Pope Signals Legion of Christ Reform to Continue

No true reform is possible when a religious order's founder has been so discredited and when the essential spirit guiding it is so undefined (Nicole Winfield ) Associated Press

Pope Francis issued a letter made public, stating that the election of new leadership and revisions to constitutions (expected in early 2014) would be fundamental steps in the path towards authentic and profound renewal

Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press has issued an article regarding the progress of reform process Click Here

The Associated Press story notes that the Pope's wording indicates that the reform project will hardly end next year and that these events are just one step in the process. Nicole Winfield comments that many Legionary priests have departed after becoming disillusioned with Cardinal De Paolis' efforts and they are convinced that no true reform is possible when a religious order's founder has been so discredited and when the essential spirit guiding it is so undefined, adding that many of the leaders who covered up Maciel's crimes, or their proteges, are still in positions of power.

Pope Francis has confirmed that Cardinal DePaolis' term will end after the 2014 general chapter and that will be before the reform of the Regnum Christi lay branch has been completed.

Former Regnum Christi member Genevieve Kineke was quoted as saying that the reform process had been cosmetic at best and never addressed the key question of the cult-like dynamic that created the problems in the first place adding that the same duplicity is so deeply embedded in the congregation that they can proceed in no other way

ReGAIN Comment

There have been a number of preliminary indications that Pope Francis will be taking an active interest and personal involvement in overseeing the situation in 2014, immediately following the General Chapter. We certainly hope this proves to be the case and that those who have blocked an authentic reform process will be held accountable.

There is a tremendous potential source of talent and resources available to the Church if these could be directed toward genuine and inspired spiritual objectives.

Correction and Apology Re Story About Father Peter Byrne Departing From Legion After Being Banned From Visiting Mexico – He Did Not Leave the Legion

ReGAIN was misinformed regarding the departure of Father Peter Byrne from the Legionaries of Christ. Father Byrne has sent an email asking where the information about his departure had come from and stating that he was unaware that he had left.

ReGAIN has always attempted to stick to the facts and in this case our source of information was wrong about Father Byrne departing from the Legion.

We apologize to Father Byrne for any inconvenience this may have caused.

ReGAIN contacted Father Peter Byrne and he included the following statements in his response:My situation is that I have been a dissident inside the Legion for the last 3 years. I have written and challenged many of the practices and decisions. I believe that the Legion (and indeed the Church) needs to look at the Maciel case and do a proper investigation……..

Some of those letters have been leaked into the public domain (I did not ask or tell anyone to do it for me).

So at present I am a Legionary and I would ask REGAIN to mention that as a correction.

We hope that the issues raised in Father Byrne's letter will be addressed and we support him in his desire for positive changes.

Following is the corrected article, exactly as it was written on May 8, but with any reference to him having left the Legion deleted:

Father Peter Byrne, LC, a long time Legionary priest recently wrote to his superiors and fellow Legionaries sharing his frustration and distress after his plans to travel to Mexico were denied. He had intended to give conferences to parents about formation of children and to pick up some information for his doctorate. According to the letter, which is available in English at Click Here or in Spanish at Click Here he states that the Legionary powers felt that his presence might perturb the communities because of the letter that he wrote regarding the sale of the UNID university.

Father Byrne had publicly and privately requested implementation of positive changes in the Legion, including justice for Maciel's victims, conformity with the Gospel, more transparency in the government and finances, co-responsibility and accountability, investigation and publication of true story of the founder, Father Marcial Maciel and exclusion of racism, deceit and exclusion of free speech and critical thinking.

Previously, in 2010, Father Byrne had written a letter to the Legion Director General Alvaro Corcuera, denouncing the worship that was being paid to the Legion founder even after instructions for the Vatican to remove his photos. Father, Byrne had also requested that Father Maciel's remains be relocated from the main altar at the chapel in Cotija to one of the sides.

Father Byrne was critical of the Legion in his letter, saying that it is the same old Legion that did not listen to Father Maciel's victims. He referred to those who had covered up for the founder continuing to visit communities and to preach retreats.

ReGAIN Comment:

Father Byrne's comments in his letter indicate the futility of expecting real positive changes to come out of the current reform process, which has now had several years to change old attitudes.

One would expect that changes such as those proposed by Father Byrne would be part of the reform process being carried out by the Legionary hierarchy with oversight from the Vatican Commissioner.

A request for justice does not seem to be an unreasonable request and that is certainly in harmony with the Catholic faith. It should a no - brainer to expect conformity with the Gospels. There is certainly nothing unreasonable in any of the above valid suggestions proposed by Father Byrne and he should have a right to express his opinions. However, in keeping with the old style Legionary policies, daring to voice such concerns is considered reason to ban Father Byrne from visiting the place where he lived for years and where he wished to continue his studies.

Irish Times “What Will The New Pope Do About The Legion Scandal?”

As world attention focused on the Vatican and the selection of the new Pope, Tony Flannery of the Irish Times Click Here raises one of the key issues that will be in his in-basket What to do about the Legion scandal?

The article points out that amidst the various power struggles and dysfunction inside the Vatican, someone will have to deal with the unanswered questions that keep arising about the Legion founder’s relationship with various members of the Vatican establishment.

Tony Flannery asks why Pope John Paul II heaped praise on Father Maciel, commending him as an ideal example of priesthood for young Legionary priests as he ordained them in 2004. Pope John Paul II had once held Father Maciel up as an efficacious example for young people to follow. This was in spite of the fact that there had been a previous Vatican investigation into the Legion founder’s life decades previously and there had been credible claims of sexual abuse by the founder that had been widely publicized.

According to the article, Father Maciel poured enormous amounts of money into the Vatican and he was close to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, one of the most powerful men in the Vatican. Tony Flannery says that people want to know how Father Maciel could continue to be welcomed and honoured by Pope John Paul II and the curia long after it became clear that there were at the very least serious concerns about him. The article identifies that John Paul II, whose health was failing either was familiar with the claims against Father Maciel and in spite of that chose to publicly honour him or was ignorant of the facts and ill advised by those who should have warned him to prevent him from being associated with a scandal in the making at the time.

ReGAIN Comment

Mr. Flannery has asked some pointed questions that will be difficult to answer but that cannot be deferred indefinitely if the case for John Paul II’s sainthood is to proceed to a conclusion.

There is no more devil’s advocate but the press and other media seem to be fulfilling this role. Victims’ groups such as S.N.A.P. are receiving more publicity. Father Maciel’s victims, who valiantly persevered in proclaiming their experiences as the Legionary leaders and powerful friends of the Legion branded them as liars were finally discovered to be telling the truth.

People have the right to know the truth. Was the well-loved Pope John Paul II deliberately misinformed about the credible claims of sexual abuse and other aspects of the Legionary founder’s secret life and if so by whom and when will justice be served?

In the meantime, Father Maciel from his grave continues to cast a dark shadow over John Paul II because of the close association between the two men that energized the incredible growth in numbers of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. The only way to clear the good name of John Paul II regarding his relationship with Marcial Maciel would be to let people know who might have misinformed him.

Comment To The Irish Times Article On The Marcial Maciel Scandal Affecting Benedict’s And Church’s Legacy

Ireland: Beware of the leaven of Father Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ order and the Regnum Christi movement!

Fellow Irish men and women,

From across the seas I would like to focus your attention on the Legion of Christ which is mentioned/featured in the article we are commenting. Despite the Founder’s disgraceful life and the constant pattern of deceit marking the Order since its inception in Ireland around 1960, many parents allow their children to join Fr. Maciel’s Legion’s Lay Branch, the Regnum Christi, whose goal is to infiltrate the upper echelons of society with Catholic ethos.

The Regnum (Kingdom) is more subtle, secretive, and insidious than the Opus Dei and that is why it flies under the radar with youth movements such as Challenge, Conquest, and other apparently harmless spiritual groups, activities, and retreats.

Let us not forget Fr. Maciel’s censure by Pope Benedict (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051900247.html ) and the ongoing reform of the group ordered by the pope (http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1001848.htm ). Caveat Emptor, put your foot down, and do not let your children get involved with this cult-like organization.

Moreover, see the Legion/Regnum featured in several cult-watch organizations such as Steven Hassan’s (http://www.freedomofmind.com/ ), Rick Ross’ (http://www.rickross.com/ ), and the International Cultic Studies Association (http://www.icsahome.com/ ). On the latter web page you will find at least one Paul Lennon article legally silenced by the nice Legionaries. ReGAIN,INC (www.regainnetwork.org)contains many cautionary testimonies regarding the Legion of Christ, the Regnum Christi Movement and some of its fronts. Life-after-Regnum Christi blog (http://www.life-after-rc.com/) contains up to date information with a critical eye from a Catholic perspective.

J. Paul Lennon, MA, STL

Legionaries of Christ Sued for $1 Million

According to the Courthouse News, Click Here the Legionaries of Christ and their affiliated entities are being sued based on charges that they used undue influence to persuade a dying man to change his will so that the Legion would get most of his estate valued at approximately $ 1 million.

Paul Chu of Connecticut claims that his father, James Boa-Teh Chu originally intended to leave all of his estate to his only son Paul but was coerced by Legion emissaries into changing his will while his health and mental capacity was declining. Paul Chu claims that his father would never have made donations nor named the Legionaries as the beneficiary of his assets had he known about their founder’s misconduct.

Members of the Legion visited Paul Chu’s father during a period when Father Marcial Maciel’s life was under investigation for grave improprieties. The family suspected that the purpose of the visits from the Legion were not to provide pastoral care but to look after their own interests (i.e. getting the man?s money).

The article mentions that The Legionaries pattern of exploitive fund raising activities in the United States has been subject to scrutiny including in the diocese of Baltimore and other areas.
Paul Chu is seeking return of the one million dollars that he feels should belong to him and he is also asking for $ 10 million in punitive damages for undue influence and fraud.

ReGAIN Comment :

Once again, this case serves to demonstrate what we believe is the true primary purpose (as established by the founder) for the Legion?s existence.

There are similarities between this case and that of Mrs. Gabrielle Mee and her estate. The Legion reportedly made efforts to prevent the facts from that case from being made public by the news media. There were claims that Mrs. Mee was isolated in her declining years from outsiders after details about Father Maciel’s secret life had been publicized to prevent her from knowing the truth (and possibly revising her will accordingly).

Some of us long for the good old days when the priests came to visit the terminally ill and most of us believed that they were there primarily to administer the sacraments and to help guide the dying person towards everlasting peace and happiness.

We wonder if the bishops involved in these cases and other members of the hierarchy are noticing such cases. If there are no consequences for what seems to be happening here a day may come when other well intentioned priests find they are unwelcome to minister to the sick and dying because relatives no longer trust their intentions.

Legion Lawyer Appeals to Keep Mrs. Mee Case Facts Hidden From Public View

According to an Associated Press article by David Keppler, Click Here Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein has called the public’s rights to fully scrutinize the facts about Mrs. Mee’s case paramount. Several major news media outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times, The Providence Journal and the National Catholic Reporter had requested the unsealing of the documents from the legal suit filed by Mrs. Mee’s niece, Mary Lou Dauray, who believed that her aunt had been defrauded by the Legion into leaving her fortune to them. Shortly after the Judge’s ruling about unsealing the documents, the Legion filed a motion to block their release. ReGAIN had reported this case Continue reading “Legion Lawyer Appeals to Keep Mrs. Mee Case Facts Hidden From Public View”