Giving voice to Fr. Maciel’s Accusers before they die off (updated 9/16/2022)

 

                  The Best Kind of Witnesses are Dead Witnesses

would seem to be the Legion of Christ’s motto and method

They have left it to the last moment to attempt outreach and compensation to the victims. And only to the victims who will accept compensation on their terms. Those “bad” victims will not be rewarded for their “stubbornness” – or would that be “the strength of their convictions”?

Some of us got together several years ago in Mexico.

I am aware that the below is an extremely poor testimony to the victims, who spent their lives and money seeking truth and justice -and received very little in return!

Paul Lennon

These are some of the men, a few of whom victims, who fought for decades against Vatican and Legion of Christ Silence regarding the Founder’s disreputable life. González-Parga and Lennon were ordained priests in the Legion; the others left disillusioned in the 1960s as seminarians.

(From right)

Carlos de la Isla, from Mexico, one of the first junior seminarians, apostólicos, recruited by Maciel and who began his studies in Mexico City in the 1940s. Carlos and his two brothers joined the Legion as children. It is a fact that one of Carlos’ brothers was sexually abused by Maciel. The father traveled to Mexico City from the heartland to confront the founder. Maciel, as on many other occasions, found a way to deny, placate and slip away from trouble. From that moment on, someone in the Legion knew about his evil inclinations.  But the Great Catholic Houdini would always find a way out of any tight spot and come out smelling like a rose.

Arturo Jurado, early legionary, victim and witness, was one of those unfortunate seminarians who was manipulated by Maciel into finding drugs for his father beyond reproach in Spain and Rome. He left the Legion in the 1960s after being held in seclusion and silenced by Maciel for years, and made a good living for himself as Spanish language teacher and interpreter in California.  On discovering that he has much in common with José Barba,  he  joined forces with José Barba.  He spent years paying his way to Rome with José to  request Vatican  intervention regarding Maciel’s sexual abuse of his seminarians and many other irregularities.

José Barba-Martín, PhD Harvard in Philology, professor emeritus, ITAM, Mexico City  where he held the chair of Political and Social Institutions.  He of the prodigious memory,  spear-headed the accusers cause, aided by Jurado. Their decades-long saga, after meeting with denial, stone-walling and minimization, finally bore fruit in 2006 when Vatican and Pope Benedict accepted their accusations, made no apology to them, gave Maciel a slap on the wrist and ordered him to a life of Penance and Prayer;  to which unrepentant Maciel paid no attention, continuing to live with his paramour and daughter and traveling wherever he wanted by private plane.

(John) Paul Lennon,  believer, friend and supporter of Maciel’s victims; like Domínguez not a victim of sexual abuse. Joined the Legion of Christ in Dublin, Ireland, at the age of seventeen, considered Irish co-founder by Maciel, ordained to the priesthood in Rome, together with eleven others (among which Bishop Brian Farrell and Cardinal Fernando Vérgez), on the 25th anniversary of Fr. Maciel’s priestly ordination, 26th November 1969. Left Legion in 1984 -before he every heard of abuse-  and since then has been a critic of Maciel’s foundation. He was sued for his troubles by the Legion of Christ in the City of Alexandria, VA, USA in August  2007. One lawyer commented: “Mr. Lennon, you have made some very rich people very angry!”

Francisco González-Parga, known in the Legion as Padre Parga, passed away this year in Guadalajara, Mexico, mourned by his wife, Esther. Francisco was one of Maciel’s sexual abuse victims; an enslavement which began in puberty and lasted into his twenties. He was not one of the original group of accusers but came forward in 2005 when Vatican prosecutor, then Monsignor, Charles Scicluna carried out the first thorough Vatican investigation into Maciel’s sexual abuse of his seminarians in Mexico City. By this time Maciel was 85 and the victims in their sixties. Remember that Maciel founded the Legion in 1941, when he was a 21-year old untrained seminarian, and began sexually abusing the 10 and 11-year-olds under his “pastoral care.”

Maciel’s sexual preference was pubertal males. In some cases, if he found them especially attractive he would continue the relationship into the victims’ twenties. Each older victim believed he was the only object of Maciel’s attention… As Maciel “matured” he sexually abused boys who were not his seminarians, later seducing younger, vulnerable females. It would seem he never had an equal-to-equal relationship in his life. All his relationships were controlling, manipulative and exploitative. (See the author’s Breaking Bad article on this page)

(Seated)

Saul Barrales-Arellano, R.I.P., known to his companions as Brother Charity. An extremely kind and helpful person. The story goes that Saul would lay down at night outside Maciel’s bedroom in Rome, Via Aurelia 677, to prevent others from entering and being victimized. Because he once demonstrated a lack of unconditional support for Maciel, the Saint stopped his ordination as a priest, sending him instead into exile on the Canary Islands where he languished alone for months. He finally got help from his family in Mexico to fly home.  He was a headmaster at a Mexico City school and is survived by his dear Tere.

A Little addendum:

Don Alejandro Espinosa-Alcalá with Aura and Paul Lennon on one of our trips to Mexico. Alejandro is a very active original witness to Maciel’s sexual abuse , and has written about it in El Legionario (2006, edit. Grijalbo, Mexico) and El Ilusionista Marcial Maciel, of which I treasure his dedication. Like other survivors, Alejandro has lived in relative, and sometimes abject, poverty since leaving the Legion half a century ago. It seems that at the eleventh hour Fr. John Connor, Maciel’s successor, has been trying to save face by awarding  “Easter Eggs” of ten thousand dollars to the victims, assisting them in their old age, and/or paying for their funerals.

I had mistakenly pointed out Federico Domínguez in the photo. He is not in the photo, but everything that was said of him is true. At one point, Maciel sent him and some other seminarians to Dublin, Ireland, to study at the prestigious Maynooth College. After some time, Federico became disenchanted with the whole Legion project, left the seminary and married a lovely Irish girl, and “they lived happily ever after” in the USA.

Federico Domínguez, R.I.P., one of Maciel’s writers, circa 1955 he reported to Church authorities in Rome regarding some of Maciel’s questionable behaviors; thus provoking the first major Vatican investigation into the founder and his order, 1956-59; Maciel was exiled for two years, but with the help of allies in the Curia (Pizzardo & Co.), was able to return and consolidate his power and control. About this time Maciel conceived the Private Vows (see Berry & Renner’s Vows of Silence), one of which was the “snitching vow” whereby “Never to criticize the person or actions of the superior, and to inform on anyone who does so.” This vow was apparently abolished by the later Vatican investigation around 2010, the spirit may still prevail among die-hard Legion and Regnum Christi members.

Ongoing Cover-up of Child Sexual Abuse by Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation

promise, proposal:  Legionaries of Christ promises, proposes, declares “Our Commitment to Safe Environment”

Ongoing Cover-Up of child Sexual Abuse by Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation

By Adriana Lozano González

Facebook, Legioleaks, 3/14/2021

English Introduction, Original Spanish language testimony; Microsoft/ReGAIN English translation

Fr. Jorge N, #LegionarioDeCristo,  was rector of the Apostolic School in Ontaneda, when he was accused of covering up countless sexual abuses of the children who lived there.

As a result, he was sent, again as rector of an Apostolic School (seminary for young boys), but this time to Chile. There he was accused of cover-up of the abuses that were going on in there and of pedophilia (public case).

From Chile he was sent to Argentina… where he was accused once again of abuse of a minor.

Finally, he was sent as a parish priest to a parish in the Cancun-Chetumal Diocese, Yucatan Peninsula, where he continues to exercise his priestly ministry, in contact with minors and vulnerable people.

 

I leave you the TESTIMONY (authorized) of one of the children who writes us about what he witnessed in Chile.

What should concern EVERYONE most (which is why it is made public, according to the manual of child protection #44), is that someone who has been charged for various crimes, in different countries, remains a priest  and in a position of authority. Please help spread the word so that Catholic Church Leadership acts quickly in these cases and does not keep exposing our children or vulnerable adults.

—-

Original Spanish:

El P. Jorge N, #LegionarioDeCristo era rector de la escuela Apostólica en Ontaneda, cuando fue acusado de encubrimiento de un sinnúmero de abusos sexuales a los niños que ahí vivían.

A raíz de esto fue enviado, nuevamente como rector de Apostólica, pero ahora en Chile. Ahí fue acusado de encubrimiento de los abusos que sucedían en este lugar y de pederastia (caso público).

De Chile fue enviado a Argentina…acusado una vez más, de abuso a un menor.

Finalmente, fue enviado como párroco a una Iglesia de la Diócesis Cancún-Chetumal, en donde sigue ejerciendo su ministerio, en contacto con menores y personas vulnerables.

Les dejo el TESTIMONIO (autorizado) de uno de los niños que fue testigo de lo que vivían en Chile.

Lo que más debería preocuparnos a TODOS (razón por la cual se hace público, según el vademécum de protección al menor 44), es que alguien que ha sido acusado por varios delitos, en diferentes países, siga como SACERDOTE y autoridad. Por favor ayuden a difundir para que la Iglesia actúe con rapidez en estos casos. Y no se siga exponiendo a nuestros niños ni adultos vulnerables.

 

 

English translation of testimony by former Legionary junior seminarian eye-witness of sexual abuse at Legion of Christ house in Chile.

[Editor’s note: in Spain and Latin America, particularly, junior seminaries have been functioning for centuries. There, young boys, 11-15 years old, live in a residential setting and are educated with a view to their becoming future priests. If the seminary or Apostolic School is part of a religious order or community, their next step will be the novitiate, two years of spirituality which prepare them for their first vows, after which they are called “religious”, and addressed as “Bro. X”.]

Monday, February 10, 2020

Dear X (female)

Greetings from Chile hoping you are well. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping truth prevail. This will not be easy because of the feelings and lived experiences which make it hard to reveal the following events.

My name is XX. I am thirty-five and I was a Legionary of Christ for 14 years. I entered the vocation center in Santiago de Chile (junior seminary) in January 1997. There were about 70 of us children that summer. The rector and novice master at that time was Fr. Pedro Pablo X, LC, who was at this post until July of that year because they decided to close the novitiate, and Fr. Jorge X, LC, took over as rector, as he had more experience than Fr. Pedro Pablo working with minors.

I remember clearly my first “spiritual direction” session with Fr. Jorge because he told me I shouldn’t be there because my family was not well off, and he would do his utmost to make me go home. I was very surprised by this as he should have been someone to help me discern my divine calling to the priesthood, and not someone who was going to make my life so miserable I would have to leave the seminary.

1997 was a very tough year for me because of so many changes and the arrival of Fr. Jorge who make things even worse. I will not go into details regarding his training methods which were really antiquated to say the least: weeks-long silence and incommunicado, public humiliation, and other such.

I want to be clear that I never saw or heard anything about him personally abusing one of my fellow seminarians. I did hear from other seminarians about a religious brother who touched boys while they were sleeping, and sometimes pulled back the bedclothes to be better able to fondle them when lights were out. He must have begun doing that in 1998 or 99; the religious in question was called Marcel X who had a New Zealand background.

When I learned about these events I do not know whether Fr. Jorge knew that the Bro. Marcel was fondling the young seminarians or that several of us knew about the abuse. What I do know is that one day Marcel disappeared: when we came down for morning prayers, Marcel was nowhere to be seen. His name was never mentioned again. However, there was another religious brother -I can’t remember whether he and Marcel were ever there at the same time. The new religious was called Salvador. He had been a vocation recruiter in Santiago City before being assigned to the junior seminary. We had seen him before because he would bring the candidates to the junior seminary on weekends to show them around.

Salvador chose his special moments when the children were milling around the door trying to get in,  when his touching would be less noticeable. Or he simply came up to you and put his hand on your bottom when you were reading the notice board. I saw this with my own eyes and also felt his hands on me.

It was at this time when one of my companions in the group of minors – we were divided into three groups, younger boys, older boys and precandidates (for noviciate) according to age- approached me and told me he was being fondled by the Assistant (the name given to the religious with vows who supervises child seminarians). This companion told me  about the situations where the abuse was taking place. So I started looking into these situations and watching the Assistant. And sure enough I saw him. When I started getting between him and the other little boys, he touched me too. If it happened only once it could have been an accident but it was repeated. Nobody wanted to tell Fr. Jorge about what was happening. In reality we did not trust him much and were afraid he would punish us for speaking ill of the religious. I started pushing that religious away from me; I even came to blows to defend myself.

Finally, some of us informed Fr. Jorge. He called us one by one to his office. I don’t remember much about the conversation but I did tell him who were being abused by the assistant and where and how he touched my companions. Just as in the previous case, Salvador was taken out of the community, he was given a weekend sabbatical and later he disappeared. Years later I learned he was no longer a Legionary. I think he is married now. We could not talk about this with “outsiders” because the dirty linen is washed at home.  My family might have heard something but, naturally, I denied everything, and we went about our lives just as before.

I cannot affirm that Fr. Jorge had previous knowledge about these harmful  actions; I hope he did not, because if he did have previous knowledge that would make him a monster; what I can inequivocably state is that he did know about the abuse during and after it happened. The strategy of removing the offender and keeping silence has always been part of the Legion of Christ modus operandi, and sadly of the Church.

We were there to follow Christ and not to experience that abuse! Having to protect ourselves, abused by those who were supposed to take care of us and want the best for us in the name of God! I was fifteen or sixteen and was lucky enough to be bigger physically than others my age; but my companions were thirteen and fourteen! We had to run away from our assistants. You got nervous whenever they approached, and even more so if they touched you -even it was just on the shoulder! No child deserves that!

I litterally had to punch another person to keep him away from a little boy! In a so-called seminary! These are horrible things that are just seeing the light, because back then they were minimized!

I am sharing these experiences with you in the hope that these abuses are not repeated, and that no child be exposed to them.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share these events; it also helps just to able to discuss these experiences with somebody else.

Affectionately yours,

XX, former Legionary of Christ.

 

 ReGAIN observes:

This is the straightforward testimony of a young man who has gone to the trouble of dragging up painful memories in the hope of preventing further abuse. One wishes Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi superiors not react defensively but take the complaint to heart and take action.

The testimony does not mention one very important point:

There is no mention of any spiritual or psychological help being offered to the victims or to the offenders. Surely, this is a very grievous omission and lack of responsibility on the part of Legion/Regnum formators and superiors (directors). ReGAIN, for its part, prays that Catholic authorities, in the person of Archbishop Charles Scicluna and his team, look into this and similar testimonies so as to “promote justice.”

Legion(aries) of Christ Recently convicted Child Sex Abusers


Archive photo a LC junior seminarians, Apostólicos. Priest featured is not accused, nor are any of the boys featured necessarily victims.

The Legion of Christ, through its Press Office, Oficina de Prensa, is beginning to reveal more recent cases of priest members suspected or found to be child sex abusers.

1- ReGAIN has found the following statement in English regarding a relatively recent case in the USA: Fr. Benjamin Cieply, LC

https://legionariesofchrist.org/fr-benjamin-cieply-lc/?fbclid=IwAR0g84082oCtBI326cZ_3WprkHcHMowyfpGx10wQXtMcprzXY

ReGAIN is discovering how the Legion is revealing these cases (mandated by the Vatican or local bishops?) piecemeal, some in English, some in Spanish. So it is hard to see the extent of the abuse.

2- The Fr. John O’Reilly, LC, case in Chile is now common knowledge. Irish-born, Fr. O’Reilly joined the Legion in the late 1960s and found his way into the privileged position of being one of Fr. (The Saint) Maciel’s favorite waiters at the mother-house in Rome… Because of his good manners, smiling disposition and assimilation of the Legion system he ended up in Chile, promoting the Legion and Regnum Christi among the political (Pinochet & Co.), business and conservative church upper classes. Together with Fr. Raymond Cosgrave he was the main LC/RC mover and shaker in Chile. During the last decades he was also chaplain at one of the Legion’s elementary school. His demise began with accusations he had sexually abused two little sisters who were students. The parents’ civil case went on and on in Chilean courts until he was convicted and sentenced to four years supervised house arrest. Fr JOR lost his Chilean citizenship and was expelled from the country. The case was later referred to the Vatican where the conviction was upheld and the Vatican imposed its own sanctions. . He is now residing at the LC mother house in Rome.

In and effort to clean up its image, The Legion has been emitting communiques about Fr. JOR for the past year or more. The most recent . communique was found by ReGAIN in Spanish

With further research an English version might be found

3- A more recent conviction we posted was the case of Vladimir Reséndiz who abused two boys at the Legion’s minor seminary in Gozzano, Northern Italy.

4- Very recently the Legion’s Spanish language Press Office released a long statement regarding Fr. José Luis Díaz Atilano, a drawn-out case of this Mexican priest in Chile which was tried in civil and ecclesiastical court. The Legion wants to show it is doing the right thing…

One may wonder why these convictions occur so long after the offense was reported. This happens for a variety of reasons:

  • the victims are young, innocent, vulnerable and don’t know how to defend themselves or speak up
  • they may be very ashamed, thinking they are the guilty party (this is part of the art of pedophilia)
  • it may take a long time for people to believe them after they do summon up the courage. They may be dissuaded from talking, for a variety of reasons.
  • The Legion may try to bribe them (see Gozzano case) to keep silence.
  • Cases can be difficult to prove because of time elapsed (statute of limitations)
  • Cases may cost the victim/family money they don’s have.
  • Courts are exceedingly slow.
  • Separation of Church and State in some countries make judges leery of getting involved against Catholic Church or Catholic institutions and religious orders.
  • Church courts and tribunals are usually slower than civil courts….
  • Legion may try to defend the accused member and have the financial resources to protract the case for months or years, “interrogatories” etc., until the e victim runs out of money… Many cases never reach trial….

In another recent move the Legion has stressed its “safe environment” guidelines; however, a careful scrutiny reveals that the Legion still prefers to handle its cases in-house, i.e. that victims contact the Legion outreach staff. Besides, their American guidelines may not be applicable to other countries. In the USA the Legion vaunts its participation in the safe environments system Presidium, but this may be limited to the USA or English-speaking world.

WITH THE LEGION AND REGNUM CHRISTI, YOUTH AND PARENTS NEED TO READ THE SMALL PRINT BEFORE COMMITTING. Remember, they were founded by a conman!

Legion of Christ faces new Priestly Scandal

we have already published a Spanish language post yesterday.

Here is a link to the VOA article reporting on how the Legion of Christ and the priest, previously rector of the Legion´s Maria Mater Ecclesiae international seminary in Rome (training priests sent by their bishops from all over the world) revealed that the padre, Fr. Oscar Turrion,  had just had a daughter out of wedlock/vows and -almost an afterthought- a boy from a few years previously. According to his very recent contrite letter, he felt it was time to come clean.  His superiors have been very understanding and did not reveal the slip until the padre was ready to leave and start his new life.

Events were originally reported by Associated Press

UK Daily Mail quotes full AP article

 

Translate »
%%footer%%