Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thoughts from a fellow blogger

"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.


Anonymous said...

Good level headed analysis, fair and balanced and not filled with blind hatred like many have been.

Anonymous said...

"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."

That was the part that confused me the an ex-RC - I felt all those emotions but quickly realized that the LC and even RC women wanted to move on business as usual and not even discuss the betrayal. We met with each other every week to build the kingdom of Christ and when we found out we were betrayed - most could not speak about it in a healthy, healing way. The LC leaders said all LCs have peace. When Fr A said after the scandal we are family and we need to pull together - I could not help but think of the victims and people like you who were in pain from leaving and the "family" ignored. I am now out of the "family" and just healing personally with some friends and my God. My faith sustains me but my trust is tarnished.

Looking forward to reading your story!

Anonymous said...

It's always enlightening to see victims of this child molester and his order called "haters". Even now, after all that we know about Maciel and legion, the re-victimization of the victims continues.

For lc/rc supporters to continue to interpret the very-necessary anger stage of the grief process as virulent hate just further demonstrates how deeply steeped in the methodology of Maciel they are. You know, the methodology in which "serenty" is tantamount, no matter if you have just been sodomized and raped (whether literally or figuratively). Keep that happy face slapped on, and whatever you do, don't express your rage against the injustice. If you do, you will be accused of the sin of hatred.

Because, of course, the real victims here are the suffering LC/RC victims of such so-called "hatred".

Ugh, it gets so nauseating to hear this b.s. all the time.

Anonymous said...

Question: What does celebacy have to do with this situation? Homosexuality and pederasty will not be cured by the Church condoning marriage for the priesthood.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he was reffering to Maciel's mistresses and children.

But marriage wouldn't have been good enough for Maciel - polygamy would need to have been introduced.

Is the poster ignoring Maciel's sexual abuse?

Anonymous said...

"Marcial Maciel could not have done the good he did"

Narcissists ONLY do things that are good for THEM.

Anonymous said...

"How can we wonder if the Church can 'afford' to simply disband one of the most vibrant forces it has produced in recent years?"

The legion is one of the most vibrant forces of EVIL, produced not by the church but by a child molester.

This author has a loooong road to travel to get away from all that kool-aid. I sincerely wish him all the best.

Anonymous said...

I too disagree with the comment re: celibacy. Now that I am away from the movement, I can't even count the number of wonderful priests who have been meaningful in helping me to move forward. These holy men of God live lives of discipline and obedience and self-sacrifice. They are the priests we look to for example, they are strong witness to God's grace in their vocation, in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Let us NOT look to the worst of our priests and make conclusions about celibacy!

Anonymous said...

I agree with most here about the celibacy comments. If a man has a problem with celibacy, then it would be wise for that man to not become a priest. Quality, not quantity, people!!!
Also, after reading a few of the links and comment on other pages, it seems there are some people who are taking these tragedies and are leave the Catholic Faith altogether. This is truely a shame and yet another sin Maciel will be answering to God for; namely his actions are leading people away from the Fullness of Truth within the Church.
On a side note: As a former RC member I am disgusted with all that has come to light in the last couple of years, and I enjoys getting little pieces of the puzzle for some closure. BUT, daily articles about how bad someone is and how corrupt the organization is kind of going a little overboard, don't you think? I mean isn't the horse dead enough?

Anonymous said...

On a blog that subtitles itself "The never ending saga of the Legion of Christ and their disgraced founder, Marcial Maciel. Can it get any weirder? This blog is for your comments", it shouldn't be surprising that there are daily articles about how corrupt the lc/rc are.

The problem is that the horse isn't anywhere near dead yet. It's alive and kicking and may very well still be so after the AV. For all we know, it could be another whitewash.

As long as the grave injustices and sins against charity of the lc/rc keep being perpetrated, there will be articles about corruption and how bad the influence of Maciel was, as exhibited by the behavior of his followers.

That's just the way it is.

Pete Vere said...

One of the sources of Medieval vampire legends is that these creatures of the night were animated corpses of apostate priests who had been given to sexual and moral license in life. I confess I never truly understood the significance of these legends until the Maciel scandal began to unravel in the media.

So this horse is not living. But it ain't dead. It's undead.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Pete, good point!

People in the medieval times apparently recognized the great evil of apostate priests. Unlike so many lc/rc followers today, who are still expressing gratitude for all the great good an (apparently) apostate priest passed on to them through the spirit within him.


Anonymous said...

"I mean isn't the horse dead enough?"

It's healthy to bring these dark deeds into the light and talk about them. It's a necessary part of the healing process. Sounds like you would rather sweep everything under the rug.

Anonymous said...

Some former members can't handle the fact that they were part of a cult and used by Maciel. They feel the need to "spin" those years inside, rather than admit the truth to themselves.

Joe said...

"Sweep it under the Rug" and "Spin those years inside"? AYKM?!?! It's been over a year since these things have come out. I was pissed about them then and still get a sick feeling thinking about them now. What I am trying to do, on the other hand is take whatever good I got from some of the great LC priests I either worked under as a coworker or who gave me spiritual direction and move forward towards a more Christ like life. I have a Looooooooooooong ways to go before that.

I just don't need websites like this to make me feel better about myself for not liking Maciel or leaving RC. But I guess some of you do....

(and before anyone says it, yesterday was the first time I visited this site as I saw an email linking one of the articles here. I've always been suspicious of sites like this (meaning all hate websites like the 9/11 Truthers and issues like that)because there is a bone to pick and anything that supports that bone (no matter how far out the articles are) will be used as joyous proof and tend to lead people down a dark path (i.e. those who have left the Church altogether because of harboring a deep hatered towards Maciel and if the Vatican doesn't do what they want to the LC, then they are OBVIOUSLY behind all of it and are corrupt as well...and on it goes). Objective thinking tends to go out the window. All I'm saying is there is a diference between a normal healing proccess of anger/resentment, and then there is this lifelong obsession with hate towards the subject without the healing to completely run it's course. Remember, True Healing will ultimately lead to long it will take to get to that point; only God knows (and trust me I'm not there yet either). But this site just seems to keep people trapped in the stage of anger and only encourages it.

I never knew Maciel, but I'm not going to let him hurt me after he is dead by consuming my life with anger for him. If that's "Sweeping things under the rug", then so be it....

Anonymous said...

Great post, Joe. I've wondered the same about some of these posts over the past year or more. How long must we hate before we heal? The least possible I say. ER

Anonymous said...

Sigh. How long will the victims be re-victimized constantly be being called haters?

There is no timeline for healing. There is no timeline for grief.

Sorry if people aren't healing according to your timeline or according to the way you think it should happen.

I am sure there are people stuck in an unhealthy place after their ordeal with lc/rc, just like there are people stuck in unhealthy places after all sorts of abusive situations.

That does not make them haters.

Be thankful you are able to move on, but don't harp on those whose timelines don't match yours. There are people whose venting stage lasts a bit longer

And considering how re-victimized this group is on a regular basis by the lc/rc, it's no wonder some of them are still in vent mode.

I won't sit in judgment on them. Anger, frustration, rage, must all be felt before they can be processed.

I personally am glad exlc has hosted a blog where people can come and vent safely. After all, the lc is still continuing to blithely claim they are the solution to the Church's ills and that they are called for all eternity to spread the kingdom and re-christianize the world. It's no wonder there is still a need to vent.

Joe said...

Funny, I didn't realize I put a timeline out there for people to get over it...wait...I didn't. How about you go back and read what I said...better yet, here it is:
"how long it will take to get to that point; only God knows (and trust me I'm not there yet either). "

I'm sure there are people on here who were more affected by this than I was...more affected by a long shot. There were many things I didn't agree with while I was a coworker and while I was RC, but I was vocal about it to my superiors and to my spiritaul director. You could say that oftentimes was 100% committed, so it probably made it easier for me to get over it and move on with my life. But I'm not telling everyone to get over it and move on with your life, I'm just warning about harboring and endulging such hatred in your heart.

As far as the "Haters" comment, are you using it in the sence of "well that guy is just a Steeler's hater, what does he know", then I have no idea where you got that from in what I wrote. But based upon your "Timeline" rant, you don't have a clue as to what I'm saying. How about I sum it up for you; "Hatered is natural in the healing process, but it is only a stage and it is easy to stay in that stage. Hatered in the heart can do horrible things to the soul, so try and do what you can to progress to the next stage of grievance." This blog seems to be a perfect spot for the hatered stage, but doesn't do alot to healthily advance the grieving or the spritual life.

As far as being re-victimized, since I never was molested or anything like that from any LC/RC person (or any priest for that matter), then I wouldn't understand how they are being re-victimized. I didn't realize this was a blog for the people who have been molested, I'm sorry for that and probably should have been more understanding to thier grievances, as I'm sure the hatered for those men are way more deep rooted than what mine is. To them I can only offer prayers of support.

Anonymous said...


You are not the first to come in here and assume that the hurt people are expressing in rage and disgust is hatred. You are definitely not the first to come in here and sing the legion song of "Move on, People!"

Hatred is an act of the will, a desire that the subject of your hatred burn in hell. And yes, there are probably some who have been terribly abused here who feel that. I won't sit in judgment on them.

But to accuse people who are trying to process their feelings after years of abuse (sodomization is not the only form of abuse---spiritual, emotional, psychological abuse can be nearly as damaging) of the sin of hate DOES revictimize them. You quite frankly have NO idea what they have gone through or what sins they have and have not committed in their hearts.

Whether you meant it or not, newly arriving to a combox on a blog for exlcs trying to make sense of the abuse they experienced and making comments like "I just don't need websites like this to make me feel better about myself for not liking Maciel or leaving RC. But I guess some of you do...." is rude and insensitive.

I agree with your basic premise that true healing only comes with forgiveness, but reaching that kind of forgiveness can take many years (if you have not already, please read Giselle's excellent commentary on this subject over at, and for some, the anger lasts longer.

I don't believe hatred is part of the healing process. I don't think hatred is ever good for us. But I do believe anger is a natural part of the process and must be experienced in order to move through to the next stage.

"The never ending saga of the Legion of Christ and their disgraced founder, Marcial Maciel." is the subtitle of this blog. It hasn't ended. And I think that fact has greatly contributed to the difficulty in moving past the anger. It is much harder to move through that when the group at whose hands you were abused continues to congratulate themselves on a regular basis. Also, this blog makes no claim to be the be all and end all of everybody's processing of their abuse. But it has provided a place to vent safely, and for that I am grateful.

You come across as pretty angry yourself, btw. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

It is a pity that many suffered injury at the hands of MM and his minions. It is a pity that they continue to suffer. It would be a pity should they continue to suffer longer than they had to. It would be still more of a pity if the rest of their life is ruined by time spent in a truly unfortunate situation, not just the LC.

Yes, there is need for time to heal. I suppose each soul must look inward to see honestly within if he is not just making himself into a victim, and using the wounded excuse itself as a way of not growing out of it. It can happen.

If we were tricked into being victimized by MM or anyone else, it is tragic if that puts us in a rut we cannot get out of. Why should we be perpetual victims? Why should I give infinite power to MM to continue wounding me in perpetuity?

I will not empower him. I will find the way to heal, with prayer, with counseling and psychotherapy... but I have a life to lead. I will not be MM's ally in destroying me forever.

I hope no one is offended but can discover in these lines a heart that cares for you.


Anonymous said...

Joe - "there is this lifelong obsession with hate towards the subject..." are you serious?


Pete Vere said...

What would help bring about healing faster for many is if the LC/RC would offer victims a sincere apology. Until the LC/RC own up and take responsibility, people are going to have a hard time moving on.

Joe said...

this is hard to comment since everyone is annonyomous and won't put thier name, but I'll try:

Annonymous on 2/16 @ 8:59PM: I understand what you are saying and completely agree with you. As far as the "I don't need websites like this" comment, I'm sorry and realize I shouldn't have said it. I think my posts sound angry b/c I'm hanging around this site now (LOL!) j/k actually it's b/c I feel like I'm being attacked by the posters here. For obvious reasons. I don't, however feel attacked by your post and I thank you for the calm response. I'm not trying to tell people to move on and if it comes across that way, I'm sorry. I was told that by my LC spiritaul director shortly after it happened and I blew up on him and didn't talk to him until a few weeks ago (which apparently made him think I would be ok with getting info on going to retreats and all that stuff).
As far as the Spiritual, psychological, etc. abuse, I get that, but (and maybe my thinking is wrong here) why would someone who is so emotionally scarred by something continue to surround themselves with articles/goins on of the organization who did it to them? Isn't that like a Veitnam POW constantly wanting to know what his former torcherors are doing? I bet the LC is going to be around for a long time (unless the Vatican has something to say about it, but I doubt they disban the organization), so wouldn't distancing one's self from them help more than keeping tabs on them? Again, my thinking could be wrong, but that's just my opinion.

ER: I couldn't have said it better myself.

Annonymous on 2/17: I was speaking in generalities at that point. Stop drinking on a Tues night...well...I guess it was Marti Gras, so carry on :-D j/k

Pete: I agree 100% and thought they should've done that since day 1. This is something that still bothers me to this day.

Anonymous said...

Joe -
I keep asking myself why I have a need to keep popping in on these blogs. I am grateful for them though because they have helped me process alot of things I could not put words to and I can decide myself which posts I like and which ones I do not. When I was in RC, I would never read any of this stuff because I was told not to and I was being obedient but also because of the guilt that I felt. I now realize that the Lord gave me a brain and the only way I can discern truth is to read all sides of the story. I can read whatever I need to and pray and discern and no matter what I can choose to love.

There is alot of pain here and my heart aches for all of us who were duped but especially for the sexual abuse victims and the children and woman of Maciel. I think Pete is right - since the LC did not do the Christian thing and instead chose cover-up, spin and no apologies to victims as their path - I think I am stuck in healing. I love the Church and Jesus too much to just walk away and say that behavior is OK because it is not.

I applaud the courageous bloggers who have been willing to call out Maciel and the LC with the truth. Without these blogs - the spin and the cover-up might still be winning.

Anon Out of RC

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons the horse won't die is because RC members are still saying ridiculous things like MM "was raped by a nurse in the hospital when he had a brain injury." Less than a week ago I had a still active member tell me MM had a weak "Thorn Birds" type moment.

As long as this garbage is still spouted, the horse will never be dead enough.

Sick from American Papist