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.

Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: The Unspeakable Scandals of the Legionaries of Christ

Upon discovering the Pandora Papers on October 3, the most passionate about the news of the Catholic Church were surprised to come across the name of the Legionaries of Christ. This holy family, involved in a vast financial package, is involved in one of the biggest scandals in the field. For several decades, multiple accusations of pedophile sexual assault have been brought against members of the Legion of Christ, made up of about 900 priests and present in Europe, America and Asia

Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: The Unspeakable Scandals of the Legionaries of Christ

Vanity Fair   

October 6, 2021
Quoted in the Pandora Papers, the congregation of the Legion of Christ has been immersed in dark affairs for several decades. At the heart of one of the biggest scandals of the Catholic Church: Marcial Maciel, its founder, whose actions have been repeatedly pointed out.
A founder in turmoil

Their actions were covered up for a long time before the scandal really broke out in the 2000s, more precisely after the death of the founder of the congregation, Marcial Maciel, in 2008. The Mexican priest resigned in 2006 after several accusations of sexual assault committed between 1956 and 1997. The man had been implicated in 1948 and briefly suspended the time of the opening of an investigation, stopped by the death of Pius XII. After regaining his functions thanks to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, all the allegations against him in Mexico were automatically relegated to the rank of slander.

Marcial Maciel.

Many years later, in 1998, eight members of the Legion of Christ denounced his actions in the 1950s and 1960s on victims between the ages of 11 and 16. After a vast investigation by Benedict XVI, the Holy See ordered in 2006 the withdrawal of Marcial Maciel who was asked to “lead a withdrawn existence in prayer and penance.” This existence turned out to be full of secrets, some details of which were revealed shortly after his death in 2008. The New York Times then explained in its columns how the founder of the Legion of Christ had led a double life in which he had several identities, managed an immense fortune in all opacity and raised his own daughter. “Poverty, obedience, chastity”. The vows pronounced by each Legionary of Christ before committing themselves apparently had no place in the life led by Marcial Maciel.

At least 175 minors abused

These revelations were truly publicly acknowledged in 2010. An investigation by the Legion of Christ concluded that Marcial Maciel had indeed committed “acts of sexual abuse of minor seminarians” and said he regretted not having believed the people who had testified before. The same year, the congregation underwent a profound overhaul as part of its trusteeship by the Vatican, determined to take the subject head on. Apart from Father Maciel, other priests have been incriminated in this case, such as the French episcopal vicar Pierre Dufour, sentenced to 15 years in prison for “rape and sexual assault” – who had admitted his actions on at least a dozen young adults for several years – and Henri Le Bras for acts committed in the late 1990s.

Le pape François a déclaré en 2019 qu’il comptait faire de la lutte contre les agressions sexuelles dans l’Église catholique l’une de ses priorités.

 VATICAN POOL – CORBIS

In 2019, a new report reported at least 175 minors who were sexually assaulted by priests of the same congregation from 1941 to 2019, at least 60 of whom were attributed to Marcial Maciel. If these acts are recognized, their instigators are still present in the ranks of the Legion of Christ. At least in part. We learned then, still in the same report, that 18 of the 33 religious accused of pedophilia were still in office, but had nevertheless been excluded from tasks related to minors. More importantly, half of the perpetrators were themselves victims of the same abuses. “In this sense, it is emblematic that 111 minors abused in the Congregation were victims of Father Maciel, one of his victims or a victim of his victims,” the report reads. That same year, Pope Francis made the fight against sexual assault in the Catholic Church one of his priorities.

The extent of the suffering inflicted by these clerics is revealed at the rate of the publication of new reports. The last one, dating from March 2021, revealed new figures and the identity of 27 priests. Among them, “two have died without trial, sixteen have been sanctioned, eight are currently in canonical trial and one has received a dispensation from the ministry without trial.”

More broadly, the Ciase (Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church) delivered a report on October 5 led by Jean-Marc Sauvé, former vice-president of the Council of State. His conclusion is alarming: in 70 years, there are 216,000 victims of sexual abuse by clerics and 3,000 predator priests.

Part One: The Legion of Christ  Continues to Avoid Compensating Victims of Sexual Abuse by its Founder, Father Marcial Maciel, LC.

The Legion of Christ  Continues to Avoid Compensating Victims of Sexual Abuse by its Founder, Father Marcial Maciel, LC.

One year ago, the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation proudly published  its chapter documents “Conversion and Repair”, “Protect and Heal” and the “Report of Abuse…” [i] in which it formally promised to compensate  the  victims for the damages  of sexual abuse suffered  at the hands of founder, Father Marcial Maciel, LC.

Today we want to inform the public what has become of such   words, documents and  promises: that in fact  the Legion of Christ, as represented by Father  Robles Gil and Regnum Christi Federation, Fr.  John Connor, have once again de facto  answered:   “NO”, “NO, WE WILL NOT” to the historical victims.  Another year has gone by WITHOUT EFFECTIVE  REPARATION.

WHAT DID THE HISTORICAL VICTIMS DEMAND OF DIRECTOR GENERAL (Father John Connor) AT THE MEETING THEY HAD A YEAR AGO?

  1. That the LC/RC publish an apology in the same media in which victims were falsely accused and unjustly libeled in 1997, so as to repair their good name, reputation and that of the relatives inheriting their name. That it be declared unambiguously  that they were not conspirators, that they were telling the truth; that the Legion’s false accusation had caused them to lose their jobs, and/or effected their careers, income, relationships, friendships and even families for decades after.

HOW DID THE LEGION OF CHRIST RESPOND? IN THE NEGATIVE:

“We will not publish anything in major newspapers or with international reach, and less in the Hartford Courant.” (newspaper in which the Legion published the false accusations and documents against Maciel’s accusers  in 1997.)

  1. That a team of six be chosen -three by the LC and three by the victims- to determine together the extent of damage the LC had caused them, and reach an agreement on just

 HOW DID THE LEGION OF CHRIST RESPOND? IN THE NEGATIVE

At  said meeting, a Legion priest representative  pulled out his pocket calculator in front of them, maid calculation re Mexican minimum wages, and offered 450,000 pesos approx. ($22,500  UScy)  to each victim to repair decades of international abuse, harm, and  defamation.  The Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation demanded they sign a Confidentiality Agreement  (mug order) as a requirement to continue deliberations.

  1. José Barba, PhD, who had legal representation, requested in writing from the Director General that any communication or communication relevant to deliberations go through him, Barba, their representative.

HOW DID THE LEGION OF CHRIST RESPOND?

Saying “OF COURSE,”,  BUT PROCEDING TO DO THE OPPOSITE!

The present Director (Superior) General of the institution, Father John Connor,  personally and directly, approached several victims, going over the head of legal representative, José Barba, and secretly offering them  $5,000  UScy individually  – “not as compensation but as an Easter Egg Gift” (sic). With this treacherous strategy, Fr. Connor effectively split the group of plaintiffs and weakened their position.

Where in the Name of God is the honest good will of this apparently bone fide Catholic religious order? One cannot help wondering now:

IS THE LEGION/REGNUM WAITING FOR VICTIMS TO DIE OFF AND THE PROBLEM TO GO AWAY?

The Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi waiting game continues. The eighty-year-old victims are dying: Fernando Pérez Olvera Esq in 2020 and Father Félix Alarcón  Hoyos in 2021. To protect its public image, the institution helped to defray costs of their  terminal illness and funeral expenses. BUT IT HAS NOT COMPENSATED THEM in the proper and agreed manner. The group’s de facto consistent priority is, as in other questionable groups, recruitment of the young and vulnerable together with fund-raising to train recruits, expand its projects, and promote its image.

If things go on like this, will the LC/RC ever honor its obligations to the remaining victims and to the deceased’s dependents?

Hopefully,  they will not answer the same as always: “What can be done after such a long time. But don’t worry. We will pray for you.”

Support Network of  Victims of Sexual Abuse by Founder of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC

February 26, 2021

 

 

[i] https://legionariosdecristo.org/

[i] https://legionariosdecristo.org/tag/conversion-y-reparacion/

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