They keep telling me to look at the fruits of the Legion of Christ.

They keep telling me to look at the fruits of the Legion of Christ. November 20, 2014


Well, the harvest keeps rolling in. Here’s the latest installment:

An Irish-born Chilean priest convicted of sexually abusing a minor while chaplain at a school in Santiago was sentenced to four years of probation Tuesday.

A court in the Chilean capital also banned the Rev. John O’Reilly from any job near children and ordered that his genetic data be added to a registry for abusers.

O’Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing, was not present during the sentencing. Prosecutors had asked for a 10-year prison sentence.

The court found O’Reilly guilty last month, saying he abused a young girl while he was the spiritual guide at the Cumbres school in the affluent neighborhood of Las Condes.

Relatives had accused the priest of molesting two pre-teen girls between 2010 and 2012. The court absolved him in one case.

O’Reilly arrived in Chile in the mid-1980s and was granted Chilean citizenship in 2008. He is a member of the Legion of Christ, the once-respected conservative order that fell into scandal after it was revealed that its founder had fathered a child and had sexually abused seminarians.

Shut it down. Shut it down. Shut it down, salt the earth, give the victims of LC and RC support, and beg their forgiveness . And remember that the victims include not only the thousands who were sexually, emotionally, and spiritually abused, but also the good men and women who had the bad fortune to get their religious formation from Maciel’s fundamentally perverse and corrupt design. They are victims too, and should be given a way to escape the nightmare world that Maciel built when he designed the Legion specifically to facilitate predators like himself.

There is nothing that LC and RC did or can do that cannot be done by some other order. Shut. It. Down.


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  • smk629

    I so agree. I am currently in formation with the Secular Franciscans, and my husband is a member of Regnum Christi. I know it is not charitable of me, but I have reminded him more than once that my order was founded by a holy saint, while his was founded by an evil, evil predator who poisoned the Catholic Faith of so many. RC and LC seem to constantly ask for money from their members to fund their own activities and schools, while from what I have experienced with the Franciscans, we have an outreach to spread the Faith and do the work of Jesus, and the money we raise goes to that.
    The LC and RC also seem to segregate all their activities by separating the men from the women and the adults from the children. I know there is sometimes a place for this, but I cannot help but compare it to the Franciscans, who encourage visitors to our meetings, retreats and other activities. We would not dream of excluding anyone, including children.

    There are very good people in the LC and RC (my husband is at the top of the list), but I agree with your assessment. This order and everything connected with it needs to go, and their members should be made welcome elsewhere in the Church.
    Thanx for letting me vent!

  • Andes

    Are people afraid to speak about this? And if so why???Thank you for post!

    • $1650412

      No, Andes, we are not afraid to speak about it. Some of us have a wealth of first hand experience with the Legionaries of Christ, countless friends among the priests, brothers and consecrated within LC/RC and are RC ourselves. We spent hours on our knees and in adoration begging God for guidance in how to continue amid the abuses and ugliness as it all came to the surface in our midst and for some of us within our own souls. In the course of that time of prayer conversion and discernment those of us still doing this believe ourselves to have been commanded and commissioned by God to stay the course, and as we approached the Holy Father, two of them now, with that understanding he said to us that the Church and the Holy Spirit agree that we should stay the course by renewal and reformation. So, while I don’t doubt that the good people commenting here are sincere in their concern, and that some of them were significantly hurt for which I am profoundly sorry, I and my brothers and sisters still in RC/LC do not have the option to not live up to what God is asking of us. So when Simcha and others get the papal crown they will then have the right and the platform to correctly demand the dissolution of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, that entity which I remind you all, God has chosen by His Sovereign will to allow to continue, at least for now.

      • Orville

        The Church of Satan still continues. Is that because of God’s Sovereign Will?

        • $1650412

          Is He God or not?

          • Orville

            And God allows evil to exist. Like He allowed Maciel to create a false religious order that was merely the front for a criminal organization that allowed Maciel to rape children, INCLUDING HIS OWN. Jo, name another religious order whose founder raped his own children. Name another order that had a pope call its founder devoid of any religious sentiment, as Pope Benedict said of Maciel. Burn. It. Down.

          • $1650412

            Frankly, I don’t have to name anyone or anything, it’s actually NOT MY JOB, and unless you are wearing a white hat or a red one, it probably isn’t yours either.

            Yeah, Maciel was a wretched sinner- guess what! SO ARE YOU AND SO AM I. No I haven’t raped any children, but I am not in any way about to claim that what I have done is less offensive to God than what anyone else has done. I don’t really know for sure, so I intend not to guess- however, if you think you are SO stainless that you can castigate a whole group of men who have sacrificed WAY MORE than anyone out there is really willing to do to live their faith-and who by most accounts are NOT GUILTY of those same errors… although association- well that just sucks in this situation, now doesn’t it? And Judas was a real black mark on Jesus record for good judgement too then wasn’t he?

            This is our reality and it really isn’t so new. Wretched and despicable sinners can be found in leadership and foundation of every sanctified cause out there, families, countries, cities corporations churches, just survey the landscape- just because Maciel was a criminal doesn’t mean the rest of them are. And just so you know Maciel even said all his brother LCs in his lifetime were co founders so maybe there is more to this than appears at first stone’s throw. I do not in any way excuse Maciel or any other child molester- this is a heinous crime with I am sure a special level in hell for the unrepentant.

            HOWEVER, not ever Legionary is tainted with anything more than just the ‘regular run of the mill oh we can excuse that this week freaking sin’ LIKE THE REST OF US- and this idea that the founder was a criminal so the order is defunct is obviously not in concert with Church doctrine or the Church would have dissolved the order five years ago.

            Get with the program.

          • Orville

            Thanks for proving that people in the LC and RC are not brain washed. It seems that a light rinsing is all that’s needed.

          • $1650412

            Are you judging me? You don’t even know me.

          • Orville

            I’m judging your words and actions here. They are the words and actions of a Legionbot on the verge of cracking. You know, deep down, that the Legion is evil. Get your son out and save his vocation.

          • Orville

            Also, can you name me the order started by Judas? Oh, right, nothing.

          • $1650412

            You know what, when you finish examining all the bark near the base of this one tree, you might notice there is an entire forest here.

          • Sheila C.

            Look, no one is attacking your son. If there were, it would be completely justified to go all mother-bear, because he’s your son and you love him. But wouldn’t it be great if he could be accepted and ordained with an order that allowed true discernment and freedom? One that didn’t tear him down spiritually through flawed formation? One where you, his family, was considered a necessary support to his vocation instead of a threat that he has to avoid except for very few visits, always on the order’s own terms?

            Instead he is surely being told that if he left the Legion he would be leaving Christ. If he expresses any doubts, he will be told he is sinning for doubting Christ. If he’s unhappy, he will be told to appear happy when he sees or talks to you, because you can’t help with his problems and it would be cruel to worry his parents.

            I am not making stuff up here, I am a former member (for 10 years) and went through their horrible “formation” myself.

      • Jo: to stay what course? The Legion doesn’t even have a valid charism. Its founder was a profoundly evil man, and I don’t say that lightly. The Legion is rotten to the core, and the fact that it has been allowed to continue is probably a case of “enough rope,” because eventually even its die-hard supporters will abandon it. I agree with Simcha: shut it down.

        • $1650412

          So Erin, who are you to say the Legion does not have a valid charism? I am thinking Benedict XVI and Francis both probably know what they are doing. Rotten to the core? Really? Well, do you know my son, Jonathan? He is perpetually professed with the Legion and I don’t think he is or any of the men I have met or spent time with in collars with that order are rotten to the core, so I take issue with your claim. Well, like I said, when you wear the papal tiara you will then have the right to say whatever you understand the Lord to be leading the Church into, and to take responsibility for it. Until that time, well, how is it we are supposed to behave again? I am a convert, so please instruct me! I am woefully ignorant on the dogma of Divine Mercy or the 8th commandment or the teachings on the Gift of the Holy Spirit on Piety. Please you who have so much authority and know so much immutable truth, DO ENLIGHTEN ME.

          • Your anger is interesting, and a little sad. When I said the Legion doesn’t have a valid charism I was repeating the widely known information that one of the things the order was told to do after Maciel was to come up with a charism. Clearly anything Maciel wrote, ordered, or directed was suspect, and one of the problems with the order for *years* was that nobody in it seemed to know what its charism was. So let me ask you: what is the special charism of the Legion of Christ?

            I never said your son, or any other (living) person, was rotten to the core. But the Legion was founded by a sexual abuser and pedophile who violated his vow of chastity again and again with men, boys, and women as well, and even fathered children. My suspicion is that the popes who have allowed the Legion to continue have done so in the belief that it will likely die a natural death when the order is no longer able to sell itself as a good choice for young men seeking a priestly vocation–and it’s pretty hard to sell an order by saying “Come join us! Our founder, Nuestro Padre, was a criminally abusive and unbelievably narcissistic serial pedophile and sexual wanton whose lascivious lifestyle was carried on while everybody around him either looked the other way or actively enabled him to get away with these things, and our institutional structure depended in part on tricking women into think they were actually nuns when they had no canonical rights (the consecrated women), oh, and we’ve been caught time and time again creating new “apostolates” and “outreaches” while hiding the fact that those things were LC/RC–but we’ve fixed all that now, and we’ll lead you straight to the Kingdom.”

          • $1650412

            This is so twisted I don’t even know where to begin. What exactly is it you think you are decrying here? All those poor pathetic good people still in this group are there because they really believe, and the Church has supported them in this belief, that they are doing God’s will for their lives, and for the benefit of the Body of Christ- the Church.

            This Movement is given by God to the Church for the sake of ministry- forming apostles. Now, if it were not necessary I don’t expect the Holy Spirit would be putting all of us through this. And while this assessment of the situation might be rare on Simcha Fisher’s blog it is kind of understood by the rest of the Church out there beyond the borders of the dualists staking out turf here, who somehow assume the entity is other than its members.

            Clearly the cultural schizophrenia is barking at the near cell door.

            And I am not at all ashamed that I am angry, because I am completely fed up with this from among professing Roman Catholics, on some trumped up moral high horse. This flies completely in the face of what is clearly written in sacred Scripture and what is taught in the Catholic Catechism and what is actually lived out for us in vivid colors by- go figure, the Amish, for crying out loud.

            It sure as hell is not Christian justice, because the very people you all want to see punished by the dissolution of their community, whom you yourselves continually victimize by this regular impiety and rash judgement, are largely unknown to you.

            That, my brothers and sisters is sin.

            I am incredibly offended. So, while you speculate upon the motives of two popes, instead of taking the clear actions of the Holy Mother Church at face value; numerous endeavors to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost are continually stonewalled and second guessed, and made points of contention, among a people commanded to love one another devoutly from the heart. God have mercy.

          • Orville

            Jo, go tell all of the victims of the Legion about Christian Justice. Burn The Legion Down.

          • Jo Flemings

            You seem to be suggesting punishing the innocent is going to give justice to the past victims, when what it really does is just hurt more people, make more people guilty of further victimization, create division and discord, and hinder the progress of fraternal charity.

          • Amazing to see such denial in action. The gravest damage done to the “Movement” was done by Maciel himself. Nothing the “two popes” have done has denied that reality–only the members are in denial about it. The Legion was not founded to “form apostles,” as this is not anywhere written down as its charism. The Legion was founded by Maciel for his own purposes.

      • Sheila C.

        “I and my brothers and sisters still in RC/LC do not have the option to not live up to what God is asking of us.”

        Yep, there’s the brainwashing right there. “God is asking you to stay in RC, because he brought you here to RC, and because I (your spiritual director and the Will of God for you) am telling you so, and because you made a promise (which you think you made in total freedom and knowledge, though of course you didn’t know the founder was a pedophile so that’s not exactly total knowledge here) …. and because of that YOU DON’T HAVE THE OPTION to leave because then you would be abandoning God.

        I have been there. You DO have the option. You ALWAYS have the option. There are other ways to serve. And you can’t cop out on your responsibility to make good choices by telling yourself God revealed this to you. Regnum Christi knows how to give you spiritual experiences that make you think God is speaking to you. He isn’t. It’s all them.

        • $1650412

          Are you freaking kidding me?

          Did you swim the Tiber in poverty as your husband left a non Catholic seminary midway to his MDIV, and a job as a worship pastor in a Baptist Church, in order to follow the Truth where ever it leads no matter what the cost?

          Did you leave a promising career in the US Army to follow Christ to the mission field, selling all your worldly possessions twice, only to find yourself one more poor fish struggling in the net of Peter?

          Did you give your life over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and give birth to 13 children, and then offer the best and dearest to God as a sacrifice in service to HIs Bride through a vocation to the Holy priesthood?

          I think it is very interesting that you can decide so much about me and my mental state based upon so little actual information about me or my life or my life choices or my education or my relationship with God.

  • “but also the good men and women who had the bad fortune to get their religious formation from Maciel’s fundamentally perverse and corrupt design.”

    Yes. I will say, as someone who grew up in the Legion, I knew many within it (who are still within it) who loved the Lord with all their hearts. I have positive memories of those people. But the formation I received from it? I only realized in retrospect how very awful an effect it had on me. Am still realizing. It is only thanks to my amazing parents that it didn’t do more harm than it did. I praise God for moving us (physically, to another state) out of its sphere of influence when he did.

  • Lydia

    My husband thought about joining the LC when he was a seventeen year old kid. He was a convert from a non-religious family and in a diocese that had what turned out to be an abuser in leadership. To him, the LCs were what he was looking for-where he could be orthodox in his beliefs and not ridiculed at church. Well, he went on a discernment retreat in Connecticut and was promptly creeped out. They had rules about how you ate hamburgers, how you sat in any given situation, how to part your hair, etc. He thought it was odd. He also noticed how cliquey it could be, who was on the inside and who was not. He returned home and was still thinking of going for it when he got a list of rules and regs for entering. It stated he was not allowed to bring a radio. That was a deal breaker. We have since had dealings with RC apostolates that started out fine but got really aggressive and when we bowed out were shunned and definitely placed on the outside. It’s not a healthy organization at all.

    • lindenman

      I’d heard that all RC seminarians were under standing orders to part their hair after the manner of the Padre’s…even after the Padre went mostly bald. That’s not even a case of the letter killing; it’s a case of the letter beating a dead horse.

      • $1650412

        Where exactly did you hear that? Do you know anything about the Legion of Christ and the concept of militancy and then anything about the military? I was a cadet at West Point for two years and mu husband and son have both graduated from there. It is a little different in terms of external appearance and decorum. In fact you can tell a military officer from a company owner or CEO almost anywhere by a few tell tale signs- his haircut being the first one that comes to mind.

    • $1650412

      Ok, well you know what? My son is perpetually professed as a Legionary. And he served at the papal mass opening the extraordinary synod last month. He also coordinated the logistical support for the new bishops’ course the Legionaries are privileged to host in Rome every year. And he also served at the synod, even as a secretary for the letter written to families at the end. So, I am not exactly sure you are 100% correct about how it is not a healthy organization at all. My kid is only 26. He has had 12 years of LC formation, every bit of it through this nightmare you people can’t seem to let die a natural death. He asked to make his perpetual vows early and his first concern is how to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to people today in a relevant and compelling manner. He learned that from the men who formed him- none of whom are perfect but most of whom are sincere and dedicated and learning to be holy the hard way just like the rest of us. Simcha is again beating a dead horse and I am pretty sick of it. Actually make no mistake I am really sick of it. You people are supposed to be Catholic for crying out loud. NO wonder we are going to hell in a hand basket, anyone watching us shoot at and then like vultures pick over the hurt and dying among our own would have to be crazy to join this Church.

  • Emily Kimmel

    I’m…geeze. I know a family that sends some of their kids to an LC school, and they seem to be turning out ok. But I also know that this particular family isn’t getting ALL of their formation from them, and that they certainly don’t display the kind of control-freakiness that LC seems to support. And I have a couple friends that worked as missionaries for them, one of which described it as a bad experience. Hmm. I guess I need to do more research on this before I pass judgment, but it all seems rather suspicious. Any organization that has a prescribed way for seminarians to eat apples is just kind of odd.

  • cececole

    @smk629 Your comment speaks volumes to me Holy and worthy orders are founded by saints. LC/RC was founded by an evil predator. How can a tree rotten at its roots, that grew in disease ever produce good fruit?

    • $1650412

      Maciel is not the tap root of the Legionaries of Christ, although a corrupt and corrupting factor, but obviously the premise of your point is wrong OR this would be a whole lot easier to figure out. And there are tons of good fruit that have come out of the Legion and continue to come out of LC and RC.

      • Lydia

        Who is, then? The founder wasn’t an ordinary sinner like “everybody else” unless “everybody else” is raping children, keeping multiple mistresses and leading thousands of people astray by their lies and formation that is the equivalent of mind control. There is a sliding scale-we’re all sinners but we aren’t all sociopaths. The order itself is screwed up at its core, because it was designed that way, unlike the drama you get with any religious order when human beings are involved. Other religious orders were not founded in order to make money and groom people for abuse.

        • $1650412

          Well, there are about 800 other ordained priests serving in this order. EIGHT HUNDRED. To me, that says abundant good fruit- and there are more in the queue for ordination every year in spite of this ugliness regarding Maciel. So, I think your claims about the Legionaries of Christ and their mission and purpose are wildly off the mark. However, since they have been in submission to the Holy See through a renewal and revision process and their constitutions have now been approved by the Church. I think you are wrong about the necessity for the ‘founder’ to be a saint, or not so wretched a sinner. I think God intends to use this situation to display the concept of restoration, resurrection, and hope to the Church. (I think that because I asked Him about it.) But even if the order dies a painful death- which at this point seems to be highly unlikely to happen soon, I think the men I know in the Legion of Christ have set (far and above anyone else out here in Catholic blogdom for darn sure especially Simcha Fisher) an example of humility and hope for me, that has been life changing. If it were not for them, I would not stay a Catholic- because you people are heartless.

          • Lydia

            Again, if Maciel didn’t found it, who did? Was it founded by Christ himself? Was it founded by, if not a saint, by a decent human being with decent motivations? If he was lying the entire time, and he’s the one who instituted the statutes, the type of formation, etc., what does that say about the order as a whole? A lot of the men in charge now were formed by him-that’s not good. God brings good out of evil, but that doesn’t mean that institutions that, because of their history, level of corruption and ongoing evasions ought to be given a pass to fix themselves. They can’t really fix themselves-the issues run too deeply, and that is tragic, because there ARE a lot of good men and women in the LC/RC. I would suggest that the good that has come out of the LC is the good that comes out of the Catholic Church anyway, in spite of the presence of heartless people because God is kind, and not because of any particular special quality within the LC itself.

          • $1650412

            You make a lot of sweeping statements here that make me wonder if you have any real knowledge of what is going on inside the Legion at all.

            Your assumption is that Maciel was a dirtbag, (which all of us agree with), and therefore the Legion is satanic. That conclusion is grossly flawed- and clearly the Church has said that is not so, both in word and deed.

            We all have to reckon with that.

  • Natalie

    I knew a girl in college whose brother left college to become a LC. She shared all sorts of weird, cult-like stories from his formation. He wasn’t allowed to walk around on campus alone with his sister because she was a female. He wasn’t allowed to leave to visit his family and couldn’t call them but they could come see him like once or twice a year. His formation took like over 10 years before he was finally ordained but the whole time I think it was a huge source of contention and stress for his sister. She definitely knew something wasn’t right about it. I don’t keep in touch with her anymore so I’m not sure if he still is a LC priest or where he is or what but I just remember thinking that I would never want one of my sons involved in that organization. The more I know about it the more I know her instincts about it were on target. So sad though for all those innocent people involved. I agree though Simcha, shut it down.

    • Gail Finke

      That sounds bad but the Jesuits used to take boys at high school age and younger, educated them in boarding schools, and not allow them to see their families except something like once a year. They were founded by a saint and while they’ve had many problems over the years, they were nothing like what happened to the LC. I’m not saying their formation was fine, I don’t know much about it. I’m just saying that what you posted here was not much different from how other orders used to be.

      • Orville

        Did St. Francis rape his own children? Did St. Ignatius refuse last rites? Burn. It. Down.

  • William C Michael

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it makes no sense for Catholics to say that an order should be judged by the personal life of its founder. This is turning Our Lord’s message upside down.

    “Judge the fruits by the tree.”

    Well, if we were to do that, a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, so if the LC was bearing good fruit (I said IF), then it would suggest that the tree was not bad.

    It’s like saying that if a father is an evil man, his sons must be evil…because the father was evil.
    It’s like saying that because Solomon fell into idolatry at one point in his life (and that towards or at the end), that his Proverbs should not be regarded as Sacred Scripture.

    Thankfully, this judgment is none of our business and the Church will deal with it. If we’d focus on the Great Commission, we wouldn’t have this nonsense.


    • Sheila C.

      If Jesus were evil, would it then follow that the Church were a hoax?

      Yes. Yes it would.

      With the Legion, both the tree AND its fruits are rotten, so it’s not a tough discernment.

      • $1650412

        I don’t think this is a logical approach to the situation, and just so everyone knows- NO ONE IN RC OR LC IS COMPARING MACIEL TO JESUS CHRIST, (or Mary Magdalene for that matter.)

        The tree is not completely dead or rotten and neither is the fruit. Yes, there are issues, and yes, there have been really bad apples. But I defy you to find me any group within this Church of Jesus Christ where that is not part of the deal starting with His own hand picked band of merry men.

        • Sheila C.

          There is a difference between one of the *members* of something being evil, and the *founder* being bad. Jesus founded the Church; he founded it to be good because he himself was good. Maciel founded the Legion, and his main reason was to get money and access to victims. How could you possibly go from that to good fruits? This isn’t a flaw in one branch or in the bark … this is a flaw at the very root. So it follows that the whole tree is rotten.

        • guest

          Thank you. There are MANY good and holy people in and affiliated with RC and LC. Can’t these bring good? I believe they can and do.

        • Anonymous, I grew up loving the Legion. I grew up loving Fr Maciel. In my day they were one and the same. The people who covered up for him and knew him for what he was and told people we were blessed to be living at the same time as a saint (yes, they called him a living saint)–those people are still in charge of the Legion, still in prominent positions within it.

          I cannot believe that true reform can happen until those people step down. I firmly believe the rank and file members of the Legion, who are good people and love the Lord and the Church, are being lied to and used by those in charge.

          In other words, I believe the good people within the Legion can bear good fruit because they love Christ. I do not believe that the Legion itself is bearing good fruit because those in charge of it, of its direction and goals, are those who were a part of the initial corruption. It is a very hard and painful distinction to make.

  • Rebecca

    Wow William…it’s none of our business? Not sure that I understand that comment. My family was in the Legion/RC for 14 years. I fought hard for the injustices I saw only to get ostracized by them all and exiled as an evil gossip. The reason people don’t say much is because we’ve all tried. And now Pope Francis has just approved their Constitution. Simcha is right. Shut. Them. Down. But honestly, no one is listening to those of us who experienced their bad formation for years. All 5 of my kids have residual damage. It has been so hard for so many reasons. When you go to your parish priests they say…oh, just get over it. And the Diocese’s try but so many victims won’t come forward because no one is listening. So what’s the point. One day I will understand. When I hear from Christ himself. Why the Legion?

  • Monica E

    It stuns me that people will put their children in a boarding school without asking a few questions about it or googling for reviews, in order to protect them from the world.

    • $1650412

      Do you know anyone who has had their kids in the minor seminaries? Why don’t you ask us personally about our experience? I never sent my kid to that school without my eyes wide open and without being completely aware of the accusations and issues. However, four of my kids have been to apostolic schools and I will gladly send more of them, because they got received phenomenal formation and above excellent academic educations and the company they kept and the discipline were far and away the most desirable I could have hoped for for my children.

      Shoot no, it was no bed or roses, but then again my local Catholic school, our homeschool groups, and our public schools sure are not either. Every single group I have ever been a part of in the course of the last 30 years, religious or secular, has had to learn how to deal with people problems and has experienced difficulties that have to do with human frailty. Every ministry and every church, and it is not isolated to just the Legionaries or to just Catholics.

      The problem we have is that we have little to no faith. Jesus said a whole slew of stuff, first of all that few to none of us knows or understands, because we read the bulletin not the Bible; and secondly we have our Catholic feet firmly planted in both the world and our very world conforming version of the Church. So what are those stats again on how many people believe in the Real Presence? And what was that number on how many Catholics practice artificial birth control? And what percentage of those attending the sacrament of Confession regularly are dealing with addictions again, especially sex addictions to pornography?

      So let’s stone the Legionaries because there is no way in hell they can be a solution to this kind of problem, right? And don’t tell me SHUT.IT.DOWN. is not tantamount to stoning, because when you have given up your life to a family group and walked away from everything to follow God where you know He wants you to be, and then you meet obstacle after disordered obstacle set up in your path by the very people who should be most supportive of your sacrifices- it feels like stoning.

      • Sheila C.

        Some of us walked away from those boarding schools (both the apostolic school and the girls’ school, the precandidacy) so profoundly damaged we couldn’t even tell our own parents how bad it had been. I don’t blame my parents, they were sold a line — something about how terrible the world was, cafeteria Catholics, teen pregnancy, drugs — all the things a good parent worries about, and sold themselves as the solution. I don’t blame you for believing it, but at some point you have to look into the harm that’s been done and say, Enough.

        Most of the people who were with me then aren’t Catholic anymore. I’m holding onto my faith by my fingernails, trying so hard to see how God would let a 14-year-old girl be so deceived and harmed, trying not to run away from anything that looks “holy” because “holy” often turns out to cover lies and control underneath.

        If you have more kids, please, please, send them anywhere but there.

        • $1650412

          I want to make it very clear that I am personally profoundly sorry that you have suffered and those you love have as well and that this was because of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi and what you were taught or led to believe or programmed to attempt to inculcate in your understanding.

          I AM SO SO SORRY, and I beg your forgiveness on behalf of my brothers and sisters. If there were any way I could assure you that twisted things have come to light and are changing in this scenario I would wrap that up, decorated with jewels to replace every tear or heartache you have endured, in a Tiffany blue box with a grosgrain ribbon as a priceless heirloom and memorial to the good your suffering is bringing about.

          And I would pour into every wound my own personal promise that as an RC member and the mother of a Legionary, I will do whatever I can to ensure that kind of abuse does not occur again. I cannot change what happened to you, as much as I wish I could.

          I cannot change the damage done and I cannot forgive on behalf of those who have been harmed- and I am grieved over this. It is a miserable situation- and I don’t dispute that damage has been done. But, I believe that in this case there will be a greater good to come from all our heartache and suffering and if we hold fast to hope in God He will reveal to us all the value of all our sufferings.

          I understand the need for justice and the desire for revenge- I am intimately familiar with both of these. I also understand the grave concern in the aftermath of the cloud of confusion and deception, but I believe in redemption. I believe in redemption for me, for everyone who has harmed me, who I am commanded to forgive according to the Our Father, and for everyone who has committed crimes against God, self and neighbor. I believe in redemption for the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. I have staked my life on it and not just mine, but my son’s.

          I understand if this is too much to ask of someone who has been wounded. My prayer and hope is that the people who have been so harmed realize that God is a very great equalizer and that none of us is getting out this alive- and what goes around comes around. He will even the score for us all. I am 50 years old, and I have seen it over and over again. He knows full well how to deal with His own and He will do it, and He will do it in His economy which means all of it will be good and worthwhile.

          In the meantime, not all RC and LC are evil wicked or all that stuff that has gone on in the past. In fact there is a lot of good being done by a whole bunch of really gifted and, thankfully, now extremely humbled, folks in this movement. If the people of God refuse to allow LC/RC to do the will of God for their lives in the way they are meant to, by this continual rehash of past offenses, then will that please the Lord? Will that be emblematic of what He has done for us or what He is asking of us?

          • Sheila C.

            There is one reason RC survived so long despite the evil in its heart: that good, holy, otherwise decent people were there to make the whole thing look good. When they were told bad things were happening, they “faithfully” refused to believe it. No harm was intended, but harm was done.

            And there is one thing that could make it up to me: for all those good, kind, well-meaning people to walk away. Show me you’re not brainwashed into staying, by leaving. Any reasonable person would look at all that harm done, look at the harm STILL being done (like the story in this post) and say, “Lord, I love you and want to serve you, and this is a clear sign you want me to serve you somewhere else.” WHY can’t RC members find another way to serve? What does RC have the rest of the Church doesn’t have, besides toxic formation and abuse?

            Your unhealthy attachment to a certain organization disturbs me. I’ve been there too. You say, “I have staked my life on it and not just mine, but my son’s.” I staked my life on it too …. and I lost. I would like all good, holy, well-meaning RC members to walk away from the table before they lose it all, because the game is rigged.

            We keep being reassured that things are fine now. WHEN, exactly, has RC said that things WEREN’T fine. They are always fine, and then years down the road they say, “Oh yeah, things weren’t fine then, but they are fine now.” How do we know? With all the secrecy, the malformation (because every single superior in the LC now was formed during the “bad years,” with the bad formation we all know about), the abuse that is still happening, how can you be so sure it’s all better now? Do you realize you’re staking not only your own life on it, but the lives of everyone you recruit? And possibly their souls …. SO MANY people have left the Church forever because of RC. I used to think I’d arrive at the Pearly Gates driving a bus full of all the souls I’d saved …. now I wonder if the bus is going to a completely different destination.

          • No name

            What exactly does LC/RC do that is good? Maybe you can explain to us what the organization does to benefit society?

        • Greg

          I have been to an Apostolic school for the past three years of my life, and it has been one of the greatest blessings God has ever given to me. It wasn’t just a school, it was and still is a family to me. Yes, in the past the Legion has had some problems, but no Congregation in history has been perfect.

          In all my time there I was surrounded by holy priests and brothers who were working tirelessly to bring the best out of us and teaching us to be the holy people God called us to be. I don’t know what happened to you, and I’m sorry if you were hurt, but I would take another look at the Apostolic schools if I were you, because there is something beautiful there that is hard to find elsewhere, something that I have no doubt God is very pleased with.

          • Sheila C.

            “Something that I have no doubt God is very pleased with.”

            If God is pleased by the emotional tearing down of teenagers, the manipulation of our faith, the manipulation of our conscience ….. if he was pleased when my friend went down to 90 pounds and was walking around like a skeleton and no one cared, if he was pleased when I was self-harming in the bathroom because even crying would get me into trouble, if he was pleased when I got home unable to speak because I’d developed a stammer from the anxiety, if he was pleased when I walked around for YEARS afterward cheerfully telling everyone the precandidacy was a great place — simply because I thought no one had been unhappy there but me …… if he was pleased by three-fourths of the girls I know from back then leaving the faith, even though they wanted to believe it, simply because they felt that if the people who told them Jesus loved him could lie about one thing, they could lie about everything …..

            If God is pleased with that, to hell with him. I don’t say this lightly. The ONLY reason I can still survive as a Catholic today is that I believe GOD IS NOT PLEASED with a movement that could do that to me.


  • Marcia

    I don’t love or hate the legion. Yes there is a lot of evil in it, obviously, but there is a lot of good in it too. I feel for members and the priests that are still there. I liked what Simcha posted previously, how Pope Benedict was smart not to shut it down. Let them fail themselves. But heck if they can redeem themselves, then I think they should have the chance. God gave them a well deserved slap in the face, it would be nice to see if they can humble themselves and have it become refounded by a saint. Honestly I have not met a member yet that is in denial of the evil of Marciel – although the Israel pamphlet wasn’t too promising at least they came out with an apology.

    • Marcia

      FYI – Sorry it was commenter on a blog who posted about Pope Benedict with regard to the Legion, not Simcha. 🙂

    • $1650412

      There is ‘a lot of evil in it.’ Huh, more than in any other order or diocese? Really? ‘Let them fail themselves…” and you think from here in the US that is what Benedict’s disposition is toward the Legionaries, and that Simcha is in the know? Maybe you should ask them personally- you know the kids in Rome there studying, the ones who actually have messages delivered to them from Benedict that say things like he is praying for them and he regards them, exactly what his disposition toward the order is. Or what Francis’ disposition toward the order is. ASK THEM. ASK THE POPES themselves. Let’s get the scoop from the horses mouth not from any other part of the horse’s anatomy for a change, how about it?

  • Johnny Vo

    Fruit of the poisoned tree.

  • Sarah

    This is such an unfortunate post, and I am appalled by the lack of charity in the comments. I am a Catholic all-the-way: love the Pope, love Church Tradition, love and respect her moral teachings. I actually work at a Catholic parish! But over the last year and a half, I have also grown to respect the LCs in our community so much. They have always said yes to assisting with parish events – Confessions, talks, etc., and while our parish priests are swamped and cannot take on spiritual directees, the LCs are so generous with their time and wisdom. I have grown so much under the direction of mine. He was instrumental in helping my husband and I discern our marriage vocation as well. Charity. That is all I have to say. We know that God can make good out of evil. Children born from rape? Still God’s children, right?

    • $1650412

      Thank you Sarah! I know there are a number of people who have had negative experiences with LCs in the past- and I am SO VERY sorry about that- and I think they are too. But there are also a lot of guys who do a lot of good and a lot of guys who have been changed by the misery of this nightmare for good. I am profoundly grieved and sorry it cost others in the household of faith so much suffering to bring about that conversion, but the longer I live, the more I see that I hope that anyone who causes me to suffer will truly convert and be changed to be conformed to Christ’s image and I am actually happy to participate, even as a victim, in retrospect, in God bringing that about. That is a way of being united to the redeeming work of God on the cross. None of us wants to have to live with having been the means of sanctity in someone else’s life because they had to endure our pride or vanity or sensuality or any form of mistreatment by us- BUT we all do it, regularly. The point from here on out is how are we going to put our family back together- our Catholic family according to what Jesus taught us and how the Church is leading us. This take here in this blogpost is not in concert with Christ’s teachings or the leadership of the Church for us to this point.

  • Lisa

    what is the charism of LC these days? what is the point, really?

  • Suzanne Emery Andrews

    I think you’re right, there isn’t anything they do that can’t be done by someone else, and probably better. But I will say that nothing I was presented with in RC was cultish or weird, it was just regular Catholic stuff. There was some emphasis on the founder(but none after the facts came to light–no one from RC that I know here has ever defended him after things were confirmed) and no one ever told me that I needed to focus on him, everything was about Christ. The retreats I’ve been on have been solid, and the spirituality seems like it was all collected from historically Catholic spirituality (Benedictine, Ignatian, etc.) We meet and talk about the Gospel, how does that facilitate predation? We have family picnics and when our kids were younger we had All Saints parties. There’s usually an Advent wine & cheese social and a big Christ the King celebration. I’ve heard stories about weird groups, but the women here are really kind, generous, & normal. I wish we could affiliate with another group, but I really love these women, and there’s nothing similar in my parish. A Christ Renews His Parish retreat just doesn’t help me the same way that an Ignatian retreat does.

  • LM

    Let me say that I consider myself a very trad Catholic. With that said, when the Legion runs out of $$$, the Vatican will shut it down. It has not run out yet. The more I read, experience, and learn about LC and RC… I realize this is the sad truth.

  • Guest

    As one who’s been there, experienced that, I echo everything Sheila and Simcha have said: Shut. It. Down.

    And the serpent asked “Did God really say the Legion was thoroughly evil?”