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The article also says that fifty Legionaries and others associated with the school showed up to support Fr O'Reilly. The more I think of it, the more that bothers me because it seems like a means of intimidation. Legionaries only go places under obedience, so it's not as though they thought, "Gee, I'd like to be with Father at this tough time." They could have expressed their support while at the Legion house and told him that they would pray before the Blessed Sacrament for him for the duration.

Instead, they were told to go to the trial, and the family is entirely outnumbered, and the court sees their strength of numbers. I hope the kids don't have to testify in front of dozens of priests. The staff is showing support for the priest, not the victims.

Actually the canonical investigation was so badly done by the LC that the CDF asked the archbishop of Santiago to complete the investigation

Whoever is supposed to decide this man's fate may be quite off-put by the visual of so many Roman collars. Wonder if they are pulling a Maciel and dressing in civvies . . .

And the fact that they mobilized so many supporters when one of their own was accused of sexual abuse is quite reminiscent of earlier times and earlier tactics concerning "the untrue accusations against Nuestro Padre". That strategy will not be lost on the media.

I couldn't help noticing that the prosecution's psychological profile matched to a T some of the critical observations that folks on this blog have made about the LC and, to some extent, the RC as well:

"immature and infantile sexuality", "narcissistic conduct", "insecurity and fragile self-esteem".

Interesting. I wonder to what extent these characteristics indicate a cult mindset?

Last comments

Giselle - the LC website suggests there are three LC priests in Chile. I doubt they produced 50 priests at the hearing.

As I've mentioned before, I've heard from Chilean friends who are NOT pro-RC that the facts of the case are, at best, murky. I knew Fr. O'Reilly fairly well. Like the rest of us he has lots of faults - and he always did exhibit some of the more undesirable LC personality attributes. So, I've no idea of his guilt or innocence.

However, as you say yourself, innocent until proven guilty.

Nobody is more glad than I am for the fact that in a court-of-law, one is considered innocent until proven guilty.

But woe to parents who use this as a guide to safeguarding their children. In truth, guilty people are guilty whether or not not they are ever proven guilty.

I personally think Maciel and his ilk used the "innocent until proven guilty" meme as a weapon to beat down the gut instinct and common sense of people. Maciel was never "proven" guilty, after all.

He sure as hell wasn't innocent. Presumption of innocence--even in the fact of clear indications there is a problem---is fabulous in court, but not so fabulous in real life.

The 50 "Legionaries of Christ" who showed up to show their support (and intimidate those who dared to speak againt the holy Fr. O'Reilly, no doubt) likely have "innocent until proven guilty" as their mantra. They were probably not actually Legionaries but Regnum people by the sheer number given.

Whatever happens, and whether this priest is found "innocent" or "guilty" by a court of law, I sure as heck hope that the authorites heed what the psychologists had to say about him and prevent him from ever being in a position to be around young children again.

thinking you know someone well is no guide to guilt or innocence.

As to innocent u till proven guilty...that is Anglo Saxon justice. French system presumes guilt because they have a more thorough investigation and a judge involved prior to trial. wonder what the Spanish system is...?

Mary Ann - if you are implying that because I knew O'Reilly means I think he is innocent, you have it all wrong.

In Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent.

Those of us who haven't got the facts shouldn't jump to judgement until the process renders a verdict. I think that has something to do with the much maligned concept of Christian Charity. Just saying...

" the much maligned concept of Christian Charity"

The LC sytematically gave Christian Charity a bad rap. One she certainly does not deserve.

One thing that has been consistent with the Legion and RC is denial which comes as an automatic reflex. When all the credible charges against MM were made, all of the members were conditioned to deny any possibility that he could have been guilty. The only ones who could be 100 % sure were his victims.

When MM was around, the Legion used mind control methods and intimidation with support from friends in high places to discredit claims of abuse.

Should the 50 "supporters" not be at least equally concerned for the 6 and 10 year old alleged victims and have a desire to see truth and justice instead of using their force of numbers to try to influence the outcome?

If the reform were real, the "supporters" could learn something about themselves from the psychological report and seek counseling for their own narcissistic conduct and other antisocial behaviors that MM's followers are susceptible to.

nat, the LC doesn't own the concept of Christian Charity. In fact, I'm not sure they have ever understood it.

Dilbert, maybe the LC is reacting with an inbred denial instinct. I don't know that. And I don't know- and neither do you - that his "supporters" are not concerned for the alleged victims. Suppose for a minute, until proven otherwise, that Fr. O'Reilly might be innocent. How would you feel if you were in his shoes? How would you feel if you were his brother?

However, I'm not terribly interested in the LC "reactions". Many priests are falsely accused. That's a fact. I'm not saying this is the case with Fr. O'Reilly. We simply don't know the facts as yet. Just because he is a Legionary does not make him guilty. In the name of what belief do we instinctively seem to turn on men such as him until he has had a fair trial? Are we so caught up with our antagonism towards Maciel and the LC that we forget our basic humanity?

I am intrigued by the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae, a priest who does seem to have been falsely accused and unjustly punished. He makes very salient points on "innocent until proven guilty" on his excellent blog, written from prison. Take a look at what the WSJ had to say about his case and that of many falsely accused priests:

Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water and let the chips fall where they may with Fr. O'Reilly. Meanwhile, I'll say a prayer for him, and for the alleged victims.


I did not conclude personally that Fr O'Reilly was guilty. That will be decided based on evidence presented. What I commented on was the manner in which the LC always responds - it seems to me like a form of bullying if their superiors order them to go show up in a big group to "show support".
How would you feel if your six year old daughter were molested and before any case has been heard - fifty people show up to support the person who has been accused?

"In fact, I'm not sure they have ever understood it."

Doh. Now there's a surprise. Who'd have guessed that the way they torqued it as a thought stopper? But real Christian Charity was never in any danger from strangers.

No, Monk, I was just saying that knowing a person, even knowing him well, is no guide to make a judgment of guilt or innocence when it comes to this sort of crime. The psychology of abusers is amazing, and their spouses and best friends can be surprised.

Monk, just wondering what the stats are so far for the Legionaries and abuse. Do you know how many Legionaries have been accused of abuse and later found innocent versus how many were accused credibly? I can't think of any offhand that have been found innocent of the charges.

It's impossible to know. There were charges against several LCs and they were kept in secret. There are victims claiming sexual abuse from older legionaries; but no statistics. VdP hides everything. The truth horrifies him.

Is DePaolis not investigating any credible accusation (even those from within the order and decades ago)? That seems way out of line with current Church protocall on this subject.

Off topic, but an interesting tidbit: Legionary appointed Secretary of Government of Vatican City... Fr. Vergez was secretary to Cardinal Pironio (R.I.P.), whom I mentioned quite extensively in my book. Later, he helped set up the Vatican Internet

La Sala de Prensa de la Santa Sede ha informado el día de hoy que Su Santidad, el Papa Francisco, ha nombrado al P. Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, L.C. como Secretario General de la Gobernación de la Ciudad del Vaticano, dejando la Dirección de Telecomunicaciones del Estado de la Ciudad del Vaticano, cargo que desempeñaba hasta el día de hoy.

I know Fr. Vérgez, for more than 10 years he has lived in the Vatican with Mons. Brian Farrell, the only LC curial bishop and counsellor of De Paolis. He very rarely visited legionary houses in Rome. A former LC claims Maciel spied on Farrell and Vergez while they lived in the parish besides the General Directorate. He had often lunch with Fr. Jose Antonio Izquierdo Labeaga rather than visit a legionary house on sundays. Only appeared for a few dinner at Xmas. So I guess he is not a member nor very fond of the LC PTB. Tornielli acutely says he will not be appointed archbishop as his predecessors

"Many priests are falsely accused" that's a myth monk. In fact I think it isn't true at all.

O'Riley's use of the press (calling in some favours?) in his defense rings alarm bells with me - of course anyone has a right to defense, but he has to all intents and purposes launched a public campaign. That doesn't strike me as the behaviour of an innocent man, but of a man that needs to fight to protect himself as much and as best he can.

Reminds me of Maciel.

If he is guilty these children won't have been the only victims.

Incluso, se presentó el testimonio de una ex alumna, como testigo protegido, que dijo que en 1995 ella había sido víctima de una conducta abusiva de O’Reilly.

"They also presented testimony from a past pupil, as a protected witness (?) who said in 1995 she had been the victim of abusive conduct by O'Reilly"

Unti I read that it appeared the balance of evidence was strongly in his favour. Now the Jury's out and we pray that the final outcome is fair and just.

Whatever the final outcome it's all a bloody mess !

Monk, if Fr McRae is falsely accused, I am sad for him. But I have read extensively on his case and I am not convinced of his innocence. Just sayin'.

As for the number of LCs in the courtroom, the article says "fifty Legionaries AND others associated with the school" (emphasis mine) which I take to mean a group of 50 supporters comprised of some LCs and some associates of the school, not *fifty LCs*, get it? Not inconceivable at all for 50 members of the movement to show up. Speaking from personal experience, I have been intimidated by a handful of RC women, I cannot imagine how stressful it would be to face 50 supporters from the movement while I take down one of their own with my humiliating and painful testimony. IMO, you are willfully blind to the intimidation factor and you are forgetting that there is a victim here.

Finally, I get sick of hearing "innocent until proven guilty" as though we are here discussing this in a court of law. I don't have to remain neutral on his guilt or innocence. I wouldn't wait for a verdict to keep my children away from him. Would you entrust your kids/grand kids to O'Reilly because he's technically innocent until proven guilty?

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