Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Legion. RTE's documentary about the Legionaries

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This documentary is, I think, the best account that I have seen about the role of the Irish in the expansion of the Legionaries of Christ.

Mick Peelo and his team ("Would you believe") did an excellent job. Their greatest merit is that they let the facts speak for themselves. It lasts 52 minutes.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The story of Fr Marcial Maciel, a priest who founded the Legionaries of Christ in the 1950s despite being under investigation by the Vatican for sodomy, fraud and drug addictio

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This documentary, "The Legion" is available for viewing for the next 21 days. It tells the story of Fr Marcial Maciel, a priest who founded the Legionaries of Christ in the 1950s despite being under investigation by the Vatican for sodomy, fraud and drug addiction. The documentary lasts 52 minutes. It features testimony from me, several former Legionaries, and a couple of Legionary priests. http://www.rte.ie/player/us/show/10260914/

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Background information on "The Legion" a documentary from Irish National Television (RTE)

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As the Legionaries of Christ, known as 'the Legion', was setting up in Ireland in the late 1950s, the founder of this new religious order, Fr Marcial Maciel was under investigation by the Vatican for acts of sodomy with boys, fraud and drug addiction. Despite what the Vatican knew about Maciel, he was allowed to establish a congregation in Ireland and recruit young, enthusiastic Irish men to build the Legion empire from a minority Spanish-speaking Congregation into a powerful international movement within the Catholic Church.

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid facilitated the establishment of the Legion in Ireland, but concluded in a letter in 1970 that "there is a creepiness and secrecy about this whole group that is a constant worry to me." McQuaid's successor, Archbishop Ryan banned them from recruiting in Dublin because of their " lack of freedom of conscience, alienation from parents and undue pressure." Despite the ban, two young Dublin lads secretly consecrated their lives to the movement just six months after they left school. They were told to tell no one, not even their parents.

It took over six decades for the Vatican to intervene, finally condemning Maciel in 2010 as a criminal and a fraud. The Vatican also recognised that the conduct of Fr Maciel gave rise to "serious consequences in the life and structure of the Legion such as to require a process of profound re-evaluation." This month the Legionaries of Christ conclude their extraordinary general chapter which is the culmination of a three year consultation process and marks the beginning of a new way forward. So, what went wrong, what needs to change and can the Legion change it?

Maciel personally tried to recruit the broadcaster Mike Murphy, who remembers: "He came to the house and he tried to get me to join. I'd love to say I had my suspicions, but I didn't instinctively warm to what they were doing." Mike's two brothers and his sister were convinced, however, and enthusiastically enrolled.

Genevieve Kineke believes that the Legion " is a "construct that Maciel put in place specifically to con people out of their money and to con families out of their children." Genevieve was recruited into the movement in the US in the 1990s.

"In the Legion, we were always told that a lie is not a lie if the person you are talking to doesn't have the right to know the truth. Even bishops were lied to." says Glen Favereau, who spent 14 years in the Congregation. Fr Andreas Shöggl, the Legion's European Superior, says that Glenn is almost quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Sometimes people don't have a right to the truth and you don't have an obligation to tell the truth, but these are very exceptional cases." Paul Lennon, an ex Legionary priest, believes that for the Legion "Truth is just a commodity and they learned that from Fr Maciel."

In this programme Mick Peelo traces the first Legionary who set foot in Ireland in 1956. Now a lay man in California, Federico Dominguez tells the real story about why he came to Ireland. He was Maciel's former Secretary and a whistleblower who was banished to Ireland in 1956 by Maciel, who called him "a traitor to the Legion," after Dominguez passed on information about Maciel's crimes and corruption to the Vatican.

The first Irish recruits, Jack Keogh and Paul Lennon, talk about what attracted them to this new movement and how, for over 20 years, they collaborated in a culture of secrecy and deception. Isaac Chute from Cork, who joined in the early 1980s, speaks about how his personality was changed by the Legion. "When I joined the Legionaries of Christ I was a very normal happy-go-lucky kid and, over time, they kind of moulded me into something that I wasn't."

The following appears on RTE's "Would You Believe" website (© RTÉ 2014-RTÉ Commercial Enterprises Ltd, Registration No: 155076, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.)

One of the first Irish recruits, Fr Owen Kearns, who publicly vilified Maciel's victims and accusers in the late 1990s, talks openly about this and the impact on him when he discovered the truth about the founder. "I cried. I lost 7 pounds in 7 days." He explains why he still remains a Legionary today. "God did use a seriously flawed criminal, a sociopath, an abuser and through him set up this, such that when we met it, we knew this is from God." Genevieve Kineke disagrees:  "That's not how the Holy Spirit works. God doesn't use paedophiles in order to build congregations."

In 2008, over 200 documents relating to the Legionaries of Christ were leaked from the Vatican. This programme looks forensically at these documents in the context of what was happening with the Legion in Ireland over the years. The documents show that efforts were made by senior Cardinals in the Vatican in the 50s and 60s to get rid of Maciel, but they were prevented from acting because of "interventions by eminent figures."

The Vatican's seal of approval enabled Maciel to continue to operate for over sixty years unimpeded and with impunity. Five successive popes publicly endorsed Maciel, despite repeated warnings. The leaked documents point to three popes in particular, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, whose combination of inertia and support not only allowed Maciel to continue, but elevated him to "Poster Boy" status in the Catholic world. "I didn't question it, because why would I question something that John Paul the Second was praising? " says Marita de Palma, who was a consecrated lay women in the movement. She was eventually expelled from the movement for discussing its practices with her mother and attempted suicide.

Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will become saints on 27th April.

Some of the Irish who joined the Legion and those they recruited believe it is a cult within the Catholic Church. Disillusioned former members believe that the problems run so deep that the Legion cannot be fixed. But the Vatican and the Legion believe there is hope. Fr Schöggl: " If you see some cult-like characteristics, it is not because the Legion is a cult, but because there have been several circumstances, several weaknesses, deficiencies that made us act in a way that was not correct and (we have to) identify them and get rid of them."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Background on "The Legion" a documentary from Irish National Television (RTE)

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The following information appears on RTE's "Would You Believe" Website
© RTÉ 2014-RTÉ Commercial Enterprises Ltd, Registration No: 155076, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.

As the Legionaries of Christ, known as 'the Legion', was setting up in Ireland in the late 1950s, the founder of this new religious order, Fr Marcial Maciel was under investigation by the Vatican for acts of sodomy with boys, fraud and drug addiction. Despite what the Vatican knew about Maciel, he was allowed to establish a congregation in Ireland and recruit young, enthusiastic Irish men to build the Legion empire from a minority Spanish-speaking Congregation into a powerful international movement within the Catholic Church.

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid facilitated the establishment of the Legion in Ireland, but concluded in a letter in 1970 that "there is a creepiness and secrecy about this whole group that is a constant worry to me." McQuaid's successor, Archbishop Ryan banned them from recruiting in Dublin because of their " lack of freedom of conscience, alienation from parents and undue pressure." Despite the ban, two young Dublin lads secretly consecrated their lives to the movement just six months after they left school. They were told to tell no one, not even their parents.

It took over six decades for the Vatican to intervene, finally condemning Maciel in 2010 as a criminal and a fraud. The Vatican also recognised that the conduct of Fr Maciel gave rise to "serious consequences in the life and structure of the Legion such as to require a process of profound re-evaluation." This month the Legionaries of Christ conclude their extraordinary general chapter which is the culmination of a three year consultation process and marks the beginning of a new way forward. So, what went wrong, what needs to change and can the Legion change it?

Maciel personally tried to recruit the broadcaster Mike Murphy, who remembers: "He came to the house and he tried to get me to join. I'd love to say I had my suspicions, but I didn't instinctively warm to what they were doing." Mike's two brothers and his sister were convinced, however, and enthusiastically enrolled.

Genevieve Kineke believes that the Legion ". is a construct that Maciel put in place specifically to con people out of their money and to con families out of their children." Genevieve was recruited into the movement in the US in the 1990s.

"In the Legion, we were always told that a lie is not a lie if the person you are talking to doesn't have the right to know the truth. Even bishops were lied to." says Glen Favereau, who spent 14 years in the Congregation. Fr Andreas Shöggl, the Legion's European Superior, says that Glenn is almost quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Sometimes people don't have a right to the truth and you don't have an obligation to tell the truth, but these are very exceptional cases." Paul Lennon, an ex Legionary priest, believes that for the Legion "Truth is just a commodity and they learned that from Fr Maciel."

In this programme Mick Peelo traces the first Legionary who set foot in Ireland in 1956. Now a lay man in California, Federico Dominguez tells the real story about why he came to Ireland. He was Maciel's former Secretary and a whistleblower who was banished to Ireland in 1956 by Maciel, who called him "a traitor to the Legion," after Dominguez passed on information about Maciel's crimes and corruption to the Vatican.

The first Irish recruits, Jack Keogh and Paul Lennon, talk about what attracted them to this new movement and how, for over 20 years, they collaborated in a culture of secrecy and deception. Isaac Chute from Cork, who joined in the early 1980s, speaks about how his personality was changed by the Legion. "When I joined the Legionaries of Christ I was a very normal happy-go-lucky kid and, over time, they kind of moulded me into something that I wasn't."

One of the first Irish recruits, Fr Owen Kearns, who publicly vilified Maciel's victims and accusers in the late 1990s, talks openly about this and the impact on him when he discovered the truth about the founder. "I cried.I lost 7 pounds in 7 days." He explains why he still remains a Legionary today. "God did use a seriously flawed criminal, a sociopath, an abuser and through him set up this, such that when we met it, we knew this is from God." Genevieve Kineke disagrees: . ".That's not how the Holy Spirit works. God doesn't use paedophiles in order to build congregations."

In 2008, over 200 documents relating to the Legionaries of Christ were leaked from the Vatican. This programme looks forensically at these documents in the context of what was happening with the Legion in Ireland over the years. The documents show that efforts were made by senior Cardinals in the Vatican in the 50s and 60s to get rid of Maciel, but they were prevented from acting because of "interventions by eminent figures."

The Vatican's seal of approval enabled Maciel to continue to operate for over sixty years unimpeded and with impunity. Five successive popes publicly endorsed Maciel, despite repeated warnings. The leaked documents point to three popes in particular, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, whose combination of inertia and support not only allowed Maciel to continue, but elevated him to "Poster Boy" status in the Catholic world. "I didn't question it, because why would I question something that John Paul the Second was praising? " says Marita de Palma, who was a consecrated lay women in the movement. She was eventually expelled from the movement for discussing its practices with her mother and attempted suicide.

Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will become saints on 27th April.

Some of the Irish who joined the Legion and those they recruited believe it is a cult within the Catholic Church. Disillusioned former members believe that the problems run so deep that the Legion cannot be fixed. But the Vatican and the Legion believe there is hope. Fr Schöggl: " If you see some cult-like characteristics, it is not because the Legion is a cult, but because there have been several circumstances, several weaknesses, deficiencies that made us act in a way that was not correct and (we have to) identify them and get rid of them."

"The Legion" a documentary on the spectacular rise and fall from grace of Fr. Marcial Maciel, to be presented by Irish National Television (RTE)

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"Would You Believe?" an Irish National Television (RTE) religious affairs program will air a special episode on Sunday 9th March, at 9.30pm on RTÉ One.

In "THE LEGION," Mick Peelo tells the story of the pivotal role that Ireland played in the spectacular rise and fall from grace of The Legionaries of Christ and their disgraced late founder, Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado LC.

"Fr Maciel, who died in 2008, hid in plain sight for over five decades, and flourished, under five successive Popes as an embezzler, womanizer, drug addict and pedophile, secretly fathering at least three children by two different woman, while being revered by his followers and championed by Rome as a living saint."

Peelo interviewed me for the documentary, based on his reading of my autobiography "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines: How an Irishman found his heart and nearly lost his mind." He told me he thinks the book is mandatory reading for anyone trying to understand Maciel's relationship with the Irish, since it relates the first-hand experience of the first Irish Legionary to set foot in Mexico.

"RTÉ Religious Programmes aim to Reflect, Interrogate, Celebrate and Explain the religious, ethical and spiritual life of contemporary Ireland. We broadcast over 100 hours each year on both television and radio, including documentaries, discussions, interviews, festival features and worship programmes, reflecting the full diversity of religious belief and practice in Ireland.
All of our output can also be found online, either on the RTÉ Player, the RTÉ Radio Player or on the websites of our various strands: WOULD YOU BELIEVE?, THE MEANING OF LIFE, THE MOMENT OF TRUTH, BEYOND BELIEF and THE GOD SLOT."

Friday, February 14, 2014

The General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ: a new beginning?

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Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, whom I first met in 1962, was the greatest fundraiser of the modern Roman Catholic Church. Many of the first Legionaries he attracted excelled in recruiting young men to religious life in an era when vocations were plummeting.  He counted on the support of the Vatican, Cardinals, and Bishops. Wealthy lay people supported his pragmatic approach to solving problems. With their donations, he founded schools, seminaries, universities, and numerous charitable organizations. He convinced me to dedicate twenty years of my life to the service of the Church in Latin America.

My book “Driving Straight on Crooked Lines” was first published April 10, 2010. When I wrote it, I knew that on May 19th 2006, Pope Benedict XVI had ordered Maciel to retire from the priestly ministry to a life of prayer and penance because of the credible accusations of sex abuse levelled by some of Maciel’s first seminarians.  Maciel died on the 30th of January, 2008, when he was 87 years old.
When I was writing my memoirs I did not know that, in fact, Maciel was a notorious pedophile, and that he had fathered several children by different women. While I agonized over my decision to leave the Legion he already had a secret family of his own. My former hero is now regarded as one of the greatest con artists of the twentieth century. His life epitomizes many aspects of the clergy abuse crisis that continues to plague the church.

For decades, the Cardinals in charge of Vatican congregations, and perhaps Pope John Paul II, ignored the persistent allegations that Maciel was an imposter and an abuser. The man I, and most of my Legionary brothers, thought was a living saint was a morphine addict, a serial abuser of young seminarians, and the father of several children.

When Maciel died on Jan. 30, 2008, the Legion leadership, most of whom I knew well from my time in the congregation, announced that the founder we called “Nuestro Padre” had gone to heaven. I wondered if their optimistic judgment with regard to his final destination was based on some better understanding of the facts. I suppose I too was in denial. The revelations regarding his private life were just too painful. It was so hard to accept that I had been duped on such a profound level. In February 2009, the Legionaries revealed that Maciel had a daughter. Later, they issued a vaguely worded statement of regret to unnamed victims, sexually abused by Maciel. This statement came four years after he had been removed from ministry by Pope Benedict.

At the time of Maciel’s death, the Legion had an estimated annual budget of $650,000,000 supporting 700 priests and 1,300 seminarians.

In March 2009, Pope Benedict XVI decided to begin an “apostolic visitation,” a sort of Vatican audit, of the Legion of Christ and their lay organization known as Regnum Christi. The visitation was mandated by Benedict after the congregation’s major superiors admitted in early 2009 that Maciel had lived a morally depraved double life, fathering at least a daughter and perhaps other children from at least one mistress, and sexually abusing young seminarians.

The apostolic visitation was carried out by five Vatican appointed Bishops. Upon its conclusion, Pope Benedict XVI decided to continue to help the Legionaries of Christ by appointing Archbishop Velasio De Paolis (whom he later elevated to the rank of Cardinal) as a “pontifical delegate,” with the task of guiding the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ through a process of revision, profound re-evaluation, and renewal.

The process of renewal culminated in that is known as a “General Chapter,” which began on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. After three years revising their charism, the Legionaries must approve a new constitution and choose new leadership to effectively put an end to the era of their founder Marcial Maciel. The revised constitution, which will be submitted to Pope Francis for approval, is expected to be an expression of a common vocation, a common ideal, a common mission, a common path to healing, and an impulse to strive in common striving for the fulfillment of God’s plan for the congregation, for all the members and for the service to the Church. The new leadership will dictate what path the Legionaries of Christ will set on, in the coming years.

This process will technically put an end to the Vatican's oversight of the Congregation, a process that has been underway for the past three years. It remains to be seen whether the Chapter will mark a credible new beginning, or whether it becomes a sickening and demoralizing exercise in public relations to cover up the inability of the “old guard” to change.

Based on how slowly the wheels of justice turn in the Church, I never expected any major, discernible change in the Legion – including a renewal of the leadership – until the General Chapter. The results will depend on the collective wisdom of the Chapter Delegates, their willingness to change, and, most importantly, their credibility with newly-elected Pope Francis. I think it is only realistic to suggest that sustainable change probably will not occur in this generation. It will take many years to overcome the dysfunctional culture inherited from Maciel.

As an experienced management consultant, and as a former Legionary, there are many suggestions I would like to have offered to the Chapter Delegates – if they were interested in my opinion. Therein, I think, is one of the greatest weaknesses in Legionary culture: it is a culture closed in on itself, circulating the same beliefs in a never ending loop, devoid of critical thinking. Legionaries never seem to want outside advice - especially from former Legionaries who, in general, have been systematically shunned once they leave the order.

The structure of power within the Legion needs major rethinking. Personal conscience needs to be respected in the spirit of Vatican II and the teachings of Pope Francis. The vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience need to be reinterpreted and aligned with the “best practices” of the Catholic Church. The private vow made by Legionaries to never criticize a superior and to inform the superior general of any transgressions to this vow they might discover, needs to be permanently buried in the scrapheap of their history. One could argue that such a vow provides a sense of organizational cohesion – but it has been indelibly tainted by the manipulative mind of the founder and has no place in a renewed Legion.

If I were to see the Legionaries make a sincere and sustained effort to ask for forgiveness (not just collectively, but as individuals) to all former Legionaries, and to Regnum Christi members, I might believe that genuine change is possible for them. Many of us, who in good faith joined the Congregation giving of our blood, sweat, and tears, during many years because we believed in the Church, and the Legion. When we discerned our true vocations, according to our individual consciences, we were shunned, calumniated, left entirely to our own devices, and regarded as traitors. This shunning is the essence of their dysfunctional behavior and symptomatic of so many flaws in the Legion’s foundational culture. A functional family would wish to be reconciled with all of their brothers and sisters.

Despite the deep hurt caused to me by Marcial Maciel, and by the actions and attitude of many Legionary superiors, I hope the Legionaries can find their way to true reform. Many of my former companions are good men, and good priests, whom I have always considered as brothers. We lived together in a very dysfunctional family. Now that the sins of the father are public, the pretense, the lies, and the dysfunctional understanding of the religious vows need not continue. It is time for a new beginning. I hope they are up to the challenge and I wish them well.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Legionaries General Chapter starts today in Rome: a "must-see" interview for the delegates

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The troubled Legion of Christ religious congregation began its much anticipated General Chapter in Rome this morning. This meeting, comprised of 61 Legionary priest delegates, will elect new leaders for the first time since Marcial Maciel its founder was revealed to have been a pedophile, a one-time drug addict, and a con-artist. The meeting will also formulate new Constitutions which the Congregation must present to Pope Francis for approval. And the Congregation must define its "charism" within the Church.

This process will technically put an end to the Vatican's oversight of the Congregation, a process that has been underway for the past three years. It remains to be seen whether the Chapter will mark a credible new beginning, or whether it becomes a sickening and demoralizing exercise in public relations to cover up the inability of the “old guard” to change.

Just before Christmas, Fr. Felix Alarcon, a Spanish priest, resident in Madrid, gave an interview to “Religion Digital.” For those who understand Spanish, the testimony of this intelligent, humble man is intensely moving, and entirely credible.

Felix was abused by Maciel, witnessed his drug abuse, and was “exiled” to New York after confronting the founder of the Legionaries. After his ordination to the priesthood he left the Legion and found refuge in the diocese of Rockville Center New York. While there he suffered in silence for some 15 years, profoundly affected by the abuse. Following his meeting with another, former Legionary priest, he became aware that he was only one of several young men abused by Maciel. That realization combined with hearing Pope John Paul refer to Maciel as a useful model for young people, helped him decide that he should go public with his testimony. He allowed himself to be interviewed by reporters Jerry Renner and Jason Berry. He co-signed a formal letter to the Vatican sent by his former Legionary brothers who were also abused.

His testimony has been discreet, humble and clearly not attention seeking. He has long since forgiven Maciel and seems to have ‘reconciled” some elements of his past with the Legion following a visit from Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, Superior General, who visited him in Madrid in order to beg forgiveness. It is amazing to me that Felix  was never interviewed by anyone from the Vatican. No doubt someone influential did not want the testimony of a priest on the record. I am less surprised that he was shunned and calumniated by the Legion. That is standard operating procedure for all Legionaries formed in the Maciel system of power.

The interview Fr. Felix gave to Religion Digital ought to be mandatory communal viewing for the delegates to the Legion’s General Chapter. His story is disturbing and yet, all things considered, almost hopeful. He knows there are still some good men in the Legion who have had nothing to do with Maciel. They face a difficult dilemma and Felix wishes them well. He is a staunch supporter of Pope Francis whom he hopes will steer the Legion in the right direction.

I’ve always suggested there would be no major, discernible change in the Legion – including a renewal of the leadership – until the General Chapter. Now, it’s crunch time. The results will depend on the collective wisdom of the Chapter Delegates, their willingness to change, and, most importantly, their credibility with Pope Francis. Sustainable change probably will not occur in this generation. It will take many years to overcome the dysfunctional culture inherent since the foundation. Maybe, the Holy Spirit will provide some support.

As an experienced management consultant, and as a former Legionary, there are many suggestions I would like to offer the Chapter Delegates – if they were interested. Therein, I think, is their greatest challenge: Legionary culture is closed in on itself, in a never ending loop, devoid of critical thinking. They never seem to want outside advice - especially from former LC. The structure of power needs major rethinking. Personal conscience needs to be respected in the spirit of Vatican II and Pope Francis. The vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience need to be reinterpreted and aligned with the “best practices” of the Catholic Church.

If I were to see the Legionaries make a sincere and sustained effort to ask for forgiveness (not just collectively, but as individuals) to all  former Legionaries, and to Regnum Christi members, I might believe that genuine change is possible for them. Many of us, who in good faith joined the Congregation giving of our blood, sweat, and tears, during many years because we believed in the Church, and the Legion, and later discerned our true vocations according to our individual consciences, were shunned, abandoned, calumniated, and left entirely to our own devices. This happened to most, even after many years of dedicated service. This shunning is the essence of dysfunctional behavior and symptomatic of so many flaws in the Legion’s foundational culture. A functional family would wish to be reconciled with all of their brothers and sisters.

I am not entirely optimistic, but I am willing to await the results of the General Chapter. Meanwhile, I hope that the interview with Fr. Felix gets the exposure that it deserves among Legionaries, former Legionaries, Regnum Christi members, and sympathizers of the organization. His message, I think, provides a sense of “closure” on the sick past while providing a glimmer of hope for a healthier future.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Legionary of Christ priest, Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, named Titular Bishop

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Legionary of Christ priest, Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, LC, was named Titular Bishop of Villamagna in Proconsulari while remaining Secretary of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

In August, 2013, the Pope appointed Fr. Vergez Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

In a letter to Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, Pope Francis said that “in consideration of such tasks” required of Fr. Vergez in his position with the Holy See, he has decided to elevate the priest to the episcopal order.

I mentioned Fr. Fernando in my memoir "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines" in the context of the founder's strategy to establish the Legionaries in positions of power:

In 1975, Pope Paul VI called Pironio to Rome to head the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes – the Roman Curia responsible for everything concerning Religious Congregations. A talented Spanish Legionary, Fernando Vergez, was assigned to him as his personal assistant. This was part of Fr. Maciel’s plan to install his Legionaries in strategic offices within the Vatican. Concurrently, Roberto Gonzales, another Mexican Legionary, served as secretary to Cardinal Biaggio – who took care of all business related to Bishops. And for about a year, I too had served as a secretary – to Cardinal Raimondi, who was in charge of the canonization of saints. Having his people work with strategic Vatican leaders was one of the many ways Fr. Maciel kept his finger on the pulse of the Church. It was part of his tactics to ensure Vatican acceptance of his new Congregation.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Legionaries announce much anticipated General Chapter

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Members of the Legionaries of Christ will begin their extraordinary general chapter on January 8 to elect new leaders and approve a new constitution. This even will be an important step to renew the embattled order. Benedict XVI had ordered the reform and reorganization of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, its lay branch, after revelations that their founder, the late Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, had fathered children and sexually abused seminarians.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, appointed by retired pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to govern the order, announced the date of the opening of general chapter in a letter to the 953 priests and the hundreds seminarians of the Legion of Christ on October 4.

The chapter, he wrote, “comes at the end of a long journey of spiritual renewal and will have as its principal purpose the conclusion of revising the constitutions”, which set out the nature and purpose of a religious order, the way new members are brought in and formed, and govern all aspects of the members’ life together. The constitutions adopted by the delegates – expected to be about 60 priests – must be approved by Pope Francis before they take effect.

Fr Benjamin Clariond L.C., said that as of December 31, Regnum Christi has 85 consecrated men and 655 consecrated women.

A separate letter to the consecrated members of Regnum Christi movement, communicates that a general assembly for the consecrated men would be held on November 25 to December 1 and for the consecrated women on December 2-15.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Therapy and Coaching for former members of Regnum Christ and the Legionaries of Christ

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It's been a long time since my last post! The inactivity is due in large part to a very heavy workload involving a lot of international travel. On the other hand, there has not been much news of note about the Legion of Christ. They seem to be working through the reform process and getting ready for the very important General Chapter, scheduled for 2014.

I have always been concerned by the difficulties faced by Legionaries who decide to leave the Congregation. In general, former priests, and religious - including consecrated men and women - have a tough time returning to "lay life." 


Legionaries and Regnum Christi people face the additional hurdle of feeling "shunned" by their former colleagues and companions. Many of them have told me they found my memoirs "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines" particularly helpful during their change of life. 


For residents of Mexico, transitioning out of the Legion, Regnum Christi, or religious life in general I am happy to mention that we (Keogh & Associates Consulting, LLC) have an office in Mexico City specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy, coaching, and the Tomatis Method.


 Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common type of mental health counseling (psychotherapy). With cognitive behavioral therapy, the client works with a psychotherapist in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking, so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. It is a very helpful tool in treating anxiety or depression. Not everyone who benefits from cognitive behavioral therapy has a mental health condition. It can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations. 

If appropriate, we also complement the therapeutic approach with the Tomatis Method.
Dr. Tomatis, a French Ear, Nose and Throat physician, pioneered a multi-disciplinary science called Audio-Psycho-Phonology (APP) over 50 years ago. His work resulted from his curiosity about the vital influence of the human ear on a healthy mind, body and spirit. Tomatis noted that the ear is the first organ to grow in utero and as a result, a fetus begins to hear sound and learn language from its mother’s voice.
Tomatis concluded that overall human health sources from the health of one’s ear. He developed, researched and proved his theory:  the voice only produces what the ear hears. His theory was independently confirmed at the Sorbonne in 1957 and became known as the Tomatis Effect.
Listening is the one foundational skill that impacts all of our other skills. It can be developed and improved at any stage of life. Thousands of people annually around the world have used the Tomatis Method for many needs. Here are some needs and a sampling of those with whom we have worked.
  • Improve memory, word recall, name recognition
  • Calm constant mental chatter
  • Bring richness to their language
  • Jump start imagination and nourish new ideas
  • Strengthen self-motivation and self-esteem
  • Establish a positive view of life, easing worries
  • Renew relationships, finding fresh joy in living
  • Improve communications and work relationships
  • Strengthen team and leadership interactions
  • Bring clarity and focus to problem solving
  • Elevate energy levels, thereby improving productivity
  • Stimulate learning and comprehension
  • Develop keener awareness of self and others
  • Foster collaboration and teamwork
The office is conveniently located in a residential area of Mexico City. Please visit the website for more information on Coaching Therapy Tomatis Method.