Upon discovering the Pandora Papers on October 3, the most passionate about the news of the Catholic Church were surprised to come across the name of the Legionaries of Christ. This holy family, involved in a vast financial package, is involved in one of the biggest scandals in the field. For several decades, multiple accusations of pedophile sexual assault have been brought against members of the Legion of Christ, made up of about 900 priests and present in Europe, America and Asia
Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: The Unspeakable Scandals of the Legionaries of Christ
Quoted in the Pandora Papers, the congregation of the Legion of Christ has been immersed in dark affairs for several decades. At the heart of one of the biggest scandals of the Catholic Church: Marcial Maciel, its founder, whose actions have been repeatedly pointed out.
Their actions were covered up for a long time before the scandal really broke out in the 2000s, more precisely after the death of the founder of the congregation, Marcial Maciel, in 2008. The Mexican priest resigned in 2006 after several accusations of sexual assault committed between 1956 and 1997. The man had been implicated in 1948 and briefly suspended the time of the opening of an investigation, stopped by the death of Pius XII. After regaining his functions thanks to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, all the allegations against him in Mexico were automatically relegated to the rank of slander.
Many years later, in 1998, eight members of the Legion of Christ denounced his actions in the 1950s and 1960s on victims between the ages of 11 and 16. After a vast investigation by Benedict XVI, the Holy See ordered in 2006 the withdrawal of Marcial Maciel who was asked to “lead a withdrawn existence in prayer and penance.” This existence turned out to be full of secrets, some details of which were revealed shortly after his death in 2008. The New York Times then explained in its columns how the founder of the Legion of Christ had led a double life in which he had several identities, managed an immense fortune in all opacity and raised his own daughter. “Poverty, obedience, chastity”. The vows pronounced by each Legionary of Christ before committing themselves apparently had no place in the life led by Marcial Maciel.
At least 175 minors abused
These revelations were truly publicly acknowledged in 2010. An investigation by the Legion of Christ concluded that Marcial Maciel had indeed committed “acts of sexual abuse of minor seminarians” and said he regretted not having believed the people who had testified before. The same year, the congregation underwent a profound overhaul as part of its trusteeship by the Vatican, determined to take the subject head on. Apart from Father Maciel, other priests have been incriminated in this case, such as the French episcopal vicar Pierre Dufour, sentenced to 15 years in prison for “rape and sexual assault” – who had admitted his actions on at least a dozen young adults for several years – and Henri Le Bras for acts committed in the late 1990s.
In 2019, a new report reported at least 175 minors who were sexually assaulted by priests of the same congregation from 1941 to 2019, at least 60 of whom were attributed to Marcial Maciel. If these acts are recognized, their instigators are still present in the ranks of the Legion of Christ. At least in part. We learned then, still in the same report, that 18 of the 33 religious accused of pedophilia were still in office, but had nevertheless been excluded from tasks related to minors. More importantly, half of the perpetrators were themselves victims of the same abuses. “In this sense, it is emblematic that 111 minors abused in the Congregation were victims of Father Maciel, one of his victims or a victim of his victims,” the report reads. That same year, Pope Francis made the fight against sexual assault in the Catholic Church one of his priorities.
The extent of the suffering inflicted by these clerics is revealed at the rate of the publication of new reports. The last one, dating from March 2021, revealed new figures and the identity of 27 priests. Among them, “two have died without trial, sixteen have been sanctioned, eight are currently in canonical trial and one has received a dispensation from the ministry without trial.”
More broadly, the Ciase (Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church) delivered a report on October 5 led by Jean-Marc Sauvé, former vice-president of the Council of State. His conclusion is alarming: in 70 years, there are 216,000 victims of sexual abuse by clerics and 3,000 predator priests.
< Thanks to the help of a source which would like to remain anonymous, we have compiled a list of FOR-PROFITS and NON-PROFITS controlled by the Legion. Some of these are inactive. Please note that according to Canon Law, no religious congregation may own a for-profit but can own a non-profit.
1) OFFSHORE TAX ENTITIES created by the Legion and managed out of the Legion’s headquarters in Rome (Via Aurelia 677)
International Volunteer Services
The Society for Better Education
2) ENTITIES CONTROLLED BY THE LEGION that manage world-wide funds
Horizons Institute, Inc [run from Rome, controls the Legion of Christ’s world-wide funds and activities]
ReGAIN wants to make it clear that this commentary is solely Ann Barnhardt’s opinion. ReGAIN will not second condemnation of Pope Francis, for that would be a wrong interpretation. Nor can we make a public expose of these “fronts” that Pope Francis -and Pope Benedict before him- opposes by preaching a poor church and small faith communities.
ReGAIN also points out to our readers that its primary focus is not so much with individual members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement as with the modus operandi of this institution which it considers to be “a business that looks like a religious order”: the enterprise possessing several features of an intra-ecclesial Catholic cult. This does not exonerate individual members from their misbehaviors, crimes and misdemeanors but does place these in the context and environment we are alluding to: an atmosphere where -among other immoral principles bequeathed by the founder- the end (promoting the Legion of Christ) often justifies the means.
Finally, ReGAIN believes that the anger expressed in this article demonstrates the disappointment and righteous indignation of many Catholics who feel betrayed by their pastors and do not yet see a purifying light at the end of the tunnel.
(Back to the Barnhardt article)
“In the wake of the #CatholicMeToo phenomenon which is still holding traction and moving along nicely, pretty much everyone is naively asking the question:
How could they not know that McCarrick was so evil? How could this man have possibly been elevated and advanced up the hierarchical chain the way he was? How could such an evil person acquire so much power?
The answer in one sentence:
The fact that McCarrick was an open homosexual[i] predator was considered a FEATURE, not a bug, and the higher he ascended, and the more powerful he became, the more valuable he became to those around him who sought to LEVERAGE CORRUPTION AND CRIMINALITY for their own gain, and the more intensely those around him covered for his crimes against young men and boys.
Folks, we’ve all got to wise up here if there is any hope of prosecuting this war against the infiltrators and forces of evil. When out Lord says, Be wise as serpents…, He isn’t just whistling Dixie. The near-unanimous failure of people to grasp these dynamics is frustrating. You can’t win a war when every general is a doe-eyed Pollyanna constantly looking around and asking, “Why are those angry-looking men pointing guns at us?”
Look, Diabolical Narcissist Psychopaths attract other DN psychopaths. These demoniacal creatures flock together. If you are asking questions such as, “What did Donald Wuerl know about McCarrick, and when did he know it?”, I can tell you the answer right now. He knew damn-near everything and knew it from the beginning. The same goes for Kevin Farrell. And not just other prelates, but clerics and laypeople that are employed by or otherwise make their livings off the Institutional Church as well. The rot is deep. One might even say hopelessly deep, barring supernatural intervention.
I think the best way to explain this is with a specific case, and that specific case is the former number three and public face of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr. Thomas Williams. The other reason why this specific example is particularly helpful, is because there are people claiming that people on the so-called “right” are only going after the McCarricks and Wuerls because they are on the so-called “left”. Well, Fr. Thomas Williams and the Legion of Christ are the perfect examples of criminal psychopaths running their racket in the Institutional Church, wrapping themselves in the mantle of “conservatism”. So, let’s kill two birds with one stone here, and show how this cancer infects every corner of the Church – from hard left to soft left to neo-conservative to conservative to Trad – the whole spectrum.
Fr. Thomas Williams, who is now laicized, was the pretty-boy face of the truly evil racketeering organization, the Legion of Christ, for many years – pretty much from the late 1990s until 2012. Fr. Thomas Williams lived for YEARS with the satanic founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel, who was a drug-addled, bisexual incestuous child rapist. That’s right, not only did Maciel sexually assault and rape Legion seminarians right and left, Maciel also RAPED HIS OWN SONS. And Fr. Thomas Williams LIVED WITH HIM. For YEARS.
This is very, very similar to now-Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was also top-ranking Legionary until he left in 1984 to climb the career ladder to the Cardinalate as a diocesan priest and SHARED AN APARTMENT FOR YEARS with his mentor and patron, “Auntie Blanche” McCarrick, who was likewise an open sex criminal, assaulting and raping seminarians and boys, as everyone knew. Farrell, like Williams, is an inveterate and facile liar – a hallmark of Diabolical Narcissist psychopaths, and simply adopted the strategy of “deny, deny, deny, deny.” It doesn’t matter how open the secret is. The universal strategy is DENY, DENY, DENY. The Clintons perfected this in the 1990s, specifically in the Lewinsky scandal. DN psychopaths all over the world watched and learned from the Clintons’ tutelage.
Back to Fr. Williams. You can read a very brief summary of the Fr. Thomas Williams scandal in THIS PIECE which Frank Walker at Canon212.com broke last summer on his blog, http:/www.StumblingBlock.org . Just a couple of high points with additions and details that have been shared with me over the years about these truly deplorable people: Fr. Williams, flying high as the number three of the $30+ BILLION-dollar Legion of Christ criminal racketeering organization, was recruited by Neo-con Catholic darling and John Paul II advisor Mary Ann Glendon to recruit Glendon’s Machiavellian apostate daughter, Elizabeth Lev, into the Legion. Glendon and Williams were both teaching at the Legion’s University in Rome. Williams, it should be noted, was no less than the DEAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MORAL THEOLOGY. Glendon’s daughter, Lev, was a hyper-promiscuous art history major who had just relocated to Rome. Glendon knew that her notoriously sexually aggressive and amoral daughter would, despite her apostasy, be more than happy to enter “spiritual direction” with Fr. Williams with an eye towards a sexual affair with this “sexy” priest.
Sure enough, Lev conceived two children by Fr. Williams in the early 2000s. The first was miscarried, but the second was born with a very severe case of Down Syndrome. Lev, by now in her late 30s, was clearly trying to get pregnant by Fr. Williams as a means of getting her claws into the $30+ Billion Legion of Christ, leveraging her womb into a multi-million-dollar blackmail/child support package. It worked. Fr. Williams put Lev on the payroll of Zenit, the Legion of Christ’s news publishing business, and Lev was thrown all manner of work as a tour guide for Legion of Christ’s millionaire recruiting junkets, and quickly became one of the most powerful people in the massive money-making machine that is the Vatican Museums – which the Legion of Christ and Opus Dei essentially run.
Fr. Williams, desirous to maintain his plum position at Maciel’s right hand, denied that he was the father, (phrase edited out by ReGAIN staff). Lev called the conception “a one-night stand”, which given her extreme sexual promiscuity was enough to cast doubt in the Rome Anglo social circle. Lev’s flamboyantly gay “best friend”, (who also had a penchant for sex with priests and seminarians – hey, friends have got to have shared interests, right?) was enjoined to publicly and theatrically “propose marriage” to Lev (which was, after a sufficient period of suspense, theatrically rejected), stood as godfather while Fr. Williams baptized the child, and then Fr. Williams and Lev essentially made the homosexual godfather the child’s caregiver, while both Fr. Williams and Lev aggressively pursued their respective careers in Rome – being sure to grease the gay godfather’s palms, which continues to this day. Remember this when Thomas Williams claims that he left the priesthood to care for his son. This is a man that happily stood by and watched while his son – suffering from mental retardation so severe that he is unable to speak and thus ever report abuse of any kind – was put in the care of a homosexual man.
Now to the Unpleasant part. In ARSH 2005, Fr. Williams finally admitted after years of lying to the General Director of the Legion of Christ, and Williams’ immediate superior, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera (now deceased) that yes, the rumors were true, and he was, in fact, the father of Liz Lev’s youngest child. Fr. Corcuera ordered Williams to immediately start withdrawing from public ministry.
Not only did Fr. Williams disobey these orders, Williams turned around and increased his presence and appearances on American broadcast television, essentially being the “face of the Catholic Church” and “Vatican Analyst” for both NBC and CBS news. Williams had also started a racket in book publishing. The business model was simple: have Legion of Christ slaves ghostwrite mass-market books on Catholic “morality” and “spirituality”, have glamour shot photos taken of the somatic narcissist Fr. Williams, slap Williams’ name and picture of the cover, and market the books to the kind of middle-aged American women who buy books by celebrity priests based upon how “sexy” and “dreamy” the priest is. Williams was pushing his brand and pushing it hard – after being ordered to withdraw from public ministry. All the while, he continued to carry on his sexual affair with Liz Lev OPENLY – frequently co-hosting parties at Lev’s million-dollar apartment overlooking the Vatican, serving as the bartender. Lev and Williams were often seen having romantic dinners in Rome, with Williams in civilian clothes, most notably at the infamous Roman restaurant Pergola. As if that weren’t enough, Williams was openly having sexual relationships with students at the Legion’s Rome University where Williams was, in case you have forgotten, the dean of the department of MORAL THEOLOGY. Classy.
And here’s the point, and the million-dollar question:
WHAT DID FR. THOMAS WILLIAMS KNOW ABOUT MARCIAL MACIEL AND HIS SEX CRIMES, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?
Given how brazenly and aggressively Williams disobeyed direct orders and carried on after being told in 2005 to withdraw from public ministry, how can it not be thought possible that Fr. Williams knew about Maciel’s crimes, and the crimes of other top-level Legionaries, and LEVERAGED THAT KNOWLEDGE IN ORDER TO PROTECT HIMSELF AND MAINTAIN HIS OWN LIFE OF SEX AND MINOR CELEBRITY?
Why did Fr. Thomas Williams and his baby-mama’s mother, Mary Ann Glendon, spend years working together character assassinating anyone who tried to blow the whistle on Marcial Maciel? But I think the big tell came in January of ARSH 2014, when Williams, having just married Lev (who wore a snow white dress, naturally) in New York City a few weeks before, published an “interview” with the unctuous Robert Moynihan in which he claimed that he was unable to process how it could be possible (cue the violins…) that Marcial Maciel, a man that Williams “knew so well” could be anything other than the living saint the Legion racketeering cult claimed that he was.
Oh, COME ON. Maciel was carrying on a double life just exactly like Williams was carrying on a double life. Maciel’s double life was “possible” in exactly the same way Williams’ double life was “possible”.
I strongly, strongly suspect that Fr. Thomas Williams knew damn good and well what Maciel was, and what the other top-tier Legion toadies were – carrying on sexual affairs with both males and females, and how Legion seminarians were being sodomitically abused, and instead of screaming bloody murder and blowing the whistle and trying to PROTECT INNOCENT YOUNGSTERS as any morally sane person would, Fr. Williams proverbially rubbed his hands together, licked his chops, and considered his ability to blackmail the shit out of everyone around him and over him in the Legion as positively ideal.
Sit in stillness with that and consider what a complete monstrosity a human being would have to be to think and operate that way.
If you want to see something that will turn your stomach, watch this clip of Fr. Thomas Williams appearing on CBS news in ARSH 2009 hawking one of his ghostwritten glamour-shot “moral theology” books for lonely middle-aged women. The best part is when Williams says that to be a trusting person makes you a better person, and that trustworthy people are themselves more trusting. That’s rich coming from a dead-eyed psychopath liar whose entire life revolved around abusing trust. I also find it informative that Harry Smith’s question is, “What is the reward in trusting God?” and Williams never makes any mention whatsoever to the one and only real answer to that question – eternal life. Yeah, that’s telling.
And this is the point. It isn’t just the boy-raping homosexual monsters like McCarrick that are the problem. Cleaning them out, while certainly a step in the right direction, won’t even come close to solving the problem, because you will still have an army of Diabolical Narcissist psychopaths who actively want these monsters around and in power, so they can LEVERAGE THEIR CRIMES INTO THEIR OWN CAREER ADVANCEMENT, SECURITY AND POWER. If you can blackmail the shit out of the “boss”, then when you tuck yourself into bed at night, you can lull yourself to sleep with the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with the knowledge that YOU are really the boss.
Thus, the bigger the crime, and the higher the office, the more valuable the commodity men like McCarrick and Maciel become.”
[i] ReGAIN editor has replaced the original text’s use of “sodomite” with “homosexual
In the video the tall, white, well-informed American brother is introducing the little dark ignorant, naive Mexican brothers to the Holy Novitiate and warning them about the cold winters; cold winters which will require a large amount of heating oil to prevent them from suffering from that cold Connecticut winter….think of chilblains for the poor tropical dark-skinned and diminutive Mexicans.
Sounds and looks to me like a total lack of cultural sensitivity, task and basic respect.
And this is posted just as news breaks of the Legion of Christ´s off-shore holdings of millions of dollars
Dear Lord, how long is the innocent and naive Catholic community going to take this and continue to contribute to an order whose yearly budget is on equal standing with the Vatican´s budget for the whole Church. Correct me if I am wrong.
Feel free to comment and discuss; with numbers, if you so wish
A privilege to be able to publish a serious work by a former Legionary of Christ who has given thought to how this religious organization works.
It has long been the contention of ReGAIN that the Legion has few, if any, doctrinal errors. That has never been the problem. As regards doctrine it is bland and repetitious.
What we have been questioning for the past few decades is
the organization’s modus operandi, i.e., how it operates, how it works, its internal operating system, how it recruits, maintains and expels or lets members go, how it raises enormous amounts of money, goes it alone without the local church and works almost exclusively with the upper classes; an aspect that only a small number of more perspicacious Catholics grasp.
Not so those who study “High Demand Groups”, such as International Cultic Studies, Cult Education’s Rick Ross, Combating Mind Control’s Steven Hassan, et.al. who all HAVE THE LEGION ON THEIR WATCH LISTS. At least 8 American bishops has seen through the Legion’s appearances, “Glittering Images”, as British novelist, Susan Howatch, describes them in the Anglican Church.
The author has also regaled us with something about Fr. Maciel’s Movement, Legion/Regnum Christi:
“Apostolates”, as in external good works, projects, schools, universities, support groups for the rich and famous, influential and rich businessmen, politicians…
“Apostolics” as in junior/minor seminarians, joining at high-school age or younger to discern their call to the priesthood(!!!)
Fr Maciel founded the Legionof Christ religious/priestly order 1941 ; then he founded the Regnum Christi organization (circa 1965) for lay people committed to the Legion at various levels of commitment. Later (1975) he began saying that the Regnum Christi was the over-arching movement embracing religious, clergy and lay people. But then, after revelations of Fr. Maciel’s triple life as a con-man (2009), the the Legion & Regnum wanted to distance themselves from the corrupt founder; the Regnum moved away from the Legion. Then a splinter group, Totus Tuus, separated from the Regnum Christi with the blessing of a Chilean cardinal….The Regnum is presently trying to restructure itself. Hope the reader can follow this labyrinthine journey.