Dear Friends, Dissidents, and Team Members,
This letter is just to thank you for all the effort that you have invested in the last four years in the struggle for truth and justice in the Legion of Christ. Sadly I have to announce that one of the objectives we proposed will not come to be and the consequences for the future of the victims and of the congregation are devastating.
We had asked for a thorough investigation into the history of the congregation, into the corruption that had invaded practically every aspect its government and into the collusion of Vatican and Legionary officials. This effort entailed letters and interviews with Cardinal de Paolis, with the Cardinal Secretary of State and many other people whom we thought would see the need and the logic for a transparent investigation. It has never happened.
After four years we still do not know who else was responsible for the illegitimate and invalid ordinations of men to the priesthood in the Legion, for the reporting of the content of spiritual direction and the frequency of confessions, for the organization and realization of the smear campaigns against men of the Church, for the use of legionary school funds and donations to pay for the expenses of Fr. Maciel’s wives and families, for the systematic listening to the conversations between seminarians and their families, for the falsification of academic results. Bribes were paid, gifts were given; the names of ecclesiastic figures and important families were kept on lists and their “cultivation” was reviewed in meetings with the results, plans and objectives being kept in data bases. The Vatican was lied to over the situation of the congregation and the over the situation of Fr. Maciel. Fr. Maciel was buried as a saint with funeral orations and eulogies. Legionary superiors, cardinals and other figures justified his actions and his abuse. But to this day no one has been held responsible. No one knows what happened.
The cover up has been so complete that now the Legion faces into its general chapter with the possibility that those very people who for years surrounded Maciel, did his every illicit bidding and defended him against any accusation are eligible to be the new superiors of the congregation. The very ones who aided and abetted him in his calumnious destruction of the character of his sexual and moral victims are now poised to become again the “cupola” of the Legion.
As one of you pointed out at the beginning of this process time was on the side of those who had covered up for Maciel. All they had to do was lay low and wait. Soon those disaffected would leave; the Vatican would want expediency and would resist any attempt to allow the true extent of Maciel’s power to be revealed. Gradually the figure of Maciel would be redeemed and his life would be benignly interpreted, his crimes would be justified and his victims would be condemned forever to suffer the horror of abuse, the torture of calumny and the terror to see their violator revered while they were forgotten. With the recent Mass celebrated by 40 Legionary priests around Maciel’s tomb the regeneration of Maciel has already started and with the recent interview with the acting Superior General the benign interpretation has already taken hold.
Maciel is compared to other flawed founders. Why the Cardinal and the Superior general would allow a psychopath to be compared to other historical figures is a mystery. The corruption is partially explained as “weakness of infancy.” The facts have been forgotten. How a legitimate charism can be given to the Church through a “false prophet” has not been clarified.
The hopes we had of a new beginning for the congregation have been dashed. The radical purification has not taken place. The future generations of Legionaries will have to live under the shadow of the biggest fraud the Vatican has ever allowed and in the midst of doubts about the congregation’s authenticity.
I know that all of you had wished that justice be done for the victims and that reconciliation with them could be attained. I know that all of you had wished that a purified congregation would become a humble servant of the Gospel and of the Church. Maybe someday, maybe somehow those dreams will be attained. For the moment we have to admit defeat.
Thank you again for all your efforts and time. Thank you for the risks you have taken and the pains you have endured. Silence was not an option as it was the cowardly silence of generations of Legionaries that had allowed Maciel damage our own brothers, stain the Church and construct a lie.
“All it takes for evil to advance is for good men to do nothing.”
Fr. Peter F. Byrne LC
P.S Greetings to all in USA, Chile, Brasil, Mexico, Spain, France, Central Europe, Ireland and Rome