Legionaries’ Paradise, Part 1: a Tale of two Stories



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[1]. 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”[2]

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.

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

Chaput Kaputt?


Are you, Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, above the Clergy Scandal?


After He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

(John 13, 26)

You are about to receive the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, in Philadelphia

You will ride with him in the pope mobile.

You will be close to the pope.

You will dine with the pope.

But are you, Archbishop Chaput, free from the clergy scandal?

Archbishop Chaput,

You are a chosen one, as can be gathered from random biographical notes

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was born September 26, 1944, in Concordia, Kansas, the son of Joseph and Marian DeMarais Chaput. He attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grade School in Concordia and St. Francis Seminary High School in Victoria, Kansas. He joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, St. Augustine Province, in 1965.

Archbishop Chaput was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 26, 1988. Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver on February 18, 1997, and he was installed on April 7 the same year. As a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput was the second Native American to be ordained a bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop. He chose as his episcopal motto: “As Christ Loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25).

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Philadelphia on July 19, 2011.

In 1999, building on the efforts of his predecessor in Denver, Archbishop Chaput…..

Archbishop Chaput served the Holy See as an Apostolic Visitor to U.S. seminaries, (2005 – 2006); the Diocese of Toowoomba, Australia, (2007); and

  • the Legion of Christ for Canada and the United States, (2009}


  • Were you in any way behooven to Pedophile Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and the Legion leadership?
  • Did they have anything “on you” which prevented you from carrying out a thorough investigation?
  • In 2011, you were a accused of siding with a monsignor who had practiced clergy sex abuse cover up

In October 2011 SNAP Victims blast(ed Archbishop) Chaput for supporting accused criminal [1] (priest diocesan official)

<For the second time, Philly’s new archbishop has expressed clear support for a credibly accused priest who may soon be deemed a criminal for enabling child sex crimes while apparently expressing no concern for vulnerable kids, wounded adults or learning the truth in court about an alleged criminal.

In neither case, as best we can tell, did Chaput express even a scintilla of worry for kids who are at risk today because of Lynn’s actions, adults who are suffering today because of Lynn’s actions. Nor has Chaput ever, as best we can tell, issued a real call for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward, so that the case involving Lynn be resolved with as much information as possible.

Chaput has shown his true colors. Like his brother bishops, he’s first, foremost and always a company man who quickly sides with accused clerics over vulnerable kids and wounded adults.

A caring shepherd would have led by example and urged his staff and supporters to be open-minded, rather than  making insensitive comments that will only further deter victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers from reporting known and suspected child sex crimes and cover ups.

Chaput could have said “It’s important that we not say or do anything that might prejudice the criminal proceedings. It’s important that we stay open-minded and resist the temptation to automatically back our brother priest. It’s important that we reach out to others who may have knowledge of how Lynn dealt with abuse allegations and admissions, and urge those people to call the prosecutor.”

He apparently said none of this. Instead, he sent church employees the same clear and disturbing message bishops have sent church employees for decades: “No matter how seriously you’re accused of committing or concealing child sex crimes, we in the Catholic hierarchy will back you.”

This was the case of Philadelphia Archdiocese Monsignor Lynn who was sentenced to three years in prison for covering up clergy sex abuse and transferring offenders from parish to parish”.[2]

  • You made your musical director resign in June, 2015[3].




[1] http://www.snapnetwork.org/victims_blast_chaput_for_supporting_accused_criminal

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/02/monsignor-william-lynn-released_n_4531974.html

[3] http://www.religionnews.com/2015/06/02/music-chief-popes-philly-mass-quits-dispute-archbishop-chaput/

¿El Padre Maciel, Instrumento de Dios o del Demonio?

!Papa Francisco y el Vaticano, favor de despertar!


Washington, DC, a 3-11 de agosto, 2015

Acabo de asistir al congreso internacional de SNAP, la red de sobrevivientes del abuso sexual clerical, y ayer conversé acerca del fenómeno Marcial Maciel/Legión de Cristo/Regnum Christi con un amigo conocedor de la historia Maciel/Legión. Ahora quisiera plasmar las siguientes reflecciones.



  • Después de treinta años atendiendo a los sobrevivientes de la Legión de Cristo/Regnum Christi, veo claramente una vez más la estela de destrucción dejada por Maciel/Legión de Cristo/Regnum Christi en las vidas tocadas por ellos. Porque no se trata simplemente de abusos sexuales; se trata de abusos de todo género: descuido y abandono médico, estragos psicológicos, consciencias confusas, depresión clínica y suicidio, pérdida de fe en la Iglesia, en Cristo y en Dios, abuso financiero de los miembros, familias y gente vulnerable, destierro, calumnias, ostracismo, persecución legal y amenazas…
  • Me resulta difícil, si no imposible, creer que esta institución sea una obra de Dios
  • Los últimos papas y el sistema del Vaticano, luego de constatar la podredumbre del fundador y la deformación del institituto, decidieron salvar la Legión de Cristo.
  • Nos dijeron, cual nuevo dogma de fe: Maciel, Malo; Legión, Buena. Nos pidieron creer que Dios había usado de un instrumento corrupto para crear su obra, la orden religiosa de la Legión de Cristo y el movimiento seglar, Regnum Christi.
  • El Vaticano realizó este malabarismo teológico ignorando siglos de Fe y Tradición Cristianas que vinculan la validez de una orden religiosa con el carisma, y con la la santidad e inspiración del fundador.
  • Nos piden creer que Dios hizo otro milagro: que el árbol podrido produjo fruto sano. ¿O NO SERÁ que la organización creada por el empresario Maciel, llamada Legión de Cristo,  sigue produciendo sacerdotes en serie, reclutando a miles de católicos bien intencionados y llenando los cofres con millones de dólares a una institución golpeada por acusaciones de corrupción y abuso, y que pierde a diario la fidelidad de sus miembros más instruidos y analíticos?
  • ¿Y QUE SI Marcial Maciel, el niño de Cotija, Michoacán, México, quien fuera abusado verbal, emocional, física y sexualmente, quien nunca buscó ni recibió la ayuda terapéutica necesaria para su propio psique dañado y deforme, se convirtiera a su vez en un insaciable depredador sexual y en un explotador manipulativo con aires de grandeza, creando el mito de ser escogido por Dios para salvar la Iglesia Católica, el cristianismo y el mundo entero fundando una nueva y mejor orden religiosa?
  • Pues el Padre Maciel, careciendo totalmente de auto-conocimiento y auto-consciencia, se dejó llevar de sus impulsos sexuales, controlantes y ambiciosos: el venerable Padre, disque santo Maciel fue en realidad un psicópata, Narcisista Traumatizante quien se engañaba a sí mismo pensándose el fundador de una nueva congregación religiosa para satisfacer sus propias pasiones usando y abusando a los demás.
  • ¿Y QUE SI el Padre del Engaño, y no el Espíritu Santo, tomara posesión de ese psique deforme para crear una secta diabólica, astutamente diseñada dentro de la Iglesia Católica, con el mismo espíritu que poseía Maciel: espíritu de mentira, engaño, ilusiones, control, manipulación y megalomanía para seguir hiriendo y lastimando en su sexualidad, auto-estima, dignidad humana y hasta en sus misma almas a gente generosa, idealista e ingenua?
  • Lanzo este desafío a los líderes Católicos ciegos a o deslumbrados por rutilantes espejismos

J. Paul Lennon, LC 1961-84, Licensed Professional Counselor.

!URGENTE!.. Atencion ex-miembros de Grupos Coercitivos/Manipulativos/High Demand/Sectas/Cults!

Pacayo Volcano
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!
Muchísimas gracias,
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
9 minutes ago

The Incest of Our Father – Part I

This multi-part exposé is a journey into the mind ofJuan J. Vaca, a child and victim of abuse, deception, evil and lies. These excerpts are from an original letter to Maciel begging him to stop the lies. Translated from the original Castillian.

To: Marcial Maciel, L.C.
Superior General of the Legionnaires of Christ
Via Aurelia Nuova, 677
Rome, Italy

Dear Father Maciel:

I will begin this letter by giving you my most sincere thank you for sending me a photocopy of my Rescript of Laicization and for the included letter. However, I must inform you that I did not receive it until last week, on October 12 to be exact. Continue reading

Bishop Charles Scicluna, Former Vatican Chief Prosecutor of Clerical Sexual Abuse Named as One of Top Ten People of 2012

“There is one of the key assistants to Cardinal Ratzinger from his years at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a man who, under the Pope’s orders, has courageously toiled to “purify the Churchâ€� by investigating cases of priestly sexual abuse. This courageous man is Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta.â€� (from The Moynihan Report – Inside the Vatican Magazine)

Each year, Inside the Vatican Magazine chooses 10 people whom they believe are examples of great courage, fidelity to the Church and heroic Christian charity.

One of those honored by being chosen as among the top ten people of the year for 2012 was Bishop Charles Scicluna. He was formerly the Vatican’s chief prosecutor of clerical sexual abuse and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Malta and Titular Bishop of San Leone on October 6, 2012. In 2005, (then) Cardinal Ratzinger sent Scicluna to Mexico and New York to collect testimony against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr Marcial Maciel, amid allegations of abuse.

Bishop Scicluna was named in this year’s selections, together with Pope Benedict XVI.

The following is quoted with permission from Inside the Vatican Magazine:

“Bishop Charles Scicluna

His friends and family speak of his warmth, his hard work and dedication to justice, his sense of humor and of the safety they felt while in his presence. His colleagues and mentors note that he is someone who knows how to be around others and to respect all people. Almost everyone speaks of him with love and admiration for his courage, loyalty, faithfulness and hard work. He is the newly-ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, His Excellency Charles J. Scicluna, 53, one of the key figures in the past decade in the Church’s effort — called for so strongly by Pope Benedict XVI — of self-purification.

Scicluna marked the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in July 2011, and celebrated his tenth year as Promoter of Justice in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in October 2012. He then returned to his native Malta to be ordained to the episcopate on November 24.

In the days immediately following his ordination, though he has now left Rome and his Vatican post, he was assigned to be a judge in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; he will now act as advisor and sit with the two dozen cardinals and bishops who judge the abuse cases that come before the CDF, his old office.

His parents, Emanuel and Maria Carmela (née Falzon) lived to celebrate the ordination to the episcopate of the eldest of their four children.

Charles Jude Scicluna was born in Toronto, Canada, on May 15, 1959. The following year the Scicluna family moved to Malta, where he attended school and grew up, surrounded by a large extended family.

Scicluna attended Saint Edward’s College in Cottonera, Malta, and he entered the law course at the University of Malta in 1976; he graduated as a Doctor of Laws in 1984. After completing his seminary studies and earning a licentiate in pastoral theology, he was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood by the Archbishop of Malta, Monsignor Joseph Mercieca, on July 11, 1986. Scicluna was sent to study canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and obtained his doctorate in canon law with a specialization in jurisprudence in 1991, when he returned to Malta. In 1995 he was called to the Vatican to work on the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura as Substitute Promoter of Justice.

In 1996, he was appointed postulator for the cause of beatification and canonization of St. George Preca, popularly known as the “Second Apostle of Maltaâ€� after St. Paul. (In Maltese he is known as Dun Ġorġ Preca. He lived from 1880 to 1962, founded the Society of Christian Doctrine, a group of lay catechists, and was canonized by Pope Benedict on June 3, 2007.)
Scicluna is best known to the world’s media for his work in prosecuting the most serious crimes committed by priests. Quietly doing the work of a dozen individuals, he oversaw the cases leading to the removal of hundreds of pederast priests, including the late Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

In addition to the ongoing pastoral responsibilities he has had since his ordination as a priest in 1986, he has lectured, written, taught, and faithfully served the Church he loves.
He also served as defender of the bond and promoter of justice at the Metropolitan Court of Malta and professor of pastoral theology and canon law and vice-rector of the major seminary of the archdiocese there.

In 2010, Scicluna drafted the universal norms which extended the Church’s statutes of limitations on reporting cases as well as extended the list of ecclesial crimes to include the possession of child pornography, among other things.

Also in 2010, he presided at a prayer service of reparation for priests in St. Peter’s Basilica, where he courageously stated the harsh truth regarding those who have misused the priesthood: “How many are the sins in the Church for arrogance, for insatiable ambition, the tyranny and injustice of those who take advantage of ministry to advance their careers, to show off, for futile and miserable reasons of vanity!�

Intense and focused attention was as much his signature characteristic as his loyalty to his friends and unswerving adherence to Church law.

His colleagues at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith came in force to his ordination in Malta on November 24. Monsignor John Kennedy was one of those. He had worked with Monsignor Scicluna for ten years and remarked, “He would give you his complete attention and focus irrespective of the mountains of papers in front of him or the issues he was dealing with from all over the world… He gave 100 percent to everybody, on every occasion, on every day.�
And mountains of papers were his unenviable challenge every day of the ten years that he acted as Promoter of Justice, a post which had been in existence but was not functional until he was given the appointment in 2002.

On one occasion in 2006, when he was already inundated with global cases of sexual abuse, a courier from America handed him several hundred pages of testimonials; he accepted the heavy satchel with grace and humor, requesting of those who had created the dossier to be patient and “save the trees� for awhile so that he could attend carefully to what had just been given to him.
A note of congratulations to Scicluna from Paul Lennon, founder of the Regain Network and a former priest with the Legionaries of Christ, said: “I wish you peace and fortitude as you assume your new post. I will never forget the kind and respectful, while firm and professional, way you treated me… in New York in April 2005. You are in my prayers.�

Scicluna replied immediately: “Dear Paul, Let us walk humbly with the Lord who has His own plans for each one of us and will never fail to hear the cry of those who suffer. I am very happy to be back with my people, and I have promised them to lay down my life for them. I know that is what Our Lord expects of a shepherd of souls… Every bishop is called to share the concerns of the Holy Father for victims of injustice and abuse. Indeed the episcopacy is a sacramental title for such concern and cooperation. I have now moved from [headquarters] to the front line. The war against sin and crime indeed continues. Non praevalebunt.�

Before addressing a Vatican-planned conference on abuse entitled “To¬wards Heal¬ing and Renewal� held in February 2012 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Scicluna again asked for prayers from his friends, one of whom sent the message that he should remember the hymn of St. Patrick’s Breastplate; Scicluna wrote back, “Thanks for that inspired prayer.� The following day, February 8, he shocked the 140 representatives from the world’s bishops’ conferences and the 30 from religious orders when he compared the ecclesiastical cover-up of sexual abuse to the Mafia’s code of silence, omertà . Such a word had never been used in such a setting.
He continued: “The teaching of Blessed John Paul II that truth is at the basis of justice explains why a deadly culture of silence or ‘omertà ’ is in itself wrong and unjust.� He added, “Other enemies of the truth are the deliberate denial of known facts and the misplaced concern that the good name of the institution should somehow enjoy absolute priority to the detriment of disclosure.�

Everyone who has accepted the hand of Truth has enemies. Those who do not love Scicluna may be among those whom he was rebuking in his “Words of Fire� interview on August 23, 2010, with FOX news reporter, Greg Burke, now the Vatican’s communications consultant. Scicluna, referring to Jesus Christ, said: “He had words of fire against people who would scandalize the young. And if we stick to His words and are loyal to His teaching, we are on very good ground; we are not alone. [In abuse] there is a sacred trust which has been violated. The priest is ordained to be an icon, an image, a living image of Jesus Christ. He is another Christ at the altar, when he preaches. Now, when he abuses, he shatters that icon. The image for which he has been ordained is not there. It becomes a mockery of his vocation. It is a great tragedy for the individual, for the victim, for the Church. And we have to face Truth, even if it is not nice. Truth will set us free. There is no other way out of this situation except facing the truth of the matter.�

Scicluna looks to St. George Preca, Malta’s first saint, as his guide for priestly humility and holiness. Paul Cardona, who also studied the life of St. George Preca, claims that the Maltese saint is a model for Scicluna. “Like [St. George], he (Scicluna) listens to everyone, and does not make any distinction between role, age or status,� Cardona said. “Without wanting to, you just have to love him.� Cardona added that Scicluna could be described in the same way that St. George Preca spoke of St. Paul: small in stature but big in spirit.

Indeed, even the official mandate from the Holy See, which was read aloud in the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Valletta, Malta, on the day of Monsignor Scicluna’s ordination to the episcopate, opened with an unmistakable note of sincere affection amidst the official language: “Benedict Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God, to Our beloved Son, Charles Jude Scicluna… who, endowed as you are with the requisite gifts of mind and heart and being an expert, among others, in things ecclesial, as we know so well, have worked in a laudable way in the Apostolic See of Peter on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith… Make sure, beloved Son, that, following the example of holiness of St. Paul and St. George Preca…you may be able to be a worthy Servant of Christ who is ‘Faithful and True’� (Rev. 19:11).

We honor Bishop Scicluna and remember his good work as he continues “Fidelis et Verax� — the words of his episcopal motto — “Faithful and True.� —Inside the Vatican Staff�

ReGAIN Comment:

According to Wikipedia: Click Here
“When he was presiding over a 2010 prayer service of reparation in St Peter’s Basilica, Scicluna asked “How many are the sins in the church for arrogance, for insatiable ambition, the tyranny and injustice of those who take advantage of ministry to advance their careers, to show off, for reasons of futile and miserable reasons of vanity! “Accepting the kingdom of God like a child is to accept with a pure heart, with docility, abandonment, confidence, enthusiasm, and hope,â€� he said. “All this reminds us of the child. All this makes the child precious in God’s eyes, and in the eyes of a true disciple of Jesus.â€�

Addressing a Vatican-planned conference on abuse held in February 2012 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he used the word “omertà � – in rapping “a deadly culture of silence� on abuse that, beyond being obstructing the truth, “is in itself wrong and unjust.� “Other enemies of the truth,� he added, “are the deliberate denial of known facts and the misplaced concern that the good name of the institution should somehow enjoy absolute priority to the detriment of disclosure.�

On 1 December 2012 Bishop Scicluna was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a five year renewable term by Pope Benedict.

ReGAIN editors were pleased to see that Bishop Scicluna has been recognized and honored by The Vatican Insider Magazine for his courage, dedication to the Church and for his willingness to take on such a challenging and demanding role and to speak so openly and honestly in spite of powerful opposition.

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 exlegionaries.com 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, http://www.vaasa.org. 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, http://www.vaasa.org]

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]