Friday, July 31, 2009

More from Jason Berry in the GlobalPost

From The Global Post:

In 2006 Benedict ordered Maciel to “a life of prayer and penitence” after an investigation of pedophilia charges that shadowed him for years. Ex-Legionaries from Mexico and Spain filed the allegations in 1998 in the tribunal of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected pope in 2005.

Maciel, who died last year at 88, was the greatest fundraiser of the modern church. He courted rich supporters in building dozens of elite prep schools and several seminaries and universities, backed by a 60,000-member lay group called Regnum Christi (Kingdom of Christ). The Legion and RC distribute promotional videos in which Pope John Paul II appears with Maciel, celebrating the movement’s resurgent orthodoxy.

The Legion’s biggest benefactor is Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who is by some accounts the world’s richest man. Slim recently lent The New York Times $240 million in its financial struggle. The Oriol family, among the wealthiest in Spain, aided Maciel early and often.

Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican under the last President Bush, scoffed at the abuse allegations Maciel faced before his punishment. So did William Donahue of the Catholic League.

Bill Bennett, the conservative Reagan-era official and CNN contributor, has been a featured speaker at Legion fundraisers. Jeb Bush spoke at a 2007 gathering in Atlanta.

The Legion typically pays its speaker and draws support from commercial sponsors, explained insiders in Rome.

Benedict ordered the new investigation after Legion superiors, hand-picked by Maciel, disclosed to followers in February that he had a daughter. In the Spanish press and on websites she has been identified as 23 and living with her mother in Madrid. The question of financial support for his daughter and her mother and how long Legion officials have known about it is a question of the inquiry.

Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, not one of the visitators, banned the Legion and Regnum Christi from his archdiocese, all but calling them a cult.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput is the American visitator in the case. Earlier this summer Chaput and four other bishops were given a dossier of findings on Maciel at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Ratzinger as cardinal directed for years.

Starting in 2004, at least 30 witnesses testified to Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the C.D.F. investigator, that Maciel abused them as youths. But the 2006 Vatican order punishing Maciel failed to specify what exactly he had done, nor did it acknowledge the victims.

Legion leaders used the vague wording in a bizarre spin control on its website, pledging support to Benedict while casting Maciel as wrongly accused, a future saint.

Report from Mexico. No Pulling Punches Here Either

Power Trumps Service: a sad commentary on the Church today.
John Paul II might have been a very good man, but he protected this group...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A New Anonymous Website

With a darn good explanation of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi involvement and entanglement in the Maciel Mess. They cannot be separated.

Here is the entire text from the website

Where to begin with the healing process?

How Maciel’s pederastic and narcissistic influence is embedded in the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi today

I. Maciel established structures, policies, traditions, mindsets, and practices resulting in a pervasive culture that not only safeguarded him from those he abused and their criticism but also perpetuated an abusive environment in the movement that continues today. Each of the following aspects of LC/RC culture pertain to Maciel’s need to protect himself from those he abused. They all involve abuses of power and control characteristic of sexual predators and some reflect narcissistic personality traits that result in the narcissistic person or group feeling that they are special and above the law. “Nuestro Padre’s” depravity is found in character traits that live on in the institutions that idolized him. They are not isolated sins. Most of the abuses listed below are still going on in the LC/RC today.

II. Abuses of power and control characteristic of pedophiles

  1. . Pedophiles always coerce their victims into silence. Maciel is accused of abusing his victims’ faith in the power of absolution, the authority of the Pope, and of their assurance of salvation in his efforts to coerce them into silence.

i. Maciel required a vow of secrecy relative to one’s opinions about one’s superiors and a vow to report any violations of this vow of secrecy. Maciel made secrecy the “modus operandi” of the Legion. He compartmentalized all operational knowledge on a strict need to know basis. He kept his own actions over long periods of time a secret.

  1. Pedophiles seek to control the actions and thoughts of the abused to the point of isolating them from others.

i. Maciel violated the formation of conscience by requiring confession and spiritual direction by one’s superior, by opening everyone’s mail, by listening in to phone calls, by not allowing access to information coming from outside the Legion, by not providing the information to others that they need to inform their conscience or make a decision.

ii. Maciel put in place rules that severely restricted visits or communication with families.

iii. Maciel forbade friendships with other Legionaries and practically with anyone. All conversations were to be done in groups of at least three. Social time was greatly limited.

iv. Maciel established an absolute and blind obedience to superiors, not only as to actions but also as to thoughts and feelings such that the superior must be believed even if telling an obvious falsity. Superiors used a test of obedience in which a false statement made by the superior must be believed.

v. Maciel and superiors discouraged critical thinking, meaning the open-minded and independent assessment of the truth based on the totality of evidence. Those with proclivities to critical thinking were eventually weeded out.

vi. Maciel diminished or in some cases removed discernment from the process of “integration” into the movement. Discernment in the yearly “Spiritual Exercises” retreats is downplayed or skipped over. Members at every stage are impeded from exercising a proper assessment of their vocation, instead are told what to do by their superiors. Most everyone is invited into candidacy and most accepted into novitiate, resulting in between 10 and 40 times the number of those who leave or are dismissed from formation as those who stay Legionaries for 20 years.

  1. Pedophiles instill in their victims a sense of complicity and shame resulting in confusion and self-doubt. Maciel’s alleged sexual abuse victims report a profound sense of confusion over being specially favored by Maciel and wanting to love him in return while also feeling dirty or guilty for what they have done.

i. Most of those who leave the Legion feel a sense of confusion and loss at not being one of those who can pursue what they have learned to feel experientially as the only true vocation. The result for the movement member is shame and self-depreciation at thought of leaving the movement or even if faced with doubts about their vocation.

III. Abuses resulting from the following narcissistic personality traits (as listed in #301.81 of the DSM IV TR)

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and requires excessive admiration

i. Maciel created a cult of his own personality so that a member’s thoughts, mannerisms, feelings, and beliefs are based on those of Maciel. Maciel cultivated a “groupthink” mentality that exerts pressure to conform to his norms.

1. Being called “Nuestro Padre”

2. Adopting the same dress code as Maciel

3. Adopting the same arm positions as Maciel in pictures and even in casual life

4. The kind of forced laughter at his jokes that comes from undue adulation

5. Writing and reading his letters

6. Singing songs he likes, celebrating Christmas like he does, maintaining a band at each house to play for him

2. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance

i. Maciel felt entitled to many personal expenditures. Maciel saw himself as being above the law.

1. allegedly including large sums of money from the treasurer that was never accounted for

2. flying first class in airlines or in helicopters

3. staying at the best hotels even when visiting Legionary houses

4. Drinking designer water at meals

ii. The movement has felt entitled to special treatment of their founder regarding allegations against him.

3. Believes that he is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

i. Maciel used his familial connections with bishops to get started in religious life. He cultivated relationships with wealthy people and those with power in the Church. He felt misunderstood and persecuted by the Jesuit superiors who didn’t acknowledge his special calling to recruit his fellow seminarians. His institutions catered to the wealthy.

ii. Maciel had his order serve for the Pope and the bishops in Rome, gaining their approval through familiarity.

4. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

i. These fantasies resulted in an elitism in the movement where many members shared their founders sense that they have an unlimited capacity for success that set so many up for failure or denial of their inabilities.

ii. The unique and strategic apostolates are seen so highly as to promise almost unlimited success.

5. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

i. Maciel took advantage of rich widows who wanted to believe in the idealism of the cause of this good looking young priest. Allegedly it is reported that when their funds dried up, the acquaintance did as well.

ii. Maciel instilled in LC/RC an ethic of a supposedly good end justifying unjust means. Examples are:

1. Deceit committed in service of a good means- money is donating in exchange for Masses said when the donors are not prayed for by name in a Mass,

2. Spinning the facts with deceptive and fallacious arguments

6. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

i. Maciel’s sense of persecution by the Jesuits relates to the idea that he was taking priests away from them and creating an order that the Jesuits would be jealous of. He saw himself as persecuted for his holiness.

7. Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

i. Allegedly instructing others to wait 30 years before canonization procedures for him begin and beginning the process while still alive to canonize his mother.

8. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

i. Accepting vocations without proper discernment or regard for how a vast majority with feel about leaving.

ii. Lack of empathy for the victims of sexual abuse who never received an apology from anybody in the Legion.

IV. Implications for past and present members of LC/RC

1. We have all been abused by Maciel. Many of us don’t want to acknowledge the full extent of the abuse. But until we do, we won’t find help for ourselves or prevent others from being abused. By taking action on behalf of ourselves and others and receiving love from the true God who is not formed in Maciel’s image, we will find healing and wholeness- holiness.

A Quick Link to Life-After-RC Testimony

This is the testimony of an RC member who repeated the mantra "OK, but that is not my experience" whenever a bad thing was said of the RC.

Now a lesson has been learned. The testimony is incisive, if sad, since it means the crumbling of a lot of personal walls, and the dismantling of a personal altar of spiritual experience. And that is never easy.

Aristegui on the Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ (Spanish)

CNN Mexico
Part I

Part II

The Legion of Christ was invited to participate in the program and they did not respond to the invitation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Colorado Independent Pulls No Punches

Denver Archbishop Chaput investigating vast sex-and-money Church scandal
By John Tomasic 7/29/09 8:00 AM

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput will be traveling this week and next and maybe into the fall. He has been asked by the Pope to look into the sex and money crimes of an extremely influential Mexican colleague, Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the rich-kid founder of the Legionaries of Christ Catholic order, an arm of the faith that professes a staunch conservative line intent on recapturing the Catholicism of the pre-Vatican II era — that chimeric time before the corruptions of modern life compromised the Holy Church and the members of its flock.

Goes without saying Maciel was a sexual predator as well as a world-class thief and influence peddler who molested young men in his charge and swore them to secrecy using the trappings and machinery of the faith. He also fathered a daughter, who he set up with her mother in a fancy apartment in Madrid. Maciel scored a $650 million budget for his special insider order, which goes a long way to explaining why his crimes have only surfaced in the last few years and especially now, of course, after his death at 88. No fear: Denver’s Archishop will put it all right.

Jason Berry, an author and journalist who has followed the case, has described Maciel as “the greatest fundraiser of the modern church.” Maciel will be as sorely missed by Church accountants as he is loathed by the seminarians he targeted for abuse.

Chaput is the “visitator” in the case for the U.S. and Canada, which basically means he’s the Vatican’s investigator in North America. He is reportedly taking testimony from past and present members of the order.

Jose Barba, a Mexico City college professor who filed a 1998 Vatican case against Maciel, told Berry that bishop-visitators including Chaput should investigate Legion finances.

“Fifty people in the States wanted to give testimony to [the Vatican] on [the legion's] financial abuses in 1998, but couldn’t get to Rome.”

Among the many questions Chaput will be considering, officially or unofficially, is whether in the end Maciel will cost the Church more in legal fees and settlements after his death than the hundreds of millions he raked in for the Church during his life. Chaput may also be considering the continuing questions of power and arrogance that loom behind the sexual scandals that have come to define the Church in American popular culture today.

Chaput’s report is due in the fall.

Another Piece of Jason Berry's Article (the guy who had it wrong, was a liar, and a persecutor of the Legion and enemy of the Church...)

From Vatican Investigates Legion of Christ, special to

As promised, here is another snippet.

Maciel, who was born into a wealthy ranching family in Mexico, wooed cardinals and bishops with money, fine wines, $1,000 hams and even a new car — and in so doing secured support for his religious order inside the Roman Curia.

Now, as the investigating bishops, called “visitators” — from America, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Chile — begin travels for interviews in the order’s far-flung religious houses, two Vatican officials are in the Legion’s corner.

Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals and the former Secretary of State, and Franc Rode, the cardinal who oversees religious congregations, were both longtime allies of Maciel and strong supporters of the order today.

The issue facing Benedict has no precedent in modern church history: whether to dismantle a movement with a $650 million budget yet only about 700 priests and 2,500 seminarians, or to keep the brand name and try to reform an organization still run as a cult of personality to its founder. Excessive materialism and psychological coercion tactics continue Maciel’s legacy.

Two years ago Benedict abolished the “secret vows” by which each Legionary swore never to criticize Maciel or any superior, and to report any criticism to the leadership. The vows helped facilitate Maciel’s secret life of sexual plunder.

Photos: Cardinals Angelo Sodano (above) and Franc Rode (below).

Wednesday Photo Caption Contest

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Important Note From the Regnum Christi

Life-After-RC has the text of a letter from RC members to Fr. Alvaro Corcuera concerning the future of their movement.

In part, the letter reads

"We have always admired the Legionaries of Christ in their ability to see the good in things and speak positively of others. It is an admirable quality that is so lacking in most of our society, and sadly within the Church. However, this emphasis on the positive can become a double edged sword when exaggerated or misdirected. Indeed, it can be detrimental to the process of enacting the necessary reforms our organizations need. This ab ility to filter out and avoid negative news blinds you from perceiving the errors and flaws visible to us and voiced by some members of the Church hierarchy.

Our fear is that you and most of the Legionary major superiors continue to languish in a state of denial over the flaws and errors that have been introduced into the internal culture of the Legion by the decades long influence of Fr. Maciel and his deviant personality. You must face things squarely and get past this denial."

The authors claim that the RC is theirs, that they have built it up and that it does not belong to the superiors of the Legion of Christ. Any comments from experts in Spiritual Theology?

Be sure to read the entire letter at the link above.

That Was Then. What About Now?

This was posted on a blog yesterday. To be completely honest, this was originally posted in the source (Phatmas) back in early 2006.

Could we hear from TicksterB now? (UPDATE: not calling anyone out, rather it is important to see how attitudes and opinions can and have changed in the past few years, both as a result of the latest news and as a result of time passing after someone leaves.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Experiences with Legion of Christ and Opus Dei

By TricksterB in the Phatmass Phorum, Home of the Vatican Stairs Fan Club.

I would like to tell you about my experience with the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. It is long, but, humbly, I think it is worth reading.

I joined Regnum Christi in 1999 shortly after my older brother entered the Legion to study for the priesthood. I can honestly say that I didn't know much about the Legion or Regnum Christi at the time, but with prayer (NOT pressure), I knew it was the right thing to do. Since that time, I have always had a Legionary spiritual director, and I have always loved them. Even though I went to a Catholic school, I can attribute the fact that I learned the truth of my faith from the Legionaries. Unfortunately, I know many people who went to my highschool who have since fallen away from the church, and I don't see any reason why the same thing would not have happened to me but that the Legion was present in my life. Through good and bad, they have been there for me, always compassionate, understanding and charitable but never afraid to point me toward the straight and narrow.

During my sophomore year of college at the United States Military Academy, I decided the leave for a year to be a coworker. I wanted to give a year of my life to Christ and only him. Embarking on this journey, I quickly learned that if one gives God an inch, He will ask for a mile. Also, I realized that my plans, which seemed so perfect, are not necessarily God's plans. Within weeks of leaving West Point, I heard, very literally, loud and clear, God calling me to join the Legion. Much to my dismay because I did not want to be a priest, I went to the candidacy program two weeks later. After two months in the candidacy (also known as postulancy as noted by some others in this forum), I received my cassock and entered the novitiate.

There seems to be some concern about this short period of candidacy, but there should not be. It is a discernment program after which no one is ordained and no vows are professed. Also, please be careful with the use of the word "licit". This candidacy, short as it may be, is not illicit by any means. The Legion of Christ is a fully approved congregation of priests within the Church, so this short period of candidacy has the Church's blessing and seal of approval. After the candidacy, the candidates who are accepted simply enter the novitiate which lasts for a period of two years. The novitiate period is spent acquiring habits of prayer and the spiritual life, general habits of religious life, and more specific habits of Legionary religious life. It is also worth noting that the two years of novitiate in the Legion is longer than in most other congregations. Therefore, this extended period before the first profession should more than make up for the short candidacy program.

After 18 months in the novitiate, through much prayer and with the help of my superiors and spiritual director, I discerned that God is not calling me to be a priest. There are several reasons that I came to this conclusion, after which received full support from everyone who knew about my situation. Additionally, as soon as I returned home (9 months ago) I was welcomed by the Legionaries who live and work near my home. I was given a new spiritual director, and we speak regularly. I also have a girlfriend and am in college. I am a normal young man. I have not been brainwashed or desocialized, and I have never been pressured into anything.

I have also had some experience with Opus Dei, and I love them. The priests of this prelature are holy men who love the Church and Christ. The lay members are also very zealous for their faith. I have also heard only good things from Legionaries about Opus Dei. In fact, I know that the founder of the Legion, Fr Maciel, received much help from St Josemaria Escriva during the foundation. There is no enmity between these two groups. They are simply two separate organizations in the Church striving to build Christ's kingdom on Earth.

If you have read this far, God bless you. I want to make one final remark: I am eterally grateful and indebted to the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi for the man I am today. Without them, I would be lost. Through them I have established a deep, personal, passionate love for Christ and the Church. I only ask one thing: out of charity, if you do not have personal experience with the Legion or Regnum Christi, please keep what you have heard to yourself to prevent false stereotypes. "Repeat all the good that you hear and only the evil that you see with your own eyes."

Response to this post by Morostheos: I was also a coworker in Regnum Christi and have never heard anything but positive things about the relationship between the Legion of Christ and Opus Dei. Actually, I was told that in Chicago, the leaders of Opus Dei there were instructed to do all they could to help the Legion and Regnum Christi get started there, and if has been my experience that they have done so. The missions of The Legion/Regnum Christi and Opus Dei are very similar, so it makes sense that in charity they would help each other out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Never Been to Walmart. Close the Apostolic Schools NOW!

From a comment on

I Felt It in the Works
July 13th, 2009 | 6:39pm

While I was in the (diocesan, and healthy, sane, and orthodox) seminary I met a few ex-Legionaries. One of them, whom we will call F., mentioned to me that his 25th or 26th birthday was approaching. Several of his friends and I took him out to a local Appleby or Ruby Tuesday, or someplace of the like in town. We had dinner, drinks, and dessert. It was a nice evening. On the car ride home, he told me that he'd never gone out with friends for his birthday before. I was stunned, as if he'd said he'd never been to WalMart before (just kidding). But I was stunned. Here's what he explained.

He entered the Legion when he was 14. They discouraged the seminaries from having friends. "No friends?" I asked. Without any venom or malice, he said, "No. They were afraid of 'particular' friendships or affections. Our time - even our recreation time - was all planned for us. They were careful to make sure that we did things with different groups: volleyball with this group, then switch up for hiking with a new configuration of classmates, so we spent equal time with everyone, more or less. We were told to report to our spiritual director anyone that we saw spending noticeable amounts of time with any given classmate. If someone told us something that we were supposed to talk about only in spiritual direction - family stuff, sexual stuff, etc., we were supposed to report that to our spiritual director. So we couldn't make friends."

I was floored. He left voluntarily, and against a lot of recrimination by his superiors, after his first or second year in college seminary, after reading a Platonic dialogue that dealt with friendship. The priest-professor praised friendship as described in the text, and F. realized that while he was "friends" with "everyone," he had nothing like what the text described. He decided that he wanted it, and had to leave to get it. His family, he told me, was very supportive of him leaving even though they had thought it a good idea to go to the Legion in the first place.

It still just blows me away. And it says something significant about the structure of distrust and control. I think the Legion and RC have done a good amount of good work, and untold potential for more. They have a LOT of issues that need to be worked through, first though. And it's not just a crisis in leadership or curriculum - it can't be. Spiritual things don't work that way.

The Legion, it must be said, aren't [sic] being persecuted for being orthodox. It strikes me as significant here that even before their scandals, they had received flak not only from loosey-goosey bishops, but also from bishops noted for their public defense of the orthodox faith.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

From a comment on

Many people were not taken in by the Legion and Regnum Christ. Where was the chink in our armor that let the Legion in?

Could it be that the Legion and Regnum have cleverly exploited our "Catholic weaknesses":

1- Our demanding and authoritarian God who wants us to be perfect rather than responding as best we can in freedom and love
2- Our reduction of "vocation" to mean exclusively the religious or 'consecrated' life, considered superior than the married or single life.
3- Our "doctrine heavy" Catholicism that puts the content of Faith [Creed] before the spirit of Faith [confidence and trust in God, Jesus, Mary, the Church and its regular ministers]
4- Our disaffection and poorly disguised contempt for diocesan clergy vis a vis religious clergy who are more "refined", "spiritual" and supposedly better trained and educated [in Rome, preferably].
5- Our attraction to externals: handsome and well dressed seminarians, priests and young women, posing as saints and self-appointed spiritual directors of us and our children.
6- Our need for external validation from persons in authority, approved by the hierarchy -the higher the better- of our personal and intimate relationship with God in Jesus.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Plethora of New Blogs

Exlcblogger just added a bunch of blog and website links to the right side of the page (scroll down a bit). Some are in Spanish, one in Portuguese, the rest in English. Please send in any suggestions to add to this list to

Was it so long ago when there were only one or two on-line sources to learn and discuss the real Legion of Christ?

What Irony!

From the Catholic Herald (UK)

How the Jesuits can save the Legionaries of Christ
Fr Maciel failed to appreciate the need for freedom in religious life, says Dominic Scarborough

24 July 2009

The Jesuits are of course themselves at something of a crossroads. Their long history of being able to synchronise the Catholic faith with the host cultures of both other religions and, more recently, secularism has taken its toll on their fidelity to the Magisterium. But this provides a valuable lesson as well. They hold the answer to the Legion's problems.

I hope that the Visitation recommends nothing short of absorption of the Legion into the Society of Jesus as an autonomous worldwide province. There are a sufficient number of thoroughly orthodox and wise Jesuits, particularly in America - men such as Fr Joseph Fessio and Fr Mitch Pacwa - who could be asked to assume senior roles to help the process of renewing the Legion's spirituality.

Read the rest of this interesting angle here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Visitator Interested in Testimonies-- Chaput is Listening

Archbishop Chaput read and responded very swiftly to a testimony that was sent to him. He requests VERY SHORT summaries -- the shorter the better because he is getting so many. Everything that he receives is being read, but, as he admits, the visitation is a huge undertaking and the response has been even huger than anticipated. Please pray for him and all the Apostolic Visitators. He will accept material either by email or USPS. His email address is:

Mark communications to him as "PRIVATE." Only he will open them.

Bottom Line: We Have to Face It

The Legionaries of Christ, in the dock
Posted on July 22, 2009, 1:01 AM | Irene Lagan

A friend sent me Jason Berry's new article on Father Marcial Maciel and the Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ. It's sobering stuff. I found myself in an awkward internal struggle between wanting and not wanting to read it. The subject is heavy and unpleasant, and the Legionaries of Christ do not concern me directly. Nevertheless, it's a major order, and this scandal does impact the Church as the Body of Christ.

According to Berry -- one of the journalists who broke the scandal years ago for the Hartford Courant -- much of the order is still in a state of denial.

"The atmosphere in House of Studies is bizarre," a Legion priest said glumly, sitting on a bench near the Tiber River, fearful of repurcussions should his name be used. "Even now, the brothers [seminarians] have not been told about Maciel’s pedophilia. Their mail is screened and web access restricted."

He considers the 320 seminarians "brainwashed. They read the letters of Nuestro Padre" -- Our Father, as Maciel, touted internally as a future saint, was called. "Three years after the Holy Father punished him, they study his writings. Priests can spend time freely outside. The brothers are in a concentration camp."

One of the most striking things in this entire situation is how easy denial is... especially in the case of someone who seems outwardly good and worthy and appealing. Unfortunately, I also know many people involved with the Legion and Regnum Christi, and don't like to see them hurt. I hope now that the visitation is officially underway, that the Legion can come to terms with what has happened. I hope, too, that those who've been affected by the scandal can find what they need to move forward.

And from a reader's comment on the posting above:

July 22nd, 2009 | 8:02am

Why are the LC seminarians being held in "isolation" and still being indoctrinated with Maciel's wrritings? It is obvious that the leadership of LC still does not get it. It is becoming evident that the leadership of LC must be replaced, lock, stock and barrel and outsiders brought in to run the seminaries and other institutions. Pope Benedict has initiated the Apostolic Visitation, and that report back to the Vatican must let the chips fall where they may. The whole idea of venerating this pervert as a "living saint" makes you wonder what else are they wrong about?
I understand that Archbishop Chaput is on the LC visitation team. I hope he asks the tough questions and does not go easy on the leadership of LC. He is a good Bishop and I am confident that he will do his job. He has his work cut out for him.
-Written by Austin

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Journey to... A New Cult

Some observations from a fellow blogger:
From Journey to a New Pentecost
The Legion of Christ and Southern Catholic College

Filed under Catholic Cults.

And when I mean cult, I don’t mean the ancient practice of forming a particular devotion to a saint. I mean this definition: “a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.”

Sorry If I offend anyone, but like an umpire in baseball, I call em like I seez em. Spiritual Movement? Not!

Three years ago I bought the book, “Vows of Silence”, by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s still sitting on my bookshelf unread. But after reading Jason Berry’s article today, “Vatican investigates Legionaries of Christ,” it will be next on my must read list for the summer (I’m in the middle of “What Happened At Vatican II“)....

This scandal has everything, folks: sexual abuse, abuse of power, drug addiction, clergy having children out of wedlock, misappropriation of donors’ funds, bribery, clericalism, cronyism, lying, secrecy – the usual stuff that scandals are made of. The only thing missing is murder. While I was reading this section of Berry’s article, I thought I was reading a Catholic history book about Church scandals of past centuries....

The last paragraph of, Jason Berry’s article leads me to believe that the Vatican has no intention of disbanding the Legionaires after the Apostolic Visitation is completed:

Last week in Atlanta, a small liberal arts school, Southern Catholic College announced that it merged with the Legion “to attract students from across North America,” the SCC president Jeremiah J. Ashcroft stated. “This expanded reach and support greatly enhances our ability to achieve our mission to prepare moral and ethical leaders who will enlighten society and glorify God.”

I can only conclude that a Church that has witnessed so much imbecility by some of its members and has survived for over 2000 years, must have special protection from God.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tom Hoopes Resigns

Tom Hoopes resigned yesterday from the National Catholic Register.

email from Tom Hoopes

Dear Friends,

This is a terrible thing to do in an impersonal way, but e-mail is efficient for getting this kind of information out. Don’t be offended. I’m sending this because I wanted you to hear sooner rather than later.

I have been offered, and have accepted, a position at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. My last day in my office will be Aug. 7.

This is difficult because leaving the National Catholic Register and Faith & Family magazine feels like leaving family. I have written for the Register for 20 years. My first paycheck as a published writer came from the Register. I’ve been its executive editor for 10 years. Six years ago, April and I became editorial directors of Faith & Family magazine. These have been the most professionally satisfying of my career. I love the work these publications do and hope to be more visible in them — with actual bylines.

I’m grateful for my years here also because they made my new position possible. I will be Director of Strategic Communications, helping the school meet advancement goals. I’ll also have the title Writer in Residence and hope to take the opportunity to continue journalistic writing. I will teach two classes and work on getting necessary credentials to do more.

This is a career change April and l and I have been talking about for years, and it’s great to see it reaching fruition. We are both excited about the great things happening at Benedictine, academically and on campus. It is led by a great team of innovative, committed people, and
there is a solid infrastructure in all departments that sets it apart. It is clearly becoming one of the great Catholic colleges in America.

I thank Circle Media and Father Owen, our publisher, for the enormous opportunities I’ve been given. April and I will miss everyone here very much.

Tom Hoopes

While a few months ago on Amy Welborn's blog, he said:

All I want to say is, I’m sorry.

I want to say it here, because I defended Fr. Maciel here, and I need to be on the record regarding that defense:

I’m sorry, to the victims, who were victims twice, the second time by calumny. I’m sorry, to the Church, which has been damaged. I’m sorry, to those I’ve misled.

I did it unwittingly, but this isn’t a time for excuses.

The Church gave me great, great good in Regnum Christi.

The Church did bring justice, and did penalize this man.

Thank God for the Church.

I seek repentance and forgiveness, and I leave it at that.

Photo: Tom Hoopes and Owen Kearns. From

Some Interesting News Comes This Way About Hombre Rico (Nuevo)

Recently sent to this blog:






  1. FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ: President of Hombre Nuevo. His salary $120,000/yr. Getting paid IN CASH. Is not on payroll. Is not paying income taxes. Has NO U.S. Visa – is here in the United States illegally.
  2. RAFAEL OROZCO: His salary $85,000/yr. including bonuses.
  3. GABRIELA MONTENEGRO: Her salary $70,000/yr. including bonuses. She is taking 6 weeks of vacation a year and being paid full-time.
  4. DIANA VELA: Her salary $68,000/yr.
  5. FRANCES GUERRERO: Her salary $60,000/yr.
  6. RODRIGO VELA: Diana Vela’s husband. His salary $50,000/yr.
  7. ARMANDINA CUEVAS: Her salary $45,000/yr.
Exlcblogger only relates the information sent to this blog.

Wednesday Photo Caption Contest

Much Respect, Katie!

Exlcblogger has followed Katie and her husband on St. Joseph's Vanguard for a while now. And even if not in always in agreement, one cannot help but respect the journey.

• Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Yesterday, I read the excellent and heartfelt interview given by Father Thomas Berg, formerly a Legionary of Christ. He speaks with keen insight regarding the sicknesses that plague the congregation of the Legion–domination clothed in the garb of obedience, groupthink, and overzealous personal devotion to Father Maciel.

His words helped me in two ways; first, I was helped to understand the perplexing behavior of many Legionaries, that which Father Berg describes as, “the shallowness of their emotional expression, the lack of empathy and inability to relate normally to others in so many contexts, the general sense of their being ‘out of touch,’ etc” and, second, his words helped me to more deeply forgive those LCs who had personally hurt me through their words and actions, those who failed to treat me as a person but rather as an apostolate-robot or as a set of resolutions on a “Program of Life”.

I also agreed with his analysis regarding the need for the Church and the Legion to discern whether theirs is a real, God-given charism or whether they are part of a deeply flawed human institution founded by a very twisted man through which God has worked much good. When I first left Regnum Christi, I was sure that RC’s was a valid charism which simply needed to be purified of the perversions introduced by Father Maciel. Now, however, I am not so sure. Father Berg spoke at least twice of the need for the Legion to self-critique, yet I don’t think that’s very possible. If a family is wounded by sexual abuse or alcoholism, they take on codependent relationships and usually can’t heal until they leave those bonds and seek help outside the family; only then can members return to the family and help others to heal. So, unless God gives extraordinary graces to very gifted individual LC’s who can lead the congregation in self-reform, they will need extensive outside assistance to begin their healing.

I join my prayers with those of so many other Catholics in asking God for wisdom and courage and compassion for the bishops appointed to the Legion’s visitation. I know that the Holy Spirit will inspire them, and I hope they take bold action to bring about healing and purification for the Legion and Regnum Christi. I would love to see the Legion enter a one-year period of prayer and fasting, during which they receive no new applicants and focus deeply on their personal and corporate healing. I would love to see the many young men and women who have been “immolated” past the warnings of their own reason return to freedom and a gentle expression of the Christian life. God bless them and help them. Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Consolation, pray for them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Recent Surprise Move

Fr. Antonio Rodriguez, Academic Dean in Cheshire, has been transferred to give spiritual direction and say mass for 80 girls at the Legion's "prep school" for rich kids in Switzerland, Les Avants. The school is a massive renovated hotel that has been a money drain for the Legion since Maciel misjudged the market for such a luxury back in the 1990's.

Photo: Luxury Legion/Regnum Christi prep school in Les Avants-sur-Montreux.

Fr. Karras on the Legion of Christ and the Investigation

If anything, the orchestrated ignorance of the LCs, 3GF and RC members regarding the apostolic visitation of the congregation provides an eerie backlighting for the event itself. The members of the movement, clergy and laity, have been scarcely informed and left unprepared. A strategy of ingenuous smiles and simulated serenity is firmly in place. As if the Vatican appointed visitators will be so overwhelmed by the choreography that they’ll overlook the dark recesses of the plot and the hidden horrors of the screenplay.

The LC would almost certainly prefer to be left alone to work out its own solutions. The visitation is an embarassment and an undesired intromission into its private laboratory where truth and lies can be arbitrarily fabricated or erased through the alchemy of spin and secrecy.

But the LC is wretchedly incapable of curing itself.

Case in point: how can the LC continue at this present moment to ordain deacons and priests? How can it promote to religious profession the young novices that obliviously inch toward their vows? How can the Legion now so aggressively recruit new candidates to fill its vaunted houses of formation?

Read it all here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Regnum Christi Day Bribery Collection

From a comment on on the Jason Berry article.

Once a year RC members worldwide and any others participating in "Regnum Christi Day" (celebrated on Feast of Christ the King - the last Sunday of the liturgical year) are asked to contribute to a collection "for the needs of the worldwide Church". Here is the intro to the set of instructions pertaining to this collection:

“To all Organizers of Regnum Christi Day

Dear Friends in Christ,
As you know, it is our custom on Regnum Christi Day to take up a collection that is forwarded to the general director in Rome to be used for whatever Church need he chooses. We forward the full content of the collection without deducting anything for the expenses of the RC Day. This is a beautiful way of expressing our solidarity with our general director’s intentions, and previously Nuestro Padre sometimes remitted the full amount directly to the Holy Father for his needs, further expressing the Movement's unity with the Church."

The instructions are very detailed so I'll just highlight the main ones: 1) All checks, as well as money orders from cash collected, should be made payable to "Legion of Christ", 2) The collection should be totaled and the total e-mailed to the Legion the evening of CTK, and 3) The funds are to be mailed to the General Director's attn. at the Legion of Christ's Thornwood address the very next day (Monday). Donors would be issued a receipt, etc.

In previous years our Section Ass't had represented to us that the funds were presented personally to the Holy Father to determine the best use. It was only in the past couple of years that I saw actual instructions disclosing the "best use" decision to be the General Director's and NOT the Holy Father.

I now realize that the "Regnum Christi Day" collection has probably been funding the Legion's bribery machine, arriving as it does right at the start of Advent (so plenty of time to purchase those $1,000 hams, whiskey and other items for the Christmas baskets). Looks like the lid has been blown on this particular financial shenanigan as well - I'd be curious to see how much the LC collects this year.

Posted by: Still RC - For Now, Anyway July 20, 2009 at 03:56 PM

Jason Berry on the Vatican Investigation

Talk about having been right all along. And vilified for it...

Vatican investigates Legionaries of Christ
The Catholic Church looks into cult allegations — and $1,000 hams.
By Jason Berry — Special to GlobalPost
Published: July 19, 2009 20:54 ETU

Editor's note: A sweeping Vatican investigation of an international religious order — and the cult of personality built around its founder — has just begun in Rome. Five bishops are delving into the finances and internal dynamics of an organization suspected of influence peddling. Award-winning investigative reporter and author Jason Berry has tracked these events for years in a book he co-authored and a documentary he produced on events leading to the Pope's decision to investigate. In this exclusive report for GlobalPost, Berry breaks new ground on the Vatican investigation of the Legionaries of Christ, and the case against Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder.

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed five bishops from as many countries to investigate the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order founded in 1941 by the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest who is accused of sexually abusing young seminarians, and who left a grown daughter who was born out-of-wedlock.

Even after death, Maciel wields power through the influence he secured.

While the American Catholic Church has been publicly battered by two decades of priest sexual abuse scandals that erupted in the press and devastated church finances with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on compensating victims and legal fees, the Maciel scandal has gone largely unnoticed by most of the American press.

There’s a reason: For decades, the Legion shunned the media while Maciel cultivated relationships with some of the most powerful, conservative Catholics in the world. He also forced his priests and seminarians to take vows never to criticize him, or any superior. The legion built a network of prep schools and an astonishing database of donors. In Maciel's militant spirituality, Legionaries — and their wing of lay supporters, Regnum Christi — see themselves as saving the church from a corrupted world. Behind the silence he imposed, Maciel was corrupt — abusing seminarians and using money in ways that several past and present seminarians liken to bribery, in forging ties with church officials.

The silence Maciel imposed on his followers allowed Maciel to pursue a double life.
Exlcblogger will continue to publish snipets from this article.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Consternation with the Legion of Christ's Hombre Nuevo

This is the text of a letter which Exlcblog received from the author. Hombre Nuevo is a long time apostolate of the Legion of Christ in California.

HOMBRE NUEVO, Legionaries of Christ Organization
12036 Ramona Blvd. El Monte, CA 91732
(626) 444-4442

Dear Father Juan Rivas, L.C.:

It has been almost two months since I have requested Hombre Nuevo to return my ­­$50,000 which was given specifically for the construction of the Chapel for Our Lady of Guadalupe 2½ years ago.

Your staff finally offered me their payment plan only after knowing that I have sent copies of my letters written to you to Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Zavala. Their plan is to return my money little by little every two months beginning at the end of August 2009 until the end of April 2010. This is NOT acceptable. I am going to have a Chapel elsewhere for Our Lady of Guadalupe remodeled. Therefore, I will need the whole amount to be returned to me in full at one time immediately.

I would like to tell you one of Hombre Nuevo’s lies. Their exact quote was “At the time this donation was solicited Hombre Nuevo had received the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe for custody. In late 2006 there was a misunderstanding and we thought that we would be entrusted with this image permanently. The plan to construct a permanent chapel seemed adequate. This is why Fr. Juan Rivas, L.C. solicited the donation and you generously supported the project…..Last December we were informed that in fact the image was not to be retained by Hombre Nuevo permanently, therefore the investment in a chapel at this time would be irresponsible.” Their lie was: In the meeting with the president of Hombre Nuevo Francisco Fernandez and his staff in May 2009, when I asked them to give me back the money which I gave for the construction of the Chapel 2½ years ago, they acted surprised and claimed to have no knowledge of the fact that the money was given for the new Chapel. One of his staff members Johannes Absburg, later on in the meeting, stated that he remembered that you Father have mentioned briefly about your desire of having the Chapel built for Our Lady and that was the end of it. At the end of the meeting, they stated that they had to discuss this matter with you Father because they had no knowledge that the money was given for the construction of the Chapel for Our Lady.

I would like to remind you of another lie of Hombre Nuevo. Rafael Orozco, Hombre Nuevo business manager, lied to me in that same meeting in May 2009. He stated that all of my money was invested in the current Chapel. I know for a fact that it was a lie. Obviously, the rest of the staff including the president of Hombre Nuevo Francisco Fernandez went along with that lie because they all have already planned to give me that lie so that they would not have to return the money to me. So, they have had no intention of giving me back my money ever. They took me for a fool. Please tell your staff not to insult my intelligence. They lied so much that they could not keep track of their own lies. They contradicted themselves.

An organization that is working for God would have given me back my money 2½ years ago and would not have to wait for me to ask for my money back. Also an organization which is working for God would have asked the Archdiocese for permission to build the Chapel for Our Lady of Guadalupe but instead letting Her Image stay in an undignified room for the past 2½ years. Let me describe for you the condition of the hall where the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe resided at Hombre Nuevo which you and your staff were fully aware of all along. The room is filthy. The floor is dirty, the windows are dirty, the blinds are dusty, and a whole bunch of chairs are stacked up in one corner. When Hombre Nuevo conferences and meetings in that room were over, the tables and chairs were all over the place. The ceiling light close to the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been flickering since last year and still is. The volunteers and I had to wipe the floor and clean the room every time I brought the fresh roses over for Our Lady of Guadalupe. The walls in Her room were finally repainted by a group of volunteers. In short, the room where the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe stayed at your place Hombre Nuevo was disrespectful, disgraceful, and undignified. That hall is nothing than a “DUMP”. Hombre Nuevo is making so much money, yet they could not even spend some money to make Her place look nice. Your organization did not even want to spend the money to hire someone to wipe the floor in Her room. The way you have treated Mother of God and the way your staff have treated Mother of God is unspeakably. What would you call that – respecting, loving, and worshiping Mother of God?

I would like to tell you about the vendors who participated in Hombre Nuevo event early this year Feb 2009. It was approximately 11-hour event. They were doing body massages (various parts of the body) with the people lying on the stretchers being covered with the white sheet from feet to upper chest leaving the shoulders and axillae (armpits) naked. This was taking place during the whole day event including during the entire Holy Eucharistic Adoration Hour and during the entire Misa. When people were in line receiving the Holy Communion, the vendors gave out their flyers advertising body massage. It was disrespectful and disgusting. I could not believe my eyes. I was hoping that they would have stopped. They were also selling makeup products - lipsticks etc., jewelry, shoes, cookware - pots and pans, and Faja product which is supposed to make a person looking thin and skinny. The promoter of that product was looking like a female stripper. All of these were going on during the entire 11-hour event. And you, Father were condoning that. Your staff especially the president of Hombre Nuevo Francisco Fernandez were not only fully aware of what was going on but allowing those vendors to be in that event purposely because they only wanted MONEY. All of you are so MONEY HUNGRY - wanting more and more and more. No matter how much money Hombre Nuevo made, it would never be enough for them. Again, what would you call this – working for God and Mother of God?

You know all of the bad and evil things that your staff are doing and have been doing for many years. Yet, you are condoning their countless evil acts.

Why, Father? Your staff’s actions and your actions speak louder than words!

The reason that I continued to help Hombre Nuevo for the past 2½ years spending tremendous amount of my money for all of Hombre Nuevo events by having beautiful roses for Mother of God and God knowing that YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING COUNTLESS EVIL ACTS was because I was doing that for Mother of God and God and to bring God’s poor souls to God even though I knew that I was making Hombre Nuevo your evil organization get richer and richer in the process. Money means nothing to me. Yes, I need money to live but most importantly I need money to do things for Mother of God and God and the poor souls. I work extremely hard to earn money for God. The money that I make is honest money. If I loved money, I would have kept the money that I earned all to myself, I would not have helped your organization or anybody, I would not have sponsored all of Hombre Nuevo’s events for the past 2½ years knowing that your organization is evil. I’ve helped your evil organization for the reasons mentioned above. Unlike Hombre Nuevo, I do not worship the false god which is money. I worship and work for The Only One True God.

GOD was the One Who GAVE me the ORDER TO EXPOSE YOUR EVIL ORGANIZATION GUADALUPE RADIO-HOMBRE NUEVO and GOD wanted the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to be out of Hombre Nuevo permanently. GOD said that HOMBRE NUEVO is USING THE IMAGE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE AND my IMAGE OF THE DIVINE MERCY TO MAKE MONEY AND THAT IS ALL THEY CARE ABOUT. HOMBRE NUEVO DOES NOT CARE FOR THE POOR SOULS. I am obeying God and am carrying out God’s Orders. I’ve known that your organization is evil shortly after I’ve started helping you which was about 2½ years ago. I wanted to expose your evil organization a long time ago, but it would have been my time not God’s Time. Now, it is God’s Time.

All of you are claiming that you are working for God. On the contrary, you and your staff are NOT working for God and all of you have shown that by doing countless evil acts. That scares the heck out of me. Coning people to make money is one thing. But USING GOD TO CON PEOPLE FOR MONEY IS THE GRAVIEST SIN OF ALL. I am worried for all of your souls. Remember all of you can not take the money with you when you die. The only thing that God allows you to take with you when you die is your own soul.

Father, can you see the real issue here? It really is not about my money. Yes, Hombre Nuevo has to return the money to me because it does not belong to them. But it is one of God’s Many Ways of Showing the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles how evil your organization Hombre Nuevo is among their many other evil acts. Hombre Nuevo is doing a pretty good job all on its own of showing the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles how evil they are by wanting to keep the money which does not belong to them.

While owing Hombre Nuevo absolutely nothing, I have sponsored for and spent tremendous amount of my money on all of Hombre Nuevo events for the past 2½ years . The least Hombre Nuevo can do for me is to honor my request by returning the money to me so that I can have the Chapel elsewhere for Our Lady of Guadalupe remodeled. I am not asking them to give me their money. I am simply asking them to give me back the money which does not belong to them. You, your staff, and I we all know very well that Hombre Nuevo is MORE THAN CAPABLE of returning to me the whole amount of $50,000 in full at one time. Would you please see to it that my wish is carried out.

Truc Truong, M.D.

­­CC: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, His Eminence Cardinal Roger Mahony of the United States, His Excellency Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver-Colorado, His Excellency Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles-California, His Excellency Bishop Ricardo Watti Urquidi of Tepic-Mexico, His Excellency Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alessandria-Italy, and General Director of Legionaries of Christ Fr. Alvaro Corcuera