Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Orchestrated Answers from Legionaries: Legion/Regnum Internal Guidelines for Handling Maciel Siring Scandal
The following guideliness were circulated among Legion and Regnum Christi leadership coaching them on how to manage Questions re Maciel Siring of Daughter and related issues. This explains the carefully choreagraphed response of all members to questions from "outsiders", including family members, ex-members, reporters, clergy, etc. Members apologize profusely in an effort to placate those wronged, without admitting responsibility, demonstrating remorse, resolving to amend their ways, or making restitution. A very bad Confession, indeed.
[FOR INTERNAL USE OF OUR MEMBERS ONLY]
GUIDELINES FOR ANSWERING SOME QUESTIONS
All our words should be inspired and guided by Christian charity, knowing that “the
triumph of truth is charity” (St. Augustine).
This is a time of great pain for Legionaries of Christ, members of Regnum Christi and
everyone associated with the Church. There is the great mystery of how the Holy
Spirit can play beautiful melodies on a broken instrument. But we must remember
that for those who have been hurt, we cannot excuse their suffering by reminding
them of the good that God does through the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.
We must speak and act in light of the Gospel and the principles of Catholic morality
that we find summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the truth,
charity and upright behavior in regard to other people’s defects.
We must demonstrate faith, hope and charity – particularly to those who have been
hurt— and entrust all of us to God’s mercy with great peace and serenity.
There are some people who, out of respect, sensitivity, Christian mercy, profound
gratitude, etc., don’t want to go into details about Nuestro Padre’s behavior. Their
response is to pray, and to be humanly and spiritually close to those who are
confused and hurting. We should respect and encourage this attitude, as much in
ourselves as in others. The starting point is the acknowledgment and gratitude for all
the good we have received.
All these conversations must he held without getting into an argument, with the
greatest possible serenity, with a supernatural view of things, and letting people
know that it’s perfectly normal for different people to have different points of view,
different tones to their answers, etc. This is also due to the state of suffering,
tiredness and pain that we are all experiencing, and it calls for a lot of patience,
understanding and the certainty that we all want the same thing. If all this is making
us suffer so much, it’s because we all love the same thing.
We love Christ by listening to others, offering our sympathy and accepting our own
human failings and imperfections.
We should always ask for support, prayers, understanding and a lot of trust, as
members of the one family, one body in the Church and in the Movement. We should
make sure to support everybody that needs it.
These are times of prayer, humility, unity and charity
POINTS TO BE MADE:
1. We apologize to anyone hurt by Father Maciel’s actions.
2. We regret any scandal to the Church
3. We offer our prayers to all who are suffering as the result of this and ask
for the prayers of the faithful for us.
4. In all our considerations, actions and words, our departing point is the
following: We have sought to act, and we are trying to act according to
what Jesus Christ would do. We have tried to illuminate our decisions
with the light of the Gospel, following the Catechism of the Catholic
Church, having heard the advice of many and in unity with the Holy See.
The principles that guide us are those of justice, charity and mercy with
What do you have to say about Father Maciel?
To our surprise and pain, we recognize that some of our founder’s behavior was
incompatible with his priestly condition. We are deeply sorry for the offenses he
committed and we ask pardon for the scandal this has caused.
It can be helpful to read the letter Father Alvaro Corcuera has written to Regnum
Christi members and friends, and the Zenit article about this. These texts provide
guidance on the interior attitudes towards this situation (the letter) and concise
information (the article).
Even so, we can’t forget that our founder was the instrument that passed on, in all its
integrity, the charism God gave him and the Church approved. For that, we are
forever grateful to him. At any rate, he has passed on and his judgment is in the
hands of God’s infinite mercy.
What did Father Maciel do?
As you know, it is public knowledge that he fathered a daughter. Out of respect for
the privacy of the persons involved, it is not our place to spread further information.
Was there financial impropriety?
First, I want to be clear that our financial systems are very thorough and there are
procedures of accountability and oversight in place to prevent misuse of funds. In
the past, Father Maciel was so trusted that he was able to have funds available for
his personal use. We simply do not know the extent of those funds or what portion
may have been used inappropriately. And because much of this happened long ago,
it is likely we will not be able to determine the amount.
How do you explain Father Maciel’s behavior?
It’s very hard to understand. We are not able to grasp it fully, and we probably never
will. It’s part of the mystery of human behavior, and involves: moral and
psychological factors, circumstances, etc. It’s especially hard to mesh all the good
that we knew about him with the facts that are emerging now. At any rate, he has
already passed away.
What about the accusations of previous years?
The subject of the accusations of sexual abuse by Father Maciel has resurfaced.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was in charge of investigating them
according to its procedures.
In May 2006, bearing in mind Father Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health,
the congregation decided to forgo a canonical trial. It invited him to a reserved life of
penitence and prayer. The Legion of Christ accepted the Holy See’s decision.
Given the Holy See’s action, it seems likely that some of the accusations were
deemed credible. There never was a trial, however, and the competent authority did
not issue a verdict. At this time, we do not have conclusive evidence about particular
The Legion of Christ wants to reach out and help whoever was hurt by our founder.
We are undertaking a review of our responsibilities as a congregation in this regard.
We are profoundly sorry for anything that could have happened.
Were the superiors aware of these facts?
The superiors had no evidence of these facts, and they suspected nothing.
And how was that possible?
We all trusted our founder; it never occurred to us to be suspicious of his behavior.
Frankly, with 20/20 hindsight we see that we should have been more alert to
But the superiors acted unsuspectingly; they never knowingly collaborated with his
misdeeds or covered up the situation once they found out.
When did they find out about them?
When Father Maciel was no longer general director, in 2005, certain facts started to
emerge little by little. After the Holy See’s communiqué in May 2006, during the final
months of Father Maciel’s illness and after his death, further clues and first-hand
evidence surfaced. The superiors contacted the appropriate authorities of the Holy
See and more recently, in accord with the principles of justice and charity, began to
personally inform the Legionaries and consecrated members of Regnum Christi,
much as happens in a close-knit family faced with a similar situation.
What will you do if you learn that members of the congregation were complicit in
Father Maciel’s inappropriate activities?
We certainly do not know that is the case. But if we learn of such a situation it will be
dealt with seriously and in accord with the principles of justice and charity.
How are you dealing with the situation?
Well, first of all, it hurts and deeply saddens us. Even more, we feel the real shame
that anyone in the congregation – especially our Founder – could bring scandal to
the Church and pain to the faithful.
We are turning more intensely to prayer and are strengthening our commitment to
Christ, focusing our attention on him. We are also more keenly aware of the mission
that the Legion is entrusted with in the Church.
We are deeply sorry for all the hurt and the scandal this has caused, and for those
who may have suffered.
We are struggling through these days of mixed emotions and we all need time to
pray, to reflect, and to assimilate the consequences of this situation. As we process
all this, we are holding onto Christ and to our identity as a part of the Church, the
sacrament of salvation.
We look to the future with confidence, with the commitment to continue serving the
Church and others.
What will the Legion of Christ do going forward?
Clearly, we are reviewing our procedures to ensure that nothing like this happens
We put our trust in God. And we know that our mother, the Church, walks with us
and “gratefully recognizes the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and […]
Regnum Christi” (Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office May 19, 2006).
Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life
reminded us of this in Chile this past December:
“Then I told him (the Holy Father) that I was going to meet the groups of the Regnum
Christi Movement and my friends, the Legionaries of Christ, and the Holy Father,
Pope Benedict, told me: ‘Tell them that I know them, I esteem them, and I appreciate
them. Tell them that my blessing accompanies them; tell them to follow with great
conviction the path marked out by the charism given to the Regnum Christi
Movement, and to be great witnesses of Christ and of his Church in today’s world.’”
We have always tried to speak and act in light of the Gospel and the principles of
Catholic morality that we find summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
about the truth, charity and upright behavior in regard to other people’s defects.
We also know that others both inside and outside the Church have been hurt by
these revelations. We understand that we have a responsibility to demonstrate our
faithfulness and work hard for the Church.
We count on the closeness and support of the Holy Father and Cardinal Rodé and
many other churchmen who appreciate the charism and the works of apostolate of
the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. They are strongly
encouraging us to move onward, faithful to our vocation of service to the Church
according to the charism God gave us.
EXPLANATORY COMMENT FOR THE UNITIATED
by Legion Scourge
Dear Jose and other victims of Maciel's pederasty and of Legion's denial and calumnies,
thank you for sending this document which is evidently "una consigna", a guideline/order, that has been given to all the superiors and spiritual directors [in the Movement these are synonimous]. You and some other friends may agree with me in the following summary and considerations.
IMHO: Whatever information the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi Movement revealed about Fr Maciel's sins and crimes was revealed because they had to, not because they wanted to. In other words this was the most convenient thing for the organization in the present circumstances. Considerations regarding Charity, justice, and whatever in this order are pure bs and downright deceitful [for the rank and file]. We are talking expediency -with a lot of astuteness.
All official statements to outside[rs] have been carefully orchestrated by the leadership cadre in Rome [i.e. Garza, Sada and Corcuera and, perhaps, a public relations or damage control firm].
All statements/explanations to insiders -members of any kind- have also been carefully orchestrated by the leadership, often in the form of a personal visit from the Superior General.
Some individual members, priests, religious, and lay members may have "broken ranks" in the present crisis; although not one single member has publicly rebelled and left [this goes to show the organization's power and control over members].
"Dissenters'" words and actions will be carefully noted by the leadership and these members will be "let go", reformed or exiled or otherwise punished in due time, in a way deemed fit, according to the principle of institutional expediency.
In this sense, leadership can reap some benefits from "the bad news", helping them to beat the bushes and make some "not fully integrated members", rise into the sky, like partridges, where they can be picked off more easily.
"The crisis" has also shown the hands of many people in the Orthodox Catholic community and elsewhere who now will be identified as bungling "enemies of the Work of God", out to destroy The Movement.
Going further with my skepticism, I might say, that the leadership will strategize how to prevent members from approaching those ["well meaning but mislead"] resources whose names are posted on the REGAIN, INC page. In this, it appears, Thank God, they have not been 100% successful.
Rank and file members appear to be honestly shocked by the revelations and want to apologize, etc, but they follow the guidelines as "the Will of God coming to them through their legitimate superiors."
99% of members are unable to think outside the Movement box. Don't blame them. They are mind-controlled.
I sadly believe they continue to be tremendously immature (childish) in their conscience, spirituality and discernment [co-dependent on their spiritual directors and lacking in true spiritual autonomy in the presence of the Real God, and enslaved in a fear- based spirituality].
Superiors will encourage them, with the usual pious and pseudo-empathic protestations, to get their mourning done quickly and get on with their lives and apostolates, "business as usual"
Let me share one anecdote. Very recently, I spoke with an active 3gf [Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman] for the first time in my life.
She reported that "after much soul searching" -barely two weeks of some confusion and inner turmoil in which she had been angry at Fr. Maciel!- she had decided to forgive him, to stay the course, and keep her vocation to RC and its apostolates approved by God and the Church -she reminded me of that last phrase at the end of the 2006 Vatican communique separating founder from foundation].
When she told me she had approached her confessor with her crisis -and I assumed he was an LC priest- I knew she was doomed to stay!!! If members go to their regular approved LC Spiritual Directors with this kind of problem, their doubts will turn in against them like ingrown toe nails.
When I explored the issue, she stated that she was not forbidden from consulting with an "outside" priest... I told her that was new. She stated categorically that the Private Vow about not criticizing and squealing had been abolished, as others have reported and I had never believed. She seemed to recall it was around the time of the Vatican censure of Maciel.
I told her that although there had been some apologies to Maciel's victims, I had not seen any official apology from present leadership.
I suggested to this woman that if she were really serious about discerning her own vocation she do an Ignatian Retreat or Spiritual Exercises with a Jesuit. I added that when I did my Spiritual Exercises in Salamanca, Spain in the 60/70s Maciel was always hovering in the background prompting the director where to go [Besides Maciel was paying him!!!]. I mentioned how we were discouraged from having spiritual direction or going to confession to the director [Don Angel Morta, a Spanish diocesan priest trained in Ignatian spirituality]. Maciel encouraged a small group of seminarians to go to confession/direction to Morta so he would not be too suspicious or feel slighted, that is, to keep up appearances, and comply with the formality.
Skeptically yours, Scourge of the Legion