An anonymous comment on the prior post - about Francisco Gonzalez Parga's book - says:
"I understand the abuse started in the first foundation that failed in Cotija and that Maciel had to leave Cotija since he couldn´t find enough boys whose parents would let them enter. That Mama Maurita knew about the abuse of boys and turned a blind eye.
Is it possible to track down those boys (now adults) who joined Maciel in Cotija and get more information about that first foundation ie how it really was - not how the legionary mystics have painted it...?
The Legion of Christ published its own history book with David Murray and Angeles Conde. It would be interesting to publish an authentic history of the Legion putting together the work of different ex legionary authors along with the efforts Renner, Berry, etc. and the interviews of Aristegui."
I am moving it up here so that I can try to articulate my response. Here goes:
I can't corroborate that the abuse started in Cotija. The temporary house in Cotija was opened in 1940. As far as I am aware, the first (documented) accusation of abuse was made in 1944 when the "founders" group had moved to the donated house in Tlalpan. I don't think any of the Cotija group persevered.
I've never heard of any credible evidence that Mama Maurita (Maciel's mother) was aware of abuse or that she turned a blind eye. I met her for the first time in 1965; nothing in her demeanor ever suggested to me that she might have known, for sure, about any form of abuse perpetrated by her son in the Legion.
There are at least 9 Legionary priests, still in the Legion, who were allegedly abused later on. As I've said before, their silence is hard to understand - I'd want to hear them affirm or deny the allegations. I'm pretty sure that some of the very first recruits are still alive although they are no longer Legionaries; however, I repeat, the first accusation doesn't seem to have been made until 1944. By then, the Cotija recruits had all left.
There is a need for an "updated" history of the foundation - I can't imagine that there is anyone in the LC who believes all the details handed down from those early days - or, as you say, "how the legionary mystics have painted it."
"Legionary mystics" is an interesting term. I don't like it, because I don't find it accurate. I joined the LC in 1962 and heard the "stories" related to the early days from my first superiors and, mostly, from Maciel himself. I don't think my generation had any reason to doubt those stories and I suspect that most of what we heard was true. We never heard of any (credible) accusations and we saw nothing to make us doubt the veracity of the foundational stories. In addition to this, I, for one, met many contemporaries of Maciel including some of his first recruits. No one gave a substantially different version of the "history" that had been passed on to us. In hindsight, of course, I know I never heard the "rest of the story." However, therein lies an important point. Maciel's stories were handed down to the next generations by people the new recruits trusted (I include myself both as "recipient" and "transmitter.") Many of us who passed on the "history" later came to doubt many details of what we had learned. By then, the damage was done. A "believable" oral history existed. I suspect David Murray's and Angeles Conde's book, to which you refer, is entirely based on those first "stories." At that time, there wasn't much reason to doubt the "facts."
My personal theory is that the post- 1970 (approx.) Legionary recruits were far more credulous than my generation. They were also more orthodox, more right of center, and, of course, they joined something that looked more like an established "institution" fully approved and supported by all levels within the Church. There were no dissenting voices.
When the first allegations of abuse were made public, within the LC we never heard of them... and if we had heard of them we would not have believed them. Hence, I prefer to refer to the "myth" of Maciel. By "myth" I mean an "unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution." The "myth" developed and was passed on by people (including me and my peers) who never doubted the fundamental veracity of the stories. Hence, I don't think there was an intent to deceive or to lie. The further the "myth" was removed from the original source the more it was "embellished" - by people who never even met Maciel.
No doubt the current LC "high command" heard, accepted and passed on the "myth." It remains to be seen when they found out for sure that it was not true and how and why they seem to have taken so long to debunk it. However, it's naive - and unfair - to suggest that they themselves were not taken in for a very long time. Long enough for them to find it very difficult to accept a negative, alternative version. It may turn out that they took far too long to react. However, as one who lived the "myth" I'm inclined to give them a break. So is the Vatican.
With regard to non-LC (current or former) testimonies, as far as I can tell most of the commentators have an anti-Church "agenda" that goes beyond Maciel and the Legion. (For instance, anti-Pope John Paul II, anti-Vatican Council and etc. Some of the authors provide enough solid facts to justify the indictment of Maciel, but not to support broader charges against the Papacy.)
Apparently, some of the older Legionaries who lived those early days, and who according to some testimonies were abused by Maciel, are not talking - at least publicly. That is a source of on-going irritation for me and many of my peers. We want to know what they have to say.... and yet, it's their prerogative to talk or to hold their silence. The "true" story will eventually emerge but, even when it does, in these "early days" not everyone would believe the "truth."
As far as I'm concerned, I'm not convinced we need much more data. We already know more than enough to form an opinion. The Vatican has condemned Maciel, the Legionaries officially accept the Vatican pronouncements, Maciel's abuses have been credibly documented with an abundance of sordid details. Major lessons will emerge from the Apostolic Visitation. The Legion will reform or die. My hope is that the reform process will work, albeit slowly. When that happens and the LC feels less "threatened" the true story is more likely to emerge. Hopefully, the Church will learn valuable lessons, make the necessary reforms and the remaining Legionaries and Regnum Christi members can dedicate themselves to whatever the Church asks of them.