ReGAIN was misinformed regarding the departure of Father Peter Byrne from the Legionaries of Christ. Father Byrne has sent an email asking where the information about his departure had come from and stating that he was unaware that he had left.
ReGAIN has always attempted to stick to the facts and in this case our source of information was wrong about Father Byrne departing from the Legion.
We apologize to Father Byrne for any inconvenience this may have caused.
ReGAIN contacted Father Peter Byrne and he included the following statements in his response:
My situation is that I have been a dissident inside the Legion for the last 3 years. I have written and challenged many of the practices and decisions. I believe that the Legion (and indeed the Church) needs to look at the Maciel case and do a proper investigation……..
Some of those letters have been leaked into the public domain (I did not ask or tell anyone to do it for me).
So at present I am a Legionary and I would ask REGAIN to mention that as a correction.
We hope that the issues raised in Father Byrne's letter will be addressed and we support him in his desire for positive changes.
Following is the corrected article, exactly as it was written on May 8, but with any reference to him having left the Legion deleted:
Father Peter Byrne, LC, a long time Legionary priest recently wrote to his superiors and fellow Legionaries sharing his frustration and distress after his plans to travel to Mexico were denied. He had intended to give conferences to parents about formation of children and to pick up some information for his doctorate. According to the letter, which is available in English at Click Here or in Spanish at Click Here he states that the Legionary powers felt that his presence might
perturb the communities because of the letter that he wrote regarding the sale of the UNID university.
Father Byrne had publicly and privately requested implementation of positive changes in the Legion, including justice for Maciel's victims, conformity with the Gospel, more transparency in the government and finances, co-responsibility and accountability, investigation and publication of true story of the founder, Father Marcial Maciel and exclusion of racism, deceit and exclusion of free speech and critical thinking.
Previously, in 2010, Father Byrne had written a letter to the Legion Director General Alvaro Corcuera, denouncing the worship that was being paid to the Legion founder even after instructions for the Vatican to remove his photos. Father, Byrne had also requested that Father Maciel's remains be relocated from the main altar at the chapel in Cotija to one of the sides.
Father Byrne was critical of the Legion in his letter, saying that it is
the same old Legion that did not listen to Father Maciel's victims. He referred to those who had covered up for the founder continuing to visit communities and to preach retreats.
Father Byrne's comments in his letter indicate the futility of expecting real positive changes to come out of the current reform process, which has now had several years to change old attitudes.
One would expect that changes such as those proposed by Father Byrne would be part of the reform process being carried out by the Legionary hierarchy with oversight from the Vatican Commissioner.
A request for justice does not seem to be an unreasonable request and that is certainly in harmony with the Catholic faith. It should a no - brainer to expect conformity with the Gospels. There is certainly nothing unreasonable in any of the above valid suggestions proposed by Father Byrne and he should have a right to express his opinions. However, in keeping with the old style Legionary policies, daring to voice such concerns is considered reason to ban Father Byrne from visiting the place where he lived for years and where he wished to continue his studies.