Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recent thoughts on the Legion of Christ




So here's the deal. I was in a Legionary house of formation for the priesthood for four and a half years, starting in 1996 and ending in 2000. I was a first hand witness to a lot of the crap that went on there. In my defence, I joined when I was thirteen years old and assimilated into the culture with all the ease of someone of my age, therefore I never spoke out against it and if I had I would not have been there for one year never mind four.


The reason I bring this up is because I had recent cause to view photos on facebook taken by a friend of mine and fellow ex Legionary, that were taken when we were children in attendance at Immaculate Conception Apostolic school in Center Harbour, New Hampshire. One of the photos was of Fr. Marcial Maciel waving to us adoring young boys. This got me thinking about the man we all called Nuestro Padre.


When I was at the apostolic school we all had to attend history of the Legion classes. In these classes we all had to memorize facts about the Legion. These were memorized in a question/answer format much like the one used by the Baltimore Catechism. One of the questions we had to memorize was the name of the founder. Marcial Maciel Degallado Guizar Valencia. Obviously he had a first name, Marcial. A last name, Maciel, followed by the names of mother's parents names Guizar Valencia. He was the grand nephew of St. Raphael Guizar Valencia.


It was this great-uncle whose clandestine seminary Marcial joined as a young man during the Cristero revolution. He was kicked out of this seminary not long after joining. We were told that poor Marcial was persecuted by other seminarians and priests who did not understand his piety. We now know that it was not for this reason that he was kicked out at all as has recently come to light. He was kicked out for his lack of chastity. In fact, Marcial was kicked out of seminaries all over the country until he managed to form his own order, which he called the Legionaries of Christ. (I think he had a different name for it back in the forties but I can't remember off the top of my head).


I have long since lost all contact with the Legion except for one brother of mine who is still a member. I have been contemplating sending a letter to the Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, who has been charged by the holy father with the Apostolic visitation of the Legionary houses of formation. In this letter I would outline my experiences for his benefit. Are their any thoughts out there on this proposed letter?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most certainly you should send Archbishop Chaput a letter. He will read and respond to it. He has to me in the past, even about this topic (before the visitation was ordered)

Here's his website and contact info:

http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/8/ARCHBISHOP-CHAPUT/

Jack Keogh said...

I agree you should send your letter. Otherwise it will be chewing you up on the inside! My guess is the Archbishop should have a pretty good understanding of the LC by now. The dilemma he'll be facing is whether to throw the baby out with the bath water. The fact that your brother is an LC gives you a useful perspective. I left some twenty five years ago - it's still in my system! I've been running a blog called www.MonkWhoStoleTheCow.com
It's a prelude to my memoirs which are about to be published. I am still amazed how the LC experience has affected so many people in so many ways! There are many ex, not very vocal, who think being in the LC or RC was a great experience. For me, I'll try to be neutral about the congregation, even though once you leave you are ignored as a "traitor." Maciel is another kettle of fish - but at what point do you stop flogging a dead horse? Nice blog!

Anonymous said...

I´M GONNA WRITE IN SPANISH BECAUSE MY ENGLISH IS NOT SO GOOD, BUT ANY WAY YOU´LL FIND SOMEONE TO TRASLATE MY COMMENTS. YO VIVI EN LA ESCUELA QUE USTED REFIERE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION APOSTOLIC SCHOOL, LABORE PARA LA INSTITUCION POR MAS DE UN AÑO A PESAR DE SER UN TRABAJADOR ME ENVOLVI EN LA COMUNIDAD TANTO CON EL DIRECTOR DE LA ESCUELA (FR. EDUARDO DE LA TORRE) CON EL PADRE PATRICK WALSH, LOS HERMANOS THOMAS BERG, EL HERMANO JEROME, EL HERMANO PETER DE LOS QUE NO RECUERDO SUS APEIDOS YA QUE YO ESTUVE CON ELLOS A PRINCIPIOS DE LOS NOVENTAS, YO ERA UN EMPLEADO PERO LOS NIÑOS DE LA COMUNIDAD ME QUERIAN MUCHO,LEYENDO ESTE ARTICULO BUSQUE LAS POCAS FOTOS QUE TENGO DE ELLOS, PARA MI FUE INOLVIDABLE TRABAJAR Y VIVIR DENTRO DE LA COMUNIDAD, YO NUNCA VI NADA MALO EN EL TRATO HACIA LOS NIÑOS, DE PARTE DE LOS SACERDOTES O DE LOS MAESTROS, ES LAMENTABLE QUE TU EXPERIENCIA AYA SIDO DESAGRADABLE, POR CIERTO NO VOLVI A TENER CONTACTO CON NINGUN MIEMBRO DE LA COMUNIDAD, HOY LEI TU ARTICULO POR CASUALIDAD Y ME ATREVI A COMENTAR, MI ESTADIA FUE MUCHO MEJOR QUE LA TUYA Y ESO QUE YO ESTABA TRABAJANDO.