Legion of Christ plays cat and mouse with Pedophile Founder’s Victims once again

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Besides Pope Francis acknowledging his misjudgment of Chilean clergy sexual abuse, the other major Catholic news of the week has been a letter sent by Legion of Christ sexual abuse victims demanding Legion of Christ leaders acknowledge and compensate them once and for all. As the reader will see, the primary thrust of the demand is not money but formal and specific recognition of their suffering as well as acknowledgement and reparation of the Legion’s neglect and defamation of the victims together with Legion’s internal information control (vis-à-vis their members) regarding the full effects of the founders’ crimes.

The victims’ letter to the Legion of Christ General Chapter meeting in Rome was originally ignored but strong coverage by Associate Press, the general media and Catholic sources such as the Catholic News Service put the leaders’ feet to the fire and they have responded in a communication couched in the most cautious and legalistic terms.

Sequence of Events:

  • Maciel survivors send letter[i] by various means to all members of Legion Chapter General meeting in Rome: [ii] “From March  26  to  April  7, 2018,  the  first  part  of  the  Extraordinary  General  Chapter  of  the Legionaries of Christ will take place at the seat of the General Directorate in Rome. The second part will take place from November 19 to 24, 2018, at the same venue.”
  • The letter is not acknowledged or discussed at the Legion of Christ Extraordinary General Chapter held in Rome.
  • Receiving no response from Legion leadership, the victims release the letter to the media, spear-headed by AP[iii]. The news quickly spreads to other major world and Catholic news media, such as CNA.
  • Thereupon, Legion leadership issues a communique, through their communications officer, Fr. Aaron Smith, in Spanish and undated[iv], referring to the letter without replying to (ignoring) the Victims. We post initial paragraphs of communique, translated by out team into English so the public can catch a glimpse of Legiospeak.[v]

“LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST, INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE COMMUNIQUE

asmith@legionaries.org

+39 328 987 26 15

www.regnumchristi.org/sites/dg/

Regarding the letter sent to the Legionaries of Christ by José de Jesús Barba Martín and José Antonio Pérez Olvera, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ states the following.

  1. On March 26, the general director received a letter signed by José de Jesús Barba Martín and José Antonio Pérez Olvera, two of those who denounced Fr. Maciel´s abuses publicly in 1997, requesting that their petition be included in the General Chapter’s Agenda.
  2. The general director, after consulting with his council, presented the request to the Extraordinary General Chapter, and informed the Chapter that the general government would seek a personal rapprochement with the each one of the signers and respond to their requests.
  3. We ask forgiveness from all the victims who throughout our history have suffered any kind of abuse, knowing that this request will never be enough to heal their wounds. Regarding Fr. Maciel, the 2014 General Chapter stated:” etc.
  • ReGAIN, gathering the victims’ recent private reactions to Legion communique, comments: The Legion’s communique is riddled with inaccuracies, ambiguities and downright lies: as stated above, the victims’ letter was sent to each and all the members of the Chapter and not specifically or only to the LC general director, Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil (indisputably a disciple and protege of Fr. Maciel). Fr. Robles pre-emptively took control of the letter and the chapter general fathers’ response, preventing any option of a reaction or discussion from or among the fathers. He decided for them not to put the letter on the floor and decided unilaterally what was to be done with the letter’s requests. There was no free discussion. Robles-Gil promises to meet with the two signers of the Letter (individually?) but he
  1. does not address the senders
  2. or mention the group of eighth survivors as such whose lives were destroyed by Founder, Fr. (the serial pedophile founder was never defrocked by the Vatican!) Marcial Maciel.[vi] As can be seen in the communique
  3. the Legion did not heed any of the victims’ requests but gives a facile response, suggesting it has already addressed the issue in question. This has been the Legion’s operational policy since the group originally accused Fr. Maciel twenty years ago. Reader, please revisit victims’ recent requests in footnote i

______________________________________________-

Endnotes

[i]

“México City, March 2018

The undersigned, collectively known as the ‘historical victims’ of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, ask the Legion of Christ, through its representatives gathered in the Extraordinary General Chapter taking place in Rome from the 24th March 2018 that the issue of the Victims of Fr. Maciel and of the Legion of Christ be included in the agenda of the said General Chapter. Specifically, we make the following list of requests:

————-REQUESTS—————

  1. We ask that the Extraordinary General Chapter emit a Public Recognition of our status as victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Fr. Marcial Maciel and as victims of moral, psychological and spiritual harm at the hands of the Congregation. We ask that the congregation recognize that it made us and our families suffer in a continued, consistent and prolonged way when we revealed the perverse crimes of Maciel to the Church and the international community through articles published by journalists Jason Berry and Gerald Renner (Hartford Courant on 23rd of February 1997) and through the complaint presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the 17th of October 1998.
  2. We ask that it be publicly recognized that our struggle to make known the truth about Fr. Maciel was a true service to the Church, of which we form part, as well as being a true service to the Legion of Christ. Consequentially we ask that the Chapter declare that we were never traitors of the Church or of the Legion.
  3. Representing the historical victims to whom the “Commission of Contact with the Victims” never approached we request that the said commission be re-opened in order to fulfill the mission for which it was instituted by Cardinal de Paolis. We declare once again that this commission never contacted us.

For the reopening of the Commission for Victims we request the following:

  1. a) The commission would be composed of members named by the historical victims, by the Legion of Christ and by the Church.
  2. b) It’s re opening will not affect or prejudice any legal actions undertaken by the historical victims.
  3. c) It will make effective the recognition of the historical victims through the establishment of a plan of action negotiated with the historical victims and evaluated by interdisciplinary professionals. It will determine the harm inflicted on us and its indispensable reparation.
  4. As a visible sign of reconciliation, we request a public act of redress for the historical victims with the community of Rome, where many of the abuses took place, and another similar event with the communities of Mexico.
  5. We ask that we be informed appropriately of the decisions of the Extraordinary General Chapter with regard to our petitions to the following electronic address: (sic) and through courier to the attached postal addresses and that that the communication be considered as received when we acknowledge receipt.

Postal Address (sic)

Yours Sincerely

José de Jesús Barba Martin                     José Antonio Pérez Olvera

Representing the Historical Victims of Fr. Macie and the Congregation of the Legion of Christ for the purposes of the above written letter

Mexico City

March 24, 2018”

 

[ii] http://www.regnumchristi.org/rcstatutes/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Communique-about-the-extraordinary-General-Chapter-of-the-Legionaries-of-Christ.pdf

[iii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/ap-exclusive-victims-seek-compensation-in-abuse-reckoning/2018/04/12/8384e156-3e6f-11e8-955b-7d2e19b79966_story.html?utm_term=.04196cb60d5b

[iv] http://www.regnumchristi.org/sites/dg/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2018/04/Comunicado-de-la-Legion-de-Cristo.pdf

[v]  Spanish version of Legion Communique. The writer could not find an English language one.

LEGIONARIOS DE CRISTO

OFICINA DE COMUNICACIÓN INTERNACIONAL

COMUNICADO

Oficina de Comunicación Internacional

asmith@legionaries.org

+39 328 987 26 15

http://www.regnumchristi.org/sites/dg/

Respecto a la carta enviada a los Legionarios de Cristo por José de Jesús Barba Martín y José Antonio Pérez Olvera, la Congregación de los  Legionarios de Cristo desea expresar lo siguiente:

  1. El 26 de marzo de 2018, el director general recibió una carta digital firmada por José de Jesús Barba Martín y José Antonio Pérez Olvera, dos de las personas que denunciaron los abusos del P. Maciel públicamente en 1997, solicitando la inclusión de su petición en la Agenda del Capítulo General.
  2. El director general, después de haber hablado con su Consejo, presentó carta al Capítulo

General extraordinario, e informó al Capítulo de que el gobierno general buscará un acercamiento personal a cada uno de los firmantes de la misiva y responderá a sus peticiones.

  1. Pedimos perdón a todas las víctimas que a lo largo de nuestra historia han sufrido algún tipo de abuso, sabiendo que esta petición de perdón nunca será suficiente para sanar las profundas heridas.

Con relación al P. Maciel, el Capítulo General de 2014 dijo:

 

[vi] “In a statement Friday (April 13th, 2018)  responding to a request from The Associated Press, the Legion said its leaders ‘will try to get in touch personally with each of those who had signed the letter and respond to their requests.’ “:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/world/legion-vows-to-respond-to-victims-request-for-compensation/article_fad3ee4c-68c3-5e1f-a362-292b9350c57d.html

 

Why is There Sex Abuse in Churches & Charities ?

Sam Leith: The Oxfam sex scandal shows why doing good should never save you from scrutiny.

the Evening Standard, Feb 12, 2018

The scandal now enveloping charities and overseas aid agencies – with allegations of sexual harassment and worse – has caused an eruption of shock and outrage. Outrage, yes – but shock?

The central case of Oxfam – where workers are alleged to have used prostitutes, some of whom were under age, in Chad and Haiti – seems to speak to a culpably carpet-sweeping culture in at least one charity. But that a minority of aid workers behave badly when they think they’re off the leash? The only surprise is that we are surprised.

My Spectator colleague Mary Wakefield wrote a fine and fierce article recently arguing that, as an enabler of sexual abuse, the United Nations makes Hollywood and the Trump White House look like amateur hour.

All of it is well documented. A 2004 memoir by three UN workers, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, detailed abuses.

Continue reading “Why is There Sex Abuse in Churches & Charities ?”

Legion of Christ “trainers” Play Strip Poker with boys in their pastoral care

 

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An indignant mother cries at callous Legionary behavior

Legionary ‘formators’ (formadores) Play Strip Poker with ECYD Boys in their pastoral care

ReGAIN Scoop

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 Estudios Superiores)

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 terminando sus estudios de teología en el CES de Roma.

EL CASO SE PRESENTÓ A DE PAOLIS DESPUÉS Y CONCLUYÓ CON UNA CARTA DE DISCULPA DE VILLAGÓMEZ A LA FAMILIA EN CUESTIÓN ESCRITA EN LOS EJERCICIOS ANTES DE ORDENARSE. OBVIAMENTE NUNCA SE INVESTIGÓ NADA SOBRE ESTAS PRÁCTICAS. A LO MEJOR SACARON UN PROTOCOLO DICIENDO “EVITEN LOS NUESTROS SACAR FOTOS DE LOS NIÑOS DEL ECYD EN CALZONCILLOS”

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Pope Benedict’s Legacy Marred by Sex Abuse Scandal

When Pope Benedict XVI resigned, he leaves behind a Church grappling with a global fallout from sex abuse and a personal legacy marred by allegations that he was instrumental in covering up that abuse.

As the sex abuse scandal spread from North America to Europe, Benedict became the first pope to meet personally with victims, and offered repeated public apologies for the Vatican’s decades of inaction against priests who abused their congregants.

“No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,” the pope said in a 2008 homily in Washington, D.C., before meeting with victims of abuse for the first time. “It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.” During the same trip to the U.S., he met with victims for the first time.

For some of the victims, however, Benedict’s actions were “lip service and a public relations campaign,” said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer who represents victims of sex abuse. For 25 years, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican office responsible for investigating claims of sex abuse, but he did not act until he received an explicit order from Pope John Paul II.

In 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved plans for a priest to move to a different German parish and return to pastoral work only days after the priest began therapy for pedophilia. The priest was later convicted of sexually abusing boys.

In 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger became head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office once known as the Inquisition — making him responsible for upholding church doctrine, and for investigating claims of sexual abuse against clergy. Thousands of letters detailing allegations of abuse were forwarded to Ratzinger’s office.

A lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victims’ rights group, charges that as head of the church body Ratzinger participated in a cover-up of abuse. In an 84-page complaint, the suit alleges that investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries found “intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm.”

“Ratzinger, then Pope Benedict XVI, either knew and/or some cases consciously disregarded information that showed subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes,” the complaint says.

Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican’s lawyer in the U.S., told the AP the complaint was a “ludicrous publicity stunt and a misuse of international judicial processes.”

In the 1990s, former members of the Legion of Christ sent a letter to Ratzinger alleging that the founder and head of the Catholic order, Father Marcial Maciel, had molested them while they were teen seminarians. Maciel was allowed to continue as head of the order.

In 1996, Ratzinger didn’t respond to letters from Milwaukee’s archbishop about a priest accused of abusing students at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. An assistant to Ratzinger began a secret trial of the priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, but halted the process after Murphy wrote a personal appeal to Ratzinger complaining of ill health.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II issued a letter urging the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to pursue allegations of child abuse in response to calls from bishops around the world.

Ratzinger wrote a letter asserting the church’s authority to investigate claims of abuse and emphasizing that church investigators had the right to keep evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the alleged victims reached adulthood.

Ratzinger became upset — and slapped Ross’s hand — when ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross asked him a question in 2002 about the delay in pursuing sex abuse charges against Maciel.

But by 2004, Ratzinger had ordered an investigation of Maciel, and after becoming pope, he ordered Maciel to do penance and removed him from the active priesthood. After becoming pope Benedict spoke openly about the crisis, but he was repeatedly accused of having participated in a coverup.

In April 2010, Benedict and other officials were accused by members of BishopAccountability.org of covering up alleged child abuse by 19 bishops.

At the time, the Pope told reporters he was “deeply ashamed” of the allegations of sex abuse by his subordinates and reportedly said, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

Several other accusations followed from alleged victims around the world, prompting Benedict to make a public statement later that month from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. In his speech, he said the Catholic Church would take action against alleged sexual abusers. The Pope described a tearful meeting in Malta with eight men who claimed to have been abused by clergy there.

“I shared with them their suffering, and with emotion, I prayed with them,” said Benedict, “assuring them of church action.”

In 2010, he personally apologized to Irish victims of abuse.

“You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry,” the pope wrote in an eight-page letter to Irish Catholics. “Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”

But for those who advocate on behalf of the victims, the pope’s words did not go far enough.

“Tragically, he gets credit for talking about the crisis,” said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP. “He only ever addressed the crimes and never the cover-ups. And only in the past tense, which is self-serving. Sex crimes and cover-ups are still happening.”

Clohessy called the meetings the pope had with victims “symbolic gestures.”

“This controversy that has reached even the highest office of the Vatican won’t go away until the pope himself tells us what he knew, when he knew it, and what he’s going to do about it,” said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a Catholic priest and professor of theology at Notre Dame University.

Lena, the Vatican’s U.S. lawyer, declined to comment on charges that Benedict had participated in a cover up, but said the fact that two major cases against the Church in U.S. courts, including the Murphy case, had “been dismissed by the plaintiffs themselves, speaks volumes for the strength and integrity of those cases.”