Father Jonathan Morris was formerly a well known Legionary priest, who shares on Fox News Click Here how he was fooled for years, sincerely believing until 2009 that the charges against the Legion founder Father Marcial Maciel were patently false. He explains that one of the reasons why he believed in the Legionary deception was because
John Paul II’s handlers, and other Vatican officials, who were running the shop as John Paul II grew increasingly weak, succeeded in keeping the case quiet.
Father Morris adds that a number of Vatican officials had continued to publicly praise Father Maciel long after the accusations against him had become public knowledge. He credits Pope Benedict XVI, who showed courage in proceeding with his investigation into the life of the Legion founder in spite of obvious support for him from some powerful members of the Vatican.
Referring to the founder of the former religious order Father Morris belonged to he said:
In practice, this meant many young men and women, who thought they were devoting their lives to a religious order led by a saint, were in fact continuing to live in ignorance of the reality that their leader was in fact a sociopath.?
Father Morris now serves with the Archdiocese of New York, where he says he is very happy.
Father Morris has provided important testimony that provides a glimpse inside both the Legionaries of Christ and the Vatican curia. He had discounted the accusations against his former general director Father Maciel because during the final years of John Paul II’s papacy, Vatican officials handled sensitive and urgent issues in a
dysfunctional manner and that had
far-reaching effects on the life of the church and on its members.
There are questions that arise from Father Morris’s Legionary experience that he has shared:
- 1. Which Vatican officials handled the sensitive issues relating to Father Maciel and the Legion in a dysfunctional manner and why did they do so?
2. When the Legionaries of Christ senior leaders discovered that their
sociopathic founder was leading a secret life, (that included fathering children) what actions should they have been obliged to take (and if there was serious deception then why are they still in senior positions of authority)?
ReGAIN shares Father Morris’s admiration of Pope Benedict XVI for his courage in proceeding with the investigation in 2005 – 2006 and in his decision to step down to avoid certain officials from taking advantage of a long period where a Pope is not healthy enough to deal with serious issues that affect the lives of many.
Commentary From ReGAIN Founder Paul Lennon
ReGAIN founder, Paul Lennon, finds that too many Legionaries fail to take full responsibility for refusing to listen to serious accusations against their founder. He has penned an account of the Legion’s denial and deceit, and the Hierarchy’s slow but eventual reaction to Fr. Maciel’s sexually abusive actions (Fr. Marcial Maciel, Pedophile, Psychopath and Founder of the Legion of Christ, from RJ Neuhaus to Pope Benedict XVI). Legionaries tend to be
fuzzy? about the facts in order to diminish their personal responsibility. He reminds readers that the Vatican’s Promotor of Justice, i.e. prosecutor, Mons. Charles Scicluna, launched his investigation into the abuse of seminarians in 2005 and the Vatican condemned Fr. Maciel in May 2006 and put him away to a life of prayer and penance, a penance which he and the Legionaries disregarded. The Legionaries and their allies continued to stonewall, minimize and finesse the Vatican’s judgment regarding the founder, as reflected in a 2006 ReGAIN article,
Fr. Maciel’s Defenders of the Faith:?Click Here
So Fr. Morris must have known about the Founder’s abuses at least three years before he says he saw the light. Lennon continues to be appalled that it took after death revelations of Fr. Maciel’s heterosexual excesses to convince many he had previously sexually abused his own seminarians, his spiritual sons; a far greater crime verging on incest. Likewise, Lennon finds Pope Benedict’s categorization of Maciel as an
enigma in Light of the World too light and vague. That is why Lennon uses the term
psychopath to properly describe those deviant and exploitative behaviors. To this very day Lennon witnesses the devastation caused by Maciel in the lives of those young seminarians fifty years after the abuse. Only a psychopath could cause this long-lasting damage; a psychopath who was allowed to run wild in the garden of Christ’s Church. Fr. Maciel’s accomplices have not been convicted or punished. It is simply not enough for members of the Legion and the Regnum Christi to continue to hedge their bets regarding the Founder’s life, his
creation and the impact of his deviousness on their presumed
charism. Waxing wise and philosophical at this late stage is not acceptable. When former Legion seminarian Jose Antonio Perez-Olvera met the Vatican Prosecutor in Mexico City in April 2005 he fell on his knees and broke down screaming:
I am here to give evidence against the priest who destroyed my life!