Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Freedom of Mind Center

The listing comes up very high on google.com searches of legion of christ. The info seems dated, but Mr. Hassan seems professional and has many resources available to help any ex members.
Click here for the link.

From Vows of Silence (a still)

From www.vowsofsilencefilm.com

Friday, April 25, 2008

Can someone make sense of this for me?

Fox News (LC) priest tricked us into talking, says mosque's imam
I admit that I am confused. Opinions? Insights? Is the Iman lying? Or is it just ok to lie to a Muslim?
Here for the story
Here for the response

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vows of Silence on the East Coast

I thought I would add a space for people who went to see the screenings in RI and DC to comment. You may do so anonymously if you wish. Thanks.

Awaiting photos from P and G.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday photo caption contest





Thanks for the news tip, anonymous.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vows of Silence Documentary In DC

Vows of Silence Documentary by Jason Berry will be shown to the public in Washington DC on Wednesday, April 23 at St. Mary's Hall in Georgetown University at 7 pm.
Thanks G for the information. (and he promised me pics of the event)

Click here for map to St Mary's Hall

From The Hoya:

VOWS OF SILENCE explores the haunting saga of Father Marcial Maciel, one of the greatest fundraisers in church history. Maciel wins the favor of Pope John Paul II, despite a trail of pedophilia accusations from former seminarians of his religious order, the Legion of Christ. Though small in number, the Legion has a $650 million budget. Ex-Legionaries file a 1998 canon law case in the office of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seeking Maciel’s expulsion from the church. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, pressures Ratzinger to abort the case. In late 2004, with Pope John Paul dying, Ratzinger orders a secret investigation. The film follows the journey of a Vatican investigator, taking testimony from Irish, Mexican and American witnesses. Maciel cloaked his abuses and psychological tyranny by swearing Legionaries to secret vows, never to criticize him or the cult-like movement. With location shoots in Latin America, the U.S. and Italy, the film follows Maciel’s rise from a war-torn Mexico, gaining support from the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, securing his position in Rome as he turns the Legion into an international movement, building schools and universities. As the Vatican investigator builds his dossier against Maciel and the Legion, Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict XVI, must decide the meaning of Vatican justice.

Jason Berry is renowned for his pioneering investigative reporting on sexual abuse in the Catholic priesthood. Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992) was the first major book on the church's crisis and is still used in many newsrooms. He has worked as a consultant for ABC News and is routinely interviewed in the national media about Catholic Church issues and his native city, New Orleans. The book Vows of Silence (2004), co-authored with Gerald Renner, prompted a Vatican investigation and demotion of one of the most powerful priests in Rome. Mr. Berry is a cultural chronicler of New Orleans in such books as Up From the Cradle of Jazz, a grand history of popular music, and Last of the Red Hot Poppas, a comic novel about Louisiana politics. His play, Earl Long in Purgatory, won a 2002 Big Easy Award for best original work of theater. Mr. Berry has received Guggenheim and Alicia Patterson fellowships for his research.

University of Rhode Island Film Festival to feature Vows of Silence

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 17, 2008 -- The University of Rhode Island’s 10th annual student film festival, Visualizations, will be held April 21-24, and will feature special guest, investigative journalist Jason Berry. Berry will screen his new film, Vows of Silence, and be available for a Q&A session following the presentation.

Vows of Silence explores the Vatican cover-up of Father Marcial Maciel, one of the most powerful priests in Rome. For years Maciel drew public praise from Pope John Paul II, despite a trail of accusations that he abused seminarians. In 1941 Maciel founded the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order that now has a $60 million budget, roughly one-fourth that of the Vatican. In 1998 eight former Legionaries filed a canon law case in the office of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seeking Maciel’s expulsion from the priesthood and the church. Ratzinger tabled the case. But in late 2004, realizing that he might become pope, Ratzinger ordered an investigation. The film chronicles the long road taken by the victims seeking justice, men from Mexico and Spain, and goes well beyond testimonies given to Ratzinger's canon lawyer to assemble a haunting narrative of Maciel's rise to power from his youth in Mexico.

Jason Berry is an author and independent film producer who has been widely interviewed in the national media, with many appearances on Nightline, Oprah, ABC, NBC and CNN. USA Today called Berry “the rare investigative reporter whose scholarship, compassion and ability to write with the poetic power of Robert Penn Warren are in perfect balance.”

See announcement here

Thanks GSM fro the link!

Giselle brings us some news from Atlanta (Follow the Money)

"Follow the money
Anyone who is familiar with Pure Fashion is welcome to jump in and correct my analysis here, but I'd like to break down for you the financial side of this apostolate, which in the surface does a substantially good job of promoting modesty for young women.

In Atlanta, there were 60 models, each of which had to pay $450 to participate. Additionally, each young woman had to raise $1000 in sponsorship from friends, family and businesses. Then each participant was responsible for selling 20 tickets to the fashion show at $40/each.

Thus we have each girl bringing in $1000 + $450 + $800 = $2250 x 60 for a net total of $135,000.

Now what does that money go for?

The clothes are donated.
The accessories are donated.
The hair-styles are donated.
The venues for meetings are free (i.e. Pinecrest).
The speakers are in house, meaning volunteers.
The photography for the event is donated (and if participants want pictures, they are purchased separately).

The $40 ticket price ostensibly covers the venue. So we'll separate out that money to conclude that the Legion walks away with $87,000 each year.

I am not indicting the concept in the least -- modesty is woefully lacking in our culture and all who have seen Pure Fashion indicate that the clothes are lovely and the setting very classy (Ritz Carlton is the perfect backdrop for any mother-daughter luncheon, wouldn't you say?)

The problem is that this is a highly elite apostolate (how many social stratas can come up with this kind of cash for participating, much less a circle of friends who can provide the $1000 in donations?) that it seems to feed the troubling profile of the Legion which takes more than it gives (and caters to quite a high-brow clientele).

Now when I was a member, we were always passing the hat for donations for the seminarians (toiletries, sox, underwear, etc.) and our motherly hearts were touched. But methinks that an astute shopper could take this $87K and buy enough shaving cream and knickers for many, many years.

Nota bene: the numbers were sorely down this year in Atlanta. While over 3000 attendees were seen in the past, barely 1000 tickets were sold (cha-ching $40,000) causing organisers to scramble to give away the rest to make the place appear successfully full. Alas, still hundreds of seats lacked occupants.

Never fear, the Legion was never at risk of going into the red over these young ladies. The lower stratas of the population may not ever get the word on modesty through this brain-child, but the hopes for a "trickle-down" effect, no doubt, will allow all these hard-working participants to sleep well.

April 21, 2008"
From life-after-rc

See Exlcblogger's--
Help! What is going on in Atlanta???

Sunday, April 20, 2008

From Marita's Blog

"Love, your daughter

OMG I found this poem while looking for my passport. My poem for MariCarmen Perochena. It said the words I was feeling so deeply, and when I lost it, I had to re-write it because it meant so much to me. But the original was much better, as I knew.

Shooting hoops
I remember our sports uniforms
nuns in blue skirts and white shirts
Yours swished as you jumped
You asked me if I danced ballet
so kind to me - I must say it

Silent phones
I never got the nerve to call you
I left the cult; you died there
In my dreams, I do too
Awake, any hell is better
I wonder where you are, Mari"


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wishful thinking?

When will Fr. Alvaro Corcuera meet with any of Fr. Maciel's victims and finally make peace with the Legion's past?

photo from Milenio.com

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Poem by Marita, ex3gf

spiritual guide
I always want to have thin ankles.
Claudia’s thick ankles
Thump on up the stairs
Reminding me of her face
I fear she will
Turn toward me again.

I try to blend into the marble stairwell,
Though we walk to the same class.

I student, she teacher.
I directee, she guide of my soul.

Thin, I still control my soul
And fade into the shadows.

from http://thelotuspoint.blogspot.com/

Looking for suggestions

Please feel free to send me suggestions of articles, blogs, you tubes or anything out there. Also any photos or videos that you have rights to and would like to share.
All submittors will be respected in anonymity. Send them to landoncody6@gmail.com

Wednesday Photo Caption Contest

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Source of Morphine Drugs in Rome

The photo below is St. Bartholomew's clinic, entrance to the Pharmacy. Tiber Island, Rome.
Once the church complex took over the cult site, a new medical center was needed, and it gradually grew until now the entire upstream end of the island is covered by the modern hospital. It was in an earlier version of this hospital that, according to legend, Rahere, a roisterous member of the court of King Henry II of England, recovered from malaria and had his vision of St. Bartholomew. That reformed him, made him a monk, and caused him to found the great hospital of Saint Bartholomew in London in 1123. Since 1548, St. Bartholomew's hospital on Tiber Island has been administered by the Fatebenefrateli religious order of monks -- their name means "do-good Brothers".
The Founder used to send young Legionaries there to get morphine drugs for him according to several testimonies, including those of Arturo Jurado and Fr. Felix Alarcon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What does this photo have to do with the History of the Legion?

Any ideas? I will give the answer tomorrow...

Thanks to G. for the photo.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Holy Smoke!

So this is what the Brits are thinking. From Damian Thompson's Blog on the Telegraph Website:

Crisis for the Legionaries of Christ
Posted by Damian Thompson on 18 Dec 2007 at 17:12

Something weird is going on behind the scenes of the Legionaries of Christ, the congregation of super-smooth conservative priests whose Mexican founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, was accused of being a sex abuser in 2006.

It has been revealed that Pope Benedict has “derogated” (repealed) the private vows intended to protect the congregation’s privacy. What can that mean?

The Rorate Caeli blog quotes the Mexican newspaper La Jornada as follows: “Pope Benedict XVI had personally asked for the repeal of the private vows professed by the seminarians and priests of the Legionaries of Christ. These were oaths, related to the internal life of the congregation, which assured its secrecy and impermeability: the first [oath of charity] prevented any kind of criticism of superiors and their decisions by members, while the second [oath of humility] forbade the religious men from aspiring to positions within it.”

The Legion is famous in Rome for the fact that its seminarians are spookily good-looking, in a Stepford sort of way. They all part their hair in 1950s style and tend to have perfect teeth – to say nothing of their New Improved Extra-White Fidelity to the Magisterium (in tests, beats even Opus Dei!). Fr Z was speculating the other day that they might actually be Cylons (the cybernetic aliens from Battlestar Galactica).

The Legionaries’ website provides a biography of their 87-year-old founder, Fr Maciel, which ends with Pope John Paul II congratulating the old boy on the golden jubilee of his ordination. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that in 2006 the Vatican ordered Maciel to retire to “a life of prayer and penitence” following repeated allegations that he abused other members of the Legion. (He was judged too frail to face criminal charges.) Time magazine commented at the time:

“In a now-famous homily shortly before his election, Benedict decried ‘filth’ within his church, but doubts have lingered as to whether, even now, he truly ‘got’ the abuse crisis, or whether the put-down was aimed at homosexual priests. The Maciel decision suggests that Benedict gets the crisis well enough to take down one of his predecessor’s favourite sons.”

So, what do we make of this latest decision? Does the Vatican think there are more Legionary scandals to be uncovered? What I do find strange is the way the congregation is behaving as if it is business as usual, and continuing its phenomenally successful recruitment – it has around 700 priests and 2,500 seminarians, an amazing ratio.

We haven’t heard the last of this.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What do you think of this answer?

Father Maciel: Legion of Christ
Question from Frank Dybas on 2/18/2008:

Dear Sir Iv'e been recently reading about the death of the former leader of the Legion of Christ leader Father Maciel. What i have read is deeply disturbing. Apparently he was accused of abusing ( sexually ) anywhere from 20 to 100 young semenarian young boys. These are the ones who came forward. There are probably at least twice that many that didn't come forward. Many leading American Church leaders ( Father Neuhaus, George Weigel, including others ) came forward to defend him. However, the present Pope ( while Father Maciel was alive ) had asked him to to live the rest of his life in " Prayer and Forgivness:. Translation, he was guilty. Do you have any opinion of this leading Catholic orginasation? [sic]

Answer by David Gregson on 3/6/2008:

Considering his advanced age and poor health, the Holy See didn't subject Father Maciel to an ecclesiastical investigation. Neither the number of accusations against him, nor the invitation to spend the rest his days in "prayer and penance" necessarily imply his guilt. But even if he was guilty in some instances of what he was accused of, he did a good work in founding both the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, both highly approved by Pope John Paul II. See his Address to the Legionaries of Christ.


For link, click here

Friday, April 11, 2008

Help! What is going on in Atlanta???

All kinds of conflicting stories. Priests leaving the LC. Events shutting down. Meetings rescheduled permanently. Stories of "we don't do things like that anymore". New school on the margin of the archdiocese. Post a comment if you can make any sense of it or have any info.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Talking Head has a book about Talking Heads

Fr. Morris of insult the Imans fame...
See here

He requires First Class flight arrangements from Rome for speaking engagements. Most people on this site are fine with economy, but nothing is too good for a faithful son of Maciel who has a vow of poverty. Just give them a call or send them an email to find out for yourselves.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Yesterday, I received a letter from the Legion for a fund raising sweepstakes for Memorial Day. The envelope has a picture of Iwo Jima memorial and the letter features the story of one LC priest who was in the military....BUT

The LC does nothing for Memorial Day
The LC does not even celebrate masses for veterans
The LC does not visit graves of fallen soldiers or any war memorials
The LC does not participate in any Memorial Day events
The LC does nothing for disabled veterans

The whole issue of fallen soldiers is a non issue for the Legion, but not when it comes to using real heroes for begging money.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Vows of Silence, the Film. Finally out.

Click here to go to the official website. You can order the DVD there.

"Vows of Silence is an anatomy of the Vatican justice system, following the haunting saga of Father Marcial Maciel, who won the favor of Pope John Paul II despite years of pedophilia accusations. The greatest fundraiser of the modern church, Maciel founded the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order with a $650 million budget and history of controversial tactics.The film tracks a 1998 abuse charges against Maciel filed with Cardinal Ratzinger. The Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, tries to abort the case. In 2004, with Pope John Paul dying, Ratzinger takes action.

The film follows a secret investigator as witnesses testify about Maciel’s sexual abuse, psychological tyranny, and the secret vows he imposed to secure Legionaries’ silence.

With location shoots in Rome, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee and New Orleans, the film tracks Maciel’s rise from war-torn Mexico, gaining the support of the Spanish dictator, Franco, and cementing ties with Vatican officials. A former Vatican official breaks his silence in an interview criticizing the Legion’s cult-like atmosphere. As the evidence mounts, Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict XVI, must decide the price of justice."

Giselle's Website

Life After RC is Giselle's blog which showcases much better writing than mine. It is a trustworthy site, well researched and accurate. Take a look here

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nice effort, but....

A few dozen people going door to door in a neat federal housing neighborhood, amassing at a door in matching Ts, a special mass with some Jesus laden commands... but what is the point of it all? To say a Hail Mary in a door way? and the effort? And the money? is this really the evangelization that Pope John Paul II asked for? The wonderful letter of praise for Megamission in the 90s that Maciel read at a mass to the Legionaires in Rome from the Pope was a fraud exposed by none other than Bp. Brian Farrell. The video tape of that mass was edited later by order of Fr. Evaristo Sada.

Bottom line, Fr. Karras: What does this mean?

"If you ask an LC, especially a fresh, out-of-the-can LC, what the charism of the Legion is he will say, “Charity!”

This is a conditioned response. Not necessarily a bad one, but one that requires a harder look. My response to the question would be different. I might easily be wrong, but I have certainly had plenty of time to think about it.

The first problem with the programmed answer is that no religious order can describe its charism in a one word sound byte. All religious are committed to charity... heroic charity, of the type Christ taught us. Charity, understood as selfless love of neighbor, will be present wherever the Spirit has truly bestowed any of His gifts upon us.

The more specific problem with the typical LC buzzword in my mind is that the practice of charity as a virtue within the LC has been legislated to pieces... pieces that often leave it unrecognizable and confused. The practice of charity outside the walls of the LC house, in our apostolic work, is heavily conditioned by our methodology and its quantifiable goals. That, too, at times sullies and coerces the virtue and the gift.

The vast majority of LCs are extremely decent, charitable and compassionate. I have often been put to shame by the unthinking goodness of my brothers in the Legion and the guilelessness with which they live this most basic of Christian traits. And as far as our spiritual formation is concerned there is no lack of discourse on the ‘queen of virtues’.

But what I’m saying is different: as charism, as the living, breathing heart and soul of the Congregation, charity loses its freedom, its force and its unbridled creativity – whether we’re aware of it or not – because of some of the institutional baggage we carry... elements of a system perhaps not at all essential to our true charism.

On the inside, human relationships – the scenario in which all charity is exercised – can become so minutely regulated by rules and norms that deference to the superiors, topics of conversation, the way we think and express ourselves, the way we work together, the way we enjoy ourselves and relax together make one wonder if it is all really charity or just self-preservation in an setting where uniformity is by far the safest option. By the same token, true friendship, open dialogue, candor and caring for the guy in the cassock next to you are suspect. At times, no matter how many smiling faces surround you, a Legionary community can be an extremely lonely place, indeed.

On the outside, the LCs are primed to cultivate leaders, recruit people for specific works or needs of the Congregation, implement a methodology regardless of the reality they confront, put efficiency above all else and pile up numbers.

There is inarguable merit to our intensity, our focus, our organizational prowess, our method, our work ethic and our insistence on fruitful results. I do not advocate a less demanding apostolate. But, again, charity is often the unnoticed casualty of the campaign.

Who among us has never overlooked souls placed in our path because we were too intent upon catching the ‘bigger fish’? Are the works we ostensibly dedicate to helping the poor ends in themselves or means to other goals? Have none of us ever observed the stampede of LCs that want to be present at the ‘important’ wedding, funeral, baptism or whatever... while finding time for confessions or spiritual direction or hospital visits to the ‘less notable’ is a real chore? Do we worry as much about the people (the people!) we serve through our apostolates as we do about the work itself or the image we project? Do we stick our necks out for our people, take the necessary risks for them... or drop them like hot tamales as soon as we perceive some inconvenience or shadow of disfavor? Is charity always the unadulterated finality of our pastoral efforts or are we out there trying to impress the superiors, hold on to our place or our job, make a name for ourselves because that is what the system expects of us...?

OK. Enough. But I insist that I be correctly understood: the LCs do and have done incalculable good to thousands upon thousands of people. The spirit of outreach, enthusiasm and sacrifice that characterizes our Congregation has been an injection of life and hope for the Church wherever the LC is present.

What I’m saying specifically regards the definition of our charism. I would not glibly and bluntly respond “Charity!” to the question I began this post with. There is pressure exerted by institutional aspects of LC life on the virtue of charity that merits reflection and analysis. We should not fear this task. The Holy See has already given us a push in this direction. In the end, charity will and must be the most vivid and lasting expression of all we are as priests and not simply a shiny veneer held in place by rules and norms."

From changobeer

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Real men from the past II

Saul Barrales, on the left, "Brother Charity", tried to prevent brothers from entering Maciel's room at night. He opposed Maciel's drug abuse; Maciel purposely delayed his ordination and sent him in "on a special mission" to the Canary Islands.
On the right, Francisco Gonzalez Parga, a victim of the Founder, and his wife Esther.

Again, thank you P., for the photo.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Real men from the past I

From the history of the Legion: Carlos de la Isla. He is a real person with a real story, and it may differ from how the Founder recalled it for us.

Photo credit to P.

What does a Legion degree imply?

A debate with comments on Life After RC Blog

"Interestingly, in most Mexican universities, you have to do six months of social work to get your degree. But graduates from Anahuac are forced to get 18 donations for the Legionarios before they receive their degree. Now I must be a cynic to point out that this sounds both unethical and self-serving, but then I'm one of those disgruntled ex-members that must be an enemy of the Church to think such things."

I cannot vouch for the statement, but I can vouch for the blog. It is dependable.
Click here to read the comments feel free to comment here, too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yee-Haw: Legion corrals folks back to mass

1-April--2008 -- Catholic News Agency
American Bishops to Initiate new “Howdy Pardner!” campaign
Baltimore, MD, April 1, 2008 (CNA).- In an effort to draw more and diverse people back to attendance at Mass the American Church has kicked off its new “Howdy Pardner!” campaign designed to entice the unfaithful into becoming the Faithful.
“We feel this is a good way to draw in the shy, the needy, the dissolute, and the fence sitters,” said Cardinal Zbigniew “Red” Myxyzyplk. “People really enjoy a good hoe-down and that sort of countrified atmosphere will bring plenty of good ol fashioned folksiness and downright rustic charm to what some perceive as a bit of a bore.”
Attendance at Masses has been on the decline and lately has dropped significantly after the disastrous “Conquest” campaign designed at impressing young boys with the manliness of parish priests.
“We feel that the ‘Howdy Pardner!’ campaign with its rusticity and appeal to the American spirit of the old west is just the thing. Banners, songs, dances, cattle rustling, these are all things that just scream out ‘American’,” said Father Anthony “PoleCat” Bannon.

Benedict XVI in Western attire.

Bannon also added that cowboys really appeal to young men and showed the more rugged and masculine side of the Church thus offering more appeal than the plain, unadorned black cloth worn by most priests and the predictable settings of the Mass.
“Make sure to put in that exclamation mark,” laughed Bannon.
In addition to banners and television spots, the campaign will also include new rawhide covers for altars and vestments resembling chaps to be worn on high holy days during the year.
When asked why they chose this angle for improving attendance, the bishops responded that prior campaigns just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. “Folks just don’t seem to want what the Church has to offer,” said Father “Chip” Heymdal, bishop of French Lick, IN. “Nor can we remain stuck in the past. The Church is about change. What more people could want is beyond me.”
“We feel that with some good beans, a bit of toe-tapping fiddle playing, and some friendly hand shaking and ass smacking the Mass could really be improved,” said Archbishop Reginald “Slim” Hsu. “The new program should be a rip snorting success.”
Kicking off the program will be the new Missa Ghost Riders in the Sky composed by noted modern liturgical composer Vira Lipschitz. With its vigorous setting of the Kyrie eleison to the tune of Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”, the moving Sanctus/Benedictus which employs a bull whip, clinking spurs, and a dried rattlesnake rattle, and of course the Ghost Riders in the Sky Agnus Dei, Lipschitz’ composition promises to be a darn tootin’ rustler’s rhapsody.
“I’m proud as hell about this work and no side windin’ horn swagglin’ freeloadin’ crocker croaker is gonna steal my butter bin!” said Lipschitz in a brief but energetic interview.
Participants in the Mass which will be held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Saddlesoap in Poughkeepsie, NY will enjoy a genuine lassoing competition by the local pastor and the deacon prior to the consecration followed by a do-se-do to build community, while at the conclusion of Mass a real honest to Betsy pie and donut eating competition will be held in the basement of the Church.
“If this don’t bring in them unbelievers, and maybe some lazy Z believers too, nothing will,” said Rev. Frederick “Buffalo Busting” Meeks.

Thanks R. and the gang for this one.