Legionary Priest: “This Is More Than Just a Crisis In Management”

Legionary of Christ priest, Fr. Thomas Berg, a friend of mine whom I’ve quoted here before, has just released a new statement regarding the unfolding crisis in the Legion of Christ:

 
Dear everyone —
 
Christ’s peace.
 
I write to you this Sunday morning with my heart in my hand. I know personally that so many of our priests, section directors, have been working for hours on end, meeting with groups of RC, first to break the horrible news and then to accompany them, often themselves reduced to the point of tears. Then there have been the endless follow—up phone calls, private conversations. Believe me, we have all been trying to do everything possible to reach out to all of you personally.
 
But my heart aches because our best efforts have not been enough. I want to reach out to you as a brother and friend this morning and try to assure you, if nothing else, that we are here. I know further efforts are underway to attempt to respond more adequately and formally to the confusion you all feel, not to mention the hurt and betrayal. I beg you, in the midst of such pain and hurt, please bear with your directors.
 
At the same time, however, I also beg you forgiveness for the disastrous response which this crisis has received from our upper LC leadership. There is no other way to say it: in so many respects, Legionary superiors have failed, and failed miserably to respond adequately to this crisis, and not surprisingly, have engendered in many of you and understandable lack of confidence. Those are the facts and your reaction is natural and reasonable. With all my heart, on their behalf, I apologize. Our superiors are human instruments; I know in their hearts they have trying to do the right thing, under inhuman pressure. Please understand that.
 
I am not making any excuses, however, for the fumbled media responses (which I believe have been too often unfairly attributed to Jim Fair our communications director who needs your prayers and has earned a very high place in heaven for what he has had to endure this week), for the appearances of being less than forthcoming, for the lack of information, for the confusion of messaging. For that, there is no excuse in a way, and tragically is largely due to the ineptness of many of those in leadership positions to respond with expertise and diligence in a crisis management situation like this.
 
But it is more than just crisis management. The thing I am most pained about—I share this as a brother—is the near absence of but fleeting suggestions of sorrow, and of apologizing for the harm done, both to alleged victims of Maciel, and, frankly, to all of you. I am deeply, deeply sorry, and I personally apologize with my heart in my hand to each and every one of you.
 
I understand your feelings of betrayal. For twenty-three years I have loved and tried to follow Christ in the Legion. I can say before God, in spite of my many human frailties, I have been faithful. I have also, more than many of you to be honest, gone out on limb after limb, trying to defend Maciel. I have lived my priesthood always with that cloud hanging over me, always having to essentially apologize for being a Legionary. You feel betrayed? You feel rage? I can only say that the rage, and raw emotions that I have felt these past days (the hardest days of my entire life, emotions like I have never experienced) are only a glimpse of the unspeakable hell that victims of priest sexual abuse must go through. My thoughts and my heart have been so often with them these days…
 
I know that many of your are utterly confused about what you are feeling and about where we go from here. In no particular order, let me offer my advice and counsel as follows:
 
1. Most of you are going through the stages of mourning. Understand that and know what that means. This is a very useful site: http://www.cancersurvivors.org/Coping/end%20term/stages.htm
 
2. Keep talking to your section directors. Let them know how you feel. Let them know if you are satisfied with their response to you.
 
3. Many of you might find it to be a wonderfully freeing and healing experience to offer acts of reparation for those suffering the effects of priestly sexual abuse. You might also find it healing to reach out to persons who, in any way, have found themselves hurt by their experiences with the Legion or RC.
 
4. For your own spiritual needs right now:
 
a. Remember you are free to speak with anyone, inside or outside the Movement about your pain, your reactions to this tragic news, and for ease of conscience to speak to whomever you believe can best help you at this time. I would encourage you to reach out to and find guidance from priests whose holiness and sound judgment you trust, whether Legionaries or not.
 
b. Your spiritual experiences—even when they came through the letters of the Founder—are valid, and real. God was working through those instruments. The sad revelations about Maciel do not change that. Try to thank God for the past, and sing his praises for the way he has done in your lives through RC. Prayer of thankfulness will help you. Prayer of thanksgiving for this deliverance he has given us now, and for the purification which we are undergoing will also be very helpful.
 
c. If you still find the letters of the founder helpful in prayer, feel free to use them. But it is certainly OK to leave them aside. Remember that in many ways, the spirit and charism we have lived is Pauline. Continue to nourish your spirit on the letters of St. Paul.
 
d. In your meditation, go back to the bedrock truths of your life and ponder them serenely before God and let him use that meditation to soothe your hearts: the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Redemption, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, your Baptism, your call to a more deeply committed Christian life, and a loving meditation (“Mary meditated on all these things in here heart”) of all the wonders God has done in your life.
 
e. I also recommend using The Better Part by Fr. Bartunek, and any other spiritual writings be Legionary priests. You might find those helpful. Your section directors should also be able to point you in the direction of other sources on which to nourish your souls. Share your ideas with each other.
 
Finally, I encourage you to speak to Legionary leadership, and even in the form of petition letters, demand nothing less than full transparency regarding the case of Fr. Maciel. Demand that Fr. Alvaro seek an independent third party investigation (perhaps in the form of a temporary review board or Visitation team from the holy see) into uncovering any Legionaries who may have been accomplices to Maciel. Demand that a similar body guide Legionary leadership in introducing any needed reforms into the internal culture, methods and religious discipline of the Legion.
 
And remember: “Entrust your life to the Lord, and He will act.”

Let’s pray for each other. With all my love, gra
titude to all of you for your fidelity.

In Jesus,

Fr. Thomas Berg, LC
 
P.S. Please spread my message far and wide to as many RC members as you can.

41 Comments

  1. Adoro

    This just brought me to tears (which honestly isn’t hard). I can’t imagine being where LC/RC are right now, so I had to apply it to myself:I have 60+ followers. What if I revealed that I had committed X crime? Would that invalidate anything else I had sincerely stated? No…it wouldn’t take away my sincerity, even though I had realized while writing that what I was stating was not something I was living. Truth isn’t compromised by the messenger. Paul killed Christians. Peter denied Christ 3 times. ALL of the Apostles, except for John, ran away. Why should Maciel be any different? So he is a sinner. Pray for him. Pray for his followers, and pray that they can regroup after this. My heart and my tears go out to them.

  2. Mary-Catherine

    I am so glad someone in the Legion is admitting to how badly their top guys have been dealing with this. It must be said at the same time that the others (perhaps a bit lower on the Legionary ladder) like Father Thomas Berg, have been acting so admirably. I believe everything he says. He has wonderful advice and is truly thinking of everyone BUT himself in a time of heated crisis. A third party really must investigate. Imagine the rich source of grace and vocations that could result from a complete purging and renewal of all things Legionary! I pray they are able to save themselves and all the good they’ve done by re-founding.

  3. Our Family

    Thank you Fr. Thomas Berg! I hope this is not a goodbye and we won’t see you again since the Legion might move you to the deep of Mexico jungle because of this!

  4. nellie

    Because mankind is imperfectBecause each of us is an individualBecause God cannot be boxed or definedBecause Christ’s message has been twistedBecause of personal agendasBecause of personal need for power and controlBecause of unlimited discriminationBecause of brainwashingBecause of darkness or the absence of lightBecause of unqualified abuse in all areas… Leaders who knew Maciel was abusing boys and young men, and did nothing about it, chose to remain silent “to protect the church.” Where, in Scripture, does it say to do that? Nowhere. Those who set themselves up to the final authority on right and wrong will be brought to justice through civil laws, courts and settlements. Those who who blindly follow, without ‘hearing’ or understanding the massive damage done, deserve no mercy. Let them, then, experience the pain of abuse, let them walk in my shoes and let them hear the words authority in this church use to re-abuse us, before they throw us away like broken toys. Kay Goodnow8938 Cottonwood, UnitLenexa, KS 66215(913) 851-1702

  5. chimakuni

    When one follows a personality and not God, working through that person, then one is doomed to fail. For all men will disappoint and all men will fail. Only God does not disappoint.I am saddened by this news of the founder of the L C and the RC, but truly – follow Christ, not man.I have stayed away from Regnum Christi as the women all seemed a little bit too Stepford Wife-ish and those I spoke to would say Father’s name and always add “he is going to be a saint one day” in a tone that was spooky!None the less – I do feel sorry for those who were abused in this organization and I pray mercy for them.

  6. nellie

    My compassion is not with the Legionnaires or its leadership. For many years they have looked the other way as victims of Maciel came forward. Who believed or comforted them? How many Legionnaires decried them as liars and treated them as Christ was treated…ridiculed and rejected, while all the while Maciel continued to enjoy the privledges of leadership. When the cover up could no longer hold the truth, they sent Maciel off to prey….Save your tears and compassion for the victims. Beg their forgiveness and truly change the church so that it is a safe haven for all. I am not going to hold my breath….

  7. Convivialdingo

    Thank you for posting that. Defending the Faith means loving the Truth. Fr. Berg and all the faithful need our love and understand – and our support.We all should feel ashamed for those that perpetrated these sins and crimes – remember that our church is Universal, one body with Christ. Whether we like it or not.My prayers and sincerest empathies.

  8. Dani

    I got this letter this morning and have it on my facebook page.I’m an RC member and have been saying what he’s saying for days now.I admire him tremendously and I”m sorry for any times I too hurt the victims twice

  9. SMPTURLISH

    Because mankind is imperfectBecause each of us is an individualBecause God cannot be boxed or definedBecause Christ’s message has been twistedBecause of personal agendasBecause of personal need for power and controlBecause of unlimited discriminationBecause of brainwashingBecause of darkness or the absence of lightBecause of unqualified abuse in all areas… Leaders who knew Maciel was abusing boys and young men, and did nothing about it, chose to remain silent “to protect the church.” Where, in Scripture, does it say to do that? Nowhere. Those who set themselves up to the final authority on right and wrong will be brought to justice through civil laws, courts and settlements. Those who who blindly follow, without ‘hearing’ or understanding the massive damage done, deserve no mercy. Let them, then, experience the pain of abuse, let them walk in my shoes and let them hear the words authority in this church use to re-abuse us, before they throw us away like broken toys. Kay Goodnow

  10. marythemom

    I think Fr. Berg has a pastoral heart and really trying to help people. He his also being the most honest about communication failures at the top although I think he stop short of following that to it’s logical conclusion: that these failures do not just represent “confusion” or “pressure;” they represent unraveling cover-up. He does touch on that at the end when he says that full disclosure must take place, though.That being said, what sadly impresses me about this letter is the infantile state that membership in this group has left people. Everyone in this group is suppose to be spiritually well-formed, but they start flopping about like fish out the water over to what spiritual reading to do? Come on folks, you have the Bible, the Catechism all the documents of the Church and writings of all the saints online, even the liturgy of the hours is online. You have a parish where the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle. Yet these people need to be told what to read and how to care for themselves spiritually. I’m sorry, but this really is pathetic. Confirmed Catholics should not be such spiritual babies. Fr. Berg says RC spirituality is Pauline, so go read Augustine then… (or Luther. Martin, where are you when we need you?).What you RC people need to do is put down all the books and go for a hike, or relax and listen to some Mozart or go play hide ‘n’ seek with your kids. Go have some fun.

  11. Corinne Kirkpatrick

    Dear Fr. Thomas,Thank you sooo much for coming forth with this letter. This is what I am looking for in a leadership response from the Legion and Regnum Christi. Please keep up your hard work to bring the truth to light, although I’m sure you will suffer persecution within the Order and perhaps even within the Church. Know fully that there are RCs, who love the good things that come from the movement, but who love Christ and Truth more. We need you to help us let the superiors know that we will not blindly go on without full disclosure, and it’s not out of vain curiosity that we need it, rather it will be necessary to re-establish a broken trust between lay members and parts of the Legion. I, in turn, will do my part by letting those I have contact with, Legionary and RC, know that we require honesty, and that without that the whole thing loses credibility. One thing other lay RCs should think about, is that we alone are able to communicate in ways that our beautiful Legionaries cannot, and that is to ask the tough questions. Believe it or not, THIS is the way to ensure the longevity of RC.God Bless you Fr. Thomas.Corinne Kirkpatrick

  12. Jacqueline

    Fr. Berg’s letter demonstrates the devastation this scandal is causing the Catholic Church. Many seem to be under the illusion of being safe from the hurt of this recent scandal b/c they were not in RC or a LC, that is a sad and ignorant point of view. When members of the Catholic church are hurting, all should feel compassion, rather then pointing a finger to say “told you so.” Have we learned nothing from the victims of molestation; victims who have been hurting all of these years and felt litte compassion. Now is the time for Catholics everywhere to leave the judgement to Christ, and reach out a hand to everyone who is experiencing turmoil, whether it be a victim, a member of RC, or a LC. Describing members of the Church as “infantile” or “fish out of water” only passes on the lack of compassion, instead of rising to the occasion of following God’s Will each every day.Jackie Hunter

  13. marythemom

    No, Jacqueline, pointing out that membership in this group has reduced confirmed adult Catholics to spiritual infanitilism is part of exposing the damage this group has done to the Church all the while it was boasting of the superior spiritual formation it was giving people. Creating such dependency hurts the entire Church because it robs all of us of healthy functioning people. They have been trying to siphon off the cream of the crop of Catholics for years — and for what? To reduce them to spiritual babyhood. This is just one more outrage.Mary Kochan

  14. jlsesock

    Having been acquainted with members of RC for about ten years and being actively recruited by them to lead a Familia study, I would like to express my husband’s and my opinions about the group. My husband and I had concerns about the amount of time RC was expecting members to commit to apostolic work separating them from each other and from their families. We were uncomfortable with the way that the members and programs dealt with sexuality–in particular the interaction(or lack thereof) between the sexes. There seemed to be excessive control over the youth in their schools and spriritual directors discerning a vocation to RC/LC among the majority of youth at their camps and schools. The “seminaries” started isolating boys as young as 12 or 13 from their families and the outside world–particularly the opposite sex–only allowing a maximum of two or three weeks home a year. Families of religious(parents and siblings) are expected to contribute thousands of dollars a year to the group. All of this we observed before knowing anything about Fr. Maciel’s past.Concerning Fr. Maciel himself, we discovered that he had been turned down by at least two seminaries in Mexico, had charges of drug use brought against him, and accusations that sexual improprieties(homosexual and heterosexual) occurred from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. This seems more than a “fall” to us and more like a lifestyle. I have not read of any acknowledgment from Fr. Maciel personally about these deeds–no personal repentance has ever been reported publicly that I have been able to find. Being silenced by the Holy See is not the same as personal repentance.As far as Fr. Berg’s letter is concerned, it sounds very sincere but some are concerned that he is still manifesting cult-like control over RC/LC members. I am no expert in that area so will leave that discernment to others. I did notice, however, that his liberal use of capitalization–to the point of capitalizing even Visitation in the last paragraph–did not extend to the Holy See.

  15. Patrick

    There are two things that jump out about this letter that I find incredible and also very heartening. 1. Nowhere does he refer to Maciel as “Nuestro Padre.” In fact, he only ones calls him Fr. Maciel and refers to him only as Maciel as if he is someone outside of the Legion. That’s a good start. 2. He is self critical as well as critical of the official Legionary response. He is not reacting in the previously typical Legionary way. He’s being frank, honest, and attempting to get the leadership to respond correctly. In my limited experience with the Legion as a candidate and as an incoporated member of RC, I can tell you that there is a circle of very self satisfied men, who live very comfortable lives who will resist every attempt at full transparency and every attempt at reform that causes them to have to actually work and answer to someone other than themselves and the man they enabled for so many years. I am so excited that so many of my old friends who are Legionary priest of consecrated in RC will hopefully be allowed to be more themselves as they live the charism rather than being smiling automotons.

  16. Mrs. O'Riordan

    Fr. Berg is right; here’s another spin to “don’t shoot the messenger” , don’t make a false god of him either. God can chose a donkey to give sound advice, He can make water come out of a stone, heck sometimes He even uses the likes of me to say words of wonderful power and wisdom. So please dear RC members and Legionairy priest, hold on to the baby but do throw out the dirty water. My heartfelt prayers to you in this awful hour. – Blessings and love – Rene

  17. Jacqueline

    Mary, your comment only demonstrated yet more lack of compassion and furthur judgement on what constitutes a “healthy individual.” I am not sure if many of the people Jesus chose to surround himself, would meet your standards of a “healthy individual.” I have chosen to let God judge rather then me and place my Catholic morals and values at the fore front of my life. Hopefully guidance will be given from the Pope.God Bless, Jackie

  18. hrh

    So, after 23 years in the LoC cult, Thomas Berg decides to take a stand? For years, the rest of the world has known Maciel was a twisted, narcissistic pedophile, and more. Sounds like CYA time to me.Or mebbe he was just too busy drinking (or mixing!) the Kool-Aid to notice. LMAO.

  19. Patrick

    Mary and jlsesock have very insightful tings to say about this. I hadn’t really considered describing what I had observed as infantilism, but that seems appropriate in some cases. I was told during my candidacy that I should think of my afterlife as entering into a big football arena. I could choose to follow my vocation or not. If I chose to be Legionary when I entered the stadium it would be full of cheering people. Those would be all the people I had helped achieve salvation. If I decided not to accept my Legionary vocation there might be a few people in the stadium. In other words, the only way for me to achieve salvation and lead others to it was through the Legion.

  20. marythemom

    Well, now we don’t want to start calling sports analogies infantile or our homilists will all keel over. LOL.

  21. Kurtis

    Speaking as a former Legionary for 8 years I want to say that there are 2 victims here; the ones who recieved the abuse directly and the religious who dedicated their lives to the Charism of the Legion and its founders but from whom the folly of their founder was kept secret. Now the shame of the father must be carried by the children. On the other hand, I would not be the man that I am today if it wasn’t for the solid and spiritual formation that I recieved in the Legion. I was truly changed for the better and I have seen the transformation that they have brought forth in the lives of many people. This is truly a group of men and women who love Christ in a radicle way and are giving of themselves in a heroic manner. All religious are like men and women who go out and find a cave in order to devote themselves to God. In this case, the honest men and women who gave themselves to God in the Legion found a cave that had dirty little secrets buried there, secrets that they didn’t know about. This does not invalidate their self giving, this does not make their spiritual experiences void. In the whole history of the Church there has not been one sinless founder and not one sinless Pope. The whole people of God stands more on the Mercy of God than on anything else. I think this experiece just brings that all into focus once again. In the end, justice must be done, and there must be an inquiry with all those responsible for the cover up held responsible. If the Legion gets through this crises in the proper way with a really deep reflection on who they are they will emerge from this even stronger.

  22. Patrick

    Sorry, Mary, I was trying to make a point about how they try to create dependence. Also, I have expressly forbade all of my friends who are priests to eever tell golf stories during homilies. It’s obnoxious.

  23. Tami

    Similar to Kurtis, I also gave 5 ½ years of my life to the RC Movement. I am both shocked and hurt by the recent news about Fr. Maciel, but also do not regret my time spent with RC. The integral formation I received was priceless, and I developed an even greater love for my faith. I also came out of it with a great knowledge of the Spanish language, which has helped me find meaningful employment for the past several years. I am saddened by the fact that so much was kept secret, that we were ingrained with a deep love for the founder and that we were told that all of the accusations were untrue, but as many have mentioned, it is God’s work and not Fr. Maciel’s. I remain filled with hope looking back at St. Augustine, former popes and Church leaders who have been instruments in God’s hands despite their weakness and sins. Even St. Peter denied Christ and then went on to build His Church.Let us all join together in prayer, in faith, hope and love.

  24. Patrick

    I’m waiting for that duplicitous man’s picture to be removed fro the Legion’s web site. I know the Legion is very good at removing any trace of a person having ever been a member. They might consider expending some of that talent on removing Maciel’s mug from their web site.

  25. Burt

    It is not judgement is is discernment that Catholics in or out of LC are expressing here. We need to figure out what structures within this group were in place to allow Maciel to lead this double life. And, who can we trust in this group. Who knew the truth and said nothing. So, yes, we need to discern. It’s ironic that members of LC/RC feel upset about being judged. The critics of the group have been judged for years. It was a sin to criticize, Taboo…No talky…The victims of abuse were judged as works of the Devil conspiring against the Legion. Although, I don’t believe we should ever judge, we do need to use commen sense and made prudent discernments regarding this group

  26. Meredith

    The Legion and RC are a part of the body of Christ, whether you agree with their charism, or their mission. The bitterness and glee that I read in some of these posts saddens me. Not for myself, a member of RC, but for the souls that write with such self-righteousness. To feel such contempt for something, no matter how flawed, that has been approved by our Holy Father as a work of the Holy Spirit, is sad. All movements have their place in the Church, serve a purpose. We are all working for the same good, to build our beloved Mother Church. The vast majority of the people I know are sincerely seeking to do God’s will in their vocations as mothers and fathers. To live out their baptismal promises, to walk every day with Christ, through not only our prayer commitments but regular particpation in the sacraments. It is not easy, but give these souls credit for trying. Remember, that is what each of us are, we are all children of God, souls. I pray for all parts of Christ’s Church. I am deeply saddened, troubled and broken that our Founder was capable of such evil acts. That is what has most of us reeling. It is difficult to reconcile the good that I have seen in my own life through the Movement, with what I am slowly learning about Maciel. Pray for these young priests who have given their lives to CHRIST, not a man, to your Church. And be assured, we are all praying and sacrificing for the victims that are out there, asking for more clarity and answers. Most of all we are continuing our walk with Christ, doing as Pope Benedict has asked, to carry on, to be who we are called to be.

  27. Burt

    Meredith,As a exrc member…My sentiments are not glee. Give me a break. It is relief that justice MAY finally be given to people who have been suffering for years!!!!! The people of RC/LC have given a blind eye to the victims of this abuse as well as ex members who were not treated in a Christian manner. Thank God the truth is out. Hopefully with more clarity sooner than later.

  28. Meredith

    Burt, Sorry, I did not intend my post to be a response to your specific post. I have no quarrel with any thing you had to say; I agree with you. It was more a comment on many of the previous posts. I apologize for any offense given. Actually, I didn’t intend to offend anyone at all. I just find it hard to see how the LC/RC situation, is something to take a vicious kind of pleasure in.(Not on your part) As an opportunity to attack something that is a part of our Church. We are not separate from the Church. Some seem to think this doesn’t hurt every Catholic who strives to live their faith and loves the Church. Iam sorry if you, as an ex RC member, was not afforded every charity from people you prayed and learned with, since charity is what we should excell in. RC doesn’t work for everyone, and every section has its weaknesses. I, too, pray for justice for all LC and RC may have hurt.

  29. Patrick

    Sorry Meredith but there is great satisfaction in being vindicated. I find it difficult to muster any pity for the LC/RC members who went along blindly with the man for so many years. I mean, I get it. I was an ardent defender of Maciel all throughout college and several years afterward. I wrote letters to him and received two letters in response. That’s a big deal. I was enamored. But I knew, not so deep down, that something was not right. I knew it, but my desire for it all to be so perfect and so incredible initially caused me to ignore all the warning signs. So, my feeling is not glee. It’s relief, vindication, and happiness that the tructh that has been staring the members of LC and RC in the face for decades is finally apparent to them. They can cry and mourn all they like. They should. Then they should individually and collectively repent for their freely chosen ignorance and all the people they left by the raodside along the way because addressing people who were hurt or abandoned by the Legion was not essential to their so-called mission.

  30. Patrick Madrid

    Just to avoid any confusion, I am not the “Patrick” who is posting here.

  31. Patrick

    Sorry Patrick, I usually use the inital of my last name as well. PatrickP

  32. Meredith

    Dear Patrick (not Madrid),Just for clarity, the Legion does not have a “so-called mission”, it is sanctioned by the Pope and the Church, they do have a real mission in building the Church. I’m sorry you were hurt by it. I hope that the changes and comments coming from the Legion and RC will in some small way be able to bring you peace. I never was a huge, over the top Fr. Maciel fan. I respected him for what little I knew of him. I have been in the Movement for 6 years. Most of that time I have spent reading the Gospel, the Catechism, the writings of the Pope, Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid, and others as well as some Fr. Maciel. I guess for me he was a resource. Mostly, I was trying to learn more about my faith, to walk humbly with God. I am a mother who was teaching CCE at my parish, going to encounters, formation talks, trying to go to daily mass with four small children. I was tyring to tranmit my faith to them. I formed real friendships with other women who were trying to do the same. The “big picture” of RC was not relevant, or at least not a huge part of my life. Did I freely chose ignorance? Perhaps. I felt uncomfortable in 2006, and I didn’t go anywhere with it. Shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with breast cancer and found myself in a battle very different from spiritual battles. The Movement and the LC who were here in our community, as well as my parish priest and friends helped me through that. They continue, all of these people, to help me. At 42, I find myself in a high-risk pregnancy with my 5th child, something after cancer, I never thought to experience again. I am bringing a new soul into this world to know, love and serve God and His Church, in no small part because of the formation I have received through the Legion and RC. Believe it or not, I am relieved and glad that the truth is out for all of us, for the Church. It is a time for purefication and repentance. I hope you can let go of your bitterness and find it in your heart to forgive the failings of weak humans. Not so much for their sake, but for your own.

  33. Patrick

    Meredith, when I used the phrase “so-called mission” what I was getting at was that the Legion has tended to ignore a bigger part of our “mission” as Christians in order to focus solely on their particular work. If ignoring people you have hurt and dismissing their very human needs for some sort of reassurance or consolation is part of the mission of the Church, then I want no part of it. I left the Legionary candidacy of my own accord after three months and sent a letter requesting to be officially removed from membership in RC about eight years later. But do you know that when someone is asked to leave the Legion they just disappear? No goodbyes. No being able to quietly wish their friends and brothers well. Just gone.

  34. jlsesock

    Having noticed several people stating that LC/RC was a movement of the Holy Spirit, I would like to make a comment. Determining whether or not this movement was an action of the Holy Spirit would seem to need the knowledge of the motivation of Fr. Maciel in the beginning. If his intent from the beginning was one of deception, the Holy Spirit may not have had anything to do with the movement. Or, if he was psychologically disturbed, the same could be true. Since he never went through the normal seminary process, who was he accountable to? It is not beyond possibility that he may have been a Communist plant set to destroy the Church. (He admitted to using Communist techniques in the movement.) Since the movement has made tremendous inroads into so many areas of the Church, its influence is quite large for such a small group. If the movement is to continue, there needs to be many issues addressed before it becomes active in the Church again. Many of the methods used by the order would seem to be spiritually, psychologically and emotionally damaging to many of the members.

  35. Burt

    Meredith,Thank you for your response. Part of the healing process is to work through a variety of emotions…That is healthy and normal. We all will (hopefully) come to forgiveness and healing in our own time. God bless you with your pregnancy!

  36. Tami

    jlsesock,I would like to know where you get your information from, especially concerning acusations of drug use (in your earlier post)and use of Communists techniques. What are your sources? I don’t think the point is to dig up dirt on a dead man, but rather to reevaluate, make changes, purge, purify and move on. Many are grieving, many are hurt, many are angry, but God is still in charge.

  37. Patrick

    especially concerning acusations of drug use (in your earlier post)What are your sources? The Vatican. An investigation was conducted long ago. don’t think the point is to dig up dirt on a dead man, but rather to reevaluate, make changes, purge, purify and move onSorry. Tami. But, NO! You don’t get to “move on” so easily. This isn’t like getting your kids to admit they stole a piece of candy from the Brachs display at the market, admonishing them, then moving on. This will take a very long time. This vile man needs to be dragged out into the light of day and every last vestige of his “dirt” made public. I know it hurts LC and RC people, but that is just too bad. Their “Padre” didn’t just hurt them. He hurt the entire Church. If I were in the Legion I would demand his image and story be removed from the web site and official literature and that his body be moved to a random cemetery marked with his name, date of birth, and date of death and then they can begin to sift through the mess he left behind, starting with all the people who consciously enabled him. PatrickP

  38. jlsesock

    To all RC/LC members:I have not been bringing up the things I have mentioned to dig up dirt about a dead man but to try to make sense of his life. When one looks into Maciel’s life, it seems clear to me that he was not “falling” but was living a lifestyle. He was rejected from seminaries in the 1930’s, had allegations of drug addiction and sex abuse beginning in the 1950’s and continuing for many years and now his fathering of a daughter in the 1980’s. It would seem that he must either be quite pschychologically disturbed or he was deliberately trying to deceive for whatever reason. What you are going through is something that has occurred at various levels in other groups as well. The Charismatic community has had several tragic instances of scandal among it’s well-known leaders and very unhealthy control over various communities that had formed. The Marian movement has had several cases of false apparitions causing conflict in the followers between believing the apparition and believing the Church hierarchy.I have been personally involved in the Charismatic movement and had friends and family who were involved in the Marian movement and RC/LC. I know how difficult it is when someone you trusted, believed in and promoted turned out to be someone other than who you thought they were. It has caused me to be very cautious and discerning about all of these things. I try also to not discount concerns that others express to me about these various groups and do my own research before getting involved in any of it. Satan is active and trying as hard as he can to deceive us and separate us from the Church. As I told friends who were following a false Marian apparition–Satan will do anything he can to get you out of the Church–even by praying the Rosary if it is centered around a false apparition.Please know that I am not your enemy but only trying to help you come to terms with a very tragic reality–some of you are my friends and family. May God be with you all.

  39. Theresa

    Dear Father Berg, Thank you for being courageous. I hope your American conferes will support your efforts to find the truth and reform the order. I worked for NCE for two years and I witnessed things that scandalized me. The work ahead will not be easy. Please know that many laypeople and priests have given their lives, much money, and time to LC/RC works. For them I have great pity and I will keep all in my prayers. May God have mercy on all.

  40. Tom and Carrie

    I hope that in the midst of all of this we can remember that this movement and its charism have been approved by the Church. Whether Maciel had motives that were suspect when he began the Legion and RC or whether he suffered from mental illness does not detract from the fact that it forms part of the Church, which Christ promised would not err. So when dragging out the laundry list of reasons why the Legion and RC have harmed the Church, let’s keep in mind that not only has it been approved by the Church and re-affirmed by our current Holy Father, but he has asked it to continue its work and to grow in the wake of such facts about the founder coming to light. Whatever happens we must keep our hearts centered on building up Christ’s Church instead of letting bitterness enter in and divide us. Let’s keep in mind what St. Augustine tells us: “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity.” God bless you all.

  41. marythemom

    Tom and Carrie, please bear with me in this honest question. The decision regarding approval of a congregation is prudential and not infallible. In the case of the LC/RC there has been dishonesty and manipulation at the top, involving we do not know how many people for decades. Since the Holy See would be relying upon these same dishonest people for any information upon which to base decisions about the group, how do we know they haven’t been dishonest with the pope? I mean, we know Maciel was dishonest with JPII, right? So how do we know any of the other guys at the top have been honest with B16? Can you understand me having that question and not being able to put too much too much stock in this whole Church approval argument at this time?Please do not take offense. I am not in any way trying to put you down. I am sure you are sincere and good people. But this just does not sound credible.

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