We know that a handful of fine men have remained in the Legion, believing that with prayer and persistence, authentic reform can take place. One of those men has thrown in the towel--his letter is as follows:
Superiors, Fathers and Brothers,
Some months ago I asked for permission to go to Mexico to give conferences to parents about the formation of children, say hello to friends and pick up some information for the doctorate. Last Wednesday (19th of April) I was told that the permission had been denied by the superiors in Mexico because of the letter I had sent about the sale of the UNID universities and that my presence would perturb the communities. The exclusion from the Legionary community has been deeply distressing. Over the last three years I have asked publically and privately for six things:
1. Justice for and reconciliation with the victims of Fr. Maciel.
2. Conformity with the Gospel and true service of souls.
3. Transparency in the government and finances of the congregation.
4. Co-responsibility and accountability
5. The investigation and publication of the true story of Fr. Maciel and the Legion
6. The exclusion of the perverse elements that Maciel and his clique had introduced into the Legionary culture (racism, lies, deceit, using people as means to an end, the exclusion of debate and critical thinking, prohibition of free speech etc..)
Which of these could perturb you? Which of these could justify that I be excluded from your communities?
Is this the new Legion? Is this the reformed Legion? Is it a new Legion that excludes those of us who think differently? Is it a new Legion one that doesn’t have place for the awkward brother, for the brother that was 34 years at your side?
No, this is the same old Legion that did not listen to the Fr. Marciel’s victims. This is the same old Legion that did not want to listen when it was being accused of becoming a cult and quashed any signs of independent thought. This is the same old Legion that only reads its internal propaganda and lolls in its own fake numbers and victories while ignoring the terrible damage it has done to the Church and the urgent need for radical reform.
It has been a source of hurting when those who covered up for Fr. Maciel continue to visit communities and preach retreats; when they are named superiors and spiritual directors: however I have never thought that they should be excluded from a Legionary house. They have the same right to be in a Legionary house, sit at table, pray and sleep in a community. That is what has been denied to me because I think differently and speak openly. I thought we were a band of brothers … but obviously I was wrong.
For your information: I have never sent a letter to the press. The letter about the sale of the UNID was sent to Legionary superiors and a few Legionary priests. I have never given an interview. I have always signed the letters in my own name and never used a pseudonym.
Legionaries, it was cowardly silence that permitted that Fr. Maciel could do so much damage to our Legionary brothers and wound the church so deeply. I will not be a silent accomplice again.
Rev. Peter F. Byrne LC