It is not ReGAIN’s policy to attack the pope or the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. But this article does take the Roman Curia, the apparatchiks of the Church, to task for sins of omission and commission. ReGAIN avoids focusing its critique on the pope as the only or main culprit for all the Church’s ills. We believe this to be too simplistic. (It is always nice to have a concrete target, one person, for our anger and outrage). But it is impossible to absolve several popes, from Pope Pius XII through Benedict XVI, from gross negligence in allowing Maciel and his brand of religious life to continue and prosper in the heart of Catholicism.
Here you will not find (John) Paul Lennon “ranting and raving” -as he was portrayed by Legion lawyers in Alexandria City VA court in 2008. Rather will you find Paul Lennon, saddened by the death of another of Fr. Maciel’s unvindicated sexual abuse victims, Saúl Barrales, on April 5th, 2021; Paul Lennon, LPC, and cult researcher, a practicing Catholic, jolted into action by an article received from Info-Culte, a bona fide Canadian-based cult-watch organization:
A Pedophile should not be allowed to return to the scene of his crimes
The cited article refers to how local Australian residents objected to infamous pedophile, “Little Pebble”, being allowed to return to the place of his pedophilia crimes even under very strict supervision. The article has left me in a state of shock when I realize how information regarding Fr. Maciel’s abuse of a seminarian under his care -two years after founding the order with preadolescent boys in Mexico- reached the Vatican in 1943 and was disregarded, leaving the predatory fox free in the chicken coop he had built for his own dubious reasons. This neglect may also explain how Maciel’s victims’ lives were so irreparably destroyed. Such devastation was witnessed by their loved ones and by those of us who only became aware of their plight in 1997.
Let us look at why local residents objected to having the abuser back in the community where the abuses had occurred after completing his sentence -and how they prevented him from returning. They prevailed against a decision by the New South Wales supreme court allowing him to return under strict supervision. They feared victims would be re-traumatized.
“Late last week the NSW Supreme Court ruled that cult leader William Costellia-Kamm – also known as “Little Pebble” – could return to his commune at Cambewarra, in the Shoalhaven region, under strict conditions and pending approval by Corrective Services NSW.
The decision sparked a huge community backlash that was supported by state and federal MPs.
Today a Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said Costellia-Kamm would be denied access to the region.
“Corrective Services NSW has given no approval for the offender to reside at Cambewarra or the Shoalhaven and has no current plans to do so,” they said.
“The offender will be subject to an intense level of supervision, including around-the-clock electronic monitoring, as well as 48 other strict conditions around his housing, movements, finances, associations, electronic communications and personal appearance.”
The department said Costellia-Kamm would be supervised by “highly-trained” Community Corrections officers who would work with NSW Police.
“The supervision team has also been granted extensive search and seizure powers by the Supreme Court, which allows them at any time and without warning to search the offender, his accommodation, vehicle and any electronic devices,” the spokesperson said.
“Any breach of an Extended Supervision Order is a criminal offence and can result in additional charges and up to five years’ imprisonment.”
In delivering his decision last week Justice Stephen Campbell said the risk Costellia-Kamm posed could be “adequately managed” given the “stringency of the conditions” that were proposed.
The court’s decision led to hundreds of residents on the South Coast signing a petition calling for Costellia-Kamm to be banned from returning to live at the place his crimes were committed.
“All children have a right to feel safe in their community and allowing this man into our community puts our children at risk,” signatory Temeka Giddings said.
Their concerns were echoed by South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and the member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, who expressed concern about the trauma his return would have on his victims.
“In my view there has to be some reform to the law whereby an offender such as this can never come anywhere near this community …,” Ms. Hancock said.
“We cannot abide people like this coming back to live amongst us.”
In 2005 Costellia-Kamm, who founded a cult called the Order of Saint Charbel, was convicted of raping two teenage girls he referred to as his “spiritual wives”.
He had been living in Sydney since he was paroled after serving the bulk of his decade-long sentence.
He continues to deny his guilt and claims he was falsely accused.”
The Re-Traumatization of Maciel’s Victims and the Corruption of the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation founded and ruled by him.
The reader must agree with the writer’s shock on connecting the above to the Maciel case.
It took the Vatican 13 years to react to accusations against the founder of the Legion of Christ religious order (“congregation”): first official Vatican “visitation” of the Legion of Christ 1956-58/59. The investigation ultimately was a failure and Maciel was allowed to return to his foundation; not only living in the residences, but also as superior general, enjoying world-wide authority and exercising total and detailed control over each member. The incestuous father returned to his family, reinstated and in a stronger position. Back in Rome, the conman resumed his affair with prominent members of the Curia whom he continued to bribe and blackmail. The serial pedophile had already been abusing his pubescent subjects since the foundation in 1941. So, the abuse went unchecked through 1956 and continued for another fifty years until his death in 2008.
A further Vatican “visitation” in 2009, after Fr. Maciel’s death, failed to root out sexual predators, accomplices, complicit superiors, lackeys, and Maciel die-hards in the organization. No radical changes in the structure and modus operandi occurred. Changes were made to documents but not to personnel. The apostolic delegate had been “love-bombed” by then Legion General Director, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera LC, R.I.P., and the leadership cadre under Monsignor Velasio de Paolis’ review remained in control.
In recent years the Legion, in its effort to deny wide-spread sexual abuse in its midst, has tried to attribute the main part to the “bad” founder, acknowledging that he abused at least 60 minors under his pastoral care. When one considers that Maciel was a predatory serial pedophile this number looks ridiculously low: one victim per year? Testimonies remark how Maciel was insatiable in his lust. As one victim wrote, referring to his abuse in the 1960s: “Maciel is always on the lookout for fresh flesh.” It does not take too much imagination to multiply the official number by three, five or ten…One is also left pondering the effect of second and third generation victims-cum-predators inside the Legion of Christ in an atmosphere of closed doors, secrecy, minimization, exile, and cover-up.
Testimonies reveal how Maciel “progressed” from abusing victims as children to abusing them as adolescents and young adults. The imbalanced relationships sometimes continued into early adulthood with his “lovers”. His dalliances with women tend to obscure his pedophilia and confuse the public. However, it is the writer’s conviction that Maciel’s preference was always focused on boys and adolescents which he could procure on his travels after he exhausted or lost interest in his monotonous inhouse supply.
We are left with mind-boggling questions:
What is the effect of a pedophile confessor, spiritual director, superior, general director living in the midst of a religious community founded and controlled by him?
What is the safety level in a community with an unrestrained sexual predator?
What happens when a sexual predator is your spiritual director and confessor and uses this forum to explore your sexual history and weaknesses?
How is moral compass and conscience destroyed when the sexual predator tells the budding adolescent nothing is wrong, that he is doing the Will of God when he pleasures his predator and allows himself to be pleasured?
What is the effect of an undeterred sexual predator surrounded by innocent boys when the predator is also addicted to morphine?
What kind of actions and conversations does this Superior General have with his victims when uninhibited by drug-use?
How extensive and long-lasting are the effects of Marcial Maciel -the abuser, the liar, the deceiver- on the superiors of the Legion of Christ hand-chosen by him?
What about the disordered actions of the multiple generations of Macielites in positions of authority in the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Federation to this day?
How does the Vatican hold on to its approval of the Legion of Christ in the light of these undeniable accusations? Is it not capable of reviewing its blind approval of Fr. Maciel and his foundations, which carte blanche can only be explained by deceit and Mafia-like accomplices, bribes and omertà in the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church? (See admission by Prefect for the Congregation of Religious Life, Cardinal Braz de Aviz, cited above)
Is the Vatican able to admit its mistakes in having been unwittingly and/or willingly misled by a consummate conman? Is it capable of reversing its erroneous approval of this flawed founder and his order?
Does Pope Benedict XVI believe “the filth” has been cleaned from the heart of the Church? What does Pope Francis think of the half-hearted job done by his predecessors? Will he continue to handle the Legion/Regnum Christi with kid gloves? (They are after all a money-making and a priest-making machine!)
And how are the many innocent victims of Fr. Maciel and other Legionaries’ sex abuse to keep the Faith? How are the many thousands of former members of the Legion of Christ who have suffered sexual, physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual abuse to remain faithful to Church authorities who have betrayed them?
A faithful remnant prays that we be able to salvage our faith in the Risen Christ and the ekklesia He founded. Sadly, many have lost that fight due the negligence and collusion of bad shepherds (John 10,1-18).
St. Augustine of Hippo on Bad Shepherds
“Well then, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!” What must you shepherds hear? Thus says the Lord God: behold, I am above the shepherds and I will call them to account for the sheep in their hands.
Listen, sheep of God, listen and learn: God will call the bad shepherds to account for his sheep and for their deaths. As he says elsewhere in Ezekiel: Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man, “Wicked wretch, you are to die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin but you yourself will have saved your life.
You see, brethren? Do you see how dangerous it is to keep quiet? If you remain silent, you die; and rightly. You die for your impiety and sin – it is your negligence that kills you. He who has said, As I live, says the Lord might have found a living shepherd – but since the shepherd was negligent, not warning those he had been given authority over, those whose sentry he was, he will die justly, and the sentry will be justly condemned. (…)
Since I raised the question, let us see if he takes the sheep from the bad shepherds and gives them to good ones. I certainly see him taking the sheep from the bad shepherds: I am above the shepherds, and I shall take my flock back from them and I shall not allow them to feed my flock. In this way the shepherds will stop feeding themselves. For when I say to them, “Feed my sheep,” they feed themselves and not my sheep. I shall not allow them to feed my flock.
This selection from Saint Augustine’s Sermon 46 on Pastors (Sermo 46, 20-21; CCL 41, 546-548) treats of the shepherds of the church as watchmen and is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings on Wednesday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time with the accompanying biblical reading taken from the prophet Ezekiel 37:1-14, the famous vision of the dry bones.
<The Confession of the Casta Meretrix
“The Church, [many of the Fathers] say, continues to live by the pardon that transforms her from a harlot into a holy Bride.”
Ecclesia sancta simul et semper purificanda
It is surely not without significance that Hans Urs von Balthasar chose to republish “Casta Meretrix,” his now classic study of the holiness and the sinfulness of the Church, on the very eve of the Council in 1961.1 The significance of this gesture is underscored by his simultaneous republication of another article, “Who Is the Church?,”2 which complements the first through its emphasis on the Church’s identity. While the first explains the sense in which the Church can call herself at once “harlot” and “chaste” before her Lord, the second grounds this because she is a subject who is really distinct from her Bridegroom. These two essays doubtless share a certain affinity of spirit with an important statement in Lumen gentium, which speaks about the Church in terms to which the hierarchy had hardly accustomed the faithful:
While Christ, holy, innocent, and undefiled knew nothing of sin, but came to expiate only the sins of the people, the Church, embracing in its bosom sinners, at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal. (LG, 8)>
ReGAIN reminds readers that the ideas presented here are not the fruit of hearsay or rumor but rather historical information regarding Fr. Maciel and his foundations: found in English in Vows of Silence, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FC1B74/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1, and in many articles by Berry in National Catholic Reporter; and in Spanish in Fernando M. González’ Marcial Maciel, la Legión de Cristo: testimonios y documentos inéditos, https://www.amazon.com/Marcial-Maciel-Legionarios-testimonios-documentos/dp/9706991506/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Fernando+M+Gonzalez%2C+Marcial+Marcial&qid=1617991920&s=digital-text&sr=1-1