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

January 12, 2010

Another Prominent American Priest, Fr. Richard Gill, Leaves the Legionaries of Christ

This news is being reported on various blogs, including Genevieve Kineke's "Life After RC" site, which contains the text of Father Gill's January 9th letter announcing his departure from the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ.

I am not surprised to hear of this development, as there has been a significant, though quiet, exodus of LC priests and seminarians from the order in the past year (my friend Father Thomas Berg, for example). I am aware of other priests who, not having left the order quite yet, are definitely moving toward the exits, and I am happy to see that at least some of the departures are being publicized this way.

Historically, the Legion has been very intent on preventing the news of defections from the order by its priests and seminarians from becoming known among the rank and file membership of the Legion and its lay affiliate, Regnum Christ. The euphemism that "Father So and So has been reassigned to a different front" has long been a standard opaque response given when someone inquires as to why a certain LC priest is suddenly no longer around.

But with Father Gill's open letter explaining the reasons for his leaving to seek incardination as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, there can be no doubt as to why he left and where he went. I suspect that more than a few of his LC confreres will follow his lead and that of other Legionaries who exited before him because of the Fr. Maciel scandals and the mishandling of the scandals which have engulfed the order over the past year.

I've known Father Gill personally for nearly 20 years now and have always known him to be a dedicated, cheerful, and energetic priest. I have no doubt that he will excel in whatever new ministry the Lord guides him to carry out. He's a good man. It's such a crying shame that so many good men have been caught up in the putrid machinations of the founder of this religious order (see my previous commentaries about that) — so many excellent years in the prime of their priesthood spent grinding away in a system that, it now appears quite clearly, was orchestrated by the founder primarily as an engine of cash, pleasure, power, and influence for himself.

Good for you, Father Gill. I admire your courage of conviction and I wish you well in this new chapter of your priestly ministry. You can count on my prayers and, I am certain, the prayers of a great many others who feel the same way. God bless you.


  1. Last February I forwarded Fr. Berg's "letter to Regnum Christi members," (not the 'I am leaving LC' one, but when the current scandal broke,) to all the RC people I knew. I received one reply which "did it" for me. This woman said, "Did he have permission to write this?" I was dumbfounded.

    I am sure that most RCers still in RC will hear nothing of this from within. It is time for us exRC to tell them. Charity rejoices in the Truth, which is something the Legion seems to abhor.

  2. I've been speaking to my friends who are members of RC (one of them is a former seminarian with the Legion) and they do not want to hear anything about this scandal. They've been reacting by either not speaking to me any more or dumbounded and angry that I would even bring it up. I used to post updates on my facebook profile, but I've since stopped due to the tension it is causing for my family. This whole thing has the devil's meat hooks all over it--causing division and pain in the Body of Christ. I want to do more, to share this news with my friends, but I feel like my mouth has been wired shut. Anyone have any suggestions?

  3. Empty Clay Pot--This kind of reaction is not new from RC members. This scandal has been slowly coming to light for many, many years. It needed to be acknowledged and handled long ago. The fact that it wasn't done already is sad but somewhat understandable as there are many enemies of the Church who seek to destroy and defame. The fact that it is still being ignored is a shame as it is preventing a full and humble disclosure and healing. But this wound runs incredibly deep. The Legion asks for a 100% commitment and the faithful have given it heart and soul. It is frustrating for those of us who want them to step up and face their pain fully and publicly and immediately when they are not ready to do so. But this is like a death to those who loved the Legion and its founder for so long. That grief cannot be rushed and it cannot be healed by any but the Divine Physician. I wouldn't take their anger personally. It springs from their pain. Just keep praying.

  4. Pray for them. That's always a good start.

  5. I applaud Fr. Gill's decision. His vocation is to the priesthood. If that is jeopardized by staying in the Legion then he has a moral obligation to fulfill his vocation.

    The Legion should be disbanded and vocations saved. You can't rebuild when the deception is so deeply rooted. It's not about the founder, it's supposed to be about God! Apparently those at the top forgot this big time!

    I continue to pray for those still in the Legion and their vocations.

  6. Hey Patrick...

    Your Facebook link is broken. I mean the one with your picture in it on the sidebar.


  7. msc - you pointed out the only part of this that I don't understand: why hasn't the Legion been shut down yet? Who is responsible for it and why don't they step in, re-assign everyone, let the property sit vacant for a while and then turn it over to a reputable group? Why is the Legion being allowed to die such a slow, messy, loud and public death?

    As far as the rest of it... as long as the Church is made up of humans, we are going to have problems like this. I just wish we could learn to step in and clean up the mess a lot quicker.

    Good grief! It not like this is the first time the Church has had to deal with this problem and unfortunately, it won't be the last.

    The Church needs an emergency response team to rush in, investigate these problems and then straighten them out quickly, before they become an open scandal for the whole world to gloat over.

    These things are going to happen so it makes sense to plan ahead.

  8. The LC is in total denial, which is not surprising, but what amazes me is how many knowledgeable RCs are in denial with them. I had high hopes for Southern Catholic College, and was actually interested in teaching there perhaps. Then they went and handed over their destiny to the LC, at the hight of the scandalous revelations. Insane!

  9. Met Fr. Gill and did not have a good experience. I found him to be incredibly weak minded. Now...the people that know him will undoubtedly say the guy is bright, energetic, etc. And he's not a dummy... He is just completely and utterly dismissive of any view of reality that doesn't square with his. This is the same reality that posited that Fr. Maciel was a yet to be named Doctor of the Church, etc. And we know how that turned out... Gill is as solid as it gets onfaith and morals...But if those beliefs aren't tempered by a solid understanding of the human condition, what good is it??? The fact that it took him so long to make a move out of the bizzare cult that is LC says it all about his strange, twisted view of reality. And if you disagree with him about how he sees YOU (or me in this case), its just more ammuntion for how right he is. For example...
    FG - You are (fill in the blank re: some bizarre take he would have on you that no one else in your life ever had)
    ME - No I'm not...
    FG - Your inability to see that you are (fill in the blank) is definitive proof that you are one...
    Or words to that effect.
    But, in all seriousness, I do wish him all the best. I do...I believe in redemption (as well as reason) and Gill and the rest of the LC priests need it.

  10. I'm a RC member.

    I love Jesus and RC, I love the Legionaries...

    We're going to work more and more to help Jesus!



  11. Patrick,
    Would love to know how your children feel about the Legionaries?