Friday, August 15, 2008
Memoir, Me and [Fr.] Maciel, Founder Legion of Christ
YOU TUBE link
WHY I WROTE THE BOOK
I want to thank everyone for their generous praise and encouragement re the book. Some of the feedback prompted me to write the following tonight:
I wanted the story to be readable, straightforward to some degreee, but to have different themes and facets: me, vocation, Legion, its training system and methodology, the superiors' inadequacy, Maciel, Ireland, Mexico, conflict, suffering, recovery... Although the story is my story and written for myself and my own wellbeing/catharsis , some of its importance comes from Paul being one of the very first Irish-born cofounding legionaries, of being a contemporary of the founder, of interacting with him and finding him to be an absolute scoundrel. I believe that the critique of Maciel must go way beyond his pedophilia to his total sickness as a human being and his lack of moral, ethical, spiritual and religious values; and, of course, to his being the creator of one very sick and destructive 'formation' system and an order equivalent to a cult within the confines of the official Catholic Church.
THE COVER: Fr. Maciel and me
portrays me as a very young seminarian receiving a 'holy picture' from Fr. Marcial Maciel [deceased Jan 2008] in the Novitiate in Salamanca, Spain, circa 1962. He was the founder of this new  Mexican religious order and I was one of the first Irish recruits. It turns out that -unbeknown to me during my Legion tenure- Fr M was also a rampant pedophile. What I did personally experience was his Narcissism and despotism as a superior/leader/ guru. I found him totally lacking in human compassion and therefore could never buy into him being a "saint" no matter how much the whole atmosphere fed into this. So i tell my story against that backdrop and centering the book on my critique of this organization as a cult. The latter paradigm I owe to Michael Langone and others at ICSA; it helped me to understand my overall experience in the group -big picture and context.
TITLE: "Our Father who art in bed"
Fr Maciel had himself called "Our Father" by the members and followers -although in Spanish it does not have the same blasphemous connotation it has for English speaking Christians, being as it is the first phrase of The Lord's Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven...; it is, nevertheless, a lofty name to give oneself -in this he is guru-like-. Besides being a pedophile, Maciel was was a hypochondriac and did spend a lot of time "ill" and in bed where he had to be tended to hand and foot -mixing my metaphors? So he was not a father in heaven, or a loving father as fathers should be -and as my own father was!- but a selfish, loathsome and abusive father who does not deserve the name of such.