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

July 20, 2009

Father Maciel and His Thousand-Dollar Hams

Journalist Jason Berry, a long-time nemesis of the disgraced, recently deceased Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, levels more unsavory accusations about the priest's bizarre double life:

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.

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. . . . (continue reading)

Help Jesus select future topics for YouTube

That's right. Under the "Do You Have Any Questions for Jesus[?]" section of this crackpot religous website the following wisdom and knowledge are dispensed:

God fearing Christians shrink their minds by using weak prayers, spiritually ineffective self improvement techniques and simple minded answers, like “It is one of God's mysteries”, whenever they are confronted by a difficult question.

There are no mysteries of life to a True Prophet who Loves God.

Help Jesus Select Future Topics for YouTube Videos

  • Why Babies are Born with Birth Defects
  • Why Little Children get Cancer
  • Why Abortion is not a Sin
  • Why am I here
  • Who am I
  • (Submit your own question)

Please help Jesus, email Family@the144000.org to vote on any of the above topics or send us questions of life you would like Jesus to answer in a YouTube Video.

Not only did I not realize that Jesus has a YouTube account, I never knew that He needs help figuring out what subjects we'd like most to hear about.

Some questions that I'd like Him to answer on YouTube, if He's not too overwhelmed with suggestions from other video-watchers, include stuff like, "Lord, why do You allow crackpot groups like this to run wild on the Internet?" I suppose that has a lot to do with original sin and human freedom, but still.

This site is awash with other such gimcrackery. For example, the page "Jesus' Solutions for the End Times" offers two types of special end-times knowledge at a price to fit just about any budget:

Jesus' Solutions for the End Times
Power Prayers and Self Improvement Techniques

Jesus' Basic End Times Prayers and Techniques
(Available at no charge by Email or at our weekly Gatherings)

No Charge

Jesus' Advanced End Times Prayers and Techniques
(Two day workshop)


Email Basic@The144000.org to receive Jesus' Basic End Times Techniques.

Email Advanced@The144000.org to receive information about Jesus' workshops.

I wonder if He accepts PayPal.

Vietnam: Catholics Heavily Fined for Violating Two-Child Policy

Catholic villagers in Vietnam say they are trying to follow Church teaching on contraception in the face of high fines levied against them under the country’s two-child policy. They pay the fines as a way of showing their fidelity to Catholic teaching.

Since a 1994 nationwide “family planning” program, Vietnamese have been required to have no more than two children per family. Those with two children are told to use artificial contraceptives or undergo vasectomies free of charge.

Families with more than two children must pay rice to the government as a fine, UCA News reports.

While many Catholics say they have done their best to remain faithful to Catholic teaching, some have had to resort to contraceptives because they could not afford the significant fines.

Villagers in Thua Thien-Hue province spoke to UCA News about the government's punishment.

Catherine Pham Thi Thanh, 44, said that since 1996 she has been fined a total of 3,800 kilograms of rice for having six children, who now range from two to 15 years of age. Her family makes an annual profit of only 700 kilograms of rice by producing rice alcohol and raising pigs.

She told UCA News she was fined 300 kilograms for her third child, 600 for her fourth, 900 for her fifth and 2,000 for the sixth.

In 2007, she decided to use an intrauterine contraceptive device to save her family from a 3,800 kilogram fine in the event she had a seventh child. In 2005, village authorities had confiscated the possessions of a family who could not afford to pay such fines. (continue)

Was Michael Jackson a Christian?

I find this to be an intriguing question, partly because of the variety of religious phases Jackson seems to have passed through in his 50 years on this earth: Jehovah's Witness, Muslim (allegedly), and evangelical Protestant (allegedly). I'm not sure we'll ever know for sure if he died as a professing Christian, not that knowing would make a difference one way or the other, but, of course, we should certainly pray for the repose of his soul in hopes that he found the narrow gate that leads to eternal life while he had time to.

Christianity Today took up this issue shortly after the singer's death, as did another blog which I link to below.

Pop culture news blog reports that rumors that Michael Jackson accepted Christ may have been false. Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest last week at the age of 50, was rumored by some to have become a Christian just weeks before his death.

Gospel singer Andrae Crouch and his twin sister, singer and minister, Sandra, apparently visited Jackson recently at the pop star's request, and they did pray together. But exactly what they prayed depends on whom you ask.

Last Friday, gospel duo Mary Mary blogged on their Facebook page that Jackson "prayed with Sandra and Andre and accepted Christ into his heart. Now he's singing in the heavenly choir! Our hearts rejoice!"

But the Bully! Pulpit reported that that wasn't the full story, or even fully accurate.

On her Facebook page, Sandra Crouch wrote, "It has been brought to my attention that several media outlets have been erroneously reporting that my brother, Andrae Crouch and me met our dear friend Michael Jackson several weeks prior to his death so he could accept Christ. This is incorrect and absolutely not true.

"We loved and respected Michael enormously and we've been friends with him for many, many years, and are deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic death.We recently met with Michael to discuss recording two songs with our choir for his newest recording project. Michael always had a respect and curiosity for spiritual things. During our meeting, not unlike many other creative/music meetings we've had with him the past, we sang together, prayed together and had a wonderful time. We are praying for Michael's family and desire nothing less than God's best for them."

A spokesman for Andrae Crouch added that at the meeting, Jackson "asked for prayer concerning the anointing of the Holy Spirit . . . So Andrae and Sandra explained to him about the anointing and about Jesus."

But did the legendary singer pray to receive Christ? The Crouch spokesman responded: “He did NOT reject Jesus or the prayer when (we) prayed, and gladly joined in prayer . . . There was NO actual ‘sinners prayer’ however, but they did talk and pray about Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit."

The Bully! Pulpit story also said that Jackson, forbidden as a child from celebrating Christmas because of his Jehovah’s Witness faith, still had Christmas decorations up in his home in June. . . . (continue reading)

here what another blogger had to say about this.