A week ago Victims of Fr. Maciel’s sexual abuse appeared on Mexican Canal 14 giving their testimonies once more and demanding compensation from the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation (note how the chameleon changes its name!)
As I conversed with one of them today I was shocked once again by what they had to say about the SEXUAL PREDATOR FOUNDER OF A BONA FIDE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CONGREGATION (now under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Institutes of Religious Life and Associatons of Apostolic Life, presided over by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz)
I learn that in Santander, Spain, in August 1954 (Maciel was 34; the Legion was 13, and hadreceived diocesan approval -through Maciel’s astuteness- in 1948), the founder began engaging in a sexual relationship with at least one of his junior seminarians. The seminarian in question had recently arrived from Mexico on the Marqués de Comillas ship to begin his junior seminary studies. The victim was 15-16 years of age. It was “love at first sight” for the holy founder. Maciel began his grooming/entrapment of Pretty Boy and made great advances in his conquest for the Kingdom of Heaven –Thy Kingdom Come, being the motto which Maciel would choose..
The future “personal friend” of (saint) Pope John Paul II who would be lauded by the saint as “an efficacious guide for youth” was soon anally penetrating Pretty Boy. When Pretty Boy revealed the depth of his involvement with Maciel to his companions later in life, he confessed, in colorful Mexican parlance: “he fuxxed me and I fuxxed him; we fuxxed each other”, (” él me cogió; yo le cogí; nos cogimos”) with the help of lubricants.
I WANT TO SHOCK CATHOLIC AUTHORITIES INTO ACTION!
For those of you who are not familiar with this form of sexual intercourse, I refer you to Planned Parenthood:
“The anus does not produce enough lubrication for comfortable anal sex, so it’s important to use an artificial water-based lubricant — like K-Y jelly or Astroglide — for anal sex. (Using an oil-based lubricant, like Vaseline, can damage latex condoms.)”
The Popes and Vatican authorities do not seem to grasp the gravity of Maciel’s depravity, manipulation and astuteness or ask themselves how such a pervert could found a religious order. Some of Maciel’s victims believe he founded the order so as to have his own private harem:
Pope Francis called Maciel “a very disturbed person”; Pope Benedict declared him “a man lacking any moral scuples”. Marvelous examples of “euphemism’ and minimization so as to avoid the question of how the Vatican allowed itself to be deceived so roundly.
My Mexican friend referring the testimony to me agrees that this is an abomination. Here is the predator, conman, imporsonator who kissed and embraced Pope John Paul II -while at the same time sodomizing his own spiritual sons, seminarians in Rome, acting as founder and Superior General of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement.
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Deception, Dependency, and Dread in the Conversion Process
Michael D. Langone, PhD
Farber, Harlow, & West (1957) coined the term “DDD syndrome” to describe the essence of Korean war thought reform with prisoners of war: debility, dependency, and dread. Lifton (1961), who also studied thought reform employed in Chinese universities, demonstrated that the process did not require physical debilitation. Contemporary cultic groups, which do not have the power of the state at their disposal, have more in common with this brand of thought reform than with the POW variety in that they rarely employ physical coercion. In order to control targets, they must rely on subterfuge and natural areas of overlap between themselves and prospects. As with all Korean era thought reform programs (those directed at civilians and at prisoners), however, contemporary cultic groups induce dependent states to gain control over recruits and employ psychological (sometimes physical) punishment (“dread”) to maintain control. The process, in my view, can be briefly described by a modified “DDD syndrome”: deception, dependency, and dread.
Although the process here described is complex and varied, the following appears to occur in the prototypical cult conversion:
A vulnerable prospect encounters a cultic group.
The group (leader[s]) deceptively presents itself as a benevolent authority that can improve the prospect’s well-being.
The prospect responds positively, experiencing an increase in self-esteem and security, at least some of which is in response to what could be considered “placebo” The prospect can now be considered a “recruit”.
Through the use of “sharing” exercises, “confessions,” and skillful individualized probing, the group [leader(s)] assesses the recruit’s strengths and weaknesses.
Through testimonies of group members, the denigration of the group’s “competitors” (e.g., other religious groups, other therapists), the tactful accentuation of the recruit’s shameful memories and other weaknesses, and the gradual indoctrination of the recruit into a closed, nonfalsifiable belief system, the group’s superiority is affirmed as a fundamental assumption.
Members’ testimonies, positive reinforcement of the recruit’s expressions of trust in the group, discrete reminders about the recruit’s weaknesses, and various forms of group pressure induce the recruit to acknowledge that his/her future well-being depends upon adherence to the group’s belief system, more specifically its “change program.”
These same influence techniques are joined by a subtle undermining of the recruit’s self-esteem (e.g., by exaggerating the “sinfulness” of experiences the recruit is encouraged to “confess”), the suppression or weakening of critical thinking through fatiguing activity, near-total control of the recruit’s time, trance-induction exercises (e.g., chanting), and the repetitive message that only disaster results from not following the group’s “change program.” These manipulations induce the recruit to declare allegiance to the group and to commit to change him/herself as directed by the group. He or she can now be considered a convert embarking on a path of “purification”, “enlightenment”, “self-actualization”, “higher consciousness,” or whatever. The recruit’s dependency on the group is established and implicitly, if not explicitly, acknowledged. Moreover, he/she has accepted the group’s authority in defining what is true and good, within the convert’s heart and mind as well as in the world.
The convert is next fully subjected to the unrealistically high expectations of the group. The recruit’s “potential” is “lovingly” affirmed, while members testify to the great heights they and “heroic” models have scaled. The group’s all-important mission, e.g., save the world, justifies its all-consuming expectations.
Because by definition the group is always right and “negative” thinking is unacceptable, the convert’s failures become totally his or her responsibility, while his or her doubts and criticisms are suppressed (often with the aid of trance-inducing exercises such as meditation, speaking in tongues, or chanting) or redefined as personal failures. The convert thus experiences increasing self-alienation. The “pre-cult self” is rejected; doubts about the group are pushed out of consciousness; the sense of failure generated by not measuring up to the group’s expectations is bottled up inside. The only possible adaptation is fragmentation and compartmentalization. It is not surprising, then, that many clinicians consider dissociation to lie at the heart of cult-related distress and dysfunction (Ash, 1985).
The convert’s self-alienation will tend to demand further psychological, if not physical, alienation from the non-group world (especially family), information from which can threaten to upset whatever dissociative equilibrium the convert establishes in an attempt to adjust to the consuming and conflicting demands of the group. This alienation accentuates the convert’s dependency on the group.
The group supports the convert’s dissociative equilibrium by actively encouraging escalating dependency, e.g., by exaggerating the convert’s past “sins” and conflicts with family, by denigrating outsiders, by positively reinforcing chanting or other “thought-stopping” activities, and by providing and positively reinforcing ways in which the convert can find a valued role within the group (e.g., work for a group-owned business, sell magazines on the street).
The group strengthens the convert’s growing dependency by threatening or inflicting punishment whenever the convert or an outside force (e.g., a visit by a family member) disturbs the dissociative equilibrium that enables him or her to function in a closed, nonfalsifiable system (the “dread” of DDD). Punishment may sometimes by physical. Usually, however, the punishment is psychological, sometimes even metaphysical. Certain fringe Christian groups, for example, can, at the command of the leadership, immediately begin shunning someone singled out as “factious” or possessed of a “rebellious spirit.” Many groups also threaten wavering converts with punishments in the hereafter, for example, being “doomed to Hell.” It should be remembered that these threats and punishments occur within a context of induced dependency and psychological alienation from the person’s former support network. This fact makes them much more potent than the garden-variety admonitions of traditional religious, such as “you will go to hell if you die with mortal sin.”
The result of this process, when carried to its consummation, is a person who proclaims great happiness but hides great suffering. I have talked to many former cultists who, when they left their groups and talked to other former members, were surprised to discover that many of their fellow members were also smilingly unhappy, all thinking they were the only ones who felt miserable inside.
Ash, S. (1985). Cult-induced psychopathology, part 1: Clinical picture. Cultic Studies Journal, 2(1), 31-91.
Farber, I. E., Harlow, H. F., & West, L. J. (1956). Brainwashing, conditioning, and DDD (debility, dependency, and dread). Sociometry, 20, 271-285.
Lifton, R. J. (1961). Thought reform and the psychology of totalism. New York: W. W. Norton.
No es política de ReGAIN atacar al Papa o a la jerarquía de la Iglesia Católica. Pero este artículo acusa a la Curia Romana -los apparatchikes de la Iglesia- de los pecados de omisión y comisión. ReGAIN evita centrar su crítica en el Papa como el único o principal culpable de todos los males de la Iglesia. Creemos que esto es demasiado simplista. (Siempre es agradable tener algo concreto, una persona en particular, como blanco de nuestra ira e indignación). Pero resulta imposible absolver a varios papas, desde el Papa Pío XII hasta Benedicto XVI, de negligencia grave al permitir que el Padre Maciel y su marca de vida religiosa continúen y prosperen en el seno del catolicismo.
Aquí no encontrará a un (John) Paul Lennon “despotricando y delirando” -como fue retratado por abogados de la Legión en la corte de Alexandria City Virginia en 2008. Más bien encontrará a Paul Lennon, entristecido por la muerte de otra de otra víctima del abuso sexual del P. Maciel, Saúl Barrales, que muere sin reivindicación el 5 de abril 2021; a un Paul Lennon, consejero de salud mental e investigador de sectas -un católico practicante- impulsado a actuar por un artículo recibido de Info-Culte, una organización canadiense respetable de estudio de sectas:
No se debe permitir que un pedófilo regrese a la escena de sus crímenes.
El artículo citado se refiere a cómo los residentes australianos locales se opusieron al que el infame pedófilo, “Little Pebble”, regresara al lugar de sus crímenes de pedofilia, incluso bajo una supervisión muy estricta. El artículo me ha dejado perturbado cuando me doy cuenta de cómo la información sobre el abuso del P. Maciel a un seminarista bajo su cuidado -años después de fundar la orden con niños preadolescentes en México- llegó al Vaticano en 1943 y fue ignorada; el depredador regresando a sus dominios, cual zorro suelto en el gallinero que había construido por sus propios motivos dudosos. Este descuido también puede explicar cómo la vida de las víctimas de Maciel fuera destruida de manera tan fulminante. Tal devastación fue presenciada y sufrida por sus seres queridos, y por aquellos de nosotros que sólo nos dimos cuenta de su difícil situación en 1997.
Veamos por qué los residentes locales se opusieron a tener al abusador de vuelta en la comunidad donde los abusos habían ocurrido después de completar su sentencia – y cómo le impiden regresar. Se impusieron contra una decisión de la Corte Suprema de Nuevo Gales del Sur que le permitía regresar bajo estricta supervisión. Temían que las víctimas fueran re-traumatizadas.
“A finales de la semana pasada, la Corte Suprema de NSW dictaminó que el líder de culto William Costellia-Kamm – también conocido como “Little Pebble” – podría regresar a su comuna en Cambewarra, en la región de Shoalhaven, en estrictas condiciones y pendiente de aprobación por servicios correctivos NSW.
La decisión provocó una enorme reacción de la comunidad que fue apoyada por diputados estatales y federales.
Hoy, un portavoz de Servicios Correctivos de NSW dijo que a Costellia-Kamm se le negaría el acceso a la región.
“Servicios Correctivos NSW no ha dado ninguna aprobación para que el delincuente resida en Cambewarra o el Shoalhaven y no tiene planes actuales para hacerlo”, dijeron.
“El infractor estará sujeto a un intenso nivel de supervisión, incluyendo monitoreo electrónico las 24 horas del día, así como otras 48 condiciones estrictas alrededor de su vivienda, movimientos, finanzas, asociaciones, comunicaciones electrónicas y apariencia personal.”
El departamento dijo que Costellia-Kamm sería supervisado por oficiales de Correccionales Comunitarias “altamente capacitados” que trabajarían con la Policía de NSW.
“El equipo de supervisión también ha recibido amplios poderes de búsqueda e incautación por parte de la Corte Suprema, lo que les permite en cualquier momento y sin previo aviso registrar al delincuente, su alojamiento, vehículo y cualquier dispositivo electrónico”, dijo el portavoz.
“Cualquier violación de una Orden de Supervisión Extendida es un delito penal y puede resultar en cargos adicionales y hasta cinco años de prisión.”
Al dictar su decisión la semana pasada, el juez Stephen Campbell dijo que el riesgo que representaba Costellia-Kamm podría ser “manejado adecuadamente” dada la “rigurosidad de las condiciones” que se propusieron.
Preocupaciones por el trauma
La decisión del tribunal llevó a cientos de residentes en la costa sur a firmar una petición pidiendo que se prohibiera a Costellia-Kamm volver a vivir en el lugar donde se cometieron sus crímenes.
“Todos los niños tienen derecho a sentirse seguros en su comunidad y permitir que este hombre entre en nuestra comunidad pone a nuestros hijos en riesgo”, dijo la firmante Temeka Giddings.
Sus preocupaciones se hicieron eco de la diputada de la Costa Sur Shelley Hancock y la miembro de Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, quienes expresaron su preocupación por el trauma que su regreso tendría sobre sus víctimas.
“En mi opinión, tiene que haber alguna reforma a la ley por la cual un delincuente como este nunca puede acercarse a esta comunidad… Hancock dijo.
“No podemos soportar que personas como esta vuelvan a vivir entre nosotros”.”
En 2005 Costellia-Kamm, quien fundó una secta llamada La Orden de Santa Charbel, fue condenada por violar a dos adolescentes a las que se refería como sus “esposas espirituales”.
Había estado viviendo en Sídney desde que fue puesto en libertad condicional después de cumplir la mayor parte de su sentencia de una década.
Él sigue negando su culpabilidad y afirma que fue acusado falsamente.”
La Re-Traumatización de las Víctimas de Maciel y la Corrupción de la Legión de Cristo/Regnum Christi Federación fundada y gobernada por él.
El lector debe estar de acuerdo con el shock del escritor al conectar lo anterior con el caso Maciel.
El Vaticano tardó 13 años en reaccionar a las acusaciones contra el fundador de la orden (“congregación”) religiosa de la Legión de Cristo: comienza la primera “visita” oficial del Vaticano de la Legión de Cristo 1956-59. La investigación en última análisis fue un fracaso y a Maciel se le permitió regresar a su fundación;no sólo vivir en las residencias, sino también con el cargo de superior general, disfrutando de autoridad mundial. y ejerciendo un control total y detallado sobre cada miembro. El incestuoso padre regresó a su familia, restablecido y en una posición más fuerte. De vuelta en Roma, el estafador reanudó su romance con destacados miembros de la Curia a quienes continuó sobornando y chantajeando. El pedófilo en serie ya había estado abusando de sus sujetos pubescentes desde la fundación en 1941. Por lo tanto, el abuso pasó desapercibido hasta 1956 y continuó durante otros cincuenta años hasta su muerte (1959-2008.
Otra “visita” vaticana en 2009, después de la muerte del Padre Maciel, no logró erradicar a los depredadores sexuales, cómplices, superiores colaboradores, y lacayos de Maciel en la organización. Nose produjeron cambios radicales en la estructura y el modus operandi. Se realizaron cambios en los documentos, pero no en el personal. El entonces Director General de la Legión, P. Álvaro Corcuera LC, R.I.P., y el cuadro de liderazgo supuestamente transoformado por Monseñor Velasio de Paolis, siguen en control.
Estos últimos años, en su afán por negar la amplia difusión de abusos sexuales en su ambiente, la cúpula legionaria ha tratado de atribuir la parte principal de los abusos sexuales al fundador “malo”, reconociendo que él abusó de al menos 60 menores bajo su cuidado pastoral. Cuando uno considera que Maciel era un pedófilo depredador serial este número parece ridículamente bajo: ¿una víctima por año? Los testimonios señalan cómo Maciel era insaciable en su lujuria. Como escribió una víctima, refiriéndose a su abuso en la década de 1960:”Maciel siempre está en la búsqueda de carne fresca”. No se necesita demasiada imaginación para multiplicar el número oficial por tres, cinco o diez… Lo mismo se podría decir del número También queda de las víctimas-depredadores de segunda y tercera generación en el interior de la Legión de Cristo; un ambiente de puertas cerradas, secreto, minimización, exilio y encubrimiento.
Un estudo somero revela cómo Maciel “progresó” de abusar de las víctimas cuando eran niños a abusar de ellas como adolescentes y adultos jóvenes. Las relaciones desviadas a veces continuaban hasta la edad adulta-temprana con sus “amantes”. Sus relaciones sexuales con mujeres tienden a oscurecer su pedofilia y confundir al público. Sin embargo, es la convicción del escritor de que la preferencia de Maciel siempre fuera de niños y adolescentes: podía comprarlos en sus viajes después de agotar o perder el interés en suministro monótono en casa.
Nos quedamos con preguntas espeluznantes:
¿Cuál es el efecto de un confesor pedófilo, director espiritual, superior, director general que vive en medio de una comunidad religiosa fundada y controlada por él?
¿Cuál es el nivel de seguridad en una comunidad con un depredador sexual sin restricciones?
¿Qué sucede cuando un depredador sexual es tu director espiritual y confesor y utiliza este foro para explorar tu historia sexual y debilidades?
¿Cómo se destruye la brújula moral y la conciencia cuando el padre espiritual le dice al adolescente en ciernes que nada está mal, que está haciendo la Voluntad de Dios cuando da placer a su depredador y permite que él mismo sea excitado?
¿Cuál es el efecto de un depredador sexual suelto rodeado de niños inocentes cuando el depredador también es adicto a la morfina?
¿Qué tipo de acciones y conversaciones “edificantes” tiene el Superior General con sus víctimas cuando se desinhibe por el consumo de drogas?
¿Cuán extensos y duraderos son los efectos de Marcial Maciel -el abusador, el mentiroso, el engañador- en los superiores de la Legión de Cristo elegidos y “formados”personalmente por él?
¿Qué pasa con las acciones desordenadas de las múltiples generaciones de macielitas en posiciones de autoridad en la Legión de Cristo/Federación Regnum Christi hasta el día de hoy?
¿Cómo se aferra el Vaticano a su aprobación de la Legión de Cristo a la luz de estas acusaciones innegables? ¿No es capaz de revisar su aprobación ciega del P. Maciel y sus fundaciones, su carte blanche que sólo puede explicarse por engaños y cómplices mafiosos, sobornos y omertà dentro de la Curia Romana de la Iglesia Católica? (Véase el reconocimiento del Prefecto de la Congregación de la Vida Religiosa, cardenal Braz de Aviz, citado anteriormente).
¿Es el Vaticano capaz de admitir sus errores al haber sido engañado involuntariamentey/o voluntariamente por un estafador consumado? ¿Es capaz de corregir su aprobación errónea de este fundador defectuoso y su orden?
¿Cree el Papa Benedicto XVI que “la porquería” se ha limpiado del corazón de la Iglesia? ¿Qué piensa el Papa Francisco del trabajo a medias realizado por sus predecesores? ¿Seguirá manejando la Legión/Regnum Christi con guantes de seda? (Después de todo, es una máquina de hacer dinero y producir sacerdotes! )
¿Y cómo hacen las muchas víctimas inocentes del abuso sexual del P. Maciel y otros legionarios para mantener la Fe? ¿Cómo harán los miles de antiguos miembros de la Legión de Cristo que han sufrido abusos sexuales, físicos, mentales, psicológicos y espirituales para permanecer fieles a las autoridades de la Iglesia que los han traicionado?
El Resto Fiel reza para que podamos salvar nuestra fe en Cristo resucitado y en la ekklesia que Él fundó. Lamentablemente, muchos han perdido esa lucha debido a la negligencia y colusión de los malos pastores (Juan 10,1-18).
“Bien entonces, pastores, escuchad la palabra del Señor!” ¿Qué deben oír los pastores? Así dice el Señor Dios: he aquí, estoy por encima de los pastores y los llamaré a dar cuenta de las ovejas en sus manos.
Escuchad, ovejas de Dios, escuchad y aprenden: Dios llamará a los malos pastores a dar cuenta de sus ovejas y de sus muertes. Como él dice en otra parte de Ezequiel: los he nombrado como centinela a la Casa de Israel. Cuando oigas una palabra de mi boca, avísales en mi nombre. Si le digo a un hombre inicuo: “Malvado desgraciado, vas a morir”, y no hablas para advertir al hombre inicuo que renuncie a sus caminos, entonces morirá por su pecado, pero yo te haré responsable de su muerte. Si, sin embargo, adviertes a un hombre inicuo que renuncie a sus caminos y se arrepienta, y él no se arrepiente, entonces morirá por su pecado, pero tú mismo te habrás salvado la vida.
¿Ya ves, hermanos? ¿Ves lo peligroso que es guardar silencio? Si permaneces en silencio, mueres; y con razón. Mueres por tu impiedad y pecado, es tu negligencia la que te mata. El que ha dicho: Por mi vida, dice que el Señor, pudo haber encontrado un pastor vivo, pero como el pastor fue negligente, sin advertir a los que se le había dado autoridad, aquellos cuyo centinela era, morirá justamente,y el centinela será condenado justamente.(…)
Desde que planteé la pregunta, veamos si toma las ovejas de los malos pastores y se las da a los buenos. Ciertamente lo veo tomando las ovejas de los malos pastores: estoy por encima de los pastores, y les quitaré mi rebaño y no les permitiré alimentar a mi rebaño. De esta manera los pastores dejarán de alimentarse. Porque cuando les digo: “Alimentan a mis ovejas”, se alimentan a sí mismas y no a mis ovejas. No permitiré que alimenten a mi rebaño.
Esta selección del Sermón 46 de San Agustín sobre Pastores (Sermo 46, 20-21; CCL 41, 546-548) trata a los pastores de la iglesia como vigilantes y se utiliza en la Oficina Católica Romana de Lecturas el miércoles de la semana 25 en tiempo ordinario con la lectura bíblica adjunta tomada del profeta Ezequiel 37:1-14,la famosa visión de los huesos secos.
English Introduction, Original Spanish language testimony; Microsoft/ReGAIN English translation
Fr. Jorge N, #LegionarioDeCristo, was rector of the Apostolic School in Ontaneda, when he was accused of covering up countless sexual abuses of the children who lived there.
As a result, he was sent, again as rector of an Apostolic School (seminary for young boys), but this time to Chile. There he was accused of cover-up of the abuses that were going on in there and of pedophilia (public case).
From Chile he was sent to Argentina… where he was accused once again of abuse of a minor.
Finally, he was sent as a parish priest to a parish in the Cancun-Chetumal Diocese, Yucatan Peninsula, where he continues to exercise his priestly ministry, in contact with minors and vulnerable people.
I leave you the TESTIMONY (authorized) of one of the children who writes us about what he witnessed in Chile.
What should concern EVERYONE most (which is why it is made public, according to the manual of child protection #44), is that someone who has been charged for various crimes, in different countries, remains a priest and in a position of authority. Please help spread the word so that Catholic Church Leadership acts quickly in these cases and does not keep exposing our children or vulnerable adults.
El P. Jorge N, #LegionarioDeCristo era rector de la escuela Apostólica en Ontaneda, cuando fue acusado de encubrimiento de un sinnúmero de abusos sexuales a los niños que ahí vivían.
A raíz de esto fue enviado, nuevamente como rector de Apostólica, pero ahora en Chile. Ahí fue acusado de encubrimiento de los abusos que sucedían en este lugar y de pederastia (caso público).
De Chile fue enviado a Argentina…acusado una vez más, de abuso a un menor.
Finalmente, fue enviado como párroco a una Iglesia de la Diócesis Cancún-Chetumal, en donde sigue ejerciendo su ministerio, en contacto con menores y personas vulnerables.
Les dejo el TESTIMONIO (autorizado) de uno de los niños que fue testigo de lo que vivían en Chile.
Lo que más debería preocuparnos a TODOS (razón por la cual se hace público, según el vademécum de protección al menor 44), es que alguien que ha sido acusado por varios delitos, en diferentes países, siga como SACERDOTE y autoridad. Por favor ayuden a difundir para que la Iglesia actúe con rapidez en estos casos. Y no se siga exponiendo a nuestros niños ni adultos vulnerables.
English translation of testimony by former Legionary junior seminarian eye-witness of sexual abuse at Legion of Christ house in Chile.
[Editor’s note: in Spain and Latin America, particularly, junior seminaries have been functioning for centuries. There, young boys, 11-15 years old, live in a residential setting and are educated with a view to their becoming future priests. If the seminary or Apostolic School is part of a religious order or community, their next step will be the novitiate, two years of spirituality which prepare them for their first vows, after which they are called “religious”, and addressed as “Bro. X”.]
Monday, February 10, 2020
Dear X (female)
Greetings from Chile hoping you are well. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping truth prevail. This will not be easy because of the feelings and lived experiences which make it hard to reveal the following events.
My name is XX. I am thirty-five and I was a Legionary of Christ for 14 years. I entered the vocation center in Santiago de Chile (junior seminary) in January 1997. There were about 70 of us children that summer. The rector and novice master at that time was Fr. Pedro Pablo X, LC, who was at this post until July of that year because they decided to close the novitiate, and Fr. Jorge X, LC, took over as rector, as he had more experience than Fr. Pedro Pablo working with minors.
I remember clearly my first “spiritual direction” session with Fr. Jorge because he told me I shouldn’t be there because my family was not well off, and he would do his utmost to make me go home. I was very surprised by this as he should have been someone to help me discern my divine calling to the priesthood, and not someone who was going to make my life so miserable I would have to leave the seminary.
1997 was a very tough year for me because of so many changes and the arrival of Fr. Jorge who make things even worse. I will not go into details regarding his training methods which were really antiquated to say the least: weeks-long silence and incommunicado, public humiliation, and other such.
I want to be clear that I never saw or heard anything about him personally abusing one of my fellow seminarians. I did hear from other seminarians about a religious brother who touched boys while they were sleeping, and sometimes pulled back the bedclothes to be better able to fondle them when lights were out. He must have begun doing that in 1998 or 99; the religious in question was called Marcel X who had a New Zealand background.
When I learned about these events I do not know whether Fr. Jorge knew that the Bro. Marcel was fondling the young seminarians or that several of us knew about the abuse. What I do know is that one day Marcel disappeared: when we came down for morning prayers, Marcel was nowhere to be seen. His name was never mentioned again. However, there was another religious brother -I can’t remember whether he and Marcel were ever there at the same time. The new religious was called Salvador. He had been a vocation recruiter in Santiago City before being assigned to the junior seminary. We had seen him before because he would bring the candidates to the junior seminary on weekends to show them around.
Salvador chose his special moments when the children were milling around the door trying to get in, when his touching would be less noticeable. Or he simply came up to you and put his hand on your bottom when you were reading the notice board. I saw this with my own eyes and also felt his hands on me.
It was at this time when one of my companions in the group of minors – we were divided into three groups, younger boys, older boys and precandidates (for noviciate) according to age- approached me and told me he was being fondled by the Assistant (the name given to the religious with vows who supervises child seminarians). This companion told me about the situations where the abuse was taking place. So I started looking into these situations and watching the Assistant. And sure enough I saw him. When I started getting between him and the other little boys, he touched me too. If it happened only once it could have been an accident but it was repeated. Nobody wanted to tell Fr. Jorge about what was happening. In reality we did not trust him much and were afraid he would punish us for speaking ill of the religious. I started pushing that religious away from me; I even came to blows to defend myself.
Finally, some of us informed Fr. Jorge. He called us one by one to his office. I don’t remember much about the conversation but I did tell him who were being abused by the assistant and where and how he touched my companions. Just as in the previous case, Salvador was taken out of the community, he was given a weekend sabbatical and later he disappeared. Years later I learned he was no longer a Legionary. I think he is married now. We could not talk about this with “outsiders” because the dirty linen is washed at home. My family might have heard something but, naturally, I denied everything, and we went about our lives just as before.
I cannot state that Fr. Jorge had previous knowledge about these harmful actions; I hope he did not because if he did have previous knowledge that would make him a monster; what I can inequivocably state is that he did know about the abuse during and after it happened. The strategy of removing the offender and keeping silence has always been part of the Legion of Christ modus operandi, and sadly of the Church.
We were there to follow Christ and not to experience that abuse! Having to protect ourselves, abused by those who were supposed to take care of us and want the best for us in the name of God! I was fifteen or sixteen and was lucky enough to be bigger physically than others my age; but my companions were thirteen and fourteen! We had to run away from our assistants. You got nervous whenever they approached, and even more so if they touched you -even it was just on the shoulder! No child deserves that!
I litterally had to punch another person to keep him away from a little boy! In a so-called seminary! These are horrible things that are just seeing the light, because back then they were minimized!
I am sharing these experiences with you in the hope that these abuses are not repeated, and that no child be exposed to them.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share these events; it also helps just to able to discuss these experiences with somebody else.
XX, former Legionary of Christ.
This is the straightforward testimony of a young man who has gone to the trouble of dragging up painful memories in the hope of preventing further abuse. One wishes Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi superiors not react defensively but take the complaint to heart and take action.
The testimony does not mention one very important point:
There is no mention of any spiritual or psychological help being offered to the victims or to the offenders. Surely, this is a very grievous omission and lack of responsibility on the part of Legion/Regnum formators and superiors (directors). ReGAIN, for its part, prays that Catholic authorities, in the person of Archbishop Charles Scicluna and his team, look into this and similar testimonies so as to “promote justice.”
An Interview with Ex-Opus Dei Numerary Eileen Johnson – Part 1
The following interview with ex-Opus Dei numerary, Eileen Johnson, was conducted over a period of several months in 2020 and 2021. Eileen is a native of Yorkshire, England, where “a spade is called a spade, and not a bloody shovel.” And indeed, she obliges us with her extraordinary candor and honesty in response to my in-depth questions concerning her more than ten-years-experience as an early high-level member of Opus Dei in the United Kingdom (UK) in the 1960s.
– Randy Engel, Catholic investigative reporter and editor of ODWATCH
Engel: By way of introduction Eileen, would you give our readers some background on your family and education, and how Opus Dei entered your young life?
Johnson: Yes, of course. I was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1943, into a Catholic family on my mother’s side. My father was an agnostic. I have two older brothers. As the youngest and only girl, I attended a Catholic primary school and later a convent Grammar school, which I think your American readers would call a Catholic high school. I was a pious child with a lively spirit who loved to sing and dance. At the age of 15, I seriously considered a religious vocation.
It was about a year later, at age 16, when Opus Dei entered my life – surreptitiously, I might add.
I was an excellent student and class leader. French was my favorite subject. So, it was not surprising when our new young French teacher took a special interest in me and took me under her wing. I was flattered. She was aware of my regular lunchtime visits to the school chapel as she also frequently visited the chapel.
One day she invited me to join her at an international summer school for girls at the Rydalwood University hostel in Manchester where, she said, I could “teach English” and also practice my French. My parents, especially my father, encouraged me to take advantage of this opportunity. They trusted my teacher. I had just turned 17, and this was my first trip away from home on my own. Naturally, I was excited!
Engel: Was the venture successful?
Johnson: As it turned out, I was invited to Manchester under false pretenses.
First of all, I was unable to practice my French because there were no French students taking the course. I wasn’t qualified to teach English either. The invitation was, in fact, a ruse to introduce me to Opus Dei within a closely-controlled Opus environment apart from my family. But I was oblivious to the reality.
Engel: Wasn’t there a visible sign designating Rydalwood as an Opus Dei University hostel when you entered the building?
Johnson: No. The centres have secular names and are not openly identified as being run by Opus Dei. It wasn’t until my French teacher, herself an Opus numerary, started to explain to me what Opus Dei was, that I began to understand the real reason for the invitation. You see, neither I, nor my family or friends, had ever heard of Opus Dei. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Opus was just getting established in the UK. So, it was all quite new. After a few days, at Rydalwood my teacher told me I had a “vocation” to Opus Dei.
I resisted the pressure to join “the Work” at first. However, a few months later, after I had attended an Opus weekend retreat back in Manchester, I changed my mind.
Engel: What attracted you most to Opus Dei?
Johnson: Bear in mind that I was only 16 when Opus’s grooming and “love bombing” began. I came from a comfortable, happy home, but hadn’t been exposed to cosmopolitan ways. I was on the threshold of my newly-discovered independence and found the Opus members and the beautiful atmosphere at Rydalwood very appealing. I took my Catholic faith very seriously and had already been thinking of becoming a nun. I was attracted by the fact that the numeraries at Rydalwood were lay women fully dedicated to God.
Also, as a language student, I was immediately drawn to the Latin flavor of the centre and the gaiety and friendliness of the numeraries, most of whom were Spanish. They were well dressed, well groomed, well perfumed. And they made such a fuss over me – something I wasn’t used to as I was a lonely child and teenager.
Looking back, I remember the first time that my parents drove me to the Manchester campus and visited Rydalwood. As they were leaving my mother asked me, “Do you think you would like it so much if it wasn’t so attractive?” It was a rather prophetic question.
Engel: So, you initially joined Opus Dei as a supernumerary, not as a numerary, correct?
Johnson: Yes, in December 1960. At the time, I was still living at home, and studying for my A level exams. I planned to enter Manchester University in the fall. I remember fervently reading and studying The Way and other Opus publications. I even sold copies of the publications to my friends at school. I was obviously totally enthralled with Opus Dei.
Engel: What’s the difference between an Opus Dei supernumerary and a numerary?
Johnson: The degree of commitment.
Male and female numeraries are lay celibates; they live in Opus centres; they hand over their total income to Opus Dei; and are closely monitored and controlled. Supernumeraries are married, or at least free to marry. They are also expected to make significant financial donations to Opus. They have Opus confessors and spiritual directors, and a Plan of Life. Both are fully committed to the recruitment of new members and spreading the message of Opus Dei through their families and their work.
I should mention that there are celibate members who live at home. They are called Associates.
Sometimes they have to care for aging or disabled parents.
Engel: Did you take vows of any kind like religious do?
Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá with Pope John XXIII, Ides of March, 1960
Johnson: When I joined Opus Dei in the early 1960s it was called a “Secular Institute.” Escrivá adamantly wanted to avoid any perceived connection between a “lay vocation” in Opus Dei with a “religious vocation.”
So, to answer your question, I took what were called, “private vows.” For me they were binding, even before I formally took them. From the day I “’whistled” (OD jargon for writing the letter to Rome to request admission), I lived as a committed member in every way. The understanding was that the commitment was for life. The Admission ceremony took place six months later in the Opus oratory in the presence of an Opus priest, my directress, and one other numerary.
After Opus Dei was awarded the unique status of “Personal Prelature” in 1982, the term “vow” was changed to “contract,” but the nature of the commitment remained basically the same.
Engel: Was your family present at the Admission ceremony?
Johnson: Hardly. They didn’t know I had joined Opus much less that I had made a lifelong commitment to the Work that included perpetual celibacy. Neither did any of my close friends. As a new recruit I was told not to tell my parents. From the start, it was explained to me that for our apostolate in Opus Dei to be effective it must “pass unnoticed.” Opus Dei deemed our dedication was to be a very private matter between us and God and our sisters in Opus Dei. What many see as “secrecy,” Opus calls “Holy Discretion.”
Engel: No matter what you call it, for a minor to engage in such deception and be instructed to keep such a life-changing association secret from his or her parents is a violation of the Fifth Commandment to honor one’s father and mother. Didn’t your obvious delicate conscience send up a red flag?
Johnson: If it did, I wasn’t paying attention. As I said earlier, I was just bowled over by this new and exciting version of a secular life so fully dedicated to the Church – the Work of God – yet, so upbeat, so vibrant, so warm, and so friendly.
Engel: We’ll be returning to the issue of secrecy as formal Opus policy later in this interview, but for now I’d like to ask you about your relationship with your boyfriend at this time. Was it serious? Did he know about your commitment to Opus?
Johnson: Yes, to both questions. We were serious. We even discussed the possibility of marriage after we graduated from the University. We also came to share a deep attraction to Opus Dei and we both became supernumeraries.
Like me, my boyfriend kept his membership in Opus a secret from his parents. He resided at an Opus Dei men’s University residence. We both were aware at the time that Opus was grooming both of us, but not for each other. Eventually, Opus was able to manipulate our total separation and he eventually joined as a celibate numerary. I found out that he had become a numerary when the directress told me to speak to the priest in the confessional. I was instructed not to contact him again.
Engel: Did he ever pursue the occupation he studied and trained for at the University after graduation?
Johnson: No, I don’t think so. He was a Physics graduate, but Opus needed him elsewhere for internal work. In his early 20s, he became the Director of a male Opus University Centre in London. Later, he was asked by his superiors to become a priest of Opus Dei. He was ordained in Rome at the age of 26. He later became the Counselor (later called Vicar) of Opus Dei for the UK.
Engel: And you?
Johnson: I was told before joining Opus Dei that I would be free to pursue my chosen studies and career in languages. That never happened. In February of 1962, at the age of 18, three months after I separated from my boyfriend, I also changed my supernumerary status to that of a numerary (lay celibates who live in Opus centres) so I could devote my entire life to Opus Dei. This meant I had to “whistle” again and write to the Father to ask to be admitted as a numerary. I never spoke to my boyfriend again.
I was also told by my directress that I would make a good journalist. That idea lodged in my mind and I began to perceive a journalistic career as part of my vocation to serve Opus Dei.
Engel: How did Opus Dei influence your academic and campus life?
Johnson: Well, during my three years at the University, I found myself focusing more on my “Plan of Life” and proselytism than on my studies. In my third year, I was appointed Assistant Directress of Rydalwood, which further detracted from my studies. At the age of 22, I was appointed a member of the Advisory in London. This came as a surprise, and I felt very flattered.
Although, theoretically, Opus places a high premium on excellence in academics as well as work, in my case dedication to the internal needs and tasks of Opus and its expansion in the UK took priority over my personal choices and priorities, and jeopardized my career.
Also, when I entered the University, I had hoped to join the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Scottish Country Dance Society, but these were nixed by Opus because they would expose me to the opposite sex. Going to the theater, cinemas and mixed social events were also prohibited.
Engel: At what point did you reveal your membership to Opus Dei to your parents?
Johnson: In June 1964, after I had graduated from the University, I told them that I had an interest in joining Opus now that I had turned 21, which was the age of majority in the UK back then. That was a lie, of course. I had already been a member for years, first as a supernumerary while I was still living at home, and then as a celibate numerary and as an Assistant Directress at Rydalwood.
Engel: So, your parents helped pay for your college costs for four years not knowing of your life-long commitment to Opus?
Johnson: Yes, my father paid a “parental contribution,” to supplement the grant from my local education authority.
Engel: And Opus, who would benefit from all your educational skills and talents after your graduation paid how much?
Engel: How convenient, I mean, for Opus.
Johnson: I should add a caveat here to say that during my undergraduate at the University, my father had become ill, so my parents were not as aware of my campus life as they might otherwise have been.
I recall my directress telling me that I needed to “get a balance.” “Since your parents don’t know about your vocation, you can’t stop going home for the holidays,” she advised me. I was reminded of The Way, 644: “Be silent! Don’t forget that your ideal is like a newly lit flame. A single breath might be enough to put it out in your heart.”
On the few occasions that I actually spent at home, my mother did express concern about my social isolation and tried to introduce me to a young man, but that was out of bounds for me as a celibate numerary.
Engel: What about your family relations after your graduation in 1964?
Johnson: After graduation I continued to live at Rydalwood. I rarely saw my parents. Not even at Christmas. As for my brothers, I had almost no contact with them or my sisters-in-laws or their children. Opus did permit me to be a godmother to two of my nephews, but that was before I had informed my family that I had joined Opus Dei.
Overall, Opus discouraged members’ attendance at family events like weddings and funerals. When my cousin, who had been my longtime playmate was married, I went to stay at my parents’ home, but on the morning of the wedding, I feigned illness so as not to attend. I felt no remorse. Rather, I was pleased with myself that I had found a way to “obey.” When my aunt, my mother’s only sister died I didn’t go to the funeral. Mum was very hurt. On this occasion I did feel bad as I had started to question my membership in Opus Dei.
Visits with old friends were discouraged unless the motive was to recruit them.
Genuine friendships disappeared. Over my many years as a numerary, I had no real friends. I had fallen prey to the Opus way of using “friendship” as a tactic, in a very manipulative way. By the time I left Opus I was friendless.
Gradually I became more and more emotionally distant from my “blood family” and my old friends. I couldn’t wait to get back “home” to my new “supernatural family” – Opus Dei.
Engel: I’m a little more than curious to learn more about your life as a numerary in Opus Dei. Maybe you can start by describing your early formation or orientation to what is called “the Spirit of Opus Dei,” especially since ex-members are generally hesitant about revealing this type of information to “outsiders.”
Johnson: The so-called “Spirit of Opus Dei” is gradually conveyed to new numeraries in a variety of ways. There was the weekly “Circle” and “Fraternal Chat.” There were meditations given by an Opus priest at the monthly Days of Recollection, and also an annual five-day retreat. At the three-week Annual Course held at an Opus women’s centre, more experienced numeraries gave talks on the “Spirit of the Work” (Discretion, Obedience, Poverty, Divine Filiation, Apostolate, the Norms, and Mortification) and we had regular guided meditations from an Opus Dei priest, who also gave classes on the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Engel: Speaking of mortification did you wear the cilice [a sharp spiked ring worn on the upper leg used to suppress desire]?
Johnson: Yes, I wore the cilice on my upper thigh for two hours a day in the afternoon, and used the discipline [a small whip of knotted cords applied to one’s buttocks] for five minutes on Saturday. These were an obligatory part of my life as a numerary. I should add that these practices were only revealed to us after we became members.
Engel: Let me get this straight, Eileen. These programs of formation and mortification you described were in addition to…
Johnson: … In addition to the other norms and requirements for a numerary that included two half hours – one in the morning and one in the evening – of mental prayer daily; Mass; the Rosary; the Angelus; the Preces; Opus Dei prayers and the examination of conscience. Major Silence was kept from bedtime until after Mass the next day, and Minor Silence during the afternoon.
Engel: And what about your internal work as Assistant Directress of Rydalwood and your part time job teaching English to immigrant children at a local school? And later, your appointment to the Opus Advisory as Secretary of Saint Raphael’s Work, which must have required a great deal of time and energy? Frankly, this doesn’t seem to be in the realm of an “ordinary” or “normal” life for a non-religious. When did you have time to breathe or think your own thoughts?
Johnson: What can I say? I was hooked. My real self was being overshadowed by my newly acquired cultic personality, but not entirely, thank God. At times, I was exhausted. I remember particularly the time when the Advisory worked through several nights, preparing the annual report and contribution for Rome. I had to go to bed (well, to lie on the floor) because I couldn’t work any longer.
In theory, we were supposed to take breaks, in the form of a “weekly walk,” and a “monthly excursion,” but with our work ethic, these down times were often overlooked.
(To be continued)
[Part 2 will be published on Wednesday, March 3]
 OD WATCH was first published in November 2017 by Catholic writer Randy Engel, a long-time critic of the Prelature and its organizational tentacles of numeraries, supernumeraries, associates, and cooperators. It is a free electronic mailing based on background information, news, and commentaries on Opus Dei from around the world. To subscribe, contact Randy Engel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Rydalwood was the first Manchester centre of the OD women’s section. It was a University hostel with accommodations for about 35 students.
 Josemaría Escrivá, The Way: The Essential Classic of Opus Dei’s Founder, containing Scriptural passages and personal anecdotes drawn from Escrivá’s life and work. The booklet presented Escrivá’s 999 points for meditation.
 The Plan of Life comprises the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly commitments of members.
 The Advisory oversee the activities of all the Opus Dei centres of the Women’s Section in the UK, and acts as a go-between or facilitator between local centres and Rome, constantly transmitting instructions. The Advisory is presided over by the Counsellor (or Vicar).
 In 1969, the age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18 in the UK.
 Escrivá claimed the Work is a true family, not metaphorically. And that the bonds in the Work are stronger than those of blood. See “Pastoral Letter of the Prelate,” Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, October 11, 2020, on the restructuring of the Prelature.
 St. Raphael’s Work [Circles] of formation, meditations, recollections, and retreats is directed at young people. Initially, ‘cultural activities’ are organized as a means of attracting young people to the centres. They are then invited to participate in the spiritual activities. Escrivá stated that visits to the poor are one of the traditional means of St. Raphael’s work, although he himself as the founder of Opus Dei was rarely seen among the poor.