Thursday, October 23, 2014


Fighting evil in the Church is nothing new. In fact, that is where Christ warned us where we'd find it. (Mt. 24:15) We shouldn't be surprised. Satan hates Jesus Christ. And while he can't attack Christ directly, he does attack his Bride. 

To give some perspective to what we're going through, recently we canonized a pope who unknowingly protected and assisted the very growth of the "filth in the church" that his successor finally confronted and dismantled. 

One of Pope John Paul II's most favored and protected groups was the Legionaries of Christ, and he often bestowed great words of blessing and encouragement on its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel. 

It was easy to see why. At a time when vocations around the Catholic world were vastly declining, Maciel built a veritable empire of vocations. No one was producing more priests than Fr. Marcial Maciel and because of it, he was elevated to a special place of personal favor by Pope John Paul II. 

In addition, the Legionnaires companion lay organization, Regnum Christi, was growing just as fast, and together, especially due to the massive amounts of money the two groups were accumulating, were becoming the premier force in the church with Pope John Paul II along for the ride.

For years, complaints had been sent to Rome about the sexual molestation of young boys by Fr. Maciel as well as many other cult-like practices of the Legionaries. But even while these complaints poured in, Pope John Paul II continued to laud its founder and bless and "approve" Maciel and his movements. 

Pope Benedict, while still the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, apparently knew well what was going but could do little so long as Maciel and his groups were protected by the pope. 

Upon being elected pope himself, one of Benedict's first acts was to investigate the Legionaries and remove its founder who died soon after. The investigation and reordering of the Legionaries and the Regnum Christi group continued under Benedict and is apparently still going on under Francis. 

In 2009, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, the then Archbishop of Baltimore, had some things to say about the Legion that sound ominously familiar to us in Guam. (The difference is of course that Baltimore had a bishop who was looking out for the good of the whole diocese.)

  • Concerned that the Legion of Christ stifles the free will of its members and lacks transparency, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien told the religious order’s director general that he cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone join the Legion or Regnum Christi, its affiliated lay movement.
  • “It seems to me and many others that this was a man (Fr. Maciel) with an entrepreneurial genius who, by systematic deception and duplicity, used our faith to manipulate others for his own selfish ends,” 
  • Saying that the Legion’s founder “leaves many victims in his wake,” the archbishop called for the “full disclosure of his activities and those who are complicit in them or knew of them and of those who are still refusing to offer disclosure.”
  • He added that the finances of the order should be opened to “objective scrutiny.”
  • Archbishop O’Brien said he has grave concerns that the Legion fosters a “cult of personality” focused on Father Maciel.
  • “While it’s difficult to get a hold of official documents,” Archbishop O’Brien said, “it’s clear that from the first moment a person joins the Legion, efforts seem to be made to program each one and to gain full control of his behavior, of all information he receives, of his thinking and emotions.”
  • The archbishop said many members who leave the order suffer “deep psychological distress for dependency and need prolonged counseling akin to deprogramming.”
  • Saying that “I know that there are good priests in the movement” and acknowledging that Legion members are in full accord with the theological teachings of the church, the archbishop also said some of the practices of the movement are unhealthy.
  • “This is not about orthodoxy,” he said. “It is about respect for human dignity for each of its members.”
  • The archbishop noted that he has heard reports that the movement claims that the first duty of a Legionary is to love the Legion.
  • Such policies subject a person’s use of reason not to one’s own judgment, Archbishop O’Brien said, but to a spiritual director.
  • “It’s been said that the founder is alone called ‘nuestro padre’ (‘our father’) and that no one else can have that title,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “All are bound to identify with him in his spirit, his mind, his mission and in his life. This would suggest that the very basis of the Legion movement should be reviewed from start to finish.”
Now notice what its defenders say. Also sounds ominously familiar. The only difference with the neocats is that their founder has not yet been deposed and is still alive:
  • Jim Fair, a U.S. spokesman for the Legion who said that revelations about Father Maciel have been a “great shock” and “great disappointment” to members, but that the order has achieved “very positive things” for the church.
  • “We’re processing that mystery, that the Holy Spirit could use what was very clearly a flawed instrument to do good,” Mr. Fair said. “The Holy Spirit does that with all of us. We think it did it with Father Maciel. So while this is certainly disappointing, we have a charism that is approved by the church and we’ll continue to work on behalf of the church on our various apostolic works.”
I am normally not a fan of the exposes of the Church done by the likes of PBS and the History Channel, but enough now is known about the history of the Legionaires and its founder to substantiate most of what is said on this PBS special about the Legion. The program is about an hour long. You'll shake your head when you realize that Kiko and his Way have cultivated the same path to power that enabled Maciel to ultimately severely damage many people even if sexual abuse is not (yet) part of Kiko's legacy. 


  1. Glad to be Back to Holy Mother ChurchOctober 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Throughout the ages man has tried to use God as a means to gain advantage over other men. This is not to say that all religions are evil. They are not. Most are genuinely interested in bringing people to a closer relationship with God, to a love that knows no end. But all legitimate religions must be on guard against the possibility of being used by men with selfish intentions.
    We saw these selfish actions, or desire for power in South America with the James Jones cult. The influence of an individual was so strong that Jimmy Jones convinced most people to drink poisoned Kool Aid to kill themselves before authorities arrived. Those that didn't voluntarily follow his command to drink were summarily shot and executed.
    In the US, we saw in Waco Texas how the charismatic David Koresch controlled the lives of others. Again, when it was all ready to crumble, Mr Koresch was able to convince his disciples to follow him to the death.
    In the Catholic Church, while we are a huge organization, we too need to be extremely cautious and vigilant against individuals desiring to use the legitimate Church for selfish reasons. Power and personal financial gain can be very strong motives to cause someone to stray from the Godly path, to a path of abuse.
    Our Church in Rome has acted against such groups, but as you point out Mr Rohr, it sometimes takes time for these changes/corrections to occur.
    The good news is that we can help Rome. By our vigilance against such abuses, we can start to raise the alarms in the hierarchy that something is amiss. This may currently apply to our discussion on the NCW, but we should also be mindful that this can happen in any group. We must be ready to expose this selfish corruption at any level, even if it involves our own Archbishop. The people of Guam must raise our voices in unison so that we can assist Rome in clearing the evil that has penetrated the Church.
    As good Catholics, we have a responsibility to speak out, and I hope all people are willing to speak of what they know. Together we will make our Church better. Jesus expects nothing less.

  2. Anthony Apuron face of Satan .

  3. “Be careful who you trust, the devil was once an angel.”

    ― Ziad K. Abdelnour

    1. Dear Jerry,
      thank you for the quote, but you could have chosen a better example of rectitude than Mr Abdelnour.

  4. The analogy with the Legion of Christ, is very appropriate both with the Archbishop, but certainly with the NCW as well.

    The Archbishop lack of moral compass mixed with his thirst for power is comparable with Father Maciel's, albeit not at the same level of success in his evil deeds.

    As far as the NCW the comparison is quite appropriate in the cultist approach to Evangelization and the god like worship of its leader (s).

    The use of secrecy, the sense of guilt imposed on its flock, the radicalisation of its followers, and the peddling of influence at all levels, but certainly in the Curia as well is strickingly similar.
    The desperation for vindication of all what is NCW also resembles the modus operandi of the legion of Christ.
    Lets hope that Pope Francis will act with better speed, to this clear and present danger to our Church, that his predecessors did.

    1. Agreed, but I must attribute the quote to the (presumably) proper source, and it was just too apropos to not use. My apologies. "Even a broken clock is right twice a day" ...Steven Hunt...(supposedly his quote, but I have serious doubts about that too)

  5. I had never heard of the NCW until this summer after speaking briefly with a youth from Guam studying stateside. From the few moments of talking with this person, I felt sadness. The two points that struck me was that the youth had left the church and the strangeness of the NCW in calling his/her mother back to Guam for an important NCW meeting after only being stateside for a few hours to visit her family.

    From what I have read here and elsewhere it very much seems to have many cult like characteristics like the Legion. I pray that your island's efforts to enlighten the Vatican will succeed. Fortunately the NCW has not arrived in my diocese, but it appears they are are growing in the diocese I was raised in, who now even have a neo bishop under Pope Francis.

    I would like to think the Vatican will squash this movement but they have let it go on 50 years and seem to not even be objecting the the liturgical differences as much under Pope Francis as the previous Pope. (Please enlighten me if wrong.) One would think after 70 years, cult activities, and molestation of youth, the Legion would be squashed. It has not. They are appointed a new leader but it continues on. Let us hope with time under new leadership the group mentality will change.

    The NCW has at least two attributes that attract favor in the Vatican- evangelism and the ability to attract new seminarians. The Legion had the ability to attract new seminarians and money to the church.

    Perhaps if enough people yell loud enough the Vatican will realize that although these moments may cause a few to become more active in the church and cause some new converts, it is also causing many to leave the church and is hurting families. One can only pray.

  6. Although the anger of many of the island is just, remember it should be directed at the Archbishop and those at higher levels in the NCW. The Archbishop wanted to gain power and favor within the church by letting the NCW grow on the island. It looked wonderful that he was producing priests and missionaries. The young men in his NCW seminary and those that have been ordained may also be victims. They have been brain washed into the NCW and its zeal.

    Unfortunately Apuron has not been the man Archbishop O'Brein is. O'Brein banned the Legionaries from spiritual direction for those under 18 due to "heavily persuasive methods on young people, especially high schoolers, regarding vocations." “I want to ensure that encouragement of vocations is carried out in a way that respects the rights of parents in the upbringing of their children and the rights of young persons themselves to be able to make free and fully informed decisions about their futures,” O’Brien wrote.

    The greed for power and prestige in the upper levels of the NCW and in Apuron is behind the storm on Guam.


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