orders and movements approved by and operating freely within its boundaries.
ReGAIN has consistently defended and supported all those abused in any way by Legion founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel and Legion and Regnum Christi superiors and directors.
Berry, J. & Renner, G. (2004). Vows of Silence. New York: Free Press;
—– (2006). El Legionario de Cristo. Mexico City: Random House Mondadori.
—– (2011). Render unto Rome, The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church. New York: Crown Publishers. Fr. Maciel, Lord of Prosperity, pp.156-196
Erdely, J., Escalante, P., González, F., Guerrero-Chiprés, S., Mascareñas, C. & Masferrer, E. (2004). El Círculo del Poder y la Espiral del Silencio [The Circle of Power and the Spiral of Silence], La Historia Oculta del Padre Marcial Maciel y Los Legionarios de Cristo. Mexico City: Grijalbo.
Espinosa, A. (2003). El Legionario [The Legionary]. Mexico City: Grijalbo.
—– (2014, 2nd Edit.). El Ilusionista, Marcial Maciel (The Illusionist, Marcial Maciel). Charleston, SC: Createspace
González, F. (2006). Marcial Maciel. Los Legionarios de Cristo: testimonios y documentos inéditos [Marcial Maciel, The Legion of Christ: New testimonies and documents]. Mexico: Tusquets Editores,
González Parga, F. (2012). Yo acuso al Padre Maciel y a la Legión de Cristo. Charleston, SC: Createspace. (Maciel victim; early Legionary).
Keogh, J. (20100. Driving Straight on Crooked Lines, How and Irishman found his heart and nearly lost his mind. Iveagh Lodge Press. (A well-written testimony by one of the first Irish-born LC members).
Léger, X & Nicolas, B (2013). Moi, ancien légionnaire du Christ, 7 ans dans une secte au cœur de l’Église. Paris : Flammarion. (Testimony of French LC)
Lennon, J.P. (2012, 2nd Edit). Fr. Marcial Maciel Pedophile, Psychopath and Legion of Christ Founder, From Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to Pope Benedict XVI. Charleston, SC: Createspace. (LC 1961-84)
Martínez de Velasco, J. (2002). Los Legionarios de Cristo, el nuevo ejército del Papa [The Legionaries of the Christ, the Pope’s New Army]. Madrid: La Esfera de los libros.
—– (2004). Los Documentos Secretos de los Legionarios de Cristo [The Secret Documents of the Legion of Christ]. Barcelona: Ediciones B.
Sada, E. (2018) Blackbird – A Memoir; The Story of a Woman Who Submitted to Marcial Maciel, Became Free, and Found Happiness Again. Amazon Digital Services. (Prominent recruiter of Regnum Christi ‘consecrated’ women.)
Ramírez Mota Velasco (2013). El Reino de Marcial Maciel, La Vida Oculta de la Legión y el Regnum Christi. Mexico City: Temas de Hoy. (Prominent superior of RC women)
Ruiz-Marcos, José Manuel. (2006). La orden maldita. La historia oculta de los Legionarios de Cristo [The Accursed Order, the Secret History of the Legion of Christ]. Mexico City: Editorial Planeta.
Torres, A. (2002). La Prodigiosa Aventura de la Legión de Cristo [The Marvelous Adventure of the Legion of Christ]. Madrid: La Esfera de los libros.
—– (2004). No nos dejes caer en la Tentación, Escándalos, dinero y guerras de poder en la Iglesia española [Let us not Fall into Temptation]. Madrid: La Esfera de los libros.
Twelve bishops in Mexico are being investigated for covering up the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, although no conclusions have so far been reached, the Vatican ambassador to the South America nation has revealed.
Archbishop Franco Coppola, the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico, said that some of the investigations, carried out on the basis of new norms established by Pope Francis, have been referred to the Vatican itself.
With the Nuncio’s revelation that more than one-sixth of Mexico’s Bishops are under suspicion of concealing abuse, the image of the Church in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation is likely to be further tarnished.
In 2019 one bishop revealed that at least 103 Catholic priests in Mexico have been suspended in the past nine years for sexual abuse against minors, out of more than 271 priests have been accused of sexual abuse.
In 2020 the Pope sent the team of investigators he directed to Chile in 2018 to Mexico, in a move suggesting problems of abuse and cover-up in Mexico could be as severe as the Chilean crisis. Although the visit was cancelled, Archbishop Coppola, the Papal representative in Mexico, has made confronting the abuse crisis a personal priority.
An internal report by the religious order in 2019 concluded that Maciel had abused at least 60 minors over decades – during which Maciel, and the legion, were regularly lauded by the institutional Church.
The consequences of the scandal continue to unfold. When Archbishop Coppola released his personal email and appealed for victims of abuse to come forward, most of those who contacted them wanted, he said, to talk about the Legionaries of Christ.
With 84 million Catholic residents, Mexico has one of the highest number of Catholic inhabitants in the world, second only to Brazil. The moral authority of the Church in Mexico has been eroded in recent years, however, with protestant denominations making inroads in the north and south of the country. Across Latin America, the portion of people who identify as Catholic has declined in recent decades, from around 90 per cent in the 1960s to 69 per cent in 2014.
< Thanks to the help of a source which would like to remain anonymous, we have compiled a list of FOR-PROFITS and NON-PROFITS controlled by the Legion. Some of these are inactive. Please note that according to Canon Law, no religious congregation may own a for-profit but can own a non-profit.
1) OFFSHORE TAX ENTITIES created by the Legion and managed out of the Legion’s headquarters in Rome (Via Aurelia 677)
International Volunteer Services
The Society for Better Education
2) ENTITIES CONTROLLED BY THE LEGION that manage world-wide funds
Horizons Institute, Inc [run from Rome, controls the Legion of Christ’s world-wide funds and activities]
As Catholic order fought sex abuse claims, secret trusts devoted to it poured millions into American rental properties
Leaked files reveal nearly $300 million stashed overseas for the Legion of Christ in wake of Vatican investigation. Millions were invested with a corporate landlord that evicted struggling U.S. tenants during pandemic.
Fr. Maciel (1920-2008) began abusing his adolescent seminarians soon after the foundation in Mexico City 1941. He was investigated twice by the Vatican, never went to trial in canon or civil law, and lived out his days in luxury and pleasure, unrepentent.
Names of Not Compensated Sexual Abuse Victims of Fr. Maciel, Founder and Superior General of the Legion(aries) of Christ -now morphed into Regnum Christi Federation
Recently deceased while the Legion/Regnum Superiors played cat and mouse, waiting for them to die off:
Saúl Barrales Arellano (maternal surname goes last in Spanish; although people can be named by their maternal surname in certain cases, as in the case of Francisco González, called Parga )
Félix Alarcón Hoyos
Fernando Pérez Olvera
Living Survivors in their 80s,
two of whom are living in abject poverty and illness
José de Jesús Barba Martín
Alejandro Espinosa Alcalá
Francisco González Parga – together with Alarcón, the only other victim ordained to priesthood- went public in 2005 when victims were interviewed by then Vatican Prosecutor, Mons. Charles Scicluna, in Mexico City)
José Antonio Pérez Olvera, José Barba Martín, and Chilean clergy sex abuse victim
(Note Legionaries/Regnum Christi tried to hack this site in July 2019 -shame on them, supposedly operating under the name of Christ!)
MACIEL SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS HELP EACH OTHER – WHILE LEGIONARIES OF CHIST RELAX IN LUXURY, THEIR VICTIMS LANGUISH IN POVERTY FOLLOW UP
UPDATE August 25, 2021 LATEST REPORT FROM VICTIMS
WHILE LEGIONARY OF CHRIST LEADERS FRS. CONNOR, SCHOGGL, ETC., PLAY HIDE AND SEEK WITH THEIR FOUNDER’S SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS
José Antonio had to move out of L.A.B.’s home recently because José Antonio caught the COVID-19 virus, and had to retreat to his previous cubby hole… Legion/Regnum of Christ leaders continued to wrangle with Maciel victims over compensation for their sexual abuse, Legion denial and denigration, calumnies and abandonment.
While deliberations continue with Legion/Regnum leadership about the where, the what and the when of compensation (it is believed a total of ten thousand dollars may have been given to José Antonio up to now – while promises are in the hundreds of thousands!), at least one of the surviving Maciel victims has made sure JA has power and phone in his basement. Two kind women have also contributed to the rescue operation in the past few days.
It appears that Legion/Regnum rescue operations areCONDITIONED BY THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE CONTROL AND PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES THEIR INTERVENTION MAY AFFORD THEM!
Original posting below:
José-Antonio Pérez Olvera, now 84, and suffering from numerous illnesses, is about to be evicted. His compensation from the Legion of Christ, led by LC (Director) Superior General, Fr. John Connor, USA, amounts to a $5,000.00 US he received last April as an “Easter Gift”.
“Promises, promises, promises”, resound in his aged ears.
Pepe Toño is one of the few remaining victims of Fr. Maciel’s -founder of the Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi 60 million dollar budget Movement.
The first to die, many years ago was Fr. Juan Manuel Amenábar, a Spanish LC priest who had been close to Maciel all his life until revealing his abuse on his deathbed to then Father Alberto Athié from the Mexico City diocese.
The last to die was former seminarian Saúl Barrales, Brother Charity, earlier this year, R.I.P.
Just before that Fernando Pérez Olvera passed away.
Fr. Félix Alarcón, a Spanish LC priest has also passed away.
LEGION COMPENSATION IN ALL THESE CASES HAS BEEN FROM ZERO TO PALTRY. “Better for these old men to die off than for the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation have to disburse money in compensation” (bottom line of Pontifical Delegate, Mons. Velasio de Paolis’, policy during his visitation 2010. May God have mercy on his soul! See Velasio de Paolis, WIKIPEDIA, “Pontifical Delegate to the Legion of Christ.”)
A week ago, Pepe Toño wrote to some friends: “What really bothers me is that they are literally evicting me in three days’ time.”
Pepe’s friends are screaming at Fr. Connor to do something. ReGAIN has the awful feeling this will be another case of “Too little, too late.”
And I think of how his perpetrator, Fr. Marcial Maciel, lived out his last days in luxury and pleasure, accompanied by his female lover and daughter traveling freely in the USA and Mexico, despite that slap on the hand from the Vatican in 2006.
August 1-15, most Legionaries are on their “major vacations” which means relaxing at the beach houses of millionaire benefactors in Mexico, Spain, Italy and the USA. I spent mine years ago in Mazatlán; the family left their house to our “community”; this included a captain for the yacht to go marlin fishing, waiters to serve us our drinks at the pool, a cook to prepare our meals and maids to take care of housekeeping…
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Pepe Toño sweats it out, as he waits for the crumbs to fall from the rich man Dives Connor’s table.
A week ago Victims of Fr. Maciel’s sexual abuse appeared on Mexican Canal 14 giving their testimonies once more and demanding compensation from the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation (note how the chameleon changes its name!)
As I conversed with one of them today I was shocked once again by what they had to say about the SEXUAL PREDATOR FOUNDER OF A BONA FIDE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CONGREGATION (now under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Institutes of Religious Life and Associatons of Apostolic Life, presided over by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz)
I learn that in Santander, Spain, in August 1954 (Maciel was 34; the Legion was 13, and hadreceived diocesan approval -through Maciel’s astuteness- in 1948), the founder began engaging in a sexual relationship with at least one of his junior seminarians. The seminarian in question had recently arrived from Mexico on the Marqués de Comillas ship to begin his junior seminary studies. The victim was 15-16 years of age. It was “love at first sight” for the holy founder. Maciel began his grooming/entrapment of Pretty Boy and made great advances in his conquest for the Kingdom of Heaven –Thy Kingdom Come, being the motto which Maciel would choose..
The future “personal friend” of (saint) Pope John Paul II who would be lauded by the saint as “an efficacious guide for youth” was soon anally penetrating Pretty Boy. When Pretty Boy revealed the depth of his involvement with Maciel to his companions later in life, he confessed, in colorful Mexican parlance: “he fuxxed me and I fuxxed him; we fuxxed each other”, (” él me cogió; yo le cogí; nos cogimos”) with the help of lubricants.
I WANT TO SHOCK CATHOLIC AUTHORITIES INTO ACTION!
For those of you who are not familiar with this form of sexual intercourse, I refer you to Planned Parenthood:
“The anus does not produce enough lubrication for comfortable anal sex, so it’s important to use an artificial water-based lubricant — like K-Y jelly or Astroglide — for anal sex. (Using an oil-based lubricant, like Vaseline, can damage latex condoms.)”
The Popes and Vatican authorities do not seem to grasp the gravity of Maciel’s depravity, manipulation and astuteness or ask themselves how such a pervert could found a religious order. Some of Maciel’s victims believe he founded the order so as to have his own private harem:
Pope Francis called Maciel “a very disturbed person”; Pope Benedict declared him “a man lacking any moral scuples”. Marvelous examples of “euphemism’ and minimization so as to avoid the question of how the Vatican allowed itself to be deceived so roundly.
My Mexican friend referring the testimony to me agrees that this is an abomination. Here is the predator, conman, imporsonator who kissed and embraced Pope John Paul II -while at the same time sodomizing his own spiritual sons, seminarians in Rome, acting as founder and Superior General of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement.
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Deception, Dependency, and Dread in the Conversion Process
Michael D. Langone, PhD
Farber, Harlow, & West (1957) coined the term “DDD syndrome” to describe the essence of Korean war thought reform with prisoners of war: debility, dependency, and dread. Lifton (1961), who also studied thought reform employed in Chinese universities, demonstrated that the process did not require physical debilitation. Contemporary cultic groups, which do not have the power of the state at their disposal, have more in common with this brand of thought reform than with the POW variety in that they rarely employ physical coercion. In order to control targets, they must rely on subterfuge and natural areas of overlap between themselves and prospects. As with all Korean era thought reform programs (those directed at civilians and at prisoners), however, contemporary cultic groups induce dependent states to gain control over recruits and employ psychological (sometimes physical) punishment (“dread”) to maintain control. The process, in my view, can be briefly described by a modified “DDD syndrome”: deception, dependency, and dread.
Although the process here described is complex and varied, the following appears to occur in the prototypical cult conversion:
A vulnerable prospect encounters a cultic group.
The group (leader[s]) deceptively presents itself as a benevolent authority that can improve the prospect’s well-being.
The prospect responds positively, experiencing an increase in self-esteem and security, at least some of which is in response to what could be considered “placebo” The prospect can now be considered a “recruit”.
Through the use of “sharing” exercises, “confessions,” and skillful individualized probing, the group [leader(s)] assesses the recruit’s strengths and weaknesses.
Through testimonies of group members, the denigration of the group’s “competitors” (e.g., other religious groups, other therapists), the tactful accentuation of the recruit’s shameful memories and other weaknesses, and the gradual indoctrination of the recruit into a closed, nonfalsifiable belief system, the group’s superiority is affirmed as a fundamental assumption.
Members’ testimonies, positive reinforcement of the recruit’s expressions of trust in the group, discrete reminders about the recruit’s weaknesses, and various forms of group pressure induce the recruit to acknowledge that his/her future well-being depends upon adherence to the group’s belief system, more specifically its “change program.”
These same influence techniques are joined by a subtle undermining of the recruit’s self-esteem (e.g., by exaggerating the “sinfulness” of experiences the recruit is encouraged to “confess”), the suppression or weakening of critical thinking through fatiguing activity, near-total control of the recruit’s time, trance-induction exercises (e.g., chanting), and the repetitive message that only disaster results from not following the group’s “change program.” These manipulations induce the recruit to declare allegiance to the group and to commit to change him/herself as directed by the group. He or she can now be considered a convert embarking on a path of “purification”, “enlightenment”, “self-actualization”, “higher consciousness,” or whatever. The recruit’s dependency on the group is established and implicitly, if not explicitly, acknowledged. Moreover, he/she has accepted the group’s authority in defining what is true and good, within the convert’s heart and mind as well as in the world.
The convert is next fully subjected to the unrealistically high expectations of the group. The recruit’s “potential” is “lovingly” affirmed, while members testify to the great heights they and “heroic” models have scaled. The group’s all-important mission, e.g., save the world, justifies its all-consuming expectations.
Because by definition the group is always right and “negative” thinking is unacceptable, the convert’s failures become totally his or her responsibility, while his or her doubts and criticisms are suppressed (often with the aid of trance-inducing exercises such as meditation, speaking in tongues, or chanting) or redefined as personal failures. The convert thus experiences increasing self-alienation. The “pre-cult self” is rejected; doubts about the group are pushed out of consciousness; the sense of failure generated by not measuring up to the group’s expectations is bottled up inside. The only possible adaptation is fragmentation and compartmentalization. It is not surprising, then, that many clinicians consider dissociation to lie at the heart of cult-related distress and dysfunction (Ash, 1985).
The convert’s self-alienation will tend to demand further psychological, if not physical, alienation from the non-group world (especially family), information from which can threaten to upset whatever dissociative equilibrium the convert establishes in an attempt to adjust to the consuming and conflicting demands of the group. This alienation accentuates the convert’s dependency on the group.
The group supports the convert’s dissociative equilibrium by actively encouraging escalating dependency, e.g., by exaggerating the convert’s past “sins” and conflicts with family, by denigrating outsiders, by positively reinforcing chanting or other “thought-stopping” activities, and by providing and positively reinforcing ways in which the convert can find a valued role within the group (e.g., work for a group-owned business, sell magazines on the street).
The group strengthens the convert’s growing dependency by threatening or inflicting punishment whenever the convert or an outside force (e.g., a visit by a family member) disturbs the dissociative equilibrium that enables him or her to function in a closed, nonfalsifiable system (the “dread” of DDD). Punishment may sometimes by physical. Usually, however, the punishment is psychological, sometimes even metaphysical. Certain fringe Christian groups, for example, can, at the command of the leadership, immediately begin shunning someone singled out as “factious” or possessed of a “rebellious spirit.” Many groups also threaten wavering converts with punishments in the hereafter, for example, being “doomed to Hell.” It should be remembered that these threats and punishments occur within a context of induced dependency and psychological alienation from the person’s former support network. This fact makes them much more potent than the garden-variety admonitions of traditional religious, such as “you will go to hell if you die with mortal sin.”
The result of this process, when carried to its consummation, is a person who proclaims great happiness but hides great suffering. I have talked to many former cultists who, when they left their groups and talked to other former members, were surprised to discover that many of their fellow members were also smilingly unhappy, all thinking they were the only ones who felt miserable inside.
Ash, S. (1985). Cult-induced psychopathology, part 1: Clinical picture. Cultic Studies Journal, 2(1), 31-91.
Farber, I. E., Harlow, H. F., & West, L. J. (1956). Brainwashing, conditioning, and DDD (debility, dependency, and dread). Sociometry, 20, 271-285.
Lifton, R. J. (1961). Thought reform and the psychology of totalism. New York: W. W. Norton.
First, I want to thank all those who had the idea to create this site (Opus Libros). Can you measure exactly the amount of good you do to so many souls out there?
I speak for myself, but I’m sure many people benefit from the content of Opus Livre (Opus Libros, Opus Books)
I also want to congratulate the authors of the book “Opus Dei, os Bastidores” (Opus Dei, behind the Scenes) for so much courage and lucidity. The relevance of this book is immense and, I believe, it helps bring peace to many people who have gone through Opus Dei, as in my case.
Until I had knowledge of the book and access to the site, which only happened two weeks ago, I lived for years of my life thinking that I was the only dissenting number, because I had never read anything so real about it. So, I just have to thank you, because I felt a great relief to see that I’m normal, contrary to what the people at Opus Dei wanted to make me to believe in their mean and harmful norms.
I’m going to spare names out of respect for people. I don’t know if they disappeared or not. Anyway, they deserve respect.
I was 15 years old and recently completed middle school, with very little life experience when I found the Jacamar University Center, (Sao Paulo, Brazil) still at Al. Joaquim Eugênio de Lima in the mid-1970s. I’m from an upper middle-class family, practicing Catholics, college educated parents. To top it off, at the height of my 15 years I was very cute, friendly, although shy, affable and, of course, docile and naïve regarding everything, besides having an immense desire to change the world, do good, be recognized, have friends.
A sister of mine, a year older than me, was the one who took me downtown, invited by a friend from our high school. But I didn’t know anything about Opus Dei, imagine… I arrived on a Sunday, I liked the place, everyone was cheerful and friendly. It was carnival, had a lively little party, I liked the weather. But on the first day some things caught my eye. First, that bunch of women (only women, of course, which I found strange) wearing skirts at a time that few wore … for me it was very weird. Then I noticed that they all had more or less the same manner, the same hair, the same way of expressing themselves. Now, what caused me the most strangeness (but not necessarily in a bad sense at that moment) was when a girl -I had never seen a fatter one in my life- took me aside and said that she really liked me (this about 2 hours after we met for the first time ), and that she wanted to be my friend. Only later did I understand that she was a Numerary (consecrated member) doing her apostolate(mission work) any way she could, as is the custom in The Work (Spanish, La Obra, as the members call it). Anyway, this girl was 5 years older than me, and I was very happy that she approached me and filled me with compliments. I thought it was great for her to want to know so much about me and to have been so interested in me (I almost had no friends, i was very shy and closeted at home). I remember we went out a few times to have coffee, eat sweets, talk. That was really cool. But then the spiritual practices began, which also sounded strange, exaggerated, even though I was used to going to mass, praying.
Anyway, 5 and a half months after having gone to Jacamar the first time, this same girl takes me aside, in one of those conversations, and asks me if I had never thought about becoming a part of The Work (she was already living in the center and told me that she had joined Opus Dei). She asked what I thought of it, I was kind of not sure what to say, but I thought it was weird. Faced with the question about my vocation, I faltered, I didn’t know what to answer, I had no idea what that meant, and, with no idea what to say, “I don’t know, I never thought much, but I also thought, I don’t know.” Then she insisted and said that she thought I had a vocation, that everyone at the center thought it, that I had to give my life to God, that I wouldn’t regret it. He said I should find it as great as I was 15 to know why I was born, that I was chosen by God. I was a little astonished, but I let myself be persuaded (I was really very silly) and said yes I had thought about what it was like to be “on the other side” like her.
Then, on the spot, I had the “great vision” about my vocation… I was very afraid to go ahead because I knew it meant I wouldn’t get married. I was distressed, but I didn’t discuss this with anyone. In conversations, they made me believe that this was a minor thing compared to my “divine” choice. Well, then all the rules and rules started, and I learned several things: first I had to wear skirts always (which for me was absolutely unnatural), that I could not go to the movies or the theater (something else that shocked me a lot), that for everything I had to ask permission of the center, which had to give me money if I needed it, wear the cilice (spiked garter around the thigh) and whip myself with the discipline (hard knotted whip) and do my apostolate (outreach work). I was very bad at trying to convince others, to this day I am, especially when I’m not quite convinced of what I want to sell; so, I was always pretty weak as regards convincing others, But they made it clear to me what kind of “friend” (recruit) the center was interested in: the well-settled and the family with money. And I thought we were going to be holy in the middle of the world, being a normal person, with normal friends… but changing the way I dressed, changing my habits, this was all unnatural to me. I drew a lot of attention at school, at home, everyone came to think I was weird. That was horrible!! I didn’t feel worldly. I was shocked to learn that The Work was all about that. After all, I had dreamed of being normal, wearing pants, going to the movies. Now I was crying because I had been “chosen”. I hated my destiny …
But what really shocked me in Opus Dei, this pseudo-work of God, was another story (neither the cilice and discipline were that hard!). My sister who put me in touch with the university the center (look at the irony) has a disease called neurofibromatosis. Those who suffer from the problem have skin full of fibromas. You can imagine that these people suffer prejudice and have low self-esteem. Because one day, I don’t even remember if I was already from The Work, one of the numeraries, using second-rate psychology, “washed her hands” on my sister’s case. She said that she was a very strange person, full of nervous tics and problems, who had probably gotten a lot from my father as a child and that she needed treatment. And, of course, unfortunately The Work could do nothing for her. Since that day – I never learned what happened exactly in the conversation between the numerary and my sister – my sister was left abandoned in the center, until eventually she stopped going. What’s more, she developed a huge, huge anger for the place, to the point of ridiculing me because I started dressing like the people there and fighting with me every time I went to Jacamar. On the other hand, another of my sisters, two years older than me, good-looking, “whistled”(joined) around the same time as me. It was really hard to hear that about my sister. It’s been 30 years since this happened, and to this day I remember details of what the numerary told me.
Another shock: my mother, although Catholic, hated the center and Opus Dei. She’d do anything to get me out of there, telling me they manipulated me, that they were Francoists (Fascists). I fought a lot with her over The Work and, at the top of my 15 years, the more she contradicted me, the more I wanted to go to Jacamar. Well, because of that, I couldn’t afford to donate to the Work, which was charging me. My contribution was so little that one day I was advised to open my mother’s wallet and open it behind her back. God would understand, according to the director of the center. And so it was that in my teenage years I stole from my mother several times, just to please the directors.
Another shock was when I went to take the university entrance exam. Without asking, I registered for the journalism course at PUC and Liberal Arts at USP. With the registration already made, my directors said that Journalism was a course disapproved by The Work and PUC, so no way! That I should only study Liberal Arts. Actually, what I really wanted most was journalism. So, at the end of high school, I gave in and passed Liberal Arts. I told the people at the center that my directors had recommended I drop out of college. I went secretly to the university center for some (journalism) classes. I enjoyed it a lot; that’s what I wanted. I had passed without having to take the introductory course, but my superiors did not let me move on, despite my arguments. They said it was a very politicized subject, that it was not good for a daughter of God. Very depressed, I was forced to lie to my parents and myself, telling them I no longer wanted that course and that I would present Liberal Arts. My parents wouldn’t let me drop out of college, registered me for the course and paid a year of school for me – I did it unwillingly, not wanting to get into Liberal Arts; I was missing more times than I attended; I skipped…
By that time, my relationship with The Work and God had already gone up in smoke, but I tried to keep up appearances somehow. I was depressed. I had terrible headaches. I made my parents worry about me. They took me to doctors. I was in pain, I was confined to bed, sleeping a lot, not wanting to take the phone calls from the center staff. I didn’t tell anyone my anguish, much less to the numeraries, who should have been my sisters at this point!
Finally, I got involved with a boy… I was almost 19, but I was still attached to the center. One day I told the numerary who was taking care of me what was going on and she wanted to know in detail how far I had gone with the young man. And all the details! And as I was explaining to her, she was turning into a monster, muttering, almost drooling. She was very interested in the content of my story, and at the same time she seemed to feel very angry that I had experienced it and she, at least as far as I knew, had never experienced it. She was not satisfied with my answers. She backed me to the wall in a crazy conversation, which I never forgot, interrogating me. At the end of the conversation, she called me a whore, told me I dressed like a whore (just because on this day I had a blouse with a shorter sleeves) and even spit in my face, disgusted by me. Weakened, I cried a lot, I went to confess with a priest of Opus Dei (who also wanted to know all the details), I asked God’s forgiveness, I just cried. Obviously, I didn’t want to belong to The Work anymore, but I didn’t know how to leave. I was full of guilt; they told me of all the horrors that affect those who leave their vocation. My sister who had joined had already left well before me, without commenting on me. That was terrible too, in a conversation about it! At the center, I was told that she had no vocation, that this was happening. They insisted on me for a while, but gradually they gave up, too.
They didn’t want me there anymore, and I didn’t want them. I had with me material from The Work (books, pamphlets) and I was ready to return them if I were asked. A numerary agreed to meet with me in a church and gave me the message: “You no longer belong to The Work.” I felt a mixture of relief and guilt with the expulsion. She treated me with a certain pity, as if I were a poor thing, but she didn’t give me much satisfaction regarding the reasons for the expulsion. It was all very informal, actually. She said that at that moment what she and The Work could do for me would be to give me guidance so that I would not “fall away” too steeply; so that I could secure my salvation. She arranged for me to meet me the next week for a new conversation. And she said she’d give that assistance for a while. On the day arranged, I went to the agreed place and there I waited for the girl, who not only did not show up but never gave me an explanation – neither she nor anyone else from the Work. As I had sinned gravely in the eyes of Opus Dei (I had only exchanged a few caresses with the boyfriend, had not lost my virginity!) but now I was considered garbage, a fifth-rate human being, and they probably came to the conclusion that no one should waste time with me anymore. The friend who “discovered” my vocation I never saw again; she moved from the Opus house. This distancing for me also made me very bad, a broken link suddenly in such a complicated phase of my life. Since that day in 1979 I have never had any further contact with Opus Dei. (In fact, I always run away from the topic when someone touches on it. I’m so very afraid they’d learn about my past.)
Anyway, years have passed. I married; I have two children, many friends. I am a professional of respect in the area I chose. But Opus Dei is a rock in the middle of my path. I dreamed years of this Work. I still dream, and never, not even once have I been able to talk about my experience with someone – not with my best friends, not with my parents, nor with my sisters (not even with the one who, like me, joined one day), nor before the therapists I’ve seen, nor with my husband. I look at my kids, still children, and I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to talk to them about it either. It is very distressing to keep this secret. I have crises to this day with this and, in front of this picture, I imagine how much relief the site has given me. I see there are other people in the same boat. Deep down, I’d really like to be able to talk in person with a former member of The Work, someone with enough lucidity to exchange ideas with me about my anguish and help me erase this terrible ghost once and for all. Is that possible?
Thank you so much for your attention, from the bottom of my heart.
Pois então aí vai meu depoimento (loooonguíssimo!!):
Primeiro quero agradecer a todos os que tiveram a idéia de criar este site. Será que vocês têm a dimensão exata do bem que fazem a tantas almas por aí?
Falo por mim, mas tenho certeza de que muitas pessoas se beneficiam do conteúdo do Opus Livre.
Quero também parabenizar os autores do livro “Opus Dei, Os Bastidores” por tanta coragem e lucidez. A pertinência deste livro é imensa e, creio eu, ajuda a trazer paz a muita gente que passou pelo Opus Dei – meu caso.
Até ter conhecimento do livro e acesso ao site, o que só aconteceu há duas semanas, vivi anos da minha vida achando que eu era a única numerária dissidente, pois eu nunca havia lido nada tão real sobre o assunto por aí. Então só tenho mesmo a agradecer, porque senti um alívio imenso de ver que sou normal, ao contrário do que as pessoas do Opus Dei quiseram me fazer acreditar com suas normas insanas e nefastas.
Vou poupar nomes em respeito às pessoas. Não sei se elas “desapitaram” ou não. De qualquer forma, merecem respeito.
Eu tinha 15 anos recém-completados e pouquíssima experiência de vida quando conheci o Centro Universitário Jacamar, ainda na Al. Joaquim Eugênio de Lima, em meados da década de 1970. Sou de uma família classe média alta, católicos praticantes, pais universitários. Para completar, no auge dos meus 15 anos era bem bonitinha, simpática, embora tímida, afável e, claro, dócil e ingênua de tudo, além de ter uma imensa vontade de mudar o mundo, fazer o bem, ser reconhecida, ter amigos.
Uma irmã, um ano mais velha do que eu, foi quem me levou ao centro, convidada por uma amiga do nosso colégio, já numerária. Mas eu nada sabia de Opus Dei, imagina… Eu cheguei num domingo, gostei do lugar, era todo mundo alegre e simpático. Era carnaval, tinha uma festinha animada, gostei do clima. Mas já no primeiro dia algumas coisas me chamaram a atenção. Primeiro, aquele bando de mulheres (só mulheres, claro, o que já achei estranho) usando saias numa época que poucas usavam… pra mim era muito esquisito. Depois reparei que todas tinham mais ou menos o mesmo jeito, o mesmo cabelo, o mesmo modo de se expressar. Agora, o que mais me causou estranhamento (mas não necessariamente para o mal naquele momento) foi quando uma moça que eu nunca havia visto mais gorda na vida me chamou para um canto e disse que havia gostado muito (isso com umas 2 horas de convívio apenas) de mim e que queria ser minha amiga. Só depois é que fui entender que se tratava de uma numerária fazendo apostolado de forma acintosa, como é de praxe na Obra. Enfim, essa moça era 5 anos mais velha do que eu e fiquei muito feliz por ela ter se aproximado de mim e me enchido de elogios. Achei o máximo ela querer saber tanto de mim e ter se interessado tanto por mim (eu quase não tinha amigas, era muito tímida e fechada em casa). Lembro que saímos algumas vezes para tomar café, comer doces, conversar. Aquilo era muito legal. Mas aí começaram as práticas espirituais, que também me soavam estranhas, exageradas, embora eu estivesse acostumada a ir à missa, a rezar. Enfim, 5 meses e meio depois de ter ido à primeira vez ao Jacamar, essa mesma moça que chama para um canto, numa daquelas nossas conversas, e me pergunta se eu nunca tinha pensado em ser da Obra (ela já estava morando no centro e me contou que havia entrado para o Opus Dei. Perguntou o que eu achava daquilo, fiquei meio sem saber o que dizer, mas achei esquisito). Diante da pergunta sobre minha vocação, vacilei, não sabia o que responder, não tinha a menor idéia do que aquilo significava e, sem ter idéia do que dizer disse “mais ou menos, sei lá, nunca pensei muito, mas também já pensei, não sei”. Aí ela insistiu e disse que achava que eu tinha vocação, que todo mundo no centro achava, que eu tinha de entregar minha vida a Deus, que eu não me arrependeria. Disse que eu deveria achar o máximo com apenas 15 anos saber por que motivo eu havia nascido, que eu era escolhida por Deus. Fiquei meio pasma, mas entrei no discurso dela (eu era realmente muito tonta) e disse que já tinha pensado sim em como era estar ‘do outro lado’, como ela. Aí, pronto, tive a “grande visão” a respeito da minha vocação… Tive muito medo de ir em frente, porque sabia que não podia casar, fiquei meio aflita, mas não comentei com ninguém. Nas conversas, fizeram-me acreditar que isso era uma coisa menor diante da escolha “divina”. Bem, aí começaram todas as normas e regras e tomei conhecimento de várias coisas: primeiro que tinha de usar saias sempre (o que pra mim era absolutamente antinatural), que não podia ir ao cinema nem ao teatro (outra coisa que me chocou muito), que para tudo tinha de pedir permissão ao centro, que tinha de dar dinheiro, usar o cilício e as disciplinas e fazer apostolado de qualquer jeito. Eu era muito ruim nisso de tentar convencer os outros, até hoje sou, especialmente quando não estou bem convencida do que quero vender, por isso sempre fui bem fraca de apostolado. Enfim, mas deixaram claro para mim que tipo de amiga interessava ao centro: as bem resolvidas e as de família com grana. E eu que achava que a gente ia ser santo no meio do mundo, sendo uma pessoa normal, com amigos normais… mudar o jeito de vestir, mudar meus hábitos, isso tudo era pra mim antinatural, eu chamava muita atenção na escola, em casa, todos passaram a me achar esquisita. Isso foi horrível!! Não me sentia do mundo, tive um choque ao saber que a Obra era isso. No final, sonhava em ser normal, usar calça, ir ao cinema, chorava porque eu havia sido “escolhida” , tinha ódio do meu destino…
Mas o que me chocou mesmo no Opus Dei, essa pseudo-obra de Deus, foi uma outra história (nem o cilício e a disciplina me doeram tanto!). A minha irmã que me fez conhecer o centro (vejam a ironia) tem uma doença chamada neurofibromatose. Quem sofre do problema tem a pele cheia de fibromas. Dá para imaginar que essas pessoas sofrem preconceito e têm baixa auto-estima. Pois um dia, nem me lembro mais se eu já era da Obra, uma das numerárias, se valendo de uma psicologia de quinta categoria, “lavou as mãos” sobre o caso da minha irmã. Disse que ela era uma pessoa muito esquisita, cheia de tiques nervosos e problemas, que provavelmente tinha apanhado muito do meu pai quando criança e que ela precisava se tratar. E, claro, que infelizmente a Obra não poderia fazer nada por ela. Desde esse dia – eu nunca soube o que aconteceu na conversa entre a numerária e a minha irmã – minha irmã ficou largada às traças no centro, até que deixou de ir. E mais: ficou com uma raiva enorme, imensa do lugar, a ponto de me ridicularizar porque eu passei a me vestir como as pessoas de lá e a brigar comigo toda vez que eu ia ao Jacamar. Em compensação, uma outra irmã, dois anos mais velha do que eu, de boa aparência, apitou mais ou menos na mesma época que eu. Foi muito duro ouvir aquilo sobre minha irmã. Faz 30 anos que isso aconteceu e até hoje me lembro detalhes do que a numerária me falou. Outro choque: minha mãe, apesar de católica, odiava o centro e o Opus Dei. Fazia de tudo para me tirar de lá, dizia que me manipulavam, que eram franquistas. Briguei muito com ela por causa da Obra e, no alto dos meus 15 anos, quanto mais ela me contrariava, mais eu queria ir ao Jacamar. Bem, por causa disso, não conseguia dinheiro para dar à Obra, que me cobrava. Minha contribuição era tão pouca que um dia me aconselharam a abrir a carteira da minha mãe e pegar sem ela perceber. Deus entenderia, segundo a diretora do centro. E assim foi que na minha adolescência furtei minha mãe várias vezes, apenas para agradar às diretoras.
Outro choque foi quando fui prestar vestibular. Sem perguntar nada, fiz inscrição para o curso de Jornalismo na PUC e de Letras na USP. Com a inscrição já feita, disseram que Jornalismo era um curso reprovado pela Obra e a PUC, então, nem pensar! Que eu só deveria prestar Letras. Na verdade, o que eu mais queria era Jornalismo mesmo. Então, ao acabar o colégio, prestei e passei. Contei ao pessoal do centro, elas me disseram para largar a faculdade. Cheguei a ir escondido do centro em algumas aulas, gostei muito, era o que eu queria, havia passado sem precisar fazer cursinho, mas não me deixaram seguir em frente, apesar dos meus argumentos. Diziam que era um curso muito politizado, que aquilo não era bom para uma filha de Deus. Muito deprimida, fui obrigada a mentir aos meus pais e a mim mesma, dizendo que não queria mais aquele curso e que iria prestar Letras. Meus pais não me deixaram largar a faculdade, trancaram o curso e pagaram um ano de cursinho para mim – fiz a contragosto, não querendo entrar na Letras, mais faltava do que ia, matava aula etc. Nessa altura, minha relação com a Obra e com Deus já tinha ido para o espaço, mas eu tentava manter as aparências de alguma forma. Tive depressão, sentia dores de cabeça terríveis, fiz meus pais se preocuparem comigo, me levarem em médicos, exagerava nas dores, vivia trancada na cama, dormindo, sem querer atender aos telefonemas do pessoal do centro. Não contava para ninguém minhas angústias, muito menos para as numerárias, que deveriam ser a essa altura minhas irmãs! Por fim, me envolvi com um rapaz… tinha quase 19 anos, mas ainda não havia me desligado do centro. Contei um dia à numerária que me atendia o que estava acontecendo e ela quis saber em detalhes até onde eu tinha chegado com o moço. Mas detalhes mesmo! E conforme eu ia contando ela ia se transformando num monstro, falando entre dentes, quase babando. Tinha enorme interesse naquilo que eu contava, e, ao mesmo tempo, parecia sentir muita raiva por eu ter experimentado aquilo e ela, ao menos até onde eu sabia, não ter passado por isso. Não se contentava com minhas respostas, me encostou na parede numa conversa alucinada, que nunca mais esqueci, dirigindo minhas respostas. Ao fim da conversa, me chamou de puta, disse que eu me vestia como uma puta (só porque neste dia estava com uma blusa com uma manguinha mais curta) e chegou a cuspir no meu rosto, com nojo de mim. Fragilizada, chorei muito, fui me confessar com um padre do Opus Dei (que também quis saber todos os detalhes), pedi perdão a Deus, me acabei de chorar. Óbvio que não queria mais ser da Obra, mas não sabia como, tinha muita culpa, me falavam de todos os horrores que acometem quem deixa a vocação. Minha irmã que havia apitado já tinha saído bem antes de mim, sem nada comentar comigo. Isso também foi terrível, numa conversamos sobre isso! No centro, me disseram que ela não tinha vocação, que isso acontecia. Insistiram um tempo comigo, mas aos poucos largaram mão também. Não me queriam mais lá, nem eu a eles. Eu tinha comigo um material da Obra (livros, folhetos) e me prontifiquei a devolvê-los, tal qual me solicitavam. Uma numerária marcou comigo numa igreja e me deu o recado: “Você não é mais da Obra”. Senti um misto de alívio e culpa com a expulsão. Ela me tratou com certa pena, como se eu fosse uma coitada, mas não me deu muita satisfação dos motivos da expulsão. Foi tudo muito informal, na verdade. Disse que naquele momento o que ela e a Obra poderiam fazer por mim seria me dar uma orientação para que eu não ‘caísse’ mais tão fundo, para que eu garantisse minha salvação. Então ela combinou comigo de me encontrar na semana seguinte, para nova conversa. E disse que daria essa assistência por um tempo. No dia, fui ao local marcado e lá fiquei a esperar a moça, que não só não apareceu como nunca me deu uma satisfação – nem ela nem ninguém da Obra. Como eu havia pecado gravemente ao olhos do Opus Dei (só havia trocado umas carícias com o namorado, não tinha nem deixado de ser virgem!) havia me tornado um lixo, um ser humano de quinta categoria, e provavelmente chegaram à conclusão de que ninguém deveria mais perder tempo comigo. A tal amiga que ‘descobriu’ minha vocação eu nunca mais vi, ela mudou de centro, essa distância para mim também me fez muito mal, foi um elo quebrado de repente numa fase tão complicada da minha vida. Desde esse dia, de 1979, nunca mais tive nenhum contato com o Opus Dei (aliás, sempre fujo do tema quando por acaso alguém toca nele, tenho muito medo que saibam do meu passado.)
Enfim, anos se passaram, casei, tenho dois filhos, muitos amigos, sou uma profissional de respeito na área que escolhi. Mas o Opus Dei é uma pedra no meio do meu caminho. Sonhei anos com essa Obra, ainda sonho, e nunca, mas nunca mesmo, consegui falar disso com alguém – nem com meus melhores amigos, nem com meus pais, nem com minhas irmãs (nem com a que apitou um dia), nem diante dos terapeutas que fui, nem com meu marido. Olho meus filhos, ainda crianças, e acho que nunca vou conseguir falar sobre isso com eles também. É muito angustiante ter esse segredo, tenho crises até hoje com isso e, diante desse quadro, imagino o quanto de alívio o site me proporcionou. Vejo que há outras pessoas no mesmo barco. No fundo, gostaria mesmo de poder conversar pessoalmente com um ex-membro da Obra, alguém com lucidez suficiente para trocar idéias comigo sobre minhas angústias e me ajudar a apagar de vez esse terrível fantasma. Será que isso é possível?
It is not ReGAIN’s policy to attack the pope or the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. But this article does take the Roman Curia, the apparatchiks of the Church, to task for sins of omission and commission. ReGAIN avoids focusing its critique on the pope as the only or main culprit for all the Church’s ills. We believe this to be too simplistic. (It is always nice to have a concrete target, one person, for our anger and outrage). But it is impossible to absolve several popes, from Pope Pius XII through Benedict XVI, from gross negligence in allowing Maciel and his brand of religious life to continue and prosper in the heart of Catholicism.
Here you will not find (John) Paul Lennon “ranting and raving” -as he was portrayed by Legion lawyers in Alexandria City VA court in 2008. Rather will you find Paul Lennon, saddened by the death of another of Fr. Maciel’s unvindicated sexual abuse victims, Saúl Barrales, on April 5th, 2021; Paul Lennon, LPC, and cult researcher, a practicing Catholic, jolted into action by an article received from Info-Culte, a bona fide Canadian-based cult-watch organization:
A Pedophile should not be allowed to return to the scene of his crimes
The cited article refers to how local Australian residents objected to infamous pedophile, “Little Pebble”, being allowed to return to the place of his pedophilia crimes even under very strict supervision. The article has left me in a state of shock when I realize how information regarding Fr. Maciel’s abuse of a seminarian under his care -two years after founding the order with preadolescent boys in Mexico- reached the Vatican in 1943 and was disregarded, leaving the predatory fox free in the chicken coop he had built for his own dubious reasons. This neglect may also explain how Maciel’s victims’ lives were so irreparably destroyed. Such devastation was witnessed by their loved ones and by those of us who only became aware of their plight in 1997.
Let us look at why local residents objected to having the abuser back in the community where the abuses had occurred after completing his sentence -and how they prevented him from returning. They prevailed against a decision by the New South Wales supreme court allowing him to return under strict supervision. They feared victims would be re-traumatized.
“Late last week the NSW Supreme Court ruled that cult leader William Costellia-Kamm – also known as “Little Pebble” – could return to his commune at Cambewarra, in the Shoalhaven region, under strict conditions and pending approval by Corrective Services NSW.
The decision sparked a huge community backlash that was supported by state and federal MPs.
Today a Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said Costellia-Kamm would be denied access to the region.
“Corrective Services NSW has given no approval for the offender to reside at Cambewarra or the Shoalhaven and has no current plans to do so,” they said.
“The offender will be subject to an intense level of supervision, including around-the-clock electronic monitoring, as well as 48 other strict conditions around his housing, movements, finances, associations, electronic communications and personal appearance.”
The department said Costellia-Kamm would be supervised by “highly-trained” Community Corrections officers who would work with NSW Police.
“The supervision team has also been granted extensive search and seizure powers by the Supreme Court, which allows them at any time and without warning to search the offender, his accommodation, vehicle and any electronic devices,” the spokesperson said.
“Any breach of an Extended Supervision Order is a criminal offence and can result in additional charges and up to five years’ imprisonment.”
In delivering his decision last week Justice Stephen Campbell said the risk Costellia-Kamm posed could be “adequately managed” given the “stringency of the conditions” that were proposed.
The court’s decision led to hundreds of residents on the South Coast signing a petition calling for Costellia-Kamm to be banned from returning to live at the place his crimes were committed.
“All children have a right to feel safe in their community and allowing this man into our community puts our children at risk,” signatory Temeka Giddings said.
Their concerns were echoed by South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and the member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, who expressed concern about the trauma his return would have on his victims.
“In my view there has to be some reform to the law whereby an offender such as this can never come anywhere near this community …,” Ms. Hancock said.
“We cannot abide people like this coming back to live amongst us.”
In 2005 Costellia-Kamm, who founded a cult called the Order of Saint Charbel, was convicted of raping two teenage girls he referred to as his “spiritual wives”.
He had been living in Sydney since he was paroled after serving the bulk of his decade-long sentence.
He continues to deny his guilt and claims he was falsely accused.”
The Re-Traumatization of Maciel’s Victims and the Corruption of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation founded and ruled by him.
The reader must agree with the writer’s shock on connecting the above to the Maciel case.
It took the Vatican 13 years to react to accusations against the founder of the Legion of Christ religious order (“congregation”): first official Vatican “visitation” of the Legion of Christ 1956-58/59. The investigation ultimately was a failure and Maciel was allowed to return to his foundation; not only living in the residences, but also as superior general, enjoying world-wide authority and exercising total and detailed control over each member. The incestuous father returned to his family, reinstated and in a stronger position. Back in Rome, the conman resumed his affair with prominent members of the Curia whom he continued to bribe and blackmail. The serial pedophile had already been abusing his pubescent subjects since the foundation in 1941. So, the abuse went unchecked through 1956 and continued for another fifty years until his death in 2008.
A further Vatican “visitation” in 2009, after Fr. Maciel’s death, failed to root out sexual predators, accomplices, complicit superiors, lackeys, and Maciel die-hards in the organization. No radical changes in the structure and modus operandi occurred. Changes were made to documents but not to personnel. The apostolic delegate had been “love-bombed” by then Legion General Director, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera LC, R.I.P., and the leadership cadre under Monsignor Velasio de Paolis’ review remained in control.
In recent years the Legion, in its effort to deny wide-spread sexual abuse in its midst, has tried to attribute the main part to the “bad” founder, acknowledging that he abused at least 60 minors under his pastoral care. When one considers that Maciel was a predatory serial pedophile this number looks ridiculously low: one victim per year? Testimonies remark how Maciel was insatiable in his lust. As one victim wrote, referring to his abuse in the 1960s: “Maciel is always on the lookout for fresh flesh.” It does not take too much imagination to multiply the official number by three, five or ten…One is also left pondering the effect of second and third generation victims-cum-predators inside the Legion of Christ in an atmosphere of closed doors, secrecy, minimization, exile, and cover-up.
Testimonies reveal how Maciel “progressed” from abusing victims as children to abusing them as adolescents and young adults. The imbalanced relationships sometimes continued into early adulthood with his “lovers”. His dalliances with women tend to obscure his pedophilia and confuse the public. However, it is the writer’s conviction that Maciel’s preference was always focused on boys and adolescents which he could procure on his travels after he exhausted or lost interest in his monotonous inhouse supply.
We are left with mind-boggling questions:
What is the effect of a pedophile confessor, spiritual director, superior, general director living in the midst of a religious community founded and controlled by him?
What is the safety level in a community with an unrestrained sexual predator?
What happens when a sexual predator is your spiritual director and confessor and uses this forum to explore your sexual history and weaknesses?
How is moral compass and conscience destroyed when the sexual predator tells the budding adolescent nothing is wrong, that he is doing the Will of God when he pleasures his predator and allows himself to be pleasured?
What is the effect of an undeterred sexual predator surrounded by innocent boys when the predator is also addicted to morphine?
What kind of actions and conversations does this Superior General have with his victims when uninhibited by drug-use?
How extensive and long-lasting are the effects of Marcial Maciel -the abuser, the liar, the deceiver- on the superiors of the Legion of Christ hand-chosen by him?
What about the disordered actions of the multiple generations of Macielites in positions of authority in the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation to this day?
How does the Vatican hold on to its approval of the Legion of Christ in the light of these undeniable accusations? Is it not capable of reviewing its blind approval of Fr. Maciel and his foundations, which carte blanche can only be explained by deceit and Mafia-like accomplices, bribes and omertà in the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church? (See admission by Prefect for the Congregation of Religious Life, Cardinal Braz de Aviz, cited above)
Is the Vatican able to admit its mistakes in having been unwittingly and/or willingly misled by a consummate conman? Is it capable of reversing its erroneous approval of this flawed founder and his order?
Does Pope Benedict XVI believe “the filth” has been cleaned from the heart of the Church? What does Pope Francis think of the half-hearted job done by his predecessors? Will he continue to handle the Legion/Regnum Christi with kid gloves? (They are after all a money-making and a priest-making machine!)
And how are the many innocent victims of Fr. Maciel and other Legionaries’ sex abuse to keep the Faith? How are the many thousands of former members of the Legion of Christ who have suffered sexual, physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual abuse to remain faithful to Church authorities who have betrayed them?
A faithful remnant prays that we be able to salvage our faith in the Risen Christ and the ekklesia He founded. Sadly, many have lost that fight due the negligence and collusion of bad shepherds (John 10,1-18).
“Well then, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!” What must you shepherds hear? Thus says the Lord God: behold, I am above the shepherds and I will call them to account for the sheep in their hands.
Listen, sheep of God, listen and learn: God will call the bad shepherds to account for his sheep and for their deaths. As he says elsewhere in Ezekiel: Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man, “Wicked wretch, you are to die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin but you yourself will have saved your life.
You see, brethren? Do you see how dangerous it is to keep quiet? If you remain silent, you die; and rightly. You die for your impiety and sin – it is your negligence that kills you. He who has said, As I live, says the Lord might have found a living shepherd – but since the shepherd was negligent, not warning those he had been given authority over, those whose sentry he was, he will die justly, and the sentry will be justly condemned. (…)
Since I raised the question, let us see if he takes the sheep from the bad shepherds and gives them to good ones. I certainly see him taking the sheep from the bad shepherds: I am above the shepherds, and I shall take my flock back from them and I shall not allow them to feed my flock. In this way the shepherds will stop feeding themselves. For when I say to them, “Feed my sheep,” they feed themselves and not my sheep. I shall not allow them to feed my flock.
This selection from Saint Augustine’s Sermon 46 on Pastors (Sermo 46, 20-21; CCL 41, 546-548) treats of the shepherds of the church as watchmen and is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings on Wednesday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time with the accompanying biblical reading taken from the prophet Ezekiel 37:1-14, the famous vision of the dry bones.
“The Church, [many of the Fathers] say, continues to live by the pardon that transforms her from a harlot into a holy Bride.”
Ecclesia sancta simul et semper purificanda
It is surely not without significance that Hans Urs von Balthasar chose to republish “Casta Meretrix,” his now classic study of the holiness and the sinfulness of the Church, on the very eve of the Council in 1961.1 The significance of this gesture is underscored by his simultaneous republication of another article, “Who Is the Church?,”2 which complements the first through its emphasis on the Church’s identity. While the first explains the sense in which the Church can call herself at once “harlot” and “chaste” before her Lord, the second grounds this because she is a subject who is really distinct from her Bridegroom. These two essays doubtless share a certain affinity of spirit with an important statement in Lumen gentium, which speaks about the Church in terms to which the hierarchy had hardly accustomed the faithful:
While Christ, holy, innocent, and undefiled knew nothing of sin, but came to expiate only the sins of the people, the Church, embracing in its bosom sinners, at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal. (LG, 8)>
Like everything else produced by the Legionaries of Christ, this document needs to be examined with a fine-tooth comb. Not that this analysis will be so fine. But it will explain the nature of sexual abuse of minors and point out some of the document’s limits or deficiencies.
What is child sexual abuse? FACT: The definition of child sexual abuse is broader than most people realize. Often a traumatic experience for children and teens, child sexual abuse is a criminal offense punishable by law in many societies. Child sexual abuse includes: • any sexual act between an adult and a minor, or between two minors, when one exerts power over the other.
forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act.
non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism, and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet.
What is the magnitude of the problem?
FACT: Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most people realize.
FACT: Even with declining rates of sexual abuse, the public is not fully aware of the magnitude of the problem. • The primary reason is that only about 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually abused. Some never disclose. (The author believes that disclosure in Catholic and Latin American countries may be lower because of taboos, shame, and machismo). There are also privacy issues surrounding cases of child sexual abuse. For instance, public police reports do not name the victim, and most media concerns have a policy that precludes naming victims.”
Superiors/directors/assistants/spiritual directors/employees who Aided and Abetted Abuse
Not mentioned in Legion Official Report.
The report mentioned superiors who were abusers; for example, Canary Islander Fr. Guillermo (William) Izquierdo, a novice master whose fetish was to contemplate naked novices under his pastoral care – Greek statues in human flesh. (the author has this first-hand from one of the several victims).
But the official report does not mention the grave problem of people in authority who hushed up abuse:
knew about it,
did nothing about it,
expelled offender and victim indiscriminately,
gave them no help -spiritual, emotional, psychological, financial-
With these new official publications, the next step (before they die from old age) is for current directors to demand that “former directors” or anyone in positions of moral responsibility and with knowledge of the issue:
– one: come forward via social media and beg forgiveness (that is the minimum they must do, even if as a result they suffer public harassment).
– two: such people resign from any position of responsibility they may occupy (including economic, legal within the institution and foundations, associations or companies created by the same).
– three: (internal human and spiritual resolution) let himself be crucified. Is today not Friday of Sorrows? (….). I take advantage of this occasion and make a connection with (Divine) Providence (which I no longer practice, because I am an abuser of ecclesiastical authorities).
– And I add a fourth point: let yourself be helped: physically, emotionally, in your rationality, mentally, spiritually, and humanly: It’s much more than a “comprehensive repair.” It is a need of anyone within a FAMILY: to go to the origin for true reconciliation. Why not?”
Con estas nuevas publicaciones oficiales, el paso siguiente (antes de que fallezcan por vejez) es que los directores actuales obliguen a los “exdirectores” o cualquier persona que tuviera cargos de responsabilidad moral, con conocimiento de causa en esta materia:
– uno: que salgan a la luz vía redes sociales pidiendo perdón (es lo mínimo que deben hacer, aunque sufran acoso público).
– dos: dimitir de cualquier puesto de responsabilidad (y económica, jurídica, legal dentro de la institución y fundaciones, asociaciones o empresas creadas en el entorno de la misma)
-tres (resolución interna humana y espiritual) dejarse crucificar. ¿Es hoy viernes de dolores? (…). Aprovecho la casuística del día y la relaciono con la (Divina) Providencia (que yo ya no la vivo, por ser un abusivo eclesial). Señalo a
Es mucho más que una “reparación integral” . Es una necesidad de cualquier persona dentro de una FAMILIA: ir al origen para una verdadera reconciliación.
Vatican’s Flawed Investigation
The above reflections point to a Vatican problem beyond the Legion/Regnum Christi problem. Readers can check ReGAIN and see that we have seldom, if ever, engaged in “Vatican bashing”. So, we do not come to this issue lightly.
After the latest scandalous post-mortem revelations regarding Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC (ever a priest and ever a Legionary) hit the headlines, the Vatican ordered an investigation into this religious congregation in 2009
The Vatican’s, always-carefully-drafted document, named Monsignor Velasio de Paolis as Apostolic Delegate (mark, not as a commissioner) to help the Legion renew itself (mark, no mention is made of “reform”). Charmed by then then Superior General, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, R.I.P., the Vatican delegate did not to dismiss the leadership cadre (Corcuera, Garza, Sada and other members of the Monterrey, Mexico powerful elite who manage the Legion’s financial empire), choosing to make documentary changes. Many of Maciel’s hand-chosen men remained in their positions. Critics alleged substantial change, cleaning out of the Augean stables, was not accomplished. Cosmetic changes were made; key movers -including Maciel die-hards- and systemic problems remained. And they remain to this day, as we have briefly demonstrated above. Further disillusioned former members coined the term el Fracasado Pontificio (The Pontifical Failure) for now deceased Archbishop De Paolis.
Why is the Legion always treated by the Vatican with kid gloves? Is it because it is the priest-and-money-making machine? Sad question for us believers hanging onto our Faith, and hard questions for the Vatican, during Holy Week 2021.
English Introduction, Original Spanish language testimony; Microsoft/ReGAIN English translation
Fr. Jorge N, #LegionarioDeCristo, was rector of the Apostolic School in Ontaneda, when he was accused of covering up countless sexual abuses of the children who lived there.
As a result, he was sent, again as rector of an Apostolic School (seminary for young boys), but this time to Chile. There he was accused of cover-up of the abuses that were going on in there and of pedophilia (public case).
From Chile he was sent to Argentina… where he was accused once again of abuse of a minor.
Finally, he was sent as a parish priest to a parish in the Cancun-Chetumal Diocese, Yucatan Peninsula, where he continues to exercise his priestly ministry, in contact with minors and vulnerable people.
I leave you the TESTIMONY (authorized) of one of the children who writes us about what he witnessed in Chile.
What should concern EVERYONE most (which is why it is made public, according to the manual of child protection #44), is that someone who has been charged for various crimes, in different countries, remains a priest and in a position of authority. Please help spread the word so that Catholic Church Leadership acts quickly in these cases and does not keep exposing our children or vulnerable adults.
El P. Jorge N, #LegionarioDeCristo era rector de la escuela Apostólica en Ontaneda, cuando fue acusado de encubrimiento de un sinnúmero de abusos sexuales a los niños que ahí vivían.
A raíz de esto fue enviado, nuevamente como rector de Apostólica, pero ahora en Chile. Ahí fue acusado de encubrimiento de los abusos que sucedían en este lugar y de pederastia (caso público).
De Chile fue enviado a Argentina…acusado una vez más, de abuso a un menor.
Finalmente, fue enviado como párroco a una Iglesia de la Diócesis Cancún-Chetumal, en donde sigue ejerciendo su ministerio, en contacto con menores y personas vulnerables.
Les dejo el TESTIMONIO (autorizado) de uno de los niños que fue testigo de lo que vivían en Chile.
Lo que más debería preocuparnos a TODOS (razón por la cual se hace público, según el vademécum de protección al menor 44), es que alguien que ha sido acusado por varios delitos, en diferentes países, siga como SACERDOTE y autoridad. Por favor ayuden a difundir para que la Iglesia actúe con rapidez en estos casos. Y no se siga exponiendo a nuestros niños ni adultos vulnerables.
English translation of testimony by former Legionary junior seminarian eye-witness of sexual abuse at Legion of Christ house in Chile.
[Editor’s note: in Spain and Latin America, particularly, junior seminaries have been functioning for centuries. There, young boys, 11-15 years old, live in a residential setting and are educated with a view to their becoming future priests. If the seminary or Apostolic School is part of a religious order or community, their next step will be the novitiate, two years of spirituality which prepare them for their first vows, after which they are called “religious”, and addressed as “Bro. X”.]
Monday, February 10, 2020
Dear X (female)
Greetings from Chile hoping you are well. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping truth prevail. This will not be easy because of the feelings and lived experiences which make it hard to reveal the following events.
My name is XX. I am thirty-five and I was a Legionary of Christ for 14 years. I entered the vocation center in Santiago de Chile (junior seminary) in January 1997. There were about 70 of us children that summer. The rector and novice master at that time was Fr. Pedro Pablo X, LC, who was at this post until July of that year because they decided to close the novitiate, and Fr. Jorge X, LC, took over as rector, as he had more experience than Fr. Pedro Pablo working with minors.
I remember clearly my first “spiritual direction” session with Fr. Jorge because he told me I shouldn’t be there because my family was not well off, and he would do his utmost to make me go home. I was very surprised by this as he should have been someone to help me discern my divine calling to the priesthood, and not someone who was going to make my life so miserable I would have to leave the seminary.
1997 was a very tough year for me because of so many changes and the arrival of Fr. Jorge who make things even worse. I will not go into details regarding his training methods which were really antiquated to say the least: weeks-long silence and incommunicado, public humiliation, and other such.
I want to be clear that I never saw or heard anything about him personally abusing one of my fellow seminarians. I did hear from other seminarians about a religious brother who touched boys while they were sleeping, and sometimes pulled back the bedclothes to be better able to fondle them when lights were out. He must have begun doing that in 1998 or 99; the religious in question was called Marcel X who had a New Zealand background.
When I learned about these events I do not know whether Fr. Jorge knew that the Bro. Marcel was fondling the young seminarians or that several of us knew about the abuse. What I do know is that one day Marcel disappeared: when we came down for morning prayers, Marcel was nowhere to be seen. His name was never mentioned again. However, there was another religious brother -I can’t remember whether he and Marcel were ever there at the same time. The new religious was called Salvador. He had been a vocation recruiter in Santiago City before being assigned to the junior seminary. We had seen him before because he would bring the candidates to the junior seminary on weekends to show them around.
Salvador chose his special moments when the children were milling around the door trying to get in, when his touching would be less noticeable. Or he simply came up to you and put his hand on your bottom when you were reading the notice board. I saw this with my own eyes and also felt his hands on me.
It was at this time when one of my companions in the group of minors – we were divided into three groups, younger boys, older boys and precandidates (for noviciate) according to age- approached me and told me he was being fondled by the Assistant (the name given to the religious with vows who supervises child seminarians). This companion told me about the situations where the abuse was taking place. So I started looking into these situations and watching the Assistant. And sure enough I saw him. When I started getting between him and the other little boys, he touched me too. If it happened only once it could have been an accident but it was repeated. Nobody wanted to tell Fr. Jorge about what was happening. In reality we did not trust him much and were afraid he would punish us for speaking ill of the religious. I started pushing that religious away from me; I even came to blows to defend myself.
Finally, some of us informed Fr. Jorge. He called us one by one to his office. I don’t remember much about the conversation but I did tell him who were being abused by the assistant and where and how he touched my companions. Just as in the previous case, Salvador was taken out of the community, he was given a weekend sabbatical and later he disappeared. Years later I learned he was no longer a Legionary. I think he is married now. We could not talk about this with “outsiders” because the dirty linen is washed at home. My family might have heard something but, naturally, I denied everything, and we went about our lives just as before.
I cannot state that Fr. Jorge had previous knowledge about these harmful actions; I hope he did not because if he did have previous knowledge that would make him a monster; what I can inequivocably state is that he did know about the abuse during and after it happened. The strategy of removing the offender and keeping silence has always been part of the Legion of Christ modus operandi, and sadly of the Church.
We were there to follow Christ and not to experience that abuse! Having to protect ourselves, abused by those who were supposed to take care of us and want the best for us in the name of God! I was fifteen or sixteen and was lucky enough to be bigger physically than others my age; but my companions were thirteen and fourteen! We had to run away from our assistants. You got nervous whenever they approached, and even more so if they touched you -even it was just on the shoulder! No child deserves that!
I litterally had to punch another person to keep him away from a little boy! In a so-called seminary! These are horrible things that are just seeing the light, because back then they were minimized!
I am sharing these experiences with you in the hope that these abuses are not repeated, and that no child be exposed to them.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share these events; it also helps just to able to discuss these experiences with somebody else.
XX, former Legionary of Christ.
This is the straightforward testimony of a young man who has gone to the trouble of dragging up painful memories in the hope of preventing further abuse. One wishes Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi superiors not react defensively but take the complaint to heart and take action.
The testimony does not mention one very important point:
There is no mention of any spiritual or psychological help being offered to the victims or to the offenders. Surely, this is a very grievous omission and lack of responsibility on the part of Legion/Regnum formators and superiors (directors). ReGAIN, for its part, prays that Catholic authorities, in the person of Archbishop Charles Scicluna and his team, look into this and similar testimonies so as to “promote justice.”
An Interview with Ex-Opus Dei Numerary Eileen Johnson – Part 1
The following interview with ex-Opus Dei numerary, Eileen Johnson, was conducted over a period of several months in 2020 and 2021. Eileen is a native of Yorkshire, England, where “a spade is called a spade, and not a bloody shovel.” And indeed, she obliges us with her extraordinary candor and honesty in response to my in-depth questions concerning her more than ten-years-experience as an early high-level member of Opus Dei in the United Kingdom (UK) in the 1960s.
– Randy Engel, Catholic investigative reporter and editor of ODWATCH
Engel: By way of introduction Eileen, would you give our readers some background on your family and education, and how Opus Dei entered your young life?
Johnson: Yes, of course. I was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1943, into a Catholic family on my mother’s side. My father was an agnostic. I have two older brothers. As the youngest and only girl, I attended a Catholic primary school and later a convent Grammar school, which I think your American readers would call a Catholic high school. I was a pious child with a lively spirit who loved to sing and dance. At the age of 15, I seriously considered a religious vocation.
It was about a year later, at age 16, when Opus Dei entered my life – surreptitiously, I might add.
I was an excellent student and class leader. French was my favorite subject. So, it was not surprising when our new young French teacher took a special interest in me and took me under her wing. I was flattered. She was aware of my regular lunchtime visits to the school chapel as she also frequently visited the chapel.
One day she invited me to join her at an international summer school for girls at the Rydalwood University hostel in Manchester where, she said, I could “teach English” and also practice my French. My parents, especially my father, encouraged me to take advantage of this opportunity. They trusted my teacher. I had just turned 17, and this was my first trip away from home on my own. Naturally, I was excited!
Engel: Was the venture successful?
Johnson: As it turned out, I was invited to Manchester under false pretenses.
First of all, I was unable to practice my French because there were no French students taking the course. I wasn’t qualified to teach English either. The invitation was, in fact, a ruse to introduce me to Opus Dei within a closely-controlled Opus environment apart from my family. But I was oblivious to the reality.
Engel: Wasn’t there a visible sign designating Rydalwood as an Opus Dei University hostel when you entered the building?
Johnson: No. The centres have secular names and are not openly identified as being run by Opus Dei. It wasn’t until my French teacher, herself an Opus numerary, started to explain to me what Opus Dei was, that I began to understand the real reason for the invitation. You see, neither I, nor my family or friends, had ever heard of Opus Dei. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Opus was just getting established in the UK. So, it was all quite new. After a few days, at Rydalwood my teacher told me I had a “vocation” to Opus Dei.
I resisted the pressure to join “the Work” at first. However, a few months later, after I had attended an Opus weekend retreat back in Manchester, I changed my mind.
Engel: What attracted you most to Opus Dei?
Johnson: Bear in mind that I was only 16 when Opus’s grooming and “love bombing” began. I came from a comfortable, happy home, but hadn’t been exposed to cosmopolitan ways. I was on the threshold of my newly-discovered independence and found the Opus members and the beautiful atmosphere at Rydalwood very appealing. I took my Catholic faith very seriously and had already been thinking of becoming a nun. I was attracted by the fact that the numeraries at Rydalwood were lay women fully dedicated to God.
Also, as a language student, I was immediately drawn to the Latin flavor of the centre and the gaiety and friendliness of the numeraries, most of whom were Spanish. They were well dressed, well groomed, well perfumed. And they made such a fuss over me – something I wasn’t used to as I was a lonely child and teenager.
Looking back, I remember the first time that my parents drove me to the Manchester campus and visited Rydalwood. As they were leaving my mother asked me, “Do you think you would like it so much if it wasn’t so attractive?” It was a rather prophetic question.
Engel: So, you initially joined Opus Dei as a supernumerary, not as a numerary, correct?
Johnson: Yes, in December 1960. At the time, I was still living at home, and studying for my A level exams. I planned to enter Manchester University in the fall. I remember fervently reading and studying The Way and other Opus publications. I even sold copies of the publications to my friends at school. I was obviously totally enthralled with Opus Dei.
Engel: What’s the difference between an Opus Dei supernumerary and a numerary?
Johnson: The degree of commitment.
Male and female numeraries are lay celibates; they live in Opus centres; they hand over their total income to Opus Dei; and are closely monitored and controlled. Supernumeraries are married, or at least free to marry. They are also expected to make significant financial donations to Opus. They have Opus confessors and spiritual directors, and a Plan of Life. Both are fully committed to the recruitment of new members and spreading the message of Opus Dei through their families and their work.
I should mention that there are celibate members who live at home. They are called Associates.
Sometimes they have to care for aging or disabled parents.
Engel: Did you take vows of any kind like religious do?
Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá with Pope John XXIII, Ides of March, 1960
Johnson: When I joined Opus Dei in the early 1960s it was called a “Secular Institute.” Escrivá adamantly wanted to avoid any perceived connection between a “lay vocation” in Opus Dei with a “religious vocation.”
So, to answer your question, I took what were called, “private vows.” For me they were binding, even before I formally took them. From the day I “’whistled” (OD jargon for writing the letter to Rome to request admission), I lived as a committed member in every way. The understanding was that the commitment was for life. The Admission ceremony took place six months later in the Opus oratory in the presence of an Opus priest, my directress, and one other numerary.
After Opus Dei was awarded the unique status of “Personal Prelature” in 1982, the term “vow” was changed to “contract,” but the nature of the commitment remained basically the same.
Engel: Was your family present at the Admission ceremony?
Johnson: Hardly. They didn’t know I had joined Opus much less that I had made a lifelong commitment to the Work that included perpetual celibacy. Neither did any of my close friends. As a new recruit I was told not to tell my parents. From the start, it was explained to me that for our apostolate in Opus Dei to be effective it must “pass unnoticed.” Opus Dei deemed our dedication was to be a very private matter between us and God and our sisters in Opus Dei. What many see as “secrecy,” Opus calls “Holy Discretion.”
Engel: No matter what you call it, for a minor to engage in such deception and be instructed to keep such a life-changing association secret from his or her parents is a violation of the Fifth Commandment to honor one’s father and mother. Didn’t your obvious delicate conscience send up a red flag?
Johnson: If it did, I wasn’t paying attention. As I said earlier, I was just bowled over by this new and exciting version of a secular life so fully dedicated to the Church – the Work of God – yet, so upbeat, so vibrant, so warm, and so friendly.
Engel: We’ll be returning to the issue of secrecy as formal Opus policy later in this interview, but for now I’d like to ask you about your relationship with your boyfriend at this time. Was it serious? Did he know about your commitment to Opus?
Johnson: Yes, to both questions. We were serious. We even discussed the possibility of marriage after we graduated from the University. We also came to share a deep attraction to Opus Dei and we both became supernumeraries.
Like me, my boyfriend kept his membership in Opus a secret from his parents. He resided at an Opus Dei men’s University residence. We both were aware at the time that Opus was grooming both of us, but not for each other. Eventually, Opus was able to manipulate our total separation and he eventually joined as a celibate numerary. I found out that he had become a numerary when the directress told me to speak to the priest in the confessional. I was instructed not to contact him again.
Engel: Did he ever pursue the occupation he studied and trained for at the University after graduation?
Johnson: No, I don’t think so. He was a Physics graduate, but Opus needed him elsewhere for internal work. In his early 20s, he became the Director of a male Opus University Centre in London. Later, he was asked by his superiors to become a priest of Opus Dei. He was ordained in Rome at the age of 26. He later became the Counselor (later called Vicar) of Opus Dei for the UK.
Engel: And you?
Johnson: I was told before joining Opus Dei that I would be free to pursue my chosen studies and career in languages. That never happened. In February of 1962, at the age of 18, three months after I separated from my boyfriend, I also changed my supernumerary status to that of a numerary (lay celibates who live in Opus centres) so I could devote my entire life to Opus Dei. This meant I had to “whistle” again and write to the Father to ask to be admitted as a numerary. I never spoke to my boyfriend again.
I was also told by my directress that I would make a good journalist. That idea lodged in my mind and I began to perceive a journalistic career as part of my vocation to serve Opus Dei.
Engel: How did Opus Dei influence your academic and campus life?
Johnson: Well, during my three years at the University, I found myself focusing more on my “Plan of Life” and proselytism than on my studies. In my third year, I was appointed Assistant Directress of Rydalwood, which further detracted from my studies. At the age of 22, I was appointed a member of the Advisory in London. This came as a surprise, and I felt very flattered.
Although, theoretically, Opus places a high premium on excellence in academics as well as work, in my case dedication to the internal needs and tasks of Opus and its expansion in the UK took priority over my personal choices and priorities, and jeopardized my career.
Also, when I entered the University, I had hoped to join the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Scottish Country Dance Society, but these were nixed by Opus because they would expose me to the opposite sex. Going to the theater, cinemas and mixed social events were also prohibited.
Engel: At what point did you reveal your membership to Opus Dei to your parents?
Johnson: In June 1964, after I had graduated from the University, I told them that I had an interest in joining Opus now that I had turned 21, which was the age of majority in the UK back then. That was a lie, of course. I had already been a member for years, first as a supernumerary while I was still living at home, and then as a celibate numerary and as an Assistant Directress at Rydalwood.
Engel: So, your parents helped pay for your college costs for four years not knowing of your life-long commitment to Opus?
Johnson: Yes, my father paid a “parental contribution,” to supplement the grant from my local education authority.
Engel: And Opus, who would benefit from all your educational skills and talents after your graduation paid how much?
Engel: How convenient, I mean, for Opus.
Johnson: I should add a caveat here to say that during my undergraduate at the University, my father had become ill, so my parents were not as aware of my campus life as they might otherwise have been.
I recall my directress telling me that I needed to “get a balance.” “Since your parents don’t know about your vocation, you can’t stop going home for the holidays,” she advised me. I was reminded of The Way, 644: “Be silent! Don’t forget that your ideal is like a newly lit flame. A single breath might be enough to put it out in your heart.”
On the few occasions that I actually spent at home, my mother did express concern about my social isolation and tried to introduce me to a young man, but that was out of bounds for me as a celibate numerary.
Engel: What about your family relations after your graduation in 1964?
Johnson: After graduation I continued to live at Rydalwood. I rarely saw my parents. Not even at Christmas. As for my brothers, I had almost no contact with them or my sisters-in-laws or their children. Opus did permit me to be a godmother to two of my nephews, but that was before I had informed my family that I had joined Opus Dei.
Overall, Opus discouraged members’ attendance at family events like weddings and funerals. When my cousin, who had been my longtime playmate was married, I went to stay at my parents’ home, but on the morning of the wedding, I feigned illness so as not to attend. I felt no remorse. Rather, I was pleased with myself that I had found a way to “obey.” When my aunt, my mother’s only sister died I didn’t go to the funeral. Mum was very hurt. On this occasion I did feel bad as I had started to question my membership in Opus Dei.
Visits with old friends were discouraged unless the motive was to recruit them.
Genuine friendships disappeared. Over my many years as a numerary, I had no real friends. I had fallen prey to the Opus way of using “friendship” as a tactic, in a very manipulative way. By the time I left Opus I was friendless.
Gradually I became more and more emotionally distant from my “blood family” and my old friends. I couldn’t wait to get back “home” to my new “supernatural family” – Opus Dei.
Engel: I’m a little more than curious to learn more about your life as a numerary in Opus Dei. Maybe you can start by describing your early formation or orientation to what is called “the Spirit of Opus Dei,” especially since ex-members are generally hesitant about revealing this type of information to “outsiders.”
Johnson: The so-called “Spirit of Opus Dei” is gradually conveyed to new numeraries in a variety of ways. There was the weekly “Circle” and “Fraternal Chat.” There were meditations given by an Opus priest at the monthly Days of Recollection, and also an annual five-day retreat. At the three-week Annual Course held at an Opus women’s centre, more experienced numeraries gave talks on the “Spirit of the Work” (Discretion, Obedience, Poverty, Divine Filiation, Apostolate, the Norms, and Mortification) and we had regular guided meditations from an Opus Dei priest, who also gave classes on the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Engel: Speaking of mortification did you wear the cilice [a sharp spiked ring worn on the upper leg used to suppress desire]?
Johnson: Yes, I wore the cilice on my upper thigh for two hours a day in the afternoon, and used the discipline [a small whip of knotted cords applied to one’s buttocks] for five minutes on Saturday. These were an obligatory part of my life as a numerary. I should add that these practices were only revealed to us after we became members.
Engel: Let me get this straight, Eileen. These programs of formation and mortification you described were in addition to…
Johnson: … In addition to the other norms and requirements for a numerary that included two half hours – one in the morning and one in the evening – of mental prayer daily; Mass; the Rosary; the Angelus; the Preces; Opus Dei prayers and the examination of conscience. Major Silence was kept from bedtime until after Mass the next day, and Minor Silence during the afternoon.
Engel: And what about your internal work as Assistant Directress of Rydalwood and your part time job teaching English to immigrant children at a local school? And later, your appointment to the Opus Advisory as Secretary of Saint Raphael’s Work, which must have required a great deal of time and energy? Frankly, this doesn’t seem to be in the realm of an “ordinary” or “normal” life for a non-religious. When did you have time to breathe or think your own thoughts?
Johnson: What can I say? I was hooked. My real self was being overshadowed by my newly acquired cultic personality, but not entirely, thank God. At times, I was exhausted. I remember particularly the time when the Advisory worked through several nights, preparing the annual report and contribution for Rome. I had to go to bed (well, to lie on the floor) because I couldn’t work any longer.
In theory, we were supposed to take breaks, in the form of a “weekly walk,” and a “monthly excursion,” but with our work ethic, these down times were often overlooked.
(To be continued)
[Part 2 will be published on Wednesday, March 3]
 OD WATCH was first published in November 2017 by Catholic writer Randy Engel, a long-time critic of the Prelature and its organizational tentacles of numeraries, supernumeraries, associates, and cooperators. It is a free electronic mailing based on background information, news, and commentaries on Opus Dei from around the world. To subscribe, contact Randy Engel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Rydalwood was the first Manchester centre of the OD women’s section. It was a University hostel with accommodations for about 35 students.
 Josemaría Escrivá, The Way: The Essential Classic of Opus Dei’s Founder, containing Scriptural passages and personal anecdotes drawn from Escrivá’s life and work. The booklet presented Escrivá’s 999 points for meditation.
 The Plan of Life comprises the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly commitments of members.
 The Advisory oversee the activities of all the Opus Dei centres of the Women’s Section in the UK, and acts as a go-between or facilitator between local centres and Rome, constantly transmitting instructions. The Advisory is presided over by the Counsellor (or Vicar).
 In 1969, the age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18 in the UK.
 Escrivá claimed the Work is a true family, not metaphorically. And that the bonds in the Work are stronger than those of blood. See “Pastoral Letter of the Prelate,” Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, October 11, 2020, on the restructuring of the Prelature.
 St. Raphael’s Work [Circles] of formation, meditations, recollections, and retreats is directed at young people. Initially, ‘cultural activities’ are organized as a means of attracting young people to the centres. They are then invited to participate in the spiritual activities. Escrivá stated that visits to the poor are one of the traditional means of St. Raphael’s work, although he himself as the founder of Opus Dei was rarely seen among the poor.
Part 2: The Legion of Christ Avoids Compensating Victims of Sexual Abuse by its Founder, Father Marcial Maciel.
March 4, 2021, under the patronage of Apostle Nathanael
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit’John 1,47
Responding to concerns of our readership, we will try to clarify statements made in Part 1.
The current director general of the Legion of Christ/Federation Regnum Christi, Father John Connor, has not yet met personally with The Group of Victims of Sexual Abuse at the hands of their founder, Father Maciel.
The original number of eight complainants has been reduced to six due to the deaths of Mr. Fernando Pérez Olvera in late 2020 and Father Félix Alarcón in 2021:
José Antonio Pérez Olvera (extreme financial hardship)
Francisco González Parga, who was not of the original group of 1997 but who bore his testimony before the prosecutor, promoter iustitiae, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Monsignor Charles Scicluna in CDMX April 2005 – and who would come to replace Juan José Vaca who received compensation several years ago directly from Father Alvaro Corcuera, Q.E.P.D., then director general of the Legion of Christ.
Father Eduardo Robles Gil, LC, not Fr. Connor, was the one who met three times with representatives of the group – Barba, Pérez Olvera and Jurado – at a CDMX hotel between late December 2019 and early January 2020, in the presence of a legal mediator. He was accompanied by Father Simán, LC (he of the calculator).
A letter with three requests was submitted in writing to Father Robles Gil:
Reparation of the moral damages of the group by the Legion of Christ in 1997: The Legion motivated three men of their trust (AA, JLG, VV) to bear false testimony against the victims, claiming that they lied and formed a conspiracy against innocent Father Maciel. At the same time, the Legion of Christ forged letters (a ruse often used by Father Maciel) from an elderly Chilean bishop to strengthen Father Maciel’s defense in the Hartford Courant newspaper.
Reach an agreement through a panel representing both sides to agree on the amount of financial compensation for victims.
To notify the representative of the group, Dr. José Barba Martín, of any communications the Legion might have with the victims. (To ensure the honesty of negotiations and avoid divisions.)
The letter was delivered to Father Robles Gil and signed as received by him in the presence of witnesses.
The Legion required the three victims to sign a (unilateral?) confidentiality document.
During the general chapter of the Legion of Christ in Rome in January 2020 the change of director general was made, with Father John Connor being elected. He sent an email to Dr. Barba in January explaining that he had been elected and that the Legion saw it as a priority to solve the problem of the victims (at least those in question; it was not clear whether he had the other victims of Father Maciel recognized by the Legion in mind). -Hence the reference in the first part to the chapter documents already mentioned.- Fr. Connor alluded to his knowledge of Father Robles Gil’s CDMX encounters with the victims. He did not say directly that he had seen such a letter or that he had read it. The reader might suspect that this was about two legionnaires passing the hot potato. Moreover, the lack of clarity – not to say confusion – and the lack of coordination of the leadership gave Father Connor time to think about how to proceed in such a delicate matter.
In the first part of the article, we accused Father Connor of putting loyal correspondence with Dr. Barba and the group of victims to one side, preferring to launch his astute personal crusade to win over the remaining victims, approaching them individually with the Easter Egg trick- a five-thousand-dollar-small cannonade- to soften them, divide the group of victims, and drive the members away from Dr. Barba’s leadership. Barba remains incorruptible and has stood firm regarding the fair conditions of an arrangement with the leaders of the Legion/Regnum.
Early this year when Dr. Barba reminded Father Connor that a whole year had gone by without the Legion responding to the Father Robles Gil letter, Father Connor replied that Dr. Barba’s letter and requests are “too sophisticated” and as such deserve no consideration. (Although the mediator had not objected to the letter when it was presented to Father Robles Gil and was accepted for consideration by the Legion director general.) Father Connor remains politely in contact with Dr. Barba by email.
ReGAIN would hope that all active and former members of the organization work and pray for an equitable solution to this seemingly endless saga.
The Legion of Christ Continues to Avoid Compensating Victims of Sexual Abuse by its Founder, Father Marcial Maciel, LC.
One year ago, the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation proudly published its chapter documents “Conversion and Repair”, “Protect and Heal” and the “Report of Abuse…” [i] in which it formally promised to compensate the victims for the damages of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of founder, Father Marcial Maciel, LC.
Today we want to inform the public what has become of such words, documents and promises: that in fact the Legion of Christ, as represented by Father Robles Gil and Regnum Christi Federation, Fr. John Connor, have once again de facto answered: “NO”, “NO, WE WILL NOT” to the historical victims. Another year has gone by WITHOUT EFFECTIVE REPARATION.
WHAT DID THE HISTORICAL VICTIMS DEMAND OF DIRECTOR GENERAL (Father John Connor) AT THE MEETING THEY HAD A YEAR AGO?
That the LC/RC publish an apology in the same media in which victims were falsely accused and unjustly libeled in 1997, so as to repair their good name, reputation and that of the relatives inheriting their name. That it be declared unambiguously that they were not conspirators, that they were telling the truth; that the Legion’s false accusation had caused them to lose their jobs, and/or effected their careers, income, relationships, friendships and even families for decades after.
HOW DID THE LEGION OF CHRIST RESPOND? IN THE NEGATIVE:
“We will not publish anything in major newspapers or with international reach, and less in the Hartford Courant.” (newspaper in which the Legion published the false accusations and documents against Maciel’s accusers in 1997.)
That a team of six be chosen -three by the LC and three by the victims- to determine together the extent of damage the LC had caused them, and reach an agreement on just
HOW DID THE LEGION OF CHRIST RESPOND? IN THE NEGATIVE
At said meeting, a Legion priest representative pulled out his pocket calculator in front of them, maid calculation re Mexican minimum wages, and offered 450,000 pesos approx. ($22,500 UScy) to each victim to repair decades of international abuse, harm, and defamation. The Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation demanded they sign a Confidentiality Agreement (mug order) as a requirement to continue deliberations.
José Barba, PhD, who had legal representation, requested in writing from the Director General that any communication or communication relevant to deliberations go through him, Barba, their representative.
HOW DID THE LEGION OF CHRIST RESPOND?
Saying “OF COURSE,”, BUT PROCEDING TO DO THE OPPOSITE!
The present Director (Superior) General of the institution, Father John Connor, personally and directly, approached several victims, going over the head of legal representative, José Barba, and secretly offering them $5,000 UScy individually – “not as compensation but as an Easter Egg Gift” (sic). With this treacherous strategy, Fr. Connor effectively split the group of plaintiffs and weakened their position.
Where in the Name of God is the honest good will of this apparently bone fide Catholic religious order? One cannot help wondering now:
IS THE LEGION/REGNUM WAITING FOR VICTIMS TO DIE OFF AND THE PROBLEM TO GO AWAY?
The Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi waiting game continues. The eighty-year-old victims are dying: Fernando Pérez Olvera Esq in 2020 and Father Félix Alarcón Hoyos in 2021. To protect its public image, the institution helped to defray costs of their terminal illness and funeral expenses. BUT IT HAS NOT COMPENSATED THEM in the proper and agreed manner. The group’s de facto consistent priority is, as in other questionable groups, recruitment of the young and vulnerable together with fund-raising to train recruits, expand its projects, and promote its image.
If things go on like this, will the LC/RC ever honor its obligations to the remaining victims and to the deceased’s dependents?
Hopefully, they will not answer the same as always: “What can be done after such a long time. But don’t worry. We will pray for you.”
Support Network of Victims of Sexual Abuse by Founder of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC
At 1 am today, February 5, 2021, Maciel Survivor Fr. Féliz Alarcón (Hoyos) passed away in Madrid, Spain at the age of 87
This way the Pontifically approved Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation can stop worrying about compensation for his abuse by their Foúnder and pro vida General Director, Fr. Marcial Maciel (Degollado), LC.
Newly elected General Director, Fr. John Connor, the victims’ Great While Hope, after a triumphal entrance full of promises of taking care of Maciel’s sexual abuse victims and thus cleaning up the mes in the Legion house, soon fell back into Legion Tradition: delay, delay, delay, play cat and mouse with victims; he gave some of them paltry Easter eggs of $5,000.00 UScy last year – “this is just a gift, not compensation!” If Fr. Félix received that or more is a secret. The Kingdom of Maciel operates by stealth, secret and gag order…
No serious negotiation with the victims
No respecting agreements withu intermediary (the intermediary was in cahoots with r bought over by the LC/RC!)
No negotiations with the victims as a group. “Divide and Conquer!”
Fr. Connor and other Legionary priests found a way to split the group.
Meanwhile, one victim, Mexican Fernando Pérez Olvera, a former seminarian, died in 2020
Today, another victim, a Spaniard, passed away in Madrid. ReGAIN admires the fact that he was able to hold onto his priesthood until death.
Now this sect-like Catholic o’rganization will shed crocodile tears in Spanish -for their “Dear Brother in Christ”, -a flowery Spanish language statement was released by Fr. Connor saying how much he cared for and helped Fr. Felix- maybe even celebrate a Mass for the repose of his scarred soul.. Who knows what human prudence and astuteness shall dictate.
As many of you know, ICSA director Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD and Linda Dubrow-Marshall, PhD began a Master’s program on the Psychology of Coercive Control at the University of Salford (UK) three years ago. For the 2020-21 academic year, the master’s program will be delivered completely online. Go here for more info, including how to apply to the program which begins late September (www.salford.ac.uk/pgt-courses/psychology-of-coercive-control). Because of a law passed by the UK government in 2015 ( Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act), the concept of coercive control encompasses psychological as well as physical actions and effects. The Salford master’s program elaborates upon this concept and prepares students to work with those affected by cults, domestic violence, trafficking, and other areas of coercive control. Rod and Linda will lead a special ICSA 60-minute webinar on coercive control and the Salford master’s program which will be broadcast on Friday July 24th at 12 pm eastern time (New York time). The Link for this webinar will be sent to the ICSA network nearer to the date. Register for this webinar now, while tickets are available. Choose the “Coercive Control Webinar” ticket (https://icsahome.networkforgood.com/events/14026-webinar-and-online-conference-registrations-2020).
Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation makes Overtures to Seven of Maciel’s Sexual Abuse Victims
I believe you, Father Connor, New Director General, but Help Thou my Unbelief![ii]:
Your ongoing efforts to outreach -at this late hour- the seven living “classical victims” of Fr. Maciel’s pedophilia[iii] might be considered right and just. Maciel, the Imposter Founder, whose favorite entertainment was to initiate the pubescent seminarians into their budding sexuality, for his pleasure and control. He got off scot free, thanks to his accomplices, in the Legion of Christ and in the Vatican.
And what are you up to, my good man? – I hesitate to call you “Father”, because God only knows how you, the Director General, became a Reverend, traveling fast along the conveyer belt of the Legion of Christ, bereft of real discernment, and blest only by the adulterated Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola currently usurped by your Federation.
Being an “American” -as the inhabitants of that country call themselves -appropriating the name of the Continent- you will know what is meant by damage control, or image control.
Image control for those outside: The Vatican cardinals, bishops, and Monsignors who you win over with adulation and money; the public, the parents, the benefactors, the unsuspecting generous and naïve youth you groom to join the ranks.
Damage control for those inside: Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi, men and women, new recruits, troops young and old in varying stages of allegiance, and those who should have left but hesitated, and now have one foot in the grave.
The reader can benefit from one recent example of the organization’s damage control, otherwise called Information Control, in the words of cult expert, ex-Moonie, Steven Hassan. This could also be called Indoctrination. The Federation, or Legion of Christ members, are conducting secret classes on the History of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation in many of the houses of the “consecrated women” of the Regnum Christi Lay Movement: code name, 3gf. This history, naturally, will be “The Official Story.” Before being privy to this special (rewritten) history, the members are made to sign a letter vowing they will not divulge to “outsiders” the content of the instructions.
All this while Fr. Connor is outreaching the seven remaining original victims of Founder, Marcial Maciel, sending them friendship gifts of five to eight thousand dollars. (In order to mollify them and make them more amenable to compensation under the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation’s terms).
The number of Maciel’s sexual abuse victims are more than these seven or ten. Victim Juan José Vaca had already named twenty victims he knew about in 1979[iv]. So what about the other twelve? and The Legion has recently admitted Maciel abused sixty -anonymous- boys[v] What about the other forty?
Why go to all the trouble for these seven? Because these were the ones who spoke out. These are the native Spanish-speakers that Jason Berry and Gerald Renner gave an English-language voice to on that fateful 23rd February 1997. These are the ones who threw mud at the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the immaculate founder. These are the ones who brought their case to Rome, jumping through all the painful and complex canonical procedures. And were heard. Finally in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI acted against the untouchable Maciel, stymying thus his cause for sainthood. These are the ones who went public and cast doubt on the Legion of Christ, and kept hanging like a dead albatross around the newly named Regnum Christi Federation’s neck.
I know, John, that you need to get them to shut up, once and for all. Pay them off from your billion dollar budget.
But think again: that dastardly debasement of the innocent Mexican and Spanish boys constitutes a stain that will not go away. Queen-Macbeth-Legion cannot wash it from her hands[vi]. But she will try, beginning with perfumed Easter Soaps of five to eight thousand dollars. Could have been thirty pieces of silver…seventy years later…
[iii]https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-marcial-maciel-02-1997-story.html First there were ten: one died in strange circumstances while hospitalized in Mexico City (Juan Manuel Fernández Amenábar), one was bribed by Maciel just before the Hartford Courant Article appeared (Miguel Díaz); then there were eight; one of these already reached a settlement with the then Director General, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, R.I.P.
[vi] She says: Out, damned spot! out, I say! – One: two: why, then, ’tis time to do’t. – Hell is murky! – Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? – Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? (Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act V, Scene 1)
This book could be called Leaving and Getting a Life After the Regnum Christi Catholic Lay Movement. Elena Sada, with captivating prose, tells how she finally exited the Regnum Christi Catholic lay Movement named Consecrated Women (3gf,1 in Legion-of-Christ code) and takes back her life. She mixes colorful past and present narrative, dream sequences, and flashbacks to lend spice to her harrowing but hopeful tale, embedding her growth in real-life experiences with significant others, family, and friends. She also uses her daily experiences during her long transition to look back on life in the Regnum Christi (RC). The memoir is relatively short and divided into small chapters, which make for lively reading. Hard to put down, it could be read in one sitting; but your counselor might suggest you eat it in small portions because some of the food could feel toxic (especially for former members).
Blackbird—A Memoir: The Story of a Woman Who Submitted to Marcial Maciel, Became Free, and Found Happiness Again
This book could be called Leaving and Getting a Life After the Regnum Christi Catholic Lay Movement. Elena Sada, with captivating prose, tells how she finally exited the Regnum Christi Catholic lay Movement named Consecrated Women (3gf,1 in Legion-of-Christ code) and takes back her life. She mixes colorful past and present narrative, dream sequences, and flashbacks to lend spice to her harrowing but hopeful tale, embedding her growth in real-life experiences with significant others, family, and friends. She also uses her daily experiences during her long transition to look back on life in the Regnum Christi (RC). The memoir is relatively short and divided into small chapters, which make for lively reading. Hard to put down, it could be read in one sitting; but your counselor might suggest you eat it in small portions because some of the food could feel toxic (especially for former members).
Gripping the reader from the onset, Elena describes her furtive “escape” from the Potomac MD house in the early morning hours. This big step came after many thoughts, feelings, and attempts, and after many consultations with superiors who persuaded her she had a vocation and had to stay.
Sensual feelings repressed under the draconian regime of hypocrite reprobate founder Fr. Marcial Maciel rose from their slumber as the author made her way back into real life, which involved being human and being a woman. It was all about choosing life, her real self, heretofore buried under a myriad of rules, the “The Regnum Christi Statutes”; these had controlled her every thought, feeling, and action for 20 years. At idealistic 18, back in the cozy cocoon of her wealthy home in Monterrey, Mexico, she had unknowingly chosen self-imposed depersonalization for a “greater cause,” the Kingdom of Christ.
We learn what it’s like to live, what it’s like to leave, what it’s like to get a life after the Regnum Christi. Elena is not the first to do so. But she is the first to “tell it like it is.” Elena gives us a blow-by-blow explanation of moving from cloister to career. She gives detailed information about her transition. So her story may help many of her sisters find the courage to leave/or reclaim their true selves and learn how to concretely travel their recovery journey.
Elena’s optimism, good humor, and hope make the harrowing hayride bearable and at times downright funny. Be prepared as she discovers—uncovers?—her sensuality, spiked with a wicked sense of humor. As I read, I realized that celibacy was just as hard for the RC women as it was for this reviewer, “an LC man” (see Our Father Who Art in Bed, a Naïve and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ, 2008)2—and maybe even more so. Women are by nature more in touch with their bodies… all the time, it seems. Though Maciel’s masochism took a toll on men, it seems to have damaged women even more.
A poignant example of Elena’s traumatic experiences is how she suffered from not being allowed to keep a private journal. This facet of the emptying out of one’s real self to be replaced by the cult-self is well portrayed in Chapter 30.
Few, if any, former RC consecrated women have been able to speak up and speak out about the torture they endured. Elena shows great courage in describing her self and her journey, warts and all. Her detailed description of her recovery journey is a useful guidebook for those who may be considering that leap in the dark. I would recommend it as a companion book to cult experts Lalich and Tobias’s Take Back Your Life,3 and Livia Bardin’s Starting Out in Mainstream America.4
 3gf, which means Tercer Grado Femenino—Third Level Female member of the Regnum Christi Movement.
J. Paul Lennon, STL, MA, LPC, Board member, Regain Network (Religious Groups Awareness International Network). In 2008 Paul published a memoir, Our Father Who Art in Bed, A Naive and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ. Since retiring from his day job as a child and family therapist in 2014, he has been contacted by individuals and parents involved with various Catholic and Christian groups. He still counsels and supports members and former members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, and also members of other heretofore bona fide but high-demand Catholic groups, associations, and orders. He continues to coordinate ReGAIN (https://regainnetwork.org), where he can be contacted. Presently living in La Antigua, Guatemala, he is available to residents and visitors involved with or concerned about questionable groups.
Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi under the microscope of Cult Expert in “International Cultic Studies Magazine”
“By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them”: How Good and Bad Works Can Deceive—the Case of the Legion of Christ
The cultic studies field includes many cases in which the commendable actions of certain groups incline some observers to view the groups as good. Conversely, the blameworthy actions of certain groups incline some observers to view those groups as bad. Contrary to the well-known biblical saying that gives this panel its title, the situation is often more complex and differentiated than it appears. One cannot necessarily judge a group by its apparent fruits, especially when one is not aware of all the fruits. This panel focused on an illuminating example of a Catholic movement that successfully deceived Church authorities for many years, until the disgraced founder was relieved of his duties by Pope Benedict. The case the panel explored is that of the Legion of Christ, a congregation within the Roman Catholic Church, and its lay sister organization, Regnum Christi. Paul Lennon and Peter Kingsland discussed the “fruits” of these organizations from their respective perspectives as a former Legion priest and a parent of a Regnum Christi member. First, however, a bit of background. The ICSA began to examine the Legion in 2003, when Mexican psychiatrist Cesar Mascarenas gave a talk at our California conference. Somehow, the Legion heard about this talk; and I was approached before, during, and after the conference by people concerned that we were discussing the Legion at a “cult” conference.
We scheduled a follow-up panel on the Legion for our fall conference in Connecticut that same year, inviting as panelists Father James LeBar, Paul Lennon, and Juan Vaca, one of the first ex-Legionaries to accuse the founder of sexual molestation. We also invited the Legion to send representatives to give their side of the controversy. The group invited me to visit their seminary in Connecticut prior to the conference, which I did, along with Father LeBar. Interestingly, the organization sent representatives to our conference for private discussions, but they did not attend the panel.
Our ICSA e-Newsletter published my introduction to the Connecticut panel and later, on July 18, 2006, added an update. You can find that report here.
The current panel was inspired by an interesting email exchange that began when Paul Lennon asked a colleague about Massimo Introvigne’s views on Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi founder Marcial Maciel’s fall from grace. Mr. Introvigne is an attorney who heads an Italian cult-watch organization, CESNUR. Some call him a “cult apologist”; however, he has graciously invited a number of ICSA experts, including me, to speak on issues of harm at CESNUR conferences. He is very much aware of the fact that, as I often put it, some groups harm some people sometimes. However, his concern for religious freedom and his criticisms of some “brainwashing” perspectives have put him on different sides of some issues from most people who attend ICSA conferences. He was to have participated in this panel, but a schedule conflict prevented him from attending.
In the email exchange, Massimo said,
The principle that good fruits are a clue that the tree is good was so widespread that most people in the Church did not believe the accusations against Father Maciel until very late in the pontificate of the Blessed John Paul II. I was among the majority of Catholics and was, of course, wrong. So were the Blessed John Paul II and most cardinals. To his credit, the present Pope was inclined to give some credibility to the accusations against Maciel from the very beginning. But he never questioned the good work of the Legion of Christ and, to this day, is keen to distinguish between Father Maciel’s “criminal activities” and the good work done by the great majority of the Legionaries and by Regnum Christi.
Later in the exchange, he said,
Paul Lennon’s mail confirms that most in the Legion had no idea of what Maciel was doing. This was also true for most OUTSIDE the Legion, who did not know Maciel but did know the good deeds of other Legionaries.
In that same message, Massimo also alluded to something I have noticed as well; namely, that some who disagree with Maciel’s conservative theology suggest that aspects of the theology are wrong because Maciel was corrupt. This is a non sequitur that merely uses Maciel as a hammer to harass theological opponents while it obscures the central issue of harm.
Massimo also shed light on why well-intentioned people can hold diametrically opposite views on an issue. He said that the Renner and Berry book Vows of Silence, which outside the Vatican was generally viewed as vital in exposing Maciel, was, inside the Vatican, viewed as so flawed on matters of Church history and canon law that it “persuaded many in the Vatican that those accusing him [Maciel], since they were obviously wrong in other matters, were probably wrong on Maciel too.” Much of the polarization in the cultic studies field has been fueled by this kind of thinking—the tendency to dismiss people, including people with reputable credentials, because one knows they are wrong about some things. The non sequitur is “If he is wrong about some things, then he must be wrong about all things.”
Thus, members of the so-called anticult movement (ACM) may dismiss so-called procultists because the latter question reports of harm associated with cults, while so-called procultists may dismiss cult critics because they may sometimes report inaccurately about certain groups. This attitude fuels polarization, which encourages inaccuracies to arise on both sides of a controversial issue. In her 1995 presidential address to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR), Eileen Barker chided her colleagues:
If we are to be honest and self-critical, we have to admit that several of us have reacted against the selective negativity of the ACM by, sometimes quite unconsciously, making our own unbalanced selections. Having been affronted by what have appeared to be gross violations of human rights perpetrated through practices such as deprogramming and the medicalization of belief, there have been occasions when social scientists have withheld information about the movements because they know that this will be taken, possibly out of context, to be used as a justification for such actions. The somewhat paradoxical situation is that the more we feel the NRMs are having untrue bad things said about them, the less inclined we are to publish true “bad” things about the movements. (Barker, 1995, p. 305—emphasis added)
Given this candid remark, it is not surprising that Dr. Barker reached out to ICSA in the late 1990s and established a dialogue that has been quite productive.
Dr. Barker’s remarks to SSSR and the email exchange involving Massimo Introvigne underline the fact that the vast majority of generalizations that refer to human behavior, such as “by their fruits ye shall know them,” are probability statements, not absolute “natural laws.” In the email exchange, I commented,
Given that the tree-fruit relationship, like the cult membership-harm relationship, is only probabilistic and will vary greatly from situation to situation, it seems to me that Church authorities can be faulted, as can some cult experts, for treating the tree-fruit relationship as though it were a “law.” Even if Massimo and Pope Benedict are correct in their belief that “the fruits are, generally speaking, excellent,” we can still fault Church authorities for not adequately examining what they thought were low probabilities. And we can especially fault the Legion’s leaders (not just Maciel) for the viciousness of their attacks on those who dared to criticize Maciel… A grocer may not worry about a handful of eggs broken during a shipment of hundreds of boxes. However, Christians (and anybody else who claims to care about people) ought to be concerned about a handful of broken souls. The pain of one person is not negated by the joy of 100.
In closing, I’d like to comment on the distinction between “good works” or “good deeds” and “good fruits,” a distinction that I did not think about during our email exchanges. Although I am certainly not qualified to expound upon the proper theological interpretation of the biblical verse concerning good fruits, it seems clear to this layman that fruits should not be morally judged without reference to the tree that produces them. In other words, ends should not be morally evaluated without consideration of the means used to achieve them or the context from which they spring.
One may, of course, erroneously believe that a particular tree is good and that the effects seemingly produced by that tree are good fruits. However, if one learns that the tree is not good, even in the imperfect sense in which all “good” people are good, if one learns that the tree is in fact corrupt at its core, then one should refrain from interpreting positive events as necessarily the good fruit of that tree. One should, instead, look for other explanations for the good things formerly associated with the tree now known to be very bad.
The Legion tree was rotten from its inception. No amount of pruning will eliminate the poison in the seed (Marcial Maciel) from which the Legion and Regnum Christi sprouted.
I would, then, humbly suggest to Pope Benedict that he conceive of the Church’s task in this matter to be the preservation of the goodness of individual members of the Legion and Regnum Christi, not the preservation of the organization founded and corrupted by a man whose actions Benedict has called “criminal.” Whatever good fruits we may now point to may be viewed as the fruits of the good will and piety of individuals aspiring to virtue, perhaps in spite of the Legion and Regnum Christi, not because of them.
Dissolve the organizations. Even if property and other considerations argue for some legal continuity, at least change the names of the organizations. Also, move out all of the upper-level management, and some mid-level management, who functioned adaptively for so many years in Maciel’s climate of deceit, control, and abuse. One does not adapt to such a system without internalizing attitudes and habits of thought that sustain the system. The resulting identity does not disappear simply because the leader is gone.
The rank-and-file members of these organizations also adapted themselves to the system, and, like their leaders, they do not shed their Legion/Regnum Christi identities automatically because Maciel was discredited. The universal human tendency to rationalize will preserve Maciel’s influence in ways that will not always be apparent. Church authorities, whose inclinations tend toward kindness and gentleness, may be reluctant to challenge the rank and file. I believe this would be a mistake. The cognitive dissonance, confusion, and sense of betrayal that some Legion/Regnum Christi members may feel should be addressed directly, preferably by professionals trained to help people cope with such transitions. The resilience of former cult members who come to the ICSA for assistance suggests that Legion and Regnum Christi members are probably stronger than some Church authorities may think.
In my opinion, the Church needs to affirm its own integrity by expending the pastoral and counseling resources needed to help the good people of the Legion and Regnum Christi see more clearly that the Church welcomes them, that the Church will find or create places for them, and that their desire to do good and to be good does not depend on organizations nourished by decades of deceit. The “good fruits” of the Legion and Regnum Christi members will not wither on the vine if those individuals are separated from the fraudulent system that took advantage of their noble spiritual aspirations.
Barker, E. (1995). The scientific study of religion? You must be joking! (presidential address to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion). Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 34(3), 287–310.
About the Author
Michael D. Langone, PhD, a counseling psychologist, received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979. Since 1981 he has been Executive Director of International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Dr. Langone has been consulted by several hundred former cult members and/or their families. He was the founder and editor of Cultic Studies Journal, that journal’s successor, Cultic Studies Review, and editor of Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse (an alternate of the Behavioral Science Book Service). He is co-author of Cults: What Parents Should Know and Satanism and Occult-Related Violence: What You Should Know. Currently, Dr. Langone is ICSA Today’s Editor-in-Chief. In 1995, he was honored as the Albert V. Danielsen visiting Scholar at Boston University.
A few months ago I felt the desire to pray to God with these words. I share them with you, wishing you all a Happy Easter Season.
I met you, Lord, while I was psychologically and emotionally trapped in a criminal organization bearing the papal seal. I met you in a prison. But I met you anyway. Thank you, Lord, for that.
The Christ that was mine at that time constantly threatened me, forced me to love him, forced me to obey him; psychologically, everything was wrapped in fear, dread, darkness…
What have they done to Your Name, Lord? You, who are the Light, the Truth, the Way, Life itself…
But for me then, You were just death, shadow, deviousness and lies.
I was born at the end of the 20th century. And for the great history of forgotten people I will have been another human being, a Christian, a Catholic, victim of a dubious and dark ecclesiastical structure… a number perhaps in some future statistic.
From the age of 15 I learned to call a Mexican priest a saint, Father Marcial Maciel, L.C. I heard several times from the mouth of St. John Paul II that such a priest was an example for youth. I heard from dozens of cardinals, from hundreds of bishops, that this priest was trustworthy, he was a living saint, he was Christ’s faithful representative. In my teenage religiosity, I consented, believed, gave myself in body and soul to follow you, Lord, in the footsteps of that “holy founder”.
It took me years in that surrender, until the day of disappointment. Until the day that organization – which one day welcomed me and called me family – made a sudden about turn and decided to erase my existence from its memory, erasing me from its archives and its institutional history, turning a new page and starting from scratch, over the corpses of thousands of religious abused in the congregation for decades and all lying in a mass grave of oblivion.
Where are the holy men who have protected such a priest founder for so long now? Where is the holiness of this “Holy See” that does everything it can to also forget the thousands of victims of this organization? In the practice of its leaders, it has been nothing more than another criminal and deceitful organization. I’m sorry for getting this off my chest with these words.
Your “servant,” hailed for seven decades as a saint by bishops, cardinals and popes, Father Marcial Maciel, L.C., after his death was found to be a maharajah in a nearly $20 million house bought for his “life of prayer and penance.” But now he was finally unmasked: a pedophile who used fake passports, abandoning several families and women around the world, who had abused his own minor seminarians and his own children. Fr. Maciel washed a lot of money; in fact, he created a large fundraising and money-laundering industry (which to this day seems to remain intact) and bought cardinals, bishops, manipulated thousands of young people – inducing false vocations. He brought to our priesthood, Lord, young people without a vocation, and in turn controlled, enslaved, terrorized and later, to make matters worse, abandoned, destroyed and persecuted anyone who attempted to oppose this plan.
I stop for a moment to ponder, in your presence, O my Lord God, where is your Gospel in all this? Lord, Jesus, King and Teacher, where is true Christianity? What happened to your Church in the last century? Why did you allow me and others to fall victim to such a cruel form of Christianity? And why do you keep allowing it?
If only my case were isolated… But I look around me: manipulative movements and organizations, with a papal seal, have sprung up like cockroaches. They teach people true doctrine, perhaps, but through mass manipulation techniques; the same techniques used by dictatorial regimes. Why, Lord? Isn’t the strength of Christianity enough to draw our hearts to You?
Jesus, You who look lovingly at your Church, who sees the hearts of men, teach me not to judge -not even the criminals who have done me so much harm. Teach me to leave everything to your judgment. Heal the wounds of my soul. Come into my heart as my Lord, Teacher and Friend. Give me the wisdom I need to face my existence in the light of heaven, facing eternity. And above all, Lord, take care of your Church, your Catholics, all who believe in Your Name. Give back to the heart of your Church free martyrdom for Your Name, for the cause of Truth. Give us back, Lord, the enthusiasm of a true inner Christianity that transforms society, not through weapons of manipulation but by the testimony of a life well lived, the martyrdom of the righteous man.
Hace unos meses sentí el deseo de orar a Dios con estas palabras. Les comparto, deseando a todos una Feliz Pascua prolongada.
Te conocí, Señor, mientras estaba psicológica y emocionalmente atrapado en una organización criminal, con un sello pontificio. Te conocí en una prisión. Pero te conocí. Gracias, señor.
El Cristo que tenía para mí en ese momento me amenazaba constantemente, me obligaba a amarlo, me obligaba a obedecerlo.
psicológicamente todo estaba envuelto en miedo, pavor, oscuridad…
¿Qué han hecho con tu nombre, Señor? Tú, que eras luz, verdad, camino, vida… para mí sólo eras muerte, sombra, tortuosidad, mentira.
Nací a finales del siglo XX. Y para la gran Historia de las personas olvidadas habré sido un ser humano a más, cristiano, católico, víctima de una dudosa y oscura estructura eclesiástica… un número quizás en alguna estadística futura.
Desde los 15 años aprendí a llamar santo a un sacerdote mexicano, el Padre Marcial Maciel, L.C. Escuché varias veces de boca de San Juan Pablo II que tal sacerdote era un ejemplo de juventud. Escuché de docenas de cardenales, de cientos de obispos, que este sacerdote era confiable, era santo, era su fiel representante.
En mi religiosidad adolescente, consentí, creí, me entregué en cuerpo y alma a seguirte, Señor, tras las huellas de ese “santo fundador”.
Se pasaron años en aquella entrega, hasta el día de la desilusión. Hasta el día en que esa organización – que un día me acogió y me llamó de familia – hizo una reforma en la cual decidió borrar mi existencia de su memoria, borrándome de sus archivos y de su historia institucional, intentando, así, pasar página y comenzar del cero, sobre los cadáveres de miles de religiosos abusados en la congregación durante décadas y tirados todos en una fosa común del olvido.
¿Dónde están ahora los santos hombres que han protegido a tal sacerdote fundador durante tanto tiempo? ¿Dónde está la santidad de esa “Santa Sede” que hace de todo para también echar en el olvido las miles de víctimas de esta obra? En la práctica de sus hombres no ha sido más que otra organización criminal y mentirosa. Lo siento por quitarme esto de encima con estas palabras.
Tu “siervo”, aclamado durante siete décadas como santo por obispos, cardenales y papas, el Padre Marcial Maciel, L.C., después de su muerte – como un maharajá en una casa de casi 20 millones de dólares comprada para la ocasión – fue desenmascarado: Un pedófilo, usó pasaportes falsos, dejó varias familias y mujeres en todo el mundo, abusó de los seminaristas y de sus propios hijos, lavó mucho dinero, de hecho, creó una gran industria de recaudación y lavado de dinero (que hasta hoy parece seguir intacta), compró cardenales, obispos, etc., manipuló a miles de jóvenes, induciendo falsas vocaciones, trayendo a tu sacerdocio, Señor, a jóvenes sin vocación, deteniendo, atando, aterrorizando y, para empeorar las cosas, abandonando, destruyendo y persiguiendo a todos los que trataban de luchar contra este plan.
Me detengo por un momento y me pregunto, en tu presencia, oh Dios mío: Señor, ¿dónde está tu evangelio? Señor, Jesús, rey y maestro, ¿dónde está el verdadero cristianismo? ¿Qué le pasó a su Iglesia en el siglo pasado? ¿Por qué me permitió, a mí y a otros, ser víctima de un cristianismo tan cruel? ¿Y por qué lo sigues permitiendo?
Si tan sólo mi caso fuera solitario, pero mira a mi alrededor: los movimientos y organizaciones manipuladoras, con sello pontificio, han surgido como cucarachas. Enseñan a la gente la verdadera doctrina, pero por medio de técnicas de manipulación de masas, las mismas técnicas utilizadas por los regímenes dictatoriales. ¿Por qué, Señor?
¿No es la fuerza del cristianismo suficiente para atraer nuestros corazones hacia ti?
Jesús, que mira con amor a tu Iglesia, que ve los corazones de los hombres, enséñame a no juzgar, ni siquiera a los criminales que me han hecho tanto daño. Enséñame a dejar todo a tu juicio. Cura las heridas de mi alma. Preséntate a mi corazón, como mi Señor y Maestro y Amigo. Dame la sabiduría que necesito para enfrentar mi existencia en la luz del cielo, de cara a la eternidad. Y sobre todo, Señor, cuida de tu Iglesia, de tus católicos, de todos los que creen en tu nombre. Devuelve al corazón de tu Iglesia el libre martirio por tu nombre, por la verdad; devuelve, Señor, el entusiasmo de un verdadero cristianismo interior que cambie la sociedad no por medio de las armas de manipulación sino por el testimonio de la vida, el martirio del hombre justo.
Bilingüe Testimony: A Legion of Christ “Throw-Away”, “Usado y Tirado” por la Legión de Cristo
by Thácio Siqueira, xLC
ESPANYOL Spanish original:
Obispos, sacerdotes, parroquias… todos están desesperados pidiendo dinero para lograr pagar sus cuentas ahora que las iglesias están cerradas. Hay que ayudar, sin duda, en la medida de lo posible.
Sólo que, en este momento, me acuerdo de como el P. Victor de Luna, LC me dijo en 2011 (año en que salí de la LC) en Roma: !La Legión no te va a ayudar con nada!
Yo estaba desesperado, sin dinero, sin futuro, en la Legión desde los 15 a los 30 años, y volviendo a mi país en una situación de miseria humana, lleno de traumas sicológicos etc., etc. ….
Me acuerdo también de mis palabras: Bueno, padre, ok, pero acuérdense de una cosa: Dios no bendice quien no vive la caridad. Por 15 años yo he sido un hermano, un miembro de la familia. Hoy no soy nada más para ustedes y para esta congregacion. Pero seguro, un día, Dios les va a cobrar todo lo malo que hacen con estos miles de exreligiosos legionarios tirados a la calle.
Tres días después me invitaron a trabajar en ZENIT como traductor, pero sin seguridad social, sin ningún vínculo de trabajo… como un esclavo, aprovechando mi total desconocimiento del mundo de fuera y de las leyes de los hombres… Allá me quedé hasta el 2016 cuando decidí salir por mí mismo pues, antes tarde que nunca, me di cuenta de que la LC solo sabe hacer una cosa: explotar a su gente.
Debería haberlos metido en la justicia humana, pero lo único que me restó fue poner en las manos de Dios para que haga justicia. No tuve dinero para contratar un abogado. Aun estando en ZENIT nunca recibí una llamada siquiera de los LC, ninguna propuesta de que mi esclavitud en ZENIT pudiera volverse un trabajo de verdad.
Una pena. Hace unos años conocí una congregación religiosa de hermanas, en Brasil, que no abandona a sus ex hermanas… a todas les ayuda… para ellas, familia es algo que no se deja sólo por haber dejado la obra… viven la caridad verdadera. En la LC solo unos pocos exlegionarios tienen la suerte de tener algo después de la LC. Y muchos de estos pocos son obligados a vivir en silencio, sin la posibilidad de exigir sus derechos humanos, siempre con el miedo de morirse de hambre… les tratan peor que a un esclavo…
Una oración por todo esto. Sé que la culpa no es de muchos de los Legionarios, mis excompañeros… todos son víctimas de una estructura corrupta que primero abusa de ellos, y que luego escupe la mayor parte de sus exmiembros, como se fueran un cáncer. Un día me encontré con un sacerdote legionario en mi ciudad, de unos 45 años. Me dijo con todas las letras: “Yo no me salgo de la LC porque no tengo en donde caerme muerto”. Bueno, estas son las “vocaciones” de la reformada Legión de Cristo
Conozco a un exsacerdote salesiano que después de años dejó el sacerdocio. Los salesianos le pagaron 35 años de seguridad social y hoy este señor está jubilado. En la LC solo hay una salida: el hambre y la pérdida de toda dignidad humana.
Bishops, priests, parishes… everyone is desperate begging for money to get their bills paid, now that the churches are closed. We must certainly help as much as possible.
Except that, right now, I remember how Fr. Victor de Luna LC told me in 2011 (a year I left the LC) in Rome: The Legion is not going to help you with anything.
I was desperate, without money, without a future. From 15 to 30 years in the LC and now returning to my country in a situation of breakdown , full of psychological traumas etc., etc. ….
I remember answering:
“Well, Father, ok, but remember one thing: God does not bless those who do not live charity. For 15 years I’ve been a brother, a family member. Today I am nothing more for you and for this congregation. But sure, one day, God is going to hold you responsibel for all the bad things you do with these thousands of former legionnaires lying in the street.”
Three days later I was invited to work at ZENIT (a Legion venture at that time), as a translator: but without social security, without any work link… as a slave, taking advantage of my total ignorance of the outside world and the laws of men. There I stayed until 2016 when I decided to go out on my own because, better late than never, I realized that the LC only knows how to do one thing: exploit its people.
I should have brought them before human justice, but all I had left was to put them in God’s hands to do justice. I didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer. When I was at ZENIT I never even received a call from the LCs, no proposal that my slavery at ZENIT would become a real job.
It’s a shame. A few years ago I met a religious congregation of sisters in Brazil, which does not abandon its former members… it helps them all… For them, family is something that does not die because they have left the group. They live true charity. In the LC only a few ex-legionaries are lucky enough to have something after the LC. And many of these few are forced to live in silence, without the possibility of demanding their human rights, ans always in fear of starving to death. They are treated worse than slaves…
A prayer for all this. I know that the fault is not of many of the Legionnaires, my ex-partners… they are all victims of a corrupt structure that abuses them in the first place and that sculpts most of their former members, however they were cancer. One day I met a legionnaire priest in my city, about 45 years old. He said very plainly: I don’t leave the LC because I have nowhere to go; I wouldn’t have a roof over my head.
Well, such are the vocations of the reformed Legion of Christ!
I know an ex-Salesian who left the priesthood after years. The Salesians paid him 35 years of social security, and today this gentleman is retired. In the LC there is only one way out: hunger and the loss of all human dignity.
In case you have nothing else to do and want to hear J. Paul Lennon’s testimony again! enjoy. Parts may be harrowing but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You may even enjoy his wry sense of humor. Don’t forget it is a tale of survivor and ultimate victory
Legion of Christ Filth clean up by Pope Francis’ A-Team on sexual abuse
Legion of Christ Filth to be cleansed by Pope Francis’ A-team
“How much filth there is in the church!”
Pope Benedict XVI
The 2005 “Stations of the Cross” by Pope Benedict XVI are quite moving. When he spoke of the “filth” of the Church, he was referencing spiritual filth — specifically, Catholic priests who disobeyed God’s holy law.
Pope Francis will dispatch his A-Team on clerical sexual abuse to Mexico and will interview Legion of Christ victims.
“Vatican sends top 2 sex crimes investigators to Mexico
By NICOLE WINFIELD and MARIA VERZA, AP
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is sending its top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the Catholic hierarchy in the world’s second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna (Malta) and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu (Catalonia, Spain) teamed up in 2018 to investigate the Chilean church and its wretched record of protecting pedophile priests — a bombshell expose that resulted in every active Chilean bishop offering to resign.
Their new mission to Mexico, due to take place March 20-27, was announced Monday in Mexico and at the Vatican. Officials stressed it was not an investigation per se but an assistance mission to help the Mexican church combat abuse.”[i]
The present action by Pope Francis is meant to control damage done to the Catholic Church in Mexico by the intense media coverage of sexual abuse by Legionary of Christ priest Fernando Martínez, whom the Legion is protecting in the mother house in Rome.
The pope’s action also appears to be prompted by the gut-wrenching testimonies of three of Fr. Martínez’ female victims, abused when they were little 6-8-year-old girls at the Legion’s Cancun Instituto Cumbres 1991-93. The case is a classic example of Legion of Christ’s protection of perpetrators, reassignment, cover-up and neglect of victims.
Further turmoil has been caused by another scandal in Gozzano, Milan region, in Italy -also reported on this site- where Legion superiors attempted to bribe the mother of a boy-victim to retract her accusation. The mother won the court case against the Legion.
The Legionaries have also been hit by a strong stance from the Mexican bishops demanding the Legion take care of its victims[iii]
and by the active role of Vatican Nuncio to Mexico, Mons Coppola, who has given Legion victims his time and attention (and his reports to the Vatican!).
<Already, the Mexican bishops conference has ended its silence about the Legion to denounce the newly revealed abuse and the Legion’s failure to provide “a specific act of justice or reparation for the victims” even after it acknowledged the crimes, vowed more transparency and pointed to its child protection policies in place now.
The archbishop of Monterrey — a Legion stronghold — denounced the group’s “criminal silence” and treatment of victims, and led recent calls from Mexican bishops for an end to the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. It was a remarkable turnabout, given that Mexico’s Catholic hierarchy long supported the Legion and benefited from the once-wealthy order’s largesse.
Even the Vatican’s ambassador to Mexico, Monsignor Franco Coppola, broke the Holy See’s tradition of diplomatic discretion to publicly criticize the Legion’s handling of the case and call for the Vatican to investigate the “web of cover-up” behind it. That too was remarkable, given that the Vatican itself has been implicated in the Maciel cover-up.>[iv]
LIMPIEZA DE LA LEGIÓN DE CRISTO DE CRISTO POR EL EQUIPO-A DEL ABUSO SEXUAL DEL PAPA FRANCISCO
“¡Cuánta suciedad hay en la iglesia!” Papa Benedicto XVI
Las “Estaciones del via Crucis” de 2005 del Papa Benedicto XVI son muy conmovedoras. Cuando habló de la “inmundicia” de la Iglesia, estaba haciendo referencia a la inmundicia espiritual, específicamente a los sacerdotes católicos que desobedecían la santa ley de Dios.
El papa Francisco enviará su equipo estelar en abuso sexual clerical a México y entrevistará a las víctimas de la Legión de Cristo.
“El Vaticano envía a los dos principales investigadores de delitos sexuales a México
Por NICOLE WINFIELD y MARIA VERZA, AP
CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (AP) – El Vaticano está enviando a sus dos principales investigadores de delitos sexuales a México en una misión de investigación y asistencia a medida que la jerarquía católica en el segundo país católico más grande del mundo comienza a contar con décadas de abusos y encubrimientos sexuales por parte del clero. arriba.El arzobispo Charles Scicluna (Malta) y monseñor Jordi Bertomeu (Cataluña, España) se unieron en 2018 para investigar la iglesia chilena y su miserable historial de proteger a los sacerdotes pedófilos, una exposición explosiva que resultó en que cada obispo chileno activo ofreciera renunciar.Su nueva misión a México, que tendrá lugar del 20 al 27 de marzo, se anunció el lunes en México y en el Vaticano.
Las autoridades enfatizaron que no era una investigación per se sino una misión de asistencia para ayudar a la iglesia mexicana a combatir el abuso “. [I](Nota de REGAIN: este es el mismo equipo que fue enviado a EE. UU. Y México en abril-mayo de 2005 para entrevistar a las víctimas de abuso sexual del P. Marcial Maciel, fundador de la Legión, y que llevaría a su destitución como Superior General y la declaración del Vaticano en mayo de 2006 condenando a Maciel y prohibiéndole el ministerio público” [ii].
Una intervención del Vaticano de la orden se produjo en mayo de 2010 cuando el Vaticano denunció nuevamente las acciones de Maciel y nombró a un Delegado Papal para supervisar la orden y su gobierno).
La acción actual del Papa Francisco está destinada a controlar el daño hecho a la Iglesia Católica en México por la intensa cobertura mediática del abuso sexual por parte del sacerdote del Legionario de Cristo Fernando Martínez, a quien la Legión está protegiendo en la casa madre de Roma.
La acción del Papa también parece ser impulsada por los desgarradores testimonios de tres de las Las víctimas femeninas del padre Martínez, abusadas cuando eran niñas pequeñas de 6-8 años en el Instituto Cumbres de la Legión en Cancún 1991-93. El caso es un ejemplo clásico de la protección que la Legión de Cristo ofrece a los abusadores: reasignación, encubrimiento y negligencia de las víctimas.
Otro escándalo ha sido causado por un caso en Gozzano, región de Milán, en Italia, también se informó en este sitio, donde los superiores de la Legión intentaron sobornar a la madre de un niño víctima para retractarse de su acusación. La madre ganó el caso judicial contra la Legión.
Los legionarios también han sido golpeados por una fuerte postura de los obispos mexicanos que exigen que la Legión cuide de sus víctimas [iii]
y por el papel activo del Nuncio Vaticano en México, Mons Coppola, que ha brindado a las víctimas de la Legión su tiempo y atención (¡y sus informes al Vaticano!).
<Ya, la conferencia de los obispos mexicanos ha terminado su silencio sobre la Legión para denunciar el abuso recientemente revelado y la incapacidad de la Legión de proporcionar “un acto específico de justicia o reparación para las víctimas” incluso después de reconocer los crímenes, prometió más transparencia y señaló a sus políticas de protección infantil vigentes ahora.
El arzobispo de Monterrey, un territorio bastión de la Legión, denunció el “silencio criminal” del grupo y el trato a las víctimas, y dirigió recientes llamamientos de los obispos mexicanos para poner fin al estatuto de limitaciones para los casos de abuso sexual infantil.
Fue un cambio notable, dado que la jerarquía católica de México durante mucho tiempo apoyó a la Legión y se benefició de la generosidad de la orden una vez rica.
Incluso el embajador del Vaticano en México, Monseñor Franco Coppola, rompió la tradición de discreción diplomática de la Santa Sede para criticar públicamente el manejo del caso por parte de la Legión y pedir al Vaticano que investigue la “red de encubrimiento” detrás de él. Eso también fue notable, dado que el propio Vaticano ha sido implicado en el encubrimiento de Maciel.> [Iv]
Always talking about renewal when it should have been reform or dissolution?
Why send in an Incompetent Apostolic Administrator (De Paolis, may God have mercy on his pusillanimous soul) who cozied up to Maciel’s Mexican Mafia (Corcuera, Garza, Sada…) instead of getting rid of them?
Why try to find a charism where there is a non -charism which I, for the life of me, cannot see or understand; Deus ex machina?
An order founded by a “a life that was out of moral bounds- an adventurous, wasted twisted life.” (Benedict XVI)
Maciel, when he was not sexually abusing, manipulating deceiving created a company for his own glory, mass- producing immature priests and accumulating money by licit and illicit means.
Am I the only one to see that the emperor is naked?
Where are the saints produced by this “work of God” after 80 years of existence?
Why are the Shipwrecked Victims of sexual, emotional, psychological, spiritual abuse still lying wounded on the shore?
Why is the Legion of Christ TODAY still protecting pedophiles in its bosom?
Open your eyes, Holy Father, and see the monster the Roman Curia has allowed to prosper, though human error, negligence and malice!
One might say that the main reason the Pope and the Vatican continue to tolerate the Legion of Christ is that they will not admit their mistakes. Maciel deceived them. They believe their infallibility overcomes his diabolical deceit. And I do not believe that infallibility stretches that far. Other papal approved orders have been dissolved in the history of the Church. Why not this den of liars?
Pope Francis, I appeal to your sense of justice!
PAPA FRANCISCO, RESPONDA A MIS PREGUNTAS SOBRE SU TOLERANCIA HACIA LA LEGIÓN DE CRISTO!
(PHOTO) Papa Francisco rodeado de adoradores legionarios – Imagen-
… la única solución moralmente segura para curar tal problema es la disolución de la facultad y el cuerpo estudiantil
San Antonio María Claret
EL PAPA Y EL VATICANO NO PUEDEN PENSAR FUERA DE LA CAJA: MENSAJE INCORRECTO DE FRANCISCO A LOS LEGIONARIOS DE CRISTO / FEDERACIÓN REGNUM CHRISTI (¡O CUALQUIER OTRO NOMBRE QUE SE INVENTE LA ENTIDAD CAMALEÓNICA)
Para algunos de nosotros que hemos sido miembros de la Legión de Cristo y que hemos seguido su historia durante décadas, el mensaje del Papa Francisco es simplemente inadecuado. El Papa sencillamente no entiende lo que es la Legión de Cristo.
¿Por qué permitir que esta secta intra-eclesial se enquiste dentro del cuerpo de la Iglesia, infectándola?
¿Siempre hablando de renovación cuando debería haber sido reforma o disolución?
¿Por qué enviar un administrador apostólico incompetente (De Paolis, !que Dios se apiade de su alma pusilánime!) quien se acurrucó con la mafia mexicana de Maciel (Corcuera, Garza, Sada …) en lugar de deshacerse de ella?
¿Por qué tratar de encontrar un carisma donde no hay uno? -! que por Dios! que no lo alcanzo a ver o entender. ¿Un Deus Ex machina (inventado totalmente conforme a lo que piden las circunstancias)?
Una orden fundada por “una vida que estaba fuera de los límites morales: una vida retorcida y aventurera”. (Benedicto XVI)
Maciel, cuando no estaba abusando sexualmente, manipulando y engañando, creó una compañía , un business, para su propia gloria, produciendo sacerdotes inmaduros en masa y acumulando dinero por medios lícitos e ilícitos.
¿Soy el único que ve que el emperador está desnudo?
¿Dónde están los santos producidos por esta “obra de Dios” después de 80 años de existencia?
¿Por qué los náufragos de abuso sexual, emocional, psicológico y espiritual aún yacen heridos en la playa?
¿Por qué la Legión de Cristo, todavía HOY, protege a los pedófilos en su seno?
¡Abra los ojos, Santo Padre, y vea el monstruo que la Curia Romana ha permitido prosperar debido a su propio error humano, negligencia y malicia!
Se podría decir que la razón principal por la que el Papa y el Vaticano continúan tolerando a la Legión de Cristo es que no quieren reconocer sus errores. Maciel los engañó. Creen que su infalibilidad supera aquel engaño diabólico. Pero yo no puedo creer que la infalibilidad abarque esto. Otras órdenes aprobadas por el Papa se han disuelto en la historia de la Iglesia. ¿Por qué no esta guarida de embaucadores mentirosos?
!Papa Francisco, apelo a tu sentido de justicia para todas las victimas!
Mexican Bishops demand Legion of Christ make reparation for sexual abuse and punish perpetrator
ReGAIN is bewildered by the latest round of Legion excuses to Ana Lucía Salazar and other women, sexually abused as little 8-year-olds at the Legion of Christ, Instituto Cumbres school in Cancun in 1991-2.
Taking advantage of her prominence on Mexican media, Analú broke her silence a few months ago and raised Cain, something that is absolutely necessary to get Legion of Christ leaders attention.
She and her parents had approached Legion superiors soon after the abuses, almost twenty years ago’, and were stonewalled and lied to. The perpetrator -who had abused previously in Mexico City before being taken away from local authorities and REASSIGNED to Cancun- was reassigned to the Legion Novitiate in Salamanca, Spain. At present he is protected by the Legion in its Rome Headquarters.
Since Ana Lucía’s accusation, some of her companions, who were also abused by the same person, at the same time in the same place, have come forward to support her and consolidate the case against Fr. Fernando Martínez, LC. Two of these young women are now presenting their testimonies.
Unable to stem the tide of damning evidence piling up, the Legion has made several public statements; the leadership, in the person of Superior General, Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil, LC, has published press releases, written a personal letter of apology, excuses and promises to the victim. It would appear that the perpetrator has also written to Ana Lucia acknowledging his “lack of impulse control” leading to his “impure actions”which happened so long ago “and which he remembers every day with great contrition and for which he begs her forgiveness.”
ReGAIN needs to disavow innocent Fr. Robles Gil and Ms Salazar regarding the crocodile tears of pedophiles, who cannot help minimizing, excusing and playing the innocent victim…
But, as usual, there is no punishment (maybe “prayer and penance”) -as in the case of serial pedophile founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel- or any mention of compensation to the victims and their families.
The Mexican periodical, PROGRESO, published a report in November, 2019, which began:
“ROME (apro). – The Legionaries of Christ acknowledged today, 50 years after the first complaint, that the priest Fernando Martínez abused various children in educational centers of the organization in Mexico, according to the inquiry commissioned after last May (when) the Mexican conductor and singer Ana Lucía Salazar, one of the victims, publicly uncovered the case.
After an investigation that lasted six months and that was carried out by the specialized agency Praesidium, the Legionaries informed, in a note, that the controversial priest was the subject of various complaints between 1969 and 1993, presented by ex-legionaries, acquaintances or relatives of children of between 4 and 11 years, in various schools in the country, including the Summit (Cumbres) Institutes of Mexico City and Cancun.
In the latter institute, for example, Martínez abused between 1991 and 1993 of “at least six girls between 6 and 11 years old.” “Praesidium has corroborated these abuses with documents and multiple testimonies. […] Father Martínez, interrogated by Praesidium and in the internal investigation, admits with sorrow and remorse the abuses ”against these minors, reads in one of the paragraphs of the long communiqué.
It was “a very serious mistake of assigning, in this case, a priest who had committed abuses in a pastoral job with children and youth elsewhere,” they wrote in another section.
However, still today, Martinez would continue to maintain his status as a priest and would be waiting for the opening of a canonical procedure to be stripped of his habits, as the note suggests. The Superior General of the Legion, Eduardo Robles-Gil, delivered the results on November 11 to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and is awaiting ‘instructions on the canonical procedure to be followed.’
Therefore, at the moment, the only punishments for Martínez are not having access to public ministry and other restrictions, such as being able to dress his priestly cassock when he is in congregation buildings and not coming into contact with minors, as explained by the Legionaries, who Nor did they clarify whether they pointed the case to Mexican justice.”
As the leader can see, the Legion presents information to its own advantage and in carefully couched and often ambivalent terms. The meat of the matter is, as we mentioned above, that there were serious accusation against Fr. Martinez since 1969 -see bolded text above. The poor Legion superiors say they don’t know what to do and await instructions from their superiors…. When the Vatican, American and Mexican bishops have already made it clear.
The Legion, being that special institution, needs to be told personally by the Vatican, or by the pope in person, what they should do….Rules that apply to those ordinary diocesan priests and ordinary religious many not apply to them. They are the Hope of the Church and Friends of the Pope…
In 1969 serious accusations were made against Fr. Martinez when he worked with children at the Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City.
The Legion superiors -Fr. Maciel was probably involved- decided to mollify parents and REASSIGN the perpetrator.
No rehabilitation treatment for offender.
Compensation to victims, unknown.
Offender goes to another place, Cancun, in a similar assignment, elementary school, confessor…. and re-offends.
Superiors Eloy Bedia, local bishop, Jorge Bernal Vargas…. probably after consultation with Fr. Maciel, TRANSFERRED perpetrator to the safety and immunity of Salamanca, Spain; to a novitiate… overseeing teenage seminarians…
When the latest scandal breaks, Legion superiors, the new generation of reformed superiors, send Martinez to Rome, where he is out of the grasp of authorities and where he continues to practice the priestly ministry.
Ms Salazar, has met with the Vatican nuncio in Mexico to explain her plight. She and a former Legionary who supported her, were flabbergasted when the Vatican envoy excused -or tried to joke- about the offense, citing Nietzsche, “for some men, sex with children is the greatest of all pleasure.”
That exchange did little for Ana Lucía’s devotion to the Catholic Church.
In contrast, the Mexican Hierarchy has been more sympathetic and supportive, issuing a document calling on Legion leadership to be more proactive in supporting victims and promising to take the case to the Mexican Bishops Conference.
Bishops of Mexico demand reparation for the damage due to sexual abuse
In a message, the general secretary of the CEM and General Coordinator of the National Council for the Protection of Minors requests the resignation of the clerical state of alleged sexual abuser belonging to the congregation founded by Marcial Maciel
10.12.2019 | Mexican Episcopate Conference
Always in favor of the victims
Mexico City as of December 10, 2019
Committed to the protection of children and adolescents, in our Churches in Mexico, we want to state as National Council for the Protection of Minors (CNPM) of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate some aspects about the report of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ of the November 22, 2019, regarding the cases of sexual violence committed by the PR Fernando Martínez, LC and the press conference carried out by some victims on November 26, 2019:
1. First of all, we recognize the courage and search for justice by the victims of the PR Fernando Martínez and the work of the associations that accompany them in this search; We ask God to enlighten them and we reiterate to their service.
2. In the aforementioned report, we have not found a concrete act of justice and reparation for the victims, nor who currently, on the part of the Congregation, assumes the responsibility of making those responsible for the cover-up transparent.
3. In the canonical field, the previous investigation has been carried out that precedes a canonical criminal process, awaiting the determinations that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will take.
4. In the civil legal field, given that the religious Congregation informed that the denouncement of facts was already presented before the competent authority, we have offered the victims the support and guidance to proceed in the most appropriate manner and we ask the law enforcement authorities that investigate and demarcate the corresponding responsibilities by action and omission.
5. In this sense, the victims have been urged, not only to file criminal complaints, but also to demand compensation for the actions or omissions by the directors of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.
6. We urge the Director General to request the Holy Father, pro bono Ecclesiae, to resign from the clerical state of Fr. Fernando Martínez, keeping him subject to religious obedience in a residence in Mexico, in order to be available to the competent authorities .
Finally, we express our firm commitment that in this one – and in all cases of sexual abuse of minors within the Church – priority attention is given to the victims, the aggressors are criminally reported, the damage caused is repaired, the those responsible face legal proceedings before the civil and canonical authorities and they act expeditiously and responsibly. Only in this way will what is claimed in Psalm 84: “Mercy and truth meet; Justice and peace kissed. ”
WHERE IS THE LEGION OF CHRIST/REGNUM CHRISTI FEDERATION RENEWAL TODAY?
Legion, Regnum Christi, Regnum
Christi Federation advocates and simpatizantes may try to convince the
public that ReGAIN articles are old hat, that its criticisms are no longer
valid, and that the present religious
order is well and truly renewed, with that ever-present Vatican approval. “We
are with the Pope, the Pope is with us, the Pope blesses our work” and other
Below we have a mid-September 2019 blog post concerning the very recent Legion Regnum Christi Federation’s Priestly Renewal Retreat[i]by a former LC, now plying his priestly ministry outside the confines of LRCF. First we present ReGAIN’s embellished translation.
As a prelude, we should not
forget the analyses of some prominent American Legionary of Christ priests who
despaired of the 2010 Vatican headed Legion renewal. Case in question is a very
serious article by former LC Fr. Thomas Berg in First Things, 2014[ii]
RENEWAL DRAGGED DOWN BY OLD DEAD WEIGHT
The two-month-long spiritual renewal is for LC priests who have been ordained for six or more years. One small sign of progress is that it was not being held in Cotija, pedophile Founder Fr. Maciel’s hometown and place of pilgrimage for Legionaries, Regnum Christi members and numerous followers to this very day.
Fifteen Legionary priests did the retreat this summer; a small group to foment interaction between the participants. Another good sign. But the good news stops here.
The person in charge was Fr.
Eloy Bedia, a faithful disciple of disgraced Fr. Maciel, whose more recent
activities include covering up Legionary sexual abuse of Mexican TV
personality, Ana Lucía Salazar, and others at the Cancun Instituto Cumbres. Legion
heavy-weights from Fr. Maciel’s time and other die-hards have also visited the
Fr. Emilio Díaz-Torre was the
director of spiritual exercises. Fr. Roberto González -reinstated some time ago
following a long exile in an Italian parish after he had been expelled from the
Vatican for revealing secrets re the selection of bishops to Fr. Maciel- was
asked to deliver a talk on the Theological Virtues. Former Director General,
Fr. Luis Garza, -who disappeared from Rome during the 2010 Vatican intervention-
spoke about the Legion’s apostolic renewal. The Legion’s new official historian
–Behold, I make all things new!– is a new face on the block, Fr. Jaime Rodriguez.
Although, sadly, the new history continues to be incestuously self-generated,
without external criteria, just as in the old days when the Founder was still
alive and controlling the minutest details.
In a Word, the reins of renewal are still in the hands of Maciel’s faithfulfollowers. This cast iron control, still working successfully in the Legion, comes at a price. The religious congregation seems to be suffering in many aspects from burnout and irreversible regression. If they could only slacken the reins and allow new blood and new ideas, there would be less control and more dynamism.
On the other hand, if the young ones keep trusting the old -who are essentially Maciel’s men- there can be little hope. Let’s see what next year’s General Chapter has in store for us.
17 de septiembre
a las 05:03
El bimestre de renovación espiritual es para
sacerdotes de 6 o más años de ordenados. Un pequeño avance es que ya no lo
tienen en Cotija. Lo han hecho 15 sacerdotes este verano, un grupo reducido
para que haya contacto entre todos. Otra cosa buena. Pero se acabaron las
Su director ha sido Eloy Bedia, fiel colaborador de
Maciel, incluso en tapar delitos de agresión sexual contra Analú Salazar y
otras personas. Han visitado a los padres otros pesos pesados del tiempo de
Maciel y del presente:
Emilio Díaz-Torre dio los ejercicios espirituales.
Roberto González fue llamado para dar una conferencia sobre las virtudes
teologales. Luis Garza dio otra hablando de la renovación apostólica de la
legión. No podía faltar la del nuevo historiador de la legión, Jaime Rodríguez
(este es joven); pero la nueva historia sigue siendo endogámica, como en
tiempos de Maciel.
En pocas palabras, las riendas de la renovación las
siguen llevando los hombres de Maciel. Este control férreo, que está funcionando
bastante bien, lleva consigo un precio. La congregación parece sumida en muchos
aspectos en un desgaste y retroceso del que no salen. Si diesen paso a otros
más jóvenes y con nuevas fuerzas, habría menos control, pero más dinamismo.
Por otro lado, si los más jóvenes siguen confiando en
los mayores, en los hombres de Maciel, pues no se puede hacer nada. Veremos el
capítulo general del año que viene cómo pinta.
Una serie de denuncias de padres y exintegrantes, apoyadas en vídeos que muestran ceremonias agresivas que involucran niñas, colocan en jaque las prácticas de los Heraldos del Evangelio, organización ultraconservadora católica que también es sospechosa de corrupción
LOS HERALDOS DEL ANTICRISTO
Una serie de denuncias de padres y
exintegrantes, apoyadas en vídeos que muestran ceremonias agresivas que
involucran niñas, colocan en jaque las prácticas de los Heraldos del Evangelio,
organización ultraconservadora católica que también es sospechosa de
Por André Vargas, Guilherme Novelli
y Giulio Ferrari
En nombre de la fe, la secta
ultraconservadora católica Heraldos del Evangelio corrompe, agrede, humilla y
acosa a sus devotos – en especial a jóvenes adolescentes –, mientras recauda
dinero y promueve la idea de que el apocalipsis cristiano está por llegar. Hay
hasta denuncias de violación. Poco a poco, esas quejas ganan el conocimiento de
la opinión pública, de la justicia y de las autoridades eclesiásticas,
rompiendo una red de silencio que dura más de 20 años y alcanza a 78 países, en
especial en Brasil. En Estados Unidos, el FBI ya recibió quejas y una
investigación está por iniciarse – IstoÉ entró en contacto con el agente
Nacida de una cisión de la también
ultraconservadora denominación religiosa brasileña Tradición Familia Propiedad
(TFP), los Heraldos del Evangelio surgieron en 1997, asumiendo un carácter más
religioso y menos político que sus antecesores. Mientras la TFP levanta
banderas contra temas espinosos de la vida contemporánea, como aborto,
feminismo, reforma agraria, socialismo, minorías, ciudadanía LGBTQ y
multiculturalismo, los Heraldos son una especie de TFP radicalizada, vueltos
hacia una visión del mundo limitada por el concepto de lo que llaman “Reino de
María”, que surgiría después de un período de grande inestabilidad llamado “bagarre”
(del francés, lucha o caos), anunciado en las apariciones de Fátima, en
Portugal, en 1917. O sea, mientras el mundo avanza, ellos se preparan para
vivir en comunión con Dios en una existencia que mezcla las escenas de “Mad
Max” y “El Señor de los Anillos”. Por tanto, instalan a sus devotos en
“castillos”, grandes edificios que imitan palacios de estilo gótico que sirven
de morada y templo cristiano – cuatro de ellos en los alrededores de Sao Paulo,
cobijando a 500 alumnos. Existen escuelas en 16 países.
Ahora, cualquiera puede creer lo que
quiera. Es una cuestión de fe – y ella debe ser respetada. El problema son las
acusaciones de crímenes perpetrados en los “castillos”, mientras el fin
prometido no llega. En 2017, un grupo de 50 madres de víctimas de los Heraldos
denunció el grupo a la Fiscalía de Sao Paulo y al Vaticano. La investigación
secular sigue en secreto de justicia, así como la religiosa. Pero nuevos casos
fueron apareciendo. En una de las denuncias, el fundador, monseñor Joao Clá
Días, de 80 años, es acusado de abuso sexual por una exintegrante. Huérfana de
madre, una joven canadiense, hoy con 27 años, vino a Brasil a estudiar a los
Heraldos. Ella relata en carta que, cuando tenía 12 años, fue abusada por Joao
Clá, que tocó sus senos y nalgas y la besó. En 2014, a los 22 años, se
consiguió apartar de la congregación. Su hermana mayor, que era su tutora,
permaneció. Su denuncia está registrada. De los 46 relatos entregados a las
fiscalías y secretarías estatales de educación, cuatro son de abuso sexual. Los
otros involucran malos tratos, alienación parental y abuso psicológico. Hubo
hasta un registro de suicidio. En junio de 2016, Livia Uchida, de 27 años, se
habría tirado de una ventana del cuarto piso del convento de Monte Carmelo, en
Videos obtenidos por IstoÉ muestran
a monseñor Clá agrediendo a niñas con bofetadas. En uno de ellos, una
adolescente asegurada por los brazos mientas está siendo filmada por adultos,
dice: “Tengo que salir”. Son escenas de pura humillación. Es forzada a hacer
votos de obediencia, castidad y pobreza. En otro video, se fuerza a una niña a
besar los pies del religioso. Son los “ósculos sacrales”, besos sagrados dados
por el líder como una forma de obtener gracias por parte de la víctima, sea lo
que sea que eso quiera decir. En la ley escrita para una sociedad laica y
plural eso es crimen.
Sin compresas (toallas higiénicas)
En Carapicuiba, del Gran Sao Paulo,
la dueña de casa Flavia Silva Nascimento, de 42 años, pasó penurias para
rescatar a su hija S., hoy de 17 años. Procurados por predicadores de los
Heraldos que visitaban la parroquia de San Lucas, la familia, que es católica
practicante, vio la oportunidad de colocar a su hija en una buena escuela
religiosa. No fue lo que ocurrió. A los 12 años, S. pasó por un proceso de
lavado cerebral. En vez de estudiar, tenía que rezar y memorizar los textos de
Joao Clá y Plinio Correa de Oliveira (1908-1995), fundador de la TFP. Viviendo
bajo una disciplina rígida, inspirada en normas militares, ella no tenía ni siquiera
acceso a compresas para menstruación. Ella y sus colegas no recibieron nociones
de salud ni orientación sexual. En vez de eso, fueron obligadas a hacer sus
“votos” como si fueran religiosas adultas y responsables por sí mismas. Durante
las vacaciones familiares en la playa, la adolescente se negó a sacarse la
túnica de los Heraldos. Sólo pisó la arena el último día. Estaba con botas.
Alérgica y con crisis de asma, la
salud de S. se fue deteriorando. La médica con quien la familia solía atenderse
fue la que dio la alerta. La madre decidió rescatar a la hija, incluso contra
su voluntad inicialmente, después de asistir un video en que Joao Clá aparece
como si estuviese practicando un exorcismo en una joven que está siendo
asegurada por los brazos. La niña parece asustada y es abofeteada por el
religioso. “La familia entró en crisis”, cuenta la madre, al recordar el
proceso de retirada de la hija del yugo de los Heraldos. S. huyó de casa dos
veces. Hasta que poco a poco entendió que la vida era mejor del lado de afuera.
Antes con buenas notas, percibió que se había quedado atrás, pues no había
aprendido ni química, ni física, ni biología, ni historia. Incluso así, todavía
viste ropas más conservadoras que su madre y conserva algunos resquicios de
disciplina. S. relata que la adoración a Joao Clá llega a niveles extremos.
Ella y sus colegas ingirieron agua que, afirman sus superiores, habría sido
dejada en un recipiente después de que monseñor se enjuagó. “Tuve problemas
emocionales, llegué perturbada, pero hoy estoy mejor. Los Heraldos dicen que
uno tiene que sufrir. No creo más en eso”, dice.
“Tuve problemas emocionales. Los
Heraldos dicen que uno tiene que sufrir”. S., de 17 años, que volvió a casa
después de 3 años de internado donde se enfermó.
Está también el brutal caso de un
fiel que fue drogado e internado en una clínica psiquiátrica sin autorización
de la familia. Residente en la ciudad de San Carlos, estado de Sao Paulo, Alex
Ribeiro de Lima, hoy con 39 años, nos contó frente a las cámaras su desgracia.
Tenía 15 años cuando ingresó a la TFP, migrando a los Heraldos justo después,
donde actuó como lego. Ya adulto, su función era levantar fondos, misión que lo
llevó a Portugal e Italia. Eficiente en el trabajo, besó los pies del monseñor
y participó de una ceremonia de “sagrada esclavitud”. Su vida se derrumbó
después de 18 años de sumisiones. A los 32 años fue internado a la fuerza en
una clínica para drogadictos en Jundiaí (Sao Paulo), después de una crisis de
ansiedad. Alex mal se acuerda de ese período, pues quedó bajo una fuerte
medicación, sin que su familia tuviese conocimiento. Sólo le dieron el alta
después que su hermana descubrió todo y amenazó con llamar a la policía. “Quedé
amarrado y tuve mucho miedo. Yo decía que no estaba loco”, cuenta. Alex llora y
pide disculpas cuando relata su calvario personal, que terminó en abandono.
“Ellos me usaron y me dieron una patada. Sólo quieren controlar a las
Frente a tantas barbaridades,
también aparecieron otros crímenes. Exintegrantes afirman haber visto armas de
fuego en algunos castillos. Serían revólveres, pistolas y hasta escopetas. La
relación de los artefactos con la actividad religiosa no está aclarada. Tampoco
se sabe el origen de las armas. El exheraldo Daniel del Río, de 46 años, cuenta
que hubo también contrabando y evasión de divisas. Dinero de donaciones que
entraría a Brasil oculto en las ropas de los heraldos al regreso de
presentaciones de la orquesta y viajes de recaudación. El dinero serviría para
apresurar las licencias de construcción y ampliación de los monasterios, además
de “agrados monetarios” para autoridades civiles y religiosas. ExTFP, Del Río
fue de los Heraldos por seis años y salió en 2002. “Quiero derrumbar a esa
organización”, dijo en audio enviado desde España, donde volvió a vivir.
¿Culpa de la víctima?
En medio de la investigación de este
reportaje, hubo una tentativa de censura previa. Abogados de la entidad
interpusieron un “pedido de tutela anticipada” para impedir cualquier
publicación sin oírlos – lo que fue denegado por la justicia. Procurados por
ISTOÉ, la entidad sólo se manifestó por medio de sus representantes legales y
Sobre las acusaciones de malos
tratos, exigen pruebas y responden con represalias legales. Los videos están
ahí. Ellos argumentan que nadie fue agredido y que las imágenes fueron captadas
de “manera ilícita” y en “contexto de piedad privada, en el ámbito de
inmemoriales prácticas litúrgicas de la Iglesia Católica”. También dicen que
las alumnas pidieron tal procedimiento. O sea, cargan la responsabilidad a las
víctimas. La argumentación de los abogados podría hasta ser usada por radicales
musulmanes para justificar el apedreamiento de mujeres hasta la muerte. Cuando
les preguntamos sobre eventuales castigos a los involucrados, alegan que “la
autoridad competente para evaluar ese tema es la eclesiásticas”. Se consideran
víctimas de persecución religiosa de una minoría de descontentos. Puro cinismo.
Pegar a un niño es crimen en Brasil, así como abusar sexualmente, maltratar e
impedir el convivio con los padres. El día que los Heraldos se purifiquen de
las máculas de sus integrantes, lo que sobra será mero conservadurismo.
Asiste a los vídeos
Testimonio de Alex Ribeiro,
exheraldo que fue internado a la fuerza en una clínica psiquiátrica des pues de
sufrir una crisis.
Joao Clá abofetea niñas en nombre de
la fe. La agresión ocurre al minuto 1:08.
12 jun. 2017 – El fundador y Superior General de los Heraldos del Evangelio, Mons. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, renunció a su cargo el pasado 2 de junio.
La noticia oficial de los Heraldos, recogida por ACIPRENSA, no dice la razón verdadera de la renuncia; que bien podría ser porque el grupo fue intervenido por el Vaticano y se le pidió al Fundador y Superior General renunciar a su puesto para no interferir en la investigación. Recuerden el caso del fundador de los Legionarios de Cristo a quien se le pidió lo mismo en el 2006. En estos casos el Vaticano procede con mucha diplomacia y “tacto cuando hace renunciar a una persona importante…
ReGAIN has just learned from two reliable sources that a young man has brought sexual abuse charges against another Legionary of Christ. It seems that the offense took place at the Legion’s Apostolic School in France about ten years ago. Details are still sketchy. We can state that the accusation is presently being reviewed in French civil court to see if it meets the requirement to open a case ; the alleged perpetrator would be a Legion consecrated religious who at the time was a teacher/superior at the infamous junior seminary.
There is a referral in the French language WIKIPEDIA to two Legionaries previously being convicted of sexual assault at the school in the same time frame.
“exactions récentes contre des mineurs
Deux frères légionnaires du Christ de l’école apostolique de Méry-sur-Marne (diocèse de Meaux) tenue par la congrégation sont accusés en 2004 et 2005 d’avoir commis des attouchements sur huit adolescents. L’un d’eux est en fuite. Ils ont été jugés à Meaux et le substitut du procureur a requis deux ans de prison contre le frère E. deux ans de prison avec mandat contre le frère T. F., de nationalité mexicaine, enfui au Mexique. Délibéré le 2 mai 2013 . le frère E. a été condamné à deux ans de prison avec sursis, mise à l’épreuve et soins psychologiques, et 10 000 euros de dommages et intérêts. Le frère T. a été condamné à deux ans de prison ferme avec mandat d’arrêt, et près de 12 000 euros de dommages et intérêts. Les deux hommes ont été inscrits au FIJAIS (Fichier judiciaire automatisé des auteurs d’infractions sexuelles ou violentes) .”
Putting the pieces together: this member of the Legion of Christ religious congregation (with religious vow), then a seminarian in training, is being accused of sexually abusing a minor under his pastoral care. Brother X would then have continued his “training” (Remember Fr. Maciel’s ghost-(Gonzalo Miranda LC?) written bestseller, The Integral Formation of the Priest! ), and was later ordained to the Catholic priesthood in the Legion. One source affirms that after ordination, now Fr. X was sent back to the same junior seminary (students are High School age) to continue teaching or as a formator. A few years ago, Fr. X left -or was asked to leave- the LC and transitioned to the diocesan priesthood where he continued to minister to Catholic families. Another case of the Legion of Christ unloading a problematic priest on an unsuspecting bishop?
ReGAIN’s criticism points, not so much to this individual accused of sexual abuse of a minor, but to the lack of responsibility = Ethics of Legion superiors and leadership cadre. The case opens a Pandora’s box of questions:
What outreach to victims?
What spiritual guidance, pastoral counseling, compensation offered to victims?
What psychological and pastoral help to the offender? Pastoral care, psychological treatment by trained therapists – not by in-home personnel ?
What steps to prevent recurrence? Just ignore the problem, pass it on, get rid of him, unload him on a diocese?
Information is hard to come by; perhaps the French court has put a gag order in place to prevent the victim’s name being made public and/or the whole case may be gagged while investigations are underway.
Let’s see how effective is the Legion of Christ’s damage control.
Stronger: Recovery from Spiritual Abuse and High-Control Groups
A one-day conference sponsored by the
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Workshop facilitators are
educators and counselors who are knowledgeable and experienced with the unique
trauma inflicted by spiritual abuse and the challenge of recovery from it.
Workshops will provide an opportunity for dialogue regarding spiritual abuse
with a view towards understanding, recovery, and support. There will also be a
workshop for survivors who were born and raised in abusive groups. Please join
us for a relaxed, informative day, and meet other survivors. You’re not
the only one, and you’re not alone! All are welcome.
ICSA will conduct a conference in
Santa Fe, New Mexico November 1-2, 2019. This biennial conference focuses on
the needs of former members of cultic groups, movements, or relationships and
the families of former or current members. It also includes continuing education
training for mental health professionals. Conference sessions emphasize
discussion so that participants can address issues pertinent to their
The agenda will address the needs of those seeking help and
those who want to help others. A series of talks will address the conference
theme of sexual abuse. Other sessions deal with practical issues pertinent to
families, former members, helping professionals, and others.
The conference will take place at
La Fonda on the Plaza, one of Santa Fe’s finest hotels, located in the heart of
the old city. Images of Santa Fe.
Where: Church of St. Paul
and St. Andrew (United Methodist), 263 W. 86th St., New York City (Subway stop:
#1 train at 86th St. and Broadway) (map) – Social Hall (downstairs; handicap
access via elevator).
Warning: This message
is for the designated recipient only and may contain privileged, proprietary,
or otherwise private information. If this message has been received in
error, please contact the sender and delete all copies. Thank you.
Learn about Sects, Cults and Harmful Groups in and out of Mainstream Christian Denominations, including the Catholic Church
ReGAIN co-editor, J. Paul Lennon will be attending the conference; he will present a paper on How Cult Involvement affects our Cradle (original) Faith; he will provide assistance, and will facilitate a discussion for former members.
July 4-6, 2019
Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre,
25 Aytoun Street , Manchester, M1 3AE, United Kingdom
Please visit the webpage for further information, including abstracts and bios of the presenters. I.C.S.A. site contains a dearth of free information and/or you can become a members for full access to all the materials.
Five years ago, the ReGAIN was contacted by a former member of this organization who expressed his concern after a female friend had just taken her perpetual vows. The former Herald was surprised that this controversial group was approved by the Vatican. He alleged that a cultist association, TFP (Tradition, Family and Property), after the death of its founder, Plinio Correa de Oliveira, had transformed itself into the Church-approved Heralds of the Gospel.
Not long ago, a small group of Heralds, in full regalia, were spotted at the Guatemalan Immigration Center in Guatemala City getting their papers in order. Looks like they have spread to this Central American country too.
The author sought some general information in Wikipedia:
“The Heralds of the
Gospel (Portuguese: Arautos do Evangelho;
Latin: Evangelii Praecones, abbreviated
to EP) is a Roman Catholic International Association of Pontifical Right
based in Brazil. Founded by Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, the organization
is active in 78 countries.
ANA LUCÍA SALAZAR ACCUSES LEGION OF CHRIST PRIEST, FR. FERNANDO MARTINEZ, OF SEXUALLY ABUSING HER AND OTHERS.
ANA LUCÍA SALAZAR ACUSA AL PADRE FERNANDO MARTÍNEZ, LC, DE ABUSO SEXUAL DE NINAS.
Ana Lucía is the girl that is not blocked out. It shows her at the age she was sexually abused
2 mayo, 2019
(Translated by ReGAIN )
Hello, my name is Ana Lucía Salazar and I am seeking information about Father Fernando Martinez, LC. I am one of his victims. He abused me when I was eight years old. I am searching for him and gathering data. I would much appreciate your help because during his life this person has abused many girls like me, most of whom are unable or unwilling to speak out. I decided to speak out because he has absconded and sheltered himself after destroying our childhoods.
Hola, mi nombre es Ana Lucía Salazar y estoy
buscando información sobre el Padre Fernando Martínez, yo soy una víctima del
señor, el me abusó cuando yo tenía 8 años, estoy en su búsqueda y reuniendo información.
Les agradecería me apoyaran con todo lo que saben porque este señor ha abusado
a lo largo de su vida de muchas niñas que hoy permanecen en el anonimato, yo
decidí dar la cara porque al señor se le ha resguardado y protegido por años
después de destruir nuestras infancias.
The photo shows me as I was when I had the misfortune to meet Pedophile Fernando Martinez in Cancun, 1991-1992 in the Instituto Cumbres Elementary school owned by the Legionaries of Christ. Although they knew about these abuses, the school directors opted for silence; the parents of the other victims chose not to believe their daughters. But I was supported by my parents who always trusted me and validated me from the first moment. I am documenting my case, but we need more information.
Esta era yo cuando tuve la desgracia de toparme con
el pederasta Fernando Martínez en Cancún en 1991- 1992 en el Instituto Cumbres.
El colegio, conociendo los casos, decidió callar, los padres de familias de las
demás víctimas decidieron no creerle a sus hijas pero yo conté con mis padres
que siempre confiaron en mí y me validaron desde el primer momento, mi caso se
está documentando pero necesitamos más información.
People who are aware of Fr. Martinez’ previous abuses at the Mexico City Instituto Cumbres in the 1980s and later, know what I am talking about: how the Legion covered up that abuse and moved him to Cancun where he abused us. Later, they moved him from Cancun to Salamanca, Spain. We lost track of him after that and do not know exactly where he is presently living.
you all for your help.
La gente que sabe de su historia conoce sobre los
abusos que cometió en los 80tas en el Cumbres de México y después de eso, lo
encubrió la legión y lo reubicaron a Cancún en donde abusó de nosotras y de ahí
lo dirigieron a Salamanca, de ahí le hemos perdido la pista a sus acciones en
Salamanca y en donde esté exactamente.
Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Sacred Congregation for the Clergy
For the past couple of weeks ReGAIN has been following the latest revelation regarding an UNDETERRED PEDOPHILE in the Legion of Christ. I attach original accusation in Spanish with my translation.
Fr. Fernando Martínez, now aged 79, was a victim of serial pedophile Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries, as stated in letter J.J. Vaca wrote to said Fr. Marcial Maciel, October 20, 1976. (Gonzalez, F. (2006, 2nd edition), Marcial Maciel, Los Legionarios de Cristo: testimonios y documentos inéditos, page 469. Mexico City: Tusquets.
Fr. Martínez’ early assignment was to the foundation of the Instituto Cumbres in Saltillo, Mexico, in 1969.
He has functioned consistently as rector or director of LC elementary schools.
against Fr. Martinez first surfaced at the Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City in
the 1980s where he was accused of abusing little girls . I believe civil legal action may have taken
place or started.
Martinez was transferred by Legion superiors to the Instituto Cumbres in
recent accusation refers to 1990s at the Instituto Cumbres in Cancun City.
accuser is a fairly prominent Mexican TV personality now aged 35 who alleges
she was abused aged 8, in 1991-92. Ms. Salazar says four other victims are
willing to come forward
the Cancun scandal in the early 1990s, Fr. Martinez was transferred, it seems,
to the Novitiate in Salamanca, Spain.
presently living at the Legion mother-house in Rome, where the other formerly
Chilean-based abuser, Fr. John O’Reilly,
The Legion is trying to control the damage with
communiques recommending victims trust the Legion to take action and provide
ReGAIN finds very ambiguous how the bishop ordaining the seminarians is Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, a Vatican Department that not long ago investigated the Legion of Christ because of sexual abuse and sect-like practices. Certainly a coup for Legion of Christ public image and propaganda machine, thanks to the complicity of Archbishop Carballo, OFM. What blundering naivete!
ReGAIN has recommended the alleged victim approach
the appropriate Church authorities as outlined in Pope Francisco’s motu propio, May 7, 2019.
ReGAIN is discovering how the Legion is revealing these cases (mandated by the Vatican or local bishops?) piecemeal, some in English, some in Spanish. So it is hard to see the extent of the abuse.
2- The Fr. John O’Reilly, LC, case in Chile is now common knowledge. Irish-born, Fr. O’Reilly joined the Legion in the late 1960s and found his way into the privileged position of being one of Fr. (The Saint) Maciel’s favorite waiters at the mother-house in Rome… Because of his good manners, smiling disposition and assimilation of the Legion system he ended up in Chile, promoting the Legion and Regnum Christi among the political (Pinochet & Co.), business and conservative church upper classes. Together with Fr. Raymond Cosgrave he was the main LC/RC mover and shaker in Chile. During the last decades he was also chaplain at one of the Legion’s elementary school. His demise began with accusations he had sexually abused two little sisters who were students. The parents’ civil case went on and on in Chilean courts until he was convicted and sentenced to four years supervised house arrest. Fr JOR lost his Chilean citizenship and was expelled from the country. The case was later referred to the Vatican where the conviction was upheld and the Vatican imposed its own sanctions. . He is now residing at the LC mother house in Rome.
In and effort to clean up its image, The Legion has been emitting communiques about Fr. JOR for the past year or more. The most recent . communique was found by ReGAIN in Spanish
With further research an English version might be found
3- A more recent conviction we posted was the case of Vladimir Reséndiz who abused two boys at the Legion’s minor seminary in Gozzano, Northern Italy.
4- Very recently the Legion’s Spanish language Press Office released a long statement regarding Fr. José Luis Díaz Atilano, a drawn-out case of this Mexican priest in Chile which was tried in civil and ecclesiastical court. The Legion wants to show it is doing the right thing…
One may wonder why these convictions occur so long after the offense was reported. This happens for a variety of reasons:
the victims are young, innocent, vulnerable and don’t know how to defend themselves or speak up
they may be very ashamed, thinking they are the guilty party (this is part of the art of pedophilia)
it may take a long time for people to believe them after they do summon up the courage. They may be dissuaded from talking, for a variety of reasons.
The Legion may try to bribe them (see Gozzano case) to keep silence.
Cases can be difficult to prove because of time elapsed (statute of limitations)
Cases may cost the victim/family money they don’s have.
Courts are exceedingly slow.
Separation of Church and State in some countries make judges leery of getting involved against Catholic Church or Catholic institutions and religious orders.
Church courts and tribunals are usually slower than civil courts….
Legion may try to defend the accused member and have the financial resources to protract the case for months or years, “interrogatories” etc., until the e victim runs out of money… Many cases never reach trial….
In another recent move the Legion has stressed its “safe environment” guidelines; however, a careful scrutiny reveals that the Legion still prefers to handle its cases in-house, i.e. that victims contact the Legion outreach staff. Besides, their American guidelines may not be applicable to other countries. In the USA the Legion vaunts its participation in the safe environments system Presidium, but this may be limited to the USA or English-speaking world.
WITH THE LEGION AND REGNUM CHRISTI, YOUTH AND PARENTS NEED TO READ THE SMALL PRINT BEFORE COMMITTING. Remember, they were founded by a conman!
The prosecution represented by Dr. Silvia Baglivo had asked for 11 years, later reduced to 7 in the summary procedure.
complex case, left from Milan, with a further charge, that of
extortion, then separate the two charges, the second (pedophilia) was
transferred to competence at the Prosecutor of Novara.
the three victims, defense lawyer Daniela Cultrera, the judge has
established a provisional award of € 80,000, in addition to being
welcomed to a civil association Network ABUSE instead represented by
El fundador de la Legion de Cristo, un empresario y embaucador. De ahi el carisma de la Legion es el ENGANYO. Maciel, guru, crea una secta intra eclesial que existe gracias a la negligencia del Vaticano.
The Legion of Christ owes its existence to a predatory pedophile priest and conman, who survived waves of Vatican investigations through guile and DECEIT. If you fail to see through the Glittering Appearances of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement, you are being deceived today
Wikipedia: Sexual Scandal of Marcial Maciel:
Formal denunciation by the Vatican
On 1 May 2010, the Vatican named a delegate and appointed a commission to review the Legionaries of Christ. In a statement, the Vatican denounced Marcial Maciel for creating a “system of power” that enabled him to lead an “immoral” double life “devoid of scruples and authentic religious sentiment” and allowed him to abuse young boys for decades unchecked.
The “very serious and objectively immoral acts” of Marcial Maciel, which were “confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies,” represent “true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment,” the Vatican said. The Vatican said the Legion created a “mechanism of defense” around Maciel to shield him from accusations and suppress damaging witnesses from reporting abuse. “It made him untouchable,” the Vatican said. The statement decried “the lamentable disgracing and expulsion of those who doubted” Maciel’s virtue. The Vatican statement did not address whether the Legion’s current leadership will face any sanctions. Actions taken by the current Legion leadership will be scrutinized; but no specific sanctions were mentioned. The Vatican acknowledged the “hardships” faced by Maciel’s accusers through the years when they were ostracized or ridiculed, and commended their “courage and perseverance to demand the truth.”
Victim of Spiritual Abuse Silenced by Spiritual Authorities
INTERNATIONAL CULTIC STUDIES HELD A CONFERENCE ON THE SUBJECT OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE RECENTLY.
“In partnership with Meadow Haven, ICSA conducted a Recovery From Spiritual Abuse conference in Hartford, CT on October 26–27, 2018. Agenda. ICSA-member speakers included Carrie Buddington, Ron Burks, David Clark, Ray Connolly, Neil Damgaard, Wendy and Doug Duncan, Esther Friedman, Ken Garrett, Bill and Lorna Goldberg, Maureen Griffo, Joseph Kelly, Heidi and Pat Knapp, Mike Kropveld, Michael Langone, Sally and Dennis Meyer, Judy and Bob Pardon, Diana Pletts, Patrick Ryan, Lois Svoboda, and Eric Sweitzer.”
I was a victim of spiritual abuse for eleven years.
Janssens in her recently published book, Dans
Le Silence de la Vierge (In the Virgin’s Silence) (Bayard, 2017), a testimony of her long
process of mental bondage and spiritual abuse experienced in the community of
the Contemplative Sisters of St. John.
“I spent eleven years in a sect.” Entering the order at age 23 at Saint-Jean (Loire, France,) she spent eleven years inside. Today at 42, married and a mother, she claims to have been a “victim of a crime which neither civil law nor the Catholic church law recognizes: spiritual abuse”. Hers is not an isolated case. The aberrations of the Saint John Community are well known. Their founder, Fr. Marie-Dominique Phillipe, deceased in 2006, was accused before the Vatican of “deviations in his affective and sexual life.” Several Brothers of St. Jean, called the Little Grays on account of their religious garb, have been sentenced for sexual abuse …
Aujourd’hui, à 42 ans, mariée et mère de famille, elle estime avoir été « victime
d’un crime que ni le droit pénal ni le droit de l’Église catholique ne reconnaissent
: l’abus spirituel ». Le cas de Marie-Laure est loin d’être isolé. Les dérives
de la communauté Saint-Jean sont aujourd’hui connues. Son fondateur, le père
Marie-Dominique Philippe, mort en 2006, a été accusé jusqu’au Vatican de «
déviances dans sa vie affective et sexuelle ». Plusieurs frères de Saint-Jean –
surnommés les «petits gris» – ont été condamnés pénalement pour abus sexuels.)
Marie-Laure Janssens was not raped. But like many others, she suffered terrible mental and spiritual bondage.. In 2009, following a long investigation by the Diocese of Lyon (France) to which they belonged, the four main leaders of the contemplative sisters were stripped of their authority. Sect-watch associations have pointed out the incidence of suicide and sectarian aberrations among nuns. In Dans Le Silence de la Vierge (Bayard, 2017), Janssens gives an honest and intimate interview to reporter Mikael Corre regarding her ordeal of mental hell and spiritual abuse.
Janssens n’a pas été violée. Mais comme beaucoup d’autres, elle a subi une
terrible emprise mentale et spirituelle. En 2009, suite à une longue enquête du
diocèse de Lyon dont elles dépendaient, les quatre principales responsables des
sœurs contemplatives ont été destituées. Suicides de sœurs et dérives sectaires
sont pourtant signalées dès 1996 par diverses associations de vigilance face
aux sectes. Dans Le Silence de la Vierge (Bayard, 2017), elle livre au
journaliste Mikael Corre un témoignage fort et intime sur l’enfer de l’emprise
mentale et de l’abus spirituel.)
The interview continues in its original French:
avez quitté la communauté des sœurs contemplatives de Saint-Jean en 2009. Pourquoi
avez-vous décidé d’écrire ce livre huit ans plus tard?
Why did you decide to write this book eight years after leaving?
l’aboutissement d’un long cheminement. Quand je suis sortie de la communauté,
mon réflexe naturel a été de me tourner vers l’Église. J’ai remis des rapports,
en 2010 et en 2012, aux évêques qui avaient repris en charge le gouvernement de
la communauté. L’Église a pris des sanctions : dans un premier temps, plusieurs
tentatives de refondation du groupe sectaire ont été arrêtées. Cependant,
beaucoup de gens rattachés spirituellement à la communauté, même les oblats
[laïcs rattachés spirituellement à la « Famille Saint-Jean », ndlr]
comprenaient rien à la situation et avaient l’impression d’une grande
injustice, car l’Église n’avait pas nommé clairement les dysfonctionnements.
Une lettre ouverte d’un oblat m’est parvenue. En 2013, je me suis donc tournée
vers l’évêque, Mgr Brincard (aujourd’hui décédé), alors délégué du pape pour la
communauté de Saint-Jean, afin de lui demander la permission de raconter mon
histoire. Je voulais donner des clés de compréhension à cet homme. Mais Mgr
Brincard m’a demandé de garder le silence, ce que je n’ai pas compris.
Whence the book’s title, The Silence of the Virgin. Because Monsignor Brincard invoked the Silence of the Virgin Mary when he told you not to speak out.
le titre de votre ouvrage : Le Silence de la Vierge. C’est en effet en
invoquant le « silence de la Vierge Marie » que Mgr Brincard vous a demandé de
: il existe toute une spiritualité autour du silence de la Vierge Marie. Avec
le recul, je me dis que l’Église a prolongé l’abus spirituel dont j’ai été
victime : c’était encore un argument spirituel qui visait, dans le fond, à
empêcher de faire la lumière sur ce qui n’allait pas. En outre, j’ai réalisé
que ces rapports internes remis à l’Église n’avaient servi à rien : en juillet
2014, le groupe sectaire auquel j’avais appartenu et qui avait fait plusieurs
tentatives de refondation a réussi. Un évêque en Espagne a accepté de le
réintégrer, avec les mêmes sœurs, et de lui redonner une existence officielle
avec l’aval de Rome. Elles se sont reformées avec un autre nom : Maria Stella
Matutina. Un certain nombre de sœurs sont donc restées dans le piège. En outre,
le fait que son existence soit officielle permet à ce groupe de continuer à
recruter. Quelques garde-fous ont été dressés : on a demandé aux sœurs
dissidentes de ne pas se référer explicitement au père Philippe, et exclu
certaines religieuses. Mais cela montre une grande naïveté de la part de Rome :
ces exclusions canoniques n’empêchent probablement pas les anciennes
supérieures de maintenir leur influence, et les sœurs continuent à vénérer le
père Philippe, leur formateur exclusif.
départ, qu’est-ce qui vous a attirée dans la communauté des sœurs
contemplatives de Saint-Jean ?
At the beginning what was it that
attracted you to the Contemplative Sisters of St. John?
peu à l’instar des autres communautés fondées à la suite du Concile Vatican II,
il y avait un effet « vitrine » : elle attirait par sa jeunesse. Quand on est
jeune, en discernement de vocation, avec un désir absolu de donner sa vie à
Dieu, quand on a le choix entre les sœurs vieillissantes du Carmel et une jeune
communauté qui recrute par dizaines, c’est séduisant. Et puis, comme beaucoup,
j’ai été piégée par l’intelligence du père Philippe.
vous a fallu onze années pour réaliser que vous étiez victime «d’emprise
mentale». Qu’est-ce qui vous a empêchée, pendant toutes ces années, de prendre
conscience de ce phénomène ?
It took you eleven years to realize
that you were a victim of spiritual abuse. What prevented you from becoming
aware of this during those long years?
It’s a kind of mental manipulation
based on spiritual abuse: they use this
spiritual desire, this thirst for the absolute, to travel the path of holiness
to instrumentalize it and take control of the person. One is enclosed in a
spiritual bubble. Spiritual language is used to control every aspect of one’s
life, from the unimportant to the deepest recesses of the soul, using catch phrases
such as “The Will of God”, “holiness”, “charity”,…
une manipulation mentale qui s’appuie sur l’abus spirituel : on va chercher
dans la personne ce désir spirituel, cette soif d’absolu, de vivre un chemin de
sainteté, et l’instrumentaliser pour prendre le contrôle sur elle. On est
enfermé dans une « bulle spirituelle ». Un langage spirituel contrôle chaque
aspect de la vie, du plus anodin au plus profond : la« volonté de Dieu », la «
sainteté », la « charité », c’est de faire ceci, ou « cela, c’est contraire à
la pureté du cœur », « cela, c’est contraire à l’obéissance », etc. En outre,
il existe tout un vocabulaire de culpabilisation. On a du mal à en sortir, car
dès que quelque chose ne va pas, on se dit : « c’est ma faute », « c’est moi
qui suis trop sensible », « c’est moi qui n’ai pas compris » , etc. On est
coupé de soi-même », : on perd le droit de penser par soi-même, de
questionner les choses car c’est « faire le jeu du démon qui cherche à me
perdre et à diviser la communauté ».
cela reposait sur une idée-phare qu’on vous inculquait : ne pas être « dans son
vécu ». Vous appreniez, écrivez-vous, à « enfouir tout ressenti personnel et à
écouter le réel ». Quel effet cette formation au « réalisme » a-t-elle eu sur
All that was based on a basic principle
that was drummed into you (by Father Philippe); not to trust your own experience”,
“bury your own feelings and listen to reality”. What effect this this training
in “realism” have on you?
l’aspect extrêmement pervers de l’enseignement du père Philippe, tel que je
l’ai reçu chez les sœurs. Il se servait de cette philosophie dite « réaliste »,
à l’école du philosophe Aristote, pour nous dire que la vérité était ce qui
existait en dehors de nous. C’était un anti-Descartes (« Je pense donc je suis
») : ce qui compte n’est pas ce que je pense, mais ce qui est en dehors de moi.
C’était décliné dans chaque aspect de notre vie quotidienne. Par exemple, si à
un moment donné, je me sens mal, ce n’est pas grave : ce qui compte est l’enseignement
que je reçois, ce que ma supérieure me dit. Tout était un dénigrement de notre
intériorité. On perd la capacité à écouter sa conscience, on perd confiance en
ce qu’on ressent ! On est coupé de soi-même. C’est une perte d’identité.
Cette emprise mentale est aussi physique :
cela passait beaucoup par le corps et la santé, expliquez-vous.
This mental bondage was also physical,
you explain how it traveled into the
body and affected your health.
santé est l’un des domaines où il y a eu beaucoup d’abus. On ne pouvait voir
que les médecins faisant partie du réseau de la communauté. Il était hors de
question qu’une sœur aille par elle-même consulter qui elle voulait. Dans cette
sorte de bulle, tout était pris en charge, sans aucun recul critique. Cette
emprise sur le corps fait qu’on était dépossédée de soi-même. Beaucoup de sœurs
ont été médicamentées n’importe comment. J’ai eu la charge de l’infirmerie
pendant un certain temps et demandé à suivre des formations à la Croix rouge,
mais cela m’a été refusé au motif qu’il fallait être « pauvre ». J’ai pourtant
donné des médicaments et fait renouveler des ordonnances.
outre, les souffrances physiques et psychiques étaient totalement niées…
And on the other hand, your physical
and psyche sufferings were totally denied.
Once, when a sister threw herself out a window… the
superiors explained “She wanted to go to Heaven…”
une sœur s’est jetée du haut de sa fenêtre, les responsables de la communauté
n’ont pas pris en compte la réalité de cette souffrance et l’horreur de cette
mort. Notre fondatrice et le prieur général des frères nous ont annoncé la
nouvelle en disant : « Son désir était d’aller au Ciel, suicide ou pas, on ne
sait pas, mais peu importe, de toute façon, elle est heureuse. » Puis, on a
demandé aux sœurs : « Qui veut être la prochaine à aller au Ciel ? », et tout
le monde a levé la main ! On était déconnectées de la réalité et de la
souffrance vécue corporellement, psychiquement. Je pense qu’il y avait
énormément de souffrances psychiques. Depuis que j’ai écrit le livre, plusieurs
anciennes sœurs me contactent et me racontent leurs souffrances.
n’aviez pas le droit de parler aux autres sœurs de votre ressenti. En revanche,
tout passait par une seule personne : votre supérieure, sœur Marthe.
You did not have the right to talk to
the other sisters about your feelings. And to top it all, everything had to go
through your superior, Sr. Martha.
véritable dépendance affective malsaine s’est créée… On touche bien cette
réalité de l’abus spirituel : une personne, parce qu’elle est en position
d’autorité spirituelle, fait intrusion dans votre vie et finit par en détenir
toutes les clés, et elle seule. Il n’y avait aucun moyen d’équilibrer ce
pouvoir absolu qu’elle avait sur moi et d’autres sœurs. Nous étions entrées
dans la vie religieuse pour vivre une communion profonde avec Dieu, et
finalement, nous avions une unité absolue avec elle, qui nous coupait de tout. Elle
m’a coupée de mon père spirituel, de la possibilité de parler avec d’autres
prêtres qui venaient pour les confessions. Quand un prêtre médecin a commencé à
déceler mes souffrances psychologiques, elle m’a expliqué que je n’avais pas la
permission de lui en parler… J’étais si cadenassée que je ne pouvais
m’exprimer avec ma famille en toute liberté. Avec les sœurs, on avait beau
vivre toute la journée les unes avec les autres, rien de personnel ne pouvait
être partagé sous peine de se faire taper sur les doigts. Or, dans un milieu
clos, comme un monastère, chaque détail est vécu avec une grande intensité. Il
y avait donc un besoin naturel d’amitié, de pouvoir se confier à quelqu’un.
D’un côté on crée un besoin, puis de l’autre on le satisfait : c’est le propre
d’une réalité sectaire. Ici, la pauvreté relationnelle qui nous était imposée
nourrissait notre dépendance affective à l’égard de sœur Marthe.
autre manière de vous soustraire du monde était la coupure de l’actualité. Vous
écrivez avoir « manqué onze ans de l’histoire du monde »
Another way of separating you from
the world was to shut out any news. You wrote: I lost eleven years of human history.
reprendre cette image de bulle, une paroi était dressée, un filtre aussi bien
des choses vécues en interne qui ne pouvaient pas sortir à l’extérieur, que des
choses vécues dehors ne pouvant entrer à l’intérieur. Quand il y a eu toutes
les attaques de la presse contre la communauté : nous n’avons pas eu accès aux
articles. En revanche, on nous a dit ce qu’il fallait en penser et comment
réagir, voire embarquer nos familles dans une sorte de « contre-attaque » en
leur demandant d’écrire des témoignages de confiance à destination de notre
évêque. Mais il y a eu aussi des choses internes à la communauté : j’ai vu des
frères débarquer et passer une « année sabbatique ». On nous disait que tel
frère était« très fatigué par ses activités apostoliques », qu’il venait « se
reposer ». J’ai su des années après, en lisant les articles, que ce frère avait
été mis en cause dans des affaires sexuelles. Puis, il y avait la coupure par
rapport aux actualités. Je raconte quel traumatisme ce fut pour moi de prendre,
quinze ans après, la mesure de ce qui s’était passé le du 11 septembre 2001, de
réaliser à quel point j’avais été, à l’époque, dans une bulle spirituelle et
qui vous a permis, finalement, de prendre conscience de ces abus et de vous
décider à quitter la communauté ?
What allowed you to finally become
aware of these abuse and to leave the community?
The great crisis that hit the
community when Cardinal Barbarin decided to press sanctions….
grande crise qui a éclaté lorsque le cardinal Barbarin a décidé de prendre des
sanctions a joué son rôle. Mais elle est arrivée à un moment où j’étais déjà «
préparée » à prendre un autre chemin. Je commençais à avoir des petites
étincelles dans ma vie, des choses plus authentiques. D’abord au niveau
spirituel, en intégrant un petit groupe de gens, au Québec où j’avais été
envoyée, qui priaient très librement. Je réalisais que des personnes, autour de
nous, pouvaient être de grands priants, tout en ayant une vie de famille, une vie
professionnelle, et tout en se soutenant les uns les autres. Cela faisait un
énorme contraste avec l’aridité de foi que j’éprouvais de plus en plus, et la
solitude dans laquelle nous vivions. Ensuite, j’ai eu des liens d’amitié,
notamment celui avec mon futur mari.
avez-vous encore la foi ? Et avez-vous toujours foi en l’Église catholique ?
Today, do you still believe? And do you still believe in the Catholic Church?
(Summarizing): I have more faith than ever….and I returned to
my practice. But I delved into the Bible…i found some Catholic teachings
unacceptable. I became an Evanglical…I don’t belong to a Church; I belong to
la foi, plus que jamais. Et j’ai quitté l’Église catholique, mais pas à cause
de mon expérience à Saint-Jean. En sortant de la communauté, je suis restée
profondément catholique, je me suis mariée à l’église, je suis restée engagée
dans une paroisse catholique. Mais ensuite, mon cheminement spirituel m’a
conduite à me plonger dans une étude de la Bible. J’ai constaté un décalage avec
un certain nombre d’enseignements de l’Église catholique. Alors j’ai fait un
choix : aujourd’hui, je fréquente une église évangélique. Mais je n’appartiens
plus à une Église, j’appartiens au Christ.
mesures pourrait prendre l’Église catholique pour prévenir davantage ces abus
spirituels et dérives sectaires ?
What measures could the Catholic
Church take to prevent these spiritual abuses and sectarian aberrations?
In Canon Law it states very clearly there should be separation between the internal and external forum
(between obedience, spiritual direction and conscience,
etc. In a religious community, the superior, the spiritual director cannot be
the same person….).
le droit canon, il est clairement dit qu’on distingue le for intérieur et le
for extérieur. Donc, au sein d’une communauté religieuse, la direction
spirituelle et le gouvernement politique doivent être exercés par des personnes
différentes. L’institution a laissé se développer des situations où des
personnalités très charismatiques se retrouvaient avec tous les pouvoirs entre
les mains. Dans mon cas, cette fameuse sœur Marthe avait un rôle tentaculaire. Elle
était à la fois maîtresse des novices, mère spirituelle de presque toutes les
sœurs, enseignante, maîtresse des études, assistante de la prieure générale,
référente d’un certain nombre de prieurés, etc. Des mesures assez simples pourraient
être mises en place au moment du recrutement. Nous, on a eu aucun discernement.
J’ai eu ma propre responsabilité. Mais l’Église aurait pu dire que « toute
personne qui souhaite entrer dans une communauté doit prendre l’avis de
plusieurs personnes, y compris de celles extérieures à la communauté, et
pouvoir se confesser en dehors de la communauté, être suivie spirituellement
par un accompagnateur extérieur ».
reçoit en audience des communautés religieuses, le pape François évoque souvent
l’importance de ce discernement.
When Pope Francis receives religious
communities in audience, he always insists on need for discernment.
It is better to lack vocations than
to make the numbers and recruit weak people…..
vaut mieux manquer de vocations, dit-il, plutôt que de vouloir « faire du
chiffre », et recruter des personnes trop fragiles. Je salue ses propos. Le
problème de l’Église, c’est de vouloir protéger son image par rapport à ce qui
pourrait la salir et de prioriser ses intérêts institutionnels. C’est pour cela
qu’en général, on fait taire les victimes. Face à toutes les communautés
vieillissantes et au manque de prêtres diocésains, c’est une aubaine pour
l’Église d’avoir des jeunes prêtres qui reprennent en charge une paroisse. L’Église
doit choisir entre son intérêt propre et la vérité sur la souffrance des
victimes. On dit qu’il faut se taire par miséricorde pour les personnes. Mais
c’est faire fi des souffrances vécues par les victimes ! Il faut pardonner aux
coupables, mais les victimes devraient offrir en silence leurs souffrances ?
L’Église doit choisir la vérité et le véritable sens de la miséricorde.
communauté Saint-Jean a-t-elle été capable de faire ce travail de vérité ?
Will the Community of St John be able
to make the journey toward truth?
Il y a sûrement encore beaucoup de travail à faire. La
plupart des frères sont sortis du déni dans lequel ils étaient par rapport à
leur fondateur – un travail similaire doit d’ailleurs être fait par rapport à
sœur Alix, fondatrice des sœurs, dont Rome a reconnu aussi les défaillances
graves en matière de chasteté. Mais le problème ne venait pas que du fondateur.
Il y avait aussi beaucoup de frères qu’il a fragilisés ou pervertis. Un système
pervers s’est créé. Il ne s’agit pas seulement de quelques cas assez médiatisés
de pédophilie, mais d’une énorme réalité d’abus internes à la communauté, et
cela, on ne l’a pas encore assez dit et reconnu : des abus spirituels et
sexuels de frères en responsabilité par rapport à d’autres frères, des frères
qui sous la forme d’accompagnement spirituel ont abusé de sœurs, et des frères
prêtres ayant abusé de jeunes proches de la communauté.
Legion of Christ continues to reinvent itself and search for its charisma
“The Legion is reorganizing and registering itself under a different entity — probably in anticipation of the Vatican’s giving the present organization a negative response. A federation can be as easy a way to hide the money as any. I pray that there is no recognition of the LC/RC as a federation (as requested 5 Dec 2018) – it will only provide ecclesial cover for the evil that continues to vitiate the Church’s mission and message – they will turn everything to money.”
LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST CONTINUE TO ADMIRE PEDOPHILE FOUNDER!
13 Years after Maciel Crimes Revealed, Legionaries of Christ Still Celebrating His Legacy
January 3, 2019
In a report from Rome yesterday, National Catholic Register correspondent Edward Pentin revealed that the Vatican knew about abuse allegations against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel, since at least 1943. The order was founded in 1941. This means that from the very beginning, Maciel was engaged in the sort of horrifying depredation that made him one of the most vicious sexual predators ever to infect the Catholic priesthood. He not only abused seminarians for decades, but fathered children with various women – and then raped those children, too.
And now today – the same day that Catholics
around the world are reading Pentin’s report – the Legionaries are celebrating
the commemoration of their founding by “13 boys and a young seminarian.”
MADRID (ChurchMilitant.com) – A high-ranking cardinal says the Vatican had information on notorious abuser Fr. Marcial Maciel as early as 1943.
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz is head of the Vatican’s Congregation for
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In a
speech last month widelyreportedin Spanish media, he said that the Vatican had known about Maciel for decades and did nothing.
Cardinal Braz de Aviz was speaking in Madrid, Spain, addressing the 25th general assembly of the Spanish Confederation of Religious
Maciel, a Mexican priest who founded the religious institute the
Legionaries of Christ, was first investigated by Vatican officials for
allegations of drug abuse from 1956 to 1959. Despite
numerous investigations into his behavior over the course of decades,
it was not until 2005 that the Vatican determined child sex abuse
allegations were credible and cracked down on Fr. Maciel. Church
officials removed Maciel from his leadership of the Legionaries. Then in
2006, Maciel was commanded to retire to a life of prayer and penance.
He died in 2008.
Father Maciel has been accused of molesting seminarians, fathering
children with secret “wives” and even sexually abusing his own
Some are speculating that Cdl. Braz de Aviz might have brought up the
case of Fr. Maciel to deflect blame for the current clerical sex abuse
cover-up scandals tarnishing Pope Francis’ pontificate. The current
pontiff has faced intense criticism since Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò testified in August
that Pope Francis lifted disciplines that had previously been imposed
on accused homosexual predator ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The cardinal claims his congregation has “nothing to do” with
cover-ups like the one that kept Maciel in ministry for decades. He said
the congregation now follows “a very good process” for responding to
He emphasized that it is important for Church leaders to “be
immediate in the face of abuse,” adding, “What comes to us immediately
has to be heard.”
Speaking about the clergy abuse crisis in general, Cdl. Braz de Aviz said, “I have the impression that allegations of abuse will grow, because we are only at the beginning. We’ve been concealing for 70 years, and this has been a tremendous error.”
El Vaticano conocía la pederastia de Maciel desde 1943
por Carlos Esteban | 02 enero, 2019
Santa Sede conocía la pederastia del fundador de los Legionarios de
Cristo y la ignoró durante 63 años, ha reconocido el prefecto de la
Congregación para los Institutos de Vida Consagrada, el cardenal João
Braz de Aviz.
“Quien lo tapó era una mafia, ellos no eran
Iglesia”, ha asegurado Braz de Aviz en una entrevista concedida a Vida
Nueva el mes pasado, cuando estuvo en Madrid hace un mes para clausurar
la asamblea general de la Confederación Española de Religiosos (CONFER).
“Tengo la impresión de que las denuncias de abusos crecerán, porque
solo estamos en el inicio. Llevamos 70 años encubriendo, y esto ha sido
un tremendo error”, dice Braz de Aviz.
La información ha saltado a
las páginas de la prensa secular y la da hoy el diario español de
referencia, El País, que ya en 2006 informó de la investigación a que
había sido objeto Maciel entre octubre de 1956 y febrero de 1959 por
encargo del cardenal Alfredo Ottaviani.
El peor caso de abusos en todos los sentidos, desde pedofilia a drogadicción, pasando por suplantación personalidad, poligamia e incesto, fue posible a lo largo de décadas y con la protección de la Curia pese a las constantes denuncias que llegaban a Roma, algo que podría haberse atajado, quedando en un desagradable incidente menor, antes de mediados del siglo pasado.
Catholic (Convert) Parents Beware of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi recruiting your young sons!
the Legion of Christ received so much
bad publicity from the Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, scandal and the subsequent investigation/supervision
of the order by the Vatican, 2000-2018, the Legion has morphed into Regnum Christi (or other front names).
This warning is
for all Catholics, especially Orthodox and Traditional Catholics, home-schooling
parents and even more for converts to the Catholic Faith. By this we mean very
devout and generous Catholics who want to protect their children from the
ravages of Modernism, hedonism and materialism. These Catholics who seek the very
best in Catholic tradition, systematically eschew liberal orders and movements,
and seek groups which are very devout, faithful to the Pope and Catholic Doctrine,
solid devotions (Rosary, Stations of the Cross, etc.) and strict moral guidance
(forbidding pre-marital sex, artificial birth control, etc..) The Legion/Regnum
will offer them this.
They are often approached
by the Opus Dei, the Legion of Christ and its Regnum Christi lay movement.
Because these organizations, New Religious Movements, are loyal to the pope and
preach the Catholic Catechism, well-meaning Catholic parents are easily duped.
members of ReGAIN, 1990-2000 were from the Catholic and Convert group described
above. They had been duped by the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi: we had a
intensely dedicated (2GF) married woman, a mother of a Legion seminarian, and a
wonderful convert couple of Catholic Educators who had given their everything
to staff a Legion school in the Atlanta area…
So that the
reader does not dismiss ReGAIN’s caveat
emptor as some kind of personal vendetta, we are including a message
received today from a totally different source.
Quote: When I first heard about
I was sent a
copy of an article in a CA newspaper by a home schooling Catholic couple. C Hernández
was dying in the hospital and asked a nurse to write down his testimony. He
explained how he left the Legion of Christ and how Maciel abused him repeatedly
as a child when he was recruited into his Order as a child along with other
young boys erroneously called seminarians.
The couple who
sent me the article were concerned that another couple with two little boys who
were also Catholic converts were being continually being treated to visitations
by two handsome Legion priests.
As converts they
felt special when they were told their little boys had vocations to the
priesthood and were becoming convinced to send their children off to the Legion
boarding school, Apostolic School, in NH.
young converts were being brainwashed , the couple who had contacted me asked their pastor to intervene and speak
with these parents.
Mr. Bell called
me from San Diego . Having been educated at Wharton Business School
Philadelphia and having looked into the Legion’s Oxford school in Mexico,
he was shocked to see the Legion employed the same professor he once had at
Wharton. “Why would a “Catholic” institution of higher learning
hire a man whose main topic in all of his classes goes back to EST training. Previously
I thought EST was Scientology .
speaking to their pastor the Bell’s received a letter in the mail from a Col.
Laughton or Naughton , I cannot recall exactly.
It contained the
copy of an offer to sue them on behalf of the Legion’s good name and was
addressed to Monsignor Bannon LC. Bannon’s reply was also included in which he
stated that the couple’s motivation may have been just misguided concern for
the children. and to hold off but keep them posted.
Mr. Bell was
taken aback when he called me and realized he had just been the recipient of a
threat. Later they decided to relocate on the East coast.
Then I began to
read some articles by Gerald Renner in the “Hartford Courant.”
Mr. Renner was interviewing several seminarians who had escaped after being held in the Legion’s Westchester NY mansion. After they had expressed the fact that they wanted to leave the Legion seminary they were sent there and were held against their will. It was the same mansion previously owned by Sun Myung Moon wherein college students ,whose parents had hired de-programmers, were also held . I saw the film footage of a Documentary on TV recorded by several of the parents of Moonies trying to gain access at the guard house in an attempt to talk to their children.
Brainwashing appeared to be habitual in these
quasi-religious groups and apparently the Legion was applying the same
Pasaje largo en castellano de la carte original de las víctimas más abajo.
Article below by ReGAIN staff:
Pope Francis, Cardinal Braz de Aviz,
Compel Legion of Christ leaders to
Have Mercy on Fr. Maciel’s Victims who continue to be
victimized by the institution’s Devious Methods!
ReGAIN has previously alluded to the ongoing saga of Pedophile Founder of the Legion of Christ’s “historical victims” who have never received proper compensation for their sexual, psychological and spiritual abuse.
The leadership of this Vatican approved religious congregation has demonstrated time and time again their lack of human and Christian response to the plight of the victims.
Remember that Pope Benedict XVI described the Founder, Fr, Maciel, as a man “lacking moral scruples.” I fear the present Legion leadership suffers from the same spiritual malaise. Fr. Maciel, the conman, was full of tricks. One of these was to predate his letters. For example, he would delay answering a letter or demand -filed, say, in September- and answer at his convenience – (when it might be too late!) in November-, but dating his response in October! Present Legion leadership is using the same trickery in responding to the victims’ demands. Normal people are easily duped by psychopaths!
Another Legion trick is to divide the victim group by reaching out in devious ways to individuals. The victims had formally demanded they be approached as a group. Instead of honestly and nobly to the victims’ legitimate demands, Legion leadership has used a series of subterfuges more befitting a MAFIA and cult-like organization than a bona fide Catholic Religious Congregation.
What kind of Christianity is this?
What kind of Vatican oversight is this?
What kind of a so-called religious order is this?
The time for excuses, platitudes and promises is long past.
Legion Leadership, stop acting like a Mafia and Intra-Eclesial Sect.
Compensate victims immediately or accept your sins of negligence before God and man..
In our previous article we have explained how the Legion of Christ leadership has continued to stone-wall and play games with the victims who have been requesting clear acknowledgement of abuses, restoration of their reputation and just compensation for damages.
Their heretofore fruitless efforts have been going on for over 20 years!
As the Legion hosts its latest Chapter General in Rome seeking their illusive charism and miracle renewal through restructuring and producing reams of obsessive-compulsive documents, victims have attempted once more to make the Legion respond. In their latest effort -and here one must commend them for their patience with the Legion and hope in Holy Mother Church! – they reformulate previous unanswered demands:
Summary by ReGAIN staff
That the Legion of Christ as an institution formally and unambiguously reinstate the good name of their Founder’s sexual abuse victims who were once branded “enemies of the Church and of the Legion.”
That the Legion as an institution extend such an apology to all the media that once were instrumental in the detraction and calumnies spread about the victims, other former Legionaries, family and friends. This apology should be communicated unequivocally to all Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi members.
There can be no real reconciliation with the “historical victims” until the Legion of Christ makes a just, appropriate and complete compensation to the victims.
In order to bring this about, a team of three Legion delegates with full authority should interface with a team of three delegates chosen by Fr. Maciel’s ‘historical victims’ to effect a true meeting and dialogue between the parties.
The victims group demands the right (because of advanced age) to transmit or transfer to others the benefits derived from the settlement.
The victims will not accept any “silencing” by Legion authorities as a condition for compensation. This has been a consistent part of the Legion’s de facto historical Modus Operandi with diverse victims and their families.
Translation of an article by Pascal Hubert, La verité vous rendra libres, Golias, Magazine, #174, Mai-juin 2017, pp. 2-13 ; (a commentary on the book De l’emprise à la Liberté. Dérives sectraire au sein de l’Église. Témoignages et réflexions, Éditions Mois, 2017)
“The Truth will set you free”, according to Jesus’ famous words, in the Gospel of John. The problem arises from the fact that inside certain (Catholic) religious communities or movements, freedom is restricted and even perverted to the point where serious deep sect-like aberrations are present (as we will demonstrate in the following dossier). This fact is often hidden and minimized by the Church and its institutions. The victims’ word is seldom understood, often disparaged, which leads to increasing their pain. It was therefore important to confront this denial, to write a book like De l’emprise à la Liberté, which gives voice to those who have been victims of these sect-like aberrations. It is equally important that these testimonies be analyzed and interpreted by a diversity of experts: a theologian, a philosopher, a psychologist, a lawyer, new evangelization experts, and a canon lawyer. This way, the existence of these sect-like aberrations can be recognized, leading to a global and precise vision of this devious phenomenon. Among others, three Catholic movements are described in the book: Focolare, Opus Dei and Legionaries of Christ. At the heart of these movements, the most troubling point is that they spring from a dogmatic theology based on devotion to pain (Fr., ledolorisme) and blind obedience. Let us say it straight off: these are among the most conservative movements inside the Church; each one proudly proclaims it, unwilling to accept modern changes as something positive.
Thus, once we have applied the litmus test of freedom, it becomes perfectly normal to discover that certain ecclesial movements lack proper freedom. A costly freedom for former members who will often have to struggle for years to escape their mental bondage and recover freedom. The witnesses also wanted to describe this for us. Let us heed the words of Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor:
Man’s most pressing need is to find a being on high to whom he can delegate the gift of his freedom…Men rejoice being lead once again like a flock of sheep.
From Bondage to Freedom: A Textbook Case
Let us say it clearly: sect-like groups in the heart of the Church are a scandal. Remember that they portray themselves as prophetic and often rail against society’s morals.
It is necessary to point out how the Church, and certain movements inside it, find it hard to ever question themselves. They are used to observing the law of silence – to save their reputation- instead of protecting the victims from their devious maneuvers; a sad and painful reality, clearly proven by the world-wide pedophile scandal. Very often it is the victims themselves, with the help of the media and support associations, who have to denounce the crimes committed. And so, as recently as March, 2017, the Cash Investigation team and journalists attached to Mediapart, through their articles and the book, Église, la méchanique du silencehave decried the Church’s silence and accused 25 bishops -five of whom are still in office, the others have retired or are deceased- to have “covered- up” 32 “predators” who attacked 339 victims. These cases go back as far as the 1960s but half of the events “were proven after 2000”. When invited to react to this documentary, the episcopal conference declined, preferring to denounce in their communiqué the lack of journalistic ethics.
And even more astonishing than the above is this other reality, until now almost unknown to the public, of serious sect-like aberrations in the very heart of the Church.
The aim of De l’emprise a la Liberté. Dérives sectaires au sein de l’Église. Témoignagesetréflexions, is precisely to break this other taboo, using the testimonies of former members who have left three ecclesial movements: Focolare, Opus Dei and Legionaries of Christ.
As the opening flyleaf reveals: “motivated by spiritual thirst, by a desire for holiness and closeness to Christ, they have approached these movements full of trust; treated, however, with un-Gospel-like manipulation, they now feel deeply betrayed. The collection of their testimonies leaves no doubt this sentiment is justified.”
Such testimonies -in the form of answers to a questionnaire about their experiences inside these movements- have provided the raw material for a variety of experts to explain and clarify said movements. The experts are the following: Dominque Auzenet, priest, exorcist (France); Vitalina Floris, cloistered nun (Belgium); Vincent Hanssens, a psycho-sociologist, professor emeritus, Catholic University of Louvain; Jean-Marie Hennaux, S.J., professor at the Jesuit Faculty of Theology, Brussels; Pascal Hubert, practicing lawyer in the city of Brussels; Damiano Modena, former personal assistant to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, (Italy); Renata Patti (Italy); Miguel Perlado, psychoanalyst (Spain) and Monique Tiberghien, psychotherapist (Belgium). Louis-Léon Christians, professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, wrote the preface.
Let us not deceive ourselves, these testimonies, no matter how eloquent, only point to a much wider and deeper reality, denounced for decades without major success.
Among many other books, one appeared already in 1996 which sounded the alarm:
Shipwrecked in the Spirit. Sects in the Catholic Church The authors explained how “everything happens inside these communities and inside the Church in such a way that there is a kind of taboo, a never-articulated but de facto control. Problems are systematically eluded or hidden, or simply become the subject of misinformation. In a certain way, the Church in its institutional places, just as in the charismatic institutions themselves, demonstrates an astonishing inability to face reality (…)”.
That same year former Focolare Gordon Urquhart’s The Pope’s Armada appeared. His well-documented study focuses on sect-like aberrations within three new movements: Focolare, Communion and Liberation and the Neo-Catechumenate.
A third, highly informative book, by Olivier Legendre appeared in 2010 which revealed a Cardinal’s daring statements: “There are four main movements that have been accused of sect-like aberrations: the Focolare, The Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Opus Dei and the Legion of Christ. It would be dangerous to cover over these accusations with a mantle of silence. It would be better to investigate and reach clear conclusions.”
The serious and wide-spread reality of sect-like aberrations was made known by the French press in 2013. Remember how the president of the French episcopal conference, Monsignor George Pontier, answered a group of some forty victims of sexual and spiritual abuse at the hands of fourteen communities, movements and religious communities: Béatitudes, Famille monastique de Bethléem, Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi, Fraternité Eucharistein, Emmanuel et Fraternité de Jesus, Soeurs mariales d’Israel et de St Jean, Ancien collaborateur du père Labaky, Memores Domini (Communion and Liberation), de Nazareth (Community of Nazareth, Opus Dei, Points-Coeur, Communautés Saint Jean (Communities of Saint John) and Fraternité diocésaine de Saint-Jean-de-Malte.
Only five of the fourteen above-mentioned communities were the subject of canonical process or public exposure: Béatitudes (suspension of their founder, Brother Ephraim in 2008), Legion of Christ (suspension of the founder, Fr. Maciel in 2006), Points-Coeur (canonical punishment of the founder, Fr. Thierry de Roucy in 2011), Communauté Saint-Jean (accusations officially acknowledged in May 2013 against the founder, Fr. Phillipe) and the Anciens Collaborateurs du père Labaky (forbidden to officiate in June 2013).
In his response letter, Monsignor Pontier stressed: “The Gospel of Christ that we are called to serve is a school of spiritual freedom and he who does not serve this freedom does not belong to the Gospel. Several times in the past we have alerted the faithful and families to the danger of certain groups which do not appear to us to promote a true Gospel behavior. We have called upon the leaders to answer our questions. Often, however, we have received from them only mistrust and silence. Let me tell you it is scarce comfort to know that our remarks were justified. Certain behaviors that you denounce are related to the penal code. Nobody is above the law. It is useful to remember. Victims who so wish, have the right to bring their complaints to civil court when the matter so warrants.”
Pope Francis himself has denounced the manipulation of consciences by “the spiritual engineer”. Addressing the World Congress of Church Movements and New Communities on November 22, 2014, he reminded those attending that “man today experiences serious identity problems and difficulties making his own choices. Hence, the tendency to let himself be conditioned, to delegate important decisions to others. We must resist the temptation to take the place of people’s freedom, to guide them without waiting for them to really mature.” He went on to warn: “spiritual or moral progress built on people’s immaturity is only apparent success, and headed for shipwreck.” “It is better to be less numerous and go ahead out of the limelight.” He invited the movements to an attitude of “communion” among themselves, instead of competitiveness marked by divisions, rivalries and comparisons.” In the same vein, it is useful to recall the pope’s discourse a month later, December 22, when offering his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia at the Vatican. He enumerated fifteen “maladies” that could affect the Holy See’s collaborators: mental and spiritual “petrification”, excessive planning and bureaucracy, “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, rivalry and vanity, existential schizophrenia, putting bosses on pedestals, closed circles, worldly profit and exhibitionisms.
Afterwards, in practice, what really changed? Very little. The Church and the movements or communities inside her struggle with reforming themselves in depth. First the statutes must be reformed and the doctrine re-written, namely the founder’s. But it serves for nothing if the doctrine is changed but the spirit remains basically the same. So, in practice, the aberrations continue.
These movements and communities are the spearheads of a Church in decline.
As the Cardinal reveals to Olivier Legendre: “These movements have learned to make themselves useful to the Church or to certain Church leaders. They have conducted their public relations with one and the other, building solidarities and friendships… In a word, there is a network at the heart of the hierarchy which supports these movements for a variety of reasons.”
In answer to the question: “Why not eradicate the problem? What is at the bottom of all this? A form of denial? A culture of secrecy? A style of governing?” Yves Hamant lucidly responds: “Some of these communities are already relatively established, and they have a number of important members spread throughout the world. Some are clearly irreformable. Dissolve them? Then what to do with the members inside? I pray for them every day. Try to reform them despite it all? It would take considerable human resources. Instead cosmetic changes are made; all kinds of justifications are found; it is pointed out that the founder’s teachings were not totally heretical, etc. Besides, there are people inside the communities who have not been contaminated because they draw their interior resources from elsewhere. Summarizing, things carry on and the young are allowed to join. To fix this problem much courage is needed, together with effort, means and the cooperation of the whole episcopate. But even when it is the case of recent small communities, the bishops drag their feet… Another reason is the institution’s inability to communicate. When it detects a problem in a community, in the best of cases it mandates a canonical investigation, a kind of audit. There has to be a document ordering this? It is secret. The ensuing report? Naturally, secret. The processes ordered by ecclesiastical justice? Secret. The sentence? Secret. The concern of protecting the anonymity of those involved, laudable and legitimate, but could they at least publish the findings? This opacity favors all the rumors and deprives justice of one of its effects: heal and prevent.”
What is a cult-like aberration? (Fr., dérivesectaire)
According to France’s Interdepartmental Mission to oversee and combat sect-like aberrations (acronym Miviludes), it has to do with the “corruption of freedom of thought, opinion or religion” characterized by “the employment by an organized group or an individual (…) of pressures or techniques aimed at creating, maintaining or exploiting in a person a state of psychological or physical subservience, depriving them of part of their free will.”
The characteristics usually associated with a cult-like aberration are the following: adulation of founder or foundress, totalitarian authoritarianism, blind obedience to the superiors, depersonalization, loss of identity and autonomy, recruitment pressure, harassment, proselytism, members informing on each other, being kept busy to prevent critical thinking, unhealthy relationship to money, moral and sexual abuses, verbal and physical threats to members wanting to leave. Based on numerous testimonies, Sister Chantal-Marie Sorlin, circuit judge in Dijon and chief of the CEF sect-like aberrations bureau, has drawn up four major criteria:
Personality cult; the founder takes the place of Christ
Cut-off from the outside world: from family and from outside news.
Mental manipulation: fast recruitment, pressures, inducing guilt (“doubting is from the devil”), blurring the line between internal and external forums, forbidden to criticize the leaders in the name of holy obedience…
Practical incoherence (money, morals…)
One single criterion is not enough to define a group as cult-like aberration but when you have a handful of these signs you can start thinking of a pathological group.
Dominique Auzenet goes into more detail in the book, “the movements from the perspective of sect-like analyses criteria”.
Then what is this “charism” which causes so many aberrations?
We must begin by underlining how the three movements in question were founded before Vatican II and never assimilated one of its turning points, namely: openness to the modern world and to contemporary culture. They do not acknowledge the Church as “a people”.
In the Focolare movement the central idea is unity
In his contributing chapter, Jean-Marie Hennaux, professor of moral theology and Mariology, minutely studies the concept of unity to find out whether the Focolare idea is faithful to Jesus’ words in St. John’s Gospel:
It is necessary to state that, concretely, this ideal of unity means renouncing one’s freedom of thought and action. The “me” is despicable; only “us” is valued in this community. However, in practice, this “us” is in fact the personal thought of the foundress, Chiara Lubich, who identifies herself with Christ: “Every Focolare soul must be an expression of me and nothing else […]. Unity is therefore the Unity of one single soul: mine the soul of Jesus among you, which is me” (from a 1950 letter). This is not the unity of autonomous and free persons but rather a fusion, a confusion within the foundress’ “me” …
Such a concept of Unity can only create an idolatrous worship of the foundress and her writings.
In the Opus Dei ranks, the central idea is holiness in ordinary life
Here, too, the idea is quite seductive. But, in practice, the demand for holiness passes through blind obedience to the power of the clerics to reach this impossible goal.
A reading of TheWay, the founder’s central work, makes it clear: “Be strong. -Be virile. -Be a man. And then… be an angel” Members are also told to: “love, bless, sanctify and glorify suffering!”
Besides, the Opus is known for its elitism, and its juridical statute as the pope’s personal prelature. The dominican priest, Pierre Emonet, stresses: “As regards the married lay person, he better accept not being more than a second-class Christian. If leadership positions are closed to him it is because “marriage is for the flock and not for the commanding officers of Christ. -While eating is an individual need, procreation is only a demand of the species, which individuals can forego.” Thus, the Opus Dei organization is the result of a mutilated ecclesiology, which forgets that the Church is first and foremost a People where all members are equal.”
Finally, we want to make known that the Opus Dei in Belgium did react to the book by means of a public letter published on April 12, 2017. Not, as one might expect, to acknowledge some cult-like element in its womb, but solely with the intention of protecting its reputation and that of its members. While acknowledging “errors” and “blunders”, these “do not constitute aberrations”.
For the Legion of Christ, the central idea is the Evangelization of the World to hasten Christ’s return
In real life, this ideal turns into a frenzied proselytism, leaving little space for freedom of conscience and personal maturation.
Behind the idyllic tableau hides the reality of a perverse founder, Marcial Maciel, who for sixty years was the object of Vatican favors. As so often happens in the Church and the movements under study, the accusations of many victims are deemed calumnies to tarnish the reputation of God’s work.
On the occasion of Benedict XVI’s trip to Mexico in 2012, Maciel’s victims published a manifesto.
Their letter expressed legitimate disappointment at the Church’s deafening silence: “Just like our hopes for truth and justice in the Church, some of the old Legionaries of Christ who were the co-signers of the open letter addressed to you predecessor, John Paul II, have passed away. Since 1997, we had hoped, just like them, that instead of being ignored and reprimanded by church authorities, we would receive some response to that letter; and also, that the Church would respect the truth, charity and law owed to us due to the canonical complaint we had lodged in Rome on October 17th, 1998 with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, presided over at that time by Your Holiness. […] But we were not listened to, or believed. For the longest time, we have been ignored for being just simple faithful. […] We never received the least response to our legitimate complaints, even when this goes against the rules of Canon Law established by the Church herself. And then, after being reprimanded on several occasions by church authorities for expressing our convictions through the media, it was only through these very media that we learned about the doubtful and confusing Vatican decisions regarding our complaint. And let us insist that this complaint was lodged on October 17th, 1998 at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under your direct responsibility as Prefect. […] Objective facts, followed closely and analyzed during stressful years, have proven that -more than obedience and respect for the rights of the human person- only public indignation and the weight of universal lay opinion have been able to change, albeit extremely slowly, the attitude of denial maintained for such a long time by the Church’s hierarchy. Like many of the faithful, we hoped for a little clarity and reasons to trust. But instead, we have observed an almost systematic ambiguity and, worse still, contradictions between orthodox doctrine and putting it into practice, which have troubled us deeply and caused painful spiritual malaise.”
Which means to say that the light regarding sect-like aberrations takes a long time to reach the top of the Vatican hierarchy. In other words, here as elsewhere, one cannot count on a sect-like movement to question itself.
The law of silence was able, one more time, to protect a reputation, to the detriment of the victims’ healthy truth…
Some similarities between Focolare, Opus Dei and Legion of Christ
Even though each founder has received a “divine inspiration” and each movement possesses its own peculiar “charism”, (unity for the Focolare, holiness in the ordinary for the Opus, evangelization of the world for the Legion of Christ), it is evidently clear that they all possess the same sectarian aberrations which play out in similar characteristics:
Theological and moral conservatism,
Aspiring to ecclesiastical and temporal power, based on their financial strength,
Tendency to function as a “Church within the Church”,
Strongly hierarchical structure,
Strict control of the members and the organization.
Rights of members of sect-like aberrations?
Victims of sect-like aberrations may in some cases have recourse to civil and penal justice.
Thus, French legislature (About Picard law, June 12, 2001, Penal Code article 223-15), followed by the Belgian (law of November 26, 2011, Penal Code article 442) have deemed it right to insert a specific crime, the abuse of vulnerability.
Penal action can be taken against a person who, aware of the vulnerable (physical or mental) condition of the victim has fraudulently abused him to lead him to an action or to abstain from an action gravely endangering his physical, mental integrity or inheritance.
These actions or abstentions may concern the victims’ inheritance, their health, their professional activity, and even their family and affective lives.
It is worth noting that this not only criminally penalizes acts of mental destabilization as in the case of certain sects. It applies to the abuse of vulnerability in general, particularly regarding the elderly, the sick and the handicapped.
Besides the abuse of vulnerability there exist evidently other infractions, especially: swindling, breach of trust, and extortion. Among personal attacks:
Homicide or involuntary injuries, not assisting a person in danger, deprivation of care;
Sexual attacks and corruption of minors;
Violence and threats.
Finally, in the absence of a proven penal infraction, it is still possible to sue in civil court for reparation of moral and or material damages committed by the ecclesiastical institution or one of its members (article 1382, French and Belgian code of civil law).
By way of conclusion
Pedophilia in the Church, as well as sect-like aberrations she harbors, have shown the needs for “look-outs”, because victims are rarely understood by the Church, the movements and the communities.
As Maud Amandier and Alice Chablis have written in Ledéni: “The institutional Church has built a façade – rites, liturgical vestments, dramatizations, mass religious celebrations – against the background of the Vatican square. Although the façade is still beautiful, it is beginning to crack, and saving the appearances becomes a priority”.
It is a crushing fact that the Church, structurally saturated with the culture of secrecy, has not taken, or has chosen not to take, the measure of sect-like aberrations in it womb.
On the contrary, it supported Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, before sanctioning him. And despite its colorful past, Pope Francis granted his order a “plenary indulgence” (pardon of their sins) as it began its process of purification and renewal.
John Paul II canonized Jose Maria Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of the Opus Dei, despite him being a promotor of supreme clericalism. If the simple lay person doubts this, The Way, the founder’s favorite work, and the continuous source of TheWork’s inspiration, will disavow him: “when a lay person puts himself forward as a master of morals, he frequently deceives himself: lay people can only be disciples.” The lay person is nothing more, in fact, than a second-class Christian.
Let us hope that the Church will see clearer in the case of Focolare founder Chiara Lubich’s cause for beatification, opened on January 15th, 2015 (we know that the Church’s official recognition is a sign of orthodoxy and cultishness…).
Bondage advances in disguise, the opposite to freedom… and it is right and just that the “Christian at the base” is aware of what is going on too often behind his back, at the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy. After all, isn’t he not “King, Priest and Prophet”? He has, therefore, every baptized person’s right to know…
Certainly, the truth that makes us free is not necessarily the one we believed in. But this is the price of freedom. It is always an interior path which one discovers little by little… never a distinct thought or a definitive answer. “Freedom is a country without a road”, said Krishnamurti, a poet of the true path.
So, as we began our presentation with the words of Jesus (“Thetruthwillset you free”), it might be good to remind the movements and communities of these words of Pope Francis: God’s truth: “is inexhaustible, it is an ocean whose bank we barely perceive. It is something we are just starting to discover right now: let us not become slaves of some kind of paranoid defense of our own truth (if he has it; I can’t have it). Freedom is a gift that is too big for us; and precisely because of this it makes us bigger, it widens us, it raises us up. And it places us at the service of thisgift.”27
Pape François, le texte intégral du « discours des 15 maladies, La Croix, 24/12/2014, http://www.la-croix.com/Religion/; Actualite/Pape-Francois-le-texte-integral-du-discours-des-15-maladies-2014-12-24-1258379
Olivier Legendre, Confessions d’un Cardinal, J.-C. Lattès, 2010, p. 267.
« Le silence comme protection contre la perversion : le cas Maciel », in Maud Amandier et Alice Chablis, Le déni. Enquête sur l’Église et l’égalité des sexes, Bayard, 2014, p. 275 ff.
See La contribution de Pascal Hubert, « Les mouvements au regard du Droit. Les dérives sectaires au sein de l’Église et la Loi », in De l’emprise à la liberté. […], pp. 183 à 212.
Maud Amandier et Alice Chablis, Le déni. Enquête sur l’Église et l’égalité des sexes, Bayard, 2014, p. 253.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Scegliere la vita. Proposte per tempi difficili, Milan, Bompiani, 2013, p. 78 (propos repris en français dans le livre L’Église que j’espère. Entretien avec le père Spadaro, s.j., Champs essais, 2014, p.90).
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Scegliere la vita. Proposte per tempi difficili, Milan, Bompiani, 2013, p. 78 (propos repris en français dans le livre L’Église que j’espère. Entretien avec le père Spadaro, s.j., Champs essais, 2014, p.90).
Dutch cult expert Frances Peters gave this masterly power point presentation at the International Cultic Association’s International Conference in Bordeaux, July 2017.
ReGAIN believes it is of great value to members, parents, friends, helpers and professionals involved with controlling, coercive, harmful groups.
ReGAIN wants to remind the public that such harmful groups can exist even in the heart of mainstream – including Christian and Catholic – churches and communities. We will post upcoming articles re questionable Catholic Communities and Movements.
J. Paul Lennon submits this educational brief formatted like the now classic Langone-Lalich List of Cult Characteristics and on his research for I.C.S.A. Philadelphia Annual Conference July 2018 paper, Brief Overview of Some Harmful Catholic Groups, presently under review for publication.
Abusive founder and/or leaders-Leadership, including but not limited to serious criminal sexual abuse of members and followers
Manipulative/deceptive/ aggressive recruiting of members (young, idealistic, inexperienced, in life transition…),
Unscrupulous fundraising and fraudulent money-management, “financial irregularities”
Insufficient or faulty Discernment of calling and life path.
Foreclosure (Premature major commitments made suddenly or too early, without due deliberation): for example, giving up all earthly belongings, inheritance, going on a faraway mission, rashly embracing celibacy and the priesthood.
Isolation from family, friends and previous support system; exclusion of “outsiders” and former members.
Systematic Control of Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions
Leaders’ excessive authority and influence, demanding blind obedience: they directly represent God and speak in his name. Members put them on a pedestal and want to please.
Superiors and or “spiritual directors” tell members whether or not they “have a vocation,” a special call from God from all eternity binding them to this particular life style in this specific group.
do not explore or respect candidates’ and members’ sexual orientation.
May tell them to remain single or marry, and whom to marry…
Want to control when, where and the how a member can leave.
Black and White thinking prevails; “no half measures”; with selective scripture quotes to bolster: “He who is not with me is against me.” No room for questioning or doubting.
Emphasis on Discipline, with Unreachable Goals of Holiness or Perfection -often fleshed out in a multiplicity of rules- which lead to obsessive-compulsive neurosis , guilt feelings and low self-esteem. (Naturally, the member is going to fall short).
Community Confession and Shaming (“Chapter of Faults”) may be used; public humiliation; leaders harshly criticize members in public, “make an example” of them. Members are expected to snitch on each other.
Elitist and Us Vs Them, siege mentality. “We are special, chosen by God”, “others would not understand,” Critics “hate and are out to destroy us, the Catholic priesthood, the Church, His Holiness the pope”
Heavy-handed retention: Loss of vocation, sure damnation. Straight to hell! You won’t make it on your own out there. You will fall into serious sin and vices. You are betraying Jesus Turning your back on God!
Ostracism, emotional cut-off and despising exiting and former members: “failures,” “unfaithful,” “traitors,” “disgruntled old men,” “envious,” “vengeful”
Opponents are harassed, threatened, pursued and even sued in the name of God, Jesus, the Church, the Group, Truth, Charity…
ReGAIN wants to make it clear that this commentary is solely Ann Barnhardt’s opinion. ReGAIN will not second condemnation of Pope Francis, for that would be a wrong interpretation. Nor can we make a public expose of these “fronts” that Pope Francis -and Pope Benedict before him- opposes by preaching a poor church and small faith communities.
ReGAIN also points out to our readers that its primary focus is not so much with individual members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement as with the modus operandi of this institution which it considers to be “a business that looks like a religious order”: the enterprise possessing several features of an intra-ecclesial Catholic cult. This does not exonerate individual members from their misbehaviors, crimes and misdemeanors but does place these in the context and environment we are alluding to: an atmosphere where -among other immoral principles bequeathed by the founder- the end (promoting the Legion of Christ) often justifies the means.
Finally, ReGAIN believes that the anger expressed in this article demonstrates the disappointment and righteous indignation of many Catholics who feel betrayed by their pastors and do not yet see a purifying light at the end of the tunnel.
(Back to the Barnhardt article)
“In the wake of the #CatholicMeToo phenomenon which is still holding traction and moving along nicely, pretty much everyone is naively asking the question:
How could they not know that McCarrick was so evil? How could this man have possibly been elevated and advanced up the hierarchical chain the way he was? How could such an evil person acquire so much power?
The answer in one sentence:
The fact that McCarrick was an open homosexual[i] predator was considered a FEATURE, not a bug, and the higher he ascended, and the more powerful he became, the more valuable he became to those around him who sought to LEVERAGE CORRUPTION AND CRIMINALITY for their own gain, and the more intensely those around him covered for his crimes against young men and boys.
Folks, we’ve all got to wise up here if there is any hope of prosecuting this war against the infiltrators and forces of evil. When out Lord says, Be wise as serpents…, He isn’t just whistling Dixie. The near-unanimous failure of people to grasp these dynamics is frustrating. You can’t win a war when every general is a doe-eyed Pollyanna constantly looking around and asking, “Why are those angry-looking men pointing guns at us?”
Look, Diabolical Narcissist Psychopaths attract other DN psychopaths. These demoniacal creatures flock together. If you are asking questions such as, “What did Donald Wuerl know about McCarrick, and when did he know it?”, I can tell you the answer right now. He knew damn-near everything and knew it from the beginning. The same goes for Kevin Farrell. And not just other prelates, but clerics and laypeople that are employed by or otherwise make their livings off the Institutional Church as well. The rot is deep. One might even say hopelessly deep, barring supernatural intervention.
I think the best way to explain this is with a specific case, and that specific case is the former number three and public face of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr. Thomas Williams. The other reason why this specific example is particularly helpful, is because there are people claiming that people on the so-called “right” are only going after the McCarricks and Wuerls because they are on the so-called “left”. Well, Fr. Thomas Williams and the Legion of Christ are the perfect examples of criminal psychopaths running their racket in the Institutional Church, wrapping themselves in the mantle of “conservatism”. So, let’s kill two birds with one stone here, and show how this cancer infects every corner of the Church – from hard left to soft left to neo-conservative to conservative to Trad – the whole spectrum.
Fr. Thomas Williams, who is now laicized, was the pretty-boy face of the truly evil racketeering organization, the Legion of Christ, for many years – pretty much from the late 1990s until 2012. Fr. Thomas Williams lived for YEARS with the satanic founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel, who was a drug-addled, bisexual incestuous child rapist. That’s right, not only did Maciel sexually assault and rape Legion seminarians right and left, Maciel also RAPED HIS OWN SONS. And Fr. Thomas Williams LIVED WITH HIM. For YEARS.
This is very, very similar to now-Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was also top-ranking Legionary until he left in 1984 to climb the career ladder to the Cardinalate as a diocesan priest and SHARED AN APARTMENT FOR YEARS with his mentor and patron, “Auntie Blanche” McCarrick, who was likewise an open sex criminal, assaulting and raping seminarians and boys, as everyone knew. Farrell, like Williams, is an inveterate and facile liar – a hallmark of Diabolical Narcissist psychopaths, and simply adopted the strategy of “deny, deny, deny, deny.” It doesn’t matter how open the secret is. The universal strategy is DENY, DENY, DENY. The Clintons perfected this in the 1990s, specifically in the Lewinsky scandal. DN psychopaths all over the world watched and learned from the Clintons’ tutelage.
Back to Fr. Williams. You can read a very brief summary of the Fr. Thomas Williams scandal in THIS PIECE which Frank Walker at Canon212.com broke last summer on his blog, http:/www.StumblingBlock.org . Just a couple of high points with additions and details that have been shared with me over the years about these truly deplorable people: Fr. Williams, flying high as the number three of the $30+ BILLION-dollar Legion of Christ criminal racketeering organization, was recruited by Neo-con Catholic darling and John Paul II advisor Mary Ann Glendon to recruit Glendon’s Machiavellian apostate daughter, Elizabeth Lev, into the Legion. Glendon and Williams were both teaching at the Legion’s University in Rome. Williams, it should be noted, was no less than the DEAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MORAL THEOLOGY. Glendon’s daughter, Lev, was a hyper-promiscuous art history major who had just relocated to Rome. Glendon knew that her notoriously sexually aggressive and amoral daughter would, despite her apostasy, be more than happy to enter “spiritual direction” with Fr. Williams with an eye towards a sexual affair with this “sexy” priest.
Sure enough, Lev conceived two children by Fr. Williams in the early 2000s. The first was miscarried, but the second was born with a very severe case of Down Syndrome. Lev, by now in her late 30s, was clearly trying to get pregnant by Fr. Williams as a means of getting her claws into the $30+ Billion Legion of Christ, leveraging her womb into a multi-million-dollar blackmail/child support package. It worked. Fr. Williams put Lev on the payroll of Zenit, the Legion of Christ’s news publishing business, and Lev was thrown all manner of work as a tour guide for Legion of Christ’s millionaire recruiting junkets, and quickly became one of the most powerful people in the massive money-making machine that is the Vatican Museums – which the Legion of Christ and Opus Dei essentially run.
Fr. Williams, desirous to maintain his plum position at Maciel’s right hand, denied that he was the father, (phrase edited out by ReGAIN staff). Lev called the conception “a one-night stand”, which given her extreme sexual promiscuity was enough to cast doubt in the Rome Anglo social circle. Lev’s flamboyantly gay “best friend”, (who also had a penchant for sex with priests and seminarians – hey, friends have got to have shared interests, right?) was enjoined to publicly and theatrically “propose marriage” to Lev (which was, after a sufficient period of suspense, theatrically rejected), stood as godfather while Fr. Williams baptized the child, and then Fr. Williams and Lev essentially made the homosexual godfather the child’s caregiver, while both Fr. Williams and Lev aggressively pursued their respective careers in Rome – being sure to grease the gay godfather’s palms, which continues to this day. Remember this when Thomas Williams claims that he left the priesthood to care for his son. This is a man that happily stood by and watched while his son – suffering from mental retardation so severe that he is unable to speak and thus ever report abuse of any kind – was put in the care of a homosexual man.
Now to the Unpleasant part. In ARSH 2005, Fr. Williams finally admitted after years of lying to the General Director of the Legion of Christ, and Williams’ immediate superior, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera (now deceased) that yes, the rumors were true, and he was, in fact, the father of Liz Lev’s youngest child. Fr. Corcuera ordered Williams to immediately start withdrawing from public ministry.
Not only did Fr. Williams disobey these orders, Williams turned around and increased his presence and appearances on American broadcast television, essentially being the “face of the Catholic Church” and “Vatican Analyst” for both NBC and CBS news. Williams had also started a racket in book publishing. The business model was simple: have Legion of Christ slaves ghostwrite mass-market books on Catholic “morality” and “spirituality”, have glamour shot photos taken of the somatic narcissist Fr. Williams, slap Williams’ name and picture of the cover, and market the books to the kind of middle-aged American women who buy books by celebrity priests based upon how “sexy” and “dreamy” the priest is. Williams was pushing his brand and pushing it hard – after being ordered to withdraw from public ministry. All the while, he continued to carry on his sexual affair with Liz Lev OPENLY – frequently co-hosting parties at Lev’s million-dollar apartment overlooking the Vatican, serving as the bartender. Lev and Williams were often seen having romantic dinners in Rome, with Williams in civilian clothes, most notably at the infamous Roman restaurant Pergola. As if that weren’t enough, Williams was openly having sexual relationships with students at the Legion’s Rome University where Williams was, in case you have forgotten, the dean of the department of MORAL THEOLOGY. Classy.
And here’s the point, and the million-dollar question:
WHAT DID FR. THOMAS WILLIAMS KNOW ABOUT MARCIAL MACIEL AND HIS SEX CRIMES, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?
Given how brazenly and aggressively Williams disobeyed direct orders and carried on after being told in 2005 to withdraw from public ministry, how can it not be thought possible that Fr. Williams knew about Maciel’s crimes, and the crimes of other top-level Legionaries, and LEVERAGED THAT KNOWLEDGE IN ORDER TO PROTECT HIMSELF AND MAINTAIN HIS OWN LIFE OF SEX AND MINOR CELEBRITY?
Why did Fr. Thomas Williams and his baby-mama’s mother, Mary Ann Glendon, spend years working together character assassinating anyone who tried to blow the whistle on Marcial Maciel? But I think the big tell came in January of ARSH 2014, when Williams, having just married Lev (who wore a snow white dress, naturally) in New York City a few weeks before, published an “interview” with the unctuous Robert Moynihan in which he claimed that he was unable to process how it could be possible (cue the violins…) that Marcial Maciel, a man that Williams “knew so well” could be anything other than the living saint the Legion racketeering cult claimed that he was.
Oh, COME ON. Maciel was carrying on a double life just exactly like Williams was carrying on a double life. Maciel’s double life was “possible” in exactly the same way Williams’ double life was “possible”.
I strongly, strongly suspect that Fr. Thomas Williams knew damn good and well what Maciel was, and what the other top-tier Legion toadies were – carrying on sexual affairs with both males and females, and how Legion seminarians were being sodomitically abused, and instead of screaming bloody murder and blowing the whistle and trying to PROTECT INNOCENT YOUNGSTERS as any morally sane person would, Fr. Williams proverbially rubbed his hands together, licked his chops, and considered his ability to blackmail the shit out of everyone around him and over him in the Legion as positively ideal.
Sit in stillness with that and consider what a complete monstrosity a human being would have to be to think and operate that way.
If you want to see something that will turn your stomach, watch this clip of Fr. Thomas Williams appearing on CBS news in ARSH 2009 hawking one of his ghostwritten glamour-shot “moral theology” books for lonely middle-aged women. The best part is when Williams says that to be a trusting person makes you a better person, and that trustworthy people are themselves more trusting. That’s rich coming from a dead-eyed psychopath liar whose entire life revolved around abusing trust. I also find it informative that Harry Smith’s question is, “What is the reward in trusting God?” and Williams never makes any mention whatsoever to the one and only real answer to that question – eternal life. Yeah, that’s telling.
And this is the point. It isn’t just the boy-raping homosexual monsters like McCarrick that are the problem. Cleaning them out, while certainly a step in the right direction, won’t even come close to solving the problem, because you will still have an army of Diabolical Narcissist psychopaths who actively want these monsters around and in power, so they can LEVERAGE THEIR CRIMES INTO THEIR OWN CAREER ADVANCEMENT, SECURITY AND POWER. If you can blackmail the shit out of the “boss”, then when you tuck yourself into bed at night, you can lull yourself to sleep with the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with the knowledge that YOU are really the boss.
Thus, the bigger the crime, and the higher the office, the more valuable the commodity men like McCarrick and Maciel become.”
[i] ReGAIN editor has replaced the original text’s use of “sodomite” with “homosexual
Spiritual Abuse Resources, a branch of prestigious International Cultic Studies Association is offering a conference in Hartford CT, in October. Avail yourself of this opportunity!
We know that Hartford is a Catholic and Christian area and houses the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement among other controversial groups. The conference hopes to attract attendees from the Northeast and Canada and all over the USA. I.C.S.A often attracts international audiences from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and as far away as Australia.
Some Religious groups and Movements, including from the Great Religions, Christian and Catholic traditions, can be harmful to some of the members some of the time -and to their family, friends and loved ones.
Spiritual Abuse has been flying under the radar for decades, but thanks to victims and concerned parents, therapists, researchers and communities it has been revealed and forced to emerge from the shadows.
And now we can go beyond passiveness and find information, answers and healing, to help ourselves, our families and others.
Besides Pope Francis acknowledging his misjudgment of Chilean clergy sexual abuse, the other major Catholic news of the week has been a letter sent by Legion of Christ sexual abuse victims demanding Legion of Christ leaders acknowledge and compensate them once and for all. As the reader will see, the primary thrust of the demand is not money but formal and specific recognition of their suffering as well as acknowledgement and reparation of the Legion’s neglect and defamation of the victims together with Legion’s internal information control (vis-à-vis their members) regarding the full effects of the founders’ crimes.
The victims’ letter to the Legion of Christ General Chapter meeting in Rome was originally ignored but strong coverage by Associate Press, the general media and Catholic sources such as the Catholic News Service put the leaders’ feet to the fire and they have responded in a communication couched in the most cautious and legalistic terms.
Sequence of Events:
Maciel survivors send letter[i] by various means to all members of Legion Chapter General meeting in Rome: [ii] “From March 26 to April 7, 2018, the first part of the Extraordinary General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ will take place at the seat of the General Directorate in Rome. The second part will take place from November 19 to 24, 2018, at the same venue.”
The letter is not acknowledged or discussed at the Legion of Christ Extraordinary General Chapter held in Rome.
Receiving no response from Legion leadership, the victims release the letter to the media, spear-headed by AP[iii]. The news quickly spreads to other major world and Catholic news media, such as CNA.
Thereupon, Legion leadership issues a communique, through their communications officer, Fr. Aaron Smith, in Spanish and undated[iv], referring to the letter without replying to (ignoring) the Victims. We post initial paragraphs of communique, translated by out team into English so the public can catch a glimpse of Legiospeak.[v]
“LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST, INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE COMMUNIQUE
Regarding the letter sent to the Legionaries of Christ by José de Jesús Barba Martín and José Antonio Pérez Olvera, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ states the following.
On March 26, the general director received a letter signed by José de Jesús Barba Martín and José Antonio Pérez Olvera, two of those who denounced Fr. Maciel´s abuses publicly in 1997, requesting that their petition be included in the General Chapter’s Agenda.
The general director, after consulting with his council, presented the request to the Extraordinary General Chapter, and informed the Chapter that the general government would seek a personal rapprochement with the each one of the signers and respond to their requests.
We ask forgiveness from all the victims who throughout our history have suffered any kind of abuse, knowing that this request will never be enough to heal their wounds. Regarding Fr. Maciel, the 2014 General Chapter stated:” etc.
ReGAIN, gathering the victims’ recent private reactions to Legion communique, comments: The Legion’s communique is riddled with inaccuracies, ambiguities and downright lies: as stated above, the victims’ letter was sent to each and all the members of the Chapter and not specifically or only to the LC general director, Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil (indisputably a disciple and protege of Fr. Maciel). Fr. Robles pre-emptively took control of the letter and the chapter general fathers’ response, preventing any option of a reaction or discussion from or among the fathers. He decided for them not to put the letter on the floor and decided unilaterally what was to be done with the letter’s requests. There was no free discussion. Robles-Gil promises to meet with the two signers of the Letter (individually?) but he
does not address the senders
or mention the group of eighth survivors as such whose lives were destroyed by Founder, Fr. (the serial pedophile founder was never defrocked by the Vatican!) Marcial Maciel.[vi]As can be seen in the communique
the Legion did not heed any of the victims’ requests but gives a facile response, suggesting it has already addressed the issue in question. This has been the Legion’s operational policy since the group originally accused Fr. Maciel twenty years ago. Reader, please revisit victims’ recent requests in footnote i
The undersigned, collectively known as the ‘historical victims’ of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, ask the Legion of Christ, through its representatives gathered in the Extraordinary General Chapter taking place in Rome from the 24th March 2018 that the issue of the Victims of Fr. Maciel and of the Legion of Christ be included in the agenda of the said General Chapter. Specifically, we make the following list of requests:
We ask that the Extraordinary General Chapter emit a Public Recognition of our status as victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Fr. Marcial Maciel and as victims of moral, psychological and spiritual harm at the hands of the Congregation. We ask that the congregation recognize that it made us and our families suffer in a continued, consistent and prolonged way when we revealed the perverse crimes of Maciel to the Church and the international community through articles published by journalists Jason Berry and Gerald Renner (Hartford Courant on 23rd of February 1997) and through the complaint presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the 17th of October 1998.
We ask that it be publicly recognized that our struggle to make known the truth about Fr. Maciel was a true service to the Church, of which we form part, as well as being a true service to the Legion of Christ. Consequentially we ask that the Chapter declare that we were never traitors of the Church or of the Legion.
Representing the historical victims to whom the “Commission of Contact with the Victims” never approached we request that the said commission be re-opened in order to fulfill the mission for which it was instituted by Cardinal de Paolis. We declare once again that this commission never contacted us.
For the reopening of the Commission for Victims we request the following:
a) The commission would be composed of members named by the historical victims, by the Legion of Christ and by the Church.
b) It’s re opening will not affect or prejudice any legal actions undertaken by the historical victims.
c) It will make effective the recognition of the historical victims through the establishment of a plan of action negotiated with the historical victims and evaluated by interdisciplinary professionals. It will determine the harm inflicted on us and its indispensable reparation.
As a visible sign of reconciliation, we request a public act of redress for the historical victims with the community of Rome, where many of the abuses took place, and another similar event with the communities of Mexico.
We ask that we be informed appropriately of the decisions of the Extraordinary General Chapter with regard to our petitions to the following electronic address: (sic) and through courier to the attached postal addresses and that that the communication be considered as received when we acknowledge receipt.
Postal Address (sic)
José de Jesús Barba Martin José Antonio Pérez Olvera
Representing the Historical Victims of Fr. Macie and the Congregation of the Legion of Christ for the purposes of the above written letter
Respecto a la carta enviada a los Legionarios de Cristo por José de Jesús Barba Martín y José Antonio Pérez Olvera, la Congregación de los Legionarios de Cristo desea expresar lo siguiente:
El 26 de marzo de 2018, el director general recibió una carta digital firmada por José de Jesús Barba Martín y José Antonio Pérez Olvera, dos de las personas que denunciaron los abusos del P. Maciel públicamente en 1997, solicitando la inclusión de su petición en la Agenda del Capítulo General.
El director general, después de haber hablado con su Consejo, presentó carta al Capítulo
General extraordinario, e informó al Capítulo de que el gobierno general buscará un acercamiento personal a cada uno de los firmantes de la misiva y responderá a sus peticiones.
Pedimos perdón a todas las víctimas que a lo largo de nuestra historia han sufrido algún tipo de abuso, sabiendo que esta petición de perdón nunca será suficiente para sanar las profundas heridas.
Con relación al P. Maciel, el Capítulo General de 2014 dijo:
[vi] “In a statement Friday (April 13th, 2018) responding to a request from The Associated Press, the Legion said its leaders ‘will try to get in touch personally with each of those who had signed the letter and respond to their requests.’ “:
Is the Regnum Christi/Legionaries of Christ using the current sexual abuse situation at Christendom College as the next step in a secret, strategic take-over of the college?
Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, President of Christendom College is being asked to resign by involved parties of the current “sexual abuse scandal.” Will Ken Ferguson, Vice President of the college, be Dr. O’Donnell’s replacement if he steps down? If so, is he the RC/LC selected candidate to complete the take-over?
Is the Legion of Christ’s Regnum Movement
Currently Attempting to Take Over Christendom College?
Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, President of Christendom College is being asked to resign by involved parties of the current “sexual abuse scandal.” Will Ken Ferguson, Vice President of the college, be Dr. O’Donnell’s replacement if he steps down? If so, is he the RC/LC selected candidate to complete the take-over?
Nov 7, 2011 – In 2005, Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC, General Director of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement…, of which Brian was a member… by Steve McEveety, Hollywood producer and head of Mpower Pictures and Ken Ferguson…
“In 2005, Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC, General Director of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement, of which Brian was a member, on learning about Brian Bisgrove’s story, suggested to Joe Cunningham that he write a bookabout Brian as aprelude to a movie and his canonizationas a saint in the Catholic Church. “In 2006, Joseph submitted a script draft for a documentary…. to Mpower Pictures, headed by Steve McEveety, Hollywood producer and head of Mpower Pictures and Ken Ferguson…”
“He (K. Ferguson) later started-up MpowerMedia LLC for 5 years, acting as CEO, worked as a CFO at Primus Telecommunications Group, and helped found Beach Mill Productions, LLC. His companies have produced such feature films as “Bella” (a Regnum Christi project).
“Hoping to jump back into the journalistic spotlight, Simcha Fisher, a once popular writer for the National Catholic Register, who was summarily fired for her crude online behavior, discovered a series of allegations against Christendom College.
However, although Fisher was within her rights to bring these accusations to the attention of Christendom, her solution that Christendom loosen up its rules regarding interactions between the sexes was an unjustified attempt to strike back at the conservative Catholic culture by which she had been chastened in the past.
Turning to her blog, Fisher attacked Christendom, not only for its alleged mishandling of the very serious matter of abuse, but as a Catholic institution attempting to follow traditional Catholic ethics.
Christendom initially doubled down and said that the accusations against the college were inaccurate and exaggerated, but at the same time offered an apology to anyone who had been harmed.’
Fisher appeared moderately satisfied that there was some response, and then the matter went quiet for a few days.
But then something weird happened.
Christendom College responded again with a stronger admission of guilt and a thank you to the Fishers for giving the abused a platform to present their accusations.
However, Christendom’s response emboldened Fisher (and her husband, who seems to be Fisher’s little helper in the whole process) and has prompted her to call for the resignation of Christendom President Timothy O’Donnell, an action that would no doubt draw nationwide media attention to Fisher and her husband’s detective work. (bold, underline emphasis added)
What words of Ken Ferguson’s did the Remnant consider emboldened the Fishers’ comments that re-ignited the situation:
“We invite these victims to come forward and be heard,” said Ferguson. “We value their insight on concrete ways we can make this campus as safe as possible for women. And we ask, if possible, for their forgiveness. I want to extend my gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Fisher for giving these women a platform to share their voices with us.”
Requests for O’Donnell’s resignation, suggested by Simcha, is picked up by other media. For example:
KEVIN OLMSTEAD | The Warren Sentinel
Top of Form
Front Royal Town Councilman John P. Connolly calls on Christendom College President Timothy O’Donnell to resign in the wake of the college’s handling of past sexual assault cases. Connolly graduated from Christendom in 2008.
FRONT ROYAL — A town councilman who graduated from Christendom College used his time for comment Monday night to call for the removal of Christendom’s president in the wake of the recent accusations that his administration mishandled sexual assault complaints from students.”
(Blog April 1, 2014) – (Simcha wrote her own obituary in the article above)
“Simcha Fisher is a cradle Hebrew Catholic, freelance writer, and mother of eight young kids. She received her BA in literature from Thomas More College in New Hampshire. She contributes to Crisis Magazine and Faith & Family Live!”
“Inspired by Regnum Christi spiritually, Zurlo is committed to…”
Luanne D. Zurlo – Current Board of Director. Daughter of Eugene Zurlo.
Luanne Zurlo is the co-founder along with Fr. Luis Garza, LC of a global organization – Worldfund – aka the World Education and Development Fund (WEDF).
Garza was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University. He entered the Legion of Christ in 1978.
Garza became Vicar General of the Legion from 1992. In that office Garza is said to lead efforts to investigate charges of sexual misconduct brought against Legion founder Marcial Maciel although he had known about the abuses for years and chose to cover them up.
Garza resigned from the post of Vicar General in 2011 and was appointed Territorial Director for the United States and Canada.
Convened by the World Education and Development Fund (WEDF), the billionaires and businessmen from Mexico and the United States gathered to “honor Carlos Slim Helú, president of Teléfonos de México, SA de CV”. According to the account that one of the assistants gave to this weekly, the presence of Maciel was something unexpected for many.
“The surprise was that Father Maciel was the one who gave recognition to Carlos Slim,” says the assistant to that dinner, who speaks on the condition that his identity is not revealed.
Modus Operandi for an RC/LC take-over for a school:
Usually RC/LC makes sure the school has been going for at least 2 years and is self-sufficient. They prefer it be built-up with other people’s money, not theirs. Sometimes, they start a school with Regnum Christi members, who serve as a secret “front group” and who devote hours and their personal finances to get it going.
Then RC/LC replaces the original people on the board and those in executive positions with their own people RC members or LC personnel.
The school then becomes an elite school for the very wealthy.
Usually families/parents who put their blood, sweat and tears into building something special for their children, can no longer stay at the school because they can not afford the increased tuition; parents lose their investment of years of time and energy. They feel betrayed when this happens.
Usually the take-over happens without the original founders being aware that a take-over has occurred. Or they become aware after the fact. Membership in the movement is usually considered “secret”; most people do not know who is or who is not RC/LC affiliated.
Regnum Christi members are usually coached (spiritual direction) by LC priests as to how to accomplish the takeover.
RC members are interested in building a Kingdom for their own people. Many of their priests only tend to RC members. It is an exclusive club unless public relations require them to make some adjustments to look good.
Concerning schools taken over:
(Jason Berry wrote) …” got several calls from parents in Atlanta who had children at The Donnellan School, the assets of which had been sold by the archdiocese to the Legion the year before…
I had got similar calls in recent years from parents elsewhere unhappy with the direction of their schools under Legion control or in the Legion’s sights — from Dallas, Cincinnati, northern Kentucky, Milwaukee, San Diego.
More recently, I’ve heard from parents in Naples, Fla., and Calgary, Canada.
What is the Legion, on a supposedly evangelical mission to “re-
Christianize the Catholic church,” doing to upset so many people in
so many places?
The “open letter” says my story “argues that the Legionaries make a practice of taking over schools that others have worked to start.” Exactly so.
Talk to the parents in Cincinnati who lost control when they suddenly found their board taken over by Regnum Christi and given to the order.
Or talk to parents of an independent school in Calgary newly awakened to the possibility (fear?) of taking direction from the Legion.
Or talk to San Diego parents who have fended off the Legion.
Now the Legion may certainly have inspired lay leaders of Regnum Christi to try to get a school going.
But the other parents they involve are seldom aware they are part of a “front group” working for eventual control by the Legion and are shocked when it happens.
Warren Carroll, Christendom’s founder, had a vision for the college – no more than 450 students. A large percentage of the student body were home schoolers, and there have been a tremendous number of vocations which have been forthcoming from the school over the years.
It is said with the new library; the upkeep alone is equal to 3 professor salaries. Since then the tuition has gone up making it harder for original students to stay on.
It appears since Ken Ferguson and some of the monied board directors have come on board, there is an effort to greatly enlarge the college at a sizeable expense.
Ken Ferguson is purported to have said that the homeschooling market has been tapped out and that Christendom wants a more diversified student population – in LC parlance, could this mean less Catholic. In other Legion schools i.e. the Highland School in Dallas, 20% are not Catholic. http://www.thehighlandsschool.org/about/fastfacts.cfm.
One of the Legion’s private schools, Oak Lawn Academy in WI has an annual tuition of $40,000 for high school. http://oaklawnacade
Questions if RC/LC takes over:
What will happen to the vocations currently coming out of Christendom?
Will they go to the Regnum Christi Movement instead of our dioceses?
What will the student body look like if very few Catholic homeschooling
families can afford it?
Don’t large homeschooling families ensure a vibrant student body well formed
in the Catholic faith?
Could one of the reasons why the Legion might have their eye on this college
(as well as Notre Dame in Indiana) is that it would be attractive to their
elite Mexican families and wealthy Americans to have a school outside of
the nation’s capital?
Being in Northern VA, wouldn’t the Legion have a strong base from which to
recruit new members into the Movement, and solicit funds in a wealthy
area that might otherwise go to the Diocese?
Isn’t the Legion infamous as an order for spreading its sexual abuse – first the
Founder, Fr. Marcel Maciel, LC (RIP) who so scandalized the Church in
the last century, and then the Vicar General, Fr. Luis Garza, LC?
Haven’t there been many more scandals including Fr. Thomas Williams, etc.
And other parents from around the world who have come forward with abuse accusations concerning their children?
Sam Leith: The Oxfam sex scandal shows why doing good should never save you from scrutiny.
the Evening Standard, Feb 12, 2018
The scandal now enveloping charities and overseas aid agencies – with allegations of sexual harassment and worse – has caused an eruption of shock and outrage. Outrage, yes – but shock?
The central case of Oxfam – where workers are alleged to have used prostitutes, some of whom were under age, in Chad and Haiti – seems to speak to a culpably carpet-sweeping culture in at least one charity. But that a minority of aid workers behave badly when they think they’re off the leash? The only surprise is that we are surprised.
My Spectator colleague Mary Wakefield wrote a fine and fierce article recently arguing that, as an enabler of sexual abuse, the United Nations makes Hollywood and the Trump White House look like amateur hour.
All of it is well documented. A 2004 memoir by three UN workers, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, detailed abuses.
ReGAIN is proud to reproduce, with permission and in its totality, an in-depth article from OD Watch, December 2017 issue.
Vatican City, January 20, 2018
Startling parallels appear between the Opus Dei and the Legion of Christ as regards spirituality, training, systems and Modus Operandi. Both organizations have come under scrutiny since their inception until the present day because of their questionable methods; the author describes the following areas:
The following analysis/testimony of a former OD member confirms the contention that the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi is the “Mexican version of the Opus Dei,” based on the clear parallels between the two “New Religious Movements.”
The Opus Dei, founded in Spain by a Spanish priest, is strikingly similar to the Legion which was founded a few years later by a Mexican seminarian, Marcial Maciel-Degollado in Mexico. The Legion founder is (in)famous for his plagiarism of a host of ideas and creations, including the spiritual reflections of a Spanish activist during Franco´s regime, Psalter of my hours. Could the foundation of the Legion be another such case of the founder´s charism for copying? In this case not copying the best…
Hundreds of testimonies on this site and on the Spanish language Facebook blog, Legioleaks (2, 000 plus members), describe the Modus Operandi of the Legion of Christ. The perceptive reader knows by now that the Legion´s Modus Credendi or Loquendi (what it believes/says/writes/declares) and its Modus Operandi (the way it acts/operates/strategizes /treats others) are two different things.
ReGAIN has written before about the striking similarities between the OPUS DEI way and the Legion of Christ´s.
(image above from funeral mass for Fr. Raymond Comiskey, LC, who had been abandoned by his superiors for years prior to his death in a private house in Merida, Yucatan: note coat of arms of Regnum Christi which had done nothing for him during his long illnesses. We are not implying Fr. Raymond was a whistle-blower. He was, however, a man of firm principles who believed he could get better care for himself outside the institution than inside. He died a priest and a Legionary, albeit outside a community.)