Destroy the Legionaries

Destroy the Legionaries January 4, 2014

Leave not one stone standing upon another.  Dismantle the whole evil robot and send its innocent members to other orders and societies where they can serve Christ and be healed.  Send the leaders who knew and enabled Maciel off to clean toilets, wash the feet of beggars and (where appropriate) to jail.  Destroy the Legionaries.  Destroy the Legionaries.  Destroy the Legionaries.

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  • Sarx Discuss

    It’s impossible to conclude that the Legionaries are an act of God. The good men from the LC should find places in other orders or dioceses. This thing can’t be salvaged.

  • Dan C

    “The good of the Legionnaires”?

    Who would that be?
    Those who enter now are troublesome. I am bothered immensely by these individuals. I am bothered by middle level folks who have a decade or more in the order as troubled and likely to take their poison and networks learned to other places. And the older folks are poisoned beyond belief.

    These folks have not regretted their positions- positions that all supported The Imperious Holy Leader.

    These folks all have an unhealthy relationship to authority, have no experience in caring for the young and protecting the weak. I really do not want these men slipping into a local parish or diocese.

    • John

      No experience caring for the young and protecting the weak? Have you no idea how big the LC is in Mexico? They run 14 universities and 120 K-12 schools, an entire missionary diocese and a hundred other ministries besides, some of which literally feed tens of thousands of the poor “un kilo de ayuda”. You broadcast your ignorance when you claim the LC doesn’t do anything for the poor or young people.

      • Clare Krishan

        No one claims that they didn’t do anything… just that they didn’t do anything… good (with their super-secretive authoritarian “vow of charity”), see Pope Francis on preparing new members for religious life as “a craft, not a police operation. We must include the formation of hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps.”

        • I love it when a pope refers to clergy as “little monsters.” Really warms my Catholic heart.

          • Clare Krishan

            Steve consecrated religious (down to the third order) are NEVER clergy, only lay folks like you and me… so get over yourself!

            • From the original:

              “Seminary directors, too, must be sensitive to the needs of religious novices, encouraging them to engage in sincere and fearless dialogue with their instructors, he said.
              “Formation is a work of art, not a police action,” the pope said. “We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God. This really gives me goose bumps.”

              So, seminarians are not on a path to become clergy? I guess I missed something in my study of Holy Orders.

              • From my reading your quote here, it seems Francis did not call clergy “little monsters”. He called clergy with unformed hearts “little monsters”. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

                • Because his definition of “unformed hearts” is highly subjective. Just like his definition of “promethean neopelagians.”

                  But the implication here, when referencing the contrast between formation as “work of art” vs. “police action” is that teaching novices to follow the rules of the Church and adhere to the norms and strictures of spiritual formation as opposed to “fearless dialogue” (whatever that is) is creating “little monsters.” Remember, the novitiate is often the most militaristic aspect of formation in the life of a religious, because it builds a foundation.

                  I bet St. Benedict, St. Ignatius, and yes, even St. Francis would all take issue with that.

                  • The point of having a pastor is that his virtue allows his subjective judgment to be accurate. To have a pastor make a “subjective” judgment that certain kinds of formation are or are not accomplishing their ends is the reason we have a pastor in the first place. Pope Francis’s virtue is pretty evident.

                    • Wherever you got the idea that virtue allows the subjective judgment of a pastor to be accurate, you didn’t get it from Catholicism. (See JPII and Maciel.) And this pope has clearly not had time to do an adequate review of the spiritual formation of clergy to reach the broad conclusion about what does and does not make them into “little Monsters” who give him “goosebumps.”

                      Virtue, by its nature, is not an evident thing. That’s why, going back to the Legionaries, so many people adored Maciel for being a “living saint” who “never said no to Christ.”

                      Spiritual con men are the worst sort, but don’t pretend that they don’t exist. Just because someone appears holy — especially in the public eye — is no guarantee.

      • Dan C

        And every activity needs to be audited. They have a poor track record, and exactly how well do expect any self-report? They have broken trust and have shown they do not protect in the face of problems. I suspect, in these missionary environments, there will be evidence of further troubles with abuse.

        Truth is, there is a need for a full accounting. A complete external auditing. Not one syncophantic cardinal trying to maintain la bella figura.

        Not one of these priests should be permitted in a diocese without a clear indocation from where they come- because not one can be trusted to protect the youth in their care from another priest or authority figure.

        This is the fruit of their labor.

  • BigBlueWave

    If the head is rotten, how can the body be any good?

    Also, what message does it send to the Church if an order whose founder committed sexual abuse is allowed to exist?

    The good people there should come together and found a new order with a proven leader and start over.

  • kirthigdon

    I don’t know what the answer is on this one, but “destroy the legionaries” and “dismantle the whole evil robot” does not strike me as the spirit of charity in which the decision should be made – or will be made. I trust Pope Francis to make a good decision which will benefit the Church, the innocent members of the order, and the not so innocent ones. No doubt he’ll recall when so many were baying for the blood of the Jesuits and saying “ecrasez l’infame”.
    Kirt Higdon

    • Dan C

      I am for shutting the doors to new entrants and quaratining all who remain in the Legion. Don’t let anyone in or rarely let anyone out.

  • Thomas J. Ryan

    Destroy? Well, at least sic Fr. Fidenzio Volpi on ’em!!

  • Irksome1

    Being well aware that the Legionnaires are guilty of horrific crimes and cover-ups, it’s never been illustrated to my satisfaction what the specific, systemic characteristics of this community are that render it incapable of reform and how those features are distinct from, say, organizations such as Opus Dei who appear to have much in common. If I’m to condemn this community because it has, as has been stated before on this blog, been created specifically cover up the horrific sins of its founder, how will I distinguish it from other communities which traffic in secrecy and seem capable of the same thing?

  • kenofken

    Does the Legion have its own security force, and if so, who do they really answer to? The Pope could execute “Order 66″! Yeah, I know….”mortal sin”, blah blah blah. But look, it would clean house AND it would end Trad whining about how the Francis doesn’t have the will to enforce doctrine! 🙂

    • Kevin Tierney

      No, because eventually some stupid Swiss Gaurd would botch the order, someone would surive, seek out training in the wilderness, and return to have an EPIC LIGHTSABER DUEL WITH THE ROMAN PONTIFF!
      Who am I kidding, this is exactly what needs to happen!

  • I’m with you on the LCs, as you probably would have guessed. So, does this trouble you?

    • kirthigdon

      So – as I suggested above, Pope Francis is apparently not into this “destroy the Legionaries” thing. I trust him to do what is best for the Church. Does Mark?
      Kirt Higdon

      • chezami

        I have no idea what Pope Francis plans for the Legionaries and whatever he does, my opinion won’t matter for squat. But I still have my opinion. A very fallible one and a poor thing–but mine own.

    • chezami


      • So when you say, “Destroy the Legionaries. Destroy the Legionaries. Destroy the Legionaries.” there’s actually an invisible asterisk there that leads to a footnote reading, “Except when Pope Francis appoints one of only three Legionaries in the history of the order politically savvy enough to have been made a bishop to an important Vatican post. That’s totes okay.”

        Got it. Seems legit.

        • chezami

          Steve, I realize you’ve appointed yourself a prophet who can see the evil in Francis cold dead eyes and that you consider yourself qualified to sit in judgement of his every action. Me: I don’t know the first thing, nor do I care, about his nitnoid curial appointments. Nor do I think that my views on what should be done with the Legionaries are the Final Word. Benedict, you will recall, spent far greater labor trying to salvage the thing and I had my own view there too. Bottom line: I could have been wrong then and I could be wrong now. I don’t think I am. But at the end of the day, what do I know? Meanwhile, I continue to think Francis a terrific pope and the people stirring up panic and rebellion against him fools.

          • Ah yes, your convenient straw man. Go after my intuition, because a sincerity of feeling is an easy vulnerability for one so well-versed in ad hominem.

            I felt that dread, and I described it to the best of my ability. I got email from others who felt the same thing, and were equally surprised by it. But those feelings have no place, it seems, in the discernment of spirits or in the role of our faith. When my feelings were proven right about Maciel, suddenly I was no longer a pariah. But that’s fine. We all have to be ultra-ultra-ultramontanists, or we can’t possibly be orthodox at all. Because identifying problematic characteristics of a particular papacy must identify us as heterodox, or at least schismatic. I mean, I spend all my time at the independent chapel down the road, and all my boys are named Pius (after Pope St. Pius V, naturally!)

            Oh, wait, what? I have never set foot in so much as an SSPX chapel? I submit to the legitimate Magisterial authority of the Church? But I think Pope Francis is dangerous, so I must be evil!

            I’ve been a Catholic my whole life, Mark. I’ve studied my faith with reasonable vigor for the past 20 years. I’m sorry that my intuitions – which have always served me well – along with those of a number of others, rub you so strongly the wrong way. You’ve never been a big fan of Catholic tradition, so I’m not surprised that a papacy that looks to dispense with it is not remotely problematic to you.

            But your cognitive dissonance is astounding. You’ll go so far as to repeat the mantra of “destroy the Legionaries” three times, but when this pope appoints one of their highest ranking members to oversee Vatican personnel, not so much as a shrug.

            I don’t care whether or not you agree with my assessments, but I thought I had at least earned enough of your respect to not be treated as a pariah simply because I voiced honest concerns. Then again, that’s your role, right? The victim who speaks out against the majority and is lambasted for it? The lone voice, crying out in the wilderness, whether its against the “rubber hose right” or whatever the demon du jour in the Church is? It’s fine if you do it. And then whoa is you, because nobody understands that you’re just hewing to the teaching of Holy Mother Church, so why do they turn against you?

            Here’s one for you:

            “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations” – Fr. Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.

            • chezami

              Steve: You’re here to play “Let’s you and him fight.” I have a disagreement about a prudential judgment with the pope. I had it with Benedict too. I think the Legionaries can’t be salvaged. Benedict did. Francis might. Guess what? They’re pope and I’m nobody. Moreover, they’re popes who know a lot more about it than I do. I could be wrong. Because you have decided Francis is the enemy of the Church, you don’t give him the pass you gave Benedict. And because I don’t think Francis the enemy of the Church, you are trying to play “Let’s you and him fight.” Not interested.

              • You’re close. I’m here to see if you retain enough intellectual honesty to be critical, or even cautious, about something this pope is doing. And to actually say so out loud.

                I don’t know what you have invested in this papacy being super-duper-fantastic, but that seems to be the place you’ve bet all your chips. And rather than engaging in substantive debate with others who see serious problems with the way this papacy is shaping the path of the Church and the perception of Catholic belief in the world, you would rather attack. Attack. Attack.

                I’ve stood up for you time and time again, because I know that beneath the pageview-hungry, windmill-tilting, straw-man battling veneer, you love God and His Church and you actually, when the chips are down, give a crap about being a decent man. When you’ve apologized in the past for being a jerk, I thought you’ve done so with aplomb. And I had resisted giving up on that, even when many Catholics I hear from are now referring to you as little more than a punchline or someone to not be taken seriously, because you’ve backed yourself into a corner through alienating, well, almost everyone but the most sycophantic of followers.

                I identify with you, because I’m also no stranger to being controversial, hyperbolic, overly-defensive, or a flat out jerk. Nobody gets to trump my sinner-of-the-month awards. (I’m a multi-consecutive winner!)

                And I’m here to tell you that nobody is going to take away your Catholic card for criticizing something Pope Francis does. You can like this pope, for whatever reason that appeals to you, and still say, “You know, I just think that he made a bad decision here. Maybe he didn’t have all the facts.” SOMETHING.

                But this post, and your response to my link to the papal appointment of the LC bishop, show not even the faintest inkling of disagreeing “with a prudential judgment of the pope.” Where did you say that? You said “Destroy the Legionaries” and when I pointed out the appointment and asked if that bothered you, you said, “Nope.” You are absolutely nonplussed.

                I’m not going to keep leaving flaming bags of crap on your doorstep. The division among orthodox Catholics that is the hallmark of this papacy is bad enough without exacerbating it. But since you have taken the time in the past to actually share my opinions about the Legionaries, I thought maybe I had some common ground here with which to start a discussion about how maybe this elevation of an LC bishop to a Vatican position is NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHURCH. The pope has no charism by which to discern otherwise. I will remind you that Pope John Paul II’s enthusiastic support of Maciel and the Legion are the primary reasons why they survived so many attempts to take down the infamous enterprise in the past. The pope isn’t special in this regard. Screwups happen. (At least JPII had the excuse of NOT knowing the order was started by a sexual predator, but Francis’s judgment is inscrutable.)

                Anyway, I know I’m wasting words here. You’ve entrenched yourself and I’m not going to budge you. I wish it was possible for us to discuss things reasonably like fellow Christians, no matter how much we disagree. Alas, it’s not to be. I can’t overcome your ad hominem. You can’t see that people can be seriously, sincerely worried about this papacy based on actual principles of Catholic doctrine (and yes, even intuition) and not somehow be secretly working to undermine the Church. And you certainly don’t seem to think I am simply mistaken, and thus someone who needs to be convinced and converted. It’s way more enjoyable to just tear me down and try to convince people not to listen to me.

                • chezami

                  Doncha think it’s kinda tin-eared that you are complaining I never disagree with the Pope on a thread where I’m disagreeing with the pope? Nah, you’re just playing “Let’s you and him fight” cuz I think your paranoia about Francis is ridiculous.

                  • You weren’t disagreeing with the pope in the post, which was my original point. You didn’t disagree with him when I mentioned the appointment of the LC bishop.

                    Then later on you just sort of threw out this statement about disagreeing with him on a prudential judgment, despite there being not a single shred of evidence (unless there’s something I’m not seeing) that you were, in fact, disagreeing with him at all.

                    So…what gives?

                    And what you call paranoia, I prefer to think of as analysis through the lens of Catholic tradition. Because…that’s what it is.

                    • Rosemarie


                      Even before the conclave, the followers of false seer “Maria Divine Mercy” were already saying the next pope would really be an evil anti-pope. On the very day he was elected, Rorate Caeli printed an anti-Pope Francis piece from a questionable source in Argentina, which turned out to be inaccurate.

                      In a situation like that, it’s perhaps not surprising that Catholics who support the pope may tend to “circle the wagons,” reacting to any and all criticism of him from all comers.

                      Now, the claim to have seen “deadness” in the pope’s eyes and gotten a bad feeling from it, before even knowing anything about the man, well, that’s not exactly a reasonable criticism of Francis. Any more than the claim that Benedict’s eyes looked “evil.” So the tendency will be to file such a superficial judgment of the man with the claims of the crank mystics and Holocaust deniers, and to resist it accordingly.

                      It shouldn’t be surprising that Catholics are defending Pope Francis, since we did the same when his last two predecessors were attacked and vilified. Only I don’t remember accusations of “ultramontanism” against those who defended Bl, John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Yet now, when Catholics do the same for Pope Francis, they are called names and even accused of heresy. Such unfair treatment won’t tend to open hearts toward any criticism of the Holy Father, even if it’s reasonable.

                    • chezami

                      Dude. Benedict, far more than Francis, seemed to think there was something salvagable about the LCs. Francis seems to think so to. I don’t. I also, for that matter, think the SSPX and similar Reactionaries should not be truckled to and cut loose if they are so desperate get away from Impure people like all the rest of the Church. But that’s just me: a prudential judgment which–as all Reactionaries constantly point out to me–I can have with the pope on a call that is a matter of prudence informed by knowledge. If the pope disagrees with me about that stuff, he’s entitled to his opinion and since I’m a doofus with a keyboard and no prophetic ability to read his evil soul through his cold dead eyes, I assume–based on common sense and the overwhelming evidence of my senses–that he is a very good soul who probably knows better than I do. So yeah: I disagree with him: destroy the Legionaries (and, would ‘twer possible, destroy the pernicious, evil and destructive SSPX). But that’s just me. I don’t make myself the measure of the Church and don’t view myself as the Rock on which it is founded.

            • Rosemarie


              When Pope Francis was elected I was not at home. I was in my car and heard the announcement and his first appearance on the balcony over the radio from the local all-news station. I experienced an overwhelming sense of God’s grace, and the rest of that day was a blessed one for me, even after I saw footage of him on the balcony.

              Why is your “intuition” more correct than mine?

              • I didn’t say my intuition is more correct than yours, did I? I simply shared it, because my lifelong experience has been that when I have an intuition this strong about someone, it’s rarely wrong. That so many others have been confirming that they, too, had the same experience is also information I believe is worth sharing.

                You are certainly entitled to your own feelings on the subject. It would be better for the Church if you’re the one who is right.

                But please, let me know when Mark takes the time to write a hyperbolic and mischaracterizing attack about your intuition and shares it with all of his followers.

                • Rosemarie


                  Ultimately, the safest thing may be to hold any “intuition” suspect even as we would a private revelation. We’re not Mormons, after all, who seek a “burning in the bosom” as proof from the Holy Spirit. Feelings can deceive, as can appearances.

                  You’re probably aware that, back in 2005, some progressive Catholics thought they saw “evil” in Pope Benedict’s eyes when he came out onto the balcony. Trying to divine the future of a papal reign by looking into the eyes of the new pope is not a good idea.

                  • And I don’t use this as my primary argument. If you’ve read what I wrote, I simply mentioned this anecdote as something inexplicable but concerning. Aggregated with others feeling the same way, it grows more concerning. I believe we’re given intuition for a reason, and discernment of spirits is important. I have learned by experience to trust these instincts, as they have usually been correct.

                    But I’ve made substantive critiques as well. Those have largely been ignored by people who would rather point out that I described his face and eyes in a way that I found chilling. Because, you know, it makes me sound so much less credible.

                    • Rosemarie


                      I, too, believe in discernment of spirits and have experienced that before, in some situations very strongly. Yet I haven’t discerned anything evil about Pope Francis in that way, either.

                • Kevin Tierney

                  I just think we need to realize that our intuition as irrelevant scrub bloggers in America really doesn’t count for much.
                  I’m sorta in between you and Mark. I’m not the biggest fan of some of the Pope’s moves, but I also think you are a lot more like the Nick’s of old when we had that discussion 10 years ago and you said something to the effects of “yes kevin, they are radicals, they are wrong, but they are still part of the Church.”

                  So yes, destroy the Legion. Maybe some indiviudal priests are okay and even worthy of curial appointments. If not, oh well. The Curia has been a consistent complaint for various reasons on all sides no matter who is Pope, and Francis’ pontificate is no different.
                  If Francis thinks they can be salvaged, then he is welcome to try. He is the Pope afterall and has that authority, even the authority to do things I might view naive and silly. I don’t think it will end well. But I’d say even my pretty solid ability to call things right still means I get 2 out of 5 things dead wrong. Why do I miss the ball? I’m a scrub blogger turned editor from America whose opinions really don’t mean much.

  • irena mangone

    Please don’t blame Pope John Paul II He was so ill how on earth would he have understood what was going on no one would be game to explain to him he was a man of integrity. .

    • Dan C

      Maciel accusations did not just arise in the last years of JP2’s life.

      JP2 had trouble with admitting error in the Church. This is a fault and one would do well to admit it.

      There is a saying Dorothy Day attributes to a saintly mystic: one can go to Hell imitating the sins of the saints.

  • anonymous

    I agree with you. Just read ‘Our Father who art in bed’ by a former legionnaire who exposed how hideous beyond comprehension the founder behaved toward others – his criminal tactics rival the gestapo’s – intercepting mail – dropping off those who questioned him in the middle of Africa with no resources, etc. Most of the members are victims but well-intentioned and ought to be compensated and welcomed into good orders. I imagine that that a handful are hanging on because they have acquired vast funds through duplicitous means and can afford to defend themselves in court for many years. I was deceived into donating to them for years – and then I started to wonder – why do I never, ever run into any Legionnaires at any masses at all the churches I attend all over the country – surely they should be ordained by now. Little did I know they were being held captive in cult like conditions in Connecticut.

  • nat

    Yes, but tell us how you really feel. Carthago delenda est

  • BLS

    I heard about the snarky comments about the Legion and decided to check out this site for the first time…and it will be the last. How disappointing to find a Catholic site filled with such arrogance, gossip, slander, and cynicism. The Legion is not a “thing”. It is made up of people. And like any group of people there are going to be some good, some not so good, and some bad and in the Legion’s case unfortunately there were some VERY bad at the top. (I get that) I speak from personal experience when I say that the Legionary Priests that I’ve met in person have been phenomenal men and my life has been blessed by knowing them and receiving their preaching and spiritual direction. I live in Atlanta and there are incredible Legionary Priests here. The Consecrated women are a wonderful group of women and the Lay people here in Atlanta (who have worked for the Church alongside the Legion) have done incredible things and many lives have been blessed by the collective efforts and fruit of the Legion. Again, I’m not excusing Fr. Maciel….I never met him or the other Priests who were circled around him “at the top”. Everyone has their own experiences and I’m not naive to the evil that took place….but it was not committed by EVERYONE. I’ve personally seen a LOT of good fruit come from the Legion’s work. And I’m convinced that firing out critical one liners with a superiority attitude is something that Christ himself would condemn. Why is it that so many Catholics like to cannibalize our own church…. Gossiping, being rude and SOO UNCHARITABLE…. I’m not saying that the Legion shouldn’t be totally re-formed….What I’m saying is that some of the phrasing of the comments here and the title of this blog post is rude, cutting, snide prideful and mean. All in all I see a lot of calumny here…it’s really unappealing to see grown men gossiping like little girls… Nobody here knows ALL the facts so we should get off our holier than thou, know it all soap boxes.

  • Alicia


    I found this post to be uncharitable. I think it’s rash to simply “destroy the Legion.” Especially in light of comments like this:

    “When the Holy Father appointed the Papal Delegate, he had already issued a severe judgment regarding the actions of the Legion’s founder in the Official Bulletin. However, this judgment was not so severe as to destroy the congregation: if the Pope appoints a Delegate, he is implicitly denying that a substantially negative judgment of the Legion itself should be made.” – Cardinal de Paolis, Papal Delegate to the Legionaries of Christ, January 2014.

    In a March 2012 interview Cardinal de Paolis stated: “My appointment came once the Pope had already done great analysis: he does not think that the Legion should be suppressed; he thinks that effort must be made to purify and save her. Nobody is hoping for destruction or decapitation. My mission is to try to bring the Legion of the tunnel in which it found itself.”

    Q: “You speak of trying. Will you fulfill your objective?”

    A: “I’m positive. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t continue. This work can bear good fruit. There are already good things that can be seen, and I hope to find more.” – Cardinal de Paolis

    As a longtime member of Regnum Christi, in good times and in bad, I can honestly say that I am a better Catholic because of them. It was through RC that I matured in my faith, learned to pray, found my vocation to work in the Church and with youth, and have been given the opportunity to learn how to evangelize – and to do it. From my experience, the Legion and RC are doing their best to follow the Holy Father’s directives, and enormous steps have been taken within the congregation/movement to study the problems and fix them. Does that mean it is perfect or that mistakes will not continue to be made? No. It never will be, and it will take a great amount of time to complete this process. I have struggled through much of this situation, and it was an extremely difficult decision to stay with the Legion and the RC movement, but I have never regretted my decision. If the Vatican instructs the Legion to dissolve, then I will accept that decision with obedience, trust, and love. But at this moment they have not chosen to do that, and I have decided to stay with them in this purification process. You are certainly welcome to reject the Legion and the work that has been done, but please have respect for those who have chosen to remain with them (as Cardinal de Paolis, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have done). Thank you.

  • Justin

    YES! Please pray for the dissolution of the Legion. They do not have a charism founded on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but rather a from a child molesting, drug-addicted, and womanizing con artist.