“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

February 3, 2009

This Is No Time for Happy-Face Stickers

Last night, as many of you are learning this morning, some very sad allegations about Fr. Marcial Maciel's duplicitous actions began seeping into the mainstream. While a significant number of people knew ahead of time that this was coming down, no specifics were disclosed publicly until yesterday, and more details will come tumbling out soon in the mainstream press.

Predictably, the range of reactions to this bad news spans the gamut from outrage and stunned incredulity to something approaching despair to blasé "I-told-you-so" unconcern.

Regardless of how you react to this unfolding tragedy, be sure you look at it in perspective. Judging from what I've seen in the blogosphere in the past few days, it appears that some people just don't seem to understand what this deplorable situation really entails and what ramifications may arise from it.

Some have prattled on about how this really isn't bad news. It was long expected and now that it's been proven and publicized, and the temptation to lounge smugly in the worldly-wise posture of "I-told-you-so" may be something too difficult for some to avoid. But we should avoid it, because this story is bigger than just the sum of the embarrassing details of sexual (and other) sins. Let's keep in mind a few important points.

First, this is indeed very bad news — the worst possible kind — for the tens of thousands of good and faithful Catholics in the Legionaries of Christ religious order and its lay-affiliate, the Regnum Christi Movement — the vast majority of whom have, over the years, steadfastly refused to believe any accusation against Fr. Maciel, however plausible and vehemently attested to by those who claim to have been witnesses.

Now, these faithful and dedicated Legionary priests and seminarians (there are thousands of them, don't forget) and the tens of thousands of good-hearted Regnum Christi folk are realizing that they have been duped. They are faced with the stunning, crushing, irrefutable evidence that their trust in this man was in vain, their unshakable faith in his goodness and innocence has finally been shaken to pieces. The gleaming giant of holiness they had admired for so long has been shown to have feet of clay (Daniel 2:31-32).

Yes, many of Fr. Maciel's ardent followers have been naive in their refusal to consider that there may have been some truth to at least some of the myriad of accusations that mounted against him, but I believe theirs was a naiveté born of sincerity and love for Christ and the Church. This sincere love attached itself firmly (and now we know, undeservedly) to a man who, at least by outward appearances, seemed to merit their trust.

If nothing else, this sordid saga proves the powerful truth of Scripture's warning: “Put not your trust in princes, in man in whom there is no salvation. When his spirit departs, he returns to his earth, and on that day his plans perish” (Psalm 146:3).

Second, it is true, as some are saying, that, while painful, this bad news is actually a good thing, at least insofar as it entails light shining in a dark place.

This may be exactly the necessary impetus — albeit a horrible one — that will lead to a purification and renewal of an organization that could do great good for souls in ways that go way beyond what many critics say was merely good work that had serving the Legion as its ulterior motive. I make no judgment personally on that criticism, as to whether it is legitimate or not, but regardless, this new chapter in the Legionary saga can become the starting point for a very good thing in the Church. It may in fact be a bitter harbinger of a sweet and long-hoped-for outcome: a Legion of Christ that becomes free from the controversies and complaints that have dogged it for decades, a religious order that is seen by others to be truly at the service of the Church as a whole and not, as many of its critics allege, merely at the service of itself. It could be that, by God's grace and the prudent courage and honesty of the group's leadership, there can be a good outcome — possibly a spectacularly good one. There may be a viable effort to undertake a thorough reform and reconstitution of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, although there remain nagging reasons to wonder if that will really happen. It's too early to know. But we should be praying now for that to happen, if it be God's will. Time will tell.

One thing is for sure, though. If the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement are going to emerge from this crucible in one piece and remain in existence for the long haul, they cannot lapse into robot mode, they cannot don a happy-face mask and attempt to deny that this is a very serious problem for them. At this precise juncture, denial and dismissal of the clear and present danger that this situation poses to the Legion, will, I believe, sooner or later, prove fatal to its efforts at sustaining itself.

Again, we must keep this unfolding situation clearly in perspective and not sucumb to the various myopic temptations that beckon: at one end, to shrug and simply ignore it as a non-issue, and at the other end, to join in a gleeful feeding-frenzy of morose delectation. Already, on the blogs, one can see people falling into both camps.

Third, let's be realistic. No matter what some of the Internet pundits and commenteers may be saying, THIS IS BAD NEWS. To call it anything else is to badly misunderstand the import of what's taking place here. These salacious revelations (please God, may there be no more of them) have caused and will continue to cause serious damage, not only to the shell-shocked members of this group (many of whom have spent years in dogged defense of the holiness of Fr. Maciel and who now feel the sharp knives of betrayal and fraud sever the bonds of trust they once had in this man), but to the Catholic Church in general.

Watch and see. You'll soon notice certain people trying to use this scandal to malign Pope John Paul II (a long-time supporter of Fr. Maciel and the Legion), in a way similar to how some are right now attempting to exploit the recent SSPX Bishop Williamson Holocaust-debacle against Pope Benedict XVI.

As I've been saying all along on my blog, what we need to do is pray earnestly for all the people involved in this mess. They need our prayers, now more than ever. Pray for the soul of Fr. Maciel. Pray for the Catholic Church and also for those outside the Church who will be swayed or disoriented by this scandal, many of them seeing in it confirmation of their worst suspicions about Catholics and Catholicism. And let's not omit to pray for
ourselves, that we might not fall from our own fidelity to Christ, however firm or tenuous it might be.

Now is a good time to contemplate the famous maxim that "There, but for the grace of God, go I." If nothing else, these revelations about Fr. Maciel should serve as a cautionary tale to hammer that point home for each one of us.

Finally, it's worth repeating: Don't lose your sense of perspective. Don't think that this bad news isn't bad news. Let's call it what it is and avoid the temptation to slap a happy-face sticker on it.


  1. So, so sad. My heart goes out to the men and women of the Legion who have dedicated their lives to this movement.

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  3. Patrick,

    I really agree with most of your points here, but this "bad news" is only bad news insofar as one views it objectively, as a standalone circumstance of scandal.

    The deeper issue is that this "bad news" is, as you hint at, in fact likely to be a positive development in an organization that has long held fast to a culture of deceit and manipulation, all of which was centered on the supposed wisdom of its "saintly" founder.

    I'm vaguely aware that you had personal connections with the LCs, and in fact I met you briefly at a Catholic conference in New Jersey back in 1996 when I was working for them myself. But I spent enough time with them on the inside to know that something had to strike at the heart of a corrupt methodology and philosophy that was incredibly damaging to the hundreds of good people who were drawn by the superficial orthodoxy of this group. Having not only been on the receiving end of their lies, deception, and calumny, I've seen it happen to quite a large number of friends and acquaintances who were also involved - some of whom lost their faith in the process.

    For these scandals to have existed for so long and at such a magnitude implies a cover up dating back decades. In fact, in the testimonies given by Fr. Federico Dominguez and Fr. Luis Ferreira it is clear that Fr. Maciel's behavior was being concealed even prior to when these men were compelled to testify in the 1950s.

    I have little doubt that these dark secrets shaped the procedures and approach of the Legion as they grew. I cannot understand what their motives were in keeping these things hidden. One can only hope that by shedding light on this, the members can be freed of the lies they have labored under for so long.

    I know that most of the members simply love Christ and wish to serve Him. Perhaps this, however, is their opportunity to finally see that to Him, the truth is more important than the movement.

  4. I think I can find that prayer for all involved and the Church is my job.... not to mention not getting into shouting on-line matches about it....sad indeed it is. Also to follow only trust worthy news on it. Certainly not the MSM

  5. As a former and very active Regnum Christi member, I am glad to hear that the lie is finally on the open. I lost all my friends when I decided to leave the Movement, none of them wanted to believe me when I told them I had met the victims and I knew their stories were true (I didn't have proof of course), then I learned what was wrong in the Movement (Steve describes it well). It was a hard decision, but not once did I regret my decision. I am still a Catholic, and a stronger one but on healthier bases.
    I left Regnum Christi on June 18, 2004 on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. I also want to thank a friend (she knows who she is) who helped me with my decision.

  6. It's so sad, Patrick...we know several families who've been active within the movement, who have children in LC pre-seminary schools, and who have lived in absolute denial of the "cancer" that had worked itself to the core of the Legion. Though painful, it is a real blessing that these things are being brought to light...laboring under delusion is a dark and deadly business. No happy faces or "I told you so" here. Just heartfelt prayer for those who are suffering in the midst of scandal and disillusionment. Thanks for the post...

  7. I agree 100% on this...."They need our prayers, now more than ever. Pray for the soul of Fr. Maciel. Let's pray for the Church and those outside the Church who will be swayed or disoriented or confirmed in their suspicions about Catholics and Catholicism. And let's not omit to pray for ourselves that we might not fall from our own fidelity to Christ, however firm or tenuous it might be."

  8. Hi Patrick,

    What exactly is being communicated within the Legion? I cannot find the precise wording anywhere.

  9. So far, I haven't read anything. But a number of friends of mine who are very active within Regnum Christi have all confirmed to me that they have been verbally briefed by Legionary priests about the particulars of this situation. I'm sure that folks in the Legion and in RC are reeling right now, so it's understandable that there isn't yet any public response. But that won't be long in coming out, I'm sure. They understand the importance of getting a good grasp on this early on.

  10. I agree with you on so many different fronts. I personally look at this as the Holy Spirit intervening and setting right something that was wrong. Seeing the Holy Spirit at work over the past few years from when Cardinal Ratzinger reopened the case during JPIIs final days to this latest event has restored my faith in the Church.

    This is not a time to sweep anything under the carpet and walk away. This is not the time to throw the baby out with the water. This is not a time to gloat, nor will it ever be. This is a time for prayer, for penance, for forgiveness. This is a time for reformation, within the Legion and within the Church. There are many good souls within the RC and LC. There are some who have aided and abetted MM and have help continue his legacy, a legacy which needs to be routed out. I always vowed that I would leave the Church if he started on the offical cannonical road to sainthood as this would have made a mockery for all the things the Church stands for, I am much relived that that I won't have to do so now.

    My heart aches for all those injured members within and outside of the LC and RC.

    God is good and this too in time will pass and I hope people will come to view it like me over time. This is the moment of the triumph of the Holy Spirit over a cancerous evil within the Church. I never thought that the truth would be known in this life, in my lifetime.

    My heart is equally thorn for my ex LC/RC brethern who have suffered the slings and arrows of outragous fortune in the name of the truth. Many bad things have been said about these poor souls who have faught for the truth for so many years against all odds.

    I firmly believe that we all owe a debt of gratitude to Pope Benedict who had the courage as Cardinal to fully investigate these allegations. I firmly believe that the hand of Holy Spirt guided his election, the one man who could shine God's light in the dark recesses of a religious institution which badly needed to acknowledge the truth. The Lies of MM and others mocked and infected the Mystical Body of Christ. The purifing Light of the Holy Spirit will make it whole again.

    History will prove this to be one of the greatest papacy's the Church has seen.

    God bless,

    Pax et Bonum!

    Isaac xlc

  11. Addressing the question of re-founding.

    Compare and contrast:

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Jesuits might have been, an individual Jesuit can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. Ignatius Loyola, or Jesuit exemplars like St. Francis Xavier or St. Peter Canisus I will be a better Jesuit."

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Dominicans might have been, an individual Dominican can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. Dominic, or Dominican exemplars like Albertus Magnus or St. Thomas Aquinas, I will be a better Dominican."

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Franciscans might have been, an individual Franciscan can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. Francis, or Franciscan exemplars like St. Anthony of Padua, or St. Bonaventure, I will be a better Franciscan."

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Salesians might have been, an individual Salesian can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. John Bosco, or Salesian exemplars like St. Dominic Savio or Mamma Margaret, I will be a better Salesian."

    The Legionary priest .... can't complete the sentence.

    The Legionaries need a founder and saints of their own order to look up to, and right now, they can't.

    Hence, their spiritual need for a dissolution and a re-founding of their order.

  12. The constitutions of LC and RC were approved by the Church, and the Legion had the decree of praise -

    Also there is a difference as far as the foundation - LC and RC had a Christ centered spirituality that did not hinge on the founder, unlike the Franciscans and many other orders.

  13. All the great orders have a Christ centered spirituality at their foundation, though their charisms vary. The point is that Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, Salesians, etc. can all be Christ centered in their spirituality in a way specifically mediated through the sanctity of their founders. The LC cannot do that at this point, and that poses a serious problem.

  14. Now just a cotton-pickin minute! King David was highly immoral and committed grave offenses, yet the Almighty singled him out for great and holy purposes. The Davidic Psalms have for three thousand years been essential components of our most sacred writings and rituals--Jewish and Christian. Cut the Legionaries of Christ and their founder some slack, please.


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  16. William, King David publicly repented.

    Father Marciel and the Legion in general did the exact opposite, until now. Not that Fr. Marciel's admitting to serial molestation of seminarians, and apparent multiple affairs with women which lead to him fathering two children, would have saved him or his order from the reckoning that is coming.

    The cult of personality surrounding Fr. Marciel was always a bit creepy to me. Referring to him as Padre Nuestro always struck me as bordering on blasphemous.

    This scandal is such as shame. My prayers are with the many good people I've met in RC and the LC who are suffering right now.

  17. Mr. Fitzhamilton: If public repentance is all it takes, then Bhp. Williamson should give it a whirl.

  18. This is why I joined Regnum Christi. I needed a structured way to foster my faith and love for God. My parish was not meeting that need. Though organizations like Opus Dei and the Lay Missionaries of Charity are within driving distance of my home, they were too far to be practical. The Legion and RC was active in my community. I knew some of the members very well and they reached out to me. I was (and still am) very impressed with these people. One person I have known most of my life and she is a living saint, selfless people who love God with all their heart. RC offered a very practical way to live and spread my faith which challenged me. I did not know much about Fr. Maciel when I joined RC, it was the members and priests that I personally encountered that led me to join. What amazes me is how RC members are so active in their parishes and most people have no idea. I wish other movements in the Church would reach out like the Legion and RC. If you look past all this for a moment, you must realize how bad things are in this world and how desperately the world needs God. All of the news above is of course very shocking and makes you wonder why God allowed it. I am not sure anyone knows what the future holds for the Legion and RC at this point. However, I trust our Holy Father and continue to have Hope!

  19. well said Frank. I am, and still am RC. My faith has grown, my prayer increased tremendously in the 4 years I have been in the movement. I read the biblw almost every day, I attend Mass several times a week, I serve my church, I am a better CAtholic and growing... I was supprised to hear the news today....but unshaken. I judge the movement by its fruits....all are holy fruits that I see and experience.

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  21. Mega-dittos to Frank and Patti. As for my wife & two boys, we love our LC priests and bros. My wife & I pray both our boys become LC priests. It is good we all condemn the man's bad actions.
    Look at the Angelican bishop that left his wife to have an openly gay relationship, and his church accepted it! We sane Catholics call'em
    like we see'em. The LC's and RC's we know, we love, period. I pray I show a harmonious reaction if I get to heaven and see the priest that molested me there. Will you have a harmonious reaction if you get to heaven and see Fr. Maciel there? 7 X 70..read it..learn it..live it.

  22. I agree that this is a serious and grave situation and we need to pray. One quick point though, is that orders can thrive after such events.

    For example, after St. Francis died, his successor became a disturbed and power-hungry man, and the order soon split into three. Yet, the order has thrived and given so much to the Church following this time.

    The Holy Spirit will be the guide, God will purify and change or let things go as they may.

  23. In addition to my remarks above, I wanted to say that I will be praying for all affected by these events. I don't know all the details or the extent of the actions, but many have been hurt and some severely. I am confident many prayers and sacrifices will be made in the days and months ahead so all can begin to heal.

  24. Nick, thank you for your comment!

    Forgiveness is only way we can peacefully understand this sad situation, and that is the history of the Church filled with men who are sinners...

    In the words of one Cardinal "Isn't it incredible, that dispite us, the Church continues to survive?"

  25. sorry, I do not have a historical reference for this cardinal or bishop... :(

  26. I am hoping NOT to be let down at school tomorrow (A LC school). If they sweep this under the rug and go into "Stepford" mode it may just be the straw that breaks my back.

    If it is true that those active within Regnum Christi have been verbally briefed by Legionary priests about the particulars of this situation, then I hope they speak about it. Our administrators are all RC and when Fr. Maciel was asked to step down as leader and not allowed to say Mass -- they told us that it was Fr. Maciel's idea.

    I see many good things that the LofC and RC are responsible for. And I hope that continues. I, also, see a need for a dissolution and a re-founding of the order.

  27. Yeah, what about the VICTIMS OF MACIEL THAT ARE STILL ALIVE?? What will the Legion do with them?

    Regain Network has been exposing the Legionaries all these years and the Legion has branded them "enemies of the Church"!


  28. Jodi -

    As noted here ( http://www.americanpapist.com/2007/12/new-report-offers-confirmation-of-pope.html ), the Pope has amended the constitutions of LC & RC.

    I have long been a critic of the methods and founder - but I have also seen the good works and spiritual growth of many people who are in or work for related organizations.

    Just pray... for the good of the Church, for Truth, and especially for the victims of this deceit.

  29. Of course, I'd heard things for ages. But like most Catholics, I try to give the benefit of the doubt always. I am so sorry for the pain to so many good people, and my hope is that, as with the Church-wide scandals of a few years ago, these revelations will signal a cleansing and renewal for all involved.

    My favorite spiritual reading is lives of founders--and there are some shocking and puzzling ones. Founders being kicked out of their own communities, going insane, leaving religious life altogether. What typically happens is that another leader steps in and assumes the spiritual status of founder--for good or ill. That may happen here. It's even conceivable that, as with the Jesuits some years back, the Holy Father may intervene and appoint a superior.

    The Church has survived even popes who were worse.

  30. It's not about forgiveness, you see, that some are saddened and upset, its about denying the truth- you can't forgive what has never been acknowledged. The apology is needed for healing these terrible wounds. Say it again. The apology is needed for forgiveness to have any meaning whatsoever. Judas comitted suicide before asking for the forgiveness that he would surely have recieved from the Savior. Legion, don't make the same mistake.

  31. There are going to be alot of ramifications psychologically & spiritually to thousands of people when they begin realizing that what they did was NOT because God or the Holy Spirit was asking them to do those things -- parting their hair a certain way, avoiding people of the opposite sex, not having snacks at encounter, not putting announcements in the bulletin, keeping away from their own parish to help the movement instead. Years wasted, thinking they were serving God when they were really only serving self-serving egoists. It's going to take a million prayers to figure out why God wanted them to subject themselves to such waste. It's extremely hurtful to see people posting on various blogs that the ex-RCs/LCs are wrong in their rage. There is such a thing as righteous anger. Jesus showed us that. Please pray for those of us who used to be in RC/LC that are still healing. But pray even more for those who are still in it.

  32. Patrick:
    Thank you so much for your excellent Blog commentary. This is very well done. You are very correct is affirming that the Legion/RC are now really thrown into total confusion. All along the attitude of the LC/RC regarding the accusations and Benedict's intervention as been, as you know, the following: we love the Pope, but he made a bad decision based upon bad information. Fr. Maciel is Padre Pio II. All of that kind of thinking has collapsed. The Legion/RC are now going through a real "dark night of the spirit". The entire spirt of the LC/RC has been built upon a "cult of personality". They are going to have to totally re-invent themselves. It is going to be interesting to see what happens. I am very sad because, as you well know, the Legion has many, many holy and wonderful priests that are working hard for the Church. On another note, I think it is essential that the Vatican intervene immediately with an Apostolic Visitation. A thorough house cleaning is in order. Fr. Maciel was always surrounded by close coloborators. For charity sake, I don't want to mention any names. If these men did not know what was going on then they are blind fools. What did they know? Were they part of Father's proclivities? Did they turn a blind eye in order to protect a greater good; i.e., the Legion of Christ? To me, this is the most important question at hand.
    I am so happy that Fr. Stephen Ficther has come out publicly in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/us/04legion.html?_r=1&ref=us. I hate to ask this question, but was the money used to support the mistress and the child? The Church needs a lot of prayer right now. This is a huge crisis for this simple reason. Something that I have been saying all along - if this kind of craziness can go on in the Legion of Christ which is such an orthodox and strict relgious order, what is going on elsewhere? The corruption runs very, very deep all throughout the Church. Another question comes to mind: who in the Vatican, over all of these years knew about Fr. Maciel's problems? Were any Vatican officials covering for him and trying to protect him. Case in point - just a question - why was a Legionary priest assigned to be the secretary of Cardinal Eduardio Peronio, past Prefect for the Congregation of Religious? Was he there to assist the Cardinal as a gesture of charity, or was he there to protect Maciel? Why were other Legionary priests positioned in high offices in the Vatican? Why has the Legion been showering gifts, favors and even money to ranking Vatican officials over so many years? Was the Legion keeping the Vatican "on the take" so to speak in order to protect Fr. Maciel? If there can be any humor found in any of this, I guess I can conclude by saying that there is no need to believe in the Da Vinci Code - we have even better stories. Thank God that there is a God.
    Fr. James Farfaglia, Corpus Christi, TX - former LC priest - man, am I glad that I am out of that mess.

  33. I disagree with mariposa that you can't forgive without an apology. I think it is a greater virtue to forgive even without being offered an apology. Where in the 70 X 7 gospel does it mention anything about apologies?

  34. Missy68 -- I'm not in Regnum Christi, but I have a lot of friends who are. And they're actually EXTREMELY active in the Parish, helping out with Eucharistic Adoration, Funeral Luncheons, CCD, Bible Study, the Elizabeth Ministry.... you name it, they're involved.

    Maybe this varies geographically or something, but, at least around here, the RC members HELP the parish. They're a good bunch of people - don't run them down.....

  35. Compare and contrast:

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Jesuits might have been, an individual Jesuit can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. Ignatius Loyola, or Jesuit exemplars like St. Francis Xavier or St. Peter Canisus I will be a better Jesuit."

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Dominicans might have been, an individual Dominican can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. Dominic, or Dominican exemplars like Albertus Magnus or St. Thomas Aquinas, I will be a better Dominican."

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Franciscans might have been, an individual Franciscan can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. Francis, or Franciscan exemplars like St. Anthony of Padua, or St. Bonaventure, I will be a better Franciscan."

    No matter how nut-case or repellent some Salesians might have been, an individual Salesian can always say, "If I model myself after our holy founder St. John Bosco, or Salesian exemplars like St. Dominic Savio or Mamma Margaret, I will be a better Salesian."

    The Legionary priest .... can't complete the sentence.

    Ah, Patrick- to counter your above statement:
    A Legionary of Christ can complete the sentence based on who the founder (Fr. Maciel) put as their model for the priesthood. Hence the Legion of Christ is their name, not the "Macielians" (etc.) so, a Legionary would finish the sentence that if he wanted to be a better Legionary, he would model himself after Christ. For Christ has always been and will always be the center of a Legionary priest; not Fr. Maciel. The name of the Movement is not named after its founder; Fr. Maciel- clearly a man with faults, but insteaed after Christ- Regnum Chisti- the Reign of Christ. I know the Legion sees it's Orders start through a man (Fr. Maciel) guided by the Holy Spirit to start an order of priests, consecrated lay men and women and the lay movement. Albeit the news of Fr. Maciel's scandal is very disturbing, and has caused great scandal, the character of the Legion can not be defined by the faults of its founder. Just as if the Pope created scandal, it wouldn't be "just" to conclude that every Catholic would be associated with his personal scandal. Not one LC priest or RC member has followed a man to the priesthood or to the Movement. Instead, he has followed a personal call from Christ to llive out his baptismal promises. Just as any Catholic has not followed the Pope to the Church, he has followed Christ. There are often times public figures that draw us to Christ by their love for Christ, but ultimately, we know that every human will fail us. It is only Christ who can redeem us. It is Christ alone that we need to follow.
    Please pray for Fr. Alvaro as the General Director of the LC's. I would like to applaud his wilingness to expose this story.

  36. You cannot nor should we ever, put on a pollyanna face on things like this and say that its all ok. It isn't.

    What needs to happen is the light of TRUTH needs to be shined on this. What also needs to happen is the member of RC and the LC Priests need to be upfront and clear about what happened.

    Nothing less is scandal. Secrecy, deceit, and hiding this will only cause them to fester and become even more toxic.

  37. @Jeannie:
    The Jesuits aren't named after their founder, and they can still point to St. Ignatius Loyola as a model of saintliness. I think that was Patrick's point.

  38. Jeannie, your comment above blew me away.
    Thank you.

  39. This is very tragic and for the all the members of LC/RC, this will be a true Cross. My humble prayers and sacrifices go out to all of those who this deeply affects, including myself. At the same time, THANK YOU Jesus for all of the MANY, MANY, MANY faithful, holy, dedicated, courageous and self-sacrificing members of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi. Our mission, blessed and approved by the Church...does not change. We will continue to strive for charity and defend and love the Church and the Holy Father at all costs. We will persevere to... Love Christ. Serve People. Build the Church.

  40. Just a note- It was Fr. Alvero and the Legionaries that decided to conduct the investigation, not the Vatican. The Vatican conducted an investigation back in 2006, then sealed the records. We don't know what they found, we just know what Fr. Alvero found in his internal investigation.
    Also, The Order of the Legionaries of Christ has been approved by the Vatican and will continue with it's mission independently of Fr. Maciel. God still works through broken instruments.

  41. Fr. James Farfaglia and the other ex-LC and ex-RC. Move along. I heard it the umteenth time. Be humble now and when you do open your mouth, let spring forth prayers, not negativity nor pettiness, nor the constant bashing. Maybe they were a certain way with you in the past, but now the LC priests and brothers I know are always emphasizing the idea that they are not of a parallel church and to do our apostolate work with the approval of the local pastor. All, and I mean all priest and religious have changed because of the sex abuse scandals, as they should. We as a people have also changed and have zero tolerance for these evil doers, as we should. As a father of two boys, I can say I'm raising my sons to have the highest morals. Do I seek the high ground always? No. Do I commit mortal sins? Occasionally. Do I lower the standards I expect from my sons just because I personally fall short of them. Heck no! I'll have to answer to God about how well I did as a father in the end. Fr. Maciel has been dead for a year. Fr. Maciel has been judged by God. Just who do you think you are, Fr. Farfaglia and other ex-LC's and ex-RC's to judge the man after God has already judged him! Build your house on solid ground; grow your faith in fertile soil.
    We know these things. The teaching we learn our of JESUS CHRIST! VIVA CRISTO REY!

  42. TKC!

    Well said Nick...In Christ, Patricia.

  43. A letter from Fr. Alvaro to RC members:


    I am writing this letter in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, thanking you for all your prayers and closeness – expressing the family spirit with which God in his infinite goodness has blessed us. In writing, I also want to express my most sincere and heartfelt support, as a brother whose only desire is to be with you, and to gather together with you around Christ, who is the center of our lives.
    At this time, we want to look at everything from the vantage point of faith, hope and charity, and to act according to the heart of Christ who became flesh and redeemed us.
    We are living a time of pain and suffering. And with this pain comes the experience of God’s infinite love as he asks us to continue forward in peace and goodness, for all he wants is for us to know the happiness of being his children. In my own experience, I can say that whenever I am with you I can see the love of God in your hearts like a mirror that gives light to the lives of so many people and which joins us together as one family.
    In the Eucharist, in prayer, I asked Jesus to help me find the right words to speak to you at this time. Humanly, it has not been easy, but in moments such as these he tells us: “Trust in me, place all in my heart.” He loves us to the extreme, and cares for us as the Good Shepherd who never lets us fall prey to solitude and darkness. “Though I walk through a dark valley, I fear no evil, for the Lord is at my side” (Ps. 22/23:4).
    I know that we all want to act, as St Paul says, in the truth, and we know that the crown of truth is charity. As St Augustine teaches: “Truth alone triumphs” and “The victory of truth is charity” (Sermon, 358:11). Charity bears all, believes all, hopes for all, endures all (cf. 1Cor. 13:7). It is the weight of love that will produce the response he wants so as to give peace to our souls.
    As regards truth, the first thing we see in Christ’s presence is that he is the Truth, which leads us to look at everything through him. In the present case, regarding the person of our Father Founder, I cannot but recognize all the good I received through him. Through the charism he passed on to us, many people have received from God what has given meaning to our lives: love for Christ, the Blessed Virgin, the Church, the Pope and souls. These are our loves. On a personal level, I am grateful to him for being the instrument God used to give my entire life meaning, seeking eternal salvation, the path to God. This is the truth I experienced, and it would be impossible to find enough words to thank him.

    It is also true that he was a man, and these things that have hurt and surprised us�and I don’t believe we can explain with our reason alone�have already been judged by God. It is true that we are going through much suffering and a great deal of pain. As in a family, these pains draw us together and lead us to suffer and rejoice as one body. This circumstance we are living invites us to look at everything with much faith, humility and charity. Thus we place it in the hands of God, who teaches us the way of infinite mercy.
    For my part, I ask forgiveness for all this suffering. And I beg God with all my being to help us all to see it from the heart of Christ.
    Truth, in charity, leads us to think, speak and act like Christ in everything. I know that whatever I say will never be enough, but I do want to express all my closeness, gratitude and prayers, with the certainty that “for the one who loves, EVERYTHING contributes to his good” (cf. Rom. 8:28).
    The Blessed Virgin guides us. Some days ago, we went to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There with several Movement members we prayed the Rosary. Mary welcomes us and surprises us with her love, and once again she speaks her words to our hearts: “My child, am I not here, who am your mother? Do not be afflicted or saddened.”
    I know that these reflections are general. These attitudes I have wanted to share with you are the answer I would like us to find in our hearts.
    Let us look at everything through God, let us face forward, never stop, and never tire of doing good. These are times for holiness, humility, and charity. And in everything, let us be instruments of God to do good.
    God bless you always!
    Your affectionate brother in Christ and in the Movement,
    Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC

  44. Patrick,
    I attended a conference pronounced by yourself in the novitiate of the LC in Connecticut, when I myself was a member of the LC. I spent 10 years of my life in the congregation, and all I can say is "thanks". My life cannot be understood without these 10 years. I tell you that God lives in the LC. And now 11 years after I left the order, this news make tears come out of my eyes. I feel so sad!

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. unfortunately, he is telling everybody what to do, and not saying anything about what the leadership is now up to. we are induced to think that the LC leadership is compelling everyone to keep their mouths shut except for words of prayer. he is not thinking outside the box, as this situation requires. wrong reaction for these difficult times. maciel said before that accusations were false. now the director is saying "i'm close to God and the Virgin Mary, believe me and keep quiet!". same tactics. someone thought of a refounding? an excellent idea but unfeasible. better for those good guys remaining to be accepted in the many places the Church has, or are they too proud to relearn things from diocesan priests?

  47. Patrick, excellent post. You speak as one with authority.

    I am incorporated as RC but never "drank the kool aid". I always accepted what the Holy Spirit gave and discerned the arrogance, for lack of an alternative orthodoxy in my area. The only time I saw MM in person was at an International Encounter in Atlanta. My spouse and I got the "Uh Oh!" feeling from the whole experience.

    I hope the movement can be rescued and renewed because of all the LC/RC with proper rectitude of intention. Many good works have been done through the charism of the movement and there is the potential to evanglize the world for Christ in the future.

    Although MM was a fraud, this prayer is not: "Christ our King---thy Kingdom come". Most LC/RC try to live this.

    Fr Farfaglia, I have read many things you've said over the years. I didn't know you were ex LC.....that explains your orthodox formation. Your pain is palpable. I think comparing this situation to the DaVinci Code was gratuitous, inflamatory, and not productive. (albeit a tempting connection.) I think it was beneath your dignity.

    I cannot read a single LC writing at this point, from the daily Gospel meditations to the self serving letter from Fr Alvaro I found in my inbox, until COMPLETE transparency has been guaranteed, realized and verified by a credible external source eg Pope Benedict XVI.

    My deepest prayers go out to all the people, especially children, who have been scandalized by this revelation. I pray that everyone and I mean UNIVERSAL Church, rejects the temptation to deny Christ because of a high profile sinner. "Christ our King--Thy Kingdom come".

  48. My own grandfather had a secret 2nd family which was discovered after his death. That discovery explained a lot about his behavior and the dysfunctional qualities of that family.

    Although I will never understand his sin and the consequences of his behavior linger, I will not let his sin define my family.

    My family is modeled on the Holy Family.

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph please make us a holy family.

  49. Fr. Maciel was a transparent fake and people should have seen through him.

    I'm very sorry for all the good people who were fooled by him, and I hope they're able to get past him and move on.

  50. I can only begin to imagine the pain of my erstwhile brothers. The Legionaries I prayed alongside were the greatest men I ever met in my life. Fr. Maciel was a hero. Now he isn't. It hurts. Do I ask pardon for my lack of cynicism, having believed wholeheartedly in this man so many years? Yes. Please forgive me.

  51. I have been in RC for 5 1/2 years. The spirituality I have seen and grown in has NOT been modeled after Fr. Maciel. It has been modeled after Christ.

    Our program of life, the Spiritual Exercises, our weekly meetings (Encounters), the apostolates (ConQuest, K4J, Challenge, Familia)... everything has been totally focused on Christ and on serving the Church.

    I did not join RC because of Fr. Maciel. I didn't even really know anything about him prior to incorporating. I tried to get different priests to tell us stories about Fr. Maciel, but they were more interested in sharing with us how to grow in virtue. I assumed that all the spiritual fruit that I saw probably came from God through a holy instrument.

    I know this: everywhere I go- from N.H. to C.T. to T.X to I.L.- everyone I meet in RC is charitable, generous, thoughtful, respectful of individual freedom, freed from gossip, unhampered by human respect, free from detraction, free from calumny. I've never been pressured to do anything in the movement. I've never been "guilted" into doing anything in the movement. And, believe me, I have been involved in other Catholic organizations that did NOT respect individual freedom and DID use guilt to motivate others.

    I haven't found RC members or priests to be "secretive" or "manipulative" or anything like the accusations I've heard. I'd say the worst you can say about the people I know in RC is that we're prone to admire the example of someone who presents themselves as holy. Is that the worst that we're guilty of? Has no one else ever had a role model that fell from grace?

    The priests of LC that I have met and worked with are holy men. Are they living in personal sin? Probably. Am I? Yes.

    The Legion needs to be "re-founded"? How? Is the Legion and the movement not serving others?

    I can't deny the problems created by Fr. Maciel, but how can others deny the good of the RC apostolates?

  52. As a member of the RC movement now for over 5 years I am grateful to God for this amazing movement. Thanks to the Legion of Christ they have taught me to serve my parish and I have for over 4 years. RC is not for everyone but it never means that we are better than anyone. I have never been taught that and I would of left if I did hear that. We are to hate the sin and love the sinner. so yes, I am sad and hate the sin Fr. Maciel did but love him for the good he did. He sacrificed a lot and at times came up short. Very short. But Gods mercy is infinite and just as God forgave Peter for his denial not once, nor twice but 3 times, Just as God forgave King David of his affair with a married woman and being responsible for her husbands death to hide his sin, and just as he forgave me for my countless upon countless of sins I know he has forgiven Fr, Maciel. "Let he who is without sin cast the 1st stone" God has shown me mercy when stones should have been cast upon me.....So I in turn will forgive the founder of this awesome movement. The words of Christ now ring louder to me than ever..."I desire mercy not sacrifice" remember it is called the Legion of Christ, the regnum christi movement. Not the Legion of Maciel or the Regnum Maciel movement. In Christ is all my hope and faith....that is why my faith is not shaken during these hard and yes.......very sad times. As Patrick Madrid wrote "I will pray for all those involved in this mess"

  53. God bless, comfort, strengthen and guide my former Legionary brothers and members of the RC movement !!!
    Carry on you good soldiers and keep you're eyes on Christ and His Blessed Mother!!! You may have been deceived by a man.....not by God.
    God still has the same purpose for you that He had at the beginning of you're vocation!!!
    Do not be ashamed.....rise up....move forward....and be the holy priests that you are called to be !!!

  54. I went to a RC School (Elementary and HighSchool) in Mexico and I'm thankful for the complete education I received there along all those years.

    I once was part of the movement and worked hard for Christ and for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Eventually, I drifted apart but I have nice memories of the work done and the spiritually satisfying results we got. My team and I learned a lot about discipline, effort, respect, commitment, achievement, we learned a lot about ourselves, and how to make the best out of any situation. Even though I'm not the most fervent catholic now, I felt shocked and heartbroken when I heard the news because I don't want the movement to lose strength or credibility... it is a path for many souls...

    We don't need to forgive Fr. Maciel, indeed, we were never told to follow him but to follow Christ, we only admired this man for his vision and tenacity... We have to cope with the truth in a mature and not-judgy way... we could never know what it was to walk in his shoes...

    I guess most of us reading this blog will agree that being human is, more often than we would like to admit, existing in a state of contradiction. And THAT precisely is the inexplicable BEAUTY of HUMAN CONDITION. And GOD made us SO... And GOD LOVES US SO, and I guess maybe HE is trying to tell us this by letting us know that still, within our fragile condition, we are HIS HOLY INSTRUMENTS and he wants us to EXPAND HIS MESSAGE OF LOVE!

    I hope that RC and in general the Catholic Church take this crisis as an opportunity for reflection and renewal... GOD will bless US all!

  55. We shall keep in prayer those who have been good and earnest in serving our Lord as the backwash from this will hurt every Catholic, even those who are not remotely connected to this.

    Aye and the Bible says the wheat shall be separated from the chaff Luke 3:17. We need to remember that all our actions affect each other in the work for Our Lord.

  56. Several years ago, in one of my religious studies courses, I had a student who had chosen to give a class report on the LC. The student phoned her LC's blood brother to get information about the society. When other members of the society overheard the phone conversation about the LC's rules and everyday life, they reported the student's brother to the superior. This was the end of the report. (The student's LC brother had been a close associate to Marciel.)

  57. Please consider signing this petition to the Legion of Christ asking for more transparency, reform and reparation: http://lc.petitionhost.com/

  58. May I make a suggestion? Could not the Legion of Christ ask Pope Benedict XVI to refound the Legion of Christ, and thus to become its second founder? Pope Benedict, I believe, has known the Legion well and knew Marciel well, and stepped in when Cardinal Ratzinger to bring things to a halt. The Legion needs a refounding and a new founder. Could not Pope Benedict XVI be this man, and could not his writings be their new source of spiritual and theological nourishment. Of course Pope Benedict would have to delegate much to others, but he could be the guiding hand, the source of a new spirit, the new head. I am sure the Legion would give him their full obedience.
    Just a thought for the leadership and the membership, looking now for a new lead, a new life, a new founding, a new founder.
    Father Ted, Australia

  59. I would suggest that the Legionaries of Christ (and especially their critics) consider the history of some very good religious orders. Let us take the Capucins, the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M. Cap).

    The order arose in 1520 when Matteo da Bascio, an "Observant" Franciscan Franciscan friar native to the Italian region of Marche, became inspired by God with the idea that the manner of life led by the Franciscans of his day was not the one which St. Francis had envisaged. He sought to return to the primitive way of life in solitude and penance as practiced by the founder of his order. His superiors tried to suppress these innovations, and Friar Matteo and his first companions were forced into hiding from Church authorities, who sought to arrest them for having abandoned their religious duties. They were given refuge by the Camaldolese. In 1528, Friar Matteo obtained the approval of Pope Clement VII Matteo and the original band were soon joined by others. Matteo and his companions were formed into a congregation, called the Hermit Friars Minor, as a branch of the Conventual Franciscans.

    However - and this is the point of my mentioning this order - the new congregation at the outset of its history underwent a series of severe blows. The two founders left it, Matteo di Bascio to return to the Observants, while his first companion, on being superseded in the office of vicar became so insubordinate that he had to be expelled. The case of the third vicar, Bernardino Ochino who became a Calvinist, 1543, and married, was even more extreme. The whole congregation came under the suspicion of heretical tendencies and the pope resolved to suppress it; he was with difficulty induced to allow it to continue, but the Capuchins were forbidden to preach.

    In a couple of years the authorities were satisfied as to the soundness of the general body of Capuchin friars, and the permission to preach was restored. The congregation at once began to multiply with extraordinary rapidity, and by the end of the 16th century the Capuchins had spread all over the Catholic parts of Europe, so that in 1619 they were freed from their dependence on the Conventual Franciscans and became an independent order, with a general of their own. They are said to have had at that time 1500 houses divided into fifty provinces. They were one of the chief tools in the Catholic Counter-reformation. Many Capuchins have suffered martyrdom for the Gospel, and have had many saints to their credit, one of the most recent being Padre Pio. They have done great work for the Church and souls.

    So, chin up, Legionaries. I repeat a suggestion I made earlier in a previous contribution to this blog: why not look to Pope Benedict XVI as the new founder, and ask him to assume, in some sense, this role?

    Father Ted, Australia.

  60. That suggestions has a lot of merit, Father Ted. Thanks for raising it as a possibility. If the Legion were to make such a courageous move, it could help their situation a great deal.

  61. We seem very concerned with the political implications of all of this and the effect on the reputation of the church, the lc/rm, Fr. Marcial and other people that either worked with him or knew about his immoral way of life. Not one comment above mentions the victims. God forgave David for an affair with a consenting adult and Peter for denying him 3 times. He also took a whip to people who were disrespecting The Lord's temple. Anger is appropriate at times. When will it be more appropriate than when our children are being abused? Are their bodies not temples of Christ? These are God's Children. When will we brave enough to protect and defend them if we are more concerned with the politics and reputations of our church?