No To LC American Boarding & Apostolic Schools [and Novitiates?]

General Confession with Fr. Maciel and a tribute to my real father
By one of First Irish LC’s

The author explores the dangers of the Legion of Christ’s Apostolic Schools in the light of OLD & NEW allegations of sexual abuse by Founder Marcial Maciel of his younger seminarians and that of other Legionaries in minor seminaries. The article questions the training and credentials of Legionary seminarians as formators of adolescents. Structural discrepancies with official Church Teaching are mentioned.

From Legion of Christ official website:

The Legion’s apostolic schools worldwide, including this one in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, aim to give young men in grades 7-12, who are really thinking about the priesthood, what they will need to discover Christ’s call and prepare for it.

[from discussion board, thread: ‘safe environment’]

Posted on 9/19/2005 at 10:22 AM

Safe Environment ?
In the spring I stopped by St Brigid’s church in Cheshire and noticed in their bulletin that they were looking for CCD teachers because they would no longer have the services of the LC’s when I asked an LC why not they said they didn’t know. At WYD I met parishioners from St Brigid’s so I asked them why the LC aren’t teaching there anymore and they said the superior would not let them take the safe environment course required to teach in a parish school. I was wondering if that was to keep the seminarians from realizing they do not live in a safe environment?

Part One

One in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before the age of 18

Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children, Russell, 1988


Child Sexual Abuse does not necessarily involve penetration or even physical contact. Often beginning with seemingly innocent intrusions into the child’s personal space, the offender slowly tests and conditions the child to accept abuse which may escalate over a period of time.

The stereotype of child molesters as mentally unstable, dangerous-looking strangers is not statistically accurate:

  • Only 10-15% of offenders are strangers to their victims.
  • Often, child victims have trusting, dependent relationships with their offenders.
  • Ordinary-seeming men and women, even respected community members, sexually assault children.

Child sexual abuse occurs within all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, gender, social, and economic classes.

Although offenders may use physical force to perpetrate abuse, more typically they rely on threats. bribery, emotional force, or simply the force of their authority over the child. Sometimes, this force is implied rather than overt.

THREATS: ‘If you tell you’ll be sent home and lose your vocation.’

BRIBERY: ‘You will have special exceptions to the rule and privileges.’

EMOTIONAL: ‘You won’t be my special friend any more’

AUTHORITY: ‘This is our secret -don’t tell. They wouldn’t understand.’
[Adapted by the

writer from: Child Sexual Assault brochure, VAASA, Feel free to request]


It is not ‘crime of passion’. IT IS A CRIME OF VIOLENCE, POWER, AND CONTROL. It occurs when a person is forced, threatened, coerced or manipulated and tricked into sexual contacts against his or her will. No one asks to be sexually abused -it is the perpetrator who decides to hurt someone. Sexual abuse is never the victim’s fault.

Because of the mistaken belief that sexual assault is sexually motivated, it is often assumed that anyone who would sexually assault a male is after sex. Therefore, we assume that a perpetrator of male sexual abuse must be either a heterosexaul woman or a homosexual man. But sexual assault is not about sex -it’s about violence, power, hostility and domination. It’s an attempt to hurt someone. It is possible for a woman to assault a man; and some men who commit sexual assaults are gay. But most sexual assaults of men are committed by ‘straight’ or heterosexual men.


[See ‘Male Survivors of Sexual Assault’ brochure, VAASA,]

Part Two

I am at Sanborns restaurant at the ‘Plaza de las Estrellas’ mall in Mexico City?s Anzures district on Saturday, September 10, 2005. Sitting across from me, Dr. Fernando Gonzalez interviews me about my experiences with the Legion of Christ, against the background of pedophilia. I tell him honestly I was never sexually abused in the Legion, nor was I ever approached in an inappropriate way by any member.

Entering the LC at age 17 and 7 months, I admit I was very immature mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; naive and sexually unaware, too. However, as the son of a warm and structured home, I had strong relationships with my mother her only son- and with my father -we were ‘boon companions’. He was very ‘blue collar’ and a man of simple pleasuresTogether we went to sports events on his Excelsior 125cc motorbike which would often breakdown. A small and practical man, he liked mechanics, electricity and carpentry, with a passion for soccer, boxing and fishing. Sitting by the side of this quiet and polite person as we waited for the fish to nibble off Dun Laoghaire Pier I learned the silence of men and the art of closeness without words.

Soon after joining the Legion in Bundoran, County Donegal, my confreres and I were introduced to Fr. Maciel, a tall, thin, pale Mexican with thinning brown hair, big manicured hands, as he smiled through his glasses with cold blue eyes. He was the Founder of the Legion of Christ and a Holy Man. We were soon told that Legionaries called him Nuestro Padre , (Our Father;) though not as in the Lord?s Prayer, which in Spanish begins with the words in the opposite order, Padre Nuestro].

Our Father, with the help of the whole Legionary apparatus, was portrayed as a caring and solicitous father, who thereby evoked openness, trust and closeness in his children. But with me the closeness did not take. My relationship with my biological father was too strong and present. I did not need the affection of another father, even though this one was supposedly a saint. Perhaps, I was subconsciously not trusting of male religious figures. With one father in heaven and my dad on earth, I did not need the affection of a third.

Let us imagine, however, a teenager whose relationship with his earthly father is not firm and caring. Would he not tend to gravitate towards this Super Father who wanted to be his confidante, guide, and mediator with God?

Let us imagine next a preadolescent boy who goes to the Apostolic School in Mexico City in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Nuestro Padre could be here, there and everywhere in the Legion house. There were not that many Legion members and few were the houses. When absent he made his presence felt through general and personal letters, as a form of community and individual guidance. What a strong impression he must have made on these first ApostolicosThey were leaving the relative anonymity of small Mexican towns for the exciting and attractive Apostolic School in Tlalpan with its playing fields, bright red uniforms, good education and a swimming pool with a diving board. Mexicans are fearless and skilled divers and swimmers. Mostly from families as large as five, ten or fifteen children, they must have felt very special when they received the personal attention of the Padre Prefects who supervised them and took care of all their needs. Above the prefects was the Padre RectorSpiritual Director. The Prefects and Rector became these children?s fathers in their regular lives. And above the Rector was Nuestro Padrewho would drop in occasionally, bringing relief from the daily routine. For Nuestro Padre was the Founder, a Spiritually Gifted Man of God. When he was with the community, everything was special and improved, including richer food, more games and recreation, movies and special excursions. To top it all off he would also celebrate a Solemn Mass, flanked by the Rector and Prefects.

The greatest privilege of all was to go to confession to Nuestro Padre, because he was so close to God and he knew God?s Will for you. So you were sure you would get the right answer to your questions and doubts, especially regarding your vocation to serve God in the Legion

The Brother Bursar took care of one?s material needs. The Padre Prefect took care of one?s studies, discipline and ordinary religious life. Nuestro Padre took care of one?s spiritual needs, and what a privilege it was to have him around, he, the Founder, inspired directly by God, with a direct line to the Holy Spirit, a Living Saint, who could read your soul and guide you along the paths of the Lord.

Total Transparency and Complete Truest in your Superior is an essential element of Legion Spirit and Mystique, and this was heightened in the case of Nuestro Padre. The Apostolics opened up to and totally trusted this Other Christwith their histories, trials and tribulations. Many a tear was shed during those confessions and spiritual directions in the Legion the distinction if often blurred. Tears of relief after unburdening one?s soul, tears of gratitude, maybe even of tenderness as the boy felt Gods forgiveness through Nuestro Padre?s loving care. [As a young Legionary I read a booklet written by Fr. Javier Tena,LC, one of the first Apostolics from Mexico. Called Nuestro Padre in my Child Soul, ‘Nuestro Padre en mi alma de Nino’, it described in idyllic terms the Apostolic?s life.

I had the privilege of going to confession to Nuestro Padre for the first time before my Religious Profession in Salamanca, September, 1962 [I was 18 and 10 months old]. By then my Spanish was good enough. Together with my 7 Irish cofounder companions I took my temporal vows after only one year Novitiate ??mine mostly in crisis [major depressive episode?], interpreted as my own personal dark night of the soul. It was suggested to me by my spiritual director/superior that I make a general confession to Nuestro Padre to take advantage of the special graces I would thus receive through the Founder and as the best way to prepare me for the religious life.

During the relatively uneventful and sheltered life I had lived before entering the Holy Novitiate at age 17, I had accumulated two sins against purity which troubled my somewhat scrupulous conscience and about which I felt very ashamed. Before entering the Legion I had unloaded one to a Carmelite friar at St. Teresas Clarendon St., Dublin.

In fear and trembling I unloaded the 2nd to Nuestro Padre, Man of God. I do not recall any earth-shattering advice or apocalyptic revelation. I felt he was kind. At the end, I kissed the end of his stole as a sign of reverence and gratitude. He may have brushed my cheek with the tassel in a fatherly way. I experienced a great sense of relief because I had been able to get rid of that sin. I dont remember any advice. Now, I had no sin on my soul, I was free through the Sacrament of Confession, and I was ready to take on my vows. My interviewer Fernando insists, was there nothing, not the slightest sexual innuendo in this encounter with Fr Maciel? No, nothing. And you were not aware of any abuse going on around you as appears from the testimonies of others? Non whatsoever.

Against the background of the two dozen testimonies of sexual abuse from the 40s and 50s, and those which are beginning to appear regarding the 60s-70s, why was I and others so totally unaware? Could it be that Fr. Maciel is a Master of the Game of secret societies, with their isolated concentric circles of information/power? Maciel in the middle surrounded by a first cadre of unconditionals who silently acquiesce to his power? Only The Master knows everything. The unconditionals know more than the following circle, and so on. Those within the circle of abuse are isolated from the community at large, which is totally oblivious to what goes on behind the infirmary door? Reading the chilling descriptions in John Le Carres A Perfect Spy, and Solzhenitsyns Gulag Archipelago regarding secrecy, isolation and control might lead to such speculations…

One Legionary in pastoral ministry in Sacramento, CA, got into hot water a few years ago for questioning a child about his/her sexual problems. The Legion solution? Send him back to the Quintana Roo Mission? My question is: What about the Maya children? Are they not important? From this and other documented testionies there seems to be a recurring theme of Legion Spiritual Director/Superiors inquiring into students sexual experience. A THOROUGH HISTORY OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE SEEMS TO BE PART OF A CANDIDATE’S SCREENING, CARRIED OUT BY LEGIONARIES SUCH AS FR OWEN KEARNS AND OTHERS. How vulnerable these children and adolescents are to abuse by unscrupulous, inquisitive, curious, prying, probing and potentially abusive superiors! Aren’t the ‘examiners’ in danger of giving in to their own prurient curiosity? Isn’t there a grave danger of such intimate material being used against the candidate in the future, through the Legion system of unprotected communication between superiors?

Think of all the Apostolics, Candidates and Novices that opened their histories and hearts to Nuestro Padre! Did he pry into their vulnerable souls? Did they feel obliged and privileged to tell him everything about themselves? Did he ask about their difficulties with Holy Purity? Did he ever overstep his boundaries with any of them? Did he walk through the doors that they in their naiveté left open, full of gullibility, innocence and trust?

When I recall now that confession with Nuestro Padre, in the light of allegations of sexual impropriety, I tremble. I am overcome with a sense of revulsion and of relief. Did the sin that I confessed somehow immunize me against improper approaches from Nuestro Padre and other Legionary Superiors? This is not idle speculation, as you will see from the following.

By all it is well known that a ‘new’ Vatican Investigation into Fr Maciel’s sexual abuse of his first seminarians is presently underway. This is separate from the 1956-58 wider investigation into his drug use, abuse of power and questionable relationships with his seminarians, carried out by the Sacred Congregation for Religious. I am not saying that the present investigator does not have access to the old archives. This investigation is being carried out by the Promotor of Justice for the Congregation for the Faith, a separate Vatican department with greater powers to sanction. As the investigation of the original 8 accusers was underway, more men from that generation and the following came forward, particularly in Mexico City during early April 2005 [see Regain Press Release and corresponding articles].

As I prepared to attend a conference in Madrid in mid July a shocking revelation was made to me by one of my Irish co-founder colleagues, in the sense that he too had been sexually abused by Father Maciel from 1962-1969. This allegation, out of the blue and totally ‘incomtaminated by’ the other accusations, is being clarified and researched by reporters, and has been reported to Monsignor Scicluna, the Vatican Prosecutor. I am not at liberty to disclose further information. This fact doubly impacts me: it proves that Fr Maciel’s sexual abuse did not stop with the early generations; and it brings the abuse even closer to home for me because I know the abused personally, we trained together, and I have even less reason to doubt the facts. It also prompts speculation regarding whether extensive sexual abuse by the Founder may have spawned an epidemic in the Legion and whether such abuse is now endemic to or widespread in the Institution.

What therapeutic skill do these Prefects, Teachers and Directors possess? Are they trained in Spiritual Guidance? By what institute? Are they trained in counseling and psychotherapy? Have they had the necessary background checks for someone closely involved in the education of minors? Remember, ONE EPISODE OF ABUSE WOUNDS A CHILD FOREVER!

At least two periods of serious sexual abuse has been documented regarding the Legion Apostolic School in Ontaneda, Santander, Spain. Isolated cases of sexual abuse have been reported about the New Hampshire Apostolic School. Testimonies exist regarding sexual abuse in the Irish Novitiate.

[From a posting on the discussion board:]

‘Protecting God’s Children’ – Virtus Program
mikeinnj – 9/14/2005 at 05:17 PM

Many (if not most) dioceses in the US now require abuse awareness training for all clergy, teachers, staff, volunteers through the Protecting God’s Children – Virtus program (which, by the way, I find very informative). Considering the large numbers of RC programs for children and young people, and the highly visible contact with young people that the LC has, are the LC’s/RC’s getting this same training that other Catholics around the US are REQUIRED to do? This would include teachers in LC/RC run schools. Are the bishops in those dioceses where there is an LC/RC presence making sure this training is taking place, especially for RC people working with kids? Or does the LC/RC consider themselves exempt from or above all this?



Even if the above considerations regarding the danger of sexual abuse and assault fall on deaf parental ears, Church Leaders still need to carefully review the Legion training system in the light of the official and authorized doctrine of the Catholic Church for seminaries. We respectfully submit that, besides the above mentioned dangers, there are other problems at Legion Minor Seminaries. Because of the lack of space, I will simply underline [uppercasing] some aspects. I am shocked to see how some BISHOPS seem to be turning a blind eye to gaping STRUCTURAL DISCREPANCIES, or at least potential dangers, in the Legion system. The following teaching’s last paragraph also shows Catholic parents that the traditional minor seminary or apostolic school is NOT THE ONLY OR BEST WAY to foster priestly vocations.

On another, though related, note, it is a crying shame that exiting members from the Legion and the Regnum Christi -particularly women- often do not have properly validated studies, thus unduly prolonging and jeopardizing their recovery process.

In minor seminaries erected to develop the seeds of vocations, the students should be prepared by special religious formation, particularly through appropriate spiritual direction, to follow Christ the Redeemer with generosity of spirit and purity of heart. Under the fatherly direction of the superiors, and with the proper COOPERATION OF THE PARENTS, their daily routine should be in accord with the age, the character and the stage of development of adolescence and fully adapted to the NORMS OF A HEALTHY PSYCHOLOGY. Nor should the fitting opportunity be lacking for social and cultural contacts and for CONTACT WITH ONE’S OWN FAMILY.

Moreover, whatever is decreed in the following paragraphs about major seminaries is also be adapted to the minor seminary to the extent that it is in accord with its purpose and structure. Also, STUDIES UNDERTAKEN BY THE STUDENTS SHOULD BE SO ARRANGED THAT THEY CAN EASILY CONTINUE SHOULD THEY CHOOSE A DIFFERENT STATE OF LIFE.

With equal concern the seeds of vocations among adolescents and young men are also to be fostered in those SPECIAL INSTITUTES, which in accord with local circumstances, serve the purpose of a minor seminary as well as among those who are trained in OTHER SCHOOLS or by OTHER EDUCATIONAL MEANS. Finally, those institutions and other schools initiated for those with a belated vocation are to be carefully developed.

[Decree on Priestly Training, number 3, II Vatican Council]

Macielism Lives – LC Priest Fr. Peter F. Byrne L.C. Apologizes For Legion Behavior

Life-After-RC Click Here has provided an English translation of a letter submitted by a Legionary priest, Peter Byrne apologizing to Msgr Justo for calumnies and lies that he suffered at the hands of the founder of his congregation, the Legionaries of Christ and his collaborators.

The letter, dated April 22, 2012 expresses a feeling of shame Father Byrne experienced on behalf of his congregation.

The writer goes on to say that macielism has not yet been banished in the Legion and offers his opinion that those who did cooperate with the founder are still being covered for. He provides examples of ways in which the old leaders continue the same lack of transparency and dishonesty that they learned from the founder. Father Byrne states that seminarians are still taught that their founder, Father Marcial Maciel was a prophet and that they still are obliged to have a vow of humility? that binds them to denounce their Legionary brothers.

ReGAIN Comment:
For anyone inside or outside the Legion or Regnum Christi who wishes to see true reform, this letter reveals several indications that there is little or no will for positive change in the Legion. One statement from the letter reads as follows:

Without impunity, seminarians in Rome are still taught that Maciel was a prophet. They still have a vow of humility by which religious swear before God to denounce their brothers.

Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Legion founder as a false prophet. The Vatican communique stated that he was unscrupulous and without religious sentiment. If the Legionary leadership is indeed continuing to encourage seminarians to in any way continue to idolize their false prophet? founder there is little hope that the reform process is moving in a positive direction. Jesus taught that we should beware of false prophets?. (Matthew 7:15)

It is disturbing to hear that the practice of informing on fellow seminarians who break Legionary rules is still happening. This is a typical method of mind control that is used by typical destructive cult groups to force people to discourage individuality.

The letter goes on to say:
the majority of the macielistic leadership continues to govern the Legion and with the same contrivances that they learned from the founder: falsified elections, half truths, clarifications? of Vatican authorities, lack of transparency in economic affairs, and, overall, blindness towards those who were harmed by the crimes of this man and his followers.

And further on:
The hope was that those who covered up for Maciel within the congregation and inside the Vatican would be barred from office. It is painful that the suggestion was not considered opportune and the majority of those who signed the letter have now left the congregation?

The letter written by Peter Burne, LC, who remains on the inside demonstrates anew that there has been little change in the attitudes and cult like practices that have prevailed not just during Father Maciel’s decades of leadership but continuing right up to the present moment. Had this letter been written in isolation it might be considered simply as an expression of one person’s opinions and feelings. Taken together with the many similar letters written by disillusioned Legionaries and consecrated Regnum Christi women since the major scandal broke in 2009 it makes a discouraging statement of the present state of affairs. Even under the watchful eye of the Vatican the same old ways and attitudes prevail.

The letter serves to demonstrate that those Legionaries who really wanted reform have left and that one main reason why they departed was because they got tired of waiting as the foxes retained their tight control of the hen house.

Macielism lives on through the leaders who were selected and formed by the false prophet.

This raises a question for those whose lives are controlled within the LC / RC system:

If the teachings and practices of a false prophet have withstood several Vatican investigations and continue while a Vatican delegate with sweeping powers presides and as those who wished for changes head for the exit doors, what will the environment be like after the constitutions are rewritten and the commissioner leaves?

Who Is Really In Charge of the Legionaries of Christ?

Who Is Really In Charge of the Legionaries of Christ?

An article in Catholic Online written by Father James Farfaglia Click Here

Fr Farfaglia, who left the Legion in 1999 had been a member for twenty-one years. He speaks about an explosive? book, which has been rocking the news in Mexico. The book, which was recently written by Nelly Ramírez Mota Velasco in Spanish is entitled:
El Reino de Marcial Maciel / The Kingdom of Marcial Maciel: La Vida Oculta De La Legion Y El Regnum Christi / The Hidden Life of the Regnum Christi Legion?.

Nelly Ramirez was a 3gf consecrated member of Regnum Christi for twelve years.

According to the article, she explains in a clear objective way, without venom? how a person such as the Legion and Regnum Christi founder, who had a repugnant history of homosexual escapades since his time as a young seminarian and a young, promising founder of a new religious order could rise to the height of power, influence and success with the evident approval of popes, bishops, political leaders and thousands of the lay faithful.

She has included a chapter about Grupo Integer and the rather mysterious figure ofFather Luis Garza Medina who is said to be the actual head of the multi billion dollar financial holding company empire, although he is not listed as such.


Regain Comment

Who is really in charge of the Legionaries of Christ? is a very interesting question. Is it the old leaders who are all still around, although some have been shuffled around like the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic? Is it the apostolic delegate, who has recently resigned from his position as head of the Vatican’s economic affairs office but is remaining on for the time being as papal delegate to the Legion?

The questions in the article by Fr. James Farfaglia and in the book lead to more questions, such as who owns the multi billion dollars held in trust by Grupo Integer? How much of the money that has been amassed will be used for Fr. Maciel’s Kingdom of Christ (for their charism, whatever that may be)?

We continue to watch and wait with interest as the answers to these questions slowly unfold.

How To Bring About Change In The Legion Of Christ

By ReGAIN Staff


Presentation at the International Cultic Studies Association 2010 Annual Conference, New Jersey, July 2, 2010
ReGAIN’s J. Paul Lennon, M.A., was invited by the organizers1 to take part in a panel discussion on the topic: How to bring about change in Controversial Groups?
He shared the panel with Anuttama Dasa, an active member and leader in the Hari Krishna Movement. During the morning session Mr. Lennon presented a review of positive changes that continue to take place in the Legionaries of Christ Roman Catholic priestly religious congregation and its Regnum Christi movement. In the evening Mr. Lennon took part in an open discussion on this same subject which was attended by religious leaders, psychologists, sociologists and professionals, and by former members of High Demand Groups, their friends, and relatives. Mr. Lennon was impressed by the openness of fellow presenter, Mr. Dasa, in taking part in a public discussion at an organization which has been critical of some Hari Krishna practices, and by his courage in facing an audience which included several former Hari Krishna members.


Paul Lennon postulated, based on a lifetime of experience, study, and observation – including fifteen years’ involvement as a Legionary priest – that although the Vatican had the power to “pressureâ€� the Legion to change, it failed to do so for decades. The Legion of Christ leadership, with a self-sufficient and siege-like mentality, totally rejected any doubts or criticism, and was incapable of self-analysis or reform. Extraordinary forces working from within and outside the Legion finally brought about the positive changes that are happening.
Certainly, Pope Benedict XVI, who has a greater awareness of clergy sexual abuse, deserves credit for demonstrating a sense of justice and the need to repair the damage to those victimized by the Founder and the Organization. But the recent Vatican interventions were greatly influenced by a long process of internal and external pressures including those from former members, in particular victims of sexual abuse by
the founder, concerned Catholics, investigative reporters, and the media.


    • The founder, Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado has been exposed as a seriously flawed priest and the Vatican has publicly acknowledged that the life and structure of the Legion, an orthodox Catholic religious order had been adversely affected by the founder’s serious and objectively immoral behavior so as to require a process of in-depth revision.
    • Following investigations regarding the founder and the Legion the Church has recognized the need to change the group’s methodology and training to improve transparency and provide a “healthier� and freer environment for members and more access to family members.
    • In the short term, a number of members have voluntarily left the Legion.
    • Group members are allowed to have improved choice in choosing spiritual directors and confessors.
    • The Legion has been shown to be in need of deep reform.
    • The Church recognized the need to appoint a Church representative to carry out the needed reforms (A Commissioner with sweeping powers has been appointed by the Church and a separate investigation is underway for Regnum Christi).
    • The leadership has publicly apologized to some victims (in the past there had been denial of any wrongdoing and a failure to acknowledge any need for reform).


    • As a result of members’ complaints in the mid 1950’s regarding his despotic leadership, questionable relationship with seminarians, and misuse of money Vatican authorities temporarily removed the founder. He did not abide by his “exile� was able to return triumphantly; he then imposed a secret vow to never criticize any superior and to report anyone who did.
    • Victims of sexual abuse registered complaints regarding the founder to superiors and other authorities. They were met with blanket denial, ridicule, punishment, demotion and exile by Legion superiors. Members of the Church hierarchy suggested they “offer up their sufferings to God�. Reports submitted to Rome were either lost or ignored.


    • In Mexico a number of former Legion seminarians discovered their common abuse, bonded together, and demanded accountability. Their efforts within the church were rebuffed until they went public through the Hartford Courant in 1997. There were repercussions especially from the American public and in Mexico, with ripple effects in Spain, Italy, and other Catholic countries.
    • Some English speaking former members who were seeking healing communicated and eventually created a forum to outreach other affected ex members, families and friends. The ReGAIN website3 was initiated and a discussion board was established to share experiences and question the system.
    • ReGAIN and the Mexican former members joined forces to share common objectives.
    • In Spain, a former Legionary, Patricio Cerda, launched his own crusade in favor of the victims.
    • The latter redoubled their efforts and brought their case before the Vatican tribunal during the reign of John Paul II. However, the Legion founder had infiltrated and influenced the Vatican in his favor, successfully quashing a church investigation.
    • The ICSA Cultic Studies Association showed interest in the testimonies of victims of sexual and psychological abuse from exposure to the Legion, inviting them to participate in regional and international conferences.
    • TV coverage began locally and nationwide, including ABC’s Brian Ross
    • One survivor, Alejandro Espinosa, published his memoir “El Legionario� in Spanish in 2001
    • ReGAIN built alliances with S.N.A.P., O.D.A.N., and other groups demanding accountability and advocating changes in the way the Catholic Hierarchy monitors suspicious groups inside its gates.
    • ReGAIN accessed healing resources such as re-FOCUS for ex-members.
    • A book and later a documentary entitled “Vows of Silence� exposing details about the founder and his groups appeared in the USA, where the Legion had its strongest hold.
    • Without ever having acknowledged his crimes, Fr. Maciel died in January 2008. As in life, there were strange rumors of the circumstances when he died; including stories that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with at least one woman.
    • “Unpublished Testimonies and Documents� by Fernando Gonzalez was released in 2008, presenting an historical analysis of documents from the 1956-59 Vatican investigation of Fr. Maciel.
    • Early in 2009, the Media and the Legion released a statement acknowledging that Fr. Maciel had indeed fathered a daughter with a Mexican woman and that mother and daughter had been living in a luxury apartment paid by him. A deluge of scandalous information continued to pour in and the Legion publicly admitted that their founder was not the saintly defender of Catholic Orthodoxy that they had promoted.


    • Around 2004 amid rumors of a new investigation into his life, Fr. Maciel stepped down as Superior General (but remained as a powerful figure) after having been reelected by the General Chapter.
    • In 2005 the Vatican dispatched its prosecutor to NYC and to Mexico to interview victims and other witnesses in the USA, Mexico and Rome amid Legion denial and media confusion.
    • In 2006, the Vatican censured Fr. Maciel, separating him from his priestly functions and ordering him to retire to a life of penance and prayer.
    • The Vatican privately abolished the private vow to never criticize any superior to inform on whoever does so and the abusive practice of restricting members’ freedom of conscience by forcing them to confess to superiors.
    • In early 2009 the Vatican announced the “Visitation of the Legion� after the Legion publicly acknowledged that their founder had fathered a daughter, used funds for his own needs and lived an otherwise disreputable life.
    • Following the visitation, the Vatican released their “Communiqué�, describing Fr. Maciel as being “devoid of
    • scruples and of genuine religious sentiment� and questioning elements of the Legion’s structure and methodology.
    • The Vatican later appointed an Apostolic Delegate with broad powers to overhaul and reform the Legion, including rewriting the constitutions and redeveloping a charism.
    • The Vatican has also agreed to conduct a similar visitation process for Regnum Christi, which had the same founder and similar practices.

At the moment positive changes are contemplated. However, it is important to be aware of the powerful dark forces that have allowed such a controversial (and in many ways cult-like) group to be established and approved by the Catholic Church and even to be praised by senior members of the hierarchy including more than one Pope.
Although a few recent battles have been won, the war is not over. ReGAIN feels the need to continue its mission to inform, and educate; to discourage further deceptions, manipulation, overly aggressive recruiting tactics, abuse of funds intended for specific purposes; to facilitate communication with and between former members, providing networking, guidance, and support; and to exert pressure to bring about permanent reforms and justice.

    1. Executive Director, Michael Langone, PhD, in a very thoughtful article, Reflections on the Legion of Christ, questioned the Legion’s Modus Operandi in 2006,
    More aggressive “cult-watch� organizations, such as Steven Hassan,, and Rick Ross,, had already noticed the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi and placed them on their lists.
    They have been approached by parents wanting desperately to “exit� their children from these groups.
    2. Aware that no English language testimony existed Lennon published his 2008 Our Father Maciel who art in bed, a Naïve and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ; more recently he published his brief discussion with the founder of First Things, R.J. Neuhaus, Duped by the Legion of Christ; Lennon has also published two spiritual booklets in Spanish from his time
    as an active Legionary: Un Cura Lucha con Dios -meditations, and Viaje hacia la Pascua –radio talks.
    3 was sued in 2007 by the Legion of Christ and took down its discussion board as part of the settlement.


Fox News [LC] priest tricked us into talking, says mosque’s imam

A lie is a lie is a lie is a lie


By Paul Lewis


Monday August 14, 2006
The Guardian,,1844067,00.html

What is an ordained priest doing in such situations? And why all the lies to get a sound-bite?


Representatives of an east London mosque used by several of the terror suspects reacted angrily yesterday to what they called a “sick stunt” by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel.

Mohammed Shoyaib, the imam of the Musjid-e-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, complained that he and other elders were tricked by a representative from the cable channel, a priest who said he was working for the Vatican and wanted to talk peace.

“He introduced himself as priest working in Rome,” said Mr Shoyaib. “Then he said he was working for peace in the world, that all faiths should work together for peace, that he needs a united message of peace for the American people. Only later he said he was from ‘a sister network of Sky News’, but never mentioned Fox.”

The man spent several minutes conversing on camera with the imam and elders, but they reacted furiously when they learned he was Father Jonathan Morris, a religious pundit for Fox News.

At one point he had asked them where the hatred in the minds of bombers comes from.

His ID listed his name as Mr Jonathan Morris, under the title “freelance”.

“We would never have spoken to him if we had known – we’ve been tricked,” said Mr Soyaib.

Mr Morris denied he had misled the local community but, in the face of criticism, he hastily left the scene. He later returned for a haircut in a nearby barber’s shop, but was again surrounded by worshippers at the mosque who claimed they had been the victims of a devious trick.

On Thursday, in the aftermath of the arrests by anti-terrorist police, Mr Morris wrote on his Fox News blog: “Today, officials have uncovered a major terrorist plot to blow up a group of planes on that same route.

“This is America and the world in 2006, and we are getting used to it. This time they got the bad guys, thank God.

“As we move forward as a country in these troubling times, our war must be first and foremost against the ideas that shape the hearts of the Muslim masses.”

A spokesman for Fox News was not available for comment.

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