Fr. Maciel embraces Paul Lennon on November 26, 1969, just                               after Paul was ordained at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe,                         Rome

Dear Reporter:

  • The American press sometimes refers to the Legionnaires of Christ, perhaps in an allusion to the French Foreign Legion, or American Legion, and maybe because it sounds better to U.S. ears.… I believe the official name is Legion of Christ and Legionaries of Christ. The order/group, founded by Mexican Catholic seminarian  Marcial Maciel in Mexico City in 1941, sprouted a lay movement in the 1960s called Regnum Christi -along the lines of the Opus Dei movement- and, together they morphed into Regnum Christi Federation a few years ago.
  • I joined at the age of 17 in Dublin in 1961. I could be considered an Irish co-founder of the order, “cofounder” being a coveted title at the time. I became bilingual and bi cultural Spanish during my 23 years in the Legion, leaving in 1984 after an  altercation with then superior general Fr. Maciel. I have the honor of being one of the few members who ever dared to confront the untouchable founder in front of other members.
  • Maciel garnered the admiration of popes, especially Pope JP II, until his pedophilia and philandering were finally acknowledged by Church Hierarchy and Legion around 2005 -by which time Maciel was 85! Just imagine the decades of silence, avoidance, minimization and coverup!
  • I  have been monitoring the order since 1985, founding in the 1990s and writing the first version of my memoir in 2008 which was released more recently as A Naïve and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ.
  • ReGAIN sprung from the concern of parents, friends and former members in the late 1980s seeking to help active, exiting and former members to recover from their traumatic experience.
  • ReGAIN has published extensively about the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation since the 1990s where you will find an abundance of info/critique, perhaps the largest in the English language. Presently there are other blogs in Spanish and French that carry out the same mission: facebook’s Legioleaks, La Verdad os hará Libres, and l’énvers du décor
  • U.S. Catholic investigative reporters, Jason Berry and  Gerald Renner, were instrumental in bringing the story of Maciel, the sexual abuse of his seminarians, the secretive nature of the order,  and the founder’s  love of money and luxury to the world beyond Mexico and Spanish speaking countries to world-wide attention in the Hartford Courant in 1997, and later publishing their critique of Maciel and the Legion with  Vows of Silence (2004).
  • Don’t forget the Legion was founded by Mexican priest, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and most of the literature about it is in the Spanish language. Fr. Maciel saw the Irish as the Legion’s gateway into the USA and other English-speaking countries. Although the Legion would like to cast itself as an international organization – it is present in many countries- there has always been a strong Mexican element: most major superiors are Mexicans, followed by Spaniards, Irish and U.S., with an occasional German or Italian thrown in for good PR. Unfortunately, Legion and Regnum Christi leadership has consistently been tainted by the leaven of founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, arch abuser, conman, manipulator of conservative Catholics and popes, and a bare-faced liar.
  • ReGAIN, in principle, avoids criticizing “The Church” as we believe that the Catholic Church consists in the union of all baptized catholics, irrespective of their rank (dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, chapter 2, The People of Gd. We, thus  distinguish between the Catholic Church and the Catholic Hierarchy (LC chapter 3). In general, we also avoid criticizing “the pope”, as if he were solely responsible for every sin that every one of the billion members of the Catholic Church commits.
  • On the other hand, we hold pope, hierarchy , clergy and religious responsible for their actions and omissions, especially when it comes to grevious offenses against children and the vulnerable.
  • Together with many other Catholics, Christians, believers, and people of good will, we complain about the way the Catholic Hierarchy has failed to punish Fr. Maciel, and to investigate and censure several cult-like or coercive religious orders and movements approved by and operating freely within its boundaries.
  • ReGAIN has consistently  defended and supported all those abused  in any way by Legion founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel and Legion and Regnum Christi superiors and directors.
  • Together with many other Catholics and Christians we are becoming more aware of other forms of abuse beyond sexual and physical abuse, such as moral, psychological, spiritual and conscience abuse  which have been rampant in churches and religious groups.

APPENDIX: incomplete list of books about Maciel, Legion, Regnum in English,  Spanish, and French.

Aristegui, C. (2010). Marcial Maciel, Historia de un Criminal. Mexico City: Grijalbo.

Athié, A., Barba, J., González, F.M, (2012). La Voluntad de no saber: lo que sí se conocía sobre Maciel en los archivos del Vaticano desde 1944. Mexico City: Grijalbo.

Barranco, B., coordinador (2021). Depredadores Sagrados: Pederastia clerical en México. Mexico City: Grijalbo.

Berry, J. & Renner, G. (2004). Vows of Silence. New York: Free Press;

—– (2006). El Legionario de Cristo. Mexico City: Random House Mondadori.

—– (2011). Render unto Rome, The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church. New York: Crown Publishers. Fr. Maciel, Lord of Prosperity, pp.156-196

Erdely, J., Escalante, P., González, F., Guerrero-Chiprés, S., Mascareñas, C. & Masferrer, E. (2004). El Círculo del Poder y la Espiral del Silencio [The Circle of Power and the Spiral of Silence], La Historia Oculta del Padre Marcial Maciel y Los Legionarios de Cristo. Mexico City: Grijalbo.

Espinosa, A. (2003). El Legionario [The Legionary]. Mexico City: Grijalbo.

—–    (2014, 2nd Edit.). El Ilusionista, Marcial Maciel (The Illusionist, Marcial Maciel). Charleston, SC: Createspace

González, F. (2006). Marcial Maciel. Los Legionarios de Cristo: testimonios y documentos inéditos [Marcial Maciel, The Legion of Christ: New testimonies and documents]. Mexico: Tusquets Editores,

González Parga, F. (2012). Yo acuso al Padre Maciel y a la Legión de Cristo. Charleston, SC: Createspace. (Maciel victim; early Legionary).

Keogh, J. (20100. Driving Straight on Crooked Lines, How and Irishman found his heart and nearly lost his mind. Iveagh Lodge Press. (A well-written testimony by one of the first Irish-born LC members).

Léger, X & Nicolas, B (2013). Moi, ancien légionnaire du Christ, 7 ans dans une secte au cœur de l’Église. Paris : Flammarion. (Testimony of French LC)

Lennon, J.P. (2012, 2nd Edit). Fr. Marcial Maciel Pedophile, Psychopath and Legion of Christ Founder, From Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to Pope Benedict XVI. Charleston, SC: Createspace. (LC 1961-84)

Martínez de Velasco, J. (2002). Los Legionarios de Cristo, el nuevo ejército del Papa [The Legionaries of the Christ, the Pope’s New Army]. Madrid: La Esfera de los libros.

—– (2004). Los Documentos Secretos de los Legionarios de Cristo [The Secret Documents of the Legion of Christ]. Barcelona: Ediciones B.

Sada, E. (2018) Blackbird – A Memoir; The Story of a Woman Who Submitted to Marcial Maciel, Became Free, and Found Happiness Again. Amazon Digital Services. (Prominent recruiter of Regnum Christi ‘consecrated’ women.)

Ramírez Mota Velasco (2013). El Reino de Marcial Maciel, La Vida Oculta de la Legión y el Regnum Christi. Mexico City: Temas de Hoy. (Prominent superior of RC women)

Ruiz-Marcos, José Manuel. (2006). La orden maldita. La historia oculta de los Legionarios de Cristo [The Accursed Order, the Secret History of the Legion of Christ]. Mexico City: Editorial Planeta.

 Torres, A. (2002). La Prodigiosa Aventura de la Legión de Cristo [The Marvelous Adventure of the Legion of Christ]. Madrid: La Esfera de los libros.

—– (2004). No nos dejes caer en la Tentación, Escándalos, dinero y guerras de poder en la Iglesia española [Let us not Fall into Temptation]. Madrid: La Esfera de los libros.


Paul Lennon, MA, aka J.Paul Lennon, author


Calling all Catholics! FRAUD ALERT! “Catholics Come Home!” Please, do come home, but don’t get mugged by the Legion on the way to the Church or your home!

By ReGAIN staff and contributors
Calling all Catholics! FRAUD ALERT! “Catholics Come Home”!
Please, do come home,
but don’t get mugged by the Legion of Christ on the way to the Church or your home!
One of our researchers opened up the email today and there was a newsletter from “Catholics Come Home”. Here is a link to the “Catholics Come Home” email blast letter; it can be found advertising in the bulletins of the wealthy parishes across the USA:  Our May News Brief & How You Can Get Involved! Right next to an unctuous appeal to “God’s Grace and YOU” for money and the “please support us” button, there is this boast:  “We are excited to announce that Catholics Come Home has won another Telly Award, which honors the very best film and video productions as well as TV commercials.” It goes on to merrily state that out of 13,000 entries, “Catholics Come Home” was chosen for the honor.
But before you donate to these evangelizing (and sentimental) infomercials, there are double fraud alerts that you should know:  1) “Catholics Come Home” is a of Legion of Christ front, founded in Regnum Christi-country, Roswell, Georgia, by a Mexican woman named Yolanda, and 2) the Telly Awards are bogus, they are awards-for-cash, not merit. But there is a pretty statue that your “winning company” can get (if you’re willing to pay for it); it looks very much like the Emmy Oscar. It should be similar because the same company that makes the Oscars, also makes the Telly Award statuettes. The Telly Award works like a vanity press; it is a money making scam and publicity stunt that requires up to $400 to enter, and if you enter you win — gold, silver or bronze — and then can get a “Telly statuette” for an additional $250 and a certificate (that you will need to frame yourself) for $45. Their site claims to get @ 20,000 applications and also states that the funding for the statuettes comes from donations. If this is so, then the Telly Awards is raking in $10,000,000 (20k x $500 = $10,000,000). Not bad. Type in “Telly Awards, scam” there are plenty of Caveat emptor warnings about this “image-laundering” scheme that has become a common-place phenomenon as the Internet marketing has expanded. There are also “religious wars” where, as in this site, the ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses are blasting the “Watchtower” magazine of the JWs for purchasing a Telly Award.
Although the Catholics Come Home organization does not do direct harm — any more than Matthew Kelly or Christopher West — all tend to have less-than-right intention; they are trying to persuade people to trust the package, the advertisement/storefront. And the “package” gets paid well; Matthew Kelly makes between $20,000 and $50,000 per speaking engagement, and Christopher West has received a princely percentage of the Ascension Press (backed by Legionary money) which has advertised widely in Catholic parishes, publications and media. They are — all of them — in the pocket of a financial power using religion and good will as a respectable cover for a discredited entity; all are funded either by affiliates of the Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi or funded directly by the LC/RC directly.  “Catholics Come Home” is fraudulent on several levels — the most obvious is the “come home” appeal is like a fox inviting the chickens into the den. It is nothing but a way to get information on a new market of needy people and to channel these people and their resources to other covert LC/RC fronts within the parishes, which are usually wealthy.


And the deceit goes even deeper into a network of fraud: most are interconnected with the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, which had the financial backing and investment of Tom Monaghan, which is common knowledge, but what is less known is that Tom Monaghan (founder of Legatus as well as Ave Maria University) was a part of the original Integer business consortium that was founded by the disgraced, late founder of the Legion, Maciel himself, along with several Monterrey,Mexico and American businessmen — including Luis Garza (Previous Legion of Christ Superior General) ‘s family. It is a network of phony philanthropy. The Telly Awards serve the same function as the Acton Institute and the Cardinal Newman Society do for one another. Both Acton Institute (founded by Alejandro Garza La Guera) and Cardinal Newman Institute are also LC/RC fronts/affiliates; they give mutual image-laundering and probably money laundering as well. The Cardinal Newman Society and Acton Institute offer recognition to the top colleges and top 50 Catholic high schools.  The REAL purpose of both is to give credibility to shady activities and to spotlight the Legionary/Regnum Christi schools. There may be 40 other non-LC schools on the list and 10 that are LC/RC, but the whole exists for the recognition of the ten. The fraud-line gets even longer in the school department. The Regina Caeli Academies (hybrid home-schools) are Regnum Christi educational foundations; the director is a Regnum Christ woman. Moreover, Regina Caeli Academies toot their horns as being accredited and approved by NISAC.  NISAC is nothing but a dude and a shack in California.  NISAC is to the Regnum Christi Schools what the Telly Awards are to the Catholics Come Home organization; NISAC is not a legitimate and respected accreditation organization. It is a paid-for company that is meant to look like NAPCIS (National Association of Private Catholic Independent Schools), which is legitimate. This is what the LC/RC schools do — they create a fraudulent entity for “authority” and most people do not bother to find out if that is a legitimate organization or not — especially when ALL of the LC/RC creations copy-cat and look very much like other organizations that really are legitimate.
Universally, however, you can be sure that the little “donate buttons” are on ALL the LC/RC websites, including “Catholics Come Home”.  The existence of “Catholics Come Home” is to go after the un-churched market that knows nothing about Maciel. While we’re at it, if we are making a list of fronts, we might do another article in the future on the fraudulent missionaries, FOCUS, which belongs there too; FOCUS originated in Regnum Christi and continues to be administered and backed by Regnum Christi/Legionary members and money. Using unpaid student labor, FOCUS charges upwards of $50,000 to come to one location, and the FOCUS 990 tax information reports millions of dollars in assets. Thirty million is not bad for a grass-roots effort. Those who are supporting and promoting organizations like FOCUS, Cardinal Newman Society, Acton Institute, and Catholics Come Home usually do not know what they are doing or to whom or what this organization is connected. However, thieves tend to keep their own company, even if they try to look respectable, even likeable — rather like the “homeless” guy with a cardboard sign at the side of the road.

Curiouser and Curiouser, an Under-qualified Regnum Christi woman at Mundelein Seminary: a Trojan Horse in the City of Chicago?

“Curiouser and curiouser!”[i]

Regnum Christi full-time member (3gf) on the staff at Mundelein Seminary. Administration hires underqualified UFO

(Mundelein Seminary and University of St. Mary of the Lake)

! Miss Klein has been there for three years and tells us about her experiences:

On the seminary promotional blurb we find:

The University’s roster describes the Female Consecrated member of Regnum Christi’s (in RC jargon, 3gf) curriculum


B.A. (Developmental Pedagogy) Anahuac University, Mexico City, M.A. (Religious Sciences) Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, Rome. Studies, University of Laval, Quebec. Former Council Member and Assistant to the Dean of Studies of the Regnum Christi Community in Düsseldorf, Germany. Member of the Diocesan Council for New Communities. Human and Spiritual Directress of young women and mothers. Preached retreats and gave conferences on spirituality and human formation in Germany and France on characterology, virtues, the will and the heart. Former Prefect of Discipline for Girls and Teacher of Religious Studies in “Godwin High School” Mexico City. Former Human and Spiritual Directress for families, girls under 14 years and young women in Budapest, Hungary.>

My intention is not to quarrel with nice Patricia Klein. It is merely to question her credentials and the judgment of her superiors and those who hired her. And in so doing show up the home grown and almost incestuous nature of Regnum Christi “formation” as well as the members’ limited and flawed training or education.

At first glance it seems to me that all her training has taken place in Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi institutions. She has received no “outside” training or influence. Let us just examine the curriculum above. (Always a good thing to do with any Legion or Regnum related material)

  • Her BA is from the Anahuac University, founded by Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, in Mexico City (or just outside the city; if I am not mistaken: Naucalpan de Juarez)
  • Her MA from the Regina Apostolorum, a Legion owned and run ecclesiastical (Catholic Church) university in Rome, Italy. And what are “Religious Sciences” she has mastered in? Looks like a very fluffy MA. So she earns her degree from the Legion/Regnum of which she is a member, which is paying for her studies, her expenses and to which she is subject!
  • Her work experience consists of: “Assistant to the Dean of Studies, Regnum Christi Community, Düsseldorf, Germany.” That is, she is assistant to another member of the Regnum Christi in a Regnum Christi house.
  • Member of Diocesan Council for New Communities: seems like she represented the RC community on that council. Here at least she would occasionally be “outside the community” for a few hours and maybe make contact with nuns, priests and lay people not associated with the RC.
  • “Human and Spiritual Directress of young women and mothers” This would appear to be her “apostolate”, spiritual work as an active member of the Regnum Christi; probably means she counseled singles and married women (or single mothers) about their spiritual and moral lives and life decisions, while trying to persuade them to join, or stay in, the RC.
  • Where did she get her training in Human and Spiritual Direction? Did she just pick it up along the way from her own “spiritual directors”?  Did she receive any formal training in this profession and art? Where? How? When? Was it always within the confines of the LC/RC? I, personally, don’t believe you can perform such a delicate activity without specific formal training; and certainly not on the strength of a non-clinical BA in Developmental Pedagogy.
  • “Preached retreats and gave conferences on spirituality and human formation in Germany and France on characterology, virtues, the will and the heart.” I surmise she gave these retreats to young people the Regnum Christi was trying to recruit or to other junior members of the Regnum Christi. Once more we have in-house activities without any substantial contact or interaction with the “outside world.” (As if she were a contemplative nun).
  • “Former Prefect of Discipline for Girls and Teacher of Religious Studies in “Godwin High School” Mexico City” The Godwin is one of the first schools for girls founded by the Regnum Christi females under the guidance of Fr. Marcial Maciel. What we have here is clear: she performed the common tasks of any other full time member of the Regnum Christi.
  • “Former Human and Spiritual Directress for families, girls under 14 years and young women in Budapest, Hungary.” Once again we have Patricia performing the normal activities of a Regnum Christi member: delivering “spiritual direction” to prospective or active members of the Regnum Christi lay movement. Nothing special.
  • What I am trying to say is that I find this young woman without the necessary education and training to be on the staff of a prestigious religious institution like Mundelin Seminary.
  • Her job description: Associate Dean of Formation, Coordinator of Peace and Justice/Gospel of Life Committee, Coordinator, March for Life
  • How did she get in? Who hired her? Why? “Associate Dean of Formation” What formation? Did the administration want to have a “safe, non-threatening woman” working with the seminarians and helping them to keep their vocation?
  • This could lead to some ranting and raving on my part when I remember Fr. Maciel’s ghost-written Integral Formation of Catholic Priests[ii] and Pope John Paul II (captivated by Maciel) who made the Legion of Christ a priest training order and allowed them to build that triumphalist Pontifical Athenaeum, Regina Apostolorum, Queen of Apostles, in Rome. But I will refrain, chastened by fear of a Legion lawsuit against me.
  • Where in the LC/RC did she learn about “Peace and Justice”? The LC/RC usually avoids social issues or anything that could upset the rich and powerful. Will she get behind the poor? Will she support illegal immigrants and march for a just wage? Will she cross over? Will her contact with the seminarians, other staff and civilians humanize her and awaken her feelings?
  • Maybe in some strange, paradoxical and mysterious way Patricia will shuffle off her pseudo identity and find her real self, made in the image and likeness of God, free and fearless.
  • That is my prayer.
  • As in issues related to the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, when you take a closer look, it just gets curiouser and curiouser.”Do not be deceived by appearances, by the Glittering Images[iii]. Stop. Doubt. Question. Ask for answers. Stay until you get them. Bow to no holy priest…or to any full time consecrated RC!
  • A comment has planted an evil thought in my twisted mind: What is the Regnum Christi/Legion of Christ’s Intention in having this member planted in the seminary?
  • To recruit the seminarians of an important American Catholic diocese for the Regnum Christi Movement?
  • To familiarize herself (and her superiors) with the list of rich Catholic families and institutions which support this august institution? – A veritable Trojan Horse in the City of God?

[i] Cried

Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).” Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland.



Is the Regnum Christi Movement a “Safe Religious Community”?

Safe Religious Communities

By ReGAIN staff

What are the guidelines to use to evaluate whether or not a particular religious group may be considered “safe” in the sense that a leader or groups of leaders do not exploit or take advantage of its own members to serve some hidden agendas?

In the latest issue of ICSA Today, the International Cultic Studies Association has published an article about safe religious communities.

The author, Neil C Damgaard, defines safety (for members of religious communities) as “the practice and sense of security, freedom and respect as one is joined and engaged with a particular social system or a specific group.”

He explains that in healthy religious communities God’s grace flows outward from Him, through His people, to the general community.  In unsafe religious groups, instead of grace there exist “control, undue influence, harshness, legalism and other unhealthy maladies.”  Such practices damage and injure people even though the groups and their leaders espouse theological orthodoxy.  Discernment is required to distinguish between two groups that may appear to have similar beliefs yet one is healthy and the other is damaging.

Mr. Damgaard provides an example of a pastor of a religious group who was a gifted speaker but was highly controlling and legalistic.  As a result of the leader’s manipulations, fifty of his group became damaged and hurting and they left the organization.  The leader called the group of fifty “trouble-makers”.

The article describes a number of basic features that a potential member or family member can use to assist in discerning whether the group’s members are in or would be in a safe and healthy environment.

Following is our summary of some of the things to look for based on the above article:

  1. Generally Relaxed Environment – Is there a rigid dogmatic legalistic uptight atmosphere or are people free to enjoy a spirit of lightheartedness where people are able to express joy and to laugh?
  2. Regarding essential elements of the religious denomination, are there clear distinctions made between primary, secondary and tertiary doctrinal priorities or do members feel that they are obliged to consider all of the group’s teachings as absolutely and equally essential?
  3. Are members allowed and encouraged to question group’s teachings and is there an openness to have intelligent discussion about anything they may feel uncomfortable about?
  4. Is there an environment where forgiveness is normally expected to be offered or are there ongoing grudges?
  5. Is there a healthy sharing of power among the group leaders?
  6. Is there a healthy balance of power between the leaders and members of the group?
  7. Are there periodic changes of individual leaders in different levels of authority in the group or is there an individual or small group who retain tight control?
  8. Are the group leaders open to sincere and honest questions from the members in a transparent manner and is there any withholding of information?
  9. Is there a good balance of formality and informality in the group and allowance for humor?
  10. Is there genuine friendliness with strangers?
  11. Is there excessive focus on expanding membership (and fund raising)?
  12. Is there a healthy relationship with the parent organization, (e.g. the local parishes)?
  13. Are members free to leave without undue pressure to remain?

The author concludes with a caution to watch out for legalism, a feeling of being report-carded, excessive monitoring of accountability, heavy handed authority or oligarchy (concentration of power with a small elite group).

We encourage those interested in this topic to read the entire article for a more accurate presentation of the information covered.


ReGAIN Comment

Considering the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi (especially the 3gf consecrated) two questions come to our minds as we read the I.C.S.A. article.

During the decades when Fr. Marcial Maciel was in control, were his organizations safe and healthy?

Since the appointment of a Vatican delegate and a renewal, are these organizations safe and healthy for their members today?

The first of these questions is easy to answer based on the hundreds of articles on this website and the many articles written by credible authors over the years.  ReGAIN and other websites were started and some have continued because of concerns about what we and many ex members and some Catholic Church leaders consider unhealthy and unsafe conditions for members.  Our primary concerns are based on what we believe to be the loss of free will and the excessive level of dependence required for the Legionary priests and the consecrated members of Regnum Christi.

We are aware of the psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse many of them have suffered and the sexual abuse that some former members experienced when they were very young from the very founder of both organizations.  The abuses were carried out within a secretive, isolated and militaristic environment.

Since the Vatican became directly involved, we recognize that there have been some improvements in the conditions.  Consecrated members are now allowed to have more time with their family members. The number of written rules and the rigidity of following those rules have decreased.  Members receive their mail unopened.  We are aware that there are other changes being considered.

We continue to have a high level of concern regarding the freedom of mind and the independence of consecrated members and can offer several of our reasons as follows:

In our opinion, neither the Legion nor Regnum Christi has ever existed primarily to serve God and humanity.  Because of the good intentions of individual members, there are some good fruits that happen but we believe that the fundamental purpose of the upper echelon of leaders has to do with money and power for themselves.  One obvious indication of this is the huge accumulation of wealth that has been reported by Jason Berry and other writers in Grupo Integer, the financial wing of the Legion.  If the primary purpose was to do good then there would be more to show for the enormous amounts of fund raising associated with the Legion.

Until the Vatican intervened, we believe that the Legion showed little if any initiative or strong desire to have more freedom for their members.  The Legion/Regnum cooperated with the Vatican because if they wanted to continue as Catholic organizations they were forced to.

In the years between when the senior leaders of the Legion discovered about their founder’s secret lives, they chose to pretend that he was a saint and continued to encourage their members to believe he was a living saint.  They treated outside critics as “evil detractors” and discredited them in various ways.

During the years of scandal and uncertainty they kept on recruiting new members as if there was nothing wrong.

The Vatican commissioner’s limited scope of work was primarily to oversee the writing and approval of new constitutions.  The commissioner’s expertise was in canon law and financial matters.  His primary role was not to investigate and reform the cultic methodology and structure.  Some improvements have been made that resulted from his review of the regulations but we question whether there is a strong will among the leaders to make the types of changes needed to truly create a safe and healthy environment.

Does Pope Francis really Understand the Legion/Regnum Christi Phenomenon?

Dear Readers,
ReGAIN appreciates your interest in the previous article highlighting Pope Francis’ comments regarding the Fr. Maciel/Legion of Christ phenomenon. The present article is a probing commentary follow up.
The first investigation of the Founder in the years 1956-59 ended with Fr. Maciel’s reinstatement as General Director in ambiguous circumstances: the interregnum between the death of Pope Pius XII and the installation of Pope John XXIII. More recently, after Fr. Maciel’s death in 2008 at the age of 88, the Legion revealed that he had committed many sins/crimes and lived a double life. These revelations shocked many Catholics, including members of the Legion of Christ religious order and its Regnum Christi lay movement; a good number left and that time and the bleeding continues.
The outcry spurred a second Vatican “visitation”/investigation which later led to a period of Vatican oversight led by Cardinal Velasio de Paolis and an effort to “renew” the institution founded by the depraved founder. When interviewed about the Maciel case Pope Benedict XVI decried the founder’s sins but decided that the Legion was worth “saving.” In a nutshell that is the watershed moment. To confirm this notice how the words used in Vatican documents always used the term “renewal” and never “reform” of the Legion of Christ. So this fundamental decision by Pope Benedict would mark the whole Vatican “intervention” with the Legion: many superiors, trained and hand-picked by Maciel, were allowed to stay in the posts. There was some slight re-shuffling of certain superiors organized by the Vatican Delegate and the Legion superiors, but no disciplining or holding accountable for collusion with the corrupt founder during his more than sixty years at the head of the Legion.

It is difficult to understand why the Assistant Superior General, Fr. Luis Garza, was removed from key posts and sent to Mexico. Could it be that there he could be closer to his rich family and to the Legion’s riches? Some important figures during the Maciel administration, his lackeys and hatchet men, were sent away from the USA -where they might be sued- and sent to “safer” places such as Ireland, Rome, Mexico and South America…De Paolis and the Legion superiors chose too Maciel clones, Frs. Corcuera and Robles Gil -originally handpicked by Maciel to found the Regnum Christi youth section- to lead the renewal and the new Legion.

It appears that the Legionaries’ anxious period of Vatican oversight is coming to an end with the successful conclusion of the Extraordinary General Chapter and culminating with the approval of their new constitutions. Pope Francis signed off on those constitutions.
Mexican reporter Valentina Alazraki’s interview with Pope Francis brought up some of the old doubts about the Pope and the Vatican’s intervention of the Legion of Christ. Pope Francis distanced himself from Maciel and the Legion of Christ and “defended” Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XIV’s actions. All of this in a wide-ranging and almost casual conversation with allowed Pope Francis to be very vague and slide away from unpleasant issues. This writer expressed his opinion in a brief introduction to the interview’s Spanish language version. It said:
“As ReGAIN has so much interest in this subject, we want to say a couple of words about the Pope’s comments. Our first impression is that the Holy Father does not totally comprehend the full malice of Father Maciel and the disastrous effects he and the men formed by him have had on others. Those of us who have been close to the (sexual, psychological, physical and spiritual) victims have the feeling that the Pope (and his predecessors) just don’t get it.
It is just not enough to say that Fr. Maciel was “a very ill person” a pedophile or a pan-sexual abuser; or that he was “an enigmatic figure” with “a life out of moral bounds,” as Benedict XVI described him in Light of the World. J. Paul Lennon has written the only English profile of the personality of the founder (Marcial Maciel, Pedophile, Psychopath and…  In Spanish, Fernando Gonzalez produced an in-depth study of the personality, history of Maciel and the Legion: .

So there remains a profound question to be answered: how could such a corrupt, destructive, psychopathic person, totally lacking in faith, hope and charity found a religious order? Critical minds remain unconvinced by Church leaders’ “Deus ex machina” answer: Maciel bad, Legion of Christ good; “God writes straight on crooked lines.” “God can use an unworthy instrument to create His Work.” That is all well and good, if we can stretch our puny faith another mile. As educated and thinking Catholics we posit that both Benedict and Francis fail to grasp the depth of Maciel’s depravity and deceit and by so doing avoid radical questions and actions regarding the nature of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.

At the risk of scandalizing our Catholic readers we request from our leaders a review of the late and lukewarm intervention of Church authorities in this case. Sadly, Pope Francis’ vagueness and hesitations seem like an effort to justify his predecessor’s omissions,” (writer later adde): “lack of oversight, due diligence and vigor in getting to the bottom of the Maciel/Legion murky mystery”.
These considerations lead to scary derivations:
• Could it be that three popes and their entourage were also deceived by the incredible con-man who portrayed himself as the founder of a new and healthy religious order? At this juncture there comes to mind the suggestion that Maciel’s powers of manipulation and deceit were well-nigh diabolical!
• If the popes and Vatican department were misled regarding the authenticity of the Maciel/Legion charisma, could they have erroneously approved the order in 1948, thus putting papal infallibility in jeopardy?
• Or, more fundamentally, is the Pope infallible when he decides to approve a religious order?
• More pointedly, did the pope/Vatican err in approving the Legion of Christ when Maciel played games with Vatican authorities and manipulated the bishop of Cuernavaca into canonically erecting the order back in 1948?


One reader, wise2, made the following comment to the previously posted Spanish language article which gives another twist to the discussion:
from your comments here, I’m not sure if you get it.
The issue is not so much how could Fr. Maciel found this order, but it is the profound effect of Maciel on the Legion and how that effect is being propagated in the heart of the Church around the world, including a few minutes from where I live. It seems so much easier to talk about Maciel and not Maciel’s effect on this order. The scandal that nobody is mentioning is thousands times larger than anyone, even you, apparently, will even talk about. The stones are crying out!”

Translation of Introduction to original Spanish language article:
Teniendo ReGAIN tanto interés y conocimiento del tema, nos permitimos dos palabras sobre los comentarios del Papa. La primera impresión de nuestros editores es que el Santo Padre no se percata de toda la malicia y los estragos causados por el Padre Maciel y por los hombres formados personalmente por él. A los que estamos cerca de las victimas del Padre Maciel y de los superiores legionarios nos da la impresión de que, como dicen los norteamericanos, “He just doesn’t get it.” No basta decir que el Padre Maciel fuera una persona “enferma” ni que fuera sólo un pederasta. Y queda por resolver la pregunta básica: ?Como pudo un hombre tan corrupto, tan destructor de vidas, un verdadero psicópata, y totalmente carente de fe, esperanza y caridad fundar una congregación religiosa? A nuestro humilde parecer como creyentes católicos sostenemos que tanto Benedicto como Francisco se quedan cortos y rehúyen de los interrogantes radicales y profundos acerca del fenómeno de la Legión de Cristo y del Regnum Christi. Esperamos no escandalizar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas al reclamar a nuestros líderes una revisión de la tardía y tibia actuación de las autoridades en el caso Maciel/Legión. Es muy triste constatar que el Papa Francisco parece estar justificando a sus predecesores su falta de vigilancia y vigor en el caso Maciel y no reconocer que ellos también fueron víctimas de su engaño.
Traducción castellana del comentario hecho en inglés:
Estimado Editor,
Por lo que Ud. escribe yo no estoy seguro que Ud. tampoco comprende de lo que se trate. El problema no es cómo pudo Maciel fundar la orden sino el efecto profundo que Maciel dejó en la Legión y cómo esos efectos siguen propagándose en el corazón de la Iglesia por todo el mundo, incluso a poca distancia de donde vivo yo. Como que es mucho más fácil hablar de Maciel mismo y no sobre su efecto en la orden. El escándalo que calla todo el mundo es mil veces más grande de lo que nadie, inclusive Ud., quiere abordar. !Las mismas piedras están clamando!
1. Editor
March 16, 2015 at 1:17 pm Edit
wise2, Tell us more. We find you comment well taken.