Father Berg Speaks Out Deeply Disappointed With Reform of Legion

There is an article On First Things Blog, written by Father Thomas Berg entitled The Legion’s Scandal of Stalled Reform
Click Here for First Things Article by Father Berg

 

Father Berg decided to leave the Legion after 23 years. He has been following the reform process for two years and finally decided to express my deep disappointment as well as my profound concern for the fine young men and dedicated priests who still compose the Legion

 

Father Berg states that he felt it would have been better for the Church and the Legion if the order had been suppressed.

 

Regarding the stalled reform process, he offers his opinion that Cardinal DePaolis, who does not speak Spanish (Legion’s official language), has made two decisions that may prove disastrous for the Legion.

 

  1. Maciel’s long term and close collaborators remain in leadership positions.

 

  1. . Cardinal DePaolis has chosen to forgo a thorough and independent investigation into whether any present or former members knowingly abetted Maciel.

 

Unsurprisingly to ReGAIN readers, Fr. Berg refers to the institutional resistance/ and lack of transparency from the Legion superiors, who says are promoting the concept that the naming of a Papal Delegate constituted a de facto pontifical approval of the Legion’s continuation as a congregation and affirmation of the existence of a valid charism and mission.

 

Fr. Berg adds that those who are hopeful of reform are not expecting more than some superficial and cosmetic changes instead of the sweeping changes that are urgently required. He concludes that the Church does not need the institution of the Legion but does need their good and zealous men

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He concludes with a recommendation that every Legionary priest should be given the means and a real opportunity to genuinely re-discern his vocation. He encourages family members to persevere in convincing their loved ones to request some time completely away from the Legion environment and to seek sound spiritual direction from an experienced outside spiritual director.

 

ReGAIN Comment

 

Father Berg has brilliantly managed to voice in a concise and powerful message the concerns that most of us have regarding the urgent need for genuine reform and some of the main reasons for the failure to date. He shows concern for those in the Legion whose lives have been most affected and he offers some practical solutions. Fr. Berg, we salute you and hope that someone on high is listening to your message.

 

So many people who had hoped for real reform had high expectations when the Vatican published the 2010 communique and later sent their chosen delegate and provided him with sweeping powers to attempt the impossible. We wondered which of the leaders would be given their marching orders and where they would find the kind of spiritual leaders needed to breathe a spark of life into the rotten stinking corpse of an organization designed to bring power money and glory to a depraved leader.

 

Reviewing the progress of the reform to date by summarizing some ReGAIN and other articles over the last two years:

 

The delegate came and he didn’t speak Spanish. That would make it difficult. His expertise was in finances and canon law. That experience would be helpful in following the money trail. His scope seemed to be limited to rewriting the constitutions. There would be no investigation into who collaborated with the founder. Ouch. Some remained optimistic that this could work.

 

The promotion of the new commissioner to cardinal gave him more power but it also gave the Legion some legitimate claim that they had strong Vatican support. Shortly after he arrived the new commissioner wrote what seemed like a love letter to the Legion. That seemed strange at the time but some saw the wisdom in him taking the honey works better than vinegar approach.

 

The aggressive recruiting and fund raising continued. So did the ordinations in the Legion and the consecrations in Regnum Christi. The old guard leaders all remained although some of them wore different hats in different locations. The commissioner seemed to be more and more comfortable in his new posting.

 

More and more people who had wanted reform decided to leave, including some very prominent members. Quite a number of these made their reasons for leaving publicly known.

 

A very feeble and awkward attempt was made to express corporate remorse for those who had been victimized by the Legion founder. The crocodile tears did not make a positive impression.

 

The impossible search for the missing charism continued. There had to be one somewhere. The leaders wrote letters to the faithful members encouraging them to continue sharing your love for God (which really meant don’t stop recruiting). Some continued to watch to see if the Holy Spirit would empower some dark horse to rise from the ranks and like Moses, provide some strong spiritual leadership. Nobody inspired anybody as the corpse of the Legion remained there looking even more dead. The games went on as usual. The deceit and the secrecy continued unchanged.

 

A group of consecrated women gave up and left to form their own movement. The response from the leaders and the commissioner were pathetic. It seemed that those who remained were the loyal ones and those who left were unfaithful.

 

The old guard leaders continued their same old ways. The Vatican commissioner commented that it was not his job to clean house, he was there to oversee the rewriting of the constitutions.

 

Some of us felt that the commissioner was showing great wisdom by giving the Legion enough rope to hang itself. Father Berg refers to the lack of wisdom in that approach in his article, saying the Legion escaped extinction under dubious circumstances after a Vatican investigation of Maciel in the 1950’s

 

The embarrassment caused to the Church continues to pile up as new revelations show that the Legion leaders concealed information they had known for years.

 

Father Berg makes such wonderful sense. Every one of the Legionary priests (and we would include all of the 3gf’s) deserve a genuine opportunity to take some time out completely away from anything to do with the Legion or Regnum Christi and discern what God is calling them to do. Those who do not have wealthy families to lean on should be provided with financial assistance and support for a reasonable time. As a minimum the Legion and Regnum Christi should be made to cease and desist from offering their tainted form of spiritual direction, not just because it is not confidential but because it has a hidden agenda to manipulate the spiritual directees.

 

The Church should follow the lead of the young women who were former Regnum Christi precandidacy high school students on their 49weeks blog Click Here

 

These young women are offering support for those Legionary priests and consecrated Regnum Christi members who want to leave but have difficulty supporting themselves or finding work or understanding their situation or who just need some prayer support.

 

Why is the Church not offering these things? Why isn’t the Church acknowledging the urgent need for discernment that Father Berg identifies? Why is the Church further embarrassing itself by providing a reform in such an incompetent manner? Is there anyone else up there?

 

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Why Is The Legion Closing Their Schools in the United States and Elsewhere?

By ReGAIN Staff

 

The Sacramento Bee in their Religion News
>Click here for Article
reported that the Legion is ending their role in the Sacramento area following their decision in 2011 to close their only U.S Legion run university and their Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, a high school seminary in Colfax, California. The university formerly offered master’s programs in theology and catechesis.According to the Sacramento Bee: “Local officials say the local withdrawal is a product of the order shrinking and re-evaluating where to focus its priests�. The article also mentions some of the troubles that the Legion has had in recent years, specifically with “controversy and scandal in the past decade involving some of their best-known leaders�.

ReGAIN Comment:

ReGAIN would like to focus attention on the true purpose for the Legionary presence in Sacramento and in fact their true purpose for being anywhere and offer an opinion why they are closing schools in the US.

Why does the Legion have educational facilities? Were the schools in Sacramento and elsewhere established for a spiritual purpose to provide Catholic education? Or is it more likely that these institutions existed as a means to some end?

Let us suggest an answer by posing another question. Did the Legionary founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado show that he had a genuine burning desire to spread the gospel message through education? Was Catholic education the charism of the Legion and Regnum, Christi? Based on the Vatican May 10 communique it seems extremely unlikely that Father Maciel established his schools with a spiritual purpose in mind, because according to the May 1, 2010 Vatican communique: “incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment�.

What are Legionary schools like for the students who attend? A new blog entitled “49 Weeks a Year� Click Here provides actual testimonies of some of those who formerly attended the Immaculate Conception Academy in Rhode Island that prepares girls of high school age for a possible “vocation� to consider a “consecrated life� in Regnum Christi.

According to several of these testimonies, many of the former students suffered real mental, emotional and spiritual damage in their years at Immaculate Conception Academy. The home page of the blog states that the former students wish to share their stories “to warn parents of the very real dangers of handing your daughters over to this flawed institution�.

The testimonies are heart wrenching. Some suffered depression while others felt overly constricted by all the rules. Some felt isolated. The relationships between the teenage girls and their parents, other family members and former friends obviously deteriorated in some cases during the time they were in the school. Imagine attending a high school where you are not allowed to have particular friends and where your opportunities to have normal conversations with the other students is severely restricted and there is no privacy. What would it be like to be part of a group of young people who are never allowed to entertain negative thoughts or doubts or uncharitable feelings? One of the young ladies mentions how she was made to feel fearful of “losing all possibility of fulfilment and happiness (you can never be truly happy or fulfilled if you chose something else than God’s plan!), you face the life-long guilt of denying other soulsâ€� (being able to see God)â€�.

The conditions referred to in the 49 weeks blogspot match up well with those included in the ReGAIN article Click Here that compared the Regnum Christi consecrated women’s way of life to life for typical cult group members that are exposed to mind control.

So why were the schools really there?

Cult groups exist primarily to recruit and to fund raise to gain power and money for the supreme leaders. Could that be the primary reason for Father Maciel developing the Legionary schools? Those who consider enrolling their children in such a school have to decide for themselves. It seems obvious from the testimonies referred to above that there was excessive pressure being exerted (mind control) on these young people to mold them to become obedient to their spiritual advisers (the ones who the girls said were reading their mail). One result of mind control is to seriously impair a person’s critical thinking ability. This is certainly not a good objective for any educational system.

A key question that begs asking at this stage is why the Legion is shutting down their schools?

If providing Catholic education were an important part of the Legion and Regnum Christi’s primary reason for being, (as in charism) one would think they would do everything in their power to keep their schools going. If the Legion run schools were providing an excellent quality of education and spiritual formation then we would expect that the students and their parents would step forward to offer as much support as possible to keep them going. That does not seem to be happening. In fact, it is obvious that enrolments in areas such as Sacramento have dropped to the point where it is no longer profitable to keep the schools in operation.

So if you look at the situation from a perspective of following the money the logical explanation for the Legion pulling out of an area is because they choose to remain in those areas where the profits are the greatest.

This raises other questions. Is the Legion primarily a religious order or a business? Is it wise for a parent to choose a school system if the system is based on maximum profitability for itself rather than for maximum benefit for its students?