The Dog, the Wine and the Psychiatrist: Part 3, Legionaries’ Paradise (in Cancun)


3rd part of Legionaries’ Paradise

(written by Emiliano  Ruiz Parrra, originally appeared in Spanish on the Gatopardo blog:Gatopardo )

The Dog,  the Wine and the Psychiatrist
Fr. Pablo Pérez-Guajardo walked around in a stupor all day every day.

His “depression” did not get better despite taking medication.

Until he decided to stop taking his Legion-prescribed medication, Diazepan[1], and gave it to one of the guard dogs in the mother house at 677 Via Aurelia, Rome. Pablo gradually became less drowsy. The dog, for its part, slept all day and lost its zest. “The superiors became very concerned about the dog. More than about me,” he recalls testily.

Once fully awake, Fr. Pérez-Guajardo became one of the Legion’s harshest critics. He never was a superior in the order but during his time in Rome. as a member of the archives team, he was close to the Legion’s leadership cadre and to Fr. Maciel, the founder. From 1986 until 2006 he belonged to the community that lived at the mother house, first as a seminarian and later as an ordained priest.

One can find Fr. Pablo in dated photos of the Legionaries at St. Peter’s Basilica from January 3rd, 1991. To celebrate the Legion’s 50th Anniversary (it was founded in 1941), Fr. Maciel orchestrated having 60 Legionaries ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Pope John Paul II. Fr. Pablo appears with prayerfully joined hands, scarcely a few steps from the pope. He was being ordained a priest after 15 years of Legion training.

He is pictured again in Una Iglesia de corazón misionero, libro de nuestra historia, the booklet the Legionaries published to mark the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature’s 40th anniversary. He is pictured three times in the booklet: inside the back cover with all the other Legionaries in Quintana Roo, and on pages 132 and 133. We find him in a panoramic view surrounded by scores of people, mostly children, his community at the chapel of San José in the working-class Colonia Guadalupana, Playa del Carmen. On the next page he appears microphone in hand as he approaches a little boy.

These images portray the years of his close attachment to the Legion. But on September 29th, 2011 he sent a scathing, “Carta de Fuego” letter to the then superior general of the Legion, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, in which de demanded the Legion cut all ties with the founder, Marcial Maciel:

“A drunken pedophile womanizer dressed in priestly garb. (…) Not only did he mock God, the Church and us, the members, but you and many other superiors have mocked the pope’s authority by accompanying our pedophile founder on trips with his concubine and his sacrilegious daughter. (…) Your lips have kissed the corpse of a false prophet which you and the major superiors have presented to us as Another Christ while he was in reality an Anti-Christ.”

Another dozen letter followed after in which he denounced money-laundering, systematic cover-up of pedophile Legionaries, the cult of Maciel’s memory, the financial exploitation of the Legion’s educational enterprises and many other abuses.
Slightly built, with green eyes, pointed ears and scant hair, Fr. Pablo Pérez-Guajardo was officially expelled from the Legion in May 2015. They had already kicked him out of the San José chapel in Playa del Carmen in September, 2012; after that his lifestyle became nomadic. When he was interviewed by the reporter in September, 2014 he had transformed a garage in a poor neighborhood into a chapel. “The bishop (Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, LC) has forbidden me from entering Catholic schools and hospitals” (to perform my priestly duties).

The interview lasted three hours. Fr. Pablo’s most traumatic stage of Legion life was in Rome. In 1986 he had been posted to the mother house in Rome.

Legionary life took a heavy toll on Fr. Pablo’s emotional state. He became very depressed. The Assistant Superior General at the time, Fr. Luis Garza Medina, asked him to go visit Dr. Francisco López -Ibor, son of the very renowned Spanish psychiatrist, Juan José. Pablo refused. But later, founder Marcial Maciel himself suggested Fr. Pablo see the famous psychiatrist. Fr. Maciel’s suggestions were orders for a Legionary. Fr. Pablo obeyed -though he was unaware at that time how Maciel was in the habit of sending problematic Legionaries to the Madrid clinic.  There Pablo was evaluated and put on medication. Every four months he would obediently travel to Madrid to have his prescription refilled: The meds kept him drowsy, listless and lifeless.

In Rome Fr. Pablo was able to get on the Internet. Surfing the net he found that his dose of “antidepressants” was heavier than needed and he realized his despondency was due to stresses of the religious life, loneliness, long term separation from his family of origin (he hadn’t seen them since he joined the Legion aged 18), and lack of incentive. That was what prompted Fr. Pablo to start giving his meds to the German shepherd dog zealously cared for by house superior, Fr. Juan Manuel Dueñas-Rojas.

Stopping the meds, he gradually became more energetic and alert. But this had a price. His emotions awakened with angry outbursts and bouts of deep sadness. His parents were getting old and ill and he wanted to spend their last years with them. He never reached his father in time. When Pablo’s plane touched down in Mexico City, the family was already mourning his passing.
Memory of a particular Legionary life scene provokes Fr. Pablo’s indignation during the interview. Regular priest members were allowed to drink only one glass of wine with dinner in Rome. The superiors had two or three “because they had special permission from Fr. Maciel.” Pablo’s displeasure got the upper hand and he decided to raid the wine cellar and hide bottles of wine in the bathroom and in the air ducts.
One evening a superior called Fr Pablo to his quarters to rebuke him. Padre Pablo had been expecting something like this. When he entered the office he was hiding two bottles of uncorked wine under his cassock. To the superior’s surprise, Pablo began pouring the two bottles over the superior’s desk.

-“How dare you!, fussed the superior, you know there are Letters of Nuestro Padre [Maciel]! here” (And what if there were, muses Fr. Pablo many years later! When most of these Letters of Nuestro Padre were plagiarized or written by others –Maciel was such a fraud!)

Tired of Fr. Pablo’s  insubordination, his superiors allowed him to live in a Mexico City house, where he would be closer to his mother who was suffering from cancer.

Spilling the wine was the beginning of Fr. Pablo’s disobedience. Looking back he sees it as a calculated action to get his superiors’ attention and prompt his transfer. In perspective, it could even be considered a prank. His real opposition came later when he began to publicly denounce the Legion in hundreds of pages and when he opened up in his “Confessions,”a flood of memories which gradually put together the jigsaw puzzle of the Legion’s frauds and abuses.

The evening of the interview, some of those scenes popped into Fr. Pablo’s head:

  • The night before Fr. Pablo took his vows, Fr. Maciel called one of Pablo’s companions to his bedside and spent the whole night with him! Once ordained, this priest was sent to the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature. After it became public that Maciel had a daughter, the abused priest –now aged fifty- could not stop telling the story of his abuse to anyone who would listen.
  • Or about the time Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, told a group of Legionaries: “Blessed are you because there are many bishops and cardinals but there is only one founder!”
  • Or when he learned that Assistant Superior General, Fr. Luis Garza-Medina –a brother of Dionisio Garza-Medina (Monterrey, Mexico, Alpha Group) – had hatched a plan to get full control of the Legion and how he had hired a group of private detectives to trail Maciel; once he had the dirt on Maciel’s double life he planned to blackmail him to hand over control of the Legion’s finances.
  • During his forty years in the Legion, Fr. Pablo Perez has seen and heard hundreds of stories but he kept silent because of his Private Vow[2]

After his assignment to the religious house in Mexico City his superiors sent him to the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature. According to his story he was told to live at the Church of the Sacred Hearth, at that time the cathedral, residence of Legion bishop emeritus Monsignor Jorge Bernal. He revitalized morning Mass and went out into the streets to offer baptisms “free of charge” to the poor. When new bishop Pedro-Pablo Elizondo saw this he called Fr. Pablo to Playa del Carmen to take charge of a working class neighborhood.

Fr. Pablo has many pleasant memories of his time working at the Colonia Guadalupana, Playa del Carmen, in what he calls, using a Mexican play on words, la zona atolera (referring to the simple native corn drink, atole) in contrast to the zona hotelera (hotel zone). In this article we will focus on his remarks on the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature.

He first formalized his impressions of the apostolic work of the Legionaries in a letter he wrote to Bishop Pedro-Pablo Elizondo on September 24, 2012. In it he states that Legion founder, Marcial Maciel, used the Prelature from its inception as a place to warehouse undesirable members of the order; meaning those members who did not buy Maciel’s vision, either because they did not want to work in schools for the rich or as, in the case of the Irish, they had joined the Legion to become missionaries and did not savor being chaplains for the upper classes.

The Prelature had espoused three causes/businesses, according to Pérez:

  • The glamorous weddings celebrated in the luxury hotels: he accused the Legion priests of becoming the “escorts” to rich and famous Catholics: always impeccably dressed, with the hair always cleanly parted to the right, so as to adorn the weddings of the well-to-do. Pablo notes that hotel employees, the proletariat, were excluded from theses Masses.
  • The second favorite project was The City of Happiness (La Ciudad de la Alegría), a complex housing orphans, seniors and terminally ill patients. According to Fr. Pablo it is used to furnish some local businesses/benefactors with tax free receipts. Fr. Pablo refers in particular to the businesses owned by one, Fernando García Zalvidea, a Legion favorite and protégé.
  • A third source of income for the Prelature are the donations from the United States and Europe which are spun as “for the Missions”, the evangelization of the Maya peoples. “They (the missions) have never received these moneys – complains Fr. Pablo- Most of these poor areas and colonies lack medical dispensaries, Catholic schools, churches, parishes and social services.”

When he was expelled, Fr. Pablo left the Prelature. He sought support in his home diocese of Saltillo, (Coahuila State, Mexico) under Bishop Raúl Vera-López, a promotor of human rights and antagonistic to the Legionaries. The firebrand from Playa del Carmen clashed with the charismatic bishop –accusing him of using the poor to his own benefit, Vera-López, for his part, accused Fr. Pablo of being a plant- and after only eleven months their relationship came to an end.

Translator’s notes:

[1] Diazepam (also known as Valium) is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety. Diazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. Diazepam is sometimes used with other medications to treat seizures.

This medication would be counter indicated for Depression and would increase Depressive symptoms instead of reducing them. Its recommendation in the case of Fr. Pablo demonstrates either ignorance or a purposeful plan to keep him dumbed down.

[2] Members of religious orders take three vows: poverty, chastity and obedience. But the Legion had a fourth vow: “Never to criticize a superior in any way and to tell your immediate superior about it if you became aware of another member breaking his vow.”


Slightly built, with green eyes, pointed ears and scant hair, Fr. Pablo Pérez-Guajardo was officially expelled from the Legion in May 2015. They had already expelled him from the San José chapel in Playa del Carmen in September, 2012, after which his lifestyle became nomadic. When he was interviewed by the reporter in September, 2014 he had transformed a garage in a poor neighborhood into a chapel. “The bishop (Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, LC) has forbidden me from entering Catholic schools and hospitals” (to perform my priestly duties).

“Where could I go now that I was sixty?” the priest asked himself. So he traipsed back to Playa del Carmen, to the working class neighborhood, setting up a chapel in a garage of a house under construction. When the reporter met him Fr. Pablo was going around in an old dirty Chevy, with the seats falling apart. He was living with a family, surrounded by bags of cement and dust curtains. The Legion had expelled him in 2015. “In canonical terms I do not have ministerial faculties, although I am not sanctioned for any reason nor do I have any canonical censure against me because I have not committed any ecclesiastical crime (pedophilia, sexual partner, fraud, doctrinal problems or errors in moral or doctrinal teachings).”

As they spoke the reporter noted the Padre’s fatigue after four years of accusations and no success except to keep trudging along performing baptisms and building his chapel. When asked why he had spent so much energy writing the hundreds of protest pages, he said he had hoped that the Vatican would hear his plea and would depose the Legion of Christ from the Prelature. “Quintana Roo needs a Franciscan, Jesuit or diocesan bishop who will dress in sandals and jeans, carry a backpack and rub shoulders with the workers and native peoples of the interior and not with the hotel zone magnates.”

The Legend of the holy money launderer
Fernando García Zalvidea was one of the thousands of immigrants attracted to Cancun tourist growth. Driving his limousine he would offer excursions to gringos fascinated by the Caribbean paradise. One of them exclaimed to him on a certain occasion: This is my best day! Fernando liked the phrase and he made it his. Cancun was growing in leaps and bounds and it was fertile soil for an entrepreneur such as García Zalvidea who, with his meteoric rise as a hotel baron, created a public relations network of public, political and religious dimensions with the Quintana Roo elite. His savvy made him owner of a whole chain of hotels, Real Caribe, and Best Day, pioneering all-inclusive travel on the web.

But came the day in 1998 when his empire began crumbling. The Mexican Attorney General named him in association with “Maxiproceso,” an investigation into drug smuggling and money laundering for the Juarez Cartel in the state of Quintana Roo. State governor, Mario Villanueva-Madrid, nicknamed El Chueco (The Crook)), stood accused of having placed the state prosecutor at the service of drug boss, Ramón Alcides-Magaña, alias El Metro (One Meter). García-Zalvidea was accused of money laundering for the cartel in the purchase of the Gran Caribe Real hotel. He was detained and sent to the infamous Reclusorio Sur in Mexico City.

The investigations results were ambiguous. Former governor, Villanueva-Madrid was detained, imprisons and extradited to the USA where he is still incarcerated.

His punishment was unusually harsh by Mexican standards. Most of the accused were absolved of their crimes. García Zalvidea was released on March 4th, 2000 after only fourteen months.

Three years later, a magazine called Contralínea published a series of phone conversations between former Attorney General Antonio Lozano-Gracia, ex presidential candidate for the PAN party, Diego Fernández de Cevallos, and García-Zalvidea’s lawyer, Germán Rangel-González in which the PAN members discussed “political moves” to free the hotel owner and eventually have his case closed by the country’s attorney general.

Upon his release Fernando García-Zalvidea became the Legion’s greatest benefactor in Quintana Roo. He helped to build the City of Happiness in 2000, the largest social work of the Prelature, a center embracing schools, retirement home, homes for orphans and the terminally ill and a center for addiction treatment.
But the man in question went far beyond that, extending his political network through his brother, Juan Ignacio, El Chacho who became a member of the house for the PAN party in 2000 and later jumped ship to the Green Party. Under the green banner he won the election for Lord Mayor of the Benito Juárez Delegation (which includes Cancun) in February 2002. He was the first major of the opposition party (not from the PRI) in the city of Cancun. In 2004 El Chacho approached the leading candidate for the Mexican presidency, leftist Andrés Manuel López-Obrador.

Juan Ignacio proclaimed that he wanted to be a candidate for governor of Quintana Roo state representing the opposition. A few months after making his aspirations public he lost his seat in congress and later incarcerated on charges of over-spending the Cancun treasury. He was incarcerated for over a year until his brother, Fernando, paid a bail of 71 million Mexican pesos (five and a half million dollars.)

The García Zalvidea were one of the most powerful families in Quintana Roo state. El Chacho demonstrated his allegiance to the ruling party, PRI’, by participating in the present governor, Roberto Borge’s, campaign. While on the other side, Fernando was supporting the PAN party in 2012, organizing fundraisers for the PAN presidential candidate, Josefina Vázquez-Mota, among hotel owners. Bishop Pedro-Pablo Elizondo was invited to one of these events.


Legionaries’ Paradise, Part 2: The Pedophiles

 The Pedophiles

Four minor seminarians, 11-14 years old, reach out to Fr. Juan José Vaca, who has just come to the seminary in Ontaneda, Cantabria, Spain, as their new spiritual director. They reveal to him that Fr. Jesús Martínez-Penilla, the rector, had taken them to bed to masturbate them. Their stories implied that the abuses had been going on for two or three months.

As a good Legionary, Fr. Vaca called Fr. Maciel immediately. “Don’t worry, Juan José. Talk with those junior seminarians and calm them down. Tell them not to tell their parents.”

Within three hours Martínez-Penilla was on the train to Madrid. From there he flew to Mexico City and immediately headed for Chetumal where Monsignor Jorge Bernal, the Legionary of Christ apostolic delegate of the prelature, appointed by Marcial Maciel, was waiting to give him his next appointment, the Parish of Isla Mujeres.

Thousands of miles away from his victims, Martínez-Penilla was front line in all the most important religious celebrations of the Prelature. On March 19th, 1974 he accompanied Bishop Bernal through the streets of Chetumal as Bernal was consecrated bishop head of the Chetumal Prelature. Four other bishops follow in procession behind the newly consecrated bishop.

Martínez-Penilla continued his ecclesiastical career in the prelature as a pastor. The church directory of 1991 has him as pastor of the St Joachim Parish, Bacalar, Quintana Roo.  In 2007 he is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in José María Morelos township.

In the Anniversary brochure published by the prelature in 2010, “Fr. Penilla” appears surrounded by the parish leadership group at Immaculate Conception parish in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

In his deposition as part of initial investigation into sexual abuse of children at the Legion’s Instituto Cumbres, Mr. Villafuerte accuses Legionary of Christ, Eduardo Lucatero Alvarez of “having known the facts and having limited himself to terminating a predatory gym instructor at the Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City”. Lucatero was accused of advising the abuser’s family to leave the country because he was going to have problems. According to Villafuerte, the gym instructor was not the only abuser in the school; he names Guillermo Romo, Francisco Rivas and Alfonso NJ, other Cumbres employees of ‘touching children.”

“He also knows and saw that sometimes the assistant principal, called Eduardo Lucatero, LC, was hearing the boys’ confessions; that said person also took the little girls, the boys’ sisters, and caressed their intimate parts obscenely.” But when the case came to court Fr. Lucatero was only sentenced for covering up the abuse.

Before going to legal authorities, one of the victim’s mother approached the Instituto Cumbres administration directly. It was a huge mistake. “My life turned upside down. I lost my work because of them. I lost my lifelong friends. I lost my condominium, and overnight I was swallowed up by a huge hole in the ground. They are very powerful people. They threatened me. They tried to ride me off the beltway (periférico) more than once with a Mustang to frighten me out of going to court.”

Lucatero-Álvarez also ended up in the Chetumal (now Cancun-Chetumal) Prelature where his presence was never hidden. On the inside back page overlap of A Missionary Church he can be seen in the second row of active clergy, vested in priestly robes and in a prayerful posture. The group is headed by the present bishop of the Prelature, Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, another Maciel appointee.

The brochure describes Lucatero-Álvarez as belonging to Holy Trinity Parish in Cancun. On page 85 he appears in a group of twenty posing in front of the Cancun cathedral church. He is tall, with glasses, wearing a white guayabera and a cross on his chest, smiling.

The Prelature’s 2014 church directory describes him as a religious (LC) priest, head of the Doctrine of the Faith in the office for Prophetic Pastoral Ministry. In other words, he is in charge of protecting the discipline and dogmas of the Catolic Church in Quintana Roo state, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.incest_juan

Parents, Beware of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi:Do not allow your children to be influenced by them at an early age!

Resultado de imagen para Children of ISIS


Warning to Catholic Parents.

The Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi recruits members to the organizations from an early age “in order to give them a grounding in their Catholic Faith and protect them against the dangers of a permissive society bereft of Christian values”.

This, however, is very dangerous because the methods of the LC/RC closely resemble brainwashing, as has been constantly suggested by this and other sites such as life.after.rc and 49 weeks. Our concerns have been listened to by several cult awareness associations (Rick Ross, Steven Hassan, etc) , including International Cultic Studies Association, the most prestigious such organization in the world. ICSA has opened its doors to former members members of the LC/RC for decades, demonstrating that there is a danger of cult-like indoctrination. These cult watch associations have much information regarding the Legion of Christ on their web sites.

We warn the public, especially Catholics, not to expose their children to these questionable groups. They are being recruited by and for an extremist, secretive and deceptive Catholic group.

This warning was prompted by a viewing of a Frontline report of children as young as 8 being recruited into the ISIS terrorist group.

Legionaries’ Paradise, Part 1: a Tale of two Stories



There are always two versions of the Legion of the Christ:

the official story –full of divine interventions-and the other story, told by those who are not happy with it. For sixty years the Legion maintained -demeaning, threatening and suing detractors- that Marcial Maciel, their founder, was a living saint. But at the end they had to acknowledge the truth: he was a conman, drug addict and a pedophile who even abused his own children.

The quasi-diocese of Cancun-Chetumal under the Legion’s care is no different. This territory, placed under the Legion’s pastoral care in 1970, also spawns two stories. The official story describes the Prelature as the Legion’s self-less evangelization of the Maya people and of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who flocked to the area to work as laborers and in the tourism industry.

They began with five priests, Mexicans and Irish, and now, forty-five years later, there are seventy-five priests. They began staffing seven parishes and now, five decades later, have over fifty. And they have been able to cope with the demographic explosion of the state of Quintana Roo which has grown from 90, 000 inhabitants in 1970 to 1,600,000 in 2015[1]. There is no denying the numbers and the Legionaries have gained respect and prestige among the people. Some of the priests have worked hard and long, both with the indigenous communities and in working class neighborhoods.

But there is another story that runs parallel, told by the dissidents, some of whom are former Legionaries who, having gone beyond the appearances of the religious order, have become its harshest critics. According to them, this hot and humid area was used by Fr. Maciel as a kind of “Tropical Siberia” where he could exile some of organization’s undesireable elements: be they priests accused of sexual abuse or those who assumed a critical posture vis-à-vis the Legion’s modus operandi. The dissenters are quick to point out, among other things, how Cancun has become a great source of income for the Legion as handsome fair-skinned priests celebrate weddings for the rich and famous in luxury hotels.

According to the official story the Vatican asked the Legionaries to take over sparsely populated Quintana Roo in 1970 and “even the wisest prophet could never have foretold the demographic explosion.”

According to Legionary priest on a limb, Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo, a native of Saltillo, Mexico, Fr. Maciel, the astute founder, secured the Prelature for his Legionaries because he had insider information, thanks to his relationship with the then Minister for the Interior and later president, Luis Echeverría, that the Mexican government would invest millions of dollars in creating this huge Caribbean tourist paradise. “The Legion- according to the official version-“launched a frenetic crusade to provide the Prelature with dignified churches”[2]

The alternative version accepts this fact but accuses the Legionaries of invading green areas and taking over public spaces to build their churches. In their ruthless expansion the Legionaries have been aided and abetted by en enterprising hotelier, Fernando García Zalvidea; said collaborator had been imprisoned on charges of money laundering for the Juarez drug cartel. And (as is not uncommon in certain countries) he was released after serving only thirteen months of his sentence.

On November 21st, 2015, the Cancun-Chetumal Prelature is celebrating its 45th anniversary under the direction of the Legionaries of Christ, the order founded by Marcial Maciel on January 3, 1941 in the basement of a house in Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez. On this festive occasion the Legion is launching two monumental projects: the Basilica of Santa María Guadalupe del Mar, with a 350 feet high cross, which will become the Catholic icon for Cancun, costing approximately 12 million dollars. The second project is a large seminary which will run into 57 million Mexican pesos (about five million US dollars) and will have an Olympic-size swimming pool, soccer fields, basketball courts, housing up to a hundred seminarians.

[1] Normally, the Catholic Church is divided into dioceses: specific territories, staffed by local clergy, headed by a bishop. In certain exceptional cases Rome will create a “prelature” when the “Church structure” is underdeveloped and there are not enough local clergy  to meet the pastoral needs of the populace. “The Holy See” may ask a religious order to help out. “Prelatures” are often poor and isolated indigenous communities. In Mexico Franciscan Friars staff the prelatures of El Nayar (Nayarit state) and El Salto (Durango), while the Salesians take care of the Mixes communities in Oaxaca. The Jesuits  staffed the Tarahumara communities in Chihuahua state from 1958-1992.   The Cancun-Chetumal Prelature covers the relatively young state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula.

[2] Citations are from Una Iglesia de corazón misionero, libro de nuestra historia 2010, published by the Prelature in 2010 to mark its 40 anniversary, pages 34 and 39 respectively.

Legionaries’ Paradise -Introduction



Legionaries’ Paradise 

Article, authored by reporter Emiliano Ruiz Parra, originally appeared in Spanish on the Gatopardo web page


The Legion of Christ wields almost limitless power in Cancun and all over the state of Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The Cancun-Chetumal Prelature (quasi diocese), under the Legion’s direction since 1970, has enabled the religious order to harbor pedophile priests and to exile their priest and brother members who are critical of or unhappy with the organization.

The present article also highlights how the Legionaries have taken possession of public lands on several occasions and now plan to build a mega basilica which could have major negative ecological impact on this pristine area. And all this is happening with the complicity of state officials and under the sinister influence of their deceased founder, Marcial Maciel.


El Paraiso de los Legionarios (de Cristo) Primera Parte

Articulo aparecido en el blog El Gatopardo, nov,  2015

La Legión de Cristo goza de un poder desmedido en Cancún y varias poblaciones de Quintana Roo. La prelatura Cancún-Chetumal, a cargo de los legionarios desde 1970, ha servido a la congregación religiosa para refugiar a sacerdotes acusados de pederastia o para desterrar a algunas voces críticas dentro de su comunidad. También se han apropiado de terrenos públicos y proyectan construir una basílica que podría tener un fuerte impacto ecológico. Todo esto ocurre con la complicidad del Estado y bajo la siniestra presencia de su fundador, el fallecido Marcial Maciel.


“Lo difícil es encontrar una iglesia en Cancún que no sea una invasión…”

Los Legionarios de Cristo siempre cuentan dos historias: una versión oficial —cargada de designios divinos— y una verdad disidente. Durante sesenta años la Legión sostuvo, por ejemplo, que Marcial Maciel —su fundador— era un santo en vida. Pero después tuvo que reconocer lo irrefutable: que había sido un pederasta, drogadicto, mitómano y había abusado hasta de sus hijos. 

En la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumal, a cargo de los Legionarios de Cristo desde 1970, también se cuentan dos historias.[1] La versión oficial retrata la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumalcomo la abnegada evangelización del pueblo maya y de los cientos de miles de inmigrantes que poblaron el Caribe mexicano con el auge del turismo. Llegaron cinco sacerdotes legionarios y, 45 años después, se multiplicaron a 75. Encontraron siete parroquias y en menos de cinco décadas construyeron más de cincuenta. Y se adaptaron a uno de los crecimientos demográficos más acelerados del país, pues Quintana Roo pasó de menos de 90 mil habitantes a un millón 600 mil entre 1970 y 2015.

Sin duda, una parte de esa versión es cierta. Los números son reales y los legionarios gozan de influencia en la entidad. Algunos de sus sacerdotes se han entregado con convicción a sus labores religiosas, ya sea en comunidades indígenas o en barrios de trabajadores. Pero esa verdad oficial convive con la versión de los críticos de la Legión de Cristo, algunos de ellos, ex legionarios que conocieron las entrañas de la congregación y se han convertido en sus denunciantes más elocuentes.

Según la versión de los críticos, la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumal ha funcionado como una “Siberia tropical” para relegar a los elementos indeseables, ya fueran sacerdotes acusados de pederastia o elementos críticos con la línea oficial de la Legión de Cristo. Según ellos la prelatura se ha usado como un gran negocio, al ser explotada como un polo de bodas en hoteles de lujo.

En la historia oficial, el Vaticano les pidió a los legionarios encargarse de Quintana Roo en 1970 y “ni el profeta más santo […] se iba a imaginar la explosión demográfica”. Según la versión alternativa, que cuenta el ex legionario Pablo Pérez Guajardo, Maciel cabildeó la prelatura para los legionarios porque poseía información —debido a su cercanía con el secretario de Gobernación, y luego presidente, Luis Echeverría— de que el Estado mexicano invertiría grandes sumas de dinero para desarrollar un gran centro turístico en el Caribe.

La región ha vivido, según la versión oficial, “una frenética cruzada por dotar a la prelatura de templos dignos para el culto”.[2] La versión alternativa acepta este hecho, pero acusa a los legionarios de invadir áreas verdes y apropiarse de espacios públicos para construir iglesias. En su expansión, la prelatura contó con el apoyo de un empresario hotelero, Fernando García Zalvidea, que estuvo preso trece meses por lavado de dinero del Cártel de Juárez, y luego fue absuelto.

Este 21 de noviembre, la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumal cumple 45 años, todos ellos bajo el control de los Legionarios de Cristo, la congregación que fundara Marcial Maciel el 3 de enero de 1941 en un sótano de la colonia Juárez de la Ciudad de México. Los legionarios, ahora, emprenden dos obras monumentales: la construcción de la basílica de Santa María Guadalupe del Mar, un templo de 110 metros de altura que pretenden convertir en el ícono de Cancún, con un costo anunciado de unos doce millones de
 dólares; y un seminario de 57 millones
 de pesos con alberca olímpica y canchas de futbol y basquetbol y capacidad para cien seminaristas.

Los pederastas Cuatro seminaristas se acercaron al sacerdote Juan José Vaca, director espiritual del seminario de Ontaneda, España. Le revelaron que el rector, el padre Jesús Martínez Penilla, se los había llevado a la cama y los había masturbado. Por las confesiones de los niños se deducía que los abusos llevaban ya dos o tres meses. Vaca de inmediato le informó a Marcial Maciel por teléfono.

—No te preocupes, habla con los apostólicos [las víctimas] y procura tranquilizarlos. Pídeles que no les digan nada a sus papás—, le dijo Maciel.

En tres horas, Martínez Penilla había tomado el tren a Madrid. De ahí abordó un avión a la ciudad de México y de inmediato salió a Chetumal, en donde se puso a las órdenes de Jorge Bernal, el legionario de Cristo que era administrador apostólico de la prelatura, designado por Maciel Degollado.[3] Corría el año de 1970 y el papa Pablo VI acababa de encargarles la prelatura de Chetumal a los Legionarios de Cristo.

A miles de kilómetros de sus víctimas, Martínez Penilla apareció en la primera fila de las más importantes ceremonias de la prelatura. El 19 de marzo de 1974 flanqueó a Jorge Bernal por las calles de Chetumal durante la consagración de éste último como obispo prelado. En una fotografía se aprecia a cuatro mitrados que los siguen en procesión.[4]

Martínez Penilla desarrolló una carrera como párroco en la prelatura. El directorio eclesiástico de 1991 lo registra al frente del templo de la Inmaculada Concepción, en Bacalar. En el mismo directorio, pero de 2007, aparece como responsable de la parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro en el municipio de José María Morelos. 

Para 2010 había cambiado nuevamente de adscripción. En la página 43 de Una Iglesia de corazón misionero hay dos imágenes del sacerdote: en una de ellas se le ve leyendo un libro, quizá los evangelios, en una banca; en la segunda fotografía lo flanquean 18 personas. Son parte de su comunidad en el templo de la Inmaculada Concepción de María de Isla Mujeres.

Cuando Juan José Vaca estaba a punto de salir de la Legión de Cristo le escribió una extensa carta a Marcial Maciel fechada el 20 de octubre de 1976. En ella le reprochaba una década de abusos sexuales que habían empezado en 1949. Vaca revelaba los nombres de veinte legionarios que habían pasado por situaciones similares a la suya. Entre ellos había tres sacerdotes que trabajaban en la prelatura: Javier Orozco, Ángel de la Torre y Jesús Martínez Penilla.

La prelatura, sin embargo, albergó un caso más grave que el de Martínez Penilla. En el capítulo “El caso del Instituto Cumbres, 1983” de Marcial Maciel, el historiador Fernando M. González detalla la primera historia de abuso sexual de la Legión contenida en expedientes judiciales. 

Una madre de familia (a quien González identifica como Elsa N) denunció los abusos sexuales sufridos por su hijo a manos del prefecto de disciplina, un laico de nombre Eduardo Enrique Villafuerte Casas Alatriste. La justicia mexicana atrapó a Villafuerte y lo condenó a 18 años de cárcel. El examen médico comprobó las violaciones sexuales. En ese entonces, el director del Instituto Cumbres (una preparatoria de los Legionarios de Cristo) era el sacerdote Eduardo Lucatero Álvarez. 

En su declaración ministerial, consignada en la averiguación previa 163/83, del 7 de junio de 1985, Villafuerte acusa que Lucatero “tuvo conocimiento de los hechos, y se concretó únicamente a despedirlo de su empleo, y a avisarle a su familia, aconsejándole que abandonara el país porque iba a tener problemas”. Villafuerte relata que no era el único abusador de niños en el colegio. Identifica a Guillermo Romo, Francisco Rivas y Alfonso NJ como otros empleados del Cumbres que tocaban a los niños.

“Que también sabe y vio en ocasiones al subdirector [sic] confesando a los menores, y que dicho [sujeto] se llamaba Eduardo Lucatero (LC), el cual también se llevaba a las niñas, hermanas de los menores y les acariciaba sus partes nobles obscenamente”, continúa. Sin embargo, al sacerdote Lucatero sólo se le impuso una multa por encubrimiento.

Antes de acudir a las autoridades ministeriales, una de las madres de las víctimas acudió a las del plantel. Fue un error. “Mi vida cambió totalmente. Perdí el trabajo por culpa de los legionarios, perdí mis amistades de toda la vida, mi dinero, mi condominio, y de la noche a la mañana haga de cuenta que se me abrió un hoyo. Son gente muy poderosa. Me amenazaron, me trataron de sacar del periférico varias veces con un auto Mustang para que no fuera a juicio”, le contó a González.

Lucatero Álvarez terminó en la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumal, que nunca disimuló su presencia en el Caribe. En la tercera de forros de Una Iglesia de corazón misionero se le ve en segunda fila entre el clero de Quintana Roo, con ornamentos sacerdotales y en oración. El grupo lo encabeza el obispo Pedro Pablo Elizondo.

El mismo volumen lo registra como sacerdote adscrito a la catedral de la Santísima Trinidad, en Cancún. En una fotografía (página 85) aparece en el extremo derecho de un grupo de veinte personas que posan delante de la fachada de la catedral. Alto, de lentes, guayabera y crucifijo al hombro, posa con una sonrisa.

En el Directorio eclesiástico 2 014 de la prelatura se le consigna como sacerdote del clero religioso. El directorio lo identifica como titular de la Dimensión de la Doctrina de la Fe en la Pastoral Profética. Es decir, era el “guardián” de la disciplina y el cumplimiento de los dogmas en la Iglesia de Quintana Roo.

El perro, el vino y el psiquiatra

Pablo Pérez Guajardo se pasaba el día adormilado. Su depresión no desaparecía a pesar de la ingesta de pastillas. Hasta que decidió dejar de tomar su dosis de diazepam y dárselas al perro de raza pastor alemán, una de la mascotas en la casa de Vía Aurelia 677. Pablo poco a poco perdió la somnolencia. En cambio, el perro dormitaba todo el día ya sin ganas de jugar. “Los superiores se preocuparon por el perro que estaba muy mal. El perro sí les alarmaba y yo no”, recuerda con rabia.

Pérez Guajardo se ha convertido en una de las voces más críticas de la Legión. Sin ser nunca un directivo de la orden, durante veinte años estuvo cerca de la cúpula legionaria y del propio fundador Marcial Maciel. Entre 1986 y 2006 perteneció a la comunidad de seminaristas y sacerdotes que residía en Vía Aurelia, Roma, en la sede de la dirección general de los Legionarios de Cristo.

Lo encuentro en fotografías antiguas: la del 3 de enero de 1991 en la basílica de San Pedro. Para celebrar los 50 años de la Legión de Cristo, Marcial Maciel dispuso que sesenta legionarios fueran ordenados por el papa Juan Pablo II. Con las manos en oración, se le ve a escasas tres personas del pontífice. Ese día recibió la ordenación sacerdotal después de quince años en la congregación.

Lo vuelvo a ver en Una Iglesia de corazón misionero, libro de nuestra historia, el libro que los legionarios editaron para celebrar los cuarenta años de la prelatura. Aparece tres veces: en la tercera de forros (con el resto de los curas del estado) y en las páginas 132 y 133. Una fotografía en gran angular lo retrata en medio de un centenar de personas, la mayoría niños: su comunidad de la capilla San José en la colonia Guadalupana, un barrio proletario en la periferia de Playa del Carmen. En la página impar tiene un micrófono en la mano y se lo acerca a un niño. 

En esas imágenes quedó su época de cercanía legionaria. Pero el 29 de septiembre de 2011 envió al entonces director general de los legionarios, Álvaro Corcuera, una “Carta de Fuego”, en donde exigía a la congregación un deslinde de su fundador Marcial Maciel. 

“Fue amortajado con vestiduras sacerdotales un maricón, drogo, borracho y mujeriego […] No sólo él se rió de Dios, de la Iglesia y de nosotros, también usted y buen número de superiores mayores se han burlado de la autoridad del Papa al acompañar a nuestro pedófilo fundador en sus viajes con la concubina y la hija sacrílega […] Sus labios han besado el cadáver de un falso profeta que usted y los superiores mayores nos han presentado como Alter Christus siendo un 
Anti-Cristo”, le escribió. 

A esa carta siguieron una decena de cartas más en donde denunciaba el lavado de dinero, el encubrimiento sistemático de pederastas, el culto a la memoria de Maciel, la explotación financiera de los colegios y otras presuntas desviaciones de la Legión de Cristo.

Delgado, de ojos verdes, orejas puntiagudas y cabello escaso, Pablo Pérez Guajardo fue expulsado de la Legión de Cristo en mayo de 2015, pero desde septiembre de 2012 lo echaron de la capellanía de San José. Cuando lo entrevisté, en septiembre pasado, acondicionaba la cochera de una casa como capilla. Se dice vetado: “el obispo (Pedro Pablo Elizondo) me prohibió que entrara a las escuelas católicas y a los hospitales”. 

Conversamos durante tres horas. De su vida, el capítulo más vivo, y el más desgarrador también transcurría en Roma: en 1986 fue asignado a la dirección general de los legionarios, el centro de mando de la congregación religiosa. Ahí convivió con Maciel y Luis Garza Medina, “número” dos de la orden religiosa y cerebro financiero de ésta.

La vida legionaria afectó las emociones del padre Pérez Guajardo. Se deprimió. Garza Medina le pidió atenderse con Francisco López Ibor, hijo del célebre psiquiatra español Juan José López Ibor. Se negó. Pero después fue el propio Maciel quien le pidió consultar al psiquiatra. Las sugerencias de Nuestro Padre eran órdenes. Pérez Guajardo desconocía entonces que era una práctica de Maciel enviar a los sacerdotes problemáticos a la clínica madrileña. Cada cuatro meses viajaba a Madrid a surtirse de dosis de medicamentos psiquiátricos que lo mantenían dormido o sonámbulo, sin ganas de rechistar. 

Su computadora tenía acceso a internet. Navegando, se dio cuenta de que su dosis de antidepresivos era mayor a la necesaria, y que su tristeza obedecía a su vida de religioso: soledad, alejamiento de su familia desde los 18 años, falta de estímulos. Empezó a darle sus medicamentos al perro pastor alemán que cuidaba con celo otro sacerdote legionario, Juan Manuel Dueñas Rojas.

Al quitarse los medicamentos volvió a estar despierto, pero pagó un precio. Tenía estallidos de ira y simas de tristeza. Sus padres estaban enfermos y deseaba ir a pasar con ellos sus últimos años. Con su padre no lo logró: cuando aterrizó en México ya lo estaban velando. 

Una escena retrata su furia: a los curas sólo les estaba permitido beber un vaso de vino con la cena. Los superiores se servían dos o tres “porque tenían permiso del padre Maciel”. Enojado y con ganas de venganza, Pablo se robaba las botellas aflojando el triplay detrás de la repisa. Las ocultaba en el baño o en los ductos de aire acondicionado.

Una tarde, uno de los superiores lo llamó para regañarlo. Pablo Pérez Guajardo, que ya se la esperaba, traía una de las botellas de vino, ya descorchada. La sacó de entre sus ropas y la derramó sobre el escritorio.

—¿Cómo se atreve? ¡Aquí hay cartas de Nuestro Padre! —le reprendió el sacerdote (¿Y qué que hubiera esas cartas?, se preguntaría años después Pablo: si la mayoría de las cartas de Maciel eran plagios o escritos de otros autores, todo lo que ofreció Maciel fue un fraude).

Hartos de su indisciplina, le autorizaron que se trasladara a la Ciudad de México, a una casa de legionarios en la que pudiera estar más cerca de su madre, enferma de cáncer.

Derramar el vino fue la primera de
 sus indisciplinas. Ahora la recuerda como un acto calculado de rebeldía para conseguir su traslado. Vista a la distancia era una travesura. Su auténtico desafío vino después, con sus denuncias públicas escritas en cientos de cuartillas de cartas y en sus confesiones, la catarata de recuerdos que iban reconstruyendo el rompecabezas de una congregación en donde campeaban el fraude y el abuso. La tarde que conversamos, algunas de esas escenas vinieron a su cabeza: la noche anterior a la profesión de votos, Marcial Maciel llamó a uno de sus compañeros y pasó la noche con él. Ese cura fue enviado a la prelatura. Cuando se hizo público que Maciel había tenido una hija, el sacerdote abusado (ya de 50 años) contaba compulsivamente su historia; o de la vez que el cardenal Angelo Sodano, secretario de Estado del Vaticano, les dijo a él y otro grupo de legionarios: “Dichosos ustedes porque obispos y cardenales hay muchos, pero fundador [Marcial Maciel] uno solo”; o de cuando se enteró de que Luis Garza Medina —hermano de Dionisio Garza Medina, presidente de Grupo Alfa y uno de los hombres más ricos de México— había urdido un plan para controlar a la Legión de Cristo: hizo seguir a Maciel por detectives privados, recabó la información sobre su doble vida y le hizo un chantaje: su silencio a cambio del control financiero de la congregación religiosa.

Tras cuarenta años en la Legión, Pablo Pérez Guajardo observó y escuchó cientos de historias, pero guardaba fidelidad a sus votos privados.[5] Después de su regreso, lo destinaron a una casa de religiosos en el Estado de México y, al final, la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumal. Según su relato, estuvo asignado a la catedral de Chetumal en donde reactivó las misas matutinas y salió a las calles a ofrecer bautizos gratuitos a los niños. El obispo Pedro Pablo Elizondo, al ver su energía, lo mandó a una encomienda más difícil: una colonia proletaria en Playa del Carmen.

De su paso por la colonia Guadalupana se puede contar su historia como cura de barrio marginal (él la llama zona atolera en contraste con la zona hotelera) pero resultan más pertinentes para este artículo sus impresiones sobre la prelatura de Cancún-Chetumal, contenidas en una carta que le escribió a su obispo Pedro Pablo Elizondo el 24 de septiembre de 2012. Allí le dice, por ejemplo, que la prelatura ha sido, desde su creación, el destino de los indeseables: aquellos que no cuadraban con la línea de Maciel, ya fuera porque se habían negado a trabajar en colegios para niños ricos, como un grupo de curas irlandeses que se sentían frustrados de hacer pastoral sólo para clases acomodadas.
La prelatura se había hecho de tres buenos negocios, acusaba Pablo Pérez: las bodasglamour celebradas en las capillas de los hoteles de lujo. Los curas legionarios habían sido reducidos a un servicio de escort: un apuesto sacerdote impecable, bien vestido, con la raya del cabello perfecta, para adornar las ceremonias de los ricos. A esas bodas, por cierto, se les negaba el acceso a los trabajadores de los hoteles.
El segundo negocio, la Ciudad de la Alegría: un complejo de casas-hogar para niños, ancianos y enfermos terminales “es, en buena medida, la confeccionadora de recibos deducibles de impuestos para los hoteles y empresas (Best Day) de Fernando García Zalvidea”.
Y una tercera fuente de ingresos: los donativos que los legionarios recababan en Estados Unidos y Europa con el argumento de destinarlos a la evangelización de los pueblos mayas, a los cuales “nunca [les] ha llegado dinero: la inmensa mayoría de las regiones o colonias pobres carecen de dispensarios católicos, escuelas parroquiales, templos y servicios sociales”.
Pérez Guajardo se fue de la prelatura. Buscó lugar en Saltillo, con el obispo Raúl Vera López, promotor de derechos humanos, y antagónico a los legionarios. Apenas estuvo unos ocho meses e hicieron cortocircuito. Pérez Guajardo lo acusó de usar a los pobres para su beneficio, y Vera respondió calificándolo de espía.
“¿A dónde voy a mis casi 60 años?”, se preguntó el sacerdote. Y regresó a Playa del Carmen, a la zona obrera, a instalar una capilla en el garaje de una vivienda en obra negra. Cuando lo visité, se movía en un automóvil Chevy viejo y sucio, sin asientos, y vivía con una familia, rodeado de costales de cemento y cortinas de polvo. En 2015 la Legión lo había expulsado de sus filas: “En términos canónicos no tengo licencias ministeriales, quedando firme que no hay ninguna sanción o pena canónica ya que no existe ningún delito (ni pederastia, pareja sexual, fraude, problemas doctrinales o enseñanzas morales erróneas)”, me dijo.
Cuando conversamos se le notaba el cansancio tras cuatro años de denuncia sin que nada hubiera cambiado. Estaba irascible y resignado a su trabajo pastoral: dar catecismo, celebrar bautizos, avanzar en la construcción de su capilla. Le pregunté por qué había invertido tanta energía en las cientos de cuartillas de denuncia. Tenía esperanza: su esperanza era que lo escucharan en el Vaticano y le retiraran la prelatura a los legionarios. A Quintana Roo, me dijo, le faltaba un obispo franciscano, jesuita o diocesano que usara morral, huaraches y mezclilla, y se mezclara con los obreros y los indígenas de tierra adentro, y ya no con los magnates de la zona hotelera.    La leyenda del santo lavador Fernando García Zalvidea fue uno de los miles de inmigrantes que atrajo el auge turístico de Cancún. A bordo de una limusina, ofrecía excursiones a los gringos fascinados por el paraíso caribeño. Uno de ellos le dijo un día: This is my best day. Le gustó la frase y la hizo suya. Cancún estaba en permanente expansión y era territorio fértil para los emprendedores como García Zalvidea que, al paso de su fulgurante ascenso como hotelero, tejió una red de relaciones políticas, religiosas y empresariales con la élite de Quintana Roo. Sus negocios fructificaron hasta que llegó a ser dueño de una cadena de hoteles a la que llamó Real Caribe y de la empresa Best Day, que fue pionera en ofrecer viajes todo pagado por internet.
Pero su emporio se tambaleó en 1998. La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) lo relacionó con el “maxiproceso”: una investigación sobre narcotráfico y lavado de dinero del Cártel de Juárez en Quintana Roo. Se acusaba al gobernador Mario Villanueva Madrid, El Chueco, de haber puesto la Procuraduría de Justicia local al servicio del capo Ramón Alcides Magaña, El Metro. Fernando García Zalvidea fue acusado de lavar dinero del cártel en la compra del hotel Gran Caribe Real. Lo detuvieron y lo internaron en el Reclusorio Sur de la Ciudad de Mexico.