ReGAIN envoy to Mexico, August, 2014
While Fr. Juan Solana LC was writing without thinking, minimizing the Founder’s crimes and comparing him to Mary Magdalen, I was paying my way to Central Mexico to relax and then meet with a few of Maciel’s most damaged victims now in their 70’s whom I have gotten to know and care for
Encounter With Maciel Victims
Arturo Jurado & his wife, Chela, warmly hosted our informal encounter at their home above San Miguel Allende on August 24th, topping it off with succulent paella. Some of those invited could not make it for reasons of health or expense. The former Legionaries I met were all Mexican founding members.
Alejandro Espinosa (Cd. Aldama, Tamps. & Celaya) author of at least two books describing his experiences: El Legionario* and El Ilusionista*: these recount in gory detail Maciel’s sexual depredations, the dynamics of his harem and his gift, charism, of creating illusions to exalt himself, deceiving and manipulating others in the process. As a young Legionary and budding writer Alejandro had considered becoming Fr. Maciel’s biographer. An illusion that stroked Maciel’s ego.
Later Sunday evening in San Miguel I strolled around the new shopping mall chatting one-on-one with Francisco Gonzalez-Parga (Guadalajara), author of Yo acuso al Padre Maciel y a la Legion de Cristo*, who was ordained a priest in the Legion. One of Fr. Maciel’s victims and sexual slaves he has made a miraculous recovery from abuse and a conscience-taken-hostage. As we discussed the enigma of Maciel he told of Maciel’s uncanny gift of seduction and suggested that some of the events in Fr. Maciel’s life point to the presence of a Malignant Spirit. He also explained how Maciel was able to blackmail Vatican Cardinals with his knowledge of their sexual depravities, specifically to gain the canonical approval of the Legion May 25, 1948. Gonzalez-Parga was also one of Maciel’s male nurses; he often bought Dolantin (morphine) and on occasions helped the Founder inject several phials into his veins before falling into a catatonic stupor.
Arturo Jurado (San Miguel Allende), as a Legionary seminarian in the 1950s and 60s, often roamed Rome’s clinics and pharmacies late at night in search of the medicine that Fr. Maciel desperately needed and demanded to dull the pain of his sufferings for Christ.
Jose Antonio Perez-Olvera who fell at the feet of Vatican prosecutor, Mons. Charles Scicluna, in 2005 crying: Monsignor, I am here to accuse Fr. Marcial Maciel, the man who destroyed my life! was unable to make the Sunday meeting. Pepe-To?o is a humorous individual who also regaled me and my wife with anecdotes and memories at Chucho el Roto restaurant in Queretaro the following day.
My intention was for us to spend some fun time together to continue our healing process. By showing my solidarity to these brave men and by listening with empathy I wanted to contribute to their full recovery from child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and a myriad of other abuses. As a former Legionary myself I sought healing with them from Multiple Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by the oppressive system implemented by Maciel and cruel superiors.
The Cost of Damages
Because of the damage suffered in the Legion and the lack of any moral, psychological or financial support after leaving (a walk- away) or being kicked out (a throw-away), some of these men are now living in poverty.
When I asked Gonzalez-Parga why he would not meet with the Outreach Commission to Victims set up by Cardinal De Paolis, he reminded me that four Legionaries (including superiors hand-picked by Maciel such as Frs. Corcuera and Florencio Sanchez-Soler) were sitting on the board of six examining the legitimacy of the claims: It is so humiliating! Why should I subject myself again to my abusers in order to seek compensation clearly due in all justice?
Francisco & Maria Esther are a good example of the plight of many aging former Legionaries. While presently solvent, they have a lot of catching up to do financially. At retirement age they must continue to work full time. They do not have pensions, health insurance or protection against unforeseen crises in their later years. They have paid out of pocket for costly medical interventions. But there are other survivors who are even less fortunate.
Some of the survivors I met, as well as many other former members, seem to be cursed by their Legion involvement -not unusual for victims and people with PTSD ? and depend on the kindness of strangers for bed and board. If any of our readers would like to send financial support, please make out tax exempt checks of any amount to non-profit Regain, Inc (501(c)(3), and post them to acting treasurer
Marita La Palm, 2500 20th Rd. N. #502, Arlington, VA 22201.
ReGAIN will find a way to get the help to those in need in a discreet and respectful way. Thank you for your support of the forgotten victims of Fr. Maciel, the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.
PS. The most trenchant analyses of the Maciel and the Legion phenomenon are in Spanish, including the outstandingly well researched Marcial Maciel: la Legion de Cristo, documentos y testimonios in?ditos by Fernando Gonzalez, an historian at Mexico’s UNAM University. That is one of the reasons www.regainnetwork.org makes articles and testimonies available in English and also provides summaries of important documents.
The writer, J. Paul Lennon, is co-founder of ReGAIN and author of Our Father Maciel who art in bed, A Naive and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ* and Fr. Maciel, Pedophile, Psychopath and Legion of Christ Founder* He checked with the survivors for fidelity to content and edited in their feedback before publishing.
*Books available on createspace, Amazon and Kindle.