About me: After reading about the Maciel news few days ago on CNN, I did some browsing to revisit what's been going on with LC and RC after 12years of forgetfulness. I would like to say few things to all of you. Feel free to copy-paste my posting to post as many sites as you like so that more people can read. Here are the reasons why I joined the LC as many of you can sympathize. I was told of these things: Here are the reasons why I left the Legion.
In the Legion: 1992-1996.
Location: Cheshire, CONN.
Apostolic work: Fund raising from US catholic millionaires.
1. Faithful to the Tradition.
2. Devoted to Mary.
3. Old Jesuit spirit.
After reading about the Maciel news few days ago on CNN, I did some browsing to revisit what's been going on with LC and RC after 12years of forgetfulness. I would like to say few things to all of you. Feel free to copy-paste my posting to post as many sites as you like so that more people can read.
Here are the reasons why I joined the LC as many of you can sympathize. I was told of these things:
Here are the reasons why I left the Legion.
1. Too much outwardly "showmanship" without the real inner substance: I could not find one truly spiritual priest/superiors while I was there. I was not surprised to read from the beautiful testimony of one of the very first LC seminarian recruited and abused by Maciel himself in Mexico that remarked he does not remember seeing Maciel in deep prayer or contemplation for once during all those years he stayed with him under the same roof. This I found so true about the superiors. Their words, attitudes and behaviors clearly showed lack of deep spirituality. The volumes of "letter of Nuestro Padre" that we were forced to read were spiritually devoid of real substance, filled with common clique. I read instead the writings of St. Teresa and John of the Cross. The difference is so vast. They can feign holiness (by saying Mass slow and holding the Eucharist extra long), but they cannot give what they don't have. I did run into my Novice Master/sp iritual director in a private moment. Guess what he was doing. He was chomping all the candies and goodies with some alcohol. This can be considered benign and even humorous. But it’s really not so if you realize that this man was in charge of hundreds of LC brothers and priests during the most formative years in the novitiate. The superiors regularly enjoyed specially purchased food while the rest of us ate recycled food from donations. Someone here said they didn’t eat rotten food while there. Well, they may not have been rotten, but mostly outdated and unhealthy junks. The point is, shouldn’t the superiors, if they are truly spiritual “leaders” set the exam of giving the good food to other brothers while they eat the donated food? What was funny is that the few brothers who were favored were allowed to sit next to the superiors to enjoy some of their food. This was a trite matter to me but it is still telling the true inner reality of these self-claimed spiritual leaders.
2. It's all about the empire of this Mexican institution and nothing about the Church nor the kingdom of God: It took me awhile to detect this. They "say" all the time how they are "Christ-centered" and "Thy Kingdom Come" but in reality it's actually Maciel-centered and only about Institution expansion. Not one thing is done for the pure sake of the Church. Everything is done (recruiting & money mostly) for the institution. How do they reconcile this: they say expansion of the institution is what the Church needs the most. Let's see if that's true. Read on.
3. Everything we did as LC brothers or priests all had ulterior motive of benefiting the institution itself rather than purely helping the lay, local parishies, or the Church at large. There is an uncanny resemblance to how a secular corporation operates.
4. Severe Favoritism: LC brothers from rich families or those that have prominent qualities that can buy admiration from outsiders are selected among the brothers to be groomed with special treatments. Those who lack both are treated just as such "commoners." After 4 years of continuing evidence of this utter "unchristian, anti-Gospel" policy of, I was so repulsed. I could not imagine Jesus doing what these superiors did to some brothers who were deemed "not special." I can say this because I was one of those that were given such special treatments due to my talents in few areas. Working with the elites of the society is fine. Don't mistreat the lowly with that excuse.
5. Rather than deep devotion to Mary or Christ-centerness, we were surrounded by Macielness constantly. At that time I was oblivious (I will tell you later why) to all those pictures of Maciel hanging around the center, all those special top class feast days celebrated for the living man's (then) and his mom's birthday and name day, all those wild and noisy preparation done for his helicopter visits, and all the shallow showy "conferences" about Maciel's life accomplishment and "holiness." Now that I read about it in testimonies of others, I find it very weird and dangerous.
I will say one thing about Maciel. I saw him twice or so in Cheshire. I was very open-minded to this man, giving him a possibility of indeed being someone close to God. To my disappointment, I did not sense the "holiness" everyone was talking about. He just had a very upper class behavior just as were other superiors like Luiz Garza Medina, the mannerism which I could feign just as well.
Why was I oblivious to all these back then? To my benefit, I was totally focused on my spiritual growth when I joined this group. I had the Bible, examples of the Saints, prayers and Contemplation. I was focused on meeting God, being united with Him as did the saints in the Church, because I knew the world and the church direly need truly spiritual priests, priests who are truly in touch with God and the Holy Spirit. The Legion, I thought, would provide a fertile ground for such growth. I was grossly mistaken. They forced me to read the spiritless Maciel's "letters" and focus on getting things done, that is, fund raising and recruiting not for the Church but for the institution. I didn't care. I knew what I wanted and what the world needed. So I kept devoting most of my time to deep prayers and reading the teachings of the Spiritual Masters that the Church offers. I didn't care about the growth of the Legion or the RC, I didn't care abou t Maciel or any other superiors who were surrounded by hazy fog of rumored holiness. I cared about my spiritual growth. I cared about the dire need of the Church and the faithful in the deep lack of spiritual priests.
After awhile they gave up trying to convince me otherwise. They knew I was too hard headed and independent and intelligent to mess with. They just let me be, which is very interesting. My first "apostolic" work was working with a priest to get money from US catholic millionaires. I was good at convincing them. You know why? Because I talked about what I cared (not the Legion or the RC). People were convinced how genuine I was. But after awhile I realized that I was wasting my time and talent slaving for this Mexican group for free! I came to give my life to Christ and the Church, not to this showy, shallow group. This group was supposed to be simply a tool toward that goal. But this tool was keep trying and forcing everyone to accept with blind obedience to be the goal itself! What set me really off was, like I said before, mistreating or outright ignoring those members that apparently showed no benefit to the goal of enriching the group.
6. Every time someone "special" came we had to put on a huge show with music bands, talent shows, special food, special schedule. I found it very third world, shallow, and after a while disgusting. Let the guest go away impressed by our spiritual virtues and not by our showy talents of speeches, singing and musical instruments! I felt it was so representative of the class stratified Mexican society. I know this may offend some Mexican brothers and sisters. But that's how I felt then. I am an Asian American. Remember that Maciel was from a prominent family in Mexico with 3 bishop uncles and 1 Mexican general. When he was kicked out of the seminary twice after only short stays, Maciel was later ordained by one of his uncle. I hope someone dig into the archive and find out why the seminaries then deemed Maciel unfit for priesthood. At any rate, it bothered me increasingly to witness the subtle yet forceful implementations they were doing to recreate t hat same class-stratified little Mexico within the LC and RC: division between those common workers and those that ruled above them with secrecy, suppression of transparency and segregation of members from each other and from the outside. Now that I think of this it's actually really a scary thing.
7. The whole push about canonizing Maciel's mother even before she died I never understood it. Why was she a saint? I have no idea. Does anyone? I'm sure the Legion gave some reasons, but I forgot all because I didn't care then.
8. I found it strange and funny that the few times Maciel gave general conferences, superiors made sure that pre-made questions were asked by only the pre-selected brothers. Again I didn't care much because I was more anxious to get back to my prayers after the largely predictable talks.
9. I was too strong and alert while I was there that I did not experience any abuse from the superiors. But I did see numerous occasions where superiors clearly showed utter lack of human charity and humility let alone spiritual virtues. I didn't care about it because they were not my examples anyway but soon I realized how barren the whole place was.
I hope all of you with time will do everything you can to save all those innocent, well-meaning brothers and sisters in the LC and RC from this snare. Too many lives and faith have been destroyed by this group. And so many more will be lost if we don't stop them. Now is the chance to save them. Send the letters and copies of all the testimonies posted on Regain website and here to bishops and Vatican. Do you really want to save souls and do something for the Church? Do this then. So many great men and women are blindly lost in this group. Imagine what difference they can make if they would actually work for the Church and local parishes freed from this deceitful facade of LC and RC. Don't just post here. Send all these to those of authority in the Church.
Finally, to those that wonder how they could grow in faith without the RC, just remember what Jesus said, "When you pray, go to your room, close the door and pray in secret." If that’s not enough for you, you can form a local prayer groups where Gospel is discussed and experiences shared in the spirit of openness and joyful fellowship with all. Do you want to know what your vocation is? As the church teaches along with her saints, fulfill your duties with perfection as children, parents, students and workers infused with joy and love. This is the best way to be the Light of the Gospel in today's society.
This was being fulfilled by the Group "Familia" started by Paul and Libby Sellors before it was sabotaged by the LC. Read what happened here: http://www.regainnetwork.org/article.php?a=47245759. I know this account is true because I was there when the LC first began the takeover. The strategy discussed among the LC before we went to meet this wonderful couple and the group was to take control of it slowly by offering priestly guidance and sacraments so that we could turn it into another machinery for recruits and money. Someone here posted that this was not true, that the LC priests guided Familia from the beginning. Be assured that this is not true. I went to see them with an LC priest and I heard him say what the “method” would be. I also remember sitting at the dining table seeing the faces of Sellors’ and other people’ faces gleaming with hope as they listened to what the LC priest was dictating. I also remember seeing some hesitation on the face of Sellors when the LC priest requiring infusion of RC methods but in the end agreeing with a statement, “You are the priest! We will do as you say!”
How do they do all of these things that all of you have experienced? Maciel knew the most obvious that most of us dare not think. It's extremely easy to abuse those who sincerely try to be good Catholics who follow the Church and believe in the sacredness of priesthood. That's why Maciel tried so hard to get ordained. He knew the only way to ensure the creation of his self-serving empire is to wield the power and authority conferred by the faithful. "How dare you not trust and obey what the priest is saying. If the priest is saying so, it must be true. Priests represent Christ."
Another tool they use is this "Faithfulness to the Church and Tradition:" talk that attracts all those Catholics longing for such avenues and approval from priestly ranks. Maciel knew it works.
Most of the people in the LC and RC are sincere. It's the top few individuals (now that Maciel is gone) connected to Mexican elite ruling families that are trying to continue this corporation based on false pretensions.
Do everything in your reach to expose them. So many innocent souls will be lost if we don't. Just imagine how many souls will abandon not only this group but faith itself cursing God for having left them be abused and taken advantage of by this group for so many years of their lives. I already know so many former LC's who lost faith and left the Church entirely due to their harrowing experiences in the Legion. I feel bad about one friend of mine that I persuaded to join the LC with me. He was actually more virtuous than I was but he didn’t have those outwardly “talents” nor was he from an influential family. Being so humble and faithful, he stayed and became an LC priest. Guess where he’s been working. I heard from his parents that he’s been working in small villages or Peru and Brazil. Truly spiritual and holy priests are sent to such hard to find places to be utilized to the benefit of the institution: what is that benefit? To those who criticize the LC for not working with the poor and the abandoned, they can say, “Look, we do have few priests and brothers working with them.”
The best we can do is letting the bishops and Vatican know of all this.
Yours in Christ, Jonathan
[nota bene: the text of this testimony was slightly amended at 7pm, 5 April, 2009 at the request of the author.]