A week ago Victims of Fr. Maciel’s sexual abuse appeared on Mexican Canal 14 giving their testimonies once more and demanding compensation from the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation (note how the chameleon changes its name!)
As I conversed with one of them today I was shocked once again by what they had to say about the SEXUAL PREDATOR FOUNDER OF A BONA FIDE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CONGREGATION (now under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Institutes of Religious Life and Associatons of Apostolic Life, presided over by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz)
I learn that in Santander, Spain, in August 1954 (Maciel was 34; the Legion was 13, and hadreceived diocesan approval -through Maciel’s astuteness- in 1948), the founder began engaging in a sexual relationship with at least one of his junior seminarians. The seminarian in question had recently arrived from Mexico on the Marqués de Comillas ship to begin his junior seminary studies. The victim was 15-16 years of age. It was “love at first sight” for the holy founder. Maciel began his grooming/entrapment of Pretty Boy and made great advances in his conquest for the Kingdom of Heaven –Thy Kingdom Come, being the motto which Maciel would choose..
The future “personal friend” of (saint) Pope John Paul II who would be lauded by the saint as “an efficacious guide for youth” was soon anally penetrating Pretty Boy. When Pretty Boy revealed the depth of his involvement with Maciel to his companions later in life, he confessed, in colorful Mexican parlance: “he fuxxed me and I fuxxed him; we fuxxed each other”, (” él me cogió; yo le cogí; nos cogimos”) with the help of lubricants.
I WANT TO SHOCK CATHOLIC AUTHORITIES INTO ACTION!
For those of you who are not familiar with this form of sexual intercourse, I refer you to Planned Parenthood:
“The anus does not produce enough lubrication for comfortable anal sex, so it’s important to use an artificial water-based lubricant — like K-Y jelly or Astroglide — for anal sex. (Using an oil-based lubricant, like Vaseline, can damage latex condoms.)”
The Popes and Vatican authorities do not seem to grasp the gravity of Maciel’s depravity, manipulation and astuteness or ask themselves how such a pervert could found a religious order. Some of Maciel’s victims believe he founded the order so as to have his own private harem:
Pope Francis called Maciel “a very disturbed person”; Pope Benedict declared him “a man lacking any moral scuples”. Marvelous examples of “euphemism’ and minimization so as to avoid the question of how the Vatican allowed itself to be deceived so roundly.
My Mexican friend referring the testimony to me agrees that this is an abomination. Here is the predator, conman, imporsonator who kissed and embraced Pope John Paul II -while at the same time sodomizing his own spiritual sons, seminarians in Rome, acting as founder and Superior General of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement.
An Interview with Ex-Opus Dei Numerary Eileen Johnson – Part 1
The following interview with ex-Opus Dei numerary, Eileen Johnson, was conducted over a period of several months in 2020 and 2021. Eileen is a native of Yorkshire, England, where “a spade is called a spade, and not a bloody shovel.” And indeed, she obliges us with her extraordinary candor and honesty in response to my in-depth questions concerning her more than ten-years-experience as an early high-level member of Opus Dei in the United Kingdom (UK) in the 1960s.
– Randy Engel, Catholic investigative reporter and editor of ODWATCH
Engel: By way of introduction Eileen, would you give our readers some background on your family and education, and how Opus Dei entered your young life?
Johnson: Yes, of course. I was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1943, into a Catholic family on my mother’s side. My father was an agnostic. I have two older brothers. As the youngest and only girl, I attended a Catholic primary school and later a convent Grammar school, which I think your American readers would call a Catholic high school. I was a pious child with a lively spirit who loved to sing and dance. At the age of 15, I seriously considered a religious vocation.
It was about a year later, at age 16, when Opus Dei entered my life – surreptitiously, I might add.
I was an excellent student and class leader. French was my favorite subject. So, it was not surprising when our new young French teacher took a special interest in me and took me under her wing. I was flattered. She was aware of my regular lunchtime visits to the school chapel as she also frequently visited the chapel.
One day she invited me to join her at an international summer school for girls at the Rydalwood University hostel in Manchester where, she said, I could “teach English” and also practice my French. My parents, especially my father, encouraged me to take advantage of this opportunity. They trusted my teacher. I had just turned 17, and this was my first trip away from home on my own. Naturally, I was excited!
Engel: Was the venture successful?
Johnson: As it turned out, I was invited to Manchester under false pretenses.
First of all, I was unable to practice my French because there were no French students taking the course. I wasn’t qualified to teach English either. The invitation was, in fact, a ruse to introduce me to Opus Dei within a closely-controlled Opus environment apart from my family. But I was oblivious to the reality.
Engel: Wasn’t there a visible sign designating Rydalwood as an Opus Dei University hostel when you entered the building?
Johnson: No. The centres have secular names and are not openly identified as being run by Opus Dei. It wasn’t until my French teacher, herself an Opus numerary, started to explain to me what Opus Dei was, that I began to understand the real reason for the invitation. You see, neither I, nor my family or friends, had ever heard of Opus Dei. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Opus was just getting established in the UK. So, it was all quite new. After a few days, at Rydalwood my teacher told me I had a “vocation” to Opus Dei.
I resisted the pressure to join “the Work” at first. However, a few months later, after I had attended an Opus weekend retreat back in Manchester, I changed my mind.
Engel: What attracted you most to Opus Dei?
Johnson: Bear in mind that I was only 16 when Opus’s grooming and “love bombing” began. I came from a comfortable, happy home, but hadn’t been exposed to cosmopolitan ways. I was on the threshold of my newly-discovered independence and found the Opus members and the beautiful atmosphere at Rydalwood very appealing. I took my Catholic faith very seriously and had already been thinking of becoming a nun. I was attracted by the fact that the numeraries at Rydalwood were lay women fully dedicated to God.
Also, as a language student, I was immediately drawn to the Latin flavor of the centre and the gaiety and friendliness of the numeraries, most of whom were Spanish. They were well dressed, well groomed, well perfumed. And they made such a fuss over me – something I wasn’t used to as I was a lonely child and teenager.
Looking back, I remember the first time that my parents drove me to the Manchester campus and visited Rydalwood. As they were leaving my mother asked me, “Do you think you would like it so much if it wasn’t so attractive?” It was a rather prophetic question.
Engel: So, you initially joined Opus Dei as a supernumerary, not as a numerary, correct?
Johnson: Yes, in December 1960. At the time, I was still living at home, and studying for my A level exams. I planned to enter Manchester University in the fall. I remember fervently reading and studying The Way and other Opus publications. I even sold copies of the publications to my friends at school. I was obviously totally enthralled with Opus Dei.
Engel: What’s the difference between an Opus Dei supernumerary and a numerary?
Johnson: The degree of commitment.
Male and female numeraries are lay celibates; they live in Opus centres; they hand over their total income to Opus Dei; and are closely monitored and controlled. Supernumeraries are married, or at least free to marry. They are also expected to make significant financial donations to Opus. They have Opus confessors and spiritual directors, and a Plan of Life. Both are fully committed to the recruitment of new members and spreading the message of Opus Dei through their families and their work.
I should mention that there are celibate members who live at home. They are called Associates.
Sometimes they have to care for aging or disabled parents.
Engel: Did you take vows of any kind like religious do?
Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá with Pope John XXIII, Ides of March, 1960
Johnson: When I joined Opus Dei in the early 1960s it was called a “Secular Institute.” Escrivá adamantly wanted to avoid any perceived connection between a “lay vocation” in Opus Dei with a “religious vocation.”
So, to answer your question, I took what were called, “private vows.” For me they were binding, even before I formally took them. From the day I “’whistled” (OD jargon for writing the letter to Rome to request admission), I lived as a committed member in every way. The understanding was that the commitment was for life. The Admission ceremony took place six months later in the Opus oratory in the presence of an Opus priest, my directress, and one other numerary.
After Opus Dei was awarded the unique status of “Personal Prelature” in 1982, the term “vow” was changed to “contract,” but the nature of the commitment remained basically the same.
Engel: Was your family present at the Admission ceremony?
Johnson: Hardly. They didn’t know I had joined Opus much less that I had made a lifelong commitment to the Work that included perpetual celibacy. Neither did any of my close friends. As a new recruit I was told not to tell my parents. From the start, it was explained to me that for our apostolate in Opus Dei to be effective it must “pass unnoticed.” Opus Dei deemed our dedication was to be a very private matter between us and God and our sisters in Opus Dei. What many see as “secrecy,” Opus calls “Holy Discretion.”
Engel: No matter what you call it, for a minor to engage in such deception and be instructed to keep such a life-changing association secret from his or her parents is a violation of the Fifth Commandment to honor one’s father and mother. Didn’t your obvious delicate conscience send up a red flag?
Johnson: If it did, I wasn’t paying attention. As I said earlier, I was just bowled over by this new and exciting version of a secular life so fully dedicated to the Church – the Work of God – yet, so upbeat, so vibrant, so warm, and so friendly.
Engel: We’ll be returning to the issue of secrecy as formal Opus policy later in this interview, but for now I’d like to ask you about your relationship with your boyfriend at this time. Was it serious? Did he know about your commitment to Opus?
Johnson: Yes, to both questions. We were serious. We even discussed the possibility of marriage after we graduated from the University. We also came to share a deep attraction to Opus Dei and we both became supernumeraries.
Like me, my boyfriend kept his membership in Opus a secret from his parents. He resided at an Opus Dei men’s University residence. We both were aware at the time that Opus was grooming both of us, but not for each other. Eventually, Opus was able to manipulate our total separation and he eventually joined as a celibate numerary. I found out that he had become a numerary when the directress told me to speak to the priest in the confessional. I was instructed not to contact him again.
Engel: Did he ever pursue the occupation he studied and trained for at the University after graduation?
Johnson: No, I don’t think so. He was a Physics graduate, but Opus needed him elsewhere for internal work. In his early 20s, he became the Director of a male Opus University Centre in London. Later, he was asked by his superiors to become a priest of Opus Dei. He was ordained in Rome at the age of 26. He later became the Counselor (later called Vicar) of Opus Dei for the UK.
Engel: And you?
Johnson: I was told before joining Opus Dei that I would be free to pursue my chosen studies and career in languages. That never happened. In February of 1962, at the age of 18, three months after I separated from my boyfriend, I also changed my supernumerary status to that of a numerary (lay celibates who live in Opus centres) so I could devote my entire life to Opus Dei. This meant I had to “whistle” again and write to the Father to ask to be admitted as a numerary. I never spoke to my boyfriend again.
I was also told by my directress that I would make a good journalist. That idea lodged in my mind and I began to perceive a journalistic career as part of my vocation to serve Opus Dei.
Engel: How did Opus Dei influence your academic and campus life?
Johnson: Well, during my three years at the University, I found myself focusing more on my “Plan of Life” and proselytism than on my studies. In my third year, I was appointed Assistant Directress of Rydalwood, which further detracted from my studies. At the age of 22, I was appointed a member of the Advisory in London. This came as a surprise, and I felt very flattered.
Although, theoretically, Opus places a high premium on excellence in academics as well as work, in my case dedication to the internal needs and tasks of Opus and its expansion in the UK took priority over my personal choices and priorities, and jeopardized my career.
Also, when I entered the University, I had hoped to join the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Scottish Country Dance Society, but these were nixed by Opus because they would expose me to the opposite sex. Going to the theater, cinemas and mixed social events were also prohibited.
Engel: At what point did you reveal your membership to Opus Dei to your parents?
Johnson: In June 1964, after I had graduated from the University, I told them that I had an interest in joining Opus now that I had turned 21, which was the age of majority in the UK back then. That was a lie, of course. I had already been a member for years, first as a supernumerary while I was still living at home, and then as a celibate numerary and as an Assistant Directress at Rydalwood.
Engel: So, your parents helped pay for your college costs for four years not knowing of your life-long commitment to Opus?
Johnson: Yes, my father paid a “parental contribution,” to supplement the grant from my local education authority.
Engel: And Opus, who would benefit from all your educational skills and talents after your graduation paid how much?
Engel: How convenient, I mean, for Opus.
Johnson: I should add a caveat here to say that during my undergraduate at the University, my father had become ill, so my parents were not as aware of my campus life as they might otherwise have been.
I recall my directress telling me that I needed to “get a balance.” “Since your parents don’t know about your vocation, you can’t stop going home for the holidays,” she advised me. I was reminded of The Way, 644: “Be silent! Don’t forget that your ideal is like a newly lit flame. A single breath might be enough to put it out in your heart.”
On the few occasions that I actually spent at home, my mother did express concern about my social isolation and tried to introduce me to a young man, but that was out of bounds for me as a celibate numerary.
Engel: What about your family relations after your graduation in 1964?
Johnson: After graduation I continued to live at Rydalwood. I rarely saw my parents. Not even at Christmas. As for my brothers, I had almost no contact with them or my sisters-in-laws or their children. Opus did permit me to be a godmother to two of my nephews, but that was before I had informed my family that I had joined Opus Dei.
Overall, Opus discouraged members’ attendance at family events like weddings and funerals. When my cousin, who had been my longtime playmate was married, I went to stay at my parents’ home, but on the morning of the wedding, I feigned illness so as not to attend. I felt no remorse. Rather, I was pleased with myself that I had found a way to “obey.” When my aunt, my mother’s only sister died I didn’t go to the funeral. Mum was very hurt. On this occasion I did feel bad as I had started to question my membership in Opus Dei.
Visits with old friends were discouraged unless the motive was to recruit them.
Genuine friendships disappeared. Over my many years as a numerary, I had no real friends. I had fallen prey to the Opus way of using “friendship” as a tactic, in a very manipulative way. By the time I left Opus I was friendless.
Gradually I became more and more emotionally distant from my “blood family” and my old friends. I couldn’t wait to get back “home” to my new “supernatural family” – Opus Dei.
Engel: I’m a little more than curious to learn more about your life as a numerary in Opus Dei. Maybe you can start by describing your early formation or orientation to what is called “the Spirit of Opus Dei,” especially since ex-members are generally hesitant about revealing this type of information to “outsiders.”
Johnson: The so-called “Spirit of Opus Dei” is gradually conveyed to new numeraries in a variety of ways. There was the weekly “Circle” and “Fraternal Chat.” There were meditations given by an Opus priest at the monthly Days of Recollection, and also an annual five-day retreat. At the three-week Annual Course held at an Opus women’s centre, more experienced numeraries gave talks on the “Spirit of the Work” (Discretion, Obedience, Poverty, Divine Filiation, Apostolate, the Norms, and Mortification) and we had regular guided meditations from an Opus Dei priest, who also gave classes on the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Engel: Speaking of mortification did you wear the cilice [a sharp spiked ring worn on the upper leg used to suppress desire]?
Johnson: Yes, I wore the cilice on my upper thigh for two hours a day in the afternoon, and used the discipline [a small whip of knotted cords applied to one’s buttocks] for five minutes on Saturday. These were an obligatory part of my life as a numerary. I should add that these practices were only revealed to us after we became members.
Engel: Let me get this straight, Eileen. These programs of formation and mortification you described were in addition to…
Johnson: … In addition to the other norms and requirements for a numerary that included two half hours – one in the morning and one in the evening – of mental prayer daily; Mass; the Rosary; the Angelus; the Preces; Opus Dei prayers and the examination of conscience. Major Silence was kept from bedtime until after Mass the next day, and Minor Silence during the afternoon.
Engel: And what about your internal work as Assistant Directress of Rydalwood and your part time job teaching English to immigrant children at a local school? And later, your appointment to the Opus Advisory as Secretary of Saint Raphael’s Work, which must have required a great deal of time and energy? Frankly, this doesn’t seem to be in the realm of an “ordinary” or “normal” life for a non-religious. When did you have time to breathe or think your own thoughts?
Johnson: What can I say? I was hooked. My real self was being overshadowed by my newly acquired cultic personality, but not entirely, thank God. At times, I was exhausted. I remember particularly the time when the Advisory worked through several nights, preparing the annual report and contribution for Rome. I had to go to bed (well, to lie on the floor) because I couldn’t work any longer.
In theory, we were supposed to take breaks, in the form of a “weekly walk,” and a “monthly excursion,” but with our work ethic, these down times were often overlooked.
(To be continued)
[Part 2 will be published on Wednesday, March 3]
 OD WATCH was first published in November 2017 by Catholic writer Randy Engel, a long-time critic of the Prelature and its organizational tentacles of numeraries, supernumeraries, associates, and cooperators. It is a free electronic mailing based on background information, news, and commentaries on Opus Dei from around the world. To subscribe, contact Randy Engel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Rydalwood was the first Manchester centre of the OD women’s section. It was a University hostel with accommodations for about 35 students.
 Josemaría Escrivá, The Way: The Essential Classic of Opus Dei’s Founder, containing Scriptural passages and personal anecdotes drawn from Escrivá’s life and work. The booklet presented Escrivá’s 999 points for meditation.
 The Plan of Life comprises the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly commitments of members.
 The Advisory oversee the activities of all the Opus Dei centres of the Women’s Section in the UK, and acts as a go-between or facilitator between local centres and Rome, constantly transmitting instructions. The Advisory is presided over by the Counsellor (or Vicar).
 In 1969, the age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18 in the UK.
 Escrivá claimed the Work is a true family, not metaphorically. And that the bonds in the Work are stronger than those of blood. See “Pastoral Letter of the Prelate,” Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, October 11, 2020, on the restructuring of the Prelature.
 St. Raphael’s Work [Circles] of formation, meditations, recollections, and retreats is directed at young people. Initially, ‘cultural activities’ are organized as a means of attracting young people to the centres. They are then invited to participate in the spiritual activities. Escrivá stated that visits to the poor are one of the traditional means of St. Raphael’s work, although he himself as the founder of Opus Dei was rarely seen among the poor.
Part 2: The Legion of Christ Avoids Compensating Victims of Sexual Abuse by its Founder, Father Marcial Maciel.
March 4, 2021, under the patronage of Apostle Nathanael
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit’John 1,47
Responding to concerns of our readership, we will try to clarify statements made in Part 1.
The current director general of the Legion of Christ/Federation Regnum Christi, Father John Connor, has not yet met personally with The Group of Victims of Sexual Abuse at the hands of their founder, Father Maciel.
The original number of eight complainants has been reduced to six due to the deaths of Mr. Fernando Pérez Olvera in late 2020 and Father Félix Alarcón in 2021:
José Antonio Pérez Olvera (extreme financial hardship)
Francisco González Parga, who was not of the original group of 1997 but who bore his testimony before the prosecutor, promoter iustitiae, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Monsignor Charles Scicluna in CDMX April 2005 – and who would come to replace Juan José Vaca who received compensation several years ago directly from Father Alvaro Corcuera, Q.E.P.D., then director general of the Legion of Christ.
Father Eduardo Robles Gil, LC, not Fr. Connor, was the one who met three times with representatives of the group – Barba, Pérez Olvera and Jurado – at a CDMX hotel between late December 2019 and early January 2020, in the presence of a legal mediator. He was accompanied by Father Simán, LC (he of the calculator).
A letter with three requests was submitted in writing to Father Robles Gil:
Reparation of the moral damages of the group by the Legion of Christ in 1997: The Legion motivated three men of their trust (AA, JLG, VV) to bear false testimony against the victims, claiming that they lied and formed a conspiracy against innocent Father Maciel. At the same time, the Legion of Christ forged letters (a ruse often used by Father Maciel) from an elderly Chilean bishop to strengthen Father Maciel’s defense in the Hartford Courant newspaper.
Reach an agreement through a panel representing both sides to agree on the amount of financial compensation for victims.
To notify the representative of the group, Dr. José Barba Martín, of any communications the Legion might have with the victims. (To ensure the honesty of negotiations and avoid divisions.)
The letter was delivered to Father Robles Gil and signed as received by him in the presence of witnesses.
The Legion required the three victims to sign a (unilateral?) confidentiality document.
During the general chapter of the Legion of Christ in Rome in January 2020 the change of director general was made, with Father John Connor being elected. He sent an email to Dr. Barba in January explaining that he had been elected and that the Legion saw it as a priority to solve the problem of the victims (at least those in question; it was not clear whether he had the other victims of Father Maciel recognized by the Legion in mind). -Hence the reference in the first part to the chapter documents already mentioned.- Fr. Connor alluded to his knowledge of Father Robles Gil’s CDMX encounters with the victims. He did not say directly that he had seen such a letter or that he had read it. The reader might suspect that this was about two legionnaires passing the hot potato. Moreover, the lack of clarity – not to say confusion – and the lack of coordination of the leadership gave Father Connor time to think about how to proceed in such a delicate matter.
In the first part of the article, we accused Father Connor of putting loyal correspondence with Dr. Barba and the group of victims to one side, preferring to launch his astute personal crusade to win over the remaining victims, approaching them individually with the Easter Egg trick- a five-thousand-dollar-small cannonade- to soften them, divide the group of victims, and drive the members away from Dr. Barba’s leadership. Barba remains incorruptible and has stood firm regarding the fair conditions of an arrangement with the leaders of the Legion/Regnum.
Early this year when Dr. Barba reminded Father Connor that a whole year had gone by without the Legion responding to the Father Robles Gil letter, Father Connor replied that Dr. Barba’s letter and requests are “too sophisticated” and as such deserve no consideration. (Although the mediator had not objected to the letter when it was presented to Father Robles Gil and was accepted for consideration by the Legion director general.) Father Connor remains politely in contact with Dr. Barba by email.
ReGAIN would hope that all active and former members of the organization work and pray for an equitable solution to this seemingly endless saga.
At 1 am today, February 5, 2021, Maciel Survivor Fr. Féliz Alarcón (Hoyos) passed away in Madrid, Spain at the age of 87
This way the Pontifically approved Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation can stop worrying about compensation for his abuse by their Foúnder and pro vida General Director, Fr. Marcial Maciel (Degollado), LC.
Newly elected General Director, Fr. John Connor, the victims’ Great While Hope, after a triumphal entrance full of promises of taking care of Maciel’s sexual abuse victims and thus cleaning up the mes in the Legion house, soon fell back into Legion Tradition: delay, delay, delay, play cat and mouse with victims; he gave some of them paltry Easter eggs of $5,000.00 UScy last year – “this is just a gift, not compensation!” If Fr. Félix received that or more is a secret. The Kingdom of Maciel operates by stealth, secret and gag order…
No serious negotiation with the victims
No respecting agreements withu intermediary (the intermediary was in cahoots with r bought over by the LC/RC!)
No negotiations with the victims as a group. “Divide and Conquer!”
Fr. Connor and other Legionary priests found a way to split the group.
Meanwhile, one victim, Mexican Fernando Pérez Olvera, a former seminarian, died in 2020
Today, another victim, a Spaniard, passed away in Madrid. ReGAIN admires the fact that he was able to hold onto his priesthood until death.
Now this sect-like Catholic o’rganization will shed crocodile tears in Spanish -for their “Dear Brother in Christ”, -a flowery Spanish language statement was released by Fr. Connor saying how much he cared for and helped Fr. Felix- maybe even celebrate a Mass for the repose of his scarred soul.. Who knows what human prudence and astuteness shall dictate.