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I have to get something clear in my memory, and I don't want to accuse the Legion of something that I may have just invented in my head from the multiple nights of reflection and men's talks that I attended, but I want to clear this up. Has anyone ever heard that in the discernment process for choosing candidates, that they will not accept anyone who has been exposed to pornography(this I am pretty certain was said)? But I have always wondered how the information is ascertained from the candidates. I guess that this was one of those things that struck me as wrong,(and we know the rational for not questioning this from experience). And for a LC to inform others that this was done, was scandalous to me since that was revealing something about those that they had rejected, and a violation of their consciences. I am just trying to clear this up for myself, if anyone familiar with this could help.

To add to my concern, it would seem that this info may have been ascertained from confession, and would seem to be a violation of the seal.

Ok... so remember all those combox discussions last year about the Legion breaking the seal of confession? ( still makes me sick at the stomach to think of it..)

Well, the Register reporting on a priest breaking the seal of confession!

Sigh. Plank, meet eye.

Deirdre, Thanks for that link. No idea how long it will stay up but I just asked them how they can reconcile their failure to address Maciel's violation with Fr. Kearns's recent letter:

Fr. Kearns indicated this week that he had to finally address the truth of the abuse of sexual abuse of seminarians before he could in good faith address the wider questions in the Church.

The CDF acted on testimony about sexual abuse and Maciel's abuse of confession. By your editor's own words, how can your paper address violation of confession when you remain silent on Maciel's abuse of the confessional? Over a year ago Fr. de Souza asked the Register to address that very issue:

In view of the current circumstances I feel they should disallow themselves to teach anybody about anything until the dust has settled. If they are not able to do this the Vatican should force them to take some time out. For these two to offer such a course is like Bernie Madoff giving a presentation on how to safely invest your money.

This subject indeed was brought up at our Mornings of Reflection, but in more vague terms. "There are some things that automatically disqualify a man from becoming a Legionary." It was left to us to discern what this was. However, this was usually coupled with statements that stressed the need to protect our children from these things. Protection offered, of course, by the Legion!


I want to say also though, that in SD my LC priest was very pastoral about my worries on this subject for my boys. He comforted me with allusions to St. Monica, imploring me to pray for them, with confidence that the Lord would hear my prayers. (My boys never went to LC schools.)

One other thing - this may be a question asked of candidates outside of confession, like maybe on an application?

I am ignorant about this, but I don't think this information necessarily has to come from confession.

For the first time I wonder something: if those at the top were indeed ignorant and shocked, yet we know it is impossible that they all be ignorant, then we may be dealing with the split consciousness of people who have been abused when young.

One other thing: if what Kearns says about himself is true, then it says everything that needs to be said about their degree of control of minds and wills....I don't mean the inner control of the Holy Spirit via virtues, but the organization's control over psyches. A person can not have been ignorant unless he literally - literally - did not see what he saw, hear what he heard, and read and know what was in his face to read and know. That is frightening. And yet, there is something in their method that I think the institutional Church is happy with and would leave in place if it could be made to work everywhere. Scary thought.

Mary Ann,

I think you are on to something... If I look at the LC and RC people that I have known, I can see this happening. There was one woman who lost a close relative suddenly, and all she could talk about was how "beautiful" everything was.

There is an implicit denial of truth when it is painful.


That article was in the blog section. The obvious question is are bloggers inadvertently (or advertently!) laundering the owner's reputation by publishing there.

But Mark Shea has a Register blog site and at least away from that site is very critical:

"Personally, I think the best contribution to the combox fracas is Pete Vere's because it puts legs on what the Legionaries need to do next if they are really serious and not still doing the spin, minimization, and damage control that has hitherto characterized their leadership's approach. In short, the Legion needs to renounce the settlements imposed upon victims and make some serious restitution to the people they screwed, the reputations they trashed, and so forth. Apologies are fine and are a good start. Now let's see some Zaccheus action. The Legion had lots of money for graft and influence peddling. How's about that get funnelled toward all those victims and their defenders who got royally shafted by the Legionary Smear Machine?

Not that it's the task of Fr. Kearns to do this personally. His apology is, so far as I can see, a personal one, not an institutional one. And I accept it. But the Legionaries--the giant machine Maciel built--has to stop careening on like a headless giant continuing to do the stuff Maciel built it to do. Or, it needs to be taken apart piece by piece. At least, that's my opinion. Rome may have some other plan to deal with it in mind. Thank God it's not my responsibility."

Of course I'd be impressed if the Register allowed him to post that in his Register blog. So I just posted the following to the Register site (pending publication or deletion):

"Fr. Kearns, I note that you publish blog posts by Mark Shea and that he has published comments elsewhere about this comment thread...Does he need your invitation to be as frank on your site as he is elsewhere..."

Well, they ARE the healthiest order of priests going these days, don't you know?!

That's exactly why they think they should be forming seminarians, I'm quite sure of it. They are the best, they know the best way to train them, and that's just the way it is.

On a bright note, I think we might have had a breakthrough with our older teen son (has a lot of Conquest friends, etc) who hasn't been able to acknowledge anything at all wrong with the Legionaries or their formation. The problem is all Maciel for him. But today, my husband had a conversation with him, and I think he might be starting to "get" it just a bit.

Praise God!

A summary of Pete Vere's and Mark Shea's comments to Fr. Kearn, and a challenge:

Candidates for the LC had to undergo an interview with the with instructor, a representative of the territorial director, and with a non-LC psychologist. In the US that was Deacon Bob MacDonald, a permanent deacon from Northern Ontario. Those who admitted to watching pornography habitually/having sexual relations outside of marriage during these interviews were as a general rule excluded from joining. There was no breach of the seal of confession.

Is Deacon Bob MacDonald the same as Dr. Robert MacDonald (AKA "Dr. Bob"?). If so he has the equivalent of an MD (the degree is slightly different in Canada). Does he also have a degree in psychology? I don't recall his medical specialty specifically but have the impression it was in general practice (internist or equivalent to GP, perhaps?).

BTW, I've always enjoyed his talks, psychology degree or no.

No idea, but he was/is great.

"Even when the Vatican invited Father Maciel in 2006 to a retired life of prayer and penance, and it was obvious to many that he was considered guilty, the absence of a public explanation for the move allowed me to hope against hope that he was innocent"

Was it the absence of a public explanation for the Pope's sanction that allowed Fr. Kearns to "hope against hope" or that we were all drinking Maciels kool-aid and doing what we were taught - defend Maciel and the institution at all costs? Was it more important to close our eyes to the truth so LC/RC could continue to save the world or live the true Gospel search for the truth no matter the cost?

I think all LC and RC have to admit that in 2006 we were truly not "in step with the Pope" as we bragged about all the time. If we were - we would have at least said "Fr Maciel declares his innocence but as a congregation we cannot state whether he is innocent or guilty of any past charges, but will be obedient to the Pope and continue in our apostolates and stay "independent of the person of the founder". We will not use any of Fr. Maciel's writings and materials and we will pray for him as he lives out his life of prayer and penance."

Or they could have at least said nothing or they could have taken the road of truth and told all LC/RC that the truth is so important that they will do their own investigation and provide any additional facts/information about Fr M. to all the LC/RC souls in their care.

All of us in RC waited for the LC response and followed along with whatever they said because we were taught to get the LC input in our spiritual lives. We did not go to get the outside opinion where many thought he was guilty. We would have felt like traitors if we did that so we were trapped in a sense.

.....and now more RC wait again for the Pope to speak which seems ironic because we missed his cues the first time around.

One thing I always wondered about was how the LC planned to perpetuate the "myth of Maciel" after his death. Did they really think that the facts of his aberrant lifestyle would die with him and they would be able to continue on their merry way?

Frankly it is dispiriting to me to consider the fact that the LC leadership kept this deception going for years, and people at the Vatican knew it, yet nothing was ever done.

And yet we are supposed to trust the trust the magisterium?

Not exactly on topic, but I thought since we're talking formation, I would send this nugget of hope along.

Here is a religous order that folks should take a look at called Miles Christi (Soldiers of Christ). Their website:

Now, as much as I hate to say this, the really odd thing is that these guys (from their pics) ALMOST look legionary.

Despite appearances, though, I am happy to report that I heard of this order from none other than Fr. Tom Euteneuer, via a general message on Facebook. He refers to these brothers and priests as "my kind of guys."

Perhaps this is what the legion might have looked like IF they had an authentic founder, and IF they had a true, stand-up charism, and IF they had a genuine spirituality, and IF, and IF, and IF.......

It's a "charism" to sanctify the laity?

Check this:

for another "great" group.

Frank, I have attended one of the days of recollection hosted by Miles Christi, and it was amazing.

"Why didn't the 'leadership' respond?"

In retrospect, a foolish question.

The Reign of Legion wanted to -- and still hopes to -- keep this con game going as long as it can. All the better to dupe gullible Catholics (among whom at one time was Yours Truly).

For the Reign of Legion, where there's money (and maybe sex, too), there's hope.

Anonymous 6:16
Thanks for clearing that up for me, I didn't want to continue to wonder about it. I still have a problem with the idea of rejecting someone with a past, I think that we can only look at Sts Paul and Augustine and know that grace can change lives, even to the point that the most terrible of sinners can become the greatest of saints. This to me is where I got uncomfortable with the Legion's sense of superiority. This may find many that would disagree with me, but I am a prodigal child, and see the Legion rejecting the Prodigal Son and I think that MM is the perfect example of what that attitude produces.

Barring anyone from orders for their past indiscretions alone is not scandolous, I would think.

On the other hand, any young man with sexual experience and or exposure to pornography does not make for a very good target for the kind of sexual abuse perpetuated by Maciel--since, that kid would definitely recognize it as deviant and sexual.

Gregorbo, that was exactly my thought: that perhaps the reasons Maciel wanted to bar such men was that he much preferred those who had no sexual experiences whatsoever from which to draw a sense of judgment about the rightness or wrongness of any other person's sexual behavior/advances, etc.

After all, I don't think Augustine (or perhaps even some of the Apostles themselves, for all we know) would have qualified to be a Legionary based on a long history of sexual activity outside marriage.

I'm not saying there aren't just reasons for barring men from the priesthood based on serious sexual malformation, but I can't help but wonder if this particular practice of the Legion's didn't have more to do with maintaining a culture in which it is easy to hide/perpetrate abuse than it had to do with the concern for the correct sexual formation of the seminarians.

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