Legion Leaves Senior On The Street

The Statement of John T. Walsh Jr.
January 11, 2005


I am writing with regard to the Legion of Christ, Inc., a Catholic non-profit congregation located in Cheshire, Connecticut. The purpose of my letter is to make you aware of some of the details of the fraudulent and unlawful practices utilized by the Legion of Christ in soliciting donations from me and to request any assistance you may be able to provide.

As I have detailed more fully below, the Legion of Christ exerted undue influence over me through never-ending and persistent solicitation of donations, culminating in the transfer of my home located at 226 Highview Drive in Stratford, Connecticut to them in November of 2003. In addition, the Legion of Christ’s representatives made several false representations to me that I relied on prior to executing the quitclaim deed. Finally, I truly believe that the practices and schemes described herein are commonly engaged in by the Legion of Christ and are not limited to only my experience. The background and details of this unlawful practice are as follows:
Approximately six to seven years ago, I was introduced to the Legion of Christ by a friend. At this time, I began contributing $10 per month to the Legion of Christ as a donation. In addition to this charity, I paid $10 per month to approximately 30 other charities and worthy causes. Several years ago, after I won third prize in a Legion of Christ raffle and a $500 prize, I began contributing $30 per month instead of $10 per month to the Legion of Christ.

In 2002, I was contacted by a fundraiser with the Legion of Christ. Subsequently, I was visited by two seminarians who told me that one of them was going to be ordained sometime that year and the other the following year. Each of these would be done in Rome by the Pope they claimed. The seminarians next discussed whether I would contribute money to the Legion of Christ. I told them that I wanted to contribute to the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN)instead of the Legion. The seminarians responded that the Legion needed priests, and a scholarship for a future priest would benefit them. I then agreed that I would contribute $2,500 per year for four years (total $10,000)towards a scholarship for a priest.

After making two other donations totaling another $15,000 (which I believe I was pressured into), I met with several members of the Legion of Christ. They asked me whether I would transfer my house to the Legion of Christ to support priests. I tentatively agreed, and they prepared several options through which I could transfer my home or the proceeds there from to them. Subsequently, I quitclaimed my home to the Legion of Christ and retained only a life estate and the payments on a $100,000 Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)secured by the property.

In 2003, I had been recently widowed and was 78 years old. I was living on a fixed income of just over $1,600 per month, and my only significant asset was the equity in my home, which I had owned since 1968. Prior to my transferring the home, the Legion of Christ discouraged me from speaking with friends or family regarding the property transfer. This was an apparent attempt to isolate me from the people who could have discussed my decision to transfer the home and its impact on my finances. Indeed, during a lunch with several representatives from the Legion of Christ attended by me and my son just prior to the transaction, the transfer of my home was not discussed until my son had left the affair. Furthermore, at the instruction of the Legion of Christ, I was not represented by my own attorney located in Stratford, but was represented by counsel hand-picked by the Legion of Christ from East Haven.

Throughout the transaction, I felt extremely pressured by representatives from the Legion of Christ to transfer my home to them. I never felt that the option to not transfer my home (or the proceeds from its sale)to the Legion of Christ existed. The Legion of Christ was made aware of my fragile financial position throughout the transfer process, yet chose to proceed despite this knowledge. It is clear that several false representations were made by the Legion of Christ, including: (1)a promise that I would not be responsible for the payment of property taxes associated with the property after the transfer; (2)a promise that I would not experience any financial hardship as a result of the transfer of my only significant asset to the Legion of Christ; and (3)a promise that, by virtue of the transfer, I would be eligible for Medicaid benefits if I required any medical assistance whatsoever.

In actuality, my property taxes increased by almost $2,000 per year as a result of the property transfer to the Legion of Christ. The payments on my HELOC on the property ($20,000 of which was donated to the Legion of Christ and $5,000 of which was donated to another member of the Regnum Christi movement)remain due. The amounts of these payments are steadily increasing as the interest rate associated with the loan rises. Because of this transfer, I no longer have the ability to draw funds from the equity in my home (1)to pay the amount due under the HELOC, (2)to pay the amount due for the property tax increase, (3)to pay for uncovered health-related services, or (4)to pay for any other unforeseen expenses.

Additionally, my living expenses are rapidly increasing, and are beginning to exceed the fixed-income I rely on. To summarize, as a direct result of the Property transfer, I will, in the very near future, no longer have the means to support myself. The Legion of Christ pressured a man in a stable financial position and forced him into an extremely compromised financial position.

I respectfully request that you consider the information contained herein. It is patently unjust and wrong that organizations such as the Legion of Christ are able to use their religious affiliation to take advantage of citizens like me while facing no repercussions whatsoever. On two different occasions, I have asked the Legion of Christ to return my home to me. Both of these requests, however, have been summarily denied. I have also written to all of the Catholic bishops in the United States to determine whether they can be of any assistance to me.


Originally posted on:




Who Can Believe Legion Leaders?

Who Can Believe Legion Leaders?


On Feb 28, 2004, Father Bannon issued a letter to members and relatives of Legionary and Regnum Christi members warning them at the time about the Vows of Silence book that was about to be released.


He referred to demonstrably false allegations that our founder, Father Marcial Maciel, sexually abused a few young men (then members of the Legion) back in the 1940’s and 1950’sand despite all the evidence available to the authors and of which they are aware, the accusations are rehashed in a new book to be released in March 2004 attacking Pope John Paul II, especially his staunch defense of the Church’s discipline of priestly celibacy and its unchanging sexual ethic.


ReGAIN Comment:


Fr Bannon made a statement that the allegations were demonstrably falseand referred toall the evidence available to the authors. At the time how could Fr Bannon have felt so sure that Fr Maciel was innocent? He does not claim any research into the subject. Joining the Legion in the 60s in Ireland he had no first hand information regarding the 1940-60 period when the abuses were alleged to have happened. In truth there was an absence of evidence of any kind regarding those obscure years. Fr. Bannon was basically appropriating the Legion line of the time.


Fr Bannon went on to say that on behalf of the Legion and the Movement I assure you once again that Father Maciel is absolutely innocent. He has made it clear ever since the allegations first arose in the late 1990’s – decades after any alleged abuse could have happened – that he has never committed any such act ever.


ReGAIN Comment:


Fr Bannon declared Fr Maciel to be absolutely innocent. But Fr. Bannon must have known about some accusations in the 1950s when Fr. Maciel was exiled to Spain by the Vatican, a period (1956-59) referred to in frequent talks such as Explanation of Rules asThe War(La Guerra). So he knew accusations were not surfacing for the first time in the 1990s. He states the source of his confidence in assuring members and their families that Fr Maciel was absolutely innocent: Fr Maciel had said so himself. This is jumping to conclusions. Was this naivety, gullibility, or a deliberate attempt to manipulate Legionaries and to discourage them and their family members from reading the Vows of Silence book?


Later in his letter, Fr Bannon adds:


Moreover, Nuestro Padre continues to insist on responding to these allegations in the most Christian way possible: forgiving them, saying as little as possible, simply laying out the facts, letting his record speak for itself, avoiding personal attacks and harboring no ill will or rancor for the accusers. This has set an extremely high standard for those of us who want to come to his defense.


ReGAIN Comment:


Fr. Maciel met all accusations with blanket denial. Fr Bannon said that Fr Maciel’s record spoke for itself and that he believed this had set a high standard for those who wanted to come to his defense. Considering recent revelations we wonder if Fr Bannon now regrets making this statement and how much of the real truth he was aware of. If he was totally unaware then we wonder about his ability to discern what is going on around him.


Fr Bannon commented: Anyone who would take an objective look at the facts will see where the truth lies.


ReGAIN Comment:


Considering the real facts it is evident where the truth lies. Was Fr Bannon sincerely seeking the real truth at the time or was he into denial?


Fr Bannon referred to independent, documented facts from the time when the alleged abuse would have happenedand that Vatican investigators moved in and lived with the Legionary communities in Rome and elsewhere. They interviewed each Legionary personally and in depth. Not only did they find the charges empty and baseless, they reported that the Legion and Father Maciel were exemplary, holding great promise for the Church.


ReGAIN Comment:


The reality is that the results of that Visitation/investigation were never released. How could Fr. Bannon know the results? A few years ago Mexican historian Fernando Gonzalez was able to unearth some of the reports written by the Carmelite Friars investigating Maciel for suspected sexual abuse, drug abuse, abuse of power, and leaving his foundation abandoned for long periods. These are available in Spanish in his book, Marcial Maciel, la Legion de Cristo, Testimonios y Documentos Ineditos (Unpublished Testimonies and Documents; Ed. Tusquets, Mexico City, 2009). Allegations of sexual abuse are mentioned, together with Fr. Maciel’s powers of persuasion and intimidation, as well as his use of the morphine derivative, Demerol. Fr. Bannon did not have access to any serious documentation when he wrote. He based his statements on Legion Spirit and Mystiqueand Fr. Aruma’s explanation of rules in Salamanca. Fr. Aruma was one of the Legionaries Fr. Maciel left in place when he was forced out in 1956.


In the letter, Fr Bannon explained that every member (was) interviewed personally and in depth, and none of them corroborate (d) a single allegation of any wrongdoing – let alone sexual molestation then added that every alleged victim had the perfect opportunity to reveal any abuse right after it would have been happeningand that the facts of the investigation and its findings overwhelm the accusers and their story.


ReGAIN Comment:


With this statement Fr Bannon demonstrated not only a lack of empathy but a total ignorance of how sexual abuse victims are traumatized and would rarely be prepared to testify against their predators right after it happened. Fr Bannon also fails to point out that in this case the victims were totally and completely dependent upon Fr. Maciel as their sole provider of all the necessities of life and that he had made them agree to a secret vow to never speak ill of him or any of their superiors. Fr. Maciel prepared his victims for the interviews by telling them the Visitators were coming to destroy the Legion and their God-given vocation.


Fr Bannon stated in his letter that the book will apparently argue that a Vatican-inspired ‘vow of silence’ keeps the accusers’ allegations from being taken seriously. But the Vatican knows the Legion’s history; it knows what its decades of scrutiny have revealed about the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. That is why the Vatican has done what any court does when a case has no basis: the court refuses to hear it.


ReGAIN Comment:


How did Fr Bannon draw such conclusions? Was he attempting to influence the LC and RC members and their families by falsely implying in writing that there was no basis at the time to the case of the victims? It is probable that the influence peddling by Fr Maciel among senior members of the Vatican had far more of an effect on the case that had been presented by credible witnesses.

Fr Bannon added: Seeing these false charges aired in public is upsetting to us all. There is enough to do without having to deal with patent falsehoods. I trust that you will look at the facts and what God has worked in your family since you met
Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ


ReGAIN Comment:


Fr Bannon here referred to false chargesand patent falsehoods. In other words he declared in writing that the victims of Father Maciel were liars.
Usually people gather facts before they make such charges against others, especially if they put such claims in writing. Did Fr Bannon conduct his own investigation by interviewing at least some of those who claimed to be victims? Based on his own words, it seems that his main proofwas that Fr Maciel had declared himself to be innocent and he expected others to do the same. For the majority of those who had been under the influence inside the Legion or Regnum Christi, this was an effective argument because Fr Maciel was perceived by them to be a living saint and the main source of their unique spirituality. What seems like empty unsupported statements to outsiders were at the time believable for those who had been conditioned to believe everything that came fromofficialLegion sources of information. Any outside information that was critical of the Legion or of their founder, especially that which came from those evil detractorswas not even allowed and was considered to have no credibility.


It is unknown what prompted Legion leadership to reveal the existence of Fr. Maciel’s daughter in Spain. Fact is that this revelation opened the floodgates to further revelations of his double life and behavior unbefitting a priest. This scandal contributed to the Vatican’s Visitation of the Legion. As the Legion began to toss some members jumped ship, others cut their losses apologizing, and all distanced themselves desperately from Fr. Maciel, vowing ignorance. Fr. Bannon has remained in the backwaters.


Day by day the truth continues to unfold and as slowly some of it seeps inside the walls, Legion spin doctors are now having a more difficult time explaining away their mistakes or misdeeds! ReGAIN encourages everyone involved in this situation (inside and outside) to seek the truth and to act on it. That painful – truth will set them free.


The entire letter is available at Click here Then scroll down to Revisiting 2004article.


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