Archivo de la etiqueta: Velasio DePaoli

Does The Vatican Really Understand What Needs Reforming In The Legion?

As the reform of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi comes to an end after three years, we shake our heads and wonder whether or not it has even started. On December 16, 31 new Legionary priests were ordained in Rome. In his homily at this event, Click Here Cardinal DePaolis offered his praise for the faithfulness of the ones who remained in the Legion suggesting that they have remained, because they believe that they chose Christ. By his words, he took a sort of backhand shot at those who had left, saying that only the Lord can judge them. The tone of his homily made it clear that he felt the faithful ones who remained were good and that there was some weakness in the (unfaithful) ones who left. This attitude is consistent with other statements he has made in similar circumstances, e.g. when Malen Oriol and other 3gf ladies left to form Totus Tuus.

ReGAIN readers are aware that the Legion and Regnum Christi leaders past and present have been known to use controversial highly aggressive tactics to recruit and retain members and have not respected the freedom of conscience. A reference to this important issue of freedom of conscience was included in the May 2010 Vatican communique. Click Here So why would an Apostolic Delegate not do everything in his power to ensure that Legionary and Regnum Christi members were provided with every opportunity to take time to discern what their true calling from God was? Why would he be more concerned about the numbers of people who remained in this congregation, which has been already proven to be an unhealthy part of the Church than he is about helping people to discover where they can best serve God and where God wishes them to be?

He also shows concern about the sins of the Legion filling the media throughout the world, obviously seeing this as a bad thing. His statement showed more concern about the image of the Legion and the Church than remorse about the wrongs that were done. If the sins were not truthful, then we would share his concern. If the information published in the media happens to be the truth, then we feel it should be a good thing to expose false prophets in the Church. It is the truth that sets us free. Regarding this issue, there have been obvious and deliberate efforts made to suppress the truth about who aided and abetted the Legion and Regnum Christi founder in his deceitful life. Shouldn&#8217t the Church of all organizations be willing to see justice for those who have been wronged by some of its own religious orders? The tone of the homily seemed to favor blind obedience and trust, even when people are aware that some of the leaders are not trustworthy. If in fact all of the current leaders really were trustworthy and all of the fraud and deception was committed by Father Marcial Maciel acting alone, should not everyone involved want to have an opportunity to have their names cleared? The message from this is that the image of the Church and its leaders is more important than the truth.

Any shocking story about the Legionaries was taken as indisputable truth

The tone of this statement is eerily similar to the old days when Father Maciel would blame those evil detractors (including ReGAIN) for making up false accusations against him. The information we have brought to light remains here on this website for all to see and we have made a sincere effort to publish only true facts. Is the Apostolic Delegate suggesting that the new Legionary priests should shut down their critical judgment skills? We hope not. Based on numerous articles in this website and others and credible news agency articles, deceit in the Legion continued after the death of its founder. Legion leaders have been forced to admit that they knew things about Father Maciel and about Father Williams while by their actions and statements they pretended to be unaware. The new Legionary priests should have a right to know the truth about their own organization. History has shown that those who believed they were being deceived by their leaders had good reason to believe so. When he said You have seen whether they were true or not. we wonder what information they were allowed to have to discern and judge whether things were true or not.

In his homily, Cardinal DePaolis said they said that they were betrayed by the founder and by the superiors who covered up for him, or did not reveal the truth to them in a satisfactory manner, as if that were a wrong thing to conclude, while the (good) ones who stayed believed that they chose Christ. Is there an implication here that the (bad) ones who left failed to choose Christ? We believe that even those who left the priesthood after discernment could just as well be choosing Christ and could find their true vocation outside the priesthood. .Forced vocations have not proven to be effective.

The statement about suffering and bearing the shame of other Legionaries again reminds us of Father Maciel&#8217s tactics of making comparisons to Jesus. The Legion founder pretended that he had been innocently condemned just like Jesus. The statement here provides an image of the current Legionary trainees suffering for the sins of others (just like Jesus). Perhaps this comparison is unintended and if so we apologize for drawing attention.

There is considerable mention in the homily of the suffering of the Legionaries but only token reference to the suffering of others caused by the founder and some others. However, to this day, there have been extremely few details of what specific harm by the founder and other leaders acknowledged by the Legion. Normally, any expression of remorse by the Legion spokespersons have been general statements such as we are sorry for the wrongs that our founder did. That is like going to confession and saying Father I am sorry for everything I have done since my last confession and not providing any details. To date, several victims of the founder and of other LC abusers known to ReGAIN are still waiting for significant acknowledgement of what was done to them and there has not been significant efforts made for restorative justice. There seems to be a hidden Macielistic lesson to the newly ordained priests that their own suffering outweighs the suffering of those outsiders who may be hurt by them and their organization and to put their own needs ahead of others.

As an opinion, we would say that the words spoken have shown that there is a lack of true understanding about what it is in the Legion that needs to be reformed. Although there have been superficial changes made to the structure and methodology, the old guard leaders and their attitudes remain; a valid charism remains unidentified; the aggressive recruiting continues; information is suppressed and the members continue to be manipulated to the benefit of the same old people who stand to gain the same old money and power from the members&#8217 efforts.

Anuncios

Archbishop Velasio DePaolis Named As Vatican Delegate to Lead Reconstitution of the Legion

The Holy See Press Office, Vatican Information Services has issued a statement confirming the anticipated appointment by Pope Benedict XVI of Italian Archbishop Velasco De Paolis as a special delegate to take over the Legionaries of Christ.

Archbishop De Paolis is a top official in charge of managing Vatican finances,
Knowledgeable Vatican observers have noted the significance of selecting a person with financial as well as legal expertise. (The Legion has reportedly accumulated approximately
$ 30,000,000,000 over the last several decades).

Based on an article by the New York Times, Marco Tosatti, a veteran Vatican correspondent with the newspaper La Stampa has commented that the new Vatican delegate has a particular understanding of the organization of religious orders.

Mr. Tosatti likened the Legionaries to a company that has gone bankrupt and added that a great deal of restructuring would go on and that he expects the current leadership to soon be out.

To see Vatican Information Services press release:
Click Here

To see the New York Times article:
Click Here

Human Damage From Abusive Practices in Groups Such As the Legionaries of Christ

Georges Pontier, Archbishop of Marseille, President of the Conference of Bishops of France, recently responded to calls for recognition of the human damage caused by ecclesial movements such as the Legionaries of Christ and others that are guilty of abusive practices. Click Here

The archbishop was responding to a group of forty victims of various abuses suffered as members of Roman Catholic ecclesial movements and religious orders they had formerly belonged to. One of the three leaders of the group addressing the archbishop was Xavier Leger, a former member of the Legionaries of Christ, who has posted several articles on ReGAIN.

The letter that was submitted by the victims in French may be seen at Click Here The Archbishop’s response is included with the above letter from the victims.

The article stated that::
Critics of the several new ecclesiastical communities had complained of the ‘destruction of personalities’ by cult-like practices. The complaints had centered on groups such as the Legion of Christ, the Beatitudes community, and the Community of St. John – all of which had seen formal charges of misconduct lodged against their founders.

The Archbishop, while warning against the dangers of generalization, did acknowledge difficulties with some groups, involving the manipulation of individual consciences, adding that French bishops oppose such practices, and that the Gospel of Christ, which we seek to serve, is a school of spiritual freedom.

Archbishop Pontier, in his address to the French bishops, gathered in a plenary session issued a call to denounce the human damage that the forty victims had suffered as a result of their membership in the religious orders and movements involved. Such damage he said included depression to suicide or destruction of personalities.

What was new in this case was not the reporting of sexual abuse that plaintiffs have suffered but the spiritual abuse that they suffered. The article referred to the way that founders of these groups have used their spiritual power on young impressionable people and how they take advantage of people by making them become dependent, thus creating an imbalance of power in some cases leading to destruction of personalities.

Another new issue in this case is that it is the first time that such a group of the new religious movements that have been seen as symbols of the new evangelization have been lumped together in these types of circumstances.

In his letter, Archbishop Pontier clarified in his letter that his main concern was the issue of spiritual freedom i.e. manipulation of consciences. He went on to explain that The gospel of Christ we want to serve is a school of spiritual freedom.

He said that in the past, some bishops have warned the public and families about certain groups but he now wishes all bishops to do a better job of listening to accusations from those claiming to be victims. Archbishop Pontier said that there needs to be respect for canon law regarding freedom of conscience.

ReGAIN Comment

We heartily endorse the work of Xavier Leger and the others who presented their testimonies and we are absolutely delighted to hear a member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy recognize that some groups, including the Legionaries of Christ do spiritual damage to some of their members. This is the message that ReGAIN and several others who have pounded away at for years, without positive acknowledgement from the Legion leaders or from the Vatican. It is obvious that until problems of spiritual abuse, manipulation of conscience and abuse of power and the resulting destruction of personalities that can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts are recognized and acknowledged, there will be no progress.

Perhaps if Cardinal DePaolis had dug a little deeper and spoken to ex members and some of Father Maciel’s victims during his three years as Apostolic Delegate, he might have become more aware of the extent of all the damage that has been done and is still being done by Legion leaders other than just the founder.

We sincerely hope and pray that Archbishop Pontier, who seems to have an understanding about human damage done by cult like practices will pass this information on to members of the Holy See and to the Pope so that they might become aware that a reform for a group such as the Legion requires more than superficial changes to their legal documents.

The Catholic Church’s neglect of the sexual abuse problems and failure to deal effectively with it resulted in horrendous consequences including additional suffering for victims, billions of dollars of settlements and loss of millions of Church members, who expected better of the One True Church established by Jesus Christ. We expect that if the Catholic Church continues to enable cult groups such as the Legionaries of Christ to flourish, while they are causing spiritual, psychological and emotional damage and if the Church fails to act, there could be another tsunami of shipwrecked souls, lost membership and further billions of dollars in costs. Can the Church afford for this to happen or can they find a more effective way to stop the spiritual bleeding of people who have a genuine desire to serve God and their Church?

What would Jesus want His representatives in His Church to do?

Ex Legionaries Thoughts About LC Reform and Current Situation

Tension has been building all over as Vatican watchers wait to see how the apostolic delegate and now Cardinal-designate DePaolis will use his sweeping powers. The month of October was a manic depressive?s delight up one day and down the next on both sides of the fence.

The October 19 letter had something for everybody. The letter seemed to be mostly positive regarding the Legion status and even about the clarity of the Legion charism (huh?)

But similar to the fine print in a contract there were some strong hints and references, indicating that all was not peaches and cream. Sandro Magister claimed that the papal delegate De Paolis is issuing an ultimatum: either they change, or it will be “disaster” for all and went on to say that Fr. Garza has been asked to give up the main offices that he holds in the Legion and that a chill developed between the two when he refused. Such disharmony between a Cardinal-designate and a Catholic religious order leader indicates that there is a real struggle going on for big stakes. The Legion has always claimed to be absolutely loyal to Rome. The letter did make reference to the possibility that the existing leaders knew about and concealed some of the bad things that were happening.

ReGAIN contacted some ex Legionary and RC members to see what they thought and felt about recent events. Here are some comments that were expressed:

I have been told that there are many prelates of the Vatican who are disagreeing with the decision of Pope Benedict to save the Legion. Many were expecting him to dissolve the order.

I was hoping for dissolution. I am very disappointed (commenting on the letter.)

Sandro’s letter has given me hope, but it’s only that a long-term strangulation is in process — which does nothing for the wounded. Flowery platitudes are manipulated by the Legion and disheartening to those who deserve better
I cannot see what can be done apart from what appears to be sniping or grumbling. Three years is a long time to wait for them to close up shop, and wastes valuable time for those who want to get on with their lives — in that sense, it’s almost better to ignore it and move on.
Of course those with loved ones inside can’t do that. What else can be done that brings healing and resolution?

…the letter from De Paolis is a pile of crap. I wonder how much it cost the Legion.

What strikes me most is the undermining of the media which is wholly irresponsible because the LCs and followers have ALL been kept in the dark continuously and they still are unknowing of the true history of Maciel.

What a remarkably crazy response from the Vatican. When he wrote, ?Yet it not only survives, but is almost intact in its vitality? I felt like I was reading zombie literature. This is a thing that just won’t die.

He brings up some good points, but almost sounds like an LC at the end. I think they need to completely get rid of ALL current leadership, at bare minimum. I am curious to see what actually takes place at the General Counsel (anyone know when this would take place?). Interesting is how he is already talking about his work with the LC taking years, and how the LC leadership wants to rush it along . . .

It does sound like he has a brain and while I don’t agree with everything there are some things I do agree with. He also appears to be trying to parameterize his involvement. I suspect that he got mail from every single LC and was overwhelmed. However, that said, I think the one huge mistake is that of leaving the superiors in place. While we don’t know who did what, or know about what, there is sufficient circumstantial evidence that maybe the Legion should hold some sort of court marshal type of tribunals and also include ex members. Again, de Paolis is missing the ex factor in his plans. We are part of the cure.

ReGAIN Comment:
Is it time to laugh or cry?
One common trait throughout several of the above comments is that there is disharmony at several levels, between the Vatican and Legion leadership and even within the Vatican hierarchy. ReGAIN testimonies and articles have documented such disharmony that has existed among family members, Legionary and Regnum Christi members among themselves and between them and many bishops. The delegate has recognized that the reform process will take at least three years. Will the Vatican be able to make a silk purse from the proverbial sow?s ear? We will have to wait a long time to find out.

Power Money and Mind Control

Could power, money and mind control be the missing charisms for the Legion and for Regnum Christi? The New Oxford Review opines that these “three concepts best describe the modus operandi of the Legion.”

The article confirms recent statements made by the Associated Press regarding the voluntary renouncement of decision making capacity leading to a “zombie” like existence and mentions the excessive power that has been concentrated in the hands of two leaders, particularly Luis Garza Medina. It describes the difficulties facing Cardinal Designate DePaolis as he moves ahead with his mission to resurrect the Legion (and Regnum Christi) and questions how they will be able to attract new members.

An excellent example was provided of the power plays that were utilised by Fr. Maciel and his very powerful and influential associates, including the heads of multinational companies and politicians who went to great lengths to save Fr. Maciel?s reputation and keep the truth from becoming publicly aired in Mexico.

To read the New Oxford Review article:
Click Here

End In Sight For Current Legion Leaders Who Covered Up For a “False Prophet”

An article entitled With Maciel Buried, His Centurions’ Fires Are Burning Out appeared in CHIESA recently. Sandro Magister points out that although the leaders who covered up for Fr. Maciel still retain their positions of authority, their days may be numbered. Their credibility is being questioned as Legion members are starting to speak more openly about the slow pace of the reform process.

To read this article Click Here

ReGAIN Comment: Sandro Magister mentions that revolt is stirring.

Finally, some signs of life and free thought are stirring. People are starting to think for themselves, to question and even to criticize their leaders, just as ordinary people do in most other places.

There is a place within an authentic and healthy religious congregation for obedience. But surely it is contrary to God’s will and unhealthy to impose mindless robotic obedience to a plethora of oppressive rules in a militaristic tightly controlled environment that has been the way of things in the Legion for so many decades. It is our great gifts of intellect and free will that differentiate us from lower members of the animal kingdom. We need to have the ability to make personal decisions about our lives.

Perhaps the pace of the reform has necessarily been kept to a snail’s pace, waiting for those on the inside to express an eager desire to see things change. This has been proved in the highly successful 12 step program that starts with a recognition that a person’s life is out of control and that he or she is powerless to change.

We hope and pray that the lack of significant change to date and the increasing pressure now from those on the inside as well as many from the outside is not because the new commissioner is being won over by the old guard of the Legion to their way of thinking but rather because successful long lasting positive change in this case must come primarily from within.

If the demands coming from the lower levels of the Legion are signs that their minds and wills are becoming more free and this is because Cardinal DePaolis has recognized the need to pace the necessary changes one step at a time we see a glimmer of hope for cautious optimism.

Fr. Richard Gill Ex Legionary Priest Asks Can The Legion Be Repaired?

Fr. Gill points out how Maciel’s legacy continues to weigh negatively on the Legion through the superiors who were connected to him and who still lead the congregation. The Chiesa article including Father Gill’s analysis may be seen <a href=http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1346646?eng=y>Click Here</a>
Richard Gill shares his main reasons for leaving the Legion, following the sordid double life of the founder and his personal conclusion that such a person who he describes as <q>the most despicable character in the Twentieth Century</q> could transmit any valid charism.

But he says that the way the current Legion superiors (all of whom remain in place) failed to act or acted in ways to deliberately mislead the membership bothered him more than the actual scandals related to the founder. He observed a systematic effort to deny and minimize the facts.
He states that last year, the Legionary superiors attempted to rush through a revised version of the constitution but this was quickly turned down by Cardinal DePaolis.

He then lists 10 questions of the stumbling blocks that make the reform exercise a monumental and perhaps impossible task.
Some of the key issues identified in the questions provided include:

<ol>How can the Church accept the Legion as a “work of God, considering the many defects?

There has always been great ambiguity and confusion regarding the charism and this has not yet been generally admitted by the Legion.

The Church and Legion superiors enabled Father Maciel in many ways over decades and allowed him to continue his abuse and immoral lifestyle. There is a need to delve into the history of the founder and to bring the true history into the light.

The version of Regnum Christi statutes approved in 2004 by Cardinal Rode was considerably different from that which promulgated among the members.

So far, individuals who took part in deceit relating to the founder’s secret life have not been held accountable. Further investigation and justice is required to avoid similar things happening in future.

There has been no change in leadership and this has led to questions relating to trust within and outside the Legion.

The long standing problems that limit real dialogue remain. Voices of dissenters were dealt with effectively over the years and this still happens. Modern technology has been recently implemented (including very aggressive industrial spyware?) to improve monitoring of email correspondence.

Ex members with valuable insights have so far been left out of the reform process.

Richard Gill mentions the Latino mentality (which he says if more tolerant of misconduct and corruption and dishonesty) that pervades the Legion, continues to create stress particularly in Spain and America.</ol>

In his conclusion Father Richard Gill questions how a religious order can be reformed when the founder has been recently labeled as <q>a false prophet</q> by Pope Benedict XVI. Other Catholic religious orders that have reformed have based their reform on returning to the charism and example of the original founder. In this case that is not an option.

<b>Regain Comment:</b>

The excellent questions posed by Father Gill demonstrate the importance of having ex members involved in the reform process. Could he have written such an analysis at any time when he was a Legionary priest? Would he have been able to have access to information to allow him to formulate such opinions? Living in an atmosphere of blind obedience where nobody was allowed to criticize a superior in an open manner what would have happened to him if he had issued these statements? It is necessary to be outside to be able to see the Legion as a hall of mirrors.

The points he makes about the futility of any attempt to return to the founding charism and principles (and saintly example) of their founder, the cultural tensions and the problems of the collective attitude of the current superiors (who wanted to rush through a quickie update of statutes to get this little diversion over and done with) are going to be huge obstacles for the Apostolic Delegate to deal with.

For ReGAIN and friends who have been analyzing these sorts of issues for many years, we know that the excellent points and issues raised are only the tip of the iceberg. There has been overwhelming spiritual, emotional, sexual, physical, financial and mental damage done to many, many victims, inside and outside, including volunteers, benefactors and unfortunately to the Roman Catholic Church itself. Richard Gill touches on the Legion’s contribution to disharmony within the Church hierarchy at the highest levels, with two cardinals simultaneously expressing completely opposite views about the founder. He asked: what does it say about the internal culture of the Vatican that while Maciel was being praised at his 60th anniversary in 2004 by Cardinal Sodano, he was being investigated by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?? Insights into this disharmony may be found at <a href=http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/george-weigel-whitewashing-history>Click Here</a> ReGAIN reported on Jason Berry’s article in December about how the founder was able to buy influence in the Vatican at senior levels.

ReGAIN applauds Richard Gill for speaking out some things that need to be said and for asking that the facts be brought out into the light and dealt with in a way to avoid future false prophets from being welcomed and encouraged within the Catholic Church.

Father Luis Garza Steps Down as Vicar General of the Legionaries of Christ

According to a report from Catholic News Agency (CAN) written by David Kerr, Click Here Fr. Luis Garza is stepping down as Vicar General of the Legion and will be relocating to take over as Territorial Director of North American activities. The two existing territories “New York and Atlanta” will be merged into a single territory under Fr. Garza as of August 1.

This announcement comes just a month after Fr. Garza had announced that he had no intention of stepping down from his (second-in-command) position in the Legion overall. He had said that he expected possible changes in leadership only after the General Chapter meeting, which could still be several years away.

ReGAIN Comment:
The announcement raises several questions to Legion watchers:

Why is Fr. Garza, the Number 2 Legionary relocating to the U.S.?
Is this a demotion or is it a new opportunity for the powerful Legionary?

Possibly this was a move by the Vatican Delegate, Cardinal DePaolis to send Fr. Garza far away from Rome because he was seen as being an obstacle to reform. On the other hand, Fr. Garza may have chosen to locate to a place where he could manage his financial empire undisturbed by prying Vatican officials.

He may have chosen to come here to try to do some damage control considering the loss of vocations, reputation and donations in the U.S. market. He may see the move as an opportunity to increase his power and influence in North America and to strengthen his position to reestablish himself into senior management of the Legion at the next General Chapter.

It is a significant change but for the time being it is difficult to tell what the long term consequences will be for the Legion and for Regnum Christi. The details of archbishop Blazquez?s report for his visitation to Regnum Christi have not yet been officially revealed. Unofficial reports claim that he recommends separation of Regnum Christi from the Legion. If that is the case, then the timing of Fr. Garza?s move and the consolidation of the two territories into one could be related to the long term situation.

Based on an announcement on Regnum Christi?s website Click Here Fr John Connor, the former territorial director of Atlanta has been appointed chaplain of the Lumen Institute and will assist in fund raising in Atlanta. Fr Julio Marta? has not yet been reassigned.

Power Point version of John Paul Lennon’s presentation at the 2011 ICSA Conference in Barcelona

Paul Lennon, MDiv, LPC, a licensed professional counselor and a founding member and editor of ReGAIN was asked to take part in special session entitled <q>Are there Cultic Aberrations in the Catholic Church?</q> at the ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association) Conference in Barcelona in July, 2011.
<b>THE CASE OF THE LEGION OF CHRIST: HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS</b>
Are There Cultic Aberrations in the Catholic Church?

<b>ABSTRACT:</b>

Mr. Lennon will give a brief history of the Legion from its founding, describing how the founder, Marcial Maciel, was able to deceive Church authorities for decades, and how the perseverance of certain former members of the Legion ultimately resulted in the Church?s recognition of the correctness of their allegations and the need to reform the Legion.

<b>Prologue</b>

Perhaps there are two questions contained in the above abstract, the first one being: How was Fr. Maciel, <q>The serious and objectively immoral behavior of [whom], supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling</q>, able to remain undetected and undeterred by popes and Church for sixty years? There is no easy answer. Such paradoxical reality may be explained by a paradoxical parable:
Luke 16:1-8 The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

The second question could be to use an image from the Wild West: how did the posse finally catch up with Fr. Maciel and what did they do to him – The <q>posse</q> being Catholic authorities. And even before, How did Fr. Maciel?s victims convince the posse to get moving? It?s a long tale.
<b>METEORIC RISE</b>

The Legion of Christ, a Catholic Religious Congregation [in popular parlance, <q>order</q>] was founded on January 3rd, 1941 in Cotija, Michoacan, Mexico by a 21-year-old Mexican seminarian called Marcial Maciel.

<b>VICTIMS AND CRITICS RAISE THEIR VOICE</b>

Around 1955 one of Fr. Maciel?s aide-de-camps and the founder?s personal secretary brought concerns regarding the Nuestro Padre?s personal life and his use of donations to Vatican authorities. In 1956 a Visitation (i.e. investigation) was launched ordering Fr. Maciel to leave the order for a while. Before leaving he prepared the members for the investigation telling them that he was being libeled and that <q>enemies of God</q> wanted to destroy His Work. When the seminarians were questioned by the investigators nobody backed the accusations. Fr. Maciel returned triumphant in 1959. Those who did not see eye to eye with him or had <q>doubts about their vocation</q> left. His exile would be referred to as <q>The War</q>. (Later this would be changed to <q>The Great Blessing</q>).
Just before his 1956 exile Maciel had begun drafting a <q>Private Vow</q>, never to criticize the person or actions of a superior and to inform the superior as soon as you found out that another member was so doing</q>. Upon his return the vow was immediately enacted.

Outside Legion confines a group of seminarians who left just after Maciel returned as superior general (circa 1960), got in touch with each other. In their conversations they serendipitously realized that several of them had been sexually abused by the founder in similar ways and with the same methods of deceit and manipulation.

Jason Berry found their testimonies to be credible and after much research by both reporters they decided to publish an article in the Hartford Courant. Thus, the first time Maciel?s abuses came to the notice of the <q>outside world</q> was during the 1990?s. The Legion threatened to sue the papers but valor prevailed and on Sunday February 23, 1997, their article Breaking the Silence, Head of Worldwide Catholic Order Accused of History of Abuse appeared lending a voice to the heretofore unknown and disempowered survivors.

Further research by Renner and Berry spawned their 2003 Vows of Silence book where they raised the specter of Vatican complicity in the silence regarding Fr. Maciel?s licentious life.
REGAIN [Religious Groups Awareness International Network] . Its goal was to help former members network, whereas the Legion ostracized and isolated- support each other, prevent premature recruitment and uniformed donations. The group also launched a webpage with information and articles explaining the Legion/Regnum phenomenon to unwitting Catholics and the general public.

The Legionaries, following the example of their founder, met these accusations with flat denial and by accusing the accusers of lies and defamation. They found stout defenders among some Catholic conservatives and intelligentsia. This defense was epitomized by the 2002 Robert J. Neuhaus? Feathers of Scandal articles in First Things.

Fr. Maciel was very adept at keeping the Legionaries despite their relatively small numbers- in the forefront of Vatican, Papal and American eyes. It was not usual to see Legionary seminarians assisting the pope in Vatican ceremonies. An Irish Legionary priest wrote the pope?s English-language audiences at the Vatican, and a Spanish Legionary priest took over the official paper, L?Osservatore Romano?s Spanish edition. A still greater coup for the Legion founder was organizing Pope John Paul II?s missionary visits to Mexico.

<b>VICTIMS? VOICE REACHES THE VATICAN</b>

In Mexico since the 1960s Jose Barba and his team pursued the official church route in search of truth and justice re the Rev. Marcial Maciel. After many personal approaches, letters and petitions, including an open letter (never translated into English) addressed to Pope John Paul II , they brought their case directly to the Vatican courts. On Saturday, October 17th, 1998, they filed an accusation of absolutio complicis (absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the 6th Commandment, i.e. a sexual sin, and which had no statute of limitations) to the Vatican court.

Hypotheses abound about how or why Cardinal Ratzinger brought the case forward. What is known is that in early 2005, and as Pope John Paul II?s health deteriorated, it was announced that a prosecutor had been named to investigate the allegations against the Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

<b>VATICAN ACTIONS</b>

On May 19, 2006, the Vatican released a statement acknowledging the long-standing accusations against Maciel and ordering him to cease from public ministry and to observe a life of prayer and penance.
Maciel, for the most part, ignored the restrictions, continuing to live the high life of travel, hotels, and tributes until the day he died. A number of actions and event followed on the heels of the Vatican statement.
– Dec 13, 2007: <q>New report offers confirmation that Pope dissolved secret Legion vows</q>

<b>DEATH AND SCANDAL</b>

News of the founder?s death in January 2008 was shrouded in mystery; the immediate cause of Fr. Maciel?s death was not clear nor was the precise place where he died: Florida, Houston or Mexico. Rumors circulated about a woman being at his death bed and there were contrasting reports about his last moments, whether or not he had received the <q>last rites</q> of the Catholic Church, made his confession, and gone to rest in peace.

<ol> February 4th, 2009 LC Spokesman: News that founder fathered child causes Legionaries pain.
CNS? Cindy Wooden quoted in what used to be the Legion?s National Catholic Register
<q>February 05, 2009, Legionaries of Christ founder led double life
CN Catholic News blog
On March 31, 2009, Vatican orders an apostolic visitation of Legionaries of Christ
Pope Orders an Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ
By John Thavis Catholic News Service

On May 1, 2010, Vatican releases the results of the Apostolic Visitation </ol>

Simply stated the Apostolic Visitors confirm the Legionaries worst fear about their Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado. In one paragraphs they state:
<q>The Apostolic Visitation was able to ascertain that the behavior of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado has caused serious consequences in the life and structure of the Legion, so much so, to require a journey of profound re-evaluation.

The serious and objectively immoral behavior of Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling. The large majority of Legionaries were unaware of that life, particularly because of the system of relations created by Fr. Maciel, who had skillfully managed to build up an alibi, to gain the trust, confidence and surrounding silence and strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

Not infrequently the lamentable disgracing and expulsion of those who doubted his upright conduct, and the misconception of not wanting to harm the good that the Legion was doing, had created around him a defense mechanism which made him untouchable for a long time, thus rendering knowledge of his real life difficult.</q>
<ol> On July 9th, 2010 news was released (by the Legion):</ol>

Pope names Velasio De Paolis papal delegate to the Legionaries of Christ.

<b>PAPAL DELEGATE BEGINS REFORM OF LEGION</b>

<ol> On July 10th 2010 the Papal Delegate Addressed the Legionaries at a special Mass at their Rome headquarters.
The papal delegated homily to the Legionaries was very paternal and pastoral, and full of encouragement. The letter he handed Fr. Corcuera was also very conciliatory as if he were trying to avert a general stampede of members. The following paragraph, recommending patience:
October 10, 2010, De Paolis got down to the business of letter to the Legionaries. Despite being more concrete than his previous addresses the Papal Delegate dashed the hopes of many critics and reformers by confirming the present superiors in their positions:
Establishment of special commissions:
Commission for the revision of the constitutions.
Commission to approach those who have in some way put forward claims against the Legion.
Commission for financial matters.

De Paolis staunchly defended the Legion?s charism bequeathed by Maciel: <q>Another very delicate question is that of the charism of the Legion. The absence of a distinction between constitutional norms and norms of law has perhaps hurt efforts to specify the charism. But it seems undeniable that it is sufficiently clear and precise; and it is also more than ever for this time. There is the need to reflect and study this in depth.</q>

For the delegate the crisis is over; there seems no reason to continue to question, to doubt, to second guess, to leave: <q>It seems to me that we can and must expect a positive path of renewal.</q></ol>

<b>IMPLEMENTING CHANGES</b>

Following on the path he laid out for the Legionaries the Papal Delegate and his team continue to implement changes. The commissions already mentioned are established and begin to function. The <q>new</q> Legion of Christ is providing updates on the work of reform.
<ol> Legion Creates Commission for Maciel’s Accusers

Commission for Financial Affairs
<q>The papal delegate for the Legionaries of Christ, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., has created a commission for the study and revision of the congregation?s financial situation. The commission has a consultative function and will report to the papal delegate and the general director with their respective councilors.

Fr. Ghirlanda presented the process for revising the Legionary constitutions, and informed the superiors about the details of the territorial commission that will assist in the process. The Europe based Superiors met in Rome on January 28, for the same purpose, with the papal delegate…

Concrete Reform: Legionaries use of E-mail and Internet
One concrete, if minor, reform instituted by the Apostolic Delegate was to review the norms binding Legionary students and seminarians. In a nutshell, they may have use to e-mail and Internet but in a very regulated and gradual way according to their state of formation. The new rules, in vigor until the Chapter General, are slightly less stringent than the previous.</ol>

<b>CONCLUSION</b>

How did Fr. Maciel go undetected and undeterred for so long may remain a mystery. Not a <q>mystery of faith</q> such as the dogmas of the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity but a mystery of human deceit, self-righteousness, negligence and pride in self and institution; a mystery of evil. Part of the answer lies in Fr. Maciel?s guile and other skills associated with a pathological personality. The truth regarding Fr. Maciel?s true nature surfaced only after his death (2008) and can be attributed to the perseverance of his victim/accusers, the diligence of a Vatican prosecutor, and because for some strange, mysterious, reason, in 2009 the Legion chose to reveal his dalliances with women and his fathering of children. Old and new scandals prompted Vatican authorities to <q>intervene</q> the order and begin a path of reform whose final destination is unknown.

The importance of the ten original accusers now reduced to eight – one died and one recanted – and of two Catholic reporters cannot be minimized.
During the past few months some important members have <q>defected</q> from the Legion; for the most part they have transitioned to local dioceses. They exit the Legion in the middle of the reforms and while the commissions are getting underway. As the papal delegate works with the Legion hierarchy to bring about the announced changes requesting a vote of confidence from the rank and file some important Legionaries are voting with their feet. But the vast majority is staying, hoping that the announced reforms will bring them a new, healthy, and vibrant Legion.
<b>Paul Lennon?s Followup Interview With Cult Expert Steve Hassan</b>

Following the international cult conference Paul Lennon was interviewed by top cult expert Steve Hassan and details of this interview are available here on ReGAIN at <a href=http://www.regainnetwork.org/article.php?a=47246180> Click Here </a>

Paul later commented that his presentation could have been entitled <q>The Legion of Christ Reformed From the Outside</q>. In his closing statements he questions why the Vatican Delegate has been so lukewarm and conciliatory to the current leadership and wonders if the Delegate has <q>fallen under the spell of Father Maciel and his intimate disciples.</q>

Another well informed former Legionary priest, <q>Aaron</q> commented on life-after-rc blog regarding (lack of progress in) the reform process that is being carried out by the Vatican Delegate (who is known to have financial expertise):

<q>He has not taken the initiative in any point regarding the Legion reform. He is overSEEing it quite literally – we have put way too much hope into his office. That is not to say that he is negligent or doing a bad job: his job is to let the Legion manage itself and rubber stamp or not what the legion wants.

Prime example: the General Director and the General Council have consolidated the two North American territories and appointed Luis Garza as the TD of the new USA/Canada territory. Velasio de Paolis: I find no objection…
i.e. The LEGION decided to unite the territories, the LEGION decided to appoint Luis Garza. After the LEGION’s decisions, Cardinal DePaolis said: Yup that?s fine with me</q>.

Aaron goes on to comment that the Delegate seems to have too much trust in the old guard Legion leaders and suggests that all the leaders should be fired and that the excessive control of peoples? every action (e.g. always eating bananas in a prescribed manner) should be relaxed.

<b>Editor?s Note:</b>

Every time I hear about an <q>approved</q> Catholic religious order or movement referred to as a <q>cult</q> by knowledgeable experts such as Steve Hassan or other recognized authorities with the International Cultic Studies Association, I cringe inside. As a Roman Catholic, I feel uncomfortable and I long to hear a Church Authority show that the Church really does understand that cults and mind control do not belong in the Church and that they have a definite plan to really <q>clean the filth from the Church</q> this time around.

Some of us had great hopes when the Vatican appointed a new commissioner with sweeping powers to take control of the Legion. Has anyone noticed LC priests or RC consecrated women tearing the peels off their bananas yet?

Vatican Proposes Autonomy For Women In Cult-Like Group Within Troubled Legionaries of Christ

Nicole Winfield, religious writer with the Associated Press has written an article commenting on the preliminary remarks made by Cardinal DePaolis, Vatican appointed commissioner of the Legion following a year long visitation that was requested by the women of Regnum Christi.

The A.P. article <a href=http://ca.news.yahoo.com/vatican-proposes-autonomy-women-cult-group-within-troubled-204234011.html>Click Here</a> contains interesting comments about concerns that continue to plague the Church as well as the organizations created by Fr Maciel until they are resolved.
<ol>
– <q>Of particular concern is that they have no legal status in the church</q>.
– <q>The Vatican has proposed giving hundreds of women who live like nuns within the troubled Legion of Christ order greater autonomy</q>.
– <q>The women described emotional and spiritual abuse they suffered if they questioned their vocation, and of how they would be cast aside if their spiritual directors no longer had any need for them</q>.
– <q>One of the great scandals about the consecrated women is that they were told the Vatican in 2004 had approved a set of over 1,000 rules dictating how they were to behave when, in fact, the Vatican approved only about 150 general norms</q>.
– <q>Up until recently, some 18-year-olds would make their lifelong commitments to being consecrated after a mere six-week candidacy program</q>. </ol>

The article also contains a testimony from the mother of one of the current consecrated women (3gf’s) sharing her feelings of ongoing daily grieving for her daughter.

<b>Regain Comment:</b>

The pace of the reform process has increased finally from dead stop to painfully slow but there is some hope that it is at least going in the right direction.

We applaud any effort made to find a truly unique God given charism for the consecrated women that is independent from the Legionaries of Christ and the progress that has been made to loosen the iron grip of the Legionary upper echelon over the women of Regnum Christi.

Arguments (not very good ones) have been presented by Legion and Regnum Christi spokespeople defending the validity of their style of <q>consecration</q> claiming that it is included in Canon Law along with <q>other forms of consecration recognized by the Vatican</q>.

Finally, the plight of women who have entrusted everything they have in life to their superiors, believing that they will be looked after for better or for worse is being recognized. If they become too sick or too old, there is no commitment from the Church or from their movement to keep them around in worst case scenarios.

There is some hope that the aggressive recruiting techniques that lead to force vocations are being reviewed and some day will be changed so that young people will not be taken advantage of.

Although the women were supposed to be able to choose their own spiritual director within or outside the Legion or Regnum Christi, it has been impractical for the consecrated women (who have no money, almost no free time and who live in a regimented environment with over a thousand rules and who have had limited access to the outside and who have had to be accompanied everywhere they go) to make a free will decision to actually select and get to any outside spiritual director on a regular basis.

The reform process has shown some signs of life as family members such as members of the Tattle family continue to grieve for their formerly <q>young and vibrant, intellectually alive and athletic daughter</q>. Our thoughts and prayers are with these family members and all of those who are waiting and watching as the process inches its way forward. In the meantime, the consecrated women continue to be committed to follow the Vatican approved (in 2004) statutes that were developed by their founder, Fr Marcial Maciel.