Opus Dei in the News- Allegations of Trafficking, Manipulation, and Smokescreens (it ain’t pretty)
This post on the Deep Dive Project led by Rebecca focuses on abuse of Opus Dei lay women in South America. The presentation is clear and well researched. She mentions how similar accusation can be made about Regnum Christi young women.
Well folks, it has been way too long, but after a (rather unplanned) hiatus, I am back with a new video about the Opus Dei organization. Since it’s been so long, I decided we would take a look at how the Work has been represented in the press within the last six months to a year. To say it’s been interesting would be putting it MILDY. So buckle up, and welcome to The Deep Dive. This video is a representation of my opinion, based off of the research I have done, and the individuals I have talked to. This deep dive series originally lived on my main channel, but in an effort to streamline my content, I have moved it here, where all future deep dive content will be hosted. Links: -Women in Argentina claim labor exploitation by Opus Dei: https://apnews.com/article/business-p… -SERVANTS OF GOD? The ordeal of 43 women facing Opus Dei- https://www.lanacion.com.ar/sociedad/… -Spain’s Church seeks to add credence to enquiry of alleged child abuse- https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/… -Spanish bishops say they won’t participate in national clerical abuse inquiry- https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/… -The Pope made reforms that do not satisfy and blur Opus Dei- https://www.lacapital.com.ar/informac… -Philippine bishops rebuked over pastoral letter- https://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/p… GEAR: [Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I get a small kick-back if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.] –
Well folks, it has been way too long, but after a (rather unplanned) hiatus, I am back with a new video about the Opus Dei organization. Since it’s been so long, I decided we would take a look at how the Work has been represented in the press within the last six months to a year. To say it’s been interesting would be putting it MILDY. So buckle up, and welcome to The Deep Dive. This video is a representation of my opinion, based off of the research I have done, and the individuals I have talked to. This deep dive series originally lived on my main channel, but in an effort to streamline my content, I have moved it here, where all future deep dive content will be hosted. Links: -Women in Argentina claim labor exploitation by Opus Dei: https://apnews.com/article/business-p… -SERVANTS OF GOD? The ordeal of 43 women facing Opus Dei- https://www.lanacion.com.ar/sociedad/… -Spain’s Church seeks to add credence to enquiry of alleged child abuse- https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/… -Spanish bishops say they won’t participate in national clerical abuse inquiry- https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/… -The Pope made reforms that do not satisfy and blur Opus Dei- https://www.lacapital.com.ar/informac… -Philippine bishops rebuked over pastoral letter- https://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/p…
Kevin O’Sullivan spent seven years inside the most secretive Catholic organisation in living memory – The Legionaries of Christ. He thought he was going to spread love and compassion: he ended up among disinformation and lies. He fled to save his sanity.
If you do not want to know your true self, by all means join the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Federation.
They’ll just tell you you have a vocation and “carry on until we tell you otherwise.” But if you want to be brave, the Spirit will take you in another directions and tear down your sandcastles in the sun.
Here is a very well written and very insightful testimony for those you want to be honest with themselves. It takes a lot of guts to write this; but it is worth the pain and the effort to find you true self, the self that God created, the self the Legion of Christ does not want you to discover – because you will no longer be useful to it.
<Kevin O’Sullivan spent seven years inside the most secretive Catholic organisation in living memory – The Legionaries of Christ. He thought he was going to spread love and compassion: he ended up among disinformation and lies. He fled to save his sanity.
This is the story of how Kevin found, and then lost, his religion, and how he lost, and then found, his sexuality. On the way, the young teenager clings to what his mother has taught him: to be a good boy. The journey brings him face to face with difficult truths, and ultimately to a far deeper knowledge of himself, as he finds out who he doesn’t want to be.
It’s a story full of hope about discovering what matters to each of us, even if we don’t like some of what we find.>
“A nearly 900-page report released Monday found that Mr. Vanier, who in 1964 founded the international network of homes to support adults with intellectual disabilities, sexually exploited at least 25 non-disabled women until his death in 2019, 19 more cases than originally known.”
Vanier, who had fallen under the spell of Fr. Thomas Phillipe, founded L’Arche to reunite a (Phillipe’s) religious sect with ‘mystical-sexual’ practices.
I admit that I was a great admirer of Jean Vanier, founder of l’Arche communities, where members lived with mentally challenged individuals and accompanied them in their loneliness and abandon. I fervently read one of his books full of attractive spirituality.
My admiration was shattered on learning that French layman Jean Vanier also had feet of clay: he had been seduced by Dominican priest Thomas Phillipe to accompany him in a sect that sexually exploited women.
“A nearly 900-page report released Monday found that Mr. Vanier, who in 1964 founded the international network of homes to support adults with intellectual disabilities, sexually exploited at least 25 non-disabled women until his death in 2019, 19 more cases than originally known.”
Worse still, recent investigations show that Vanier founded l’Arche to enable the continued false mystical sexual exploitation perpetrated by his mentor Fr. Thomas who had been censured by Catholic authorities but not controlled and stopped.
“The report further stated that Mr. Vanier created L’Arche as a “screen” to reunite a religious sect called L’Eau Vive, which had been disbanded for their exploitive “mystical-sexual” beliefs and practices that included “sexual abuse, collective delirium…[and] incestuous representations of relationships between Jesus and Mary.” These practices did not spread beyond the first L’Arche community where Mr. Vanier in Trosly-Breuil, France, according to the report.The report further stated that Mr. Vanier created L’Arche as a “screen” to reunite a religious sect called L’Eau Vive, which had been disbanded for their exploitive “mystical-sexual” beliefs and practices that included “sexual abuse, collective delirium…[and] incestuous representations of relationships between Jesus and Mary.” These practices did not spread beyond the first L’Arche community where Mr. Vanier lived in Trosly-Breuil, France, according to the report.”
An independent commission has confirmed claims of sexual abuse by Jean Vanier and unearthed evidence that sexual exploitation was his primary motivation for founding L’Arche.
“The primary intention, which from December 1963, pushed J. Vanier and the former members of L’Eau Vive to plan to settle in Trosly-Breuil, was to gather around [Thomas] Philippe,” the French Dominican priest who founded L’Eau Vive and served as Mr. Vanier’s spiritual father, the report states.
Now I wonder: Vanier, another Maciel: l’Arche, another Legion of Christ?
The exploitative founder, the ambivalent motivations, the secrecy, the mistico-spirituality
Let the reader find the parallels and reach their own conclusions
THE LEGION OF CHRIST NOT A FAMILY, NOT MISSIONARY AND NOT HEALING! The Legion of Christ, Legionaries of Christ-morphed into Regnum Christi Federation to distance themselves from their pedophile and psychopath founder- is not a family. It is a sect-like, coercive persuasion group, sometimes described as cult-like. Look up in cult-watchers associations: International Cultic Studies Association, Steven Hassan’s Freedom of Mind, Rick Alan Ross’ The Cult Education Institute, etc. where there this organization is tagged as harmful.
THE LEGION OF CHRIST NOT A FAMILY, NOT MISSIONARY AND NOT HEALING
26 January 2023
Paul Lennon, LC 1961-1984, MA Counseling, Cult-expert 1984 to present
The Legion of Christ, Legionaries of Christ-morphed into Regnum Christi Federation to distance themselves from their pedophile and psychopath founder- is not a family. It is a sect-like, coercive persuasion group, sometimes described as cult-like. Look up in cult-watchers associations: International Cultic Studies Association, Steven Hassan’s Freedom of Mind, Rick Alan Ross’s The Cult Education Institute, etc. where there this organization is tagged as harmful.
Nor is it Catholic and Orthodox in the full sense of the word. Despite Vatican approval -secured by conman Maciel-and two failed Vatican interventions, several US Catholic bishops have forbidden the Legion/Regnum from operating within diocesan boundaries: on the grounds that they are separatists, dividing parishes and families, poaching vocations to the religious life and priesthood, manipulating minors, children and teens, (ECYD), into spiritual direction and confession with unqualified priests (LC) and lay members (RC).
Not a family in the ordinary sense of the word: one of the most serious accusations against this organization is that it separates members from their families and sometimes separated spouses. One of the rules of the order is that if a member is in a foreign country s/he can visit his family once every five years. Many members have been estranged from their families for much longer.
Not and never was missionary in the common acceptance of the term: The Legion of Christ has only ever had one mission project: in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The bulk of its members, clerical and lay, are otherwise employed: universities and schools for the upper classes in upscale neighborhoods in the USA, Mexico, Chile, Spain plus fundraising, recruiting and attending on its priests, seminarians and lay members. What percentage of Legionary priest, religious and lay member work on the Quintana Roo – did I say Cancún/Mayan Riviera- Mission? Why do Legionary priests consider this assignment as less desirable?
The Legion of Christ’s specific apostolate is the recruitment and formation of leaders (business, economy, professions, politics, etc.) to transform society from the top down. See Legion of Christ Constitutions. As such it would be similar to the Jesuits and Dominicans, the opposite to the Franciscans, and the same as the Opus Dei. Take your choice: the Spanish way (Opus) or the Mexican way (Legion/Regnum Christi). A copy of the Constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ is not available for free in English. You have to buy the book. A Spanish language version is. Quoting and translating from the official Spanish:
“4. 3.º They exercise their pastoral ministry in the areas of proclaiming the faith, education, evangelizing the family, culture and the media, leading juvenile groups, clergy training, and the promotion of justice, charity and solidarity with the neediest; as well the spiritual attention and formation of Regnum Christi members.”[i]
The spiritual, psychological, and financial compensation of Father Maciel and other Legionaries’ abuse has long been a sore point for the Legion, a scandal to the Catholic community and of concern to popes and the Roman Curia. The American media has played a major role in keeping the Legionaries feet to the fire ever since two Catholic reporters brought the abuse to the public’s attention in February 1997. If this had not happened and if the victims had not lodged a formal complaint with the Vatican in 1998, it is the writer’s opinion that these abuses of obscure Mexican seminarians in a Mexican religious order would have gone unnoticed to the international community. One might suspect that the scandal revealed by American and Mexican media and the formal ecclesiastical complaint lodged by the victims with the help of a Vatican lawyer had much to do with the eventual major Vatican “visitations -euphemism for investigations- of founder Father Marcial Maciel by Monsignor Charles Scicluna in May 2005[ii], and his religious order by Monsignor Velasio de Paolis in March 2009[iii].
[i] “ejerzan su ministerio pastoral principalmente en los campos del anuncio de la fe, la educación, la evangelización de la familia, de la cultura y de los medios de comunicación social, la animación de grupos juveniles, la formación del clero y la promoción de la justicia, la caridad y la solidaridad con los más necesitados; así como en la atención espiritual y formación de los miembros del Regnum Christi.”
After four years of drafts and adjustments, the troubled Legion of Christ has announced that its new constitutions have been approved by Pope Francis.
The Pope’s approval of the final draft of the new constitutions brings the first phase of renewal and purification to a close after it was discovered that Legion founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, had been living a double life.
The new constitutions were drafted during the congregation’s Extraordinary General Chapter meetings, which began on Jan. 9 and was mandated by Benedict XVI in the wake of the revelation of Fr. Maciel’s scandalous activities.
These represent the sixth edition that have been approved for the Legion by ecclesiastical authorities. Previous editions were approved in 1948, 1965, 1970, 1983 and 1994.
While the previous statutes consisted of 878 paragraphs, the new ones consist of 247 paragraphs.
The first part of the new statutes is dedicated to the charism and patrons saints of Legionaries of Christ, while the second part describes the four vows every Legionary must profess.
In addition, the Constitutions lay out the steps for formation, the characteristics of suitable candidates to be Legionaries of Christ, the religious profession, the studies, the ordination and the management and administration of the order.
A key difference between the old and the new constitutions are that the old ones included many clauses regarding the application of the norms, while the new constitution focuses more on essential principles.
The initial draft of the statutes were given to an ad hoc commission established by the Congregation for Consecrated Life, whose results were presented by Cardinal Braz de Aviz to the government of the Legion on July 3.
It was also on that occasion that the appointment of Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda S.J. as Pontifical advisor for the Legionaries of Christ was made public.
An expert in Canon Law, Fr. Ghirlanda has been among the consultants of the Legionaries of Christ since the very beginning of their renewal process.
Following the suggestion of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the constitutions include references to the documents of the Second Vatican Council as well as other official documents on consecrated life.
The Congregation also asked that clear references to Sacred Scripture and the Code of Canon Law be included.
would seem to be the Legion of Christ’s motto and method
They have left it to the last moment to attempt outreach and compensation to the victims. And only to the victims who will accept compensation on their terms. Those “bad” victims will not be rewarded for their “stubbornness” – or would that be “the strength of their convictions”?
Some of us got together several years ago in Mexico.
I am aware that the below is an extremely poor testimony to the victims, who spent their lives and money seeking truth and justice -and received very little in return!
These are some of the men, a few of whom victims, who fought for decades against Vatican and Legion of Christ Silence regarding the Founder’s disreputable life. González-Parga and Lennon were ordained priests in the Legion; the others left disillusioned in the 1960s as seminarians.
Carlos de la Isla, from Mexico, one of the first junior seminarians, apostólicos, recruited by Maciel and who began his studies in Mexico City in the 1940s. Carlos and his two brothers joined the Legion as children. It is a fact that one of Carlos’ brothers was sexually abused by Maciel. The father traveled to Mexico City from the heartland to confront the founder. Maciel, as on many other occasions, found a way to deny, placate and slip away from trouble. From that moment on, someone in the Legion knew about his evil inclinations. But the Great Catholic Houdini would always find a way out of any tight spot and come out smelling like a rose.
Arturo Jurado, early legionary, victim and witness, was one of those unfortunate seminarians who was manipulated by Maciel into finding drugs for his father beyond reproach in Spain and Rome. He left the Legion in the 1960s after being held in seclusion and silenced by Maciel for years, and made a good living for himself as Spanish language teacher and interpreter in California. On discovering that he has much in common with José Barba, he joined forces with José Barba. He spent years paying his way to Rome with José to request Vatican intervention regarding Maciel’s sexual abuse of his seminarians and many other irregularities.
José Barba-Martín, PhD Harvard in Philology, professor emeritus, ITAM, Mexico City where he held the chair of Political and Social Institutions. He of the prodigious memory, spear-headed the accusers cause, aided by Jurado. Their decades-long saga, after meeting with denial, stone-walling and minimization, finally bore fruit in 2006 when Vatican and Pope Benedict accepted their accusations, made no apology to them, gave Maciel a slap on the wrist and ordered him to a life of Penance and Prayer; to which unrepentant Maciel paid no attention, continuing to live with his paramour and daughter and traveling wherever he wanted by private plane.
(John) Paul Lennon, believer, friend and supporter of Maciel’s victims; like Domínguez not a victim of sexual abuse. Joined the Legion of Christ in Dublin, Ireland, at the age of seventeen, considered Irish co-founder by Maciel, ordained to the priesthood in Rome, together with eleven others (among which Bishop Brian Farrell and Cardinal Fernando Vérgez), on the 25th anniversary of Fr. Maciel’s priestly ordination, 26th November 1969. Left Legion in 1984 -before he every heard of abuse- and since then has been a critic of Maciel’s foundation. He was sued for his troubles by the Legion of Christ in the City of Alexandria, VA, USA in August 2007. One lawyer commented: “Mr. Lennon, you have made some very rich people very angry!”
Francisco González-Parga, known in the Legion as Padre Parga, passed away this year in Guadalajara, Mexico, mourned by his wife, Esther. Francisco was one of Maciel’s sexual abuse victims; an enslavement which began in puberty and lasted into his twenties. He was not one of the original group of accusers but came forward in 2005 when Vatican prosecutor, then Monsignor, Charles Scicluna carried out the first thorough Vatican investigation into Maciel’s sexual abuse of his seminarians in Mexico City. By this time Maciel was 85 and the victims in their sixties. Remember that Maciel founded the Legion in 1941, when he was a 21-year old untrained seminarian, and began sexually abusing the 10 and 11-year-olds under his “pastoral care.”
Maciel’s sexual preference was pubertal males. In some cases, if he found them especially attractive he would continue the relationship into the victims’ twenties. Each older victim believed he was the only object of Maciel’s attention… As Maciel “matured” he sexually abused boys who were not his seminarians, later seducing younger, vulnerable females. It would seem he never had an equal-to-equal relationship in his life. All his relationships were controlling, manipulative and exploitative. (See the author’s Breaking Bad article on this page)
Saul Barrales-Arellano, R.I.P., known to his companions as Brother Charity. An extremely kind and helpful person. The story goes that Saul would lay down at night outside Maciel’s bedroom in Rome, Via Aurelia 677, to prevent others from entering and being victimized. Because he once demonstrated a lack of unconditional support for Maciel, the Saint stopped his ordination as a priest, sending him instead into exile on the Canary Islands where he languished alone for months. He finally got help from his family in Mexico to fly home. He was a headmaster at a Mexico City school and is survived by his dear Tere.
A Little addendum:
Don Alejandro Espinosa-Alcalá with Aura and Paul Lennon on one of our trips to Mexico. Alejandro is a very active original witness to Maciel’s sexual abuse , and has written about it in El Legionario (2006, edit. Grijalbo, Mexico) and El Ilusionista Marcial Maciel, of which I treasure his dedication. Like other survivors, Alejandro has lived in relative, and sometimes abject, poverty since leaving the Legion half a century ago. It seems that at the eleventh hour Fr. John Connor, Maciel’s successor, has been trying to save face by awarding “Easter Eggs” of ten thousand dollars to the victims, assisting them in their old age, and/or paying for their funerals.
I had mistakenly pointed out Federico Domínguez in the photo. He is not in the photo, but everything that was said of him is true. At one point, Maciel sent him and some other seminarians to Dublin, Ireland, to study at the prestigious Maynooth College. After some time, Federico became disenchanted with the whole Legion project, left the seminary and married a lovely Irish girl, and “they lived happily ever after” in the USA.
Federico Domínguez, R.I.P., one of Maciel’s writers, circa 1955 he reported to Church authorities in Rome regarding some of Maciel’s questionable behaviors; thus provoking the first major Vatican investigation into the founder and his order, 1956-59; Maciel was exiled for two years, but with the help of allies in the Curia (Pizzardo & Co.), was able to return and consolidate his power and control. About this time Maciel conceived the Private Vows (see Berry & Renner’s Vows of Silence), one of which was the “snitching vow” whereby “Never to criticize the person or actions of the superior, and to inform on anyone who does so.” This vow was apparently abolished by the later Vatican investigation around 2010, the spirit may still prevail among die-hard Legion and Regnum Christi members.
Cuando empezaron a circular vídeos de exorcismos en 2017, los padres decidieron reunirse, compartir sus preocupaciones y acudir a la justicia civil, apoyados por decenas de testimonios de maltrato, alienación parental, abuso psicológico y sexual,
psicológica y sexual.
Cuando empezaron a circular vídeos de exorcismos en 2017, los padres decidieron reunirse, compartir sus preocupaciones y acudir a la justicia civil, apoyados por decenas de testimonios de maltrato, alienación parental, abuso psicológico y sexual,
psicológica y sexual.
¿Qué ocurre realmente en los “castillos” de los Heraldos del Evangelio? Tras la publicación de los vídeos de exorcismos en 2017, los padres se dan cuenta de que sus hijos son objeto de comportamientos abusivos. El 14 de junio de 2018, una quincena de ellos envió un documento de treinta y siete páginas al Ministerio Público de Caieiras, en el que cuarenta y seis personas describían lo que habían vivido, abusos sexuales para cuatro de ellos. Los demás hablaron de malos tratos, alienación parental y abusos psicológicos. Un testimonio menciona una muerte sospechosa presentada como un suicidio. El 6 de mayo de 2019, padres de familia y ex integrantes de los Heraldos presentaron quejas ante la secretaría de la Secretaría de Educación del Distrito Federal y exigieron que se tomen medidas sobre el acceso de los Heraldos a las escuelas públicas de la capital donde realizan reclutamiento.
“Poseído por espíritus”
Los testimonios recogidos no dejan lugar a dudas sobre la gravedad de los hechos. Ahora tiene 20 años, L. S. se unió a los Heraldos a la edad de 10 años. “Mi vida dio un vuelco cuando la gente que vivía en
Mi vida dio un vuelco cuando personas que vivían en castillos y llevaban hermosos vestidos vinieron a decirme que, entre millones de personas en el mundo, la Virgen me había elegido para ser una de sus niñas favoritas. Pasa cinco años en el castillo de Serra de Cantareira, donde la vida se rige por el Ordo, un conjunto de reglas muy estrictas, “que sirven para normalizar las mentes y crear robots”. Cuando cuestiona las razones de estas normas, la miran con recelo y la someten a un primer exorcismo. “Dijeron que estaba poseído por espíritus. Tuve que beber aceite y me llevaron a un cura (…) Me sentí mal por todo el aceite que había ingerido. Dedujeron que era una manifestación del diablo y me sometieron a otra sesión de exorcismo. Cuando empezó a tener problemas psicológicos, la joven de 15 años fue devuelta a su familia.
Fue a los 7 años cuando A.B. se unió al movimiento en 2015 y obtuvo una beca. Demasiado apegada a sus padres biológicos, es objeto de críticas. En 2018, los problemas de relación son tan graves entre los Heraldos y su madre, que impidió que su hija recibiera el hábito, que vuelve con sus padres.
la vocación a los 12 años
El destino de B.P. era diferente. A los 11 años, tras pasar varios meses en el proyecto Futuro y Vida1, obtuvo una beca. Después del primer año de internado, participó en actividades durante los fines de semana y las vacaciones, y las visitas a sus padres se hicieron raras. A los 12 años, dijo a sus padres que tenía que prepararse para la vida religiosa. A los 18 años, llamó a su madre y le dijo que no interfiriera en sus decisiones. Durante una visita a su familia, envía un mensaje diciendo que está prisionera, la policía llega a petición de los Heraldos. El caso fue desestimado, y la chica (que ahora tiene 23 años) sigue con los Heraldos del Evangelio.
Una joven canadiense, que vino a Brasil a estudiar con los Heraldos, acusó a Joao Cla Dias de abusos sexuales. En una carta, dice que a los 12 años le tocó los pechos y las nalgas, y la besó. En 2014, con 22 años, consiguió apartarlo del movimiento. Ahora tiene 27 años y su se ha registrado una queja.
Otra niña, S., entró en los Heraldos a los 12 años, donde, en lugar de estudiar, tiene que aprender de memoria textos de Joao Cla Dias y Plinio Correa de Oliveira. Al igual que otros, se vio obligada a hacer sus “votos”, como si fuera una persona adulta y responsable. Cuando su salud se deteriora, su madre, Flavia Silva Nascimento, cuenta cómo consiguió sacar a su hija a los 17 años, cómo se escapó dos veces, antes de darse cuenta de lo atrasada que estaba en sus estudios. La propia chica da testimonio de la adoración por Joao Cla, que alcanza niveles extremos. Bebió, y otros con ella, el agua que supuestamente utilizó para lavarse, como le dijeron sus superiores2.
Otro caso es especialmente dramático: el de Alex Ribeiro, drogado y encerrado en una clínica psiquiátrica, que cuenta su historia. Originario de la ciudad de Sao Carlos (estado de Sao Paulo), se unió al movimiento de la Propiedad Familiar de la Tradición a la edad de 15 años y continuó con los Heraldos, donde trabajó como laico. Su misión, que le llevará a Portugal e Italia, es recaudar fondos. Besó los pies de Joao Cla Dias, “besos sagrados” dados al líder para recibir el perdón3 , participó en la ceremonia de la “santa esclavitud “4 . Tras dieciocho años de sumisión, fue internado a la fuerza a los 32 años en una clínica para drogadictos en la ciudad de Jundiai (estado de Sao Paulo) tras un ataque de ansiedad, sin que su familia fuera informada. Estaba bajo los efectos de potentes drogas, pero consiguió salir cuando su hermana descubrió su paradero. Tiene 41 años y sigue luchando contra su calvario personal.
A veces las cosas van más allá… El 27 de julio de 2016, una joven de 26 años, Livia Natsue Salvador Uchida, que ingresó en los Heraldos a los 14 años, fue encontrada muerta tras caer desde la ventana de su habitación en el cuarto piso del castillo de Serra da Cantareira (estado de Sao Paulo). Estaba limpiando, según las explicaciones dadas a su madre Zélia, que recogió información tras acudir al lugar de los hechos, pero que nunca tuvo acceso a los archivos de las cámaras instaladas en el lugar. Su hija murió por la mañana, pero se llamó al Servicio de Emergencia Móvil hacia las 12.30 y a la policía a las 17 horas. Un agente de policía le dice que fue un accidente y que lo acepte. Zélia contrata a un primer abogado que abandona el caso a los tres meses, y luego a un segundo que desiste al cabo de un año. La muerte de Livia se describe como un posible suicidio. Desde entonces, Livia es considerada una santa, se conservan reliquias e incluso hay medallones con su imagen. Para Zélia, esto es una distracción: “Creo que lo hacen para tapar algo”.
1 “Futuro y vida”: una falsa lotería organizada por los Heraldos para acercarse a los niños, ofreciéndoles música, arte y otras actividades recreativas gratuitas durante los fines de semana.
los fines de semana. Después de varias semanas, los seleccionados reciben becas para estudiar en una de sus escuelas.
2. El informe enviado en 2017 al Vaticano por un antiguo miembro de los Heraldos, hace referencia a la veneración hacia Joao Cla Dias. “Todo lo que tocaba se convertía en una reliquia codiciada, ya fueran toallas, vasos, platos, envoltorios de caramelos que solía tirar por la ventana de su piso particular o el agua en la que sus devotas hijas de la Segunda Orden lavaban su ropa”. Por “Segunda Orden” se entiende las mujeres consagradas (Regina Virginum), siendo la Primera Orden la rama masculina (Virgo Flos Carmeli). También están los llamados “Terciarios”, que se adhieren a los Heraldos, se consagran a María como esclavos, pero no viven internamente.
3. En uno de los vídeos publicados en 2017, se ve a una adolescente obligada a besar los pies de Joao Cla Dias.
4. Santa esclavitud: véase la p. 19
Sitios de referencia:
EXEA, antes Heraldos del Evangelio, lugar de encuentro y apoyo a las víctimas de abusos, que recoge historias y experiencias, https://exae.com.br
L’Envers du décor, un sitio creado por Xavier Léger, que formaba parte de la Congregación de los Legionarios de Cristo (1999-2006). Véase en particular: “Cómo llegan los niños a los castillos”, “Lavado de cerebro y separación de la familia” https://lenversdudecor.org
Catholic Orders and Movements accused of being Cult-like
I begin with two examples of problematic Catholic groups:
The first one re a group in the USA circa 1940s:
A short excerpt from the article: I grew up in a Catholic Cult I had to tell my story before I could accept that.[i]
By Patricia Chadwick
“Mom,” my daughter said in a take-charge tone of voice that reminded me of myself. “There are two things I have to tell you.” It was our first time seeing each other since I shared the manuscript of my memoir with her a couple of months earlier.
“First,” she said, “you need to stop everything until you finish your book. And second, you have to accept the fact that you grew up in a cult.”
I had been working on the book, Little Sister[ii] for eight years, and my daughter, then a junior in college, knew the story of my upbringing within the Saint Benedict Center. [Saint Benedict Center was founded by Catherine Clarke in 1940 as a meeting place for Catholic college students in the Boston area.] I had been taking her to visit my childhood home her entire life.
Her words struck me full-on, and I could answer only one of her demands. “I’m working day and night on it, darling, and I’m almost there,” I replied. But her description of my childhood caught me completely off guard. A cult? My home was a cult?
After the publication of my book, I began to share my story at libraries and clubs and on radio shows around the country. I came to realize that my listening audience agreed with my daughter: I had been brought up in a cult. The signs that I had overlooked were now staring me in the face: blind obedience to an absolute authority, centralized financial control, paranoia about the outside world, separation of families, scorn for those who left the cult. Why had I missed what now seemed so evident?
The Second example is from a present day powerful Latin American Catholic group.
Victims’ lawyer says scandal-plagued lay group could soon be dissolved[iii]
ROME – One of the lawyers defending victims of a scandal-ridden Peruvian (CATHOLIC) lay group has voiced confidence that the civil case he is leading against several of its members will move forward, and he believes the organization could soon be dissolved.
Speaking to Crux, José Ugaz, a named partner with the Benites, Vargas & Ugaz law firm in Peru, said they are “very interested in the dissolution of this institution, which has had a criminal vocation among the highest ranks of its leadership.”
“We also know that at the level of the church, this is being evaluated and it’s possible that the church will make a decision in the coming months,” he said.
The group in question is the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), one of the largest and most prominent Catholic lay groups in Latin America. It was founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari in the 1970s.
Figari, who is accused of physical, psychological, and sexual abuses, including of minors, was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2017 and prohibited from having further contact with members of the group or making public statements on the matter. He is now living in exile.
The criteria I have used to identify “cult-like”, coercive, high demand, high control, harmful groups are the classic ICSA, Langone et al. Other interesting approachs would be to apply Steven Hassan’s BITE model, Janja Lalich’s, or other reputable criteria to identify groups of concern.
The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader (alive or dead) and regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s)
The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
The leader is not accountableto any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before they joined the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and to radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before they joined the group.
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
Note: # 7
Based on the behavior of some Catholic priest founders, I suggested the parenthesis be ommitted. Dr. Michael Langone agreed.
The method is simple, even simplistic: apply criteria commonly accepted in the psychological and cultic fields to the modus operandi, functioning -rather than the modus credendi– of certain Catholic institutes and associations. The results are tentative and open to further discussion. Hopefully, they will be, at least, thought- provoking.
What may be unique about this study is that the groups in question are mostly mainstream Catholic, many are numerous and international, and possessing official Church approval. They are not, per se, maverick or rebellious associations. In fact, many have sprung up as a reaction against progressive movements and are fiercely loyal to the pope, Tradition, orthodox doctrine and Catholic authorities. What do you think?
List of Groups
Here is a list of groups I have studied to some extent:
Legionaries of Christ and its Regnum Christi Lay Movement
Questionable aspects of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement immediately spring to mind:
(cult-like charasteristic #)
Multiple abusing founder to whom old-guard members still profess veneration and presently attempt to reinstate.
Leadership cadre appear to have assimilated his modus operandi, including the end justifies the meansand manipulative procedures.
Main focus on recruiting
Obsession with fundraising.
As early as 2002, this writer formulated his critique of his former religious order and presented it at an I.C.S.A. conference in Enfield, CT, USA. The presentation was overshadowed by the testimony of Legion early member and Marcial Maciel’s sexual abuse victim, Juan Jose Vaca. However, Lennon’s analysis was accepted by I.C.S.A [iv] for inclusion in its archives, and also appeared on the www.regainnetwork.org page. When the Legion sued Lennon and ReGAIN in August 2007, it demanded this essay be taken down as part of the settlement. The areas pin-pointed by Lennon were:
Besides all the written rules, the Legion operates in the context of several unwritten, undergirding principles, such as
(cc # )
Do not question the Legion Way and what you are told by your superiors. Never publicly or privately express Dissent.
One Clearly Defined Meditation Method was imposed on all members, which led to mind-numbing. Members’ time was constant non-stop and strictly regulated, allowing no down time for personal reflection. Lennon stated: “The Legionary’s daily regimen is a constant stream of activities, prayer exercises, and formulas designed to keep him constantly enthused about his calling to the Legion.”
The essay also illustrated the myriad of rules, norms, and recommendations that dictated in great detail how members should think, act and feel, etc.
Scientific Note: Carmen Almendros[v] from the University of Madrid and International Cultic Studies Association, in her initial studies of the harmful effects of high-demand groups included former members of Opus Dei, Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi and other groups. Several of the Big Seven have come to the attention of ‘cult-watchers’ such as Steven Hassan and Rick Ross, I.C.S.A. and can be searched on their web pages.
The Heralds of the Gospel, case study
The writer was contacted by a former member of this organization in 2014 who expressed his concern after a female friend had just taken her perpetual vows there. He was surprised that this controversial group was approved by the Vatican. A cultish association, TFP, after the death of its founder, transformed itself into the Church-approved Heralds of the Gospel
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.
The Heralds of the Gospel are a successor organization to the original Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and claim heritage to the beliefs of its founder, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. They were created on 21 September 1999 but were only recognized as an “International Association of Pontifical Right”, the first established by the Holy See in the third millennium, on the liturgical feast of the Chair of St. Peter, 22 February 2001.”[vi]
Known for their outfit: a short tunic, with a big red and white cross on the chest, and boots like those of jockeys (see photo), the Heralds have spread to 78 countries, have many vocations, involve thousands of young people, and were supported by Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rodè, at the time Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Religious.
The group is under Vatican investigation.
Among other reports which started the Vatican investigation, are the letters and videos sent to Rome by Alfonso Beccar Varela regarding strange exorcisms. For at least thirty years there were rumors of the existence within TFP and then the Heralds, of a sort of secret society, “Semper viva”, involving the cult of Donna Lucilia Corrêa, Plinio Corrêa’s mother, and João Scognamiglio Clá Dias. A cult that the Church does not allow.
The videos uploaded by Alfonso Beccar Varela are frequently moved to other addresses as the Heralds are undertaking legal actions in Brazil to delete them for violating copyright laws. The images show exorcisms performed with formulas not approved by ecclesiastical authority, but above all the footage show (Lennon: improper) encounters between the founder and some priests.
The Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, the Heralds of the Gospel’s church in Embu das Artes, São Paulo (Wikimedia Commons/Webysther Nunes)
Vatican Intervention of Heralds of the Gospel[vii]
Vatican orders Apostolic Visitation (euphemism for “investigation”) of Heralds in 2017
On 23 June 2017, the Holy See Press Office published a press release expressing how the Congregation, in agreement with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, had called for “an Apostolic Visitation of the Association known as Heralds of the Gospel, of which the International Public Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right, Heralds of the Gospel, the Society of Priestly Apostolic Life, Virgo Flos Carmeli, and the Society of Female Apostolic Life, Regina Virginum, are members”.[viii]
· Pope approves Commissioner for “Heralds of the Gospel”[ix]
The Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life announces the Pope’s decision following an investigation of the Association begun in 2017. The Pontifical Commissioner appointed for the Association founded by Msgr Scognamiglio Clá Dias, is Brazilian Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis.
The Vatican stated in this regard: “The reasons for the Apostolic Visitation, and the decision to appoint an Pontifical Commissioner for the Heralds, are linked to shortcomings concerning the style of government, the life of the members of the Council, the pastoral care of vocations, the formation of new vocations, administration, the management of works and fundraising.”
Heralds dispute the validity of the appointment of the Commissioner on technical/canonical reasons:
“The Commissioner is invalid,” says President
On October 17, the President of the Heralds of the Gospel, Felipe Eugenio Lecaros Concha (Chilean, 60 years old), along with his General Council, received the visit of Don Raymundo Damasceno Assis and Dom José Aparecido Gonçalves de Almeida, appointed commissioner and assist for the “Heralds International Public Association of the Gospel”. The report had access to the minutes of the meeting. In it, the President addresses the following initial words to the prelates:
“We revere you as bishops of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as such both are the object of our consideration, but we must declare that we do not recognize Your Eminence as ‘Commissioner’ of the Private Association of Herald stalwarts of the Gospel, which I am the legitimately elected President.”
The President of the Heralds of the Gospel states that the decree notifying the Association Commissioner is simply invalid, and gives the reasons…[x]
Vatican orders all students at Heralds schools to be sent home at end of academic year [xi]
Vatican City — in a decree dated June 22, 2021, The Holy See instructed the ultra-conservative religious order, the Heralds of the Gospel, to close their boarding schools and send the students home …
Denouncing the “rigid discipline” and the isolation of families, who were gradually cut off from the young boarders, the Vatican decided that, to prevent “abuse of conscience and control”, minors “admitted in any capacity” to the Heralds or living in their houses, colleges and convents, should return “to live with their families and in the care of their parents” before next June.[xii]
Heralds appeal Vatican order to close schools[xiii]
The Heralds of the Gospel filed an appeal to the decree of Aug. 15 (2021), expressing their disagreement to Cardinal Braz de Aviz and noting that “none of those responsible” for the association “was called to address the complaints” nor were they “granted the possibility of defense.”
The Heralds also noted that the parents who made the decision to send their children to these homes weren’t heard from, and that the people who complained to the Holy See for the most part were not parents of minors.
Those same people, the Heralds’ press office stated, also filed a complaint with the Brazilian civil authorities and the case investigating the physical and psychological abuse of minors “was already adjudicated and dismissed” by the Sao Paulo Court of Justice Aug. 24.
These accusations, “already examined in civil court, were inadmissible,” the Heralds’ press office stated.
Common Characteristics of Harmful Catholic Groups
Help for Concerned Parents, Family, Friends and Prospective Members of Questionable Groups:
As a help to concerned parents and prospective members, instead of a summary, the author will present his list of cult-like characteristics. Besides Tydings’ consideration, the writer has sifted through classical cult characteristics in the psychological and sociological fields (Langone-Tobias, et.al), Catholic attempts such as Peter Vere’s Sifting the Wheat from the Tares[xiv]. The criteria described in the French language book, From Bondage to Freedom, reviewed here have also been most helpful. Based on over thirty years study and experience interviewing and counseling former members and their families of mostly Catholic harmful groups and on the research of the Catholic groups here, the author presents some specific applications of those common “scientific” criteria helpful in examining potentially harmful groups:
Abusive founder and/or leaders-leadership, including but not limited to abuse of power, exploitation and 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 (see Steven Hassan’s B.I.T.E. model.
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 concrete lifestyle in this specific group.
Directors’/superiors’/spiritual directors 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-compulsivity, guilt feelings and low self-esteem. (Naturally, you are 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/shunning, 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, Truth, Charity…
Lennon remarks how most definitions of harmful groups contain the mention of a charismatic leader. It is his contention that even when harmful groups are often founded by “malignant narcissists”, such groups are harmful essentially because of their damaging structure and, specifically, by their Modus Operandi, i.e., methods used in recruiting, retaining members and treating dissidents, “throw-aways” and “walk-aways” which often survive the founder. Though at the beginning there is usually the charismatic abusive founder, such abusive behaviors of the founders or leaders are the sirens that alert outsiders to gather more information and examine more carefully the harmful structures and the functioning or Modus Operandi, that perpetuates the various forms of abuse.
A Work in Progress:
This is a work in progress. In my booklet I have studied a smorgasbord of Catholic orders and movements loosely based on their importance, size, notoriety and relevance. There are many other groups in the Catholic Church of which I am unaware or only partially aware and knowledgeable about.
Naturally, I would also like to know whether I have overlooked any other works that have covered the same material!
If you are concerned about a group that is not mentioned, I would suggest you apply the above criteria; if the group fits a good number of the criteria, then it requires further study: information gathering, articles, questioning by “cult-watch” associations, visiting their centers, testimonies of former members… For Catholics, this could entail discussing the group and your interest with a mature priest or religious…
Is there a group that is not covered and that you believe should be?
I would also be obliged if you would let me know so I can give it my attention.
Are you particularly interested in one of the groups covered?
Do you know more about one of these groups than I do?
If so, would you share your info with me, or prefer to write your own study, or co-write with me?
Upon discovering the Pandora Papers on October 3, the most passionate about the news of the Catholic Church were surprised to come across the name of the Legionaries of Christ. This holy family, involved in a vast financial package, is involved in one of the biggest scandals in the field. For several decades, multiple accusations of pedophile sexual assault have been brought against members of the Legion of Christ, made up of about 900 priests and present in Europe, America and Asia
Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: The Unspeakable Scandals of the Legionaries of Christ
Quoted in the Pandora Papers, the congregation of the Legion of Christ has been immersed in dark affairs for several decades. At the heart of one of the biggest scandals of the Catholic Church: Marcial Maciel, its founder, whose actions have been repeatedly pointed out.
Their actions were covered up for a long time before the scandal really broke out in the 2000s, more precisely after the death of the founder of the congregation, Marcial Maciel, in 2008. The Mexican priest resigned in 2006 after several accusations of sexual assault committed between 1956 and 1997. The man had been implicated in 1948 and briefly suspended the time of the opening of an investigation, stopped by the death of Pius XII. After regaining his functions thanks to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, all the allegations against him in Mexico were automatically relegated to the rank of slander.
Many years later, in 1998, eight members of the Legion of Christ denounced his actions in the 1950s and 1960s on victims between the ages of 11 and 16. After a vast investigation by Benedict XVI, the Holy See ordered in 2006 the withdrawal of Marcial Maciel who was asked to “lead a withdrawn existence in prayer and penance.” This existence turned out to be full of secrets, some details of which were revealed shortly after his death in 2008. The New York Times then explained in its columns how the founder of the Legion of Christ had led a double life in which he had several identities, managed an immense fortune in all opacity and raised his own daughter. “Poverty, obedience, chastity”. The vows pronounced by each Legionary of Christ before committing themselves apparently had no place in the life led by Marcial Maciel.
At least 175 minors abused
These revelations were truly publicly acknowledged in 2010. An investigation by the Legion of Christ concluded that Marcial Maciel had indeed committed “acts of sexual abuse of minor seminarians” and said he regretted not having believed the people who had testified before. The same year, the congregation underwent a profound overhaul as part of its trusteeship by the Vatican, determined to take the subject head on. Apart from Father Maciel, other priests have been incriminated in this case, such as the French episcopal vicar Pierre Dufour, sentenced to 15 years in prison for “rape and sexual assault” – who had admitted his actions on at least a dozen young adults for several years – and Henri Le Bras for acts committed in the late 1990s.
In 2019, a new report reported at least 175 minors who were sexually assaulted by priests of the same congregation from 1941 to 2019, at least 60 of whom were attributed to Marcial Maciel. If these acts are recognized, their instigators are still present in the ranks of the Legion of Christ. At least in part. We learned then, still in the same report, that 18 of the 33 religious accused of pedophilia were still in office, but had nevertheless been excluded from tasks related to minors. More importantly, half of the perpetrators were themselves victims of the same abuses. “In this sense, it is emblematic that 111 minors abused in the Congregation were victims of Father Maciel, one of his victims or a victim of his victims,” the report reads. That same year, Pope Francis made the fight against sexual assault in the Catholic Church one of his priorities.
The extent of the suffering inflicted by these clerics is revealed at the rate of the publication of new reports. The last one, dating from March 2021, revealed new figures and the identity of 27 priests. Among them, “two have died without trial, sixteen have been sanctioned, eight are currently in canonical trial and one has received a dispensation from the ministry without trial.”
More broadly, the Ciase (Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church) delivered a report on October 5 led by Jean-Marc Sauvé, former vice-president of the Council of State. His conclusion is alarming: in 70 years, there are 216,000 victims of sexual abuse by clerics and 3,000 predator priests.
The Rise and Fall of Fr. Alfonso Samaniego, co founder and prominent member of the first generations of Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation
Tarcisio Alfonso Samaniego, LC, R.I.P.
Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation leadership recently mentioned the passing of Fr. Tarcisio Samaniego; those of us familiar with the institution immediately thought of his better-known and more important brother, Fr. Alfronso Samaniego; Fr. Alfonso had been been the LC Provincial for the American Continent from the 1960s through the 1980s. I believe many of those generations admired Fr. Alfonso’s elegance (an important Legionary value), his quiet, friendly manner, his intelligence and tact.
As tributes poured into Legioleaks (original 4500 member Spanish language facebook page) the writer added his comment in Spanish. (I will translate that into English very loosely with embellishments!):
THE RISE AND FALL OF FR. ALFONSO SAMANIEGO, LC/REGNUM CHRISTI PROVINCIAL
I knew Fr. Alfsonso pretty well, as director of the original Universidad Anahuac north of Mexico City and my Territorial Director (North American Provincial) for almost twenty years.
In 1961, when I joined in Ireland, Fr. Alfonso was well known in the ranks. He had graduated from the Gregorian University in Rome summa cum laude (gold medal?) and worked at the Legion’s first Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City. Fr. Maciel often mentioned him when he visited the houses and expressed his pride in having personally “formed” Fr. Alfonso from the youngest age (12-year-old) . Fr. Maciel could be quite judgmental and abrasive when he wanted to make a point to the troups. He lamented not being able to “form” the (grown Spaniards) who joined the Legion early in the 1950s -we knew to whom he was referring-. He said that Alfonso had been able to really capture “the Legionary Style” (Tipo Legionario), reflecting that elegance, suavité, intelligence, good personal appearance and grooming, articulateness. attractiveness, and gift of persuasion of the Legionary charism ( as Maciel saw himself).
Our status, esteem and posts in the Legion during the founder’s life time depended on our closeness to, agreement with, admiration for, adulation of-and maybe sexual intimacy with-“the preeminent example for youth” (words of Pope JP II). When, following my successful four-year-spell on the (0nly) LC Mission in Quintana Roo, Maya Riviera, in the then remote towns of Bacalar and Chetumal, Fr. Maciel chose me to found the first School of Faith in Mexico City, 1975, he told me to consult with Fr. Alfonso Samaniego re the curriculum. Patrick Kavanagh and I put the whole operation together from scratch in six months. I felt that with my shining MA in Theology from the Gregorian University during Vatican II I was caapable of drawing up the content for our Catholic Education Courses. I duly showed Fr. Alfonso what I had for the various subjects. He, like a good Legionary, had only one concern: would it be offensive to some of my (rich?) students if I expounded on the social doctrine of the Church -regarding the equal distribution of resources- according to Vatican II pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes? I feigned confusion…, and Fr. Alfonso did not insist.
FR. ALFONSO SAMANIEGO’S FALL FROM GRACE
As best I recall – I was an eyewitness- it happened during our 1982 Holy Week retreat (Legionaries don’t usually work in parishes and so are usually free duing that time of the year) at the Centro Cultural Interamericano in Mexico City. Fr. Maciel was giving the keynote address. He would use this occasion to give us updates from the various “frontlines” and motivate us for the retreat. The Great Manipulator might stage happenings also. One never knew what he was up to. Anyway, a controversy surfaced which involved Fr. Alfonso Samaniego, then rector of the Anahuac University. Maciel publicly voiced his concern about Fr. Alfonso not allowing Fr. Jesús Blázquez -then promoting the first generation of male Regnum Christi lay members- to recruit at the university. Fr. Alfonoso took exception to that version stating that he had not been consulted prior, andfleshed out other factors. He refused to be cowed by Fr. Maciel’s accusation and attempted to explain what happened . A major tactical mistake. Nobody could question Maciel in public. The exchange was somewhat heated and left a bad taste in our mouths.
Shortly afterwards Fr. Alfonso was removed from his position at the Anahuac and not given another assignment. He was relegated to the community of older priests living at Alencastre 73 in Mexico City; there to remain in the company of the other semi-retired priests such as Gregorio López, Faustino Pardo, Juan-Manuel Amenábar… As far as I know Fr. Alfonso never held another position in the Legion of Christ until his dying day. This little dissident Legionary was shocked by the showdown and his representment grew toward Maciel’s despotic leadership.
I add today: around 1980 when I was director of the School of Faith, I was abruptly told to leave my post immediately and fly to Cozumel, Quintana Roo, to assist Monsignor Eduardo Pironio who was vacationing there under our hospices. I flew out the morning after being told – prompt, joyful, blind and heroic obedience! When I got there, Fr. Javier Orozco, LC, the superior there informed me they were covered and I was not needed. After a week or two twiddling my thumbs, Fr. Zancajo, my Provincial told me to return to my job in Mexico City; that the previous order had been a mistake. He had said something about not being informed about my change. (Seems that Maciel had sent my replacement without letting him know and Zancajo did not take too kindly to that.) Soon after Fr. Zancajo was removed as Provincial (Territorial Director, in LC.RC parlance) and sent to Caracas, Venezuela as chaplain at some university. He was there for about thirty years. Never being recalled during Maciel’s lifetime.
En los anyos 1960 alabado por Nuestro Padre como el ejemplo del TIPO LEGIONARIO. Nuestro estatus en la Legion dependia de nuestra cercania, acuerdo y admiracio/ adulacion del Padre Maciel y/o si eramos parte de su haren. Alfonso pudo haber sido victima del abuso del santo del pene grande -segun testimonios de las victimas. Cuando me tocO fundar la Escuela de la Fe en 1976, Maciel me recomendO consultar on DT Alsonso sobre el curriculum…
La CAIDA de Alfonso, que presencié en el Centro Cultural Interamericano durante el retiro de Semana Semana Santa 1980 (?) sucedio cuando Alfonso manifestó desacuerdo con Maciel durante nuestro retiro. Maciel lo destituyO inmediatamente del Anahuac y de su puesto como director territorial. Lo DESTERRÓ a la comunidad de sacerdotes “relegados” en Fernando Alencastre 73, a juntarse con Padres Gregorio Lopez, Faustino Pardo, JM Fernandez Amenabar…?
Alfonso Samaniego fue reemplazado por el Padre Zancajo (santo varon). Cuando Carlos Zancajo tuve un desacuerdo con Ma iel circa 1980, Maciel lo destituyO mandandole a Caracas Venezuela, donde quedo dura te unos 30 años. CUANDO YO SALÍ DE LA LEGION EN 1984 NO SABIA NADADEL ABUSO SEXUAL DE MACIEL. MI PROBLEMA ERA CON SU MANERA DESPOTA DE EJERCER SU MANDO. (Paul Lennon LC 1961-84)
Pope Francis once stated, when questioned about Fr. Maciel and how he had succeeded in deceiving so many people, including Vatican officials, for such a long time and always came out smiling, that Maciel “must had had a godfather in there”.
That Godfather was Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the man behind Pope John Paul II’s throne for many years.
Pope Francis once stated, when questioned about Fr. Maciel and how he had succeeded in deceiving so many people, including Vatican officials, for such a long time and always came out smiling, that Maciel “must had had a godfather in there”.
That Godfather was Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the man behind Pope John Paul II’s throne for many years.
They tell me Fr. Penilla is currently living at the Legion of Christ house for retired priests in Cancun, Avenida Bonampak 91, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Supposedly he is mentally ill. The Legion wants to protect him. He is another bomb, revealing their long history of cover-up regarding wide-spread sexual abuse in the ranks and among the faithful. Legion keeps him out of the public eye until he dies.
RAMPANT LEGION OF CHRIST PEDOPHILE, JESÚS MARTÍNEZ PENILLA, WENT UNDETERRED FOR DECADES
ReGAIN comments: I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Romans 9,2)
Photo of Fr. Jesús Martínez (paternal) Penilla (maternal surname); because Martínez is such a common name in Spanish, he is known in the Legion and in his pastoral work as “Padre Penilla’.
They tell me Fr. Penilla is currently living at the Legion of Christ house for retired priests in Cancun, Avenida Bonampak 91, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Supposedly he is mentally ill. The Legion wants to protect him. He is another bomb, revealing their long history of cover-up regarding wide-spread sexual abuse in the ranks and among the faithful. Legion keeps him out of the public eye until he dies.
The last time Fr. Penilla was mentioned by the Legion of Christ was on the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination. The cover-up Legionary bishop of Cancun feted him on the occasion. At that time, the Scourge of the Legion of Christ, Father Pablo Pérez G., R.I.P.,
A principios de julio 2014, los legionarios de Maciel se ríen del Papa Francisco entonando un canto de albanza al sacerdote pederasta Jesús Martínez Penilla.
“In early July 2014, the Legionaries mocked Pope Francis singing the praises of pedophile priest, Jesús Martínez Penilla.”
Fr. Pablo Pérez, Scourge of the Legion of Christ, in Quintana Roo (Cancun, to you) called Penilla, the Pedophile of Isla Mujeres. Around the year 2014 Penilla was removed from Isla Mujeres and transferred to Cancun on the mainland. Fr. Pérez was incensed and published the article: “In Praise of the Isla Mujeres Pedophile”
The transfer and continued cover-up seems to be a common strategy in the Legion of Christ, morphed into Regnum Christi Federation:
the abuser is immeditately sent away from the place he is abusing; to another country or continent;
the victims are placated, bribed or silenced,
there is no notification of local civil authorities, sometimes the Legion does not even inform Church authorities -only if necessary, “if convenient” .
there is no serious independent psychological care for the victims
there is no serious independent psychological care for the abuser
Cover-up is the best policy
I was in very bad shape myself when I left the Legion of Christ Mission in Quintana Roo -you think Cancun- in 1984. I had to lick my own wounds after confronting Maciel in his home town of Cotija, Michoacán, Mexico and sought refuge in the Washington DC diocese.
Years later I learned about the Maciel scandal of him abusing his own seminarians. José Barba reached out to me and asked me whether I believed the victims’ story which had hit the headlines in the USA, thanks to the Hartford Courant on February 23, 1997. If that article had not appeared, Maciel’s “classical” victims would never have been heard about in the English-speaking world. The article had repercussions in the Mexican press too. I replied to José that, knowing deceitful and manipulative Maciel, I would not be surprised.
I got to know the ten-nine-eight survivors personally. I had known Juan José Vaca in the Legion. He was a supervisor of mine during my stint taking care of Mexican bishops during Vatican II, 1962-65 and later during my brief stay in Connecticut 1970-71. We respected each other and I heard his testimony of abuse first hand at an International Cultic Studies Association conference in Enfield, CT, in 2002. He told me about “el Padre Penilla” ( he is known in the Legion by his maternal cognomen).
Shortly after ordination, Juan José was assigned by Maciel to oversee the Legion’s junior seminary (Apostolic School) in Ontaneda, Santander, Spain. Several of the young – eleven to fifteen- year-old – Spanish boys at the Escuela Apostólica complained about Fr. Penilla sexually abusing those under his supervision. Juan José informed Maciel, Maciel dispatched Fr. Arumí, the rector in Salamanca, and Arumí sent Penilla immediately to Madrid, where Fr. Alfredo Torres, another Legionary, put Penilla on a plane to the city of Chetumal, Mexico. There he would be under the supervision of Monsignor Jorge Bernal, LC, who was the Catholic bishop of Quintana Roo, then a Mexican “territory”.[i]
Penilla would fade into the jungle undergrowth. When I got there shortly after that he was pastor of the parish of Isla Mujeres. I did not know about his background at that time and nobody in the Legion ever told me. Besides, I had known Penilla from the time I entered the Novitiate in Salamanca, Spain. He was the male nurse in the community. Fr. Rafael Arumí rector, superior and spiritual director – holding three offices in contravention of Canon Law- made me Penilla’s understudy. We took care of the brothers who would fall ill. I remember taking care of several of my Irish confreres who entered Salamanca in 1961 who had come down with a variety of ailments. I now know that many illnesses were psychosomatic. At that time I was just naïve Brother Pablo, being a good Legionary. Penilla, without any proper medical training -he was Maciel’s nurse too!- adminstered pills without consulting doctors.
He also gave injections when he thought it necessary: vitamin C and B12 were his favorites. I remember see phials of Largactil (Chlorpromatize) in the medicine cabinet. They must have been for Fr. Maciel and his plethora of complaints. Some of the injection were in the gluteus maximus. One victime told me that Penilla would take advantage of the unclothing to fondle the boys genitals. I forgot to mention that Penilla had been abused by Maciel! We know that Maciel’s original especialization was in the exploration of the genitalia of pubertal boys.
Back to Quintana Roo, Mexico. After many years of “ministry” in then very isolated Isla Mujeres[ii], Penilla was moved to the mainland: then capital city and bishop’s residence, Chetumal, on the border with Belize; he was assigned to an obscure town in the countryside, again as unsupervised pastor; he may have spent another period in Cozumel, and finally landed in Cancun as he got older.
Penilla’s unsupervised freedom in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and my later knowledge of the Ontaneda debacle through a bona fide eye-witness, has been a source of anguish for me for the past decades. I once tried to get a friend of mind on the ground in Chetumal to do something about it. But that was to no avail. I fell I was negligent and should have done more to stop Penilla -because I know that pedophiles don’t stop until they are stopped. One dissident Legionary, Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo, did all he could to name the sins and sinncers of the Legionaries on the Quintana Roo (you know it as Cancun) State Mission.
If my suspicions are true, I lament the plight of the many boys -and maybe girls and women- in my beloved Quintana Roo, who may have been abused by this Legionary of Christ. Heavenly Father, forgive my sins of negligence and omission and pour your healing balm on those who were abused. Above all, prevent the victims from becoming abusers.
Not every victim becomes a abuser.
But there is widespread lack of knowled in this regard. Some of the information smacks of old-wives-tales, simple ignorance, and machismo panic. What surpried me in the abstract below is the impact of “parental loss in childhood”. This lead me to reject the rational and existence of junior seminaries where children abandon their families of origin at the early age or ten or eleven. For me this is the equivalent of parental loss in childhood and it could be a factor in clergy sexual abuse. I am heartened by the Vatican’s intervention in the case of the Heralds of the Gospel, a conservative and old fashioned new religious order founded in Brazil and now widely spread. The order has been told to send all the children in their boarding schools to be sent back home. As their leaders have opposed the Vatican order, many parents have prevailed on local judges to intervene and demand compliance.
Here is the result of one psychological study:
Background: There is widespread belief in a ‘cycle’ of child sexual abuse, but little empirical evidence for this belief.
Aims: To identify perpetrators of such abuse who had been victims of pedophilia and/or incest, in order to: ascertain whether subjects who had been victims become perpetrators of such abuse; compare characteristics of those who had and had not been victims; and review psychodynamic ideas thought to underlie the behaviour of perpetrators.
Method: Retrospective clinical case note review of 843 subjects attending a specialist forensic psychotherapy centre.
Results: Among 747 males the risk of being a perpetrator was positively correlated with reported sexual abuse victim experiences. The overall rate of having been a victim was 35% for perpetrators and 11% for non-perpetrators. Of the 96 females, 43% had been victims but only one was a perpetrator. A high percentage of male subjects abused in childhood by a female relative became perpetrators. Having been a victim was a strong predictor of becoming a perpetrator, as was an index of parental loss in childhood.
Conclusions: The data support the notion of a victim-to-victimizer cycle in a minority of male perpetrators but not among the female victims studied. Sexual abuse by a female in childhood may be a risk factor for a cycle of abuse in males.
Me permito escribirle esta carta, aunque no lo conozco, solamente porque vi en el periódico una crítica que hace usted a la película El Código Da Vinci. Lo que me llamó la atención es al principio del artículo que usted lo dedica al Padre Marcial Maciel, hombre bueno, íntegro y fiel. Estos epítetos me calaron en lo más hondo de mi corazón porque no está usted calificando verazmente a ese señor. ¿Es Bueno, cuando abuso de más de 100 muchachos adolescentes y aun niños que él había reclutado para la vida religiosa? ¿Íntegro, cuando, por lo que sé de él, ha estado viviendo una doble vida de forma permanente, por décadas? ¿Lo cree usted después de todos esos actos aberrantes de que se le acusa con verdad? ¿Fiel? ¿A quién? Al Papa que lo encubre, a los Legionarios que lo sirven y lo idolatran?, o más bien, ¿A sí mismo? Pero ciertamente, ni bueno, ni íntegro, ni fiel para con Dios. Dios vio todo lo que él hizo, pero de Dios nadie se burla y Dios ya le está pidiendo…
Francisco González Parga, Q.E.P.D. 9 abril, 2022, R.I.P.
CARTA DE LA ESPOSA DE FRANCISCO GÓNZALEZ PARGA XLC
(Letter translated into English below)
EN EL AÑO 2006
Lic. Ma. Esther de González.
Guadalajara, Jal., 28 de Mayo del 2006.
Sr. Juan Pedro Oriol
P r e s e n t e
Me permito escribirle esta carta, aunque no lo conozco, solamente porque vi en el periódico una crítica que hace usted a la película El Código Da Vinci. Lo que me llamó la atención es al principio del artículo que usted lo dedica al Padre Marcial Maciel, hombre bueno, íntegro y fiel. Estos epítetos me calaron en lo más hondo de mi corazón porque no está usted calificando verazmente a ese señor. ¿Es Bueno, cuando abuso de más de 100 muchachos adolescentes y aun niños que él había reclutado para la vida religiosa? ¿Íntegro, cuando, por lo que sé de él, ha estado viviendo una doble vida de forma permanente, por décadas? ¿Lo cree usted después de todos esos actos aberrantes de que se le acusa con verdad? ¿Fiel? ¿A quién? Al Papa que lo encubre, a los Legionarios que lo sirven y lo idolatran?, o más bien, ¿A sí mismo? Pero ciertamente, ni bueno, ni íntegro, ni fiel para con Dios. Dios vio todo lo que él hizo, pero de Dios nadie se burla y Dios ya le está pidiendo cuenta de sus crímenes; pero aun Maciel tendrá que enfrentarse cara a cara con él en un tribunal donde no se tendrá en cuenta ni su edad, ni su delicado estado de salud. Y, esto, lo más probable es que muy pronto, debido precisamente a su edad.
Le digo todo esto con todo conocimiento de causa, pues yo soy esposa de una de las víctimas de Maciel y brevemente le voy a contar lo que yo viví como fruto de ese abuso, de ese asesinato de un alma limpia que nunca se imaginó encontrarse con un perverso homosexual que lo marcaria para toda su vida.
Cuando yo conocí a mi esposo, hace aproximadamente 33 años, lo empecé a tratar, lo empecé a amar, poco a poco me fue él contando su vida, me dijo a grandes rasgos que cuando él tenía 15 años (ahora tiene 65), el padre Marcial Maciel había abusado de él en un colegio que tienen los Legionarios en Ontaneda, España.
Entendí que él quería ser sincero conmigo y quería contarme todo su pasado para entrar al matrimonio sin ningún secreto. Yo ya sabía que él había sido sacerdote; sin embargo nunca me imaginé los horribles hechos que lo había orillado a dejar el sacerdocio, ni las secuelas y consecuencias que había dejado en su personalidad. Así que, aunque ciertamente me molestó, y me inquietó el conocerlos, seguimos con nuestra relación, nos casamos, y todo parecía normal; sin embargo, lo veía siempre triste, muy cansado, se agotaba con mucha facilidad.
En el primer año de casados, se enfermó gravemente de la uretra y estuvo a punto de morir. Duró 6 meses internado en un hospital de la ciudad de México con una infección tremenda.
Cuando salimos de esa, él seguía triste, enfermo de otras cosas, padecía graves insomnios, semanas enteras no dormía; en una palabra, estaba en depresión permanente, y cuando oía algo sobre el Padre Maciel se ponía muy nervioso, muy alterado, fuera de control, se le secaba la boca, le dolía el estómago y le afectaba en su proceso de digestión.
Yo entendí que las enfermedades y la depresión venían desde el abuso, pero él siempre luchó y se sobreponía para seguir adelante, cumpliendo con los diversos trabajos que tuvo; durante varios años estuvo dando cursos de relaciones humanas, luego abrió un despacho de consejería y dió clases como profesor en el ITESO, hasta que por su estado de salud y agotamiento, llegó el momento en que no pudo ya trabajar.
Entonces yo tuve que enfrentarme por varios años a todos los gastos de la casa, sus doctores y sus medicinas. Tenía que trabajar muy duro. Pues además de que tenía que atenderlo, cuidarlo y animarlo, estaba estudiando mi licenciatura en derecho.
En varias ocasiones durante ese período, cuando su angustia interior declinaba en anemia, por la falta de digestión y los insomnios, mi marido buscó la ayuda en tratamientos con psicólogos, y en la medicina alternativa. La mayor parte de los ingresos económicos que entonces teníamos, iban para el psicólogo que habitualmente no hacía reducción en sus tarifas y era muy caro.
Así que, Padre, debe darse cuenta de que para quien ha vivido ese infierno que nosotros vivimos, por culpa de otro, es muy difícil mantener la calma al escuchar que a ese otro, malvado, lo tienen como un santo, un hombre intachable, como un ejemplo y guía de la juventud, o como un hombre bueno, íntegro y fiel. Y no es envidia, Padre; es indignación al ver la obra de Satanás tan perfectamente urdida para que muchos inocentes caigan en las garras del agente perfectamente camuflado que él ha enviado, vestido con piel de oveja (con apariencia de santo y con sotana) y es triste al ver como hombres de buena voluntad como usted han caído y están incapacitados para ver, pues tienen los ojos vendados, pero aún así se prestan para salir en defensa del depredador, haciéndose sus cómplices.
Yo soy abogada, yo sé lo que es un testigo y una víctima; a usted y a todos los que defienden a Maciel, no les hizo nada más que engañarlos de que era una buena persona; ustedes son testigos de oídas, como se dice en Derecho, pero yo que usted Padre, tendría cuidado de andar ponderando a ese demonio que se viste de luz, que llama a la verdad mentira y a la mentira verdad. Yo que usted investigaba, preguntaba, indagaba, no sea que Dios también a usted le pida cuentas y le tenga que responder: “pues yo creía. . .., pues todo mundo decía. . . . , total, pecados de juventud, a muchos sacerdotes les pasa y ellos no han hecho nada por la Iglesia”, etc. etc. Todos esos argumentos no le van a valer ante Dios.
Por otro lado le quiero decir, que Dios sí es bueno y el sí es fiel y un día Dios tuvo misericordia de mi esposo y nos envió una persona santa que nos llevó al conocimiento de la Palabra de Dios, nos llevó a hacer nuestra paz con Dios, nos llevó a ver a Jesucristo como la única puerta para nuestra salvación y nuestra liberación. Poco a poco Dios mismo, como un padre amoroso, fue restaurando las heridas de mi esposo, fue sanando su corazón, y le puedo decir con toda certeza, que ya perdonó a Maciel y hasta ora por él para que Dios tenga misericordia de él y lo ayude a buscar el arrepentimiento antes de que sea demasiado tarde.
(Paul Lennon comenta párrafo anterior: se refiere a que el que había sido “el Padre Parga” se hizo Evangélico proselitista durante esa época de su vida)
Padre, de verdad deseo que Dios ponga en usted un espíritu especial, un espíritu de revelación que le haga conocer la verdad y que esa verdad lo haga libre (como dice Cristo) y feliz (como dice usted en su artículo).
Lo saludo con afecto y con el amor que Cristo ha puesto en mi corazón
Lic. Ma. Esther de González.
Guadalajara, Jal., 14 de Abril del 2010.
Estimado Padre Álvaro Corcuera:
He pensado mucho para decidirme a escribirle esta carta, pues además de saber que es usted una persona sobre la que pesa un gran número de responsabilidades graves, y más aún en este tiempo en que se les vino como avalancha a los Legionarios la opinión pública acerca de los pecados secretos, delitos y doble vida del padre Maciel, no encontraba la manera y el tono de dirigirme a usted que fueran apropiados tanto a la consideración que me merece su persona como al fin que me propongo.
Le pido al Espíritu Santo que me permita expresarle con plena objetividad, todo lo que hay en mi corazón, sin odio, resentimiento, o espíritu de revancha, con la única intención de ayudarlo a comprender un poco mejor la destrucción y los daños, no sólo psicológicos, sino también físicos, sociales y espirituales provocados por el comportamiento de su fundador, el Sr. Marcial Maciel, en sus víctimas, algunas de las cuales yo conozco.
Yo soy la esposa de Francisco González Parga, a quien usted mencionó en una entrevista que recientemente le hizo el conocido periodista Ciro Gómez Leyva. Usted dijo que lo admiraba; estoy segura que si supiera la lucha por la vida que él ha tenido que afrontar, las dificultades de todo tipo que ha tenido que vencer, y el trabajo de restauración personal que ha tenido que llevar a cabo para lograr su equilibrio y estabilidad emocional y reencontrar el camino de su perfeccionamiento espiritual, lo admiraría mucho más. Creo que la desarticulación y la desestructuración de su personalidad, así como el sufrimiento causado por ellas y soportado en completa soledad durante años, es algo que ni usted ni nadie que no lo haya conocido más de cerca, se pueden imaginar. Yo me casé con él y he estado a su lado por 30 años, yo sé cómo él ha llorado lágrimas amargas al ver que su vida se le fue de las manos y no pudo realizar ninguna de las grandes ilusiones que él tenía en Pro de la iglesia y de la juventud, pues, al salir de la Legión con tantas heridas, se encontraba limitado de muchas formas e incapacitado por la confusión, la desilusión, la ira, el desánimo, las profundas contradicciones y temores de todo tipo que sembró Maciel en su espíritu y en su ánimo ante Dios, sus semejantes y la vida. Por años me ha tocado compartir sus enfermedades, su tristeza y sus temores. Pero para cuando yo lo conocí y pude ofrecerle algo de consuelo y compañía, él ya había vivido años en depresión, lleno de toda clase de enfermedades; la mayoría de ellas psicosomáticas: insomnios, baja presión sanguínea, taquicardias, grave neuritis de carácter carencial que lo tuvo más de un año en cama, sin poder leer, ni sostener una conversación por más de 10 minutos, sin poder ver televisión ni escribir una carta. Actualmente ha perdido casi totalmente la vista y en parte por falta de recursos económicos no ha podido atenderse debidamente. Él ha sido una víctima de Maciel en el sentido más completo de la palabra, así como de todos aquellos que por años no sólo lo encubrieron sino que además lo exaltaron y ensalzaron tanto, consolidando con ello la opinión pública de que quienes lo denunciaban eran unos embusteros, envidiosos y mal intencionados conspiradores que sólo querían satisfacer sus ambiciones de poder dentro de la Legión, y al no permitírselo el fundador, inventaron calumnias abominables contra el santo sacerdote. ¡Qué pena, qué dolor, pero más bien, qué vergüenza deberían sentir ahora, quienes por defender el propio status, o la imagen de la iglesia, de la Legión, o del fundador, se convirtieron, de esa manera, en cómplices conscientes de Maciel! Porque es ya un argumento que a nadie convence, padre Corcuera, el que ni usted, ni los demás superiores más prominentes de la Legión, estuvieron al tanto, si no de todas, sí de muchas de las graves transgresiones y prevaricaciones de su fundador como sacerdote y como hombre.
Y ahora que usted le ha manifestado a Gómez Leyva su intención de venir en Mayo a México y “pedir perdón” a cada una de las víctimas que se atrevieron a levantar la voz al no aguantar más su dolor, a: Arturo Jurado, Pepe Barba, Saúl Barrales, Alejandro Espinosa, y muchos otros, yo me pregunto: ¿A qué viene verdaderamente el P. Corcuera? ¿A qué viene? ¿A ver los estragos que dejó su querido Padre Maciel en un grupo de hombres ya viejos, enfermos, heridos en todas formas, pobres, vituperados por todo el mundo que creyó en las versiones de ustedes y de Maciel, que eran unos mentirosos, unos calumniadores? Y viene a decirles: “¡qué pena! ¡Miren nada más lo que hizo “Nuestro Padre”! La verdad es, P. Corcuera, que me hierve la sangre de indignación, sólo de pensar que usted viniera con esa actitud. Es una vergüenza escuchar todas esas declaraciones que están haciendo ahora los legionarios y los obispos mexicanos en torno a la pederastia de los sacerdotes y los delitos cometidos por Maciel. Más valdría que no dijeran nada. Todos hablan de “pecado” y de “perdón cristiano”. Y no toman para nada en cuenta que las transgresiones de un hombre, cuando llegan a ser delito, se convierten también en un atentado contra la sociedad, en un atentado de “lessa humanidad”, porque como muy bien dijo en la Cámara, la Coordinadora de los diputados del Pan, Josefina Vázquez Mota, “el delincuente se convierte en un promotor de la muerte, pues mata la esperanza de vida al destruir la verdad, y la confianza en la honestidad”. Por esa razón, los delitos se persiguen “de oficio”. Los graves delitos no se deben arreglar solamente en el confesionario, ni un individuo particular puede absolver al delincuente en el foro de la justicia social.
Intentar justificar hacerlo así, me recuerda la historia de un hombre que le robó su carro al vecino. Luego, un buen día se da cuenta de que para estar bien con Dios, tenía que arrepentirse del mal ocasionado a su vecino, y va con el vecino y le dice: “Vecino, vengo a pedirle perdón porque le robé su carro, no sabe usted qué pena me da, de verdad, me duele ver que usted con tanta molestia va y viene a pie a su trabajo, pero mire, ya me dí cuenta del mal que hice y estoy muy arrepentido, de mi mal comportamiento; siento vergüenza de mí mismo y por favor perdóneme”. ¡Hecho esto se va, pero no le devuelve su carro al vecino, sino que sigue utilizando el automóvil robado! ¿Cree usted que Dios y el vecino afectado estarán conformes con esa clase de arrepentimiento? Pues parece que hasta ahora así entienden los obispos y ustedes mismos –los legionarios–, el arrepentimiento. Maciel les robó a estos hombres la vida, les robó la oportunidad de haber construido para sí mismos y para sus familias un futuro digno y feliz; les robó sus ideales, su salud, y hasta su reputación social, su paz y la alegría de vivir, ¡TODO! ¿No cree usted que los que ahora fungen como superiores de la Legión deberían en estricta justicia resarcir a todos y cada uno de estos hombres tanto en lo social como en lo económico de todos esos bienes de que fueron fraudulentamente despojados? Porque toda la vida de Maciel fue un fraude, y engañó dolosamente a todos sus seguidores con falsas ideas y prácticas sobre la vocación, para utilizarlos como señuelo con el que pescaría a manos llenas prestigio y admiración en los medios clericales y avalanchas de dinero en su arcas. Fueron esos jóvenes engañados a los que Maciel ocupó también como esclavos y mano de obra gratuita, para amasar esos grandes tesoros, a los que ustedes ahora se aferran, no haciendo mención en ningún momento de restitución.
Como abogada que soy, sé que desde el punto de vista legal, ustedes están obligados a pagar a las víctimas daños y perjuicios, pero también sé, desde el punto de vista espiritual, que es en el que ustedes deberían saberse mover con objetividad y verdad, que Dios mismo, en Su Palabra, cuando se refiere al pecado, distingue muy claramente entre la ofensa directa hecha a Él, la que Él perdona exclusivamente mediante el arrepentimiento sincero del corazón, y el daño social causado por el pecado, el cual el pecador debe pagar durante esta vida, como una forma de restitución. Esto está evidentemente mostrado en el pasaje que se refiere a los delitos de adulterio y asesinato cometidos por el Rey David (II Samuel 12,1-14).
Cuando usted dice en esa entrevista a la que me he estado refiriendo, ¡Qué pena que Saúl Barrales está enfermo!,… Bueno Padre, ¿usted realmente cree que para Dios y para el señor Saúl Barrales, o para la sociedad, con eso basta? ¿No cree usted que eso suena a pura hipocresía, y apariencias? ¿Porqué no se interesa en informarse qué es lo que tiene (tiene cáncer en la próstata), a continuación se informa en qué buen hospital lo pueden atender debidamente y cuánto cuesta su atención médica ¡Y SE DECLARA DISPUESTO A PAGARLO!? No se queden muy arrepentidos, pero con el fruto del despojo. Infórmense sobre qué pueden hacer prácticamente por las víctimas, y restituyan en justicia; no piensen sólo en decirles un “lo siento” y “perdonen”; ese tipo de disculpas, Padre, no es válido, ni humanamente y mucho menos cristianamente. Eso no es más que fariseísmo e hipocresía.- Me dirá: yo no fui, fue Maciel. Sí, es cierto, hasta cierto punto, pero los superiores actuales de la Legión, aún cuando fuera cierto que no están implicados directa o indirectamente en los hechos delictuosos cometidos por Maciel durante décadas, tienen, sin duda ninguna, la obligación de reparar el daño y restituir los robos que él cometió, como cualquier albacea lo hace con los recursos heredados por el difunto. Recursos que Maciel en este caso acumuló, sobre la vida de todos esos esclavitos, sus víctimas, quienes seguramente han invertido mucho tiempo y dinero en su rehabilitación, y de los que, algunos, ahora están y han estado en total abandono y pobreza. Y no me diga ahora, padre, que ese dinero no es de ustedes, que no pueden disponer de él, porque es de las almas que van ustedes a salvar. Primero está la obligación que la devoción.
Bueno, ya no quiero seguir estrujando mi corazón recordando todas estas terribles cosas del pasado, e intentando hacerle tomar conciencia de los daños causados y de la obligación de repararlos, sólo quiero decirle que en lo que se refiere a mi esposo, él no quiere que venga a pedirle perdón como lo ha venido haciendo hasta ahora; no venga a perder su “precioso tiempo”, no queremos ayudarle en el juego de ir poniendo palomitas a su lista de víctimas a las que ya pidió perdón.
Para finalizar, le quiero decir Padre Corcuera, que no se preocupe tanto por el dinero y las posesiones. Eso no lo honra. Preocúpese por aquellos que no hayan podido perdonar estas cosas, ni delante de Dios y haga algo por ellos. Ofrézcales un resarcimiento público de su inocencia. Ellos merecen además una compensación por el servicio que le han hecho a la sociedad, a los buenos legionarios y a los buenos católicos, al denunciar los hechos, con mucha inversión de su tranquilidad, de su buen nombre, de sus vidas y hasta de su dinero, arduamente devengado en su trabajo. Pero sobre todo, preocúpese por las cuentas que ustedes, los legionarios, van a tener que dar a Dios como las que ha de haber tenido que dar su padre fundador, al que tanto defendieron y ensalzaron. Preocúpense de ponerse a cuentas con Dios, y también de arreglar sus cuentas con tantos muchachitos y jovencitas generosos e ingenuos que ustedes sedujeron, secuestraron y luego utilizaron en primer lugar para sacar más dinero a cuantas personas creyentes y bien intencionadas se pusieron a su alcance. Porque “nada hay oculto que no haya de ser revelado”, y “lo que se dijo y se hizo en lo secreto, se anunciará sobre los tejados”. Palabras verdaderas son estas que se están cumpliendo en ustedes y en la iglesia católica, no obstante su poder, su dinero y su influencia. De Dios nadie se burla.
Le anexo unas cartas que escribí en su momento al Padre Oriol y a Lucrecia Rego de Planas para que conozca un poco más acerca del dolor recibido por las víctimas de Maciel y compartido por quienes hemos estado cerca de ellos. Me gustaría también mandarle el testimonio que entregó mi esposo a Mons. Carlo Scicluna para que conociera a fondo su tristísima experiencia, pero temo ser excesiva y puede que usted ya lo conozca. Si no es así y le interesara leerlo, se lo enviaría por correo electrónico. Le ayudaría a redimensionar el estrago causado por Maciel en sus víctimas. En mis otras cartas conocerá también mi modo de pensar sobre el caso
Maciel y los legionarios. Le mandaré también por correo electrónico, si le interesa y me da su correo, el documento que mi esposo entregó a Monseñor Watty aquí en México en una entrevista que Mons. concedió a un grupo de víctimas de Maciel, de la Legión y del Regnum Christi.
Lic. Ma. Esther de Gonzalez
FRANCISCO GONZALEZ-PARGA’S 19 YEAR CAREER WITH THE LEGION OF CHRIST
From July, 1951 [AGED 11] to December, 1970
Tlalpam, MEXICO: July, 1951 to July, 1954
Ontaneda, SPAIN: July, 1954 to July, 1955
POSTULANTCY: Summer vacations, 1955
NOVITIATE: September, 1955 to September, 1957
PREFECT OF POSTULANTS: Summer, 1957; in the same group as Fr. Mariano de Blas, Fr. Blazquez, Bonifacio Padilla and Raul de Anda.
JUNIORATE: September, 1957 to September, 1959
SUPERIOR STUDIES, ROME
PHILOSOPHY: September, 1959 to September, 1962.
THEOLOGY: Degree, September, 1962 to September, 1965.
Simultaneously Assistant to the Master of Novices in Ireland from 1962 to 1965 while alternating months of work in the novitiate with months of study in Rome.
DOCTORATE IN THEOLOGY: September, 1965 to September, 1968.
On July 7, 1966 I was ordained a priest and joined the Vatican as part of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops until June, 1969.
Concurrent with my doctoral studies and work in the Vatican, I served as Prefect of Studies for legionary seminarians: From 1665 to 1966 I was prefect of studies for philosophy and from 1966 to 1969 I was prefect of studies for theology.
EXILE IN IRELAND: July, 1969 to December, 1970,
LEAVING: I escaped from the college in Rome in a taxi on December 29, 1970.
TESTIMONY FROM THE VICTIM’S WIFE
Maria-Esther Zatarain de Gonzalez, Attorney-at-Law
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, May 28, 2006
To: Fr. Juan Pedro Oriol
I take the liberty of writing this letter, although I do not know you personally, only because I saw your critique of the film The Da Vinci Code in the newspaper. My attention was drawn to the beginning of the article where you dedicate it to Father Marcial Maciel: a good, upright and faithful man. This description penetrated to the depths of my heart because you are not portraying this man truthfully. Is he good when he has abused more than 100 adolescent boys, and even children, whom he had recruited to religious life? Upright, when from what I know of him he has been living a double life on a permanent basis for decades? Do you believe this after all the aberrant acts of which he is so rightly accused? Faithful? To whom? To the pope who covers for him, to the Legionaries who serve and worship him, or more aptly to himself? But certainly he is neither good, nor upright, nor faithful to God. No! God saw everything he did. God cannot be mocked and God is asking him to account for his crimes. Even Maciel will have to come face to face with Him in a tribunal where neither his age nor his delicate state of health will matter. And probably very soon, precisely because his age.
I say this to you knowing perfectly well what I am talking about, since I am the wife of one of Maciel’s victims. I will briefly tell you what I have experienced as a result of this abuse, of this assassination of a pure soul, who never imagined he would find himself with a sexual pervert, who would brand him for life.
When I met my husband, approximately thirty-three years ago, I began to get to know him, I began to love him. Little by little he told me about his life. He told me in broad terms how, when he was fifteen years old (he is now sixty-five), Fr. Marcial Maciel had abused him in a school the Legionaries ran in Ontaneda, Spain. I understood that he wanted to be sincere and wanted to tell me all about his past so that we could enter into matrimony without any secrets. I already knew that he had been a priest. However, I never imagined the horrible events that drove him to abandon the priesthood, nor the consequences and long term effects they had on his personality. And so, while I certainly was disturbed and it troubled me to find out about this, we continued with our relationship, got married and everything seemed normal. However, he always seemed sad, extremely tired, and became exhausted very easily.
In the first year we were married, he developed a very serious urological condition and was on the verge of death. He spent six months as a patient in a Mexico City hospital with a horrible infection.
When that was over, he remained sad and was sick with other complaints. He suffered from serious insomnia. Entire weeks passed during which he did not sleep. He was in a permanent state of depression. Whenever he heard something regarding Fr. Maciel, he would become very nervous, very angry, lose control. His mouth would go dry, his stomach would hurt and his digestion was affected.
I understood that the illnesses and the depression were a result of the abuse, but he always fought against them and tried to overcome them so he could move on, carrying out his duties at the various jobs he had. For several years he gave courses in human relations. He later opened a consulting firm and taught as a professor at ITESO until because of his poor health and exhaustion there came a point were everything came to a halt.
After that I spent several years taking care of all the household expenses, his doctors and his medications. I had to work very hard. In addition to attending to him, caring for him, and cheering him up, I was also studying for my law degree.
On various occasions during this period, when his internal anguish led to anemia as a result of digestive problems, and insomnia, my husband sought treatment from psychologists and alternative medicine. Most of the income we had at that time went to pay the psychologist, who was not in the habit of reducing his fees and was very expensive.
So, Father, you have to realize that for someone who has been through the hell we lived through because of someone else’s fault, it is very hard to remain calm when I hear that this fiend is considered a saint, an irreproachable man, an example and guide for youth, or a good, upright and faithful man. It is not envy, Father, but rather indignation at seeing Satan’s carefully hatched plan work so well, trapping many innocents in the clutches of the perfectly disguised agent he sent dressed in lamb’s clothing (under the appearance of a saint dressed in a cassock). And it is sad to see that men of good will such as yourself have fallen prey, are unable to see because their eyes are blindfolded, and who nevertheless come to the predator’s defense, thereby becoming his accomplices.
I am an attorney and I know the difference between a witness and a victim. Maciel has simple misled you and all those who defend him into thinking he was a good person. You are, to use a legal term, hearsay witnesses. If I were you, Father, I would be careful going about praising this demon cloaked in light who calls truth a lie and lying the truth. If I were you I would investigate, ask, examine, so that when God calls you to render an account, you do not say, Well, I thought . . . Well, everyone said . . ., They were only sins of youth . . ., Many priests do the same thing and they never did anything for the Church, etc., etc. All such arguments will be useless before God.
On the other hand I want to tell you that, yes, God is good and, yes, he is faithful, and one day God had mercy on my husband and sent us a holy person who helped us get to know the Word of God, helped us make our peace with God, helped us see Jesus Christ as the only gateway to salvation and liberation. Little by little God himself, like a loving father, began binding my husband’s wounds, began healing his heart. And I can tell you with certainty that my husband has already forgiven Maciel, and even prays for him so that God may have mercy on him and help him seek repentance before it is too late.
Father, I truly wish that God imbues you with a special spirit, a spirit of revelation- that would allow you to know the truth, and that truth might set you free (as Christ said) and make you happy (as you say in your article).
Affectionately yours and with the love that Christ has put in my heart,
MarIa-Esther de Gonzalez
(Translation by REGAIN staff)
# # # #
DE LA ESPOSA DE LA VICTIMA
* * * *
TESTIMONY FROM THE VICTIM
To Fr. Juan Pedro Oriol, LC, &
Jorge SuArez Huizar and Arturo Lucke Gracien, esquires.
I read your review of the film, The Da Vinci Code, and I am in complete agreement. However, I was struck by your comment in which, on the one hand, regarding Fr. Marcial Maciel, you refer to him as a good, upright and loyal man. On the other hand, you suggest to your readers that they always seek to discover the truth because only through truth are they made free and happy.
In the same spirit of love for the truth which you recommend, I wish to inform you that I was a priest of the Legionaries of Christ. In the twenty years devoted to work and study when I belonged to the Legion, I obtained a degree in philosophy and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University and was Prefect of Studies at the Legionaries of Christ College of Higher Studies in Rome.
Now in the spirit of helping you also to find the truth, I want you to know that at a young age I was a victim of outright sexual abuse, perpetrated in a deceitful and premeditated way, by Fr. Maciel. For this reason and in spite of having been ordained a priest in Rome by then Pope Paul VI [From the author’s soon to be published testimony: I was ordained a priest in July 1966 by Pope Paul VI in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome.], I felt compelled to abandon the Legion and the priesthood, taking with me all the moral and psychological damage that you might imagine. For many years I have lived with illness, have been in danger of losing my life, and have experienced continual depression as a result of the abuse committed against my person by Fr. Maciel. Even now I am suffering from the consequences.
But this is only my story. What about the 100 or more cases reported under sworn oath to the Holy See? I have since forgiven Fr. Maciel and I hope that God enlightens him and helps him to acknowledge the grave sin he has committed against those who were his victims and their families, against society and against those Legionaries of Christ who remain members in good faith of the congregation.
I am addressing you publicly because I am outraged by such deceit, falsehood and lies, and because it pains me to know that there are so many people who refuse to accept the truth and still others who impede truth through injustice. For some reason they have a need not to want to search for the truth or to even see it. Otherwise, they would realize that, if Pope Benedict XVI felt obliged for reasons of conscience to take such drastic action against Fr. Maciel by retiring him from all public practice of his priestly ministry, it is because there was sufficient evidence for him to do so in spite of the dishonor such an act could bring to the Catholic Church, to the person of Pope John Paul II and to his own person, and in spite of the damage this could cause not only to the credibility of the Legionaries of Christ and to the Regnum Christi Movement, but also to the economic, political and social advantages these institutions bring to the Vatican and the Holy See.
It is the opinion of many thinking people that the slight punishment imposed on Fr. Maciel by the pope is the result of a conflict of interests arising out of the above-mentioned advantages the Legion provides to the Vatican and to the papacy. Therefore, instead of trying him for atrocious sexual crimes and abuse of power committed against so many young candidates for the priesthood, they have hidden him from public view so that he may live in comfortable opulence, attended by his unconditionally loyal servants from the Legion. He does so in light of the pope’s recommendation that he use his time for prayer and penitence. Fr. Maciel will need prayer and penitence because God cannot be mocked. What he needs is courage, honesty and genuine repentance in order to publicly ask for forgiveness from those he has wronged, since this is the only way to vindicate himself and his congregation, and, by so doing, compensate his victims in some slight way.
Seek the truth yourself, Father Oriol, as you advise others to do, for it is truth that will make you free and happy, as you have said. Stop being part of the Works of Darkness, believing, perhaps in good faith, that you are a bearer of truth and light.
But if anyone causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18, 6.
Please feel free to contact me regarding any clarification.
Francisco Gonzalez P.
Former priest of the Legionaries of Christ
Zapopan, Jalisco (Mexico)
[Phone number withheld by REGAIN editor]
(Translation by REGAIN staff)
* * * *
ITINERARIO LEGIONARIO DE 19 ANYOS DE FRANCISCO GONZALEZ PARGA:
CARRERA EN LA LEGION: Desde julio del ’51, A LOS ONCE ANYOS, hasta Diciembre del ’70
Tlalpam, MEXICO: Julio 1951 a Julio 1954
Ontaneda, SPAIN: Julio 1954 a julio 1955:
2-POSTULANTADO: Vacaciones de Verano del 1955:
3-NOVICIADO: Septiembre del ’55, a Septiembre del ’57;
4-PREFECTO DE POSTULANTES: Verano del ’57: Grupo del P. Mariano de Blas; P. Blazquez; Bonifacio Padilla; Raul de Anda,…
5-JUNIORADO: Septiembre 57 a Septiembre del ’59
6- E S T U D I O S
S U P E R I O R E S: R O M E
-FILOSOFIA: Septiembre del ’59 a Septiembre del 62;
-TEOLOGA?A: Licenciatura: Septiembre del ’62 a Septiembre del 65.
SimultAneamente Asistente del Maestro de Novicios en Irlanda del 62 al 65; alternando los meses de trabajo en el Noviciado, con los meses de Estudio en Roma.
-DOCTORADO EN TEOLOGA: Septiembre del 65 a Septiembre del ’68.
-El 7 de Julio del ’66, me ordenA de sacerdote y entre al Vaticano, a formar parte de la Sagrada CongregaciONn para las Obispos como escritor de 3er. nivel, hasta junio de 1969.
SimultAneamente a mis estudios de doctorado y trabajo en el Vaticano, desempeNA el cargo de Prefecto de Estudios de los seminaristas legionarios: en el ano 1965-66, fuI prefecto de estudios de FilosofIa; y del aNo 1966 al 69, fui prefecto de estudios de Teologia;
7-DESTIERRO [EXILE] EN IRLANDA: Julio ’69 a Diciembre del ’70;
8- SALIDA [ESCAPE]: Me escape del colegio de Roma en un taxi el 29 de Diciembre de 1970.
* * * *
[The following is the original Spanish version of the letter written by Francisco Gonzalez-Parga to a newspaper in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico;
the below is under revision by ReGAIN at the moment: Windows messed up the original Spanish language]
MACIEL, A¿VERDAD O MENTIRA?
Al Padre Juan Pedro Oriol, LC., y
Sres. Jorge SuArez Huizar y Arturo Lucke GraciAn.
LeI su crItica de la pelIcula El CONdigo Da Vinci. Estoy de acuerdo en todo, sin embargo me llamON mucho la atenciONn su comentario del Padre Marcial Maciel al que Ud. se refiere diciendo que es Hombre bueno, Integro y fiel. Por otro lado Ud. sugiere a sus lectores que no dejen de descubrir la verdad, porque solo la verdad nos hace libres y felices.
Con ese espIritu de amor a la verdad que Ud. sugiere, quiero informarle que yo fui Sacerdote de los Legionarios de Cristo. Durante los 20 aNos de trabajo y estudio en que permanecI en la Legion, obtuve Licenciatura en Filosofia y Doctorado en Teologia por la Universidad Gregoriana y fui Prefecto de Estudios en el Colegio Maximo de los Legionarios de Cristo, en Roma.
Ahora bien, con el Animo de ayudarle a Ud. tambiAn a encontrar la verdad, quiero que sepa que fui victima a corta edad de abusos sexuales directos, perpetrados con engaNos premeditados por el Padre Maciel. Por esa causa y a pesar que fui ordenado Sacerdote en Roma por el entonces Papa Pablo VI, [Editor: Fui ordenado sacerdote en Julio de 1966 por el Papa Paulo VI, en la Basilica de San Pedro en Roma, del Testimonio del autor], me vi impulsado a abandonar la Legion y el Sacerdocio, llevando conmigo todo el daNo moral y psicologico que usted se puede imaginar y que sufrI por muchos aNos al grado de vivir enfermo, con peligro de perder la vida y con depresiones continuas, como consecuencia del abuso cometido contra mi persona por el Padre Maciel y aUn en la actualidad sufro las consecuencias.
Pero ese es solo mi caso, A¿quA hay de los otros cien (100) o mas casos reportados bajo juramento por escrito a la Santa Sede? Yo perdonA ya al P. Maciel, y espero que Dios lo ilumine y lo ayude a reconocer su grave pecado cometido contra quienes han sido sus vIctimas y sus familias, contra la sociedad y contra los mismos Legionarios de Cristo que de buena fe permanecen en la Congregacion.
Y si me dirijo a Ud. publicamente es porque me da en cara tanto engano, falsedad y mentira y me duele que haya tantas personas que renuncian a conocer la verdad, y otras aUn, que detienen con injusticia la verdad. Porque se necesita no querer buscar la verdad, o incluso no querer verla por algun interes creado, para no darse cuenta que si el Papa Benedicto XVI se vio obligado, por razones de conciencia, a tomar una medida drAstica contra el P. Maciel y a retirarlo de toda prActica publica del ministerio sacerdotal, es porque constato suficiente evidencia para hacerlo, a pesar de la deshonra a la que exponIa con ese acto a la Iglesia Catolica, a la persona del Papa Juan Pablo II y a su misma persona, y a pesar del daNo que podIa causar, tanto a la credibilidad de la congregacion de los Legionarios de Cristo y del Movimiento Regnum Christi, como a las ventajas economicas, polIticas y sociales que estas instituciones le aportan al Vaticano y a la Santa Sede.
Es de la opinion de mucha gente pensante que el leve castigo otorgado por el Papa al Padre Maciel, se debe al conflicto de intereses, dadas las ventajas mencionadas que representan los Legionarios de Cristo para el Vaticano y para el Papado. Por eso en vez de juzgarlo por los atroces crImenes de homosexualidad y abuso de poder cometidos contra tantos jovenes candidatos al sacerdocio, simplemente lo escondieron de la vista pUblica para que viva comodamente en la opulencia y atendido por servidores incondicionales dentro de la LegiONn, aunque con la recomendacion por parte del Papa para que aproveche su tiempo para orar y hacer penitencia. Lo va a necesitar, porque Dios no puede ser burlado y se necesita valentIa, honestidad y un genuino arrepentimiento para pedir perdon publicamente a las personas que ofendio pues es lo Unico que podrIa reivindicar al Padre Maciel y a la congregacion y asi resarcir de alguna manera a sus victimas.
Busque Ud. la Verdad, Padre, de acuerdo a lo que aconseja, ya que la Verdad lo hara verdaderamente libre y feliz como usted dice. No siga participando en las obras de las tinieblas, pensando quiza de buena fe que es portador de luz y de verdad. Y cualquiera que haga tropezar a alguno de estos pequenos que creen en mI, mejor le fuera, que se le atase una piedra de molino al cuello y que se le arrojase en lo profundo del mar (Mateo 18, 6).
Estoy a sus ordenes para cualquier aclaracion.
Francisco Gonzalez P.
Ex Sacerdote de los Legionarios de Cristo
[Numero telefonico no revelado por ReGAIN]
A couple of days ago, Francisco’s widow, Ma Esther Zatarain, messaged me with the sad news. Francisco, after a series of illnesses had passed away. She is holding up strongly, having become accustomed to the Legion of Christ’s insensitivity. Francisco’s passing was commented on in Facebook’s “Legioleaks”, the authentic one in Spanish with over four thousand former Legion of Christ members.
Insider informant informs me today that Francisco Gónzalez Parga did receive a large sum from Legion of Christ superiors before he hit the deck. This would ensure that his widow lives out the rest of her short life in relative comfort. ReGAIN investigative team is looking into this stunning update.
[original post below]
A couple of days ago, Francisco’s widow, Ma Esther Zatarain, messaged me with the sad news. Francisco, after a series of illnesses had passed away. She is holding up strongly, having become accustomed to the Legion of Christ’s insensitivity. Francisco’s passing was commented on in Facebook’s “Legioleaks”, the authentic one in Spanish with over four thousand former Legion of Christ members.
Several years ago, Francisco published his memoir in Spanish:
Why does the Vatican allow hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent and generous members to continue to suffer under authoritarian rule and coercion?
Some of them are priest-making machines and bring in millions of dollars to the Vatican
Is it because Catholic Leadership is unable to admit its mistakes?
ReGAIN has the greatest respect for Cardinal Braz de Aviz and Cardinal Farrell but as we are close to the ground we hear the cries of suffering members of these communities and cannot turn our backs on the victims of sexual, physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse.
just got this alert from Google referring to ICAS, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION APOSTOLIC SCHOOL
The Center Harbor school where several boys were reportedly molested by members of the disgraced Roman Catholic religious order, the Legionaires of Christ, is no longer a defendant in the federal lawsuits brought by the survivors.
Five men filed lawsuits against the order and the school last year in the United States District Court of Connecticut accusing the order of negligence for effectively facilitating and covering up the abuse.
Judge Kari Dooley dismissed the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, or ICAS, from the lawsuit last month based on the argument that it is a separate entity based in New Hampshire. The Legionaries of Christ order is registered as a non-profit in Connecticut and it was headquartered in Connecticut for decades.
“ICAS’s principal place of business is in New Hampshire, where it operated, at the times relevant to the Complaint, a private, Roman Catholic boarding school,” Dooley wrote. “ICAS’s students attended class, boarded, and otherwise resided in New Hampshire, where the school was located. New Hampshire is also where the alleged sexual abuse took place. Indeed, absent from the Complaint are any specific allegations that ICAS conducted any non-administerial activities in Connecticut at all.”
The order has since moved its American operations to Georgia.
ICAS was considered a minor seminary for the Legionaries, and hundreds of boys from all over the world were educated there for the priesthood. According to documents filed in court, the school was founded by Fr. Anthony Bannon, a leading figure in the Legionaries, and Br. Fernando Cutanda, a man who the Legionaries has since acknowledged abused boys at the school in the 1980s.
The lawsuits against the Legionaries itself will continue. The order closed the Center Harbor school in 2015, and in 2019 put the Dane Road property up for sale. The property, with views of Lake Winnipesaukee, is reportedly valued at close to $9 million.
Bannon ran the North American branch of the order for much of the 1980s and 1990s and was close to the Legionaries of Christ founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado. Known as Fr. Maciel, the founder has since been revealed to be a serial pedophile and drug addict.
Pope Benedict XVI moved against the Legionaries in 2010, after the Vatican issued a statement on Maciel’s crimes.
“The very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel, confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies, in some cases constitute real crimes and manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.”
Maciel’s now notorious behavior reportedly included drug addiction, fathering several children with at least three different women, the sexual abuse of his own children and others.
The Vatican took temporary control of the order and forced the Legionaries to make changes to their constitution, including ending the practice of having members take secret vows to never criticize the Legionaries.
According to the Irish Times, Bannon helped Maciel deal with offshore accounts for the order. The Legionaries is believed to have at least $1 billion in assets, the Irish Times reports.
Bannon was subject of a 1990s Rhode Island lawsuit in which he was accused of defrauding a wealthy widow, essentially lying about Maciel and the order to get her to leave the Legion $60 million in her will, according to reports. The family contested the will, though they failed in court, and the Legion kept the money.
Bannon died last, and the Legionaries used the news of his death to raise money for the order’s scholarship fund for its schools.
There is a sixth sex abuse lawsuit filed in Connecticut by a Jane Doe who alleges she was abused at the order’s school for women in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island school was recently dropped from her lawsuit as a defendant.
it is the conviction of ReGAIN that all the ills caused by the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation can be attributed to its nature as a harmful coercive groupfounded by a deluded psychopath who thought he was founding a religious order.
The conference will bring you testimonies and studies of former members, psychologists and sociologists who can explain what happened to you and the steps you can take to be whole again,ReGAIN your true self, and live a fulfilling and happy life.
After the Legion of Christ Chapter General in early 2021, the New -first US born- General Director (Superior General), Fr. John Connor set about damage control.
He would take action to compensate the victims of Legion of Christ -now morphed into Regnum Christi Federation- Founder Fr. Marcial Maciel’s rampant sexual abuse of his seminarians in the 1950s, an albatross still hanging around the “reformed” institution’s neck.
Fr. Connor set about his task in a very Legionary and Roman way: Divide and Conquer. In order to do things à la Legion -like any cult would do- he would have to break up the group of seven plaintiffs who had not been taken care of for seven decades (1950-2020). Their case would have forever languised in Vatican archives unless investigative reporters Jason Berry and Gerald Renner had bravely brought their plight to the notice of the English-speaking world in February 1997 with a ground-breaking article in the Hartford Courant. https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-marcial-maciel-02-1997-story.html
Our readers are familiar with later developments, reported here and in other Catholic media:
Mons. Charles Scicluna’s interview of twenty Maciel victims in New York and Mexico City 2005, brings damaging information to soon-to-be-pope, Cardinal Ratzinger.
Maciel’s death in January 2008 revealing sordid details of his double or multiple life, including mistresses and children.
Vatican investigation (euphemically called “visitation”) of the Legion and RegnumChristi, March 31, 2009,
Vatican “renewal” -never called “reform”- of Maciel’s brain child appoints Mons. Velasio de Paolis as Apostolic Delegate on July 9, 2010. Velasio de Paolis was with the Legion for four years, terminating his intervention at the congregation’s General Chapter in 2014. His work was hampered by his surrendering to the charms of LC Director Fr. Álvaro Corcuera and his coterie, and, among other problems, the desperate and fruitless search for the Legion of Christ’s charism and specific mission.
Fr. Connor’s task was daunting. But, like a Good American, he set about it forcefully and with a clear plan. As we have stated in our previous article, the fate of those early victims of Fr. Maciel’s abuse in Spain and Rome was a stumbling block to damage control among the members ad intra, and image laundering ad extra.
How to break that stubborn monolithic block of the remaining 7 accusers?
DivideandConquer. The strategy was clever. The men were in their eighties. They had been abused in the late 1940s and 1950s and had left the sect not long after in various states of mental and emotional disarray. As we wrote previously, there had been at least twenty victims in that generation. Twenty that were counted. If we were to flesh out (forgive the expression) the total number -realizing how only a small percentage of sex victims acklowledge their abuse and come forward- the number would increase exponentially. Maciel had taught his henchmen how to control leaks and numbers. There could easily be a hundred, just from that period. Remember, we are talking about a serial sexual predador dressed in priest’s clothing. Several of his victims suggest that Maciel founded the Legion of Christ Catholic Religios Order, in the first place, to cultivate his ephobophile harem. Harsh words, and not the writer’s. Remember Maciel’s refined sexual appetite targetted emerging puberty. He, the founder, specialized in initiating the innocent boys into their sexuality. That way he would have total control, body and soul, of “his men”, as he called them.
LEGION OF CHRIST GENERAL STRATEGY
regarding Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel’s, accusers and other cases of sexual abuse by him and by other Legion seminarians and priests.
DISCREDIT: “angry, resentful, vengeful”, “disgruntled old men”! (Fr. Owen Kearns, LC); a vendetta against the holy founder by ambitious former members, Richard John Nehaus in his “Feathers of Scandal” defense of Fr. Maciel in 2002. (Article since vanished from Internet to a large degree so as not to discredit Fr. Neuhaus, R.I.P. and Legion of Christ.)
STONEWALL UNTIL THEY DIE!
DIVIDE DIE-HARD ACCUSERS: as in the case of recent accusations against Fr. Fernando Martínez, abuser of 8-9 year old girls in Cancun, Mexico, 1991-3; and Maciel’s accusers.
IN THE CASE OF FOUNDER FR. MACIEL’S ACCUSERS:
Divide the group of Maciel’s “classical” victims, the ones who would not go away, would not shut up, and had not done the Legion the favor of dying off.
Sidestep and isolate resolute group leader, José de Jesús Barba, PhD Harvard, who demanded Legion leaders approach the survivors as a group and arrange full settlement of all damages: sexual, physical, personal, psychological, interpersonal, emotional, spiritual, religious… (several still suffer from some form of PTSD)
Deceive Barba into thinking and agreeing to work with Fr. Connor and Legion leadership, through a mutually agreed mediator, to reach a full settlement with victims. Meanwhile Fr. Connor is working diligently behind his back to implement the Legion’s strategy. Legion sign agreement with Barba, with a gag clause. Simultaneously disregarded agreement in order to reach their goal. ( cult characteristic: the end justifies the means).
Approach members individually and secretly, beginning in early 2020 -unbeknowned to Barba- offering them each an “Easter Egg” ($5,000.00, five thousand UScy), as a sign of caring and friendship -not as a settlement. they swear-, knowing that these men were now in their eighties and some of them were living in deep poverty (no property of their own, no steady income, little family support, failing health…)
As the first victims began crumbling and accepted the gift, leak to Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi members -the notice would slowly reach the public- “the victims are being taken care of”.
Take advantage of any chinks in the armor of Maciel victim- accusers to get them to accept gifts and sign agreements.
– Four victims accept the Legion overtures.
-Barba holds to agreement signed with Legion Leadership, refusing to enter into individual negotiations.
-Fernando Pérez Olvera also refuses, but cancer strikes…
Around March 2020 Fernando Pérez Olvera, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Legion pounces with the Easter Egg ruse. Pérez Olvera refuses to accept tiny nest egg. Legion leaders prevail with his wife to accept $10, 000.00 (ten thousand dollars) for his hospitalization.
On May 30, 2020 Fernando Pérez Olvera succumbs to pancreatic cancer in Monterrey, Mexico; with his dying breath he demands Justice from the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation, led by Fr. John Connor.
On the other hand: Mission Accomplished Fr. Connor! You are a worthy son of arch -schemer, pedophile, imposter, impersonator and malignant narcissist, Founder of the Legion of Christ -now called Regnum Christi Federation- to distance itself from the much maligned, yet Vatican approved, Legion of Christ religious congregation.
P.S. Spanish language article in respected newspaper (El País) three victims of sexual abuse accuse Fr. Connor of cover-up.
thought you migh be interested in this “clinical” interview of ReGAIN board member, and former LC/RC, Lennon, conducted by Dr. Michael Langone, executive director of International Cultic Studies Association. Dr. Langone helps us to understand the dynamics of recruiting, retention, and control of members in the LCRC in a serious, analytical and objective way.
Sit back, learn, enjoy
Hope it will be helpful to others who want to understand their personal experience, the experience of family, friends and loved ones, male and female in these and other potentially harmful groups.
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?
No es política de ReGAIN atacar al Papa o a la jerarquía de la Iglesia Católica. Pero este artículo acusa a la Curia Romana -los apparatchikes de la Iglesia- de los pecados de omisión y comisión. ReGAIN evita centrar su crítica en el Papa como el único o principal culpable de todos los males de la Iglesia. Creemos que esto es demasiado simplista. (Siempre es agradable tener algo concreto, una persona en particular, como blanco de nuestra ira e indignación). Pero resulta imposible absolver a varios papas, desde el Papa Pío XII hasta Benedicto XVI, de negligencia grave al permitir que el Padre Maciel y su marca de vida religiosa continúen y prosperen en el seno del catolicismo.
Aquí no encontrará a un (John) Paul Lennon “despotricando y delirando” -como fue retratado por abogados de la Legión en la corte de Alexandria City Virginia en 2008. Más bien encontrará a Paul Lennon, entristecido por la muerte de otra de otra víctima del abuso sexual del P. Maciel, Saúl Barrales, que muere sin reivindicación el 5 de abril 2021; a un Paul Lennon, consejero de salud mental e investigador de sectas -un católico practicante- impulsado a actuar por un artículo recibido de Info-Culte, una organización canadiense respetable de estudio de sectas:
No se debe permitir que un pedófilo regrese a la escena de sus crímenes.
El artículo citado se refiere a cómo los residentes australianos locales se opusieron al que el infame pedófilo, “Little Pebble”, regresara al lugar de sus crímenes de pedofilia, incluso bajo una supervisión muy estricta. El artículo me ha dejado perturbado cuando me doy cuenta de cómo la información sobre el abuso del P. Maciel a un seminarista bajo su cuidado -años después de fundar la orden con niños preadolescentes en México- llegó al Vaticano en 1943 y fue ignorada; el depredador regresando a sus dominios, cual zorro suelto en el gallinero que había construido por sus propios motivos dudosos. Este descuido también puede explicar cómo la vida de las víctimas de Maciel fuera destruida de manera tan fulminante. Tal devastación fue presenciada y sufrida por sus seres queridos, y por aquellos de nosotros que sólo nos dimos cuenta de su difícil situación en 1997.
Veamos por qué los residentes locales se opusieron a tener al abusador de vuelta en la comunidad donde los abusos habían ocurrido después de completar su sentencia – y cómo le impiden regresar. Se impusieron contra una decisión de la Corte Suprema de Nuevo Gales del Sur que le permitía regresar bajo estricta supervisión. Temían que las víctimas fueran re-traumatizadas.
“A finales de la semana pasada, la Corte Suprema de NSW dictaminó que el líder de culto William Costellia-Kamm – también conocido como “Little Pebble” – podría regresar a su comuna en Cambewarra, en la región de Shoalhaven, en estrictas condiciones y pendiente de aprobación por servicios correctivos NSW.
La decisión provocó una enorme reacción de la comunidad que fue apoyada por diputados estatales y federales.
Hoy, un portavoz de Servicios Correctivos de NSW dijo que a Costellia-Kamm se le negaría el acceso a la región.
“Servicios Correctivos NSW no ha dado ninguna aprobación para que el delincuente resida en Cambewarra o el Shoalhaven y no tiene planes actuales para hacerlo”, dijeron.
“El infractor estará sujeto a un intenso nivel de supervisión, incluyendo monitoreo electrónico las 24 horas del día, así como otras 48 condiciones estrictas alrededor de su vivienda, movimientos, finanzas, asociaciones, comunicaciones electrónicas y apariencia personal.”
El departamento dijo que Costellia-Kamm sería supervisado por oficiales de Correccionales Comunitarias “altamente capacitados” que trabajarían con la Policía de NSW.
“El equipo de supervisión también ha recibido amplios poderes de búsqueda e incautación por parte de la Corte Suprema, lo que les permite en cualquier momento y sin previo aviso registrar al delincuente, su alojamiento, vehículo y cualquier dispositivo electrónico”, dijo el portavoz.
“Cualquier violación de una Orden de Supervisión Extendida es un delito penal y puede resultar en cargos adicionales y hasta cinco años de prisión.”
Al dictar su decisión la semana pasada, el juez Stephen Campbell dijo que el riesgo que representaba Costellia-Kamm podría ser “manejado adecuadamente” dada la “rigurosidad de las condiciones” que se propusieron.
Preocupaciones por el trauma
La decisión del tribunal llevó a cientos de residentes en la costa sur a firmar una petición pidiendo que se prohibiera a Costellia-Kamm volver a vivir en el lugar donde se cometieron sus crímenes.
“Todos los niños tienen derecho a sentirse seguros en su comunidad y permitir que este hombre entre en nuestra comunidad pone a nuestros hijos en riesgo”, dijo la firmante Temeka Giddings.
Sus preocupaciones se hicieron eco de la diputada de la Costa Sur Shelley Hancock y la miembro de Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, quienes expresaron su preocupación por el trauma que su regreso tendría sobre sus víctimas.
“En mi opinión, tiene que haber alguna reforma a la ley por la cual un delincuente como este nunca puede acercarse a esta comunidad… Hancock dijo.
“No podemos soportar que personas como esta vuelvan a vivir entre nosotros”.”
En 2005 Costellia-Kamm, quien fundó una secta llamada La Orden de Santa Charbel, fue condenada por violar a dos adolescentes a las que se refería como sus “esposas espirituales”.
Había estado viviendo en Sídney desde que fue puesto en libertad condicional después de cumplir la mayor parte de su sentencia de una década.
Él sigue negando su culpabilidad y afirma que fue acusado falsamente.”
La Re-Traumatización de las Víctimas de Maciel y la Corrupción de la Legión de Cristo/Regnum Christi Federación fundada y gobernada por él.
El lector debe estar de acuerdo con el shock del escritor al conectar lo anterior con el caso Maciel.
El Vaticano tardó 13 años en reaccionar a las acusaciones contra el fundador de la orden (“congregación”) religiosa de la Legión de Cristo: comienza la primera “visita” oficial del Vaticano de la Legión de Cristo 1956-59. La investigación en última análisis fue un fracaso y a Maciel se le permitió regresar a su fundación;no sólo vivir en las residencias, sino también con el cargo de superior general, disfrutando de autoridad mundial. y ejerciendo un control total y detallado sobre cada miembro. El incestuoso padre regresó a su familia, restablecido y en una posición más fuerte. De vuelta en Roma, el estafador reanudó su romance con destacados miembros de la Curia a quienes continuó sobornando y chantajeando. El pedófilo en serie ya había estado abusando de sus sujetos pubescentes desde la fundación en 1941. Por lo tanto, el abuso pasó desapercibido hasta 1956 y continuó durante otros cincuenta años hasta su muerte (1959-2008.
Otra “visita” vaticana en 2009, después de la muerte del Padre Maciel, no logró erradicar a los depredadores sexuales, cómplices, superiores colaboradores, y lacayos de Maciel en la organización. Nose produjeron cambios radicales en la estructura y el modus operandi. Se realizaron cambios en los documentos, pero no en el personal. El entonces Director General de la Legión, P. Álvaro Corcuera LC, R.I.P., y el cuadro de liderazgo supuestamente transoformado por Monseñor Velasio de Paolis, siguen en control.
Estos últimos años, en su afán por negar la amplia difusión de abusos sexuales en su ambiente, la cúpula legionaria ha tratado de atribuir la parte principal de los abusos sexuales al fundador “malo”, reconociendo que él abusó de al menos 60 menores bajo su cuidado pastoral. Cuando uno considera que Maciel era un pedófilo depredador serial este número parece ridículamente bajo: ¿una víctima por año? Los testimonios señalan cómo Maciel era insaciable en su lujuria. Como escribió una víctima, refiriéndose a su abuso en la década de 1960:”Maciel siempre está en la búsqueda de carne fresca”. No se necesita demasiada imaginación para multiplicar el número oficial por tres, cinco o diez… Lo mismo se podría decir del número También queda de las víctimas-depredadores de segunda y tercera generación en el interior de la Legión de Cristo; un ambiente de puertas cerradas, secreto, minimización, exilio y encubrimiento.
Un estudio somero revela cómo Maciel “progresó” de abusar de las víctimas cuando eran niños a abusar de ellas como adolescentes y adultos jóvenes. Las relaciones desviadas a veces continuaban hasta la edad adulta-temprana con sus “amantes”. Sus relaciones sexuales con mujeres tienden a oscurecer su pedofilia y confundir al público. Sin embargo, es la convicción del escritor de que la preferencia de Maciel siempre fuera de niños y adolescentes: podía comprarlos en sus viajes después de agotar o perder el interés en suministro monótono en casa.
Nos quedamos con preguntas espeluznantes:
¿Cuál es el efecto de un confesor pedófilo, director espiritual, superior, director general que vive en medio de una comunidad religiosa fundada y controlada por él?
¿Cuál es el nivel de seguridad en una comunidad con un depredador sexual sin restricciones?
¿Qué sucede cuando un depredador sexual es tu director espiritual y confesor y utiliza este foro para explorar tu historia sexual y debilidades?
¿Cómo se destruye la brújula moral y la conciencia cuando el padre espiritual le dice al adolescente en ciernes que nada está mal, que está haciendo la Voluntad de Dios cuando da placer a su depredador y permite que él mismo sea excitado?
¿Cuál es el efecto de un depredador sexual suelto rodeado de niños inocentes cuando el depredador también es adicto a la morfina?
¿Qué tipo de acciones y conversaciones “edificantes” tiene el Superior General con sus víctimas cuando se desinhibe por el consumo de drogas?
¿Cuán extensos y duraderos son los efectos de Marcial Maciel -el abusador, el mentiroso, el engañador- en los superiores de la Legión de Cristo elegidos y “formados”personalmente por él?
¿Qué pasa con las acciones desordenadas de las múltiples generaciones de macielitas en posiciones de autoridad en la Legión de Cristo/Federación Regnum Christi hasta el día de hoy?
¿Cómo se aferra el Vaticano a su aprobación de la Legión de Cristo a la luz de estas acusaciones innegables? ¿No es capaz de revisar su aprobación ciega del P. Maciel y sus fundaciones, su carte blanche que sólo puede explicarse por engaños y cómplices mafiosos, sobornos y omertà dentro de la Curia Romana de la Iglesia Católica? (Véase el reconocimiento del Prefecto de la Congregación de la Vida Religiosa, cardenal Braz de Aviz, citado anteriormente).
¿Es el Vaticano capaz de admitir sus errores al haber sido engañado involuntariamentey/o voluntariamente por un estafador consumado? ¿Es capaz de corregir su aprobación errónea de este fundador defectuoso y su orden?
¿Cree el Papa Benedicto XVI que “la porquería” se ha limpiado del corazón de la Iglesia? ¿Qué piensa el Papa Francisco del trabajo a medias realizado por sus predecesores? ¿Seguirá manejando la Legión/Regnum Christi con guantes de seda? (Después de todo, es una máquina de hacer dinero y producir sacerdotes! )
¿Y cómo hacen las muchas víctimas inocentes del abuso sexual del P. Maciel y otros legionarios para mantener la Fe? ¿Cómo harán los miles de antiguos miembros de la Legión de Cristo que han sufrido abusos sexuales, físicos, mentales, psicológicos y espirituales para permanecer fieles a las autoridades de la Iglesia que los han traicionado?
El Resto Fiel reza para que podamos salvar nuestra fe en Cristo resucitado y en la ekklesia que Él fundó. Lamentablemente, muchos han perdido esa lucha debido a la negligencia y colusión de los malos pastores (Juan 10,1-18).
“Bien entonces, pastores, escuchad la palabra del Señor!” ¿Qué deben oír los pastores? Así dice el Señor Dios: he aquí, estoy por encima de los pastores y los llamaré a dar cuenta de las ovejas en sus manos.
Escuchad, ovejas de Dios, escuchad y aprenden: Dios llamará a los malos pastores a dar cuenta de sus ovejas y de sus muertes. Como él dice en otra parte de Ezequiel: los he nombrado como centinela a la Casa de Israel. Cuando oigas una palabra de mi boca, avísales en mi nombre. Si le digo a un hombre inicuo: “Malvado desgraciado, vas a morir”, y no hablas para advertir al hombre inicuo que renuncie a sus caminos, entonces morirá por su pecado, pero yo te haré responsable de su muerte. Si, sin embargo, adviertes a un hombre inicuo que renuncie a sus caminos y se arrepienta, y él no se arrepiente, entonces morirá por su pecado, pero tú mismo te habrás salvado la vida.
¿Ya ves, hermanos? ¿Ves lo peligroso que es guardar silencio? Si permaneces en silencio, mueres; y con razón. Mueres por tu impiedad y pecado, es tu negligencia la que te mata. El que ha dicho: Por mi vida, dice que el Señor, pudo haber encontrado un pastor vivo, pero como el pastor fue negligente, sin advertir a los que se le había dado autoridad, aquellos cuyo centinela era, morirá justamente,y el centinela será condenado justamente.(…)
Desde que planteé la pregunta, veamos si toma las ovejas de los malos pastores y se las da a los buenos. Ciertamente lo veo tomando las ovejas de los malos pastores: estoy por encima de los pastores, y les quitaré mi rebaño y no les permitiré alimentar a mi rebaño. De esta manera los pastores dejarán de alimentarse. Porque cuando les digo: “Alimentan a mis ovejas”, se alimentan a sí mismas y no a mis ovejas. No permitiré que alimenten a mi rebaño.
Esta selección del Sermón 46 de San Agustín sobre Pastores (Sermo 46, 20-21; CCL 41, 546-548) trata a los pastores de la iglesia como vigilantes y se utiliza en la Oficina Católica Romana de Lecturas el miércoles de la semana 25 en tiempo ordinario con la lectura bíblica adjunta tomada del profeta Ezequiel 37:1-14,la famosa visión de los huesos secos.
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 affirm 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 Two: 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.