Monday, June 30, 2008

A Scanner Darkly

Exlcblogger is waiting for UPS to deliver a scanner. This means an exciting month of July filled with scanned pics and old articles. And its all for you!

Image source

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why the exceptions?

Amoung the exceptions to the rules that the founder, Marcial Maciel, reserved for himself was to wear whatever clothes he wanted to. What is with the pinstriped shirt with a collar? Seems innocent, but no other Legionary of Christ was ever allowed to wear such shirts. This like so many other things. I guess he was like the prophet: an exception to all the rules that he imposed on others.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Silliness reciprocated

We created some imaginary groups? movies? novels? in parody of consecrated life. Of course, it goes a little over the top, but enjoy it ye who may.

Girls who got kicked out of Regnum Christi?

Exconsas who can't get rid of the nightmare: haunted by rc

I was married to God and now I'm divorced; he got custody

Not FLDS: I was RC/ we got to wear heels

I was RC and my skirts never fit

I was the '80s fashion queen in 2000

I was 3gf and now I'm lesbian

I was a lesbian 3gf, and now I am straight

I never REALLY thought my directress was a saint

When my directress hit on me, I hit back

(hmm no I ran for the hills)

God wants me to...oh it's getting fuzzy, very fuzzy, we're losing connection...

I used to take cold showers as a pc and now I am frigid

Universal charity is for universal wimps

I fulfilled obedience down to even the desires for massages of my superiors, I mean

I was faithful 'til I died on the battlefield

I did not desire any position except serving team

I did not desire any position except servicing the team

I did not desire any position, I let my superior chose it, usually doggy style

"I was humble so I was on the bottom"

My yellow letter was copied from someone else's

From the desire of flying on the concord, business class, or a double decker boeing with a hot tub, Free Me O Jesus!

Líbrame, Jesús

From Lotus Point

Friday, June 27, 2008

Remind you of anyone?

Hitler making fun of subordinates who couldn't say anything back? Hmm, where have I heard that scenario before...

The dictator would often break from the serious nature of waging his campaign to "pull the legs" of his entourage of generals and hangers on.

His favourite victim was the Luftwaffe chief Herman Goering, who was notoriously fond of awarding himself medals and decorations.

According to the book by the last surviving member of his bunker, Hitler recounted how Mrs Goering found her husband waving a baton over his underwear in the bedroom and asked him what he was doing.

"He replied: "I am promoting my underpants to OVERpants"", Hitler then joked.

Hitler was said to be so proud of his joke that he had medals made from gold and silver paper for Goering to wear on his pyjamas.

On another occasion he noticed his official photographer Heinrich Hoffman had drunk too much and told him: "Don't stand to near the fire Heini - you might burst into flames."

The Fuhrer's sense of humour, which included disturbing jokes about concentration camp victims, has been revealed in a book called The Last Witness, to be published in Britain later this year.

It is written by Rochus Misch, 90, the telephonist in the Berlin Bunker where Hitler spent his last days before killing himself in April 1945.

From P.S.
Read it here

Thursday, June 26, 2008

12 year old seminarians

"I was invovled with RC many years and I have to say the Legion was inordinately aggressive. My son @ 12y.o was subject to intense pressure to join their apostolic school to the point he was in tears. I know of many other individuals who have experienced the same thing."

Posted by: John | Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 09:11 AM

"Many good faithful Catholics will have nothing to do with the Legion because of some cult like tactics. Trying to get a 12 year old to sign up for seminary in this day and age is shameful. I will keep my kids away from all of their groups."

Posted by: Annie Witz | Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Comments from The Roman Catholic Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday Photo Caption Contest

Please feel free to change the title and caption. I am a photoshop dummy.

Thanks to P.S. for the pic.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Prosecutor Reed Michael Brodsky said Follieri, of Foggia, Italy, boasted of tight Vatican connections to entice investors to give millions of dollars so he could "live the lifestyle of a multimillionaire." He said Follieri had duped one investor as recently as last month.

"In short, your honor, he is a con man, and he was able to defraud a lot of people out of a lot of money over a long period of time," Brodsky told Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman. "The evidence in this case is overwhelming because he left a trail of evidence."

Doesn't this sound familiar?!?!?!?

Read it here.

"Brothers, you have a vocation until your superior tells you 'Brother, you do not have a vocation'"

Fr. Ownen Kears, summer 1984 to the candidates of the Legion of Christ.

Thanks for the quote, G.F.

Image source

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Frank Dialogue

Archbishop O'Brien Meets with Regnum Christi members concerning the Legion of Christ Matter.

From Fr. Murphy's Blog:

"This is not the usual matter for this blog. Typically, my subject matter is a bit lighter than this. However, as this is an important issue in my diocese (and many beyond are interested too), I thought I would provide some further input on the Archbishop O'Brien - Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi matter.

On Saturday, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien met with a group of members of Regnum Christi after the priesthood ordination in Baltimore. Recognizing that they probably had already heard much of what was the impetus for the meeting, the archbishop told the roomful of 150 people, “It is out of pastoral concern that I speak to you. … I want you to hear [these things] directly from me.” He began the meeting by restating the content of his letter that went to Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, the head of the Legion of Christ in Rome. In restating these concerns raised in the letter, O’Brien emphasized again the three areas of concern he had with regard to the operations of the Legion and Regnum Christi in the Archdiocese:
First was the lack of pastoral transparency in the sharing of information about programs and participants. Second was the nature of youth programs and activities that seem to show a lack of respect for parental rights and duties, and a call to cease ongoing spiritual direction with children under 18. And finally was a need to respect the parental role in encouraging and fostering vocations.

After his brief words of explanation, the archbishop opened the discussion up to the concerns and comments of the assembly. Most of the comments reflected the very positive role that involvement in Regnum Christi has had in the lives of the families who participate. They said that they are closer to their Church and Jesus, and that they have been active and integral participants in their parishes as well. They didn’t feel the “coercion” or the “flaws” that the archbishop’s letter had referred to.

Some who spoke acknowledged their skepticism about RC and their schools and programs but did not deny the positive effects that they saw with their families as a result of this ministry. One man asked O’Brien, “Are you open to this dialogue?” noting that his comments – especially those in the interview with John Allen – seemed “offensive” and “not very open” to a process of healing. Others pointed out that there could have been a tendency on the part of ex-members to “misinterpret” the problems of RC and that their input represented only one, biased side of the issue.

Many things were said in defense of RC and LC, and O’Brien listened attentively. Some folks mentioned that there was an orthodoxy in teaching by the LC that was not encountered from diocesan clergy. This was the attraction of the Legion’s activities. There was a question as to whether or not the archbishop was looking for “PR” in this controversy. O’Brien assured them that “I’d be wasting my time if this was for PR.” For him, it is a real issue that must be addressed openly and candidly.

From what I have seen and known about Archbishop O’Brien thus far, to say that this is anything other than true pastoral concern on the part of a shepherd of the Church would be disingenuous. Hopefully, with this dialogue initiated, we are on the way to an open, transparent road to the future. The people spoke, and O’Brien “got what they were saying.” “I love you and what you are doing,” he told them. Now, he says, it is up to them to be open and honest in approaching their pastors – parish priests – and share the best of who they are – something the LC have already taught them to do for God. In a letter sent to Baltimore priests as a follow-up, O’Brien tells us “In my opinion, many members of Regnum Christi are exemplary in doing fine work in this Archdiocese. However, unique among many apostolic groups, LC and RC suffer a strong negative image among many of our clergy in Baltimore and beyond. Until this factor is addressed candidly, tensions will remain. I suggested that members of Regnum Christi speak with their parish priests, relating their account of Saturday’s meeting and seeking ways to collaborate more closely with parish life.”

The dialogue, it seems, has begun. We’ll see where this takes us."

Some old but interesting opinions on the Legion of Christ

From Phatmass

Too lengthy to quote, but have a look here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sound familiar?

Calling it a "very grave situation," the Vatican has excommunicated members of a controversial Quebec Catholic movement, the Army of Mary, for their heretical beliefs that derive from the writings of Marie-Paule Giguère, an 86-year-old mystic who claims to be a reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.

Yesterday, he [papal mediatior Terrence Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa] criticized the belief that God has somehow willed their excommunication, which he called "victim theology."

From Sept 2007 National Post

WOW New Oxford Review!

See it here

Dale Vree
Fr. Maciel Is Disciplined by the Holy See: What Will the Legionaries Do Now?
September 2006

Renee Lockwood
The Legion of Christ & the Cult of Personality
September 2006

New Oxford Notes
'The Legionaries Aren't Rich'
May 2006

New Oxford Notes
A Machiavellian Misfire?
July/August 2005

Michael S. Rose
Why Orthodox Catholics Are Angry With the Legion of Christ
May 2005

Cecilia H. Martin
The Legion of Christ
May 2005

New Oxford Notes
It Pays to Be Friends With the Legionaries of Christ & Commonweal
March 2005

New Oxford Notes
Priestesses Would Be Unfeminist?
February 2002

New Oxford Notes
Multiple-Choice Question
February 2000

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ukrainians Opine

"National Catholic Reporter writer and analyst John Allen writes about and publishes a fascinating interview with the Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin F. O'Brien, regarding the well-known and controversial Roman Catholic order, the "Legionaries of Christ." O'Brien was Archbishop for the Military Services of the United States from 1997-2007, when he was assigned to Baltimore.

For all of you who are concerned, have become weary of or have been effected by the continued secrecy, hypocrisy and self-righteousness of certain segments within the Roman Church, this is a "must-read." Already, the "Legionaries" were expelled from the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese in late 2004.

I commend Archbishop O'Brien for taking the necessary steps to protect his people from possible unjust situations and to require accountability from those who operate within his archdiocese."

Vladyka Mykhayil is the Archbishop of New York & Metropolitan of All America for the UAOC

Original here.

And from none other than Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan has bloged about all of this

Benedict, John Paul II, And Child Abuse and
Confronting the Maciel cult.

And from the past:

Maciel's Defenders

Neuhaus Responds


Benedict and Maciel

Image source
Illustration for The Atlantic by Terry Colon

Friday, June 20, 2008

John Allen tells it like it is

Three things to understand about the Legionaries of Christ

All Things Catholic by John L. Allen, Jr.
Friday, June 20, 2008 - Vol. 7, No. 40

Last week I published a lengthy, and remarkably candid, interview with Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore about a set of directives he’s issued for the Legionaries of Christ and their lay movement, Regnum Christi. Specifically, O’Brien demanded an accounting of all personnel and activities in his archdiocese from both groups, and he barred Legionaries and Regnum Christi members from one-on-one spiritual counseling with anyone under 18.

In our interview, O’Brien had some tough things to say, including his fear that the problems he sees in both groups are so “endemic” as to be essentially beyond correction. O’Brien said he hopes he’s wrong, but revealed that he had walked up to the brink of expelling the Legionaries and Regnum Christi from the archdiocese altogether, only to pull back after three Vatican cardinals asked him to give them another chance.

The full text of that interview can be found here: Baltimore archbishop demands greater accountability from religious order.

In the meantime, the Legionaries have issued a statement on O’Brien’s directives. Here is the full text of the statement, which comes from Communications Director Jim Fair:

“Father Alvaro Corcuera [Superior of the Legion of Christ] met June 6 with Archbishop Edwin O’Brien. They had a fruitful and substantive discussion that laid down the groundwork for the Legion’s continued ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. They were able to clarify issues and came up with concrete points that we will work on. We would hope that all Regnum Christi members will also see this as an occasion to love and serve the Church.

“We look forward to supporting the Archbishop’s efforts to spread the Gospel in this great and historic Archdiocese. We pray for Archbishop O’Brien and Fr Alvaro that the Lord may bless them abundantly for the tremendous leadership they give to us. As you can see from the archbishop’s published letter, there have been serious issues regarding the Legion’s work. We are grateful for the opportunity to address these matters.”

Since my interview with O’Brien appeared, I’ve had a high volume of responses, much of it from people who long ago made up their minds about the Legionaries. There were, however, a number of other reactions that weren’t quite so according-to-script. One prominent American Catholic commentator, for example, who has a number of friends in the Legion of Christ, called to say that he hopes the O’Brien interview will “jar loose” what he sees as a taboo within the group concerning discussion of charges of sexual abuse leveled against the late founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.

For the record, those charges were widely publicized in the 1990s, and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith opened an investigation in 1998. In 2006, the Vatican released a communiqué stating that on the basis of that inquest, it had decided to invite Maciel “to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public ministry.” Many observers took the decision as tantamount to a finding of guilt.

Here’s what O’Brien told me about the response within the Legionaries to the charges against Maciel: “They really have to face it. They need to be able to say, ‘The evidence seems to be that this man engaged in some activities that were less than honorable, and maybe even sinful.’ … Without facing that, I think it casts a pall over any other objectivity, any other integrity, they claim to put forth as their qualifications to deal with lay people and with the Catholic church in general.”

What’s new in O’Brien’s case, as well as the commentator mentioned above, is that the drumbeat is coming not from liberal Catholics hostile to the Legionaries on ideological or theological grounds, or from veteran activists on the sexual abuse issue, but rather from figures who otherwise think of themselves as friends of the Legion.

All this prompts a question that may seem obvious particularly to Americans, in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis: As so many dioceses and orders have been forced to do, why don’t the Legionaries simply take the hit and move on?

For the Legionaries themselves, undoubtedly the largest single reason is also the simplest: many don’t believe the charges are true. They see the Vatican’s action as a tragic mistake, which they pray will be rectified with time. Critics of the Legion, on the other hand, often suggest that structures of secrecy and deceit in the order run so deep as to make an honest accounting of Maciel’s past virtually impossible.

Without entering into that debate, it’s important to observe that the truth or falsehood of the charges is almost certainly not the only variable shaping the Legionary response. There are at least three other factors that cannot help but affect how the Legion, or any group facing a similar crisis, might react. To understand those forces is an important step towards understanding why things happen as they do in the church.

The centrality of the founder: The Vatican’s communiqué two years ago took pains to distinguish its conclusion about Maciel from any indictment of the Legionaries as a whole: “Independently of the person of the founder,” it said, “the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Association is recognized with gratitude.” Many Legionaries and other experts on religious life, however, warn that things aren’t that simple. The identity and spirituality of a religious order is deeply tied to the personality of its founder, and there aren’t many ready examples of orders which have flourished despite compelling evidence of moral corruption on the part of the founder. To acknowledge merit to the charges against Maciel, at least in the eyes of some, would therefore be tantamount to jeopardizing the viability of the communities he founded. It could also, of course, jeopardize the vocations of Legionaries intensely devoted to the figure of Maciel.

Mixed signals from the Vatican: Prior to the action from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith two years ago, there were clear divisions in the Vatican about how to proceed in the Maciel case, and those divisions have not disappeared. Last March, Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Religious, celebrated Mass for the Legionaries on the anniversary of Maciel’s birth. In his homily, Rodé praised the “genius” of Maciel, saying that he was one of the few figures after the Second Vatican Council who managed to avoid the “traps of secularization.” Rodé urged the Legionaries to “walk in the footsteps of Father Maciel, who loved the Church, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe: how can we not name her on this occasion! He loved the Pope.” Such language hardly suggests to many Legionaries or Regnum Christi members that some senior figures in the Vatican regard “coming to grips” with the charges against Maciel as an urgent priority.

Accusations of a cover-up: As painful as it would be for members of the Legionaries or Regnum Christi to accept that Maciel was guilty, doing so might actually prove less problematic in the long run than dealing with the fallout from such an admission. Many observers contend that if the charges against Maciel are true, it strains credibility to believe that no one else in the Legion of Christ knew about what was happening. Inevitably, therefore, to admit Maciel’s guilt would be to invite awkward questions about who was aware of his behavior, and what their role may have been in either facilitating it or covering it up. Such questions would be especially explosive given that some of Maciel’s closest friends and aides, who would be the most obvious targets of those questions, now occupy positions of leadership in the Legion of Christ.

Given the cumulative impact of these factors, it’s likely that the Legionaries would struggle to face the charges against Maciel under any circumstances -- even if their truth were established beyond all doubt. As I noted above, this is an insight with broader applications than just the Legionaries or the Maciel case.

Perhaps as proof of the point, so far the O’Brien interview does not seem to have dislodged the taboo these forces help to sustain. After I received the statement quoted above from Fair, the communications director, I asked if the Legion wished to respond to O’Brien’s statements about the issues surrounding the founder.

His answer: “We don’t have any further comment on the charges about Father Maciel.”

Will they ever learn?

Personal testimony re Spiritual Direction

"She lived it

One woman, formerly consecrated with Regnum Christi, has a moving post on the topic of spiritual direction for the very young.

I firmly believe that influencing children's minds, especially with a tool such as spiritual direction, can be a great abuse. I was always told Regnum Christi worked with the young so they could reach them before they were too entrenched in sin, so they could be better apostles. Now, I wonder if it was only a technique to place feelings of guilt and deber in young minds, unformed enough to resist or have their own opinions. Plus, if they came from strong Catholic families, it would only reinforce their previous education, and the combination would be irresistible.

That's the brilliance of the Methodology, as it preys on those with half-formed consciences. Their sense of sin has been awakened, and yet they are still immature in how free will works. Read it all."
This is from Giselle.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More from Fr. Murphy in Baltimore

Fr. Austin Murphy said...
That's the heart of the matter, I think. The archbishop has heard too often of this manipulation and lack of respect for parents' role in discernment and was not terribly hesitant about throwing them out wholesale. It was folks in Rome who asked him to approach from another way. I received an e-mail today that he plans on meeting with LC folks after our ordination on Saturday, and we priests have been invited. It is juicy enough to go.

June 17, 2008 2:06 PM

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Legion of Christ offers Gregorian Masses


But so do the Franciscans and Cistercians and Carmelites, too.

Image source

Thanks for the info, M.G.

More on Mass Intentions

Testimony of an ex Legionary of Christ who was a superior in the United States:

It's unspeakable, to say the least. MM used to order me, when I was the superior in Orange, Ct., to request mass intentions from the USA dioceses, and send the moneys to him. Those masses were never taken care of, never celebrated. That's stealing, deceiving the donor's intentions, a sacrilege.

Thanks for the note J.V.

Wednesday Photo Caption Contest

Thanks P.S. for the photo contribution

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We priests of Baltimore...

Fr. Austin Murphy said...

Deacon Greg,

We priests of Baltimore have been very impressed with the straightforward attitude of Archbishop O'Brien since he arrived here last year. This episode with the Legionaries is yet another example of his say-what-you-mean approach. For about 10 years here, the LC's have been moving into (wealthy) areas of the diocese and operating what amount to parallel parishes within parishes. It is divisive, and, yes, it has not been transparent.
I applaud O'Brien's attempt to generate better communication and honesty among this religious order and the diocese which has hosted them for so long now. I would applaud even louder if the LC's would also move into some poor, inner-city areas as well...but that doesn't seem to fit their charism here so far.
Pray for us - pray for ecclesial unity -since the harvest is great and the laborers few, it doesn't help if the laborers don't work together!

June 15, 2008

From The Deacon's Bench Blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

From Fr. Karrass. Exlcblogger wonders....

know thyself

“When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully as I am fully known.” (1Cor 13: 11-12)

Only the final Light will reveal us for all that we truly are. If an adult achieves only shadowy, blurry knowledge of self – as Paul admits – what introspection, what self-criticism could a child have?

In these many months since the whole LC ball of yarn began unraveling, I have engaged in a peculiar form of self torture: I try to imagine what i capi talk about behind closed doors. Especially now, without Fr. Maciel’s all defining presence setting the agenda...

Is it all just damage control? Is it business as usual, keep the rank-and-file marching to the same beat and act like nothing has happened? Is it calling in favors to stop the bleeding? Is it putting the spin machine on overdrive to keep the bubble from bursting from within? Is it denial and hope that the storm blows over?

Or is it an openness to grace, a sincere reckoning, a fearless self-questioning, an honest and transparent desire to seek and embrace the truth of who we are and what the Church needs us to be?

Archbishop O’Brien’s demanding letter and his painfully candid interview will either be dealt with begrudgingly, as another splinter of persecution from our already heavy cross, or it will be embraced and reflected upon as a call to conscience for the LC, like the others that have been issued over the past three years.

Baltimore’s Archbishop sounds ticked-off and skeptical. He fears that the LC’s institutional lack of transparency may be beyond cure. He makes it clear that only a few timely phone calls from the Curia staved off a much harsher reaction, à la Columbus, OH or St.Paul-Minneapolis.

Still, the Exorcist remains hopeful.

When I was a child, I reacted like a child... as a man I leave childish things behind.

Maybe these are the LC’s growing pains. Maybe upon denial comes acceptance and self-analysis. Maybe the LC can yet learn to trust its own and not fear transparency and change. Maybe the best is yet to come...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

From Matt Abbott at Renew America

Reactions to Matt's February Fr. Farfaglia piece:

From Fr. Paul Ward:
I, too, had been a member, thrown out of the Legion for reasons still not told to me, after fifteen years of faithful and fruitful religious life. How it happened was very bad, but that it happened was a great boon.

And from some guy named Joe:
'May you find a confessional, fast, Mr. Abbott, and beg God's mercy and forgiveness and for your penance may you say the Litany of Humility which we said today to celebrate our beloved Father Maciel's beautiful gift. A gift of his life, freely given, which our Lord sent forth to transform our culture and a gift which will animate the compassion and love for priestly and lay service for generations to come.'

Read it all here
Fr. Paul Ward's blog (and image source)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

St. Louis on the Air KWMU

May 29, 2008 - Clergy Abuse Documentary
A discussion about Jason Berry's documentary on clergy sex abuse and the issues it raises.

John Shemleffer
Judical Vicar
Archdiocese of St. Louis

Jason Berry

Listen to it here with Windows Media

Main page here

Friday, June 13, 2008

From shoo-in for sainthood to disgrace as a priest

A facinating obit from Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald

But things began to go wrong in 1997 when nine men went public with accusations they were abused by Maciel while studying under him in Spain and Rome in the 1940s and 1950s. They described how the leader they were taught to think of as the epitome of holiness would say he had an illness in his groin and had been given papal permission to receive help massaging out the pain. The group, which included respectable academics and former priests, lodged formal charges in Latin at the Vatican in 1998, but were told in 1999 that the case had been shelved by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Still the accusations would not go away.

Read article here.
Image source

Thursday, June 12, 2008


An interview with the Archbishop by John Allen: read it and see for yourself

Interview with Archbishop Edwin O’Brien
June 11, 2008

Can you describe what led you to issue this letter?
When I came into the archdiocese, I was told by our Vicar General that there had been a long series of exchanges between the cardinal and the locals of the Legionaries about programs going on in the archdiocese that our pastors didn’t know about, didn’t know the extent of them, didn’t know the nature of them. There were seemingly heavily persuasive methods used on young people, high schoolers especially, regarding vocations.

Have the Legionaries generated a lot of vocations in Baltimore ?
I don’t know. Once again, we don’t know. They have the Woodmont school in our archdiocese. [Note: The Woodmont Academy is a private K-8 Catholic school with an enrollment of over 300 located in Cooksville , Maryland .] Academically, they’re abiding by all the expectations of our Superintendent of Education. We’ve got no problems there.

But what goes on in the one-on-one counseling … there seems to be a tendency to say, ‘We represent God. You can tell us anything, and you better believe that what we tell you is from God too. If your parents disagree, we know better. We’re in the God business, and they’re really not.’ This is a caricature, but it’s there.

They sponsor father/son weekends. The father drives 14 hours, brings the kid up to New Hampshire and drops the kid off at 11:00 at night. Where’s the farther going to stay? Well, there’s a place about 40 miles away you can stay, so the father’s sleeping in the car overnight. Next day they’re ready for the hike, but no, the fathers don’t go, it’s just the counselors and the kids. That’s the tendency.

Who’s in charge of this? Who’s responsible? Each time you meet with an official, [they say], ‘Oh, no, that didn’t happen, did it? You should have let us know right away. That’s not right.’ But it happens over and over again.

Are these activities organized by Regnum Christi?

Regnum Christi, yes. I’m really talking about Regnum Christi all the way through here. To what extent the priests are involved … the Legionaries of Christ are a religious order. My thought is that where lay people are involved, it’s called Regnum Christi. The priests are there for spiritual direction. Who’s setting the agenda? Obviously the priests are, but they’re very clever with their organization. They have several different corporations, and we can’t figure out which is which. As far as property goes, responsibility for various organizations, the Legionaries stay pretty far away on the books, though practically speaking they’re very much involved.

There’s a lack of transparency, as I’ve called it. I’ve met some extraordinarily fine members of Regnum Christi. They’ll talk about what had happened before they met Regnum Christi. Every priest they went to, they got a different story about what the church taught, and then finally they got it [from the Legionaries]. What they’re hearing usually is right. But it’s the tactics that get you. The question is, will some of these very good people be disenchanted someday? For that matter, should they be disenchanted now? Do they know all the facts? I don’t know. I’m not in there to break up Regnum Christi, I’m in there just to see that Regnum Christi is as accountable as every other group should be to the ordinary of the diocese.

What kind of response have you had to the letter?
I know Fr. Alvaro [Corcuera, Superior General of the Legionaries of Christ] from my days in Rome as rector [of the North American College .] He’s always been very cordial. I got calls from some very highly placed people in Rome when they heard this was going on, some cardinals, asking me not to do anything until I spoke with Fr. Alvaro. They said he’d take the next plane over here if I wanted. I said no, we’d wait until his next trip, which was this past week. It was cordial.

He’s in a tough spot, taking over after Maciel [Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries.] I think he’s trying to straighten a number of things out. I think he’s been told to straighten a number of things out, and I want to give him a chance.

I’ve always suspected the flaws in the organization are endemic to it. There’s no remedying them, because it’s so deeply ingrained. There’s a sense of secrecy right from the seminary. The seminarians move two-by-two wherever they go. If one criticizes anything about the institution, the other one has to report it. … All this flows into Regnum Christi as well. Nothing happens in Regnum Christi without the Legionaries.

I had been thinking that this endemic, but this [the letter and the Legionaries’ response] will prove the case. I hope I’m wrong. I hope they can be at ease in working with the ordinary of the diocese, before the ordinary has to come in and say ‘I don’t want you in my archdiocese at all,’ as Archbishop Flynn did.

Have you spoken with other bishops who have had experiences with the Legionaries and with Regnum Christi?
I did, briefly. Our chancellor has called, I guess, maybe half a dozen other chanceries involved. They can almost finish the sentence, every sentence. It’s the exact same tactic everywhere. It gets me, because these are good, solid clergy I’m speaking with in the Legionaries, but they all seem to be so surprised all the time. Now if they’re really convinced that they have been misled, there’s something about their judgment that has to be called into question.

Could one say the same thing about their judgment of Fr. Maciel himself?
When I speak to the Legionary priests, they just shake their heads. There’s no attempt to defend [Maciel]. Within the community, however, I think they do [defend him]. Their whole thing is that any setback, any challenge, any obstacle is part of the cross we bear, and we’re going to grow as a result.

That was the language of their statement after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s action regarding Fr. Maciel was made public.

That’s why at the core of the whole operation, I’m just wondering if there’s not a flaw that allows such blind allegiance and operations to continue. I’d love to know, for example, the percentage of priests who stay after ordination. Everything is reported … there’s nothing said even in passing to a Legionary by someone like myself that’s not recorded and reported to someone in authority.

Do you believe that any reform in the Legionaries has to involve coming to terms with the charges against Fr. Maciel?

It’s got to be faced. They really have to face it. First of all, they have to come to grips with it themselves, within their own community of Legionaries. They have to squarely face it. They need to be able to say, ‘The evidence seems to be that this man engaged in some activities that were less than honorable, and maybe even sinful.’ Of course, I don’t know what the evidence is, but …

One presumes that the CDF would not have reached the judgment it did without compelling evidence.

Absolutely. Without facing that, I think it casts a pall over any other objectivity, any other integrity, they claim to put forth as their qualifications to deal with lay people and with the Catholic church in general.

You asked in your letter of June 6 that the Legionaries appoint a priest to be a liaison with you and the archdiocese. Has that happened yet?


Who is it?

It’s the superior in Washington . I just got word on it this morning, so I don’t even know his name. Fr. Alvaro was completely open to everything we asked. In fact, here’s how it started. I had this letter, and he hadn’t seen it. No one knew about it expect our own inner sanctum. Fr. Raymond Cosgrave was with him. He’s really [Corcuera]’s right-hand man. He was over here a couple of months ago to talk about these things. That’s when I said, ‘I think it’s at the core of things and the whole operation is irremediable. No matter how much we speak, we always come back to the same point.’ I told him, ‘You mention the Legionaries of Christ to most groups of diocesan priests, and it’s the same reaction everywhere. It’s not just us and it’s not just me.’

We sat down again with Fr. Raymond the other day, who accompanied Fr. Alvaro. After Fr. Alvaro said a few things, Fr. Raymond said, ‘If only you would appoint a liaison we could work with. We’ll appoint a liaison, and he will follow every step that you suggest. If only you would give us a list of the things you want us to do, specifics.” Well, it was already in the letter, though they hadn’t seen it yet. They were asking for it. I didn’t expect that. When I showed it to them, I think they were relieved.

I think that if we’re going to have a shot at this, if it’s going to work, it will depend upon Fr. Alvaro. He said he’s working on things, but I said, ‘Father, it has to get down to the grassroots. It’s got to get down to the school up there, and to [activities in] New Hampshire and Rhode Island . We can’t wait forever for that to happen, for the seepage to take place and people get the message three years later. Fr. Alvaro said he’s working on doing that, getting the word out to everybody.

What that word will be, I don’t know. It’s going to be very hard for them to acknowledge Maciel, because Alvaro and Maciel were very close.

You also directed that they’re not to engage in one-on-one spiritual direction with anyone under 18. Are you satisfied that they’re prepared to comply with that?
They say they are. I think they see the handwriting on the wall. If they don’t, we’ll just have to take another step.

What would that other step be?
To do what St. Paul-Minneapolis did. That would be tough, because they’ve got a huge investment in that school out there. I don’t want to hurt the people, and that’s what the upshot would be. I want to give them every chance. I think they were walking along with us as we discussed things, they saw what our concern was – among other things, that there is undue influence on the part of Legionaries over very impressionable young people that not even parents have. That’s just not fair. If the parents don’t realize it, we have to awaken them to it, or at least speak up for the innocent one.

This is serious enough and important enough to you that if they don’t comply, you would be willing to take that next step of barring them from the archdiocese?
I think we’d have to.

Were there any specific incidents that led to the issuance of this letter?
No, it was just on-going stalling and lack of a real sense of cooperation. Those who are out of the Legion say that they will always yield to authority, and they themselves say that openly. One told me, ‘You tell us tomorrow to pack up and get out of here, we will pack up and get out of here, and I assure you that you will not get one nasty letter from any Regnum Christi member. That’s the way we are.’

Short of that, however, what you get is an impression of total obedience to the church, but with a ‘but.’ The impression is, ‘We’re the Legion, we do things a little differently, and the bishop really doesn’t understand. Also the priests don’t understand, because we’re Legionary priests, and the Holy See has established us to do certain things.’ There’s that kind of looking down on others, belittling them.

The Legionaries are not the only group that has attracted this kind of attention over the years. Some of what you’ve said is reminiscent of things said not so long ago about Opus Dei, for example. Do you think there’s something unique about the Legionaries?

I don’t have to deal much with Opus Dei. To my knowledge, Opus Dei is not that active in Baltimore . Even when I see them active, I find among the Opus Dei priests a lot more transparency and accountability.

Has that always been the case?
I remember years ago when I was in the New York chancery … the Holy See sends out forms each year for the Annuario [Note: the Vatican ’s annual statistical yearbook of the church], and each year they change. One in particular wanted to know about the religious in the archdiocese, how many are there and so on. The only one I couldn’t get word from was Opus Dei. They said, ‘We just don’t give that information out.’ I said, ‘Cardinal Cooke wants it.’ They said, ‘I’m sorry, the Holy See has exempted us from those things.’ I don’t think that happens anymore with Opus Dei.

Opus Dei was founded in the late 1920s and the Legionaries in the 1950s. If one wanted to be an optimist, is it possible to say that the Legionaries are moving down a path that Opus Dei and others have travelled before, and that they too will change?
I hope so, because it does a lot of good. It’s 96 percent good work, and 4 percent that’s almost a sect. It’s just 4 percent … but if it’s a question of immoral or even illegal operations, even if it’s just 1 percent, you’ve got to address it.

One could say that the Legionaries face a special challenge, because nobody accused the founder of Opus Dei or other groups of sexual abuse.

But even without that, it’s still a problem. Had those accusations never arisen, what’s going on still has to be deal with. It’s still that 4 percent. On the other hand, you’re right that this complicates it tremendously, the fact that there are accusations which have not been acknowledged.

I know all this is unpleasant for them. My letter will draw unfortunate attention to the seamier sides of their organization. I’m trying to say that I think there will be cooperation. If I didn’t think that there are real, solid grounds for trusting their commitment to this agreement, I would not have gone through it.

I’ll be completely honest. Two or three months ago, I told our Priests’ Council, ‘We’ve gone to the end. We can’t go any further, and we’ll have to ask them to leave the archdiocese.’ There was spontaneous applause.

Your priests have been supportive?
Yes, by all means.

Do some of them wish you would go further and faster?
Yes. In my last meeting with them, I had to pull back. I told them that the Holy See has asked that we wait until I have a meeting with the Superior General. They were understanding of that, but you know, the bishop still has a right in his own diocese to do certain things. I want to give it every opportunity.

Just to be clear, you had actually reached a decision to ask them to leave?

We were tantamount to doing that.

Then it was an intervention from the Holy See that asked you to meet first with Fr. Corcuera, and your letter came out of that process?
That’s right, yes.

When did the Holy See step in?
I got a call 20 minutes before my meeting with Fr. Raymond [Cosgrave] two months ago. Then I got a letter from another cardinal, and a phone call from a third cardinal the day before I met with Fr. Alvaro.

The tenor of all three was to give Fr. Corcuera a chance?
Yes. One of them said, you have the authority to take many actions here. We just ask you not to take any action until he has a chance to speak with you.

Are there any other groups in the archdiocese with which you have similar difficulties?

So this isn’t the first of other letters to other groups?
No, I certainly hope not. It isn’t pleasant. I’ve met with a number of disenchanted members of the Legionaries of Christ, who have first-hand experience. I also met, however, with ten active members of Regnum Christi. I was deeply impressed. I had known Legionaries and Regnum Christi members in passing, but this meeting was my first formal get-together. It lasted almost two hours, and I could see the anxiety, the tension, they have. They want to be faithful to the church and to the bishop, but they are also so deeply grateful and involved in the good works they see Regnum Christ doing.

That was after my first meeting with the priests, when I said that we’re going to have to take the strong action of closing them out of the archdiocese. I saw the good that was being done, but I was already on the record. People were saying, ‘You’re going to back down, you’re going to back down.’ I don’t feel I did. By the way, the reaction on both sides so far has been pretty good, meaning active Regnum Christi members and former Regnum Christi people. The ex-members are saying, ‘Do you really think they’re going to discontinue [these practices]?’ Some of them are skeptical that’s going to happen.

Knowing Fr. Alvaro, however, and because they know my resolve, I have good reason to believe that they’ll follow through. If they don’t, there’s no hiding it. Sooner or later, it’s going to come out.

The Archbishop's own explanation

Hopefully, a Meeting of Minds

Archbishop O’Brien
The Catholic Review

A celebrated and most valuable outgrowth of the Second Vatican Council has been the rise in the number of “apostolic movements” that have sprung up in the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each centered in a unique spirituality, these movements nourish strongly committed laity with the teachings and sacraments of the Church, thus enabling them to carry out their vocation “to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in tempered affairs and directing them according to God’s will” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 898). Cursillo, Marriage Encounter, Communion and Liberation, Opus Dei and Focolare are several of the many worldwide movements within the Church that continue to attract and enrich the spiritual lives of millions of Catholic faithful.

Newcomers on the scene, the lay movements are often compared to the rise of the clerical orders such as the Dominicans and Franciscans of the 13th century, the working of the Holy Spirit ever inspiring new initiatives of evangelization to respond to the varying challenges faced by the Church through the centuries. Like then, so now, tensions can arise as these new movements interact with the centuries old traditions and structures of our Catholic communion.

One of a number of such apostolic movements in our Archdiocese has been Regnum Christi (the Reign or Kingdom of Christ), the lay branch of the Legion of Christ, founded in Mexico by the recently deceased Father Marcial Maciel. The movement is worldwide and has operated with the blessing of the Holy See. Its activities have not been without certain tension, however, at least in parts of the United States, including our Archdiocese.

During the five years prior to my arrival as Archbishop, Cardinal Keeler had shared correspondence and meetings with the leadership of the Legionaries of Christ on a number of occasions reflecting many of our pastors’ valid concerns: for instance, regarding a lack of pastoral transparency at times and a tendency to conduct parallel programs within our parishes without the knowledge of local pastors. In some cases undue pressure was placed on individuals to conform to the rule of Regnum Christi and in a context of secrecy. In addition, some youth programs tended to alienate parents from their children, and various clubs and activities for high-schoolers often presented the vocation to priesthood and consecrated life as an obligation rather than an informed choice. In short, a lack of necessary transparency.

The call to priesthood or consecrated life requires a discernment process that rightly should involve parents and other family members. This deeply personal, life-changing decision requires the love and support that can only come from family and close friends, and their caring involvement is crucial for anyone who feels he or she has been called by God to serve as a priest or a consecrated man or woman.
I have met a good number of Regnum Christi members who lead exemplary Catholic lives and see this movement as a God-send. But I also am well aware of the challenges that have led a number to leave the movement, some angrily insisting that Church authority must act to correct the excesses they claim have endured. Hence, the dialogue these last five and more years.

At a meeting last week between the Superior General of the Legion and our staff, it was agreed that he would appoint a liaison to oversee the activities of Regnum Christi and keep our Chancery and appropriate pastors fully informed. This includes programs and methods of vocation recruitment. (The text of the full letter agreed to can be found on our own website,

For some time I have wondered whether the flaws of the Legionary movement were endemic to the movement itself. By this final step, I hope to have been proved wrong.

May the goal of all who are involved be guided by the counsel of Pope Benedict in his address to a worldwide gathering of “Ecclesial Movements and New Communities” in 2006. He stated that the Church “… is also grateful for you for your readiness not only to accept the active directives of the Successor of Peter, but also of the Bishops of the various local Churches who, with the Pope, are custodians of truth and charity in unity. I trust in your prompt obedience … [The] Movements must approach each problem with sentiments of deep communion, in a spirit of loyalty to their legitimate Pastors.”

I am particularly grateful to present and former members of Regnum Christi, to the priests and leadership of the Legion, as well as to our own priests and Chancery staff whose concerns have led to what I pray will be a graced path forward that addresses our concerns and leads to the best service for all God’s people.

Jun 10, 2008

Hopefully, a Meeting of Minds

Emphasis is mine.

I could not resist

The Founder lives on in the lives of his devotees
(from a comment on Catholic News Agency Weighs in)

From Shaun of the Dead

Catholic News Agency weighs in

Archbishop of Baltimore asks Legionaries to report area activities
Smile like you mean it....

What a photo op! Alvarito and a portrait.

Greater Than You Think, not so great?

An interesting comment on Regina Abominormum [sic] University and the likes of one Fr. Thomas Williams, author extraord-in-the-air. Read it here

The Regina Apostolorum I am somewhat familiar with. It’s a University that teaches bio-ethics courses from I guess you could apologetically call a “pro-life perspective”. Epistemologically, the philosophy of the Regina Apostolorum is influenced by the extremely authoritarian and even cult-like Legion of Christ; a Catholic congregation wherein vows of obedience forbid the criticism of their superiors or their actions and mandates the reporting of members who do.

Is [Thomas Williams']book going to be any different to the not-so-great dross I’ve already read on the subject? Is this book not so great that it needs the attention of small-time bloggers like myself?

Apparently, we need to see a picture of this clerical stud to be enticed to buy not-so-great dross.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bishops meet in Orlando

The spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be held June 12 through June 14 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Will they be discussing the actions in Baltimore demanding accountability of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi?

Will other bishops follow suit?

Image source

Wednesday Photo Caption Contest

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baltimore restricts the Legion of Christ

A surprise move by the Archbishop of Baltimore, Most Rev. Edwin Frederick O'Brien, concerning how the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi can function in the Archdiocese. It would seem that there has been a problem of communication (re secrecy on the part of the Legion) and dangers presented by recruitment of minors.

Read the official decree.

Thanks for the tip, M.H.

Review of Vows of Silence Film

Vows of Silence: The Cult Within

Without giving too much away, this is the story of a charismatic leader, Maciel, who the Church originally refused to ordain. He was kicked out of two seminaries, with no public explanation, before his uncle finally ordained him. He turned out to be a remarkable fundraiser, accruing hundreds of millions of dollars, and a shrewd recruiter of young talent. His family was also well-connected, all of which made him attractive to the hierarchy in Rome.

By Marci Hamilton

Read it here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Alms and Tips for the Poor NCRegister

A family member of a consecrated got this email and sent it to me:

Before closing I wanted to ask a favor. Our half year subscription of the National Catholic Register will run out now on June 15th. If you would still like to offer us the year subscription I would love to receive it. You can start a new subscription under my name and at our address...

Now, is the Register, which is wholly owned by the Legion of Christ, going through such financial hard times? Well no worries for the Legion. Families will now be financing both of them.
Image source

Mission statement of the Legion?

The Legion of Christ is a Catholic Order whose mission seems to be to provide a social nexus for rich Catholics and, of course, acquire some of their riches. The Legion's founder, a Mexican priest named Marcial Maciel, was accused of child molestation spanning decades but, except for a Catholic Church reprimand issued in May, has escaped prosecution by the law. The Vatican reprimand instructed him to live a penitent life of prayer and introspection, but there was no formal verdict on his actions.

This appeared on the Stopdown site.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

See you in hell?

St Joe's Bulletin features some mass intentions for the repose of the soul of the founder.

Many parents of LCs sent mass intentions to the Legion for their loved ones. Exlcblogger knows of Legion brothers who were told to toss the mass intention notes and not even record them after taking the money. Wasn't there some saint who said that priests who mess with mass intentions will go to hell?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pincrest Academy [sic] and Recruiting

Exlcblogger would love to quote conferences of Maciel and the Constitutions to prove that LC schools are primarily to recruit vocations, but Exlcblogger does not want his a&$ to be sued.

Pinecrest Senior Takes the Plunge

Chris Daniels shares some of his motivations for giving a year as a Regnum Christi co-worker next year.

Read the article here.
Image source

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thinking of attending a Regnum Christi retreat.

This is a conversation from back in 2004. I wonder if the discussion of Maciel and Familia would change if this conversation took place today?

Read it here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Those Old Return Nightmares Return

"So, it had been a while since I had a dream where I was consecrated. Last night, I dreamt that I was an ex-consecrated and attending a YFE or some sort of reunion event with all sorts of consecrated and legionaries. All the directors and people kept looking at me and knowing I did not belong. In the dream, it was my Mom's plan to go to the event because she wanted to show off her two consecrated daughters. (My sister had also been consecrated in my dream.) What upset me about the dream was that I had this happy contented feeling the whole way through. It's like my psyche constantly reminds me that I thought I would be happy as a consecrated. The reality was not contentment - it was anxiety, loneliness, and depression. I hate those dreams, though, because it takes a while to remind myself that my dream of consecrated life did not come true and I am no longer consecrated, nor dreaming that. Which makes it painful to wake up every morning I have that dream."

From M. at The Lotus Point Blog

Dreaming my dreams with you...

From Married to the Church
An Unfinished Story
This is my recurring dream: I have decided to leave the seminary--I want out. But in the dream, it's mid-September or October, another academic year has begun, and I 'm still in the seminary. In the dream, I don't know why I'm still there. I'm already married (or divorced and remarried--the dream varies in its currency), already teaching American literature at Indiana University, I have two children--but I'm still in the seminary. I have the anxious sense of another year slipping away. But just as I don't know why I'm still there, I also don't know how to escape. I wake up squirming.
I have been having this dream two or three times a year for the last twenty-seven years, eve since I did, in fact, leave in 1966, after eight years of high school and college at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee and a year of theology at Catholic Univeristy in Washington....
When I finished [the story], seven classmates stood up and said that they had had, and continued to have, essentially the same dream.

Sound familiar?

Thanks for the link, P.S.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Imagine Exlcblogger's surprise...

when a letter from Fr. Anthony Bannon showed up at Exlcblogger's mailbox. Just a few days after the desperate plea, the orthodox Legion of Christ sends out its latest round of gambling: July 4th Sweepstakes. A bet, a wager, gambling. What would Mr. Bennett think?

Dear Friend,
Our Cheshire seminary is filled with young men of deep faith....
When you open your heart (and your bank account) to our seminarians, you also open it to Christ.

Wow, Exlcblogger never knew that.

There is a picture on the letter of ordinations to the Legion from 2007. Those have been seen before, of groups from years past where Exlcblogger can pick out the faces of many priests who have left the Legion. But that would be naughty.

Marriage and Vocation???

Sharyn decided to pursue God’s call for her. She went to Spiritual Direction through the Regnum Christi Movement and decided to find out what her vocation was. She thought, it’s either one of 2 choices; be married to God, or married to a man.

This otherwise lovely couple shared this on their wedding blog site. This thought is pretty weird and very limiting. Exlcblogger thinks that this thinking is totally backwards and quite dangerous.

See the story here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's a rich man's world...

While you read this, click on the video and listen.

Exlcblogger just got an URGENT letter from Fr. Anthony Bannon, LC (it was stamped URGENT on the envelope):

Dear Friend,
A finacial emergency has hit the Legion of Christ and I must send an urgent plea for help.

Must Exlcblogger keep typing?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Member of the Regnum Christ Speaks to the Heart of the Legion of Christ

A strange title and an strange conversation. But just look at the title of the Blog: why bash the Jesuits with one hand and pat them on the back with the other?
Doesn't the Legion do that enough?

Read it here.