By Glenn Favreau
For Christians, no treatise is necessary to show that lying is sinful. The notion is engrained in us, as a type of expression of the natural law. It is sinful to lie, but it is also inhuman, in other words, to lie makes a person less of a human being.
Lying by Example
The Legionary of Christ is trained to lie from the very onset of his vocation. There are no classes in lying taught immediately after Gregorian Chant class on Friday nights, because the approach is more “subtle” given by example as well as by command. Within the Legion, a variety of subterfuges justify the lying, and amazingly, even many of those who have left the Legion years ago still engage in the practice. Along with the lies, many former members wish to advance the “Kingdom” by sending ReGAIN letters in support of the Legion, which are laced with profanity and obscenities. The ability to distinguish between what is appropriate and objective sin is obviously lost, as such letters usually end with a curiously contradictory “In Christ” or “I will pray for you.”
Self Importance and the Rule of Discretion
Legionaries often keep secrets, under the guise of what they call “discretion,” with the excuse of protecting the Legion from the scheming of its “enemies.” We were told countless times that if a certain fact got out, the enemies of the Legion (Jesuits, Masons, Communists, and Zionists) would sabotage the work of God for the Kingdom. What sort of organization, admittedly small and of limited influence, would be so willing to do so much in the name of a false sense of self-importance? Do these groups really even know who the Legionaries of Christ are, let alone even care if they take over yet another struggling Catholic School?
It’s the Mexican Way!?
Another flimsy excuse for abusing the truth is the dubious statement, “The Legion is Mexican in origin, and it is the Mexican way.” I know many Mexicans who would take issue with such a bigoted statement. And, even if the argument were to be entertained as true, then evangelizing such a society about integrity and the importance of telling the truth would be an obvious mandate of the Church. Using this purported defect to advance the project of evangelization should be unconscionable and indefensible. Good things are never to be pursued by bad means. The Legionary is trained in a variety of instances to lie. The examples below, together with corresponding excuses are compiled and attested to by various ex-members. These instances are not isolated. They are the norm and they are habitual.
On Leaving the Legion
Superiors often lie to their subjects regarding those brothers and priests who leave the Legion. “He was mentally ill” or “He was sent on a special secret mission for the pope by Nuestro Padre” are just a couple of the ridiculous examples we witnessed, used by worried superiors wanting to keep hold of the men under their watch. There must be a better way to protect the remaining vocations than to lie about the discernment process of exiting members. Parents are routinely lied to about the spiritual well-being of their sons, and by their own sons themselves. Legion rules dictate this. The religious may never reveal the true nature of his spiritual life to his parents. Parents are not only left out of vocational discernment, but are deceived as to its progress. A parent is often the last person to know when his or her son leaves the Legion, and that phone call is often to ask for money for the plane ticket home.
Render onto Caesar!
To avoid undesirable consequences for the Legion and to advance the Kingdom of Christ, Legionaries often lie to legitimate legal authorities. The Legionary seems to think that he will be held to a different standard than any other person because of his “divine mission.” With the excuse that “everyone does it” (usually in Italy and Mexico), Legionaries constantly lie to civil authorities. This is done in matters of construction permits, vehicle registration, tax exemptions, fiscal reporting, and so on. Once again, the Kingdom is more important than the truth, the end more compelling than the illicit means to achieve it. Legionaries even lie to immigration officials as if the Legion were more important then this vital regulation of public welfare. Young Latin Americans are brought to different countries, including the United States, and are granted student visas when in fact these young people are being used as cheap labor in Legion houses. Without any educational process in place, not even a local language class, the Legion attests under oath that they are students. Young workers from other countries are often lied to when they are told how much they will make, and assured that the Legion will provide for their high school education. That is simply a fallacy. Future “apostles” -even entire families – who actually move from one country to another to be missionaries, are told of the wonderful work they will do for the Kingdom. At times, they are suddenly told that their participation is not needed and they have to return to their home at their own expense.
The Legion is expert in falsifying educational records. Seminarians who fall behind or fail in their studies have their grades adjusted by their superiors so that they can graduate or get degrees. The Legion has no qualms about lying to the state with regard to educational requisites for high school degrees. (Certain high-ranking superiors in the United States have benefited from this. The existence of high-ranking superiors without the ability to pass high school subjects speaks volumes of the intellectual formation in the Legion of Christ). Seminarians who have not yet finished their required studies will have falsified educational records sent to the Vicariate of Rome for ordination. (Certainly, in the secular world, even so-called “best selling authors” would find their resumes in question if the truth was told about their real qualifications. But if the excuse that everyone pads resumes is valid, then the Legionary priest is not setting a very high example.)
The Almighty (Buck)
The Legion of Christ is notorious for not paying its creditors on time and for often defaulting on bill payment. The Legionary brother who fields creditor calls is an expert in lying to people who are legitimately owed money that the Legion has used in the form of goods and services. Anyone asking for money from the Legion of Christ for any purpose has heard the same lie for decades now: “Given the economic crisis that the Legion is passing through due to the devaluation of the Mexican peso!.” Many readers will laugh at this as they have seen it so many times. I personally had a macro for it on the computer that I used to write letters for the General Directorate and for Marcial Maciel in the early 1990s. Benefactors of the Legion are constantly lied to as to the destination of their donations. Whether their gifts were solicited for the missions, the welfare of the Candidates, the building of a particular seminary, or the altar of a new chapel, funds are simply not earmarked that way in the Legion’s “centralized” economy. Additionally, the same altar will be “bought” over and over again by many benefactors who have been led to believe that their hard-earned money will be the crowning touch of the wonderful chapel. On a subject that certainly crosses the line of impropriety, Legionaries who work in the financial offices are told to throw Mass intentions into the garbage without keeping track of names, with the excuse that “There are just too many, we will just lump them all together.” The money, of course, is not returned to the donor. Mass intentions are sacrosanct, and lying to the faithful in this regard is particularly evil, especially when these Mass intentions are specifically solicited by the Legion.
Father Told Me So
Another source of lies in the Legion is the superiors themselves. Often, individual Legionaries are specifically instructed to lie ! both to individuals outside the Movement and to each other. One common example would be the dispatch of a religious on an unannounced assignment; he would often be told to tell his fellow religious something other than the truth. Again, this is a perfect example of the obsession with secrecy and self-importance of the Legion itself. Entire communities, and the entire Legion itself are at times told to lie by major superiors. Usually the mandate comes in the form of a letter indicating what to say to “outsiders”when asked certain questions. Half-truths are to be told about apostolates, rather than revealing some all-important project that is going to “lock Satan in Hell forever.”Unfortunately, the motivation is often pride or actual fear that ulterior motives may be revealed. Legionaries routinely lie about the true nature of many apostolates, especially those designed by superiors for recruiting for the Regnum Christi. Too often, people are told the truth about recruitment and incorporation into the Regnum Christi only after many high-pressure tactics and love-bombing have firmly planted the hook in them. Stories abound of Legionaries lying to people whom they visit when on road trips to recruit or look for funds. The motivation is to get more money, better meals, or better lodging. So the unsuspecting hosts will offer one or more of these things, being led to believe that the poor priest and brother have nowhere to stay the night, when in fact, they have already secured more humble lodgings elsewhere. Legion superiors have for many years manipulated reports of the numbers of religious and priests in the Legion. Self-reporting to the United States Catholic Directory or the Pontifical Directory (Annuario Pontificio) is notoriously inaccurate with regard to the Legion of Christ. This manipulation is perfectly calculated to give false impressions about growth and presence in a given place. Ironically, these statistics are falsified in both directions: either to give the impression that the Legion is much greater than in reality, or to minimize a large presence in a city or country, depending on the needs and whims of major superiors.
If Only the Bishop Knew
Bishops and diocesan officials are the targets of many lies by the Legion of Christ. Without mentioning the many specific examples which have been documented in dioceses and by the press, there is a certain trend that is worth delineating: bishops are told only a part of the truth of the activities of the Legion and the Regnum Christi, when they are told at all. Leaving out important points such as the planned foundation and take over of Catholic schools (using the excuse that the school is private and will later seek diocesan approval) is a typical approach. Recruitment of vocations for the Legion is a secret not to be shared with bishop who simply will not understand or who is not getting any vocations for his own diocese at present anyway.
Wouldn’t it be Nice! – if it Were True
Young men who are targeted for recruitment by the Legion of Christ have been told a whole series of lies regarding life in the Legion in order to hook them and reel them in. One of the most vicious of these lies concerns the promise of education. For decades, the Legion has promised young men that they will study for a civil career in the Legion. I was told that only twenty years ago. The Legion has never delivered on that promise. On the other hand, if a Legionary leaves under difficult circumstances, the congregation will occasionally “lose” critical transcripts, forcing the man to retake years of classes. Lies, in this case, go hand-in-hand with personal retribution.
Weak Vocations of the Miracle Congregation
The strong and revolutionary vocational training program of the Legion of Chris -?that promises the Church such robust and faithful young men -is the same training program that treats its own members as if they cannot handle the slightest challenge to their vocation. The brothers are lied to constantly about any detail that a superior might thing will cause the infamous “vocational crisis” in them. It seems such a contradiction that the well-formed Legionaries cannot know about important news events, church dissenters, any questions or criticisms of the Legion, or family difficulties. From the youngest member to the oldest, from the novice to the new priest, the Legionaries are “protected” from these“vicious,” potentially “crisis-causing” events. Superior either simply omit such things from the subjects’ world of knowledge, or lies outright about the details. If, for example, a brother is never told of the marital problems through which his parents are passing, even to the point of separation, then those who deprive him of letters from home which outline that situation are lying to him (not to mention depriving the family of essential prayer support). What good is his vocation if he “saves” the world and yet denies his own family the honest communication it deserves?
Hat in Hand Humility Hype
Legionaries are trained to be very humble with outsiders (although some arrogance does seep through) in order to gain confidence and sympathy. “Here are these nice young men, so poor and humble coming to ask me to give them my house and my life savings for the Kingdom. How can I resist?” Those who are best at this type of scam are sent out to represent a multi-million dollar corporation – run by a priest who is a member of the richest family in the world, the Garza Medina family and founded by a man who taught his spiritual sons to lie to cover up his sexual abuse of them – indeed, a man who could not fly in less than first class or stay in anything less than a five star hotel himself.
The Whisper Campaign
One of the most insidious and evil forms of outright lying in the Legion by individual Legionaries is employed to deal with “dissenters” who leave the Regnum Christi. They deftly combine ostracizing with backhanded whispers about these traitorous souls. Many ex-members of the Regnum Christi find themselves subtly but effectively blackballed, losing a considerable number of their friends and associates. If individuals opt out of the Regnum Christi, then they are totally out – and lies about them, their motivation, and their spiritual and moral life will guarantee that they be treated like lepers among the “chosen ones” who are still under the thrall of the Legion and Marcial Maciel. God help any diocesan priest or bishop who does not see eye to eye with the Legion. He will be targeted by a campaign of innuendo and tarred as not faithful to the Pope. Whispers and innuendo are the tools used to carry falsehoods to the point of destroying individual reputations.
Oh yeah: and all for the good of the Kingdom.
The fact that the Legion covers this behavior with so-called fidelity to the Pope, then wraps it up in a cassock and tops it off with perfectly-gelled hair makes the reality no more pretty or acceptable. A lie is a lie is a lie. And a liar is in league with the powers of evil. The sooner that members see what this “inspired” methodology masks, the better’ and an honest evaluation of real integrity would find that their “Kingdom” is built on very shaky ground indeed.