Dutch cult expert Frances Peters gave this masterly power point presentation at the International Cultic Association’s International Conference in Bordeaux, July 2017.
ReGAIN believes it is of great value to members, parents, friends, helpers and professionals involved with controlling, coercive, harmful groups.
ReGAIN wants to remind the public that such harmful groups can exist even in the heart of mainstream – including Christian and Catholic – churches and communities. We will post upcoming articles re questionable Catholic Communities and Movements.
An indignant mother cries at callous Legionary behavior
Legionary ‘formators’ (formadores) Play Strip Poker with ECYD Boys in their pastoral care
Below, the reader will find a letter written by an indignant Mexican mother. From the context we gather that the events happened during the Vatican ordered Apostolic Visitation (2010-2014) headed by Archbishop Velasio de Paolis.
“I have left the names in just to demonstrate that only the LC superiors were (made) aware of what happened and that, ultimately, they did nothing to address the problem.
The final bad experience -a SERIOUS one- we experienced there (at the school) was an end of term activity organized by the school to celebrate my 12-year-old son’s graduation from elementary school). The children were under the care of the school chaplain, Fr. Bruno Montekio, LC., of the ECYD leader, Brother Felipe Villagómez, LC, and of a group of Regnum Christi collaborators and teachers.
On a certain night they organized a game of casino (strip poker), in which the children were supposed to begin gradually taking off their clothes as they ran out of money to bet; until they were left in their underpants. Fr. Bruno witnessed this and Bro. Felipe took photographs.
I am attaching the email I sent to Fr. Luis Garza-Medina, LC, expressing my husband’s and my profound indignation for taking photos of the children, and because Bro. Felipe gave a CD with the photos to each one of the boys who participated in the “camp”; and also because of his attitude later on when a group of mothers questioned him about this activity; how he stuck to his opinion and never admitted any wrongdoing. We never received any explanation or apology from the school principal, either.
I cc this email to Fr. Alvaro Corcuera (editor’s note, then LC Superior General, now deceased) and to Fr. Rodolfo Mayagoitia, Territorial Director for Mexico and to Fr. Evaristo Sada, Secretary General of Regnum Christi; neither of them deigned to answer my message. Only Fr. Luis (Garza Medina) begged my forgiveness and acknowledged there was a lack of good judgment and common sense.
Fr. Bruno was assigned this year to work for the Legion in Dallas, TX. Bro. Felipe is finishing his theological studies at the Legion’s Major Seminary in Rome (Centro de EstudiosSuperiores)
THE CASE WAS PRESENTED TO (APOSTOLIC DELEGATE, ARCHBISHOP) DE PAOLIS AFTERWORDS AND THIS LED TO A LETTER OF APOLOGY FROM VILLAGOMEZ TO THE FAMILY IN QUESTION. IT WAS WRITTEN DURING THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES LEADING UP TO HIS PRIESTLY ORDINATION. OBVIOUSLY, THESE PRACTICES WERE NEVER INVESTIGATED. MAYBE THE LEGIONARIES PUBLISHED A PROTOCOL SUCH AS: ‘MAY OUR MEMBERS NEVER TAKE PHOTOS OF CHILDREN IN THE ECYD MOVEMENT IN THEIR UNDERPANTS’ OR SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT.”
< Original Spanish language message: EL MANEJO DE SITUACIONES IMPROPIAS
Dejo los nombres de los participantes sólo para poner en evidencia que nadie supo, más que los superiores, de este caso. Y que finalmente no pasó nada.
La última mala experiencia, GRAVE, que vivimos ahí fue en una actividad de fin de curso dirigida por el colegio para la generación de uno de mis hijos de 12 años. Los niños estaban a cargo del capellán del colegio, el P. Bruno Montekio, LC; del encargado para el Ecyd, el Hno. Felipe Villagómez, LC; y un grupo de colaboradores del Regnum Christi y maestros del colegio.
Una noche se organizó una dinámica, casino, en el que los niños iban perdiendo prendas de su ropa pues no tenían dinero para apostar, hasta quedar todos en calzoncillos. El P. Bruno
estuvo presente y el Hno. Felipe les tomaba fotografías.
Anexo el correo electrónico que intercambié con el P. Luis Garza Medina, LC, expresándole la profunda indignación y la de mi marido por el hecho, por las fotografías que se les tomaron a los niños, por haber entregado el Hno. Felipe una copia de las fotografías en un cd a cada niño que asistió a dicho campamento y la actitud que él tuvo después, cuando un grupo de mamás nos acercamos a él para preguntarle por dicha dinámica y él se aferró a su criterio y nunca pudo admitir que lo que había sucedido estaba mal. Nunca recibimos por parte del director del colegio una aclaración ni una disculpa.
Este mail lo envié con copia al P. Alvaro Corcuera, LC, Director General y al P. Rodolfo Mayagoitia, Director Territorial de México; y al P. Evaristo Sada, LC, Secretario General del Regnum Christi, de quienes tampoco recibí respuesta. Sólo el P. Luis me pidió que perdonara y reconoció que había sido una falta de criterio y sentido comun.
El P. Bruno se encuentra desde este año trabajando para la Legión en Dallas. Y el Hno. Felipe está terminando sus estudios de teología en el CES de Roma. >
Comentario final de ReGAIN:
EL CASO SE PRESENTÓ AL ARZOBISPO DE PAOLIS DESPUÉS, Y CONCLUYÓ CON UNA CARTA DE DISCULPA DE VILLAGÓMEZ A LA FAMILIA EN CUESTIÓN, ESCRITA EN LOS EJERCICIOS ANTES DE ORDENARSE ÉL SACERDOTE. OBVIAMENTE NUNCA SE INVESTIGÓ NADA SOBRE ESTAS PRÁCTICAS.
Four minor seminarians, 11-14 years old, reach out to Fr. Juan José Vaca, who has just come to the seminary in Ontaneda, Cantabria, Spain, as their new spiritual director. They reveal to him that Fr. Jesús Martínez-Penilla, the rector, had taken them to bed to masturbate them. Their stories implied that the abuses had been going on for two or three months.
As a good Legionary, Fr. Vaca called Fr. Maciel immediately. “Don’t worry, Juan José. Talk with those junior seminarians and calm them down. Tell them not to tell their parents.”
Within three hours Martínez-Penilla was on the train to Madrid. From there he flew to Mexico City and immediately headed for Chetumal where Monsignor Jorge Bernal, the Legionary of Christ apostolic delegate of the prelature, appointed by Marcial Maciel, was waiting to give him his next appointment, the Parish of Isla Mujeres.
Thousands of miles away from his victims, Martínez-Penilla was front line in all the most important religious celebrations of the Prelature. On March 19th, 1974 he accompanied Bishop Bernal through the streets of Chetumal as Bernal was consecrated bishop head of the Chetumal Prelature. Four other bishops follow in procession behind the newly consecrated bishop.
Martínez-Penilla continued his ecclesiastical career in the prelature as a pastor. The church directory of 1991 has him as pastor of the St Joachim Parish, Bacalar, Quintana Roo. In 2007 he is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in José María Morelos township.
In the Anniversary brochure published by the prelature in 2010, “Fr. Penilla” appears surrounded by the parish leadership group at Immaculate Conception parish in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
In his deposition as part of initial investigation into sexual abuse of children at the Legion’s Instituto Cumbres, Mr. Villafuerte accuses Legionary of Christ, Eduardo Lucatero Alvarez of “having known the facts and having limited himself to terminating a predatory gym instructor at the Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City”. Lucatero was accused of advising the abuser’s family to leave the country because he was going to have problems. According to Villafuerte, the gym instructor was not the only abuser in the school; he names Guillermo Romo, Francisco Rivas and Alfonso NJ, other Cumbres employees of ‘touching children.”
“He also knows and saw that sometimes the assistant principal, called Eduardo Lucatero, LC, was hearing the boys’ confessions; that said person also took the little girls, the boys’ sisters, and caressed their intimate parts obscenely.” But when the case came to court Fr. Lucatero was only sentenced for covering up the abuse.
Before going to legal authorities, one of the victim’s mother approached the Instituto Cumbres administration directly. It was a huge mistake. “My life turned upside down. I lost my work because of them. I lost my lifelong friends. I lost my condominium, and overnight I was swallowed up by a huge hole in the ground. They are very powerful people. They threatened me. They tried to ride me off the beltway (periférico) more than once with a Mustang to frighten me out of going to court.”
Lucatero-Álvarez also ended up in the Chetumal (now Cancun-Chetumal) Prelature where his presence was never hidden. On the inside back page overlap of A Missionary Church he can be seen in the second row of active clergy, vested in priestly robes and in a prayerful posture. The group is headed by the present bishop of the Prelature, Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, another Maciel appointee.
The brochure describes Lucatero-Álvarez as belonging to Holy Trinity Parish in Cancun. On page 85 he appears in a group of twenty posing in front of the Cancun cathedral church. He is tall, with glasses, wearing a white guayabera and a cross on his chest, smiling.
The Prelature’s 2014 church directory describes him as a religious (LC) priest, head of the Doctrine of the Faith in the office for Prophetic Pastoral Ministry. In other words, he is in charge of protecting the discipline and dogmas of the Catolic Church in Quintana Roo state, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
I have just attended the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests annual conference in Alexandria, VA and have been discussing Maciel, the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi with a good and knowledgeable friend. This brought to the surface the following convictions:
After thirty years ministering to Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi survivors, I clearly see once again the path of destruction left by Marcial Maciel/Legion/Regnum in the lives they have sailed through. Because it is not just sexual abuse; it is abuse of all kinds: physical neglect, psychological illnesses, confused consciences, depression and suicide, loss of faith in the Church, Christ and God, financial abuse of members, families and vulnerable adults; as well as exile, calumny, ostracism, lawsuits and threats for those who will not submit.
The Popes and the Vatican, after their investigation of Maciel and the Legion, chose to save the Legion of Christ religious order. Pope Francis rubber-stamped his predecessors’ conclusions.
Telling us: Maciel bad; Legion good, and asking us to believe that God used the flawed Maciel to create His Work, the Legion of Christ Catholic Religious Order and the Regnum Christi lay movement.
The Vatican did this by ignoring and/or twisting centuries of Christian Faith and Tradition which link a religious order’s validity and authenticity to the charism, holiness and inspiration of the founder.
We are asked to believe that God performed a new miracle, that the rotten tree has produced healthy fruit.
Or is it just that the business created by entrepreneur Maciel, the Legion of Christ Inc., continues to mass-produce priests, astutely recruit well-meaning Catholics, and bring in millions of dollars into the Church, an institution reeling from accusations of corruption and abuse which is losing the allegiance of thinking and discriminating members?
What if Marcial Maciel, the verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually abused little Mexican boy, who never sought or received help for his own damaged and warped psyche, became a sexual predator and manipulative exploiter with airs of grandeur, creating the myth that he was chosen by God to save the Catholic Church, Christianity and the world by founding a new and better religious order?
Maciel totally lacked self-awareness and restraint, simply acting out his sexual, controlling and ambitious appetite:. Maciel, the psychopath, the Traumatizing Narcissist, who deluded himself into thinking he was creating a religious order and not a sect to satisfy his own desires, using and abusing others in the process?
What if the Father of Deceit, and not the Holy Spirit, took possession of that damaged psyche, to create a cleverly crafted diabolical sect within the Catholic Church, endowed with the same spirit that possessed Maciel: lies, deceit, smoke-screens, spiritual pyrotechnics, control, and self-aggrandizement that would continue to wound, damage and deceive generous, idealistic and naïve people in their sexuality, self-respect, maturity, discernment, human dignity, and in their very souls?
What if Maciel was able to fool Church authorities and con them into approving his fraudulent order?
What if Church authorities have never wanted to acknowledge they were conned by Maciel and refuse to correct their mistake?
I throw down the gauntlet and challenge blind Catholic Church leaders, dazzled by glittering images, to see the deceptive “cult in their midst”!
J. Paul Lennon, LC 1961-84, Licensed Professional Counselor.