"Twenty eight years after leaving the congregation, I've decided to publish my memoirs. My memoirs - in other words, I'll tell my stories, share my experiences and emotions and maybe give some insight into why guys like me joined the youngest founder in the history of the Church to 'establish the Kingdom of Christ.' Actually, deciding to join a religious congregation was the easy part. Staying the course and eventually deciding to leave was the hard part. The Legion becomes the 'family' of the Legionaries - they do not make it easy to leave. For those of us who did move on to a new life and career, I think it is fair to say that 'leaving' is a harrowing and gut wrenching experience.
The now disgraced founder, Marcial Maciel was a masterful manipulator of people. Charismatic and narcissistic. A deadly, powerful combination. The web is replete with blogs mostly criticizing him and the congregation he founded. Knowing what we now know about Maciel he is indefensible. Those who did not personally experience his charisma must struggle mightily to understand those of us who did. How could we possibly not have had some glimpse of the double life he led? How can we possibly hope that there is still some good in the congregation he founded? How can we wonder if the Church can 'afford' to simply disband one of the most vibrant forces it has produced in recent years?
My experience with Maciel began in 1962, when he was 42 years old. He was still relatively unknown at the beginning of his journey. When he sent me to Mexico in 1965, there were no more than 20 Legionaries in Mexico. By the time I left the congregation, the Legion had gained the enthusiastic support of Popes, politicians, business people, world leaders, entertainers, and tens of thousands of committed Christians who joined Regnum Christi the world-wide lay movement which is part of the Legion. I want to contribute what I believe is an 'untold story' in those early years - the personal story of an Irish Legionary who was close to Maciel trying to relate personal experiences of what it was like before the awful revelations about Maciel.
The priests and seminarians who continue in the Legion must be heart-broken, furious, disappointed, bewildered, sad and totally disoriented. I am sure the same goes for the tens of thousands in the Regnum Christi. Even though they (the Legionaries) turned their backs on those of us who left the congregation my heart goes out to the good guys who remain. The rank and file mostly have limited and controlled access to the media and the internet. They have trained themselves to be impervious to 'outside' opinion. Despite considerable pressure from advisers, the media and public opinion they have not reacted pro-actively to the scandals. Thus they compound the notion that they are robotic, brain-washed people. I still believe that they are much better than the image they project.
They will do what the Pope tells them to do after the Apostolic Visitation. Of this I feel very sure. Therein lies a different story - the Vatican ultimately pulls the strings and I have no doubt the Vatican is advising the Legionary brass. There is a sad case to be made that the Vatican is coming across as out of touch with common Christians. The hierarchical structures of the Church made it easy to conceal scandals. Religious arrogance and paranoia persuaded the powers that be that scandals should be concealed. This does not justify the attitude of current Legionary leadership - but they are so imbued with loyalty to the establishment it is easy to see how they struggle to react.
Maybe we have reached a moment in history when we need to reexamine our notion of "ministry." I've always supported the notion of celibate priesthood. Today, I'm not so sure. The model, from where I sit, no longer seems to be working. I don't pretend to know the solution. But I do know it's time to wake up, smell the coffee and do something meaningful. Marcial Maciel could not have done the good he did without the Vatican. How was the Vatican so royally duped and, more importantly, what if anything has it learned?"
Source is here.