Sketching Legion’s Cult-like Nature

Letter from Fr Peter Cronin (R.I.P., 1999) active priest, diocese of Washington, DC, former Legionary of Christ

Editor’s note: this short letter–the second Network Newsletter from Peter-is very important as in it Fr. Peter sketches the ideas he will later flesh out in his critique of the Legion as a sect or cult-like group.


Our Father Maciel Who Art In BedNETWORKOur Father Maciel Who Art In Bed? #2

March 21, 1993

Dear Friends,
Greetings and salutations to all and sincerest apologies for the lengthy hiatus in the publication and distribution of our newsletter: Our Father Maciel Who Art In Bedel hombre propone y Dios disponeOur Father Maciel Who Art In Bed? (Editor, Spanish for Our Father Maciel Who Art In BedMan proposes and God disposesOur Father Maciel Who Art In Bed) Time has been a problem of late as I have been taking an interesting but very demanding course at Catholic University (Editor, Spiritual Theology)

I am most happy to present two articles in this issue of Network. Paul Lennon needs no introduction to most of us. At present Paul is working in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and is in constant touch with (Editor, now Auxiliary bishop) Kevin Farrell and me. Kevin Walsh, who joined the Legion while I was working in Cheshire, introduces himself in his article.

A couple of personal comments: I think you will find Paul’s article most interesting. It reminds me of a conversation Jack Keogh and I had a couple of years before he left the Legion. We walked together along the shore in Rye and shared the feeling that there were too many similarities between our congregation and sects such as the Moonies, e.g.:

    . The high-geared recruiting program; everybody was fair game.
    . The loss of the individual within the group: no free time, a total lack of privacy;
    . Personality cult of the Founder,

Nuestro Padre

    , a typical trait in sects;
    . No questioning of authority was ever permitted;
    . Systematic separation from families; they were never taken into consideration;
    . Contact with outside world strictly controlled;
    . Uniformity in thought, expression, behavior patterns, philosophy and politics;
    . Superior’s authority over one’s outer and inner life; the superior as confessor and spiritual director.
    . Et ita porro, and so on (Editor, Peter would occasionally sprinkle the conversation with expressions in Spanish, Latin, etc., which were familiar to other former LCs, a kind of Legion-speak)

I think that Network is a wonderful opportunity to open up lines of communication. We have a unique experience that only we can fully understand. Much is positive, much not so. Please feel free to send your thoughts and feelings. There is no censorship. Your article will be copied and mailed tal cual (Editor, Sp. as is?).

Yours Sincerely,
Peter Cronin

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