Does The Vatican Really Understand What Needs Reforming In The Legion?

As the reform of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi comes to an end after three years, we shake our heads and wonder whether or not it has even started. On December 16, 31 new Legionary priests were ordained in Rome. In his homily at this event, Click Here Cardinal DePaolis offered his praise for the faithfulness of the ones who remained in the Legion suggesting that they have remained, because they believe that they chose Christ. By his words, he took a sort of backhand shot at those who had left, saying that only the Lord can judge them. The tone of his homily made it clear that he felt the faithful ones who remained were good and that there was some weakness in the (unfaithful) ones who left. This attitude is consistent with other statements he has made in similar circumstances, e.g. when Malen Oriol and other 3gf ladies left to form Totus Tuus.

ReGAIN readers are aware that the Legion and Regnum Christi leaders past and present have been known to use controversial highly aggressive tactics to recruit and retain members and have not respected the freedom of conscience. A reference to this important issue of freedom of conscience was included in the May 2010 Vatican communique. Click Here So why would an Apostolic Delegate not do everything in his power to ensure that Legionary and Regnum Christi members were provided with every opportunity to take time to discern what their true calling from God was? Why would he be more concerned about the numbers of people who remained in this congregation, which has been already proven to be an unhealthy part of the Church than he is about helping people to discover where they can best serve God and where God wishes them to be?

He also shows concern about the sins of the Legion filling the media throughout the world, obviously seeing this as a bad thing. His statement showed more concern about the image of the Legion and the Church than remorse about the wrongs that were done. If the sins were not truthful, then we would share his concern. If the information published in the media happens to be the truth, then we feel it should be a good thing to expose false prophets in the Church. It is the truth that sets us free. Regarding this issue, there have been obvious and deliberate efforts made to suppress the truth about who aided and abetted the Legion and Regnum Christi founder in his deceitful life. Shouldn’t the Church of all organizations be willing to see justice for those who have been wronged by some of its own religious orders? The tone of the homily seemed to favor blind obedience and trust, even when people are aware that some of the leaders are not trustworthy. If in fact all of the current leaders really were trustworthy and all of the fraud and deception was committed by Father Marcial Maciel acting alone, should not everyone involved want to have an opportunity to have their names cleared? The message from this is that the image of the Church and its leaders is more important than the truth.

Any shocking story about the Legionaries was taken as indisputable truth

The tone of this statement is eerily similar to the old days when Father Maciel would blame those evil detractors (including ReGAIN) for making up false accusations against him. The information we have brought to light remains here on this website for all to see and we have made a sincere effort to publish only true facts. Is the Apostolic Delegate suggesting that the new Legionary priests should shut down their critical judgment skills? We hope not. Based on numerous articles in this website and others and credible news agency articles, deceit in the Legion continued after the death of its founder. Legion leaders have been forced to admit that they knew things about Father Maciel and about Father Williams while by their actions and statements they pretended to be unaware. The new Legionary priests should have a right to know the truth about their own organization. History has shown that those who believed they were being deceived by their leaders had good reason to believe so. When he said You have seen whether they were true or not. we wonder what information they were allowed to have to discern and judge whether things were true or not.

In his homily, Cardinal DePaolis said they said that they were betrayed by the founder and by the superiors who covered up for him, or did not reveal the truth to them in a satisfactory manner, as if that were a wrong thing to conclude, while the (good) ones who stayed believed that they chose Christ. Is there an implication here that the (bad) ones who left failed to choose Christ? We believe that even those who left the priesthood after discernment could just as well be choosing Christ and could find their true vocation outside the priesthood. .Forced vocations have not proven to be effective.

The statement about suffering and bearing the shame of other Legionaries again reminds us of Father Maciel’s tactics of making comparisons to Jesus. The Legion founder pretended that he had been innocently condemned just like Jesus. The statement here provides an image of the current Legionary trainees suffering for the sins of others (just like Jesus). Perhaps this comparison is unintended and if so we apologize for drawing attention.

There is considerable mention in the homily of the suffering of the Legionaries but only token reference to the suffering of others caused by the founder and some others. However, to this day, there have been extremely few details of what specific harm by the founder and other leaders acknowledged by the Legion. Normally, any expression of remorse by the Legion spokespersons have been general statements such as we are sorry for the wrongs that our founder did. That is like going to confession and saying Father I am sorry for everything I have done since my last confession and not providing any details. To date, several victims of the founder and of other LC abusers known to ReGAIN are still waiting for significant acknowledgement of what was done to them and there has not been significant efforts made for restorative justice. There seems to be a hidden Macielistic lesson to the newly ordained priests that their own suffering outweighs the suffering of those outsiders who may be hurt by them and their organization and to put their own needs ahead of others.

As an opinion, we would say that the words spoken have shown that there is a lack of true understanding about what it is in the Legion that needs to be reformed. Although there have been superficial changes made to the structure and methodology, the old guard leaders and their attitudes remain; a valid charism remains unidentified; the aggressive recruiting continues; information is suppressed and the members continue to be manipulated to the benefit of the same old people who stand to gain the same old money and power from the members’ efforts.

What are the Priorities of the Legionaries of Christ?

Just for the record, Sean Hannity really is a dissenting Catholic and a public scandal to the Faith. He should be rebuked by his pastor or bishop, not by me, but since that has not been forthcoming in his decade or so of public dissent on radio and TV, somebody in authority had to say something. Hannity, as we know, is shameless on birth control, and judging from the interview, he hasn’t even the vocabulary to rationally defend his position in the face of his Church’s clear teaching (2).

Now it should be noted that Fr Euteneuer is the head of a widely honoured (or vilified) organization, Human Life International (3), which works tirelessly to fight against abortion, the sex slave trade, and promiscuity around the world. Its track record is highly visible and consistent, supporting Church teaching as well as the dignity of women and children, and constantly on guard against government programs which undermine the family.

While conservative Catholics were peeved at the rough handling of this clergyman – by one who was himself a former seminarian and member of the Church, they were stunned when Fox analyst Fr Jonathan Morris, LC piled on, defending Mr Hannity from what he called the – shockingly poor judgmentof his guest. He continued, noting:

The unfortunate event reminded me of the bigger question of the fast-eroding credibility among religious leaders in our nation and its causes (4).

That comment alone beggars belief, coming as it does from an ardent follower of Marcial Maciel, LC, founder of his religious congregation who on that very day was under subpoena in Mexico. Maciel and the present head of the Legion, Alvaro Corcuera were both solicited to answer 38 questions about troubling trends of sexual conduct still associated with the Legionaries of Christ, culminating specifically with the recent alleged abuse of a four year old boy. This is the same founder, previously hailed as a model for youth,who is now stripped of the ability to act as priest in public for credible accusations of child molestation himself. This is the same order that led to roughly one hundred testimonies to be given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning sexual improprieties, spiritual manipulation, and possible illegal drug use.

And yet, in Fr Morris’ sunny world, it is not the publicly censured Maciel who has contributed to the erosion of credibility of religious leaders – rather it is the inappropriate and ill-considered words of priests such as Fr Euteneuer who are the problem. This was truly a baffling display of hypocrisy.

A particular dimension of this heated exchange involves the important element of fraternal correction and how it is properly administered. Specifically, Fr Morris attacked Fr Euteneuer for not admonishing Hannity in private, resulting in an explanation from Fr Euteneuer that he indeed had made an effort to do so (5). But that allowed Fr Euteneuer to bring up an important point:

May I also point out that you did not employ with me the same standard of fraternal correctionthat you expected me to employ with Mr. Hannity. I at least made the attempt to speak to him about this issue in private without success; you, in contrast, went immediately to the internet to take me to task. I do not intend to understand your motives; I can only evaluate what I see in your actions (6).

Fr Morris responded quickly that he had indeed made such a private attempt, which Fr Euteneuer firmly denied. Thus we have one priest saying, Yes I did,while the other maintains, No you didn’t – and we must fall back on the question of the established credibility of both men.

There is no reason for Fr Euteneuer to lie – and he has been known for his integrity for years. On the other hand, Fr Morris has a checkered past in this area, most notably with a public censure from angry Muslims.

Representatives of an east London mosque used by several of the terror suspects reacted angrily yesterday to what they called a sick stunt by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel. Mohammed Shoyaib, the imam of the Musjid-e-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, complained that he and other elders were tricked by a representative from the cable channel, a priest who said he was working for the Vatican and wanted to talk peace.

He introduced himself as priest working in Rome, said Mr Shoyaib. – Then he said he was working for peace in the world, that all faiths should work together for peace, that he needs a united message of peace for the American people. Only later he said he was from ‘a sister network of Sky News’, but never mentioned Fox.

The man spent several minutes conversing on camera with the imam and elders, but they reacted furiously when they learned he was Father Jonathan Morris, a religious pundit for Fox News! Mr Morris denied he had misled the local community but, in the face of criticism, he hastily left the scene (7).

First of all, being the vice-rector of a Catholic seminary (which Fr Morris is) can in no way be confused with working for the Vatican.We could allow for the fact that non-Christians could assume that the city of Rome and Vatican City are interchangeable, but the misrepresentation was more than his Church credentials it involved his employer’s identity as well. Fr Morris disputes the details, maintaining that he was more forthright, but eventually agrees that he hadn’t mentioned his Fox affiliation at the outset. (Additionally, it is interesting that his vocation is to work for peace in the world,(8) rather than to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It may have been a mental reservation for the sake of ecumenism, but perhaps his mission is different than that of most Catholic priests.)

A subsequent response of Fr Morris included the following admonition to Fr Euteneuer, reminding him of how difficult it is for all religious leaders to be taken seriously.

When we hear television evangelists wonder out loud whether Ariel Sharon’s stroke might be God’s judgment on him for making territorial concessions to the Palestinians, we lose trust. When, year after year, we listen to self-proclaimed prophets predict the day and the hour of the end-times,we lose trust. When we turn on the television and hear preachers promise heaven on earth if we give, give, give to the Church their church we lose trust. When we hear mainline Protestant pastors and their associations throw Biblical tradition to the wind and make wishy-washy statements about faith and morality, we lose trust.

The non-Christian religions are in even worse shape regarding leadership credibility. Is there a single Muslim imam who stands out today for his national leadership toward peace?What Muslim scholar can we trust to speak with scholarly proficiency and universal authority about the alleged peaceful nature of Islam?

The Jewish community in America is so splintered and disjointed on themes of dogma and religious tradition, it is difficult to find anyone who speaks for the majority, or even for the masses (9).

And yet, after such statements attacking the religious leaders outside the Catholic Church, Fr Morris claims to be swamped with support from the very people he criticized:

Particularly interesting were the hundreds of messages I have received yesterday from non’-Catholics, including many pastors, and non’Christians. In these notes you expressed your commitment to collaborate with both of us as we strive together to build a civilization of truth and love (10)

The civilization of truth and loveis a nearly trademarked statement of John Paul II, whom Fr Euteneuer loyally follows on every topic. Why would non’Catholics and even non-Christians side with Fr Morris to pursue John Paul II’s dream – against one of the most orthodox of priests who promotes solely the Catholic view of human sexuality – . It is a complete non sequitur and makes no logical sense. I don’t believe that Fr Morris got those emails not ten, and certainly not hundreds. Not for the sake of the civilization of truth and love.

The sordid drama continues with a public back-and-forth on the internet, between the two priests and among the lay faithful who are bewildered by the surprisingly unorthodox position of a priest from such an orthodoxcongregation. Men and women are having difficulty explaining the compromised action of such a loyal member of the clergy, and thus this is where it is important to remind them of some important unorthodoxdecisions by the Legionaries of Christ.

Shrewdly Advancing the Kingdom

Politically, the Legion has always been very astute discerning who the power brokers are in a given time and place and ingratiating themselves with them. In Chile, Augusto Pinochet was a highly controversial figure tied to repression not only of the poor in his country, but also of the Church. He was clearly tied to the assassination of at least six Catholic priests and the torture of many more priest, nuns, and lay faithful.

While the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, rebuffed efforts of the persecuted Church to give testimony to John Paul II, the Legion of Christ also turned a blind eye to the military dictator, choosing rather to seek vocations among Chile’s wealthy Catholic families who may have been loyal to Pinochet. The Legion’s access was dependent on Cardinal Sodano, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Chile during Pinochet’s regime, and with whom Maciel had a close relationship.

The people know of (Sodano’s) reports to Rome and of his excessive attachment to the military regime. Also well known are his biased criteria in recommending the appointment of new bishops. In the offices of the nuncio black lists operate, there are rewards for services rendered, people seeking promotion, people falling in and out of favour (11).

I personally heard testimony of the tremendous success of recruiters in Chile years ago – a success that would have been impossible without the favour necessary from the compromised Apostolic Nuncio. While one might say that the Legion was simply being wise as serpentsto use such access to build the Kingdomunder the nose of repression, the overall result was intense scandal by those Catholics who were sorely persecuted by their lack of favour within the halls of power.

Moving to Mexico, the Legion had the ear of Marta Sahagun, the wife of Vicente Fox, who is a member of the Regnum Christi Movement. This was impressive to many ardent RC members, who saw such a highly visible citizen in their ranks and committed to the same apostolic works on which they worked so diligently. Unfortunately, although her first marriage has subsequently been annulled (in 2005), Fox’s first marriage was not, and neither Vicente nor Marta were free to marry when they wed privately in 2001. Her irregular situation didn’t seem a problem to the Legion in view of her tremendous visiblity – which must have added its own scandal to the loyal Catholics struggling to emphasise the importance of Church teaching on marriage to their own children and grandchildren (12).

Another highly visible ally of the Legion will be visiting Atlanta this summer for the Youth and Family Encounter, Eduardo Verastegui (born Jose Eduardo Verastegui Cordoba).

Say his name in Mexico, and everyone will know who you are talking about. Now he’s making his breakthrough in the States. His name is Eduardo Verastegui. He has tons of fan clubs and thank goodness Google translates pages since the majority are in Spanish (13).

Besides his steamy soap operas and modeling career (which even included posing nude), he has recently had the chance to work with Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) which delighted him. He is a man of contrasts – wearing a rosary and insisting the he prays regularly, dancing with seductive women in sensual videos, and hoping for marriage in which he will fulfill his dream of having exactly three children (not exactly a Catholic view of collaborating with God to unfold His plan) (14).

But the Legion now has access to a hot and rising star who can combine devotion to the Blessed Mother with participating in the very troublesome industry that causes Our Lady so many tears. Of course, the Legion cannot be held accountable for all the private decisions of its members, but in the case of Marta Sahagan de Fox and Eduardo Verastegui there is no explanation of limited support, of separating the virtuous actions from the questionable actions, or even acknowledgment of moral challenges to their elevated vocations.

They are exploited in sum for their visibility and used as fodder for Legionary recruiting. Another troublesome ally of the Legion is Mel Gibson, an ardent Catholic although out of communion with the Holy See. Legionary priests hovered about the set of The Passion of the Christ, running errands and ingratiating themselves to the cast. This familiarity never led to offering Mass, because of course Gibson never participates in the Novus Ordo liturgy to which the Legion must dedicate itself. Nevertheless, the Legion used this proximity to offer insideinformation on the meaning of the crucifixion of Christ (for those who may not know about the basic tenets of the faith), to be included in the closing credits, and ultimately to set up an office at Icon Productions back in Los Angeles. Again, while Mel Gibson offers an extraordinary example of using faith in the arts and standing up for unwelcome message in Hollywood, the Legion never offered an explanation of why they would collaborate with a schismatic Catholic, or when such collaboration is allowable. They allowed the celebrity of the vehicle to bring them into contact with other power brokers despite confusion and scandal over the method.

Orthodoxy Presumes Basic Integrity The Methodology of the Movement is its greatest strength, according to its members, and it emphasises the growth of its own ranks at any cost because, to the Legion, the end justifies the means. There are consistent, well-documented cases of the following methods used regularly by members: Misleading guests about the sponsorship of various events (LC/RC is so misunderstood, we couldn’t let it get in the way!) Lying to others in order to get journalistic access to their true motives (hey, everyone in the business does it!) Bait and switch tactics in order to recruit potential members (once they’re in the door, we’ll reveal why we really invited them!) Using in-house school directories for promoting RC apostolic activities (when these girls encounter Jesus, they won’t care how we got their phone numbers!) Using fabricated stories to solicit funds from benefactors (God will reward them for their generosity, despite how we use the money!)

All of these have been cited numerous times by those who have had associations with the Movement. Rather than saying that small lies are justified for the sake of the greater good, one should rather ponder the words of Jesus, Who said, – For if you are not faithful in that which is little, how shall any one give you that which is great? (Luke 16:11). Additionally, the Movement is dedicated to targeting particular souls for the good of the Kingdom, and thus the ulterior motives of the recruiters allow for a utilitarian view of friendships, which undermines authentic charity. From the Constitutions of the Legion, we find their modus operandi: (quotes removed by Court Order) This five segment approach – called captation – was part of every section, and members are accountable monthly to show a list of recruits, indicating the stage where each person was. Recruits were carefully selected for their wealth, status, or other gifts that would benefit the Legion, and then won over – ostensibly to Christ, but always through the Movement. It is hard to imagine complete sincerity when an ulterior plan governs relationships in such a discreet, utilitarian way. Of course a friendship is not normal when one side has an end-game and the other is in the dark. To assume to know what the vocation of another person is requires more than self-assurance – >it requires holy omniscience, smacking of pride.

The Legion also exercises pride when it pays lip- service to an action of the Holy Father, while knowing betterthan he about what is true. This has been the response of the Movement from the top down after the May 2006 communique suggesting that, due to outstanding and credible charges of molestation, the founder would be best served by a life of penance rather than undergoing a trial. All members have been instructed in how this is a misunderstanding of a holy man, is redolent of the Church’s persecution of Padre Pio, and which places them – if not materially, then spiritually

Thus, this orthodox congregation has consistently exemplified dishonesty, pride, manipulation, and rampant duplicity – for the sake of building the Kingdom. It has chosen fidelity to the founder over sincere loyalty to Rome, high-pressure apostolates at the expense of family unity, and relationships with celebrities and power brokers over defending Church teaching. What is baffling is how outside observers consistently assume – because their outward acts of piety conform to traditional practices – that everything about them must be straight arrow. It has been the effort of many over the years to try to explain that the window dressing lacks substance.

Ultimately, the only thing surprising about the words of Fr Jonathan Morris, LC is that he displayed his hand so forthrightly. There is no doubt that the Legion approved all his columns and positions beforehand (it’s standard procedure for all public statements or papers) and now they must be reeling at the negative response. So be it. Despite their next move, kindly ponder this one, and consider whether it reveals a pattern of shallowness and intrigue rather than the action of a true friend of the Church.


Awaiting Vatican Action

Now that the apostolic visitation has been completed the suspense continues as Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, William J. Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life together with Pope Benedict XVI decide the future of the Legionaries of Christ. For details of Sandro Magister's report and opinion refer to:

The article points out the absolute dependence on Fr. Maciel, the absurdly exacting rules, the 332 page long handbook for the examination of conscience and the failure of the Legion to follow orders from the Vatican to remove the extra vows.

Nicole Winfield of Associated Press offers her report on the completion of the Vatican probe of Legionaries scandal at

LC Acknowledge Sexual Abuse of Minor Seminarians by Their Founder

A communique was issued on March 26 signed by 16 leaders of the Legionaries of Christ acknowledging that based on the findings of a canonical investigation the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had initiated in 2004, their founder had molested minor seminarians. For the CNN World account of this story see:

CNN World: Mexican Catholic Orders Founder Abused Boys, Sect Admits

The communique stated that the leaders of LC had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against their founder were false and unfounded. Before the recent visitation by the Vatican, the Legion had defended their founder's innocence for years.

What effect will this admission have on the future of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi? Stay tuned.

The Legionaries Mandatory Incorporation

Borrowing From JFK’s Legacy

Catholics and non-Catholics discover the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement in various ways. Some are invited to join in the good works of the group, which are its various apostolates. Others are invited by friends, co-workers or acquaintances to take part in events sponsored by the group; and now we discover that the rest of us may be forced to live as though we were members by means of judicial fiat in the United States. We’ve been assured that the methodology is particularly blessed by God, – but how much each person appreciates this gift may vary.

The apostolates are ubiquitous. One need simply visit such websites as Mission Network to see the breadth of groups sponsored by the Movement. The ready-made array of pre-formulated clubs and activities was described by one member as similar to spreading out a picnic blanket. Voila! They’ve created something for everyone, from young children to businessmen, from fashion-savvy teenagers to medical professionals.

The apostolates all share the same two outward features: 1. incorporation into a world-wide organisation that appears to take Catholic orthodoxy seriously, and 2. dedication to living that faith through the filter created by its founder, Marcial Maciel. And yet they all share two non-negotiable hidden features: 1. each group shall not only be financially self-sustaining but also raise funds to send to the Legion; and 2. all available participants shall be used to increase the membership of the Movement according to their state in life. Recruiting and fund-raising are the life’s blood of the group.

Recruiting is pursued through a variety of paths, each of which is critical to the Legion. Any visible support by respected Catholics is a coup for the group, because it enhances the Legion’s credibility in the wider community. Speakers, writers, community leaders, professionals, those who hold public office each are invited to participate in its diverse activities or to be honoured at their events. Whether or not the person in question even knows that the Legion is ultimately sponsoring the activity, the photo op that ensues adds to the prestige of the congregation. The potential recruits in each category are mightily impressed that Legionaries and their friends are asked to operate in the highest, most elite circles possible.

Remarkably, the third way to spread the methodology of the Legion is by court order. One critical filter that Maciel placed on his group was a device called gospel charity,? though which all members are enjoined from criticising the methodology, from detracting from the founder or other members, and from grumbling about the way one might be treated by his superiors. Described as a necessary virtue to minimize back-biting and eliminate distractions from promotion of the Kingdom,? the members are made to understand that any negative thoughts or actions against the group are sins against God. The Movement, they are told, was called into being by the Holy Spirit and approved in every detail by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, thus to criticize the methods of the Legion would grievously offend God and undermine the very mission of the Church.

Through an astonishing series of events harrassment of former members and lawsuits against its critics alert Catholics are beginning to realise that the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement are using the US legal system to their own advantage, so that criticism, detraction, and grumbling are actually punished by the courts. Those who are guilty of the above will be sued into silence and one of the private vows (never to criticize the Legion and to report anyone who does, which even the Vatican has abrogated) will now be enforced on all parties, whether members of the Movement or not.

If the Legion has its way in the current lawsuit against ReGAIN, then all information detailing conversations critical of the Legion will be handed over to the plaintiff: emails, letters, depositions, names of collaborators, and (most importantly) evidence revealing who inside the Legion houses has asked for help in past years. The irony of the current case is that suppression of speech, the bullying of thought, the strong-arming of distention has been systematically packaged as virtue, and the desire to freely associate and to speak one’s mind is subsequently labeled a conspiracy. Thereby, the application of the Legion’s definition of charity and unity will demand that everyone live by the statutes of the Movement or face serious consequences.


Ich bin ein Regnum Christi Member!

Irony is found on another level as we recall John F. Kennedy’s 1963 speech in Berlin. There he used an inspired phrase to show the West’s solidarity with those oppressed behind the Iron Curtain, Ich bin ein Berliner! Until the Cold War ended and the citizens of the Eastern Bloc nations could live in freedom, he inferred, we all suffered we were, in a sense, all Berliners.

True to form, the Legion has once again turned reality on its head. Countless former Legionaries, Regnum Christi members and their families who have suffered in various ways from the methodology of the Legion have turned to Regain for support for years, and yet the Congregation founded by the since-disgraced Maciel positions itself as vanguard for the faithful. His loyal sons have now turned the page to offer a new way of living the methodology: Incorporation by Gavel.

We are all Regnum Christi Members now, and we’ll live Gospel charity by their definition, or be silenced in the courts. All for the Kingdom, All for Christ.

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