Legion of Christ Filth to be cleansed by Pope Francis’ A-team
“How much filth there is in the church!”
Pope Benedict XVI
The 2005 “Stations of the Cross” by Pope Benedict XVI are quite moving. When he spoke of the “filth” of the Church, he was referencing spiritual filth — specifically, Catholic priests who disobeyed God’s holy law.
Pope Francis will dispatch his A-Team on clerical sexual abuse to Mexico and will interview Legion of Christ victims.
“Vatican sends top 2 sex crimes investigators to Mexico
By NICOLE WINFIELD and MARIA VERZA, AP
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is sending its top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the Catholic hierarchy in the world’s second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna (Malta) and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu (Catalonia, Spain) teamed up in 2018 to investigate the Chilean church and its wretched record of protecting pedophile priests — a bombshell expose that resulted in every active Chilean bishop offering to resign.
Their new mission to Mexico, due to take place March 20-27, was announced Monday in Mexico and at the Vatican. Officials stressed it was not an investigation per se but an assistance mission to help the Mexican church combat abuse.”[i]
The present action by Pope Francis is meant to control damage done to the Catholic Church in Mexico by the intense media coverage of sexual abuse by Legionary of Christ priest Fernando Martínez, whom the Legion is protecting in the mother house in Rome.
The pope’s action also appears to be prompted by the gut-wrenching testimonies of three of Fr. Martínez’ female victims, abused when they were little 6-8-year-old girls at the Legion’s Cancun Instituto Cumbres 1991-93. The case is a classic example of Legion of Christ’s protection of perpetrators, reassignment, cover-up and neglect of victims.
Further turmoil has been caused by another scandal in Gozzano, Milan region, in Italy -also reported on this site- where Legion superiors attempted to bribe the mother of a boy-victim to retract her accusation. The mother won the court case against the Legion.
The Legionaries have also been hit by a strong stance from the Mexican bishops demanding the Legion take care of its victims[iii]
and by the active role of Vatican Nuncio to Mexico, Mons Coppola, who has given Legion victims his time and attention (and his reports to the Vatican!).
<Already, the Mexican bishops conference has ended its silence about the Legion to denounce the newly revealed abuse and the Legion’s failure to provide “a specific act of justice or reparation for the victims” even after it acknowledged the crimes, vowed more transparency and pointed to its child protection policies in place now.
The archbishop of Monterrey — a Legion stronghold — denounced the group’s “criminal silence” and treatment of victims, and led recent calls from Mexican bishops for an end to the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. It was a remarkable turnabout, given that Mexico’s Catholic hierarchy long supported the Legion and benefited from the once-wealthy order’s largesse.
Even the Vatican’s ambassador to Mexico, Monsignor Franco Coppola, broke the Holy See’s tradition of diplomatic discretion to publicly criticize the Legion’s handling of the case and call for the Vatican to investigate the “web of cover-up” behind it. That too was remarkable, given that the Vatican itself has been implicated in the Maciel cover-up.>[iv]
LIMPIEZA DE LA LEGIÓN DE CRISTO DE CRISTO POR EL EQUIPO-A DEL ABUSO SEXUAL DEL PAPA FRANCISCO
“¡Cuánta suciedad hay en la iglesia!” Papa Benedicto XVI
Las “Estaciones del via Crucis” de 2005 del Papa Benedicto XVI son muy conmovedoras. Cuando habló de la “inmundicia” de la Iglesia, estaba haciendo referencia a la inmundicia espiritual, específicamente a los sacerdotes católicos que desobedecían la santa ley de Dios.
El papa Francisco enviará su equipo estelar en abuso sexual clerical a México y entrevistará a las víctimas de la Legión de Cristo.
“El Vaticano envía a los dos principales investigadores de delitos sexuales a México
Por NICOLE WINFIELD y MARIA VERZA, AP
CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (AP) – El Vaticano está enviando a sus dos principales investigadores de delitos sexuales a México en una misión de investigación y asistencia a medida que la jerarquía católica en el segundo país católico más grande del mundo comienza a contar con décadas de abusos y encubrimientos sexuales por parte del clero. arriba.El arzobispo Charles Scicluna (Malta) y monseñor Jordi Bertomeu (Cataluña, España) se unieron en 2018 para investigar la iglesia chilena y su miserable historial de proteger a los sacerdotes pedófilos, una exposición explosiva que resultó en que cada obispo chileno activo ofreciera renunciar.Su nueva misión a México, que tendrá lugar del 20 al 27 de marzo, se anunció el lunes en México y en el Vaticano.
Las autoridades enfatizaron que no era una investigación per se sino una misión de asistencia para ayudar a la iglesia mexicana a combatir el abuso “. [I](Nota de REGAIN: este es el mismo equipo que fue enviado a EE. UU. Y México en abril-mayo de 2005 para entrevistar a las víctimas de abuso sexual del P. Marcial Maciel, fundador de la Legión, y que llevaría a su destitución como Superior General y la declaración del Vaticano en mayo de 2006 condenando a Maciel y prohibiéndole el ministerio público” [ii].
Una intervención del Vaticano de la orden se produjo en mayo de 2010 cuando el Vaticano denunció nuevamente las acciones de Maciel y nombró a un Delegado Papal para supervisar la orden y su gobierno).
La acción actual del Papa Francisco está destinada a controlar el daño hecho a la Iglesia Católica en México por la intensa cobertura mediática del abuso sexual por parte del sacerdote del Legionario de Cristo Fernando Martínez, a quien la Legión está protegiendo en la casa madre de Roma.
La acción del Papa también parece ser impulsada por los desgarradores testimonios de tres de las Las víctimas femeninas del padre Martínez, abusadas cuando eran niñas pequeñas de 6-8 años en el Instituto Cumbres de la Legión en Cancún 1991-93. El caso es un ejemplo clásico de la protección que la Legión de Cristo ofrece a los abusadores: reasignación, encubrimiento y negligencia de las víctimas.
Otro escándalo ha sido causado por un caso en Gozzano, región de Milán, en Italia, también se informó en este sitio, donde los superiores de la Legión intentaron sobornar a la madre de un niño víctima para retractarse de su acusación. La madre ganó el caso judicial contra la Legión.
Los legionarios también han sido golpeados por una fuerte postura de los obispos mexicanos que exigen que la Legión cuide de sus víctimas [iii]
y por el papel activo del Nuncio Vaticano en México, Mons Coppola, que ha brindado a las víctimas de la Legión su tiempo y atención (¡y sus informes al Vaticano!).
<Ya, la conferencia de los obispos mexicanos ha terminado su silencio sobre la Legión para denunciar el abuso recientemente revelado y la incapacidad de la Legión de proporcionar “un acto específico de justicia o reparación para las víctimas” incluso después de reconocer los crímenes, prometió más transparencia y señaló a sus políticas de protección infantil vigentes ahora.
El arzobispo de Monterrey, un territorio bastión de la Legión, denunció el “silencio criminal” del grupo y el trato a las víctimas, y dirigió recientes llamamientos de los obispos mexicanos para poner fin al estatuto de limitaciones para los casos de abuso sexual infantil.
Fue un cambio notable, dado que la jerarquía católica de México durante mucho tiempo apoyó a la Legión y se benefició de la generosidad de la orden una vez rica.
Incluso el embajador del Vaticano en México, Monseñor Franco Coppola, rompió la tradición de discreción diplomática de la Santa Sede para criticar públicamente el manejo del caso por parte de la Legión y pedir al Vaticano que investigue la “red de encubrimiento” detrás de él. Eso también fue notable, dado que el propio Vaticano ha sido implicado en el encubrimiento de Maciel.> [Iv]
ReGAIN is bewildered by the latest round of Legion excuses to Ana Lucía Salazar and other women, sexually abused as little 8-year-olds at the Legion of Christ, Instituto Cumbres school in Cancun in 1991-2.
Taking advantage of her prominence on Mexican media, Analú broke her silence a few months ago and raised Cain, something that is absolutely necessary to get Legion of Christ leaders attention.
She and her parents had approached Legion superiors soon after the abuses, almost twenty years ago’, and were stonewalled and lied to. The perpetrator -who had abused previously in Mexico City before being taken away from local authorities and REASSIGNED to Cancun- was reassigned to the Legion Novitiate in Salamanca, Spain. At present he is protected by the Legion in its Rome Headquarters.
Since Ana Lucía’s accusation, some of her companions, who were also abused by the same person, at the same time in the same place, have come forward to support her and consolidate the case against Fr. Fernando Martínez, LC. Two of these young women are now presenting their testimonies.
Unable to stem the tide of damning evidence piling up, the Legion has made several public statements; the leadership, in the person of Superior General, Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil, LC, has published press releases, written a personal letter of apology, excuses and promises to the victim. It would appear that the perpetrator has also written to Ana Lucia acknowledging his “lack of impulse control” leading to his “impure actions”which happened so long ago “and which he remembers every day with great contrition and for which he begs her forgiveness.”
ReGAIN needs to disavow innocent Fr. Robles Gil and Ms Salazar regarding the crocodile tears of pedophiles, who cannot help minimizing, excusing and playing the innocent victim…
But, as usual, there is no punishment (maybe “prayer and penance”) -as in the case of serial pedophile founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel- or any mention of compensation to the victims and their families.
The Mexican periodical, PROGRESO, published a report in November, 2019, which began:
“ROME (apro). – The Legionaries of Christ acknowledged today, 50 years after the first complaint, that the priest Fernando Martínez abused various children in educational centers of the organization in Mexico, according to the inquiry commissioned after last May (when) the Mexican conductor and singer Ana Lucía Salazar, one of the victims, publicly uncovered the case.
After an investigation that lasted six months and that was carried out by the specialized agency Praesidium, the Legionaries informed, in a note, that the controversial priest was the subject of various complaints between 1969 and 1993, presented by ex-legionaries, acquaintances or relatives of children of between 4 and 11 years, in various schools in the country, including the Summit (Cumbres) Institutes of Mexico City and Cancun.
In the latter institute, for example, Martínez abused between 1991 and 1993 of “at least six girls between 6 and 11 years old.” “Praesidium has corroborated these abuses with documents and multiple testimonies. […] Father Martínez, interrogated by Praesidium and in the internal investigation, admits with sorrow and remorse the abuses ”against these minors, reads in one of the paragraphs of the long communiqué.
It was “a very serious mistake of assigning, in this case, a priest who had committed abuses in a pastoral job with children and youth elsewhere,” they wrote in another section.
However, still today, Martinez would continue to maintain his status as a priest and would be waiting for the opening of a canonical procedure to be stripped of his habits, as the note suggests. The Superior General of the Legion, Eduardo Robles-Gil, delivered the results on November 11 to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and is awaiting ‘instructions on the canonical procedure to be followed.’
Therefore, at the moment, the only punishments for Martínez are not having access to public ministry and other restrictions, such as being able to dress his priestly cassock when he is in congregation buildings and not coming into contact with minors, as explained by the Legionaries, who Nor did they clarify whether they pointed the case to Mexican justice.”
As the leader can see, the Legion presents information to its own advantage and in carefully couched and often ambivalent terms. The meat of the matter is, as we mentioned above, that there were serious accusation against Fr. Martinez since 1969 -see bolded text above. The poor Legion superiors say they don’t know what to do and await instructions from their superiors…. When the Vatican, American and Mexican bishops have already made it clear.
The Legion, being that special institution, needs to be told personally by the Vatican, or by the pope in person, what they should do….Rules that apply to those ordinary diocesan priests and ordinary religious many not apply to them. They are the Hope of the Church and Friends of the Pope…
In 1969 serious accusations were made against Fr. Martinez when he worked with children at the Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City.
The Legion superiors -Fr. Maciel was probably involved- decided to mollify parents and REASSIGN the perpetrator.
No rehabilitation treatment for offender.
Compensation to victims, unknown.
Offender goes to another place, Cancun, in a similar assignment, elementary school, confessor…. and re-offends.
Superiors Eloy Bedia, local bishop, Jorge Bernal Vargas…. probably after consultation with Fr. Maciel, TRANSFERRED perpetrator to the safety and immunity of Salamanca, Spain; to a novitiate… overseeing teenage seminarians…
When the latest scandal breaks, Legion superiors, the new generation of reformed superiors, send Martinez to Rome, where he is out of the grasp of authorities and where he continues to practice the priestly ministry.
Ms Salazar, has met with the Vatican nuncio in Mexico to explain her plight. She and a former Legionary who supported her, were flabbergasted when the Vatican envoy excused -or tried to joke- about the offense, citing Nietzsche, “for some men, sex with children is the greatest of all pleasure.”
That exchange did little for Ana Lucía’s devotion to the Catholic Church.
In contrast, the Mexican Hierarchy has been more sympathetic and supportive, issuing a document calling on Legion leadership to be more proactive in supporting victims and promising to take the case to the Mexican Bishops Conference.
Bishops of Mexico demand reparation for the damage due to sexual abuse
In a message, the general secretary of the CEM and General Coordinator of the National Council for the Protection of Minors requests the resignation of the clerical state of alleged sexual abuser belonging to the congregation founded by Marcial Maciel
10.12.2019 | Mexican Episcopate Conference
Always in favor of the victims
Mexico City as of December 10, 2019
Committed to the protection of children and adolescents, in our Churches in Mexico, we want to state as National Council for the Protection of Minors (CNPM) of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate some aspects about the report of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ of the November 22, 2019, regarding the cases of sexual violence committed by the PR Fernando Martínez, LC and the press conference carried out by some victims on November 26, 2019:
1. First of all, we recognize the courage and search for justice by the victims of the PR Fernando Martínez and the work of the associations that accompany them in this search; We ask God to enlighten them and we reiterate to their service.
2. In the aforementioned report, we have not found a concrete act of justice and reparation for the victims, nor who currently, on the part of the Congregation, assumes the responsibility of making those responsible for the cover-up transparent.
3. In the canonical field, the previous investigation has been carried out that precedes a canonical criminal process, awaiting the determinations that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will take.
4. In the civil legal field, given that the religious Congregation informed that the denouncement of facts was already presented before the competent authority, we have offered the victims the support and guidance to proceed in the most appropriate manner and we ask the law enforcement authorities that investigate and demarcate the corresponding responsibilities by action and omission.
5. In this sense, the victims have been urged, not only to file criminal complaints, but also to demand compensation for the actions or omissions by the directors of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.
6. We urge the Director General to request the Holy Father, pro bono Ecclesiae, to resign from the clerical state of Fr. Fernando Martínez, keeping him subject to religious obedience in a residence in Mexico, in order to be available to the competent authorities .
Finally, we express our firm commitment that in this one – and in all cases of sexual abuse of minors within the Church – priority attention is given to the victims, the aggressors are criminally reported, the damage caused is repaired, the those responsible face legal proceedings before the civil and canonical authorities and they act expeditiously and responsibly. Only in this way will what is claimed in Psalm 84: “Mercy and truth meet; Justice and peace kissed. ”
Legion of Christ: Invaders of Cancun’s Green areas
By Emiliano Ruiz Parra
In city block (Supermanzana) number 30 the Legionaries appropriated part of the park. They invaded it little by little. Seven thousand square meters of space had been allotted to the local community. They divided it in four: one for the pre-school, another for the elementary school, a third for the bandstand (kiosco) and the last was a green area. In the green area the Legionaries started building a small church (capilla). Whenever the padre –a Legionary of Christ- came to say Mass, one of the neighbors would open the gate for him.
One day, that neighbor, Mario Cortés, had to leave town and he loaned the keys to the padre; loaned them until his return. Mario never saw those keys again. The chapel passed into Legion hands and a year later so did the 1,000 square meters of green area it stood on.
The central location of the chapel attracted hundreds of people from the surrounding blocks. Surrounded by parkland it became one of the favorite places for weddings and baptisms. When Juan Ignacio, El Chacho, García Zalvidea became mayor of Cancun he attempted to legalize the Legionaries’ invasion, intending to grant the Prelature an “order to take possession” of the park.
This provoked a long drawn out battle between the Prelature and some of the locals. Two of them spoke with the reporter: Herminia Peña and Luz María Elguero, who live right on the edge of the park. With the go ahead from El Chacho, the Prelature began to fence “their” lot off. The neighbors, in turn, smashed down the concrete pillars. The Prelature sent in heavy machinery to excavate foundations; the neighbors blocked their access. The Prelature had local authorities on their side.
The Prelature sent in its workers during the night when people were asleep. They intensified their work during Holy Week and other holidays when people were away on vacation. One Wednesday in Holy Week the neighbors were on guard to prevent the pillars from being built. The police came along and arrested them. They were set free a few hours later. One person was always sniffing around block 30: Fernando García Zalvidea. The neighbors got used to seeing his Porsche SUV prowling around the building site.
When El Chacho became governor, the Prelature tried to gobble up another 4,000 sq. meters. They had plans and a model for a church, child care center, dorms and basements. The neighborhood president at that time signed the plans and with this approval the Prelature was able to finish enclosing the property and began the foundations. But then El Chacho fell from grace when he tried to join López-Obrador’s PRD leftist party and the mayors that followed were not as supportive of the Legionaries. One of them, Gregorio Sánchez of the PRD party, sought a quick solution: he cancelled the Prelature’s occupation grant but he left them the 1,000 sq. park meters.
The above is a summary of the events. But for Block 30 neighbors, most of them women, it meant hundreds of hours knocking on doors, getting signatures, standing in line in government offices, gathering complaints, reviewing stacks of obscure documents, studying laws and guidelines, phone outreach, meetings, etc. while having to put up with the priests’ ugly looks or their threats from the pulpit every Sunday accusing them of being possessed by the devil and planning to burn down the church.
City Hall gave in again on May 17th, 2013 when the director of public works, Humberto Aguilera, signed off on a permit to build with work number 66,231 as the Parish of the Holy Family, ordering the Prelature to finish it before November 16th, on 1,200 square meters.
In despair, the dissident neighbors lodged a criminal complaint: They accused Bishop Elizondo, impresario Fernando García Zalvidea and the cleric, Luis Alberto Chavarría, LC (the Prelature’s legal representative) of land invasion and crimes against urban development. The attorney general’s office received the accusation, opening case number 4819/13 on September 17th, 2013. The complaint sleeps peacefully in the attorney general’s office since then. No steps were taken to act on it.
The Prelature prevailed. They have a luxury high-vaulted church: mosaic altarpiece, two large flat screen TVs and twelve fans. The paths were widened –chopping down trees- to make way for a parking lot. One of the parking spaces is marked: “exclusively for clergy”. Supermanzana 30 was not the only land to suffer under the Prelature. On September 22, 2014 the reporter visited the neighborhood called Hacienda Real del Caribe de la Region 2000. The neighbors showed him a lot which was planned as one of their green areas; car tires hung from the trees acting as swings for the kids.
First a cross appeared; then a fence and a sign announcing the “Chapel of Our Lord of Divine Mercy”. “If the kids break in to play, the church people kick them out” a woman from Mexico City who had moved to the neighborhood, told the reporter.
Not far away in Supermanzana (Block) 117, the Prelature carried out another land invasion. The same method: first a cross, then four wooden stakes in the ground supporting a nylon cover, and finally bricks: St. James Apostle chapel encroaching on the park facing the Raza de Bronce elementary school.
Once more this invasion provoked reactions in the community: Lourdes Ibarra and Alicia Vázquez headed the group opposing the takeover. Other neighbors supported the padres. The first leaders were Evangelicals. The second pair were Catholic. Both were in agreement about one thing: this was an invasion of a public space. They partially agreed with the Legion’s move because now the vacant lot was cut and clean.
We have just described three examples of public land invasions by the Legionaries of Christ. By the time PRD member Julián Ricalde became mayor of Cancun the number of invasions had risen to thirteen. According to Tulio Arroyo, it is hard to find a Catholic church in Cancun which is not the result of an invasion. The Legionaries have created their own modus operandi: identify a vacant lot and make it theirs using priests, Masses and fences.
Tulio Arroyo is a man on a mission: to defend Cancun’s green areas. His stance has put him on a collision course with the Legionaries of Christ who are accustomed to getting their way in Quintana Roo state. Mr. Arroyo is an engineer specializing in alternative energy. A native of Mexico City with studies in New York, he became the defender of the environment when city hall planned to cut down the last green area in the center of Cancun. The park was called The Green Belly Button (El Ombligo Verde). The mayor of Cancun, PRI member Magali Achach, planned to donate a lot to the Prelature for a cathedral.
Mr. Arroyo-Marroquín and his wife, Bettina Cetto, spearheaded the Defend the Green Belly Button movement. They became experts in administrative law and supported the first protests sprouting up here and there against the church invasions. Arroyo helped them organize press conferences, write communiques and navigate the complicated legal system. He was able to save the Green Belly Button from total deforestation. But he could not prevent the Legionaries from building their cathedral. Ironically, Tulio and Bettina lived opposite the park. The cathedral began to take shape literally under their very noses. Notre Dame of South East Mexico
Legionaries love the grandiose.
Their network of schools is called Semper Altius (Latin for “higher and higher”), with names such as The Heights”, Himalaya, Everest, Alps, Highlands, etc. The Cancun-Chetumal Prelature (the translator notes that the prelature began as the “Chetumal Prelature” but this was eclipsed by its later title which underlines Cancun as the bishop’s place of residence) is no exception to the Legion’s grandiose dreams. It plans to build the most impressive religious monument in South East Mexico, the Basilica of Blessed Mary of Guadalupe of the Sea (La Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe del Mar); its cross will rise to an impressive 110 meters; the church will seat 1,500 worshippers and the total cost is estimated at 12 million dollars.
Once more the Legion’s good intentions are met with “misunderstandings”. This time it’s the ecologists. The cathedral would face onto Laguna Nichupté, a mangrove area hosting many endangered species. One of the opponents is Pedro Canché, a native Maya who spent nine months in prison accused of sabotage. The false accusation was just a way to shut him up. The Quintana Roo authorities had to release him because he became a freedom of speech symbol.
According to Canché –in a document addressed to city hall- the Tajamar Project (of which the proposed basilica is part) would represent an “imminent ocoside devastating flora, fauna and wetlands (…). Going ahead with the building would devastate one of Cancun’s natural and invaluable fresh air lungs.”
As usual, there are two sides to the story. The official LC story is that the Mexican government tourist development agency, Fonatur, already donated 10, 000 sq. meters to the Prelature. This brings up a very sticky question: Why and how would the Mexican (lay) government donate public lands to the Catholic Church? Why not donate another piece of land to Evangelical Christians, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and even Cancun’s atheist community?
Fr. Pablo Pérez’ unofficial explanation is more sinister. These 10,000 sq. meters would be former president Vicente Fox’s payback to the Legion for getting him a Vatican divorce from his first wife so he could marry his second, Marta Sahugún, [Tr., a supporter of the Legion’s Regnum Christi lay movement!] As a very prominent public figure, Fox’s request would have to go through the Roman Rota, a pontifical tribunal. Once divorced from his first wife, Lilian de la Concha, Vicente Fox married Marta Sahugún and the religious ceremony was presided over by Legion of Christ priest, Fr. Alejandro Latapí. [Translator’s note: in 2003 Marta Sahugún’s first marriage to Manuel Bibriesca was annulled by the Vatican].
(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, 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
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.
 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.
 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.
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.