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Funny thing about that cancer - he never mentioned it during the Moynihan interview.

Tom, thanks for the link to the interview. It seems that the editors of Crisis don't understand that when something goes up on the web, it never comes down.

TW says he is not sure if he was living a double life or not.

I can't think of any reasonable meaning for the term "live a double life" by which he was not quite clearly doing just that.

From the May 21, 2012 letter from Alvaro Corcuera:

"

. . . While serving as the rector of our seminary in Rome, I had heard rumors about Fr. Thomas Williams’ misbehavior. I inquired about them, but Father denied them, and I believed him.

In 2005, I found myself the second General Director of the Legion of Christ . . . Early in my new assignment, I learned that Fr. Thomas Williams had, in fact, had a relationship with a woman and they had a child. I reviewed the situation with Fr. Williams, asking him to start withdrawing from public ministry. In May of 2010 I placed restrictions on his ministry. Unfortunately, these restrictions were not firm enough as he was not asked to leave teaching . . . ."

No "double life" here folks. Move along.

One thing about the internet: it does make it slightly harder to rewrite history.

No telling where the Legion would be today if it weren't for the internet. Maciel would likely be firmly enshrined in that beautiful mausoleum he was planning in Rome.

There'd probably be a "Room of Nuestre Padre's Mausoleum" at the museum in Cotija, too, right next to the "Room of the Infancy."

What a freak show that place was.

yesterday Fr. Ignacio Aguinaga died in Spain. He left the Legion but never made the incardination process. He was ill and in need of insurance. According to VdP legislation he could receive 7000 Euros; so he never left the Legion canonically. This is another paradoxical case in the LC world: He died like a diocesan priest but still being LC: non LC but LC.

Juan José Arrieta, general vicar, was with him for several years and like him, out of the Legion but still being legionaries.

Disembodied Legionaries?

Estatua,

7k euros wouldn't have done squat for his medical needs. Theoretically, he could have been added as an employee (maybe he was) and gotten the red carpet treatment like Fr. Oscar Nadar received, but he never fell into the inner circle of compadres. The LCs should set up a picket line and not work until they get benefits (healthcare, life insurance, retirement, etc). They still work for peanuts while others reap the fruits of their labor. They get really bad healthcare (look for free doctors, get donated medicine, etc), there is no retirement fund or anything like that. When a LC leaves, his situation is even worse since no one will pick up the tab for his expenses. I imagine the situation is similar for the 3Gs. The fear of being left with nothing - no community, no meals, no one to give them orders when they wake up, etc is like an invisible wall. One day they might get a clue. For the moment the light is on, but nobody is home...

@LL: yes, the situation has always been thus with the 3gf's. I imagine that Mrs Mee had her own medical fund, and I admit that MariCarmen Perochena probably had excellent care, but the rest of the women have usually looked for donated care from sympathetic doctors. It's always been a pet peeve of mine -- but imagine! Now the LC's are part of the RC. Does that make their prospective health care better or worse??

Two words: Individual Mandate.

IDS: Good luck- They pay no taxes. LCs are willing to take advantage of Medicaid.

I think in this day and age, canon law should now require all religious orders to pay into their country's version of social security from the moment of first profession. Most countries have it now. Many orders do pay into it now here in the US, but not all. In Spain, it has been said, it is a requirement by law for religious, but the LCs ignored it.

Other Retirement funds should be held by a 3rd party that follow the person regardless, not the authority of the group, so it cannot be used as a form of retaliation.

7.2 quake in Mexico. Hope all are well. Seems like Mexico dodged the bullet for the moment.

Frank:
I think it is more blatant. The superors have regular meetings and they reveal the sins of novices and religious, msturbation for instance. Also, the written reports sent up to DTs and the DG also include information collected by hearing confessions of the members. I have never taken part in such meetings, but I have been told by other priests who have taken part that this is or was standard practice. How, if nobody denounces it, then nothing can be done. If I had been in such a meeting and heard this, I would certianly denounce it to the local bishop, the Nunciature and the Apostolic Penitentiary. However, nobody has done this.
Of course, it is not necessarily easy to know if they information divulged came from spiritual direction, which is also priviliged information, or confession. In any case, no SUPERIOR SHOULD HEAR CONFESSIONS OF MEMBERS UNDER HIS CONTROL OR BE THEIR SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR OR INDUCE THEM TO HAD OVER INTERNAL FORUM INFORMATION.
Obviously members should never confess to superiors, but in my days there it was regularly recommended in spiritual talks and retreats, also in what was called "avisos" (community correction).
Also, there is direct breaking of the seal, which is revealing the sin and who committed it, and indirect in that one reveals enough information that it can be deduced who committed what sin. The seal doesn't include other information which is not about the confession of sins. One can make use of information acquired in confession in a general way, for instance, get a better understanding of the problems many people have, a better knowledge of human nature, of the holiness and sinfulness of others in general etc. Plus the ministry of confession has a pedagogical value for the priest. All of that is fine.
I have read in some blog that now that superiors have been forbidden from being spiritual directors of their charges, they have invented what they call "formation dialogue" or such. This seems to be a suberfuge for them to continue prying into the internal forum of the members, considering the culture of total control there is in the Legion. I also read somewhere that since the abolition of the private vows (which in my opinion were never vows at all) the superiors encourage members to squeal on others as always, calling it "charity" or "legionary charity". The Lord free us from 2legionary charity"!

After watching the Irish documentary, (especially that testimony of a former Novice whose sins were revealed in "avisos") and reading about these last comments on confession, I recalled that many priests loved to use stories of the confessions they've heard as interesting material for talks, retreats or spiritual excercises.

I remember in particular in one of those excercises a Priest shared a confession he heard while working in another country. I was a candidate at the time, and I knew that was just wrong. If that wasn't enough the priest said what the sin was and even said the name of the person.

At the time, I tried make up an excuse for the priest. Thinking that maybe it was an exception since the person was in another country. After all I thought he was a priest and had studied theology already, while I was a mere candidate.

But I still felt the need to make sure this was OK. About a year later in general confession I told the superior that I was having trouble with this experience and that I felt I shoud've done something about it.

He told me, "don't worry about it, it's probably nothing". Then I said, "Fr but he even said the name and the sin of the person"

His response? "No, no I don't think so. Don't worry about it".

I did forget about it until now. Right now I don't know what to do. I think this priest was working in Jerusalem. It has been ten years since all of this happened and I am just wondering what I should do now. I really wish I could do something about it, after all we are dealing with excomunication here. But after ten years of that one talk, the fact that I don't remember the name of the person (which I think is good), and the possibility of others present not remembering the story, I don't know if there could be a any chances of doing something about it. Any ideas?

Hope, please don't fret about this too much. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a third party (yourself) to present a case of a direct violation of the Seal, especially since so much time has passed, about a situation in which you were not directly involved, but only heard a priest say something that indeed seems like a direct violation.

For your own peace of mind, feel free to speak about the situation with a trusted spiritual advisor or counselor, but don't feel responsible for having to do something about it.

A blessed Easter to all on LARC! Christ is risen!

A blessed Easter to all!!

An announcement in the bulletin of our parish this Easter Sunday. "Spiritual Spa Day" - a woman's time for reflection. A Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Speakers, two RC consecrated women.

Honestly, I laughed. It is the perfect appeal "spa day" to the population of the parish. And so typically familiar of the way RC maneuvers and manipulates---picking up on whatever is popular and then inserting and promoting themselves into it. Certainly I am unable to identify any 'newness' in LC/RC to ways of proceeding or identification of charism, or any thing else that remotely presents authentic faith.

Fortunately, the Lord has freed me from being disturbed by it. RC consecrated have made several 'pushes' in this particular parish and within six months parishioners figure it out and ignore them. Then they stay away until the current consecrated get moved and new ones come in to try again. Obviously it is a parish with some money so they are always trying to find their way in. But to date, with very little success....the Lord is still with us.

@ Thomas: Thanks very much for your input. It is sincerely appreciated and helpful to the discussion.


@ Concerned: You may have a point that it could considerably difficult to prove that the seal of confession was violated in the example mentioned by Hope. However, from what I have read and discussed with others, it appears that there are other instances out there where this violation (by LC priests) is more clear cut and likely easier to prove.


Wish everyone at LARC a blessed Easter!

Concerned,

thanks for the advice. I feared it would come down to that. I find it very helpful to see what others might think about anything before I take action. I would most definitively consult with a spiritual guide, but I am almost sure he would tell me that if I try to do something it will be very difficult to prove.

But who knows, maybe as Frank has pointed out, form the stories we have shared here there might just be someone with enough proof and will to come forward and defend the seal's sacredness. I hope a good might come out of this.

Wish you all a very happy Easter!


Hope,
Your testimony is not an isolated incident. It was also the founder’s MO. The Vatican received reports since the 1940’s, that were either ignored or people were told to “forget it” (see AP’s report of translated letters http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/vatican-knew-decades-legion-problem-23403224 ). Despite “reforms”, the mea culpa, no one was held accountable as far as we know.

It seems to me that if enough people came forwards with specific accounts, this recurrent and quite serious breach of Canon Law could be exposed. Otherwise it risks repeating it self and hurt the Church further.

Not sure what other people think, but that is my two cents…

Regarding confessions, my first three superiors were my confessors and Spiritual Directors: Fr. James Mckenna LC, (now in Monterrey, Mexico) Fr. Eoghan Devlin LC (has left the priesthood) an Fr. Jesus Maria Delgado Vizcaino (Territorial Director for Europe).

From the start, we were told that the reason that the superior was also the confessor and spiritual director was because of the small size of the community and lack of Priests. It was explained to us that the legion had a special permission from the vatican to allow the superior to confess and hear SD as the legion was new and only had a small number of priests.

I didn't really know that this was a bad thing until they explained that it wasn't normal.

Early on we were told that we should bring up everything we confess in Spiritual Direction, that way the priest could really help us progress spiritually. We were told that the confessional had a specific purpose of forgiveness of sins, but that the spiritual work of a seminarian takes place outside of the confessional as well and SD was a vital part of that. Linked into this were the reform of life programmes, the daily conscience exams (with notes written down in a book) and our weekly practical exams (a quiz on our behaviour regarding a particular virtue or LC custom.

To put it into context: confession was part of one big conscience reflecting machine. We volunteered readily in SD all that we confessed, with particulars: In confession last tuesday I confessed that I was in the kitchen and took a banana which I ate without a fork while walking up the stairs two at a time. My hair wasn't parted.

SD then would look at this behaviour in depth.

Superiors made frequent written reports about each of us and sent them to the TD and the GD. The major superiors would read these reports. Each year, perhaps once, there would be a discussion based on these reports about each individual seminarian. The reports, therefore, included what was discussed in Spiritual direction (including what we brought up regarding confession), in written correspondence between the subject and the superior (we had a dependence book which we left with the superior most days. It detailed how our day had gone, particularly referring to our spiritual progress - what we did well or did wrong), and any other means that the superior had to write about us. We knew he could go into our rooms at any time and read the different notebooks we used for conscience exam, confession preparation etc. I have no doubt that these reports contained things known in confession whether they were re-learnt in spiritual direction or not: the subject would never know, and even if they found out it could be easily said that the report was made on what was learnt in Spiritual Direction, as surely confession was commonly discussed in SD.

In short, the idea of confession being a safe place was never held by a legionary seminarian. I think it was even suggested that we should talk about our confessions in SD to PREVENT our priests breaking the seal.

When I got to Salamanca, there were many more priests there, but still the practice had not changed. And in any case, if you did confess to a different LC priest, you knew you would bring it up in Spiritual Direction anyway.

I have no direct story of my confession being told, but I am convinced that my confessions were used in the reports that my superiors made.

Regarding the LC charism, many have stated that there isn't one and that there never has been one.

I disagree.

The Legion's charism, its purpose, has been very strong from its beginning until today: expansion.

Expansion of numbers.
Expansion of bank accounts/money.
Expansion of territory.

All legionaries, all RC have worked towards this at all times. Maciel had a very clear idea of what he wanted, it was the bulk of his talks and letters. It was taught to us time and time again: numbers numbers numbers!

This was explained as the formation of leaders (ie working with the rich to get their money and their influence and their sons and daughters and therefore their inheritances), as the establishment of the kingdom on earth - a literal establishment of buildings, universities etc

And all this with the tag: for the glory of god.

The Charism of a congregation or order outlines what the purpose of that group is. It outlines vaguely what they do, and why they do it.

Legionaries of christ build the kingdom. This means more legionaries, more money and more territory. It does so for God.

And I suppose that is what we would expect a Legion - an army - to do: invade territories allowing for the expansion of an empire and and turning over the wealth and assets to the leader.

The Legion of Christ has always had a charism, a very clear purpose.

"The Legion's charism, its purpose, has been very strong from its beginning until today: expansion.

"Expansion of numbers.
"Expansion of bank accounts/money.
"Expansion of territory."

And in service of this un-charism, the Three Cardinal Vices of the Cult:

Duplicity
Manipulation
Utilitarianism

(There probably are even more Cardinal Vices of the Cult...)

Aaron,

I'm way late with a response to your input, but better late than never.

Your comment from 04/22 at 5:31am is immensely helpful to the discussion, and a terrific addition to the historical record as well. You have very clearly detailed how the Legion plays a Hall of Mirrors game with internal and external forum. This is clearly an effort to exploit information learned in confession, while covering their tracks by taking the extracted information and moving it under the umbrella of spiritual direction.

HP's later comment about LC's anti-charisms of duplicity, manipulation, and utilitarianism fit perfectly into this picture.

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