What Effect Does the Founder’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder (N.P.D.) Have on the Leaders, Organizations and Individual Members of the Legion of Christ?
According to Independent.ie, an Irish news agency, Father John O’Reilly, an Irish born Legionary of Christ priest is facing charges of sexually abusing two young girls, aged 6 and 10, who had been entrusted to his care in 2007.
Prosecutors in the case presented a psychological report that said the priest suffered from an “immature and infantile sexuality”, “narcissistic conduct” and “insecurity and fragile self-esteem”.
ReGAIN cannot comment on this individual case which is before the courts but we have previously offered comments and opinions on the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as it relates to the founder, Father Marcial Maciel.
The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition identifies Narcissistic Personality Disorder as
a pattern of deviant or abnormal behavior that the person doesn’t change even though it causes emotional upsets and trouble with other people at work and in personal relationships. Based on an article by Joanna M. Ashmun Click Here a person who has an enduring behavior pattern that includes at least five of the following nine diagnostic criteria is likely to be suffering from N.P.D.
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance – everyday grandiosity / people whose ambitions and aspirations are much grander than their evident talents.
2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love – they live in their own little worlds (and react with affront when reality dares to intrude).
3. Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) – Narcissists think that everyone who is not special and superior is worthless.
4. Requires excessive admiration – they want praise, compliments, deference, and expressions of envy all the time, and they want to be told that everything they do is better than what others can do.
5. Has a sense of entitlement – They expect automatic compliance with their wishes or especially favorable treatment.
6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends – Narcissists use other people to get what they want without caring about the cost to the other people.
7. Lacks empathy – They are unwilling to recognize or sympathize with other peoples? feelings and needs.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him – (self explanatory)
9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes – They treat other people like dirt.
Quote From May 1, 2010 Vatican Communique: The very serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment.
There is little question that Father Marcial Maciel, who had decades to develop an environment where he could exploit his Legionary and
consecrated followers to indulge in his hidden desires for power over others was a classical case of the above psychological disorder. He was held up as a model to follow by the institution. It is not surprising then that some of those who followed in his footsteps would develop tendencies similar to
the ideal Legionary.
What may be less obvious to those who remain is whether or not the above characteristics became institutionalized in Father Maciel?s organizations. Keeping in mind that Narcissistic Personality Disorder may apply to any one who exhibits five of the above nine characteristics, we ask those interested to consider whether typical Legionary and Regnum Christi leaders encourage the above tendencies in their members:
Does the Legionaries of Christ (or Regnum Christi) as an organization have an exaggerated sense of self importance? Are they preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love? Do they believe they are special and can only be understood by other special or high status people or institutions? Do they require excessive admiration, sense of entitlement? Do they selfishly take advantage of others to achieve their own ends? Do they lack empathy? Are they often envious of others or believe that others are envious of them? Do they show arrogant, haughty, patronizing or contemptuous behavior or attitudes?
If indeed, Father Maciel?s creations collectively were to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist as being organizations that suffer or that would serve to enable Narcissistic Personality Disorder in its leaders, to what extent would this be damaging to the individuals who live inside the walls on a 24 / 7 basis?
We could take this one step further and ask if individual members of those who have had their religious training inside the founder?s organizations exhibit any of these symptoms.
Joe Navarro is a former FBI Counterintelligence and has written an article in Psychology Today
< Click Here on the topic of dangerous cult leaders. He lists fifty typical traits of the pathological cult leader from Narcissists Among Us that we should watch for and which shout caution, get away, run, or avoid if possible.
Mr. Navarro comments that there is a:
high probability that they are hurting those around them emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually, or financially. And of course this does not take into account the hurt that their loved ones will also experience.
Considering this warning, we would ask if the Church Leadership in its reform process (over and above the rewriting of statutes and other documents) has fully acknowledged the damage done to Father Maciel?s followers and their families and whether or not it is taking effective action to do justice and to bring healing.