Disturbing and Sad

I just read an article on the life-after-regnum-christi blog and was further astounded by the depravity of Fr. Maciel, the founder of the Legion and Regnum Christi. Warning, some graphic descriptions in the article. Also, a brief digression I don’t buy the implication that John Paul II and various cardinals were “given money” by the Legion in return for the Church turning a blind eye to them. Fr. Maciel was sadistic and evil, and he fooled a lot of good people, including John Paul II, but that doesn’t mean that JPII was evil or was bribed.

What amazes me is that Fr. Maciel wasn’t unmasked in the late 1950s when the Church, responding to many allegations against him, suspended him from the Legion, removed him for over 2 years from the Legionary communities, and conducted an Apostolic Visitation.

What evil could have been prevented had he been found out then. I don’t know why it didn’t happen. Maybe more of his victims needed to come forward? The tragic result of his exoneration at that time was that his credibility had stronger support given that the Legion and his actions were investigated for 2 – 3 years and found innocent. But by that time he had already committed horrible crimes.

When I looked into all the publicly available documentation a few years ago, both from the Legion and from those hurt by the Legion, one thing became clear: either Maciel was lying or his accusers were. There was no room in the middle. And it turns out that Maciel was the liar.

The fruit of Maciel’s life is bitterness and pain for his direct and indirect victims as well as tarnish and shame upon the work of many faithful persons who have lived at least part of their Catholic Faith in Regnum Christi or the Legion. Everyone loses here.

My advice, as it has always been, both when I was in Regnum Christi and now that I am out of it, is to look to the Church and follow her decisions on these sad matters. The hidden evil of Maciel has now been unveiled, and the healing for all can begin.

I’ve Left Regnum Christi

It is with both sadness and with determination that I have decided to leave Regnum Christi.

My friends in the movement–all of whom are solid men of faith whom I still consider my friends–will no doubt receive this news with sadness, and it is for the hurt that this will cause them that I am sad. However, I know that they will understand that I cannot remain in the movement when I do not think God is calling me to be in it.

Last year when I went inactive, I said that I would wait until the result of the Apostolic Visitation had ended. Well, its ended (at least for the Legion) and the preliminary response has been made by the Church. Whether the order’s refounding is ultimately successful or whether it fails, I do not feel called to remain in a movement created and now overshadowed by a fiendishly evil man.

For me, this decision was not too difficult, as I had only been in Regnum Christi for a year or two. I didn’t have the traumatic experiences–in fact, all of mine were good experiences–nor did I see the bad inner workings of the order or movement. What I saw were my friends each week, husbands and fathers like me who are striving to be Christ-like, most of whom had never even seen, let alone met, Fr. Maciel.

What Sucks About the Whole Thing

There’s lots of good, faithful, regular Joes and Janes like my old friends who have been hurt by Maciel’s actions. His direct victims deserve the most compassion and support, and his indirect victims are too numerous to count.

Some people are calling for the dismantling of the order and the movement. That may be what ultimately happens if the refounding fails–I’ll let the Church decide, and I can see either one happening–but there are people, even ones not in Regnum Christi, who work at its schools, publications, and other places of operation. Annihilating the whole thing means they lose their jobs and means of supporting their families. Is that the biggest concern? No. But it is an example of the collateral damage to people’s lives which could happen.

Why Live Under a Shadow?

Ultimately, as I mentioned before, I didn’t want to live my Catholic Faith under the shadow of some evil person. Maciel is someone I cannot comprehend, a man who must have given his life to the Devil a long time ago. To talk the talk he did and then to do every evil thing privately–all as a Catholic priest–is a disgusting horror. Is there anything good in his creations? I don’t know. What I do know is that there are good priests who can be salvaged and healed of any bent formation they received through his influence, and they can serve the Church and God, if not through the refounded Legion, then through other orders and dioceses.

I pray that God will bless and be with all of Maciel’s victims, first with the ones he directly hurt through his malice and twisted selfishness, and secondly with the ones he indirectly hurt through his institutional influence.