Young Catholic Believer Inquires
About Fr. Maciel, Friend of Pope -now saint-JPII,
The Holy Spirit, –
The Ex-Priest respondent (bad),
Hating the Church;
Pope Benedict’s role,
The Devil is rampant…
INQUIRY MIRRORS CATHOLICS CONFUSED AND DIVIDED OVER CLERGY SEX ABUSE, FR MACIEL-LEGION OF CHRIST CONTROVERSY, POPES’ RESPONSIBILITY AND MEDIA COVERAGE
From ReGAIN Secret Archives, circa May, 2005
Peter and Paul
My name is Peter,
I am a young Irish Catholic who used to work for the Legionnaires in Mexico City in Bosques. I have been reading your correspondence with Fr Neuhaus and find it fascinating, if disgusting, the discrepancy between your vision and the Legion’s. Can these people be really talking about the same person? You may not want to respond, or simply to tell me to mind my own business, but could you tell me were you a priest? The reason I ask is because the person that played the biggest role in bringing me back to God was Pope John Paul and so to discover that one of his friends was, or maybe was, so evil makes me feel uncomfortable.
I am a member of the Church of Saints and Sinners, and am always worried that we spend too much time focusing on the sins of others. So if it not too much trouble, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and your time in Mexico. I am now living in Spain but am heading to Peru in September to work with a Charity. Do you think that the Holy Spirit is in any way working through Father Maciel? I will leave you with this and hope for but not expect a reply.
Yours with Faith in Jesus,–
Thanks for taking the trouble to write. I am taking a few minutes out of my Sunday morning here in Virginia, USA, to acknowledge your message. You will find the first 2 chapters of my history in Testimonies under Bewitched, Bewildered and Bothered. I’m the same person. And I admit I get ‘hooked’ when someone like yourself sends an interesting letter. By the way, do you have a decent job?
I founded La Escuela de la FE in 1975/6 on Sierra Vertientes 605, Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico City, and worked there until 1982 when I was shipped off down to Quintana Roo. I was ordained a priest in the Legion, 1969, worked on the Quintana Roo the [only Legion] Mission 71-75 and again 1982-84, left the Legion in 1984 and transitioned to the diocese of Washington DC in 1985; finally left the priesthood in 1989 when I ‘was laicized’ and began looking for a job and a place to stay; I was 45 at that time; now 61 and work as a Mental Health Therapist
Thanks for reading my dialogue with Fr Neuhaus. One of the differences between him and me is that he does not know Marcial Maciel; I do.
Do not let Marcial Maciel interfere with your faith in God, Jesus and Church, or with your admiration for the Pope. Fr. Maciel’s friendship with the Pope is grossly exaggerated by the Legion for propaganda purposes. I see no evidence that the Pope was a ‘personal friend’ of Father Maciel. That has been exaggerated by the media, encouraged by the Legion. Like any other extrovert/gregarious person, JPII would have had hundreds of ‘friends’; what others might call ‘acquaintances’.
I imagine the Pope praised MM as the living founder of a male religious order of priests and an apostolic lay movement. Maciel cleverly inserted some of his men in Vatican posts, and made a point of ordaining his priests in Rome, all together, in large numbers, in order to impress the Vatican and conservative Catholics. Maciel and the Legion also made the most of the photo opportunities in which he is seen close to the Pope, kissing or hugging his Holiness. Besides being revolting, this is regrettable and may later ‘come back to haunt’ the unwitting Pope.
The Holy Spirit is free to work wherever He wants, according to the words of Jesus. ‘The Spirit moves wherever it wishes’. But I have no reason to believe that He works through Fr Maciel any more than He works through you and me. Naturally, if Fr Maciel is guilty of sexually abusing his seminarians the Holy Spirit was absent from his actions in the infirmary in Rome in the 50s. This ‘Mystery of Iniquity’ troubles me, and I have wondered where the Holy Spirit was for the victims during their abuse. I can only believe that as the Compassionate Love of the Silent Suffering Christ He was present to the victims keeping them safe from despair and suicide.
The Legion got one thing right: it taught us to center our faith in Jesus, not in the Pope or Fr. Maciel. Although in practice, it encourages too much adulation of Fr. Maciel. I would encourage you to read the Letters of St Paul in this respect [I and II Corinthians, e.g.] where he would not allow rivalries between himself and St Peter [Cephas,] to blur the minds of the first Christians and stated clearly that Christian Faith is centered in the Risen Crucified Christ [I Cor., 10-17].
You were asking whether I was a priest. At this stage of my life I am firmly convinced that being a priest or an ex-priest, or having any other role or ‘dignity’ in the world or in the Church, has nothing to do with one’s personal relationship with God in Jesus [which on the other hand is a mystery, anyway!]. Besides, as St Paul would say, I am in Regain to preach the truth I know about the Legion, not my own person.
Peter, I have gone on and on. Because your message asks questions that might be typical of other young men, I would love to post your questions [anonymously] and my answers on our website. But I will not do anything without your consent. You know that all the testimonies on our site are freely given, are given with explicit permission, and several remain anonymous because the writers were not comfortable giving names. Maybe you would care to answer my answers and clarify or ask more questions or question my opinions.
For now, this is a ‘free consult’.
I admire your missionary spirit and the evident fact that for you the Church is bigger than the Legion of Christ and its Founder. Keep in touch.
PS I am going to share this with a select number of Regain members.
Peter to Paul
I have just re-read our correspondence and feel that it could be misunderstood. I do not know what to think of the case against Father Maciel, and that is why I wrote to you to see if there could be some kind of a compromise between Regain’s vision and that of the Legion. You can use my letter if you want to but please remove my name first.
My experience working briefly with The Legion was not a very pleasant one, even though I share their values and vision of Christian Life. People Criticize Opus Dei, but in everything I have read about or by Jose Maria Escrivá he was always a sinner, and a poor second to many others, especially our Lord. In the Legion it seems that they have developed a defensive attitude that seeks to portray only the sanctity of Father Maciel. But I don’t know the man, and have no real reason to believe that he is not what they indiscreetly point out he is.
Also Paul I would like to say that as much as I admire your path in life, I disagree with you about something you know more about: The Priesthood. I can honestly say I know a lot of Bad priests and a lot of Good priests, and I never thought they were on a higher level than me, except maybe the ones who were faithful only to their own vision and not that of God. I always felt in awe of Good priests, though not in a sense of worship; in the sense of their service, humility, sacrifice which seems to me the great reply a Human being can make to the call of the lord to take up our Cross.
What I also didlike is the fact that in the Bios about Father M, they never portray his humanity
Could you please review the sentence?
”What I also didlike is the fact that in the Bios about Father M, they never portray his humanity”
Keep in touch,
I am sorry about the mistake with the sentence; what I meant to say was that they don’t focus enough on his [MM’s -Fr. Maciel’s] struggle; his life seems to consist in nothing but the voice of Providence. Where is the man’s bread and butter life?
Paul to Peter,
Regain’s point is that Maciel has been put on a pedestal before his time; as the years go by more and more miraculous things are attributed to him and he has become a Myth in his own life-time -and by his own efforts!
Lord help us,
As an aside form all this, I am much clued into what the Church is going through. I know the media manipulation that is taking place against the Church, as I know what the Church teaches and what the media says it teaches are very different. Also the presentation is always tendentious. For this reason my approach with the Church is firmly “Innocent until proven guilty”.
Also with the accusations against the Legion there is an over willingness to twist, I think. But above all I am interested in a sort of understanding that can satisfy both sides, and let them remain Christian. If father Maciel is guilty then it should be shouted from the rooftops; but if he is innocent it will point to the persecution that Christ spoke of proving that the Legion is potentially truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and as such a great target for Satan
So you subscribe to the theory/belief that ‘the media’ is ‘out to get’ ‘the Church’?
Does that include the Catholic media?
But to finish up, Paul,
I don’t know how he will do it but I have Faith that Pope Benedict will clean up any necessary Filth in the Church. I don’t think he is afraid of the Truth in fact I think he is a man who lives for truth. My only criticism of Pope John Paul was that he mishandled terribly the abuse crisis, you are Irish you need no telling.
But keep the faith and keep in touch if you can.
Yours with my Faith placed firmly in Jesus,
You would be willing to criticize a dead Pontiff but not a living one? And you are expecting Benedict XVI to be better than John Paul II in this sense?
As for the media theory or belief, I can only say what I see. They constantly print lies, outright lies, or else distortions about the Church. I have read most of what the Church has to say and when I see that then represented in the media I know how truthful they are or not. They often seem to speak with hatred in their hearts and a political ideology playing underneath their words. As for the Catholic Media, many of them are convinced they know better than the Pope and take the modern lifestyle patterns as the proof of their rightness
Paul to Peter:
There are two sides to every story, and I am sure there may be some media people or organizations that are “out to get the Church”. What is disturbing for me is when i find some conservative and orthodox Catholics keep using the word ‘hate’. I object to t’hatred in their hearts’ bit. How does anyone know what is in another person’s heart? The whole of Christian Revelation warns us not to judge another person’s intentions. Aren’t you attributing bad intention to these people? Can’t people just disagree with the Pope or the Church without hating them? And don’t we all have some kind of ideology, values and beliefs that influence what we say and do; no matter how ‘objective’ we try to be?
In whatever case, what is your criterion for truth and objectivity? What measure do you use for something being right or wrong?
Was your family background like this?
Where did you study?
How did you come to hold your beliefs in the media, the Church, the truth?
‘I have read most of what the Church has to say’
Could you explain the above?
I seek only your prayers and promise to do the same for you. This way we will be sure that we at least are giving the Lord some room in our hearts. I always do well to remember that people like you and me share a common Love and that Love is Jesus of Nazareth. He is looking at us both and at our correspondence and, I am sure, willing us to be better people, speaking for myself I know he has been disappointed of late.
Yours with Faith always in Jesus,
My dear young man -I take you are young- man.
Don’t run away. You ‘went very spiritual on me all of a sudden’; it felt like a spiritual short-cut. We were having a human discussion. There also seems to be a hint of guilt in your comments.
I would not challenge you, if i did not take you seriously. If i take you seriously, i will eventually challenge some of your ideas or convictions.
Ever since I began really knowing the God of Jesus, I discovered the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One who dwells in us; nor does He run away when we do say something stupid or argue or disagree. Surely these are not ‘mortal sins’…
I say this because you fired off 3 quick responses as if you were running out the door…
Take it easy,
Peter wrote: I am not surprised to see that you still need to analyze the words of others and read into them what you want and then project something onto that person that may give you some sort of advantage. It seems that the only one who can read into the hearts or minds of other people is you, and perhaps those who have discovered the Spirit along with you. I long for the day when God will share with us all he has shared with you. I also apologize for ‘going Spiritual’ on you, it is a defect I have picked up from reading the Saints and the Gospels which are guilty of mixing the Human and the Spiritual a lot. In their case no doubt you would argue they didn’t have the opportunity or learning of today. But no such excuses can be made for me. Having just seen your letter I thought that you were guilty of the same, but obviously I misunderstood. You seem to have mastered some things or tried to have mastered some things. You are very proud of your education and present title. Peacock-like I would say. You also start the letter with the condescension” My dear young Man”. Should I tremble at such words? Am I what you seek your correspondents to be: Inferior to you? Perhaps I am but I can’t help thinking that although I would like to be able to use so many weapons of Dialogue my goal is not to have to. I don’t want to go down the same path as you, as the world is overflowing with the type. I asked you to come out from your cave, and to do so used the only thing I could use, the only thing that makes us brothers, Jesus. But you were unable to do it. You instead ridiculed the Gesture. This is a humanly speaking clever thing to do, but folly in light of the Scriptures. I asked you to put all your acquired baggage and weaponry honed over the years to the Ground. But you couldn’t rise to the challenge. You would have felt naked. Proving the Ancient wisdom “Hell hath no fury like a Priest laicized”. You were simply itching for an argument, nothing else. And this just shows that of all the things you may have mastered, such as the language of Projection, the one thing you failed to master was yourself. Peter——– Paul wrote: Peter, I will not counter any of your personal comments but will continue to dialogue about the content of our correspondence. Let me begin with a comment on point of view that is quite wide-spread regarding the Maciel sexual accusations. “If father Maciel is guilty then it should be shouted from the rooftops; but if he is innocent it will point to the persecution that Christ spoke of proving that the Legion is potentially truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and as such a great target for Satan.” My personal point of view is the following.· If Fr. Maciel is guilty, he should receive the sanctions that the Catholic Church reserves for members who so gravely violate the sacred rights of others. The Vatican should withdraw any praise or honors it has bestowed upon Fr. Maciel. If pedophilia and sexual abuse are found to be endemic to the Legion, then a full investigation of the Legion and its superiors should be carried out. Fr. Maciel’s victims should be vindicated and receive whatever compensation they deserve. May they breath deeply and freely and live in peace their final days.· If Fr. Maciel is innocent, then these 8 living accusers, together with Fr Amenábar, RIP, are the greatest of liars and deserve to receive whatever sanctions Catholic Authorities see fit. I and others who believe in them have been duped. The Media that supported the accusation have been duped and are guilty of rashness in attacking Fr. Maciel and some Church authorities.
- Regarding ‘If MM is truly innocent then…the Legion truly inspired by the Holy Spirit’, this is not a logical consequence. As a Catholic theology graduate I do not understand how or why Fr. Maciel’s personal integrity/sinfulness should be linked directly and fully with the Legion, or vice versa. In other words, perhaps the Legion could be the work of the Holy Spirit, even though the Founder, as a pure instrument, were a reprobate. If a sinful priest can transform Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, why couldn’t a pedophile Founder found a Religious Order?
would agree with you that it is true to say that God uses insufficient means to achieve His goals; Peter for example. But what I….
I am going beyond what you are saying: that God could use ‘unworthy’ instruments to achieve His goals if He so wanted [because He is all powerful].
I would agree with you that it is true to say that God uses insufficient means to achieve His goals, Peter for example.
But what I said about Persecution was not meant solely for Fr Maciel but the whole Legion, including all the hundreds of Priests and members of Regnum Christi who believe he is innocent and more so a Man of God; which is not the same as a Lying Hypocrite with a predilection for acts of bestiality. I find the whole case very disturbing because either he and they are truly instruments of the Devil or else their accusers are.
I am not sure of the eight people who have accused them. I wrote to you in the first place to find out more, not to get into an argument with a fellow Irishman. I have only read that one or two of them retracted their statements and said they had been coerced into doing it to discredit Fr Maciel and the Order; also something about their being two ringleaders who were in the Legion but left because they had been denied a promotion and took it badly. On some T.V program many of them backed out and wouldn’t commit their testimonies to live television or something.
I am not a defender of the Legion as I barely know them. I spent 3 weeks working for them in Mexico as an English and History teacher (Substituting).I am sickened by the thought of what happened, be it true or false. The media are hardly trustworthy, especially American media. Scandal sells and that’s their business. People want to read that those Bad men in the Vatican have crushed more heroes among us. That is a picture people love to see and hear of. And I think if you throw in the word conservative, away we go. But that does not mean that the story is true, only that in my opinion, the Media are no guide.
Paul to Peter,
A few ideas in response,
- Persecution, referring to Maciel and the LC/RC, in my opinion is vastly over-rated. The Legion/RC too quickly draws a parallel between itself and Jesus, The Suffering Servant of Yahweh. It is very self serving. Some people suffer because they deserve it; there are very few really innocent people.
- Your take on the accusers is imprecise and weighted in favor of Fr Maciel and the LC/RC; your position is close to the official LC/RC stance as found in legionaryfacts.org and regurgitated by other LC/RC defenders. Naturally, for me, that is disappointing, because I did not know that was your position when we started. If you read ReGAIN’s articles you would see the other side of the story. If you are firmly and comfortable ensconced in the LC/RC position it will be very hard for you to see ReGAIN’s perspective.
- The fact that I questioned before your blanket criticism of the media does not mean that either I or Regain agree with the media in general or with what the media does. ReGAIN is not anti Pope, anti Church and other things pro-Legion people accuse us of in order to discredit our valid viewpoints.
- Regarding the sexual abuse, in one sense there is no middle ground. And I have already described the opposing views in a previous e-mail. You cannot have the best of both worlds. Or maybe you would like to find a position mid-way between the two opposing positions. You did say in your first posting that you would like to reconcile these opposing stories. Maybe there is a way, but I don’t see it: either Fr Maciel sexually abused those teen-age seminarians, or he didn’t. Not acts of ‘bestiality’, as his victims were not beasts but human beings. I take it you understand the peculiar nature of pedophilia and sexual abuse, which has a lot to do with abuse of power and prestige in satisfying one’s sexual needs with a weaker person.
- I, personally, do not need to see Satan’s intervention either in the accusers, in Maciel, or in the two opposing bands. Human malice and free will can do a fair amount of evil, with or without the Devil; but maybe you are right; there is a Genesis chapter 3. Satan, ‘The Tempter’, does exist, also called the ‘Father of Lies’ who deceives us and makes us think we can make our own rules [‘good and evil’] and get away with it.
END OF DIALOG