Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What is the Legion of Christ?

Click on the link Legion of Christ to see a short video produced by the Legionaries where they explain who they are and what they do.

The following description is taken from their web-site:
"The Legion of Christ is a religious congregation of pontifical right, founded in 1941. Its mission is to extend the Kingdom of Christ in society according to the requirements of Christian justice and charity, and in close collaboration with the bishops and the pastoral plans of each diocese. Today the Legion has over 700 priests and close to 2,500 major and minor seminarians, with houses in 18 countries.

Preaching and extending Christ’s Kingdom is the ideal that inspires, stimulates, directs, and shapes the apostolic purposes of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. Their ideal is to make Christ reign in hearts and societies, to transform men according to the ideal of the New Man in Christ, and to create the civilization of love and justice. The Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi seek to collaborate with the local churches by lending help and support to the bishops and parish priests as they carry out their diocesan pastoral programs, and by contributing the charism they have received from God, for the good of the Church.Working with lay people is an essential part of the Legion’s apostolic methodology. The Legionaries carry out their apostolate above all with Regnum Christi members, forming them in human and Christian virtues, serving them with their priestly ministry, launching them in pastoral action, uniting efforts in their shared mission, and thus spurring on a great variety of works at the service of the Church. Apostolates have often arisen as a response to concrete needs or upon the initiative of the lay people themselves. Thus, not all of the apostolates have the same institutional relationship with the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.

The most important fields of their apostolic work are: education, youth and family ministry, evangelization (especially in the mission territory of Quintana Roo), and social work. In all of these areas, they pay special attention to building up a new culture of esteem and support for woman. In the past few months there has also been a significant growth in the area of forming diocesan priests and in mass media."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Growing up at University College Dublin


Growing up at University College Dublin

I grew up, in Dublin, on the campus of University College Dublin which, at that time, was situated on Earlsfort Terrace. An article in the Irish Times, Tuesday May 15th., 2007 highlights some milestones:

1954 : UCD celebrates centenary.
(the year I joined the Legion of Christ): The first sod is turned at Belfield and the president of the time, Eamon de Valera, kneels to kiss the ring of Archbishop McQuaid.
1965 (the year I arrived in Mexico City): Brenda O’Hanrahan is the first woman to wear trousers in class.
1966: (I was helping to establish the first "Irish Institute", a boys school run by the Legion): Journalists who cut their teeth on UCD student newspapers, such as Awake and Campus, include Conor Brady, Vincent Browne and Kevin Myers.
1970 The move to Belfield from Earlsfort Terrace begins, with the Arts and Commerce faculties first to go. Paddy Keogh (my father), who spent a lifetime working at the Terrace, since 1916, moves to Belfield. The following year, 1971, he retires and is awarded an Honorary Master of Arts.
1981 The National Concert Hall is opened in what had been the Great Hall at Earlsfort Terrace.
2007 UCD finally vacates Earlsfort Terrace, with the last engineering and medical students transferring to Belfield. A major redevelopment plan will turn the National Concert Hall into a major multi-purpose concert venue.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Guts. Patience and Perspective

When I read the following in Business Week, I related it to the value of the experience I acquired leaving the Legion of Christ and subsequently what I learned in the organizations I have worked for. It's great not having to worry about being "politically correct"!

"Most senior executives cite the value of such intangibles as gut, patience, and perspective. They say younger executives often lack these. "Sure, younger managers don't have the advantage of experience," says Redstone. "But I find they don't study history to be able to make the best decisions for their companies." Others say the MBAs they work with are overly fixated on data and have had the creativity educated out of them. Siebert, who runs her eponymous investment firm, says young traders, having only experienced a bull market, are now unprepared to battle a bear. "They made money so quickly and in such vast quantities," she says, "that they didn't realize they could lose it twice as fast."
Finally, age confers on its wearer a certain immunity to internal politics. These folks can get away with saying things their younger colleagues would never dare. Lutz has become a kind of provocateur at GM. He was the only executive willing to push for an electric car despite GM's debacle the first time around. "One colossal advantage of being in extra innings is you can tell it like it is, say what you think, and largely eschew political caution," he says. "I often ask, rhetorically, if they don't like it, what are they going to do? Send me into early retirement?""

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Cow is Stolen

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson on Sunday, September 14 declared: "no more federal bailouts."

Meanwhile, American International Group (
AIG) is desperately seeking a buyer, venerable Merrill Lynch has been taken over by Bank of America and Lehman Brothers has declared bankruptcy. The CEO's will probably do very nicely, only their pride will suffer real consequences. Meanwhile, thousands of families are just realizing that someone has stolen their cow.

The New York Times chronicles some of the personal fall-out “I’ll have to figure something out before I run into money problems. What about you?” one man asked a colleague, who sat slumped in his chair, sneakers kicked up on a table. “What will you do then?” one woman asked another. “I guess, go back to school?” came the uncertain reply.

Gabon, Central West Afica


Gabon is in Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Considered to be part of the Central African Region, Gabon was an important stop for me as I tried to re-discover my life-purpose.
The CBS television show "Survivor" will be filmed on location in Gabon this year. That should give the world some sense of the location and characteristics of the country.
Just under 1.5 million people live in Gabon. Life expectancy is around 54 years. Birth rate is on average 4.7 children per woman. Literacy rate is just over 63%.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Legion of Christ's approach to Training "Monks"

(I have abbreviated the original)

‘Human, Intellectual, Spiritual’
Rome Priest Discusses Formation of Priests
BY Joseph Pronechen
Forming a future priest to be alter Christus (another Christ) is an essential duty. When their seminarians come to Rome to study at institutes connected to the Vatican, dioceses from all over the world choose to have them live and be formed at the Pontifical Maria Mater Ecclesiae International College. Established and directed by the Legion of Christ, Maria Mater Ecclesiae was granted pontifical status by Pope John Paul II. Father Oscar Turrión spoke of Maria Mater Ecclesiae College and the far-reaching effects this formation program is having on future diocesan priests all over the world. In 2008, 238 seminarians from 27 different countries and 90 different dioceses attend the College.Three months ago a priest from a diocese in China became the 500th of all the priests ordained who graduated from Maria Mater Ecclesiae.

Mater Ecclesiae began 17 years ago, in 1991, at the request of John Paul II. He asked Father Marcial Maciel [founder of the Legionaries of Christ] if the Legion could do something for the formation of priests because he believed how good it would be for the Legion to have a seminary for bishops from all over the world.

Staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mini-learnings from the Monk who Stole the Cow

  1. As I write this blog, I would like my story to contain practical applications for my own "personal" life and for friends that I meet along the way. The following are not "deep thoughts" - but not everything has to be "deep"!
  2. If the Monk came to stay with me today, what “cow” might he steal?
  3. Can I apply some of these mini-learnings to improve my interpersonal relationships - at home, at school, at work?
# The Monk had a positive, optimistic attitude, combined with genuine interest in the other, which allowed him to win the family’s respect – respect that was mutual.
# The first minute of any new interaction creates a lasting impression – one that is that may be difficult to change. Years later, the Brother – who by then had become a Monk – was guided by that firs impression.

# The Monk listened more than he talked. If we find ourselves talking too much about us, our experiences, our interests or our job, then we’re probably not listening enough to the other.

# The Brother, years later, remembered the family and took time to seek them out on his own journey. In the light of the outcome, I wonder if he apologized for stealing the cow? The Brother remembered interesting information about his friends and acquaintances. Today he would write down details like their birthdays, their family members and interests. The Monk always remembered what others told him about themselves.

# The Brother and the Monk always spoke positively about others. No matter how difficult it might have been, they were bound in Charity not to criticize. Criticism undermines friendships and damages our relationships. The Brother did not criticize the Monk who told him to steal the cow. He knew that, invariably, there are two sides to every story.

# The Brother’s greeting was warm and friendly – after all he was asking for alms and he always seems to have been invited in. It is good to develop a warm and friendly greeting. The Brother knew that he only had one chance to create a good impression.

# The Brother and the Monk were very likeable – the family didn’t suspect that he stole the cow! The Monk was also competent and well prepared. That is why he people invited him in and why he was good at his “business”.

# The Monk had the family’s best interest at heart and he certainly helped – although it might not have seemed so at the time. People who are genuinely interested in others, who are enthusiastic and eager to help, are generally well liked.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Postive change can come from adversity

When I first heard this story, at the Izote restaurant in Mexico City,I felt that I could really relate to the message: great and positive change can come from adversity.

Like most other people, I had accquired several cows in my lifetime, cows upon which I had come to rely for my identity and for my life-purpose. Consequently, I clung on to those cows knowing that to lose them would be very painful. Many times, of course, I wondered if my cows were right for me. Most of those times, I was too afraid to give them up - they had become so familiar to me and I relied on them so much that it was hard for me to imagine my life without them.

When I first heard the story, my job - a job I truly loved - had been eliminated at the multinational corporation which employed me. My cow had been taken away from me, through no fault of my own, at a time in my life when the last thing I wanted was to go looking for another job.

The person who told me the story was suggesting to me that I could find new peace, happieness and financial well-being in my adversity - just as the family had when the Monk stole the cow.

I began to think of other cows that I had lost during my life and realized that, in many ways, things had worked out as well for me as they had for the family in the story. Along the way, I have learned to discover that great happieness can come from adversity. In fact, I suspect that the road to true and lasting happiness, must pass through times of trial and tribulation. There is a saying in Spanish: "God writes straight on crooked lines". The trick is not to get lost in crooked lines of our own - or others - making and to discover the true purpose for which we exist.

In "The Monk who Stole the Cow" I will tell you several stories from my own life - how I left my family and my native land to join the Legion of Christ and how, eventually I found true contentement and a measure of prosperity after leaving the Legionaries of Christ. The aventures begin in Dulbin, Ireland and unfold in Spain, Mexico, Italy, the United States and Gabon, in Central West Africa.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Change in Fortunes

The man invited the Monk to stay with him as his guest.

While the family and their guest ate, the man happily explained how the family's fortunes had changed.

"You see, Father, when we were very poor, we depended completely on a cow that we had for all our sustenance. We relied on that cow for everything that we had. Then, one day, someone stole the cow. We were devastated, but we had to do something to survive and make ends meet. That is when we had to discover new abilities within ourselves, abilities we did not even realize that we had. When our cow was stolen, we discovered our true talents and we have prospered ever since.

The Brother becomes a Monk and returns to the hovel

Years later, when the young Brother had become a Monk, it so happened that he was traveling the same road where he found the humble home from which he had stolen the cow. Driven by a sense of remorse he decided to visit the family. Rounding the curve in the road he was surprised to find a splendid mansion, surrounded by landscaped gardens, where the small home had been located. The new house exuded a sense of prosperity and happiness. The Monk knocked on the door.

A well dressed man answered. The Monk asked the man "what ever became of the family who used to live on this property? Did they sell the property to you?"

The man looked surprised and said that he and his family had always lived on the property. The Monk told him how he had stayed there with his master, the old Monk, and asked how the family had managed to prosper so much since he had stayed with them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Brother steals the Cow

After the Monk and the Brother had walked a few miles, the Monk turned to the the Brother and said" "Go back to that family and steal their cow!" "Father", the Brother retorted, "they live from that cow. Without the cow they will have absolutely nothing". The Monk repeated his order "go back and steal that cow".

With a heavy heart the Brother returned to steal the cow. He worried about the future of the family because he knew how much they depended on that cow to survive. He was bound by obedience and discipline to follow the orders of the wise man.

He stole the cow.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Milk, Cream and Cheese

"We have one cow. We sell her milk to our neighbors who don't live too far away. We just hold back enough for our needs and to make some cheese and cream - that is what we eat".

The Brother was truly moved by the humble family, which was so poor and yet so generous.

The next morning, the Brother and the Monk said their good-byes and set out to continue their journey

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Brother and the Monk

A long time ago, a Monk set out on his travels accompanied by his assistant, a Brother. Night was falling when the Monk told the Brother to go on ahead to find lodging for the night. The Brother searched the deserted landscape until he found a very humble shack, in the middle of nowhere. A very poor family lived there. The mother, father and family were dressed in rags. However, when the Brother asked if he and the Monk could spend the night in their dwelling they immediately invited him in. They prepared a simple meal consisting of fresh milk, cheese and cream for the Brother and the Monk. The Brother was moved by their poverty and even more so by their simple generosity.

Before retiring for the night, the Monk asked them how they managed to survive in such a poor place, so far away from the nearest neighbors and town. The wife looked to her husband to answer. In a resigned tone of voice he told the Monk, and the Brother, how they managed to survive.

Dinner at "Izote" in Mexico City, 2005

At her Mexico City restaurant called "Izote", celebrated chef Patricia Quintana pays homage to the best of classic Mexican cooking. The surroundings are simple, the style is minimalistic. As I recall, there are no more than 20 tables. The menu is an eclectic combination of modern versions of pre-Hispanic dishes. It draws heavily on Mexican indigenous ingredients such as yucca flower, cactus, and corn flour.

In 2005, I had dinner at "Izote" with some friends. "Izote" is the name of the beautiful white flower that adorns the yucca plant. My job - Vice President for Human Capital - had just been eliminated due to a downsizing at the multinational corporation where I had worked for the preceding 10 years. I was in the process of deciding to found my own management consulting company, focused on the development of international human capital, rather than to seek a new position working for someone else.

Each dish at "Izote" is a delight. I finished my lamb barbecued in a banana leaf. One of my friends, familiar with Patricia Quintana's wizardry, suggested that I leave room for a " Tarta Zaachila", a chocolate pastry filled with nuts, accompanied by the traditional "café de olla", coffee flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar. As we waited for dessert, I am sure that my job-elimination anxiety had become apparent. This prompted one of my friends to share a story. Mexicans are great story-tellers. This story affected me more deeply than I expected.

Monday, September 1, 2008

TESTIMONIALS: Driving Straight on Crooked Lines

Some of the following reviews appear on  Amazon.com

An Amazing Story Of The Journey Of Life!, August 17, 2010
by Maureen Saliba

What an amazing story of the journey of life. I am impressed with Jack Keogh's sincerity and openness; he is both profound and humorous, a very unique combination. Often times I found myself crying and laughing. Jack's story will cause you to reflect on life and our faith in the Catholic Church. Jack had the courage to follow his heart and soul, not always easy on this journey of life.

I found his story fascinating and inspiring. A great story of life!

Thanks for sharing your incredible journey

A Hero's Journey, August 5, 2010
By Dr. Kenneth W. Davis (Indianapolis, IN United States)

Jack Keogh's Driving Straight on Crooked Lines is a splendid example of Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey."

The author/narrator leaves his Dublin home and family to follow a dream--to change the world as a missionary. He soon finds himself in a world of contradictions: the huts of Africa's poor and the homes of the United States' and Mexico's wealthiest families; his personal devotion and the politics of power; his vow of poverty and his superior's taste for luxury.

He ends up indeed playing a role in changing the world, and in the process, changing himself. As a result of this change, he returns to build a new home and family.

For anyone interested in the developing world, in the Catholic Church, in organizational theory, or in intercultural communication, Driving Straight provides excellent object lessons--and takes readers on an exciting journey of their own.

The Cost of Father Maciel
by Rachel, June 28 2010

Anyone wanting to learn more about how the Legion was able to gain such influence in the Vatican, over it's history, should not only read Berry, but former LC's Jack Keogh's Driving Straight on Crooked Lines. In this memoire of his time with the Legion, Keogh traces the Legion's developing influence all the way back to special assistance given to Secretary Montini (Paul VI), and the hospitality the Legion gave to Bishops and Cardinals participating in Vatican II. Key people were cultivated over decades, and LC priests placed as secretaries with key decision-making bodies as early as the 60ies. Certain patterns were set into place long before JPII's papacy.

An Excellent Book on One Man's Experience of the Legion of Christ, July 1, 2010
By Rachelle Cournoyer

In the recent scandals involving Father Maciel, I wondered how the founder of the Legion of Christ could have established a powerful order of religious priests and a large lay movement within the Catholic Church while living a double life. Jack Keogh, in these memoires, recounts how he was recruited at the age of 17, and how he poured the energies of his youth founding key institutions in Mexico for the love of Christ. It is the story of idealism, dedication, generous service, and we see Jack flowering under the huge challenges that are given to him. The tension of living in a religious community is recounted with good humor, and anyone who has had the opportunity of living with religious orders will recognize themselves in his funny tales. We see a young order growing through the commitment and enthusiasm of its young men, under the direction of a mysterious. charismatic and charming leader who does not live in the community but drops into it periodically to give it inspiration and direction. Father Maciel is able to draw the best out of his young men, and does so repeatedly, squeezing every ounce of sacrifice from them, while remaining oblivious to their human needs. How Father Maciel betrays Jack Keogh comes like a punch in the gut. But this is not the end of the story, because through resilience, determination, and indomitable spirit, Jack is able to overcome formidable obstacles, put the Legion behind him, and embrace a new life. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a good human story that is full of hope, and to anyone wanting a fresh look at the inside story of the foundation and growth of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.

I particularly recommend this story to other Regnum Christi members because it will increase our understanding of the challenges that we face and how we can better support our young priests in the Legion in the upcoming Vatican-mandated reformation.

An honest view from an honest man, June 21, 2010
By Ricardo Sanchez Villalon (Metepec, Edo Mexico, MX)

This book really took me inside, being a member of the RC, I was quite cautious on what was said. I found it very objective, without hiding facts or assuming the existence of others. It shows clearly the need of changes inside the Legion, some of those already happened, as I can see in my hometown. Some others may come soon. It is a way to see that Religious life is composed by human beings, with a true faith and good values, although not all of them are perfect, but most of them are committed to give their life for Christ.
Jack is not giving a magical receipe, he provides a very objective series of facts that allow to see what has to be changed. He does not criticize, just gives an opinion. Not an easy task this days with all the media criticism on the Church and the Legion. It is an oasis to read someone that is not denying the facts, but is giving hope to the readers.
I Have attended some of Jack's conferences as motivational speaker, and all the times he has been qualified with the best notes by the public, this time there is no change, his history is a motivational one and reading it, is as if you were talking to Jack face to face. Interesting, funny, deep, sentimental, few adjectives to give you an idea of what you will find. It is also a learning experience for those of us that are not related to the insides of the Church protocol, and finally a multicultural information from all of his travel. I really hope you enjoy as much as I did, when you read the book. 

Great story & message of hope, June 21, 2010
By Claire Smith (Portland, OR)

This book is an honest, thought provoking read. It dives into the inner workings of the order of the Legion of Christ while it tells the page turning story of a man who left home at an early age and had to find meaning in the situation he found himself in all by himself. It brings the reader from the Vatican in Rome to the jungles of the Congo and back to the suburbs of Connecticut- a path that few have traveled and one that makes for a very interesting and often entertaining read.

After growing up Catholic and attending Catholic school, I thought I knew a fair amount about the inner workings of the church. I have heard about the problems the church has had all along as I have watched many of the stories unfold in the news. This book gave more than a glimpse into the heart of one of the orders making headlines today. While the situation regarding the order's leader, Maciel, is unimaginable in many ways, this book also shed light on the people that were involved in the order for the RIGHT reasons. I think it is easy for people to focus on all of the bad things going on, especially as you see it splashed on CNN every other day. This book was able to give the perspective of someone who hasn't denied any of the crimes that were committed or the cover-ups that were obviously made, but it gives a voice to those young men who joined simply because they wanted to do good work and be a part of something bigger than themselves. It was refreshing to read an honest story about the good things that the church, and even this particular order, has done. It gives me hope that the Church will be able to pick up the pieces, right the wrongs that have been committed as best they can, and move forward as long as there are people that still keep the true meaning of what God would want as Jack and many of his fellow brothers did.

Really an amazing book!!, June 17, 2010
By Spanish Teacher "Spanish Teacher" (Ireland)

I could not leave the book down. Jack well done for having written it. Excellent book.
For anyone connected to the Legion of Christ of Regnum Christi the book is a MUST.

Coming of Age, June 13, 2010
By Joan B. Weiler (New York)

For the outsider, this book provides a peek into an unknown, rather mysterious world, a world very much in the news. Ultimately, however, it is a coming of age story as the reader follows a young, eager, rather naive Irishman as he begins his path into a wider world. An interesting read for the glimpse of The Catholic Church and The Legion of Christ - more interesting to watch the formation of an adult. Highly recommended on many levels.

Memoirs of a Priest, June 12, 2010
By Janice R. Scholz "Janice S." (Poughkeepsie, NY)

For the first time I got a look at life in the priesthood. I had no idea there were "off springs" such as Legion of Christ. As I read deeper into the book, it sounded somewhat like a cult. I am happy Jack Keogh was able to keep his strong faith and not turn away from his Catholic beliefs. I also like the fact that the story was told as facts and not exgerated. I can see why Jack Keogh is a successful motivational speaker, he has exprienced and seen more of this world than most people will ever be able to. Thank you Jack Keogh for sharing your life as a priest and teaching us so many things along the way.

Terrific! June 11, 2010
By Cindy

I wanted to let you know I’ve been reading your book- it’s terrific! It amazes me that you led this interesting life for twenty years and how little I knew of it. After all, I’ve known you for some time now. You’ve made me realize everyone really does have a story to tell. Yesterday over my early morning coffee, I cried thinking about your mother (and others) who sent their children off so young. Talk about sacrifice! Anyhow, I think you’re a truly great writer and I like that you are not linear in your tale-telling. It makes it feel like we are having a discussion. So when are you writing the next one?"

Buddy Holly in the Legion of Christ, June 9, 2010
By Paul Lennon author of "Our Father (Maciel) who art in bed, a Naïve and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ."

I say Buddy Holly because my first impression of Jack was Buddy Holly in a cassock: gangly, with horned-rimmed glasses, who could sing and play the guitar.

This memoir is a must read for the Catholic public, former Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi, their friends and relatives -not to mention priests, bishops, Apostolic Visitators and Commissioners. Let me humbly state that I am one of the people best qualified to write this review. I, too, am a Dubliner, and joined the Legion a year before Jack Keogh. His claim to fame is being the first Irish Legionary to set foot on Mexican soil; mine of being one of the first eight Irishmen to begin Novitiate and take vows in Salamanca, Spain, in what would become the fastest growing and most prestigious order (more precisely "congregations") in the Catholic Church.

Not that Jack and I became bosom buddies. As he explains, Legionaries don't discuss any personal thoughts or feelings among themselves even if they are living side by side. Friendships are not allowed. The memoir shows how every Legionary is an island -of silence, solitude, and secrets- and, for the most part, an island unaware of its own needs. Jack mentions moments of getting in touch with his own Eros -he was more alive than others. Occasionally, Jack pulls back the sunny curtain to reveal sadness, leading us into the mystery of Legionary life. The less enthusiastic and optimistic will find that "Most Legionaries live lives of quiet desperation." Legionaries and Regnum Christi members hide their real selves behind a solid rock happy face façade. "Mom, I'm fine. Everything is wonderful here!" The tragedy is they bury themselves alive.

Former Legionaries can be divided into three groups: those who had a good time/experience with Fr Maciel; those who had a bad time and/or were abused by him in some way; and those with little direct contact with him. Jack belongs to the first group. Marcial Maciel had the uncanny knack of zeroing in on a person's gifts/needs/weaknesses, exploiting them for his own (the Kingdom of Christ's) ends. Jack wanted to figure and do something worthwhile. Maciel sent him to found the Irish Institute in Mexico City among the rich and famous.

Bro. John, our Jack, was always upbeat. I can still recall this gregarious six-footer trying to boost the morale of the troops "in the community", his large frame skipping along the Travertine corridors at Via Aurelia, Rome, as he joined us after one of his expeditions into the outside world, regaling us with a joke, a funny story, or an edifying tidbit about Nuestro Padre. Jack, like the rest of us, tried very hard to be a good Legionary. Everything he says is true. Ours is the same tune, played on different instruments; or wearing different colored glasses, pink, blue, red or black...He the motivational speaker; I the skeptic.

As the "Feeling Introvert" (see Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) I thought a lot about leaving the priesthood, daunted by the practical perspective of life outside the monastery walls. Jack, the "Thinking Extravert" went into action quickly, chose a wife, got married, had a daughter, and entered the business world. We must not minimize the contribution of the woman who joined her life to his at that moment: Collette, an atractive, kind, intelligent, and supportive wife, helping to put "Humpty Dumpty" together again.

Jack is at his best when he drops the breezy debonair, baring his heart; as in the illness of his native African friend, Dominique; or good bye to his teenage sweetheart, or his friendship with confreres such as Juan Manuel Amenabar, the ebullient Spanish padre who was director of the Irish Institute without speaking a word of English.

Jack renders a great service by describing what other former members overlook as the obvious but which outsiders ignore and are curious about - the details of daily life -giving a peek into what it is like in a Legion house of formation or apostolate, the various activities, the routines, the rules, the customs of the religious life: our duties as time-keeper, porter, laundry-worker, sacristan, mechanic, driver... He also gives a face to many unknown unselfish Legionaries whose names and stories would have remained in oblivion. Thank you, Jack, for going to the trouble of telling your tale, for taking the risk of sharing your intimacy, for helping to fill in the blanks in the Legion chronicles, and for giving us your personal perspective, for trying to be "objective" and dispassionate about a very passionate subject.

One of the final triggers for Jack's departure from the Legion was when Fr. Maciel cruelly mistreated Jack's fellow exile in Gabon, Luis Lerma. Jack's compassion kicked in and liberated him finally from the yoke around his neck. One of the final triggers of my leaving the Legion was furtively learning -through a mutual lay friend, Angelina - how Maciel mistreated Luis and Jack. Years previously I had picked up on something that destroyed my admiration for Nuestro Padre, and in my mind disqualified the Legion Founder from being a holy man or a saint: Maciel's inhumanity to man (and scorn for women).

A Good Read, June 6, 2010
By R. MacKay (Carmel, IN)

I had no idea that there was such an organization as the legion in the Catholic church. Jack's book provides a fascinating insight into this organization and its leader, Father Maciel. I am an Irish contemporary of Jack and I do remember recruiting visits by priests to my secondary school, so this brought back memories to me.
The book does not seek to be sensational - given what is going in the church at present it could have been - it is a very honest account of the life lived by a recruit to a new organization within the Catholic church and how he worked through the process of getting to his true vocation in life. I enjoyed it very much.

Intriguing view into the secretive world of a Legionary of Christ, May 26, 2010
By Aoife C. Rinaldi

This book is an intimate walk through the life of a young man entering the world of priesthood, a world where rules and politics seem to take hold of its leaders with as much strength as their professed love of God and spirituality. I believe Keogh was able to describe the somewhat complicated structure of the Church in a way that was straightforward and interesting while also disclosing the ins and outs of everyday life in a hugely controversial order of priests. I highly recommend this book.

Uplifting Memoir
By Jason Berry, co-author, "Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II"

"I was pulled along by the story of a young Irishman drawn into the world of the Legionaries of Christ, unable to see the raw truth of Father Maciel, coming to the painful realization of Maciel's psychological tyranny as time passed, and having the fortune to leave early enough to make a new life. This is a sad yet, in the final measure, uplifting memoir."

A Look inside a private world, May 20, 2010
By Niamh T. Dougall

Many of us wonder what it is like "behind the curtain" of priesthood. With Hollywood images like "Da Vinci Code" and the scandal of recent times, Catholics have been left disillusioned. I loved this book because it was refreshing and candid. This story is told with honesty and humor, and I couldn't put it down!

Inside View of the Catholic Church, May 5, 2010
By Ray

Immediately I was attracted to this book because of it's cover. After reading the book, I realized that the cover tells the whole story in one graphic view. I am Catholic but never had the insight into one of the Church's more aggressive organizations, the Legionaries of Christ. It was encouraging to read the good work done by these men as they practiced their vocations. Also, disconcerting to find that not all in the Legion of Christ had to follow the same standards. Thus, the framework of the story.
I highly recommend this biography. It is a heartening read.

A Good Summer Read, May 5, 2010
By Elizabeth

There is nothing like a sunny day at the beach with a good book. Jack Keogh's autobiography "Driving Straight on Crooked Lines" is entertaining and at the same time, pertinent with regard to the recent news about what is going on in the Catholic Church. I found the Legionary Order and the conflicts and sacrifices that it presented just having friends, keeping in touch with family and normal human relationships very interesting. I highly recommend this personal story. It should be on your summer reading list.

You made me laugh and you made me cry! May 4, 2010
By Robin

Wow! I loved it and savored every word. It's curiously interesting to hear about the interior life of a priest, why they choose the profession, and the psychological and physical rigors they go through. Your open candor of your anxiety in deciding to leave the Legion and transition to a family man added the human touch and bridge desperately needed by the lay person in understanding the hierarchy of the Catholic church. Your experiences globally and refreshing comparisons of other cultures to Americans reinforced my passion for travelling abroad. Your descriptions of leadership qualities woven throughout your stories added skillful tools I can apply to my business. The ending was powerful and tied the whole book together beautifully, confirming my faith in being a Catholic in spite of the flawed institution. In summary, the book touched my full range of emotions. Like the funeral you led in the Congregational church years ago, you made me cry and you made me laugh. -a number of times. Thank you!"

Fascinating Insight into the Mind of a Former Catholic Priest, May 1, 2010
By C.L.B. (Australia)

Driving Straight on Crooked Lines appears to be an honest memoir, told with candor and clarity, which avoids mawkish sentimentality or sensationalism. Jack Keogh explores an important chunk of his life and speaks of these years in a straightforward way, without blowing things out of proportion. I particularly like that about this book. Because so much of it deals with the Legion of Christ and controversial founder Marcial Maciel, this could have been a book that attempted to be shocking, or melodramatic. But it's not. It reads like the simple truth, in a conversational and intelligent voice.
I am a fan of memoirs especially - and am not overly concerned with the Catholic Church, but this was a very interesting book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Complex Issues facing the Catholic Church laid out plainly, April 22, 2010
By G. Smith (Fairfield, CT)

A copy of this book found it's way onto my kitchen table. As the girls were out last night and I had the house to myself, I at once began satiating my curiosity. I have no right of course to voice opinions on the difficulties facing the Catholic Church, however.....Jack Keogh does. I hope that organizations in crisis will take close note of the last several chapters. Keogh's love for the church rings true as does his concern over allegations levied against it. This book is refreshing in that Keogh does not throw the baby out with the bath water. We can see that the world is a much better place for the works of the church. At the same time we are brought face to face with the all too human church. Huey Long, JFK, Bill Clinton, yes, I suppose all leaders have a dark side and it seems very good leaders do even more so. Keogh helps us navigate the complex feelings when the frailties of our leadership are exposed.

Very enjoyable and really holds the interest, April 15, 2010

Reads like a clerical version of the fictional hero, Jack Reacher -a former member of an army elite unit with lots of adventures - in Lee Mill's novels

The author does not thrash the Church or the Legionaries of Christ, April 10, 2010
By Kathryn

I realize some really bad things have happened [in the Church] but I feel that it is a glass half-full versus half-empty thing as well. At any rate, my concern also for the Legion priests who are still there and the effect all the scandal involving priest sexual abuse is having on them. I hope it all turns out for the best and that priests don't lose heart. The sense I got from reading this book is that perhaps the author was not sure he had a vocation to the priesthood all along, but did not get very good help in discerning that along the line... and I felt this was interesting and it helps me to understand better the whole vocational aspect of celibacy, versus singlehood, and marriage. It also helped me to understand a little better how someone who appears holy and charismatic like the Legion's founder may not be all they appear to be. I think this is something that I've tended to do in my life is kind of put priests and other authority figures up on a pedestal and then become surprised when I find out they have some serious defects. At any rate the reason to be a Christian and Catholic is not priests but Jesus Christ who is perfect and all good and all holy. I'm glad you didn't trash the church or the Legion in your book and I'm also glad if there is an error that it is on the "too nice" side.