In case you have nothing else to do and want to hear J. Paul Lennon’s testimony again! enjoy. Parts may be harrowing but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You may even enjoy his wry sense of humor. Don’t forget it is a tale of survivor and ultimate victory
3rd part of Legionaries’ Paradise
(written by Emiliano Ruiz Parrra, originally appeared in Spanish on the Gatopardo blog:Gatopardo )
The Dog, the Wine and the Psychiatrist
Fr. Pablo Pérez-Guajardo walked around in a stupor all day every day.
His “depression” did not get better despite taking medication.
Until he decided to stop taking his Legion-prescribed medication, Diazepan, and gave it to one of the guard dogs in the mother house at 677 Via Aurelia, Rome. Pablo gradually became less drowsy. The dog, for its part, slept all day and lost its zest. “The superiors became very concerned about the dog. More than about me,” he recalls testily.
Once fully awake, Fr. Pérez-Guajardo became one of the Legion’s harshest critics. He never was a superior in the order but during his time in Rome. as a member of the archives team, he was close to the Legion’s leadership cadre and to Fr. Maciel, the founder. From 1986 until 2006 he belonged to the community that lived at the mother house, first as a seminarian and later as an ordained priest.
One can find Fr. Pablo in dated photos of the Legionaries at St. Peter’s Basilica from January 3rd, 1991. To celebrate the Legion’s 50th Anniversary (it was founded in 1941), Fr. Maciel orchestrated having 60 Legionaries ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Pope John Paul II. Fr. Pablo appears with prayerfully joined hands, scarcely a few steps from the pope. He was being ordained a priest after 15 years of Legion training.
He is pictured again in Una Iglesia de corazón misionero, libro de nuestra historia, the booklet the Legionaries published to mark the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature’s 40th anniversary. He is pictured three times in the booklet: inside the back cover with all the other Legionaries in Quintana Roo, and on pages 132 and 133. We find him in a panoramic view surrounded by scores of people, mostly children, his community at the chapel of San José in the working-class Colonia Guadalupana, Playa del Carmen. On the next page he appears microphone in hand as he approaches a little boy.
These images portray the years of his close attachment to the Legion. But on September 29th, 2011 he sent a scathing, “Carta de Fuego” letter to the then superior general of the Legion, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, in which de demanded the Legion cut all ties with the founder, Marcial Maciel:
“A drunken pedophile womanizer dressed in priestly garb. (…) Not only did he mock God, the Church and us, the members, but you and many other superiors have mocked the pope’s authority by accompanying our pedophile founder on trips with his concubine and his sacrilegious daughter. (…) Your lips have kissed the corpse of a false prophet which you and the major superiors have presented to us as Another Christ while he was in reality an Anti-Christ.”
Another dozen letter followed after in which he denounced money-laundering, systematic cover-up of pedophile Legionaries, the cult of Maciel’s memory, the financial exploitation of the Legion’s educational enterprises and many other abuses.
Slightly built, with green eyes, pointed ears and scant hair, Fr. Pablo Pérez-Guajardo was officially expelled from the Legion in May 2015. They had already kicked him out of the San José chapel in Playa del Carmen in September, 2012; after that his lifestyle became nomadic. When he was interviewed by the reporter in September, 2014 he had transformed a garage in a poor neighborhood into a chapel. “The bishop (Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, LC) has forbidden me from entering Catholic schools and hospitals” (to perform my priestly duties).
The interview lasted three hours. Fr. Pablo’s most traumatic stage of Legion life was in Rome. In 1986 he had been posted to the mother house in Rome.
Legionary life took a heavy toll on Fr. Pablo’s emotional state. He became very depressed. The Assistant Superior General at the time, Fr. Luis Garza Medina, asked him to go visit Dr. Francisco López -Ibor, son of the very renowned Spanish psychiatrist, Juan José. Pablo refused. But later, founder Marcial Maciel himself suggested Fr. Pablo see the famous psychiatrist. Fr. Maciel’s suggestions were orders for a Legionary. Fr. Pablo obeyed -though he was unaware at that time how Maciel was in the habit of sending problematic Legionaries to the Madrid clinic. There Pablo was evaluated and put on medication. Every four months he would obediently travel to Madrid to have his prescription refilled: The meds kept him drowsy, listless and lifeless.
In Rome Fr. Pablo was able to get on the Internet. Surfing the net he found that his dose of “antidepressants” was heavier than needed and he realized his despondency was due to stresses of the religious life, loneliness, long term separation from his family of origin (he hadn’t seen them since he joined the Legion aged 18), and lack of incentive. That was what prompted Fr. Pablo to start giving his meds to the German shepherd dog zealously cared for by house superior, Fr. Juan Manuel Dueñas-Rojas.
Stopping the meds, he gradually became more energetic and alert. But this had a price. His emotions awakened with angry outbursts and bouts of deep sadness. His parents were getting old and ill and he wanted to spend their last years with them. He never reached his father in time. When Pablo’s plane touched down in Mexico City, the family was already mourning his passing.
Memory of a particular Legionary life scene provokes Fr. Pablo’s indignation during the interview. Regular priest members were allowed to drink only one glass of wine with dinner in Rome. The superiors had two or three “because they had special permission from Fr. Maciel.” Pablo’s displeasure got the upper hand and he decided to raid the wine cellar and hide bottles of wine in the bathroom and in the air ducts.
One evening a superior called Fr Pablo to his quarters to rebuke him. Padre Pablo had been expecting something like this. When he entered the office he was hiding two bottles of uncorked wine under his cassock. To the superior’s surprise, Pablo began pouring the two bottles over the superior’s desk.
-“How dare you!, fussed the superior, you know there are Letters of Nuestro Padre [Maciel]! here” (And what if there were, muses Fr. Pablo many years later! When most of these Letters of Nuestro Padre were plagiarized or written by others –Maciel was such a fraud!)
Tired of Fr. Pablo’s insubordination, his superiors allowed him to live in a Mexico City house, where he would be closer to his mother who was suffering from cancer.
Spilling the wine was the beginning of Fr. Pablo’s disobedience. Looking back he sees it as a calculated action to get his superiors’ attention and prompt his transfer. In perspective, it could even be considered a prank. His real opposition came later when he began to publicly denounce the Legion in hundreds of pages and when he opened up in his “Confessions,”a flood of memories which gradually put together the jigsaw puzzle of the Legion’s frauds and abuses.
The evening of the interview, some of those scenes popped into Fr. Pablo’s head:
- The night before Fr. Pablo took his vows, Fr. Maciel called one of Pablo’s companions to his bedside and spent the whole night with him! Once ordained, this priest was sent to the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature. After it became public that Maciel had a daughter, the abused priest –now aged fifty- could not stop telling the story of his abuse to anyone who would listen.
- Or about the time Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, told a group of Legionaries: “Blessed are you because there are many bishops and cardinals but there is only one founder!”
- Or when he learned that Assistant Superior General, Fr. Luis Garza-Medina –a brother of Dionisio Garza-Medina (Monterrey, Mexico, Alpha Group) – had hatched a plan to get full control of the Legion and how he had hired a group of private detectives to trail Maciel; once he had the dirt on Maciel’s double life he planned to blackmail him to hand over control of the Legion’s finances.
- During his forty years in the Legion, Fr. Pablo Perez has seen and heard hundreds of stories but he kept silent because of his Private Vow
After his assignment to the religious house in Mexico City his superiors sent him to the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature. According to his story he was told to live at the Church of the Sacred Hearth, at that time the cathedral, residence of Legion bishop emeritus Monsignor Jorge Bernal. He revitalized morning Mass and went out into the streets to offer baptisms “free of charge” to the poor. When new bishop Pedro-Pablo Elizondo saw this he called Fr. Pablo to Playa del Carmen to take charge of a working class neighborhood.
Fr. Pablo has many pleasant memories of his time working at the Colonia Guadalupana, Playa del Carmen, in what he calls, using a Mexican play on words, la zona atolera (referring to the simple native corn drink, atole) in contrast to the zona hotelera (hotel zone). In this article we will focus on his remarks on the Chetumal-Cancun Prelature.
He first formalized his impressions of the apostolic work of the Legionaries in a letter he wrote to Bishop Pedro-Pablo Elizondo on September 24, 2012. In it he states that Legion founder, Marcial Maciel, used the Prelature from its inception as a place to warehouse undesirable members of the order; meaning those members who did not buy Maciel’s vision, either because they did not want to work in schools for the rich or as, in the case of the Irish, they had joined the Legion to become missionaries and did not savor being chaplains for the upper classes.
The Prelature had espoused three causes/businesses, according to Pérez:
- The glamorous weddings celebrated in the luxury hotels: he accused the Legion priests of becoming the “escorts” to rich and famous Catholics: always impeccably dressed, with the hair always cleanly parted to the right, so as to adorn the weddings of the well-to-do. Pablo notes that hotel employees, the proletariat, were excluded from theses Masses.
- The second favorite project was The City of Happiness (La Ciudad de la Alegría), a complex housing orphans, seniors and terminally ill patients. According to Fr. Pablo it is used to furnish some local businesses/benefactors with tax free receipts. Fr. Pablo refers in particular to the businesses owned by one, Fernando García Zalvidea, a Legion favorite and protégé.
- A third source of income for the Prelature are the donations from the United States and Europe which are spun as “for the Missions”, the evangelization of the Maya peoples. “They (the missions) have never received these moneys – complains Fr. Pablo- Most of these poor areas and colonies lack medical dispensaries, Catholic schools, churches, parishes and social services.”
When he was expelled, Fr. Pablo left the Prelature. He sought support in his home diocese of Saltillo, (Coahuila State, Mexico) under Bishop Raúl Vera-López, a promotor of human rights and antagonistic to the Legionaries. The firebrand from Playa del Carmen clashed with the charismatic bishop –accusing him of using the poor to his own benefit, Vera-López, for his part, accused Fr. Pablo of being a plant- and after only eleven months their relationship came to an end.
 Diazepam (also known as Valium) is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety. Diazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. Diazepam is sometimes used with other medications to treat seizures.
This medication would be counter indicated for Depression and would increase Depressive symptoms instead of reducing them. Its recommendation in the case of Fr. Pablo demonstrates either ignorance or a purposeful plan to keep him dumbed down.
 Members of religious orders take three vows: poverty, chastity and obedience. But the Legion had a fourth vow: “Never to criticize a superior in any way and to tell your immediate superior about it if you became aware of another member breaking his vow.”
Slightly built, with green eyes, pointed ears and scant hair, Fr. Pablo Pérez-Guajardo was officially expelled from the Legion in May 2015. They had already expelled him from the San José chapel in Playa del Carmen in September, 2012, after which his lifestyle became nomadic. When he was interviewed by the reporter in September, 2014 he had transformed a garage in a poor neighborhood into a chapel. “The bishop (Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, LC) has forbidden me from entering Catholic schools and hospitals” (to perform my priestly duties).
“Where could I go now that I was sixty?” the priest asked himself. So he traipsed back to Playa del Carmen, to the working class neighborhood, setting up a chapel in a garage of a house under construction. When the reporter met him Fr. Pablo was going around in an old dirty Chevy, with the seats falling apart. He was living with a family, surrounded by bags of cement and dust curtains. The Legion had expelled him in 2015. “In canonical terms I do not have ministerial faculties, although I am not sanctioned for any reason nor do I have any canonical censure against me because I have not committed any ecclesiastical crime (pedophilia, sexual partner, fraud, doctrinal problems or errors in moral or doctrinal teachings).”
As they spoke the reporter noted the Padre’s fatigue after four years of accusations and no success except to keep trudging along performing baptisms and building his chapel. When asked why he had spent so much energy writing the hundreds of protest pages, he said he had hoped that the Vatican would hear his plea and would depose the Legion of Christ from the Prelature. “Quintana Roo needs a Franciscan, Jesuit or diocesan bishop who will dress in sandals and jeans, carry a backpack and rub shoulders with the workers and native peoples of the interior and not with the hotel zone magnates.”
The Legend of the holy money launderer
Fernando García Zalvidea was one of the thousands of immigrants attracted to Cancun tourist growth. Driving his limousine he would offer excursions to gringos fascinated by the Caribbean paradise. One of them exclaimed to him on a certain occasion: This is my best day! Fernando liked the phrase and he made it his. Cancun was growing in leaps and bounds and it was fertile soil for an entrepreneur such as García Zalvidea who, with his meteoric rise as a hotel baron, created a public relations network of public, political and religious dimensions with the Quintana Roo elite. His savvy made him owner of a whole chain of hotels, Real Caribe, and Best Day, pioneering all-inclusive travel on the web.
But came the day in 1998 when his empire began crumbling. The Mexican Attorney General named him in association with “Maxiproceso,” an investigation into drug smuggling and money laundering for the Juarez Cartel in the state of Quintana Roo. State governor, Mario Villanueva-Madrid, nicknamed El Chueco (The Crook)), stood accused of having placed the state prosecutor at the service of drug boss, Ramón Alcides-Magaña, alias El Metro (One Meter). García-Zalvidea was accused of money laundering for the cartel in the purchase of the Gran Caribe Real hotel. He was detained and sent to the infamous Reclusorio Sur in Mexico City.
The investigations results were ambiguous. Former governor, Villanueva-Madrid was detained, imprisons and extradited to the USA where he is still incarcerated.
His punishment was unusually harsh by Mexican standards. Most of the accused were absolved of their crimes. García Zalvidea was released on March 4th, 2000 after only fourteen months.
Three years later, a magazine called Contralínea published a series of phone conversations between former Attorney General Antonio Lozano-Gracia, ex presidential candidate for the PAN party, Diego Fernández de Cevallos, and García-Zalvidea’s lawyer, Germán Rangel-González in which the PAN members discussed “political moves” to free the hotel owner and eventually have his case closed by the country’s attorney general.
Upon his release Fernando García-Zalvidea became the Legion’s greatest benefactor in Quintana Roo. He helped to build the City of Happiness in 2000, the largest social work of the Prelature, a center embracing schools, retirement home, homes for orphans and the terminally ill and a center for addiction treatment.
But the man in question went far beyond that, extending his political network through his brother, Juan Ignacio, El Chacho who became a member of the house for the PAN party in 2000 and later jumped ship to the Green Party. Under the green banner he won the election for Lord Mayor of the Benito Juárez Delegation (which includes Cancun) in February 2002. He was the first major of the opposition party (not from the PRI) in the city of Cancun. In 2004 El Chacho approached the leading candidate for the Mexican presidency, leftist Andrés Manuel López-Obrador.
Juan Ignacio proclaimed that he wanted to be a candidate for governor of Quintana Roo state representing the opposition. A few months after making his aspirations public he lost his seat in congress and later incarcerated on charges of over-spending the Cancun treasury. He was incarcerated for over a year until his brother, Fernando, paid a bail of 71 million Mexican pesos (five and a half million dollars.)
The García Zalvidea were one of the most powerful families in Quintana Roo state. El Chacho demonstrated his allegiance to the ruling party, PRI’, by participating in the present governor, Roberto Borge’s, campaign. While on the other side, Fernando was supporting the PAN party in 2012, organizing fundraisers for the PAN presidential candidate, Josefina Vázquez-Mota, among hotel owners. Bishop Pedro-Pablo Elizondo was invited to one of these events.
There are always two versions of the Legion of the Christ:
the official story –full of divine interventions-and the other story, told by those who are not happy with it. For sixty years the Legion maintained -demeaning, threatening and suing detractors- that Marcial Maciel, their founder, was a living saint. But at the end they had to acknowledge the truth: he was a conman, drug addict and a pedophile who even abused his own children.
The quasi-diocese of Cancun-Chetumal under the Legion’s care is no different. This territory, placed under the Legion’s pastoral care in 1970, also spawns two stories. The official story describes the Prelature as the Legion’s self-less evangelization of the Maya people and of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who flocked to the area to work as laborers and in the tourism industry.
They began with five priests, Mexicans and Irish, and now, forty-five years later, there are seventy-five priests. They began staffing seven parishes and now, five decades later, have over fifty. And they have been able to cope with the demographic explosion of the state of Quintana Roo which has grown from 90, 000 inhabitants in 1970 to 1,600,000 in 2015. There is no denying the numbers and the Legionaries have gained respect and prestige among the people. Some of the priests have worked hard and long, both with the indigenous communities and in working class neighborhoods.
But there is another story that runs parallel, told by the dissidents, some of whom are former Legionaries who, having gone beyond the appearances of the religious order, have become its harshest critics. According to them, this hot and humid area was used by Fr. Maciel as a kind of “Tropical Siberia” where he could exile some of organization’s undesireable elements: be they priests accused of sexual abuse or those who assumed a critical posture vis-à-vis the Legion’s modus operandi. The dissenters are quick to point out, among other things, how Cancun has become a great source of income for the Legion as handsome fair-skinned priests celebrate weddings for the rich and famous in luxury hotels.
According to the official story the Vatican asked the Legionaries to take over sparsely populated Quintana Roo in 1970 and “even the wisest prophet could never have foretold the demographic explosion.”
According to Legionary priest on a limb, Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo, a native of Saltillo, Mexico, Fr. Maciel, the astute founder, secured the Prelature for his Legionaries because he had insider information, thanks to his relationship with the then Minister for the Interior and later president, Luis Echeverría, that the Mexican government would invest millions of dollars in creating this huge Caribbean tourist paradise. “The Legion- according to the official version-“launched a frenetic crusade to provide the Prelature with dignified churches”
The alternative version accepts this fact but accuses the Legionaries of invading green areas and taking over public spaces to build their churches. In their ruthless expansion the Legionaries have been aided and abetted by en enterprising hotelier, Fernando García Zalvidea; said collaborator had been imprisoned on charges of money laundering for the Juarez drug cartel. And (as is not uncommon in certain countries) he was released after serving only thirteen months of his sentence.
On November 21st, 2015, the Cancun-Chetumal Prelature is celebrating its 45th anniversary under the direction of the Legionaries of Christ, the order founded by Marcial Maciel on January 3, 1941 in the basement of a house in Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez. On this festive occasion the Legion is launching two monumental projects: the Basilica of Santa María Guadalupe del Mar, with a 350 feet high cross, which will become the Catholic icon for Cancun, costing approximately 12 million dollars. The second project is a large seminary which will run into 57 million Mexican pesos (about five million US dollars) and will have an Olympic-size swimming pool, soccer fields, basketball courts, housing up to a hundred seminarians.
 Normally, the Catholic Church is divided into dioceses: specific territories, staffed by local clergy, headed by a bishop. In certain exceptional cases Rome will create a “prelature” when the “Church structure” is underdeveloped and there are not enough local clergy to meet the pastoral needs of the populace. “The Holy See” may ask a religious order to help out. “Prelatures” are often poor and isolated indigenous communities. In Mexico Franciscan Friars staff the prelatures of El Nayar (Nayarit state) and El Salto (Durango), while the Salesians take care of the Mixes communities in Oaxaca. The Jesuits staffed the Tarahumara communities in Chihuahua state from 1958-1992. The Cancun-Chetumal Prelature covers the relatively young state of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula.
 Citations are from Una Iglesia de corazón misionero, libro de nuestra historia, 2010, published by the Prelature in 2010 to mark its 40 anniversary, pages 34 and 39 respectively.
AYUDAR CON UNA ENCUESTA AMBICIOSA E IMPORTANTE SOBRE EL IMPACTO DE ESTOS GRUPOS
A todos los ex miembros de grupos coercitivos/manipulativos, os pido encarecidamente que colaboréis en este ambicioso estudio. Con vuestra participación estáis colaborando en avanzar en la elaboración de nuevas herramientas de evaluación para avanzar en este campo. Este estudio ha sido elaborado por investigadores de tres universidades españolas. Os pido que por favor, colaboréis con vuestra participación. La participación es confidencial y todo se hace “online”. Sólo es para ex miembros, no para familiares. Muchas gracias de antemano por colaborar. Os dejo a continuación la descripción y el enlace:
Estamos estudiando los grupos abusivos, sus prácticas y los efectos que producen en sus miembros. Para ello resulta imprescindible conocer a fondo las experiencias de las personas que habéis sido miembros. Por eso te pedimos que reserves un rato en los próximos días para contestar el cuestionario online que encontrarás en el siguiente enlace web:
Por favor, distribúyelo también entre todos los exmiembros que conozcas para poder conseguir resultados significativos que muestren la relevancia social del fenómeno. Se trata de uno de los estudios más ambiciosos sobre esta temática. ¡Necesitamos tu ayuda!
Omar Saldaña, Álvaro Rodríguez, Carmen Almendros y José Miguel Cuevas
Universidad de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid y Universidad de Málaga
Estudio AP exmiembros | Web Survey Tools
INFORMACIÓN SOBRE EL CUESTIONARIO ONLINE
9 minutes ago
Legion of Christ Protects Pedophile and Abandons Faithful Ailing Missionary: Abuse of Human Rights (see appendix)
Double Standard Legion protects accused pedophile Novice Master, Fr. William/Guillermo Izquierdo, while refusing to pay hospital bills of ailing and now deceased missionary Fr. Raymond Comiskey.
June 3, 2015
On June 1st 2015 Fr. Guillermo/William Izquierdo, LC, the pedophile, dies in a residence in Madrid where his treatment is paid by the Legion. A week earlier, Fr. Raymond Comiskey, LC, a priest of impeccable moral behavior and forty years of generous service to poor Catholics of Quintana Roo, is left to vegetate with family friends in Merida and struggle with multiple illnesses (pace maker, diabetes leading to amputated toes, etc.).
As of this writing the Legion is refusing to rescue the care-taking family from debt due to medical expenses. The Legion is punishing all involved and making an example of Fr. Raymond because he refused to return to the Legion house in Cancun where he was not being taken care of.
The two contrasting stories have already been told:
Fr. Guillermo (William) Izquierdo, a once fair-skinned blond seminarian from the Canary Islands, Spain, was recruited by Fr. Marcial Maciel, notorious Legion of Christ pedophile, in the 1940s, together with his twin brother, Gustavo, who also joined the Legion. It is believed that Guillermo was a victim of Maciel’s sexual abuse. Unfortunately, Guillermo, was one of the victims who turned perpetrator. Testimonies by former members confirm that as Novice Instructor (Master) he took advantage of their innocence and obedience in Ireland and in the United States.
- Maciel and Legion superiors’ praxis was to move abusers from once country or continent to another. So, Fr. Guillermo who abused in Dublin, Ireland was sent to Cheshire. CT. USA to continue his abuse there. There was no proper Legion investigation, no punishment and no treatment prescribed for Fr. Guillermo, a victim perpetrator.
- Another diabolic strategy of Maciel was to reward his victims with posts in the Legion: in this case, Guillermo, as novice master, had access to and power over young innocent and vulnerable adolescents. He could do to them what Maciel had done to him: sexually initiate them.
Early accusations against Izquierdo were deftly managed to prevent the tracks leading to the then untouchable saintly founder of the Religious Order.
When about five years ago then Vicar General, Luis Garza finally recognized the abuses committed by Fr. Izquierdo, he decided not to proceed against him “because of his health and advanced age”. A decision that echoed eerily with the May 6, 2006 Vatican slap on the wrist for Fr. Maciel. It seems the policy was:
- deny and stonewall;
- delay and hold out until the perpetrator grows old;
- then tear your garments regarding the abuses,
- apologize to the victims;
- lament the fact that the perpetrator is too old to be made accountable for his actions.
A few words about Fr. Raymond Comiskey, LC. Raymond joined the Legion in September 1961 two months after his friend Paul Lennon. Raymond had been a staunch member of the Legion of Mary from adolescence. He was a true believer and wanted to be a missionary to bring pagans to the true faith, baptize them and save them from eternal salvation. He was a no nonsense guy and –instead of being recruited by Fr. James Coindreau, he approached the recruiter asking to be admitted.
We was trained quickly by the Legion and sent to the missions soon after ordination. He never rested and took the most difficult, obscure and less attractive assignments. The other padres poked fun at Raymond’s passionate and unambiguous preaching about sexual mores, repentance and conversion. But Fr. Raymond told it like it was. He spent silent years in remote towns and became pastor of Santa Cruz parish, spending long hours traveling to small villages in the area of Carrillo Puerto town, preaching and administering the sacraments in the Mayan language.
Because he did not take good care of himself and/or the Legion did not take good care of him, Fr. Raymond began in his fifties with a series of illnesses. Diabetes got him about fifteen years ago and whether through his own stubbornness or through Legion carelessness and misguided austerity the illness reached his extremities and he had some toes amputated. Around 2010 he developed heart failure and had to be fitted with a pacemaker. He must have had pulmonary problems too because pulmonary failure was given as the cause of his death.
Raymond was by no means a rebellious or disrespectful religious. Indeed, for most of his life he was a scrupulously observant member who practiced the prompt, blind, heroic and joyful obedience preached but not practiced by founder Marcial Maciel.
It will remain a mystery why Fr. Raymond spent his latter years with a housekeeper in a popular barrio on the outskirts of Merida. Apparently he felt that he would be better taken care of there than in the Legion house. Legion enforcer, Fr. X., went to visit him a couple of years ago to bring him back into the fold but Fr. Raymond refused –the second time he had strayed from strict obedience. He must have had some serious reasons to refuse.
Fr. Raymond disclosed to Lloyd Stephens in January of this year that his housekeeper had contracted a large debt due to medical expenses. Stephens gave him a paltry offering but he was confused by the fact that retired Bishop Mons. Jorge Bernal had told him that the Legion was supplying Fr. Raymond with generous financial support to cover his medical bills. As of this writing the caretaker is complaining to anyone who will listen. Two Irish born missionaries, friends and confreres of Fr. Raymond, are demonstrating they care. The Legion financial “officers” are stonewalling….
May his holiness, Pope Francis, have the time, energy and courage to complete the Herculean task of cleaning out the Legion Augean Stables –Please, let him not assign Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Religious (orders), who should be doing it. He has demonstrated that he does not want to get involved. He was outspokenly critical of the Legion before becoming Prefect. Once in the Vatican he no longer takes an active part in monitoring the Legion-maybe they did not allow him- He may also be resentful that Pope Benedict XVI went over his head and appointed Mons. Velasio De Paolis, to do the renewal job. De Paolis treated the Legion superiors with the same kid gloves as Pope Benedict XVI and went through the formal motions of change.
Enough reasoning. Two very different Legionaries died recently: one in the Legion womb, the other outside the fold. One treated carefully, the other treated carelessly. Let God sort it out. May they Rest in Peace.
See ReGAIN article re Abuses of Human Rights in the Legion of Christ using Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Legion of Christ Extraordinary General Chapter documents (February 2014)
5. Legion of Christ failed to provide for its sick and elderly
UDHR, Article 25 (1) : Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate …. and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
LCECG: Re Provision for (Consecrated Persons’ Senior Years): The Legion structure has failed to make adequate provision for their elderly and sick members. “The central government was asked to attend to the following tasks: seek to increase the fund for the sustenance of elderly and sick members.”
The above admission needs to be prefaced by the following facts. Video and written testimonies exist of Legionaries being denied medical care and being accused of hypochondria by their superiors when reporting symptoms. Legionaries and members of the Regnum Christi Movement were not enrolled in Social Security or in any bona fide medical insurance services. For decades the Legion has depended on the kindness of friendly doctors to take care of the sick members. On more than one occasion a terminally ill member was returned to their family for appropriate care. The Legion also lacks clear legislation regarding support for those leaving the institute. Up to now financial support has depended on vague guidelines and ultimately on the will of the superiors. There are no material provisions made for those leaving the institute and transitioning back to the lay state. This has given the superiors the power to control the when, where and how a members leaves the group –another cult-like characteristic.