Truth will free you from possession

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - Jesus, (John 8:32)

"I am the way, the truth, and the life" - Jesus, (John 14:6)

Both of Our Lord's sayings come to mind as I ponder recent revelations concerning Fr. Maciel. What's damaging to the Legion is not the revelations themselves. Reasonable people, Catholic or not, have long ago concluded Fr. Maciel was a fraud and a scoundrel. So what's damaging to the Legion is that they were not more forthcoming with the truth about their founder, or with an apology to his numerous victims.

In a word, the scandal here is the coverup. The attempted coverup, for so many years, is why the Legion appears so helpless as the facts unfold.

Two autumns ago, while camouflaged in the Northern Ontario wilderness waiting for a bear to sniff out day-old doughnuts at the foot of the tree-stand, I read a report of a true exorcism. It had taken place around the turn of the 20th Century. I believe the report was written by a priest who played a role in the exorcism.

The possessed was like most LC/RC members I have met during my lifetime. She was a devout Catholic, she prayed her rosary regularly, and she had a strong desire to receive the sacraments and grow in holiness. But something stood in the way of her spiritual growth.

That something was a devil (ironically, when pushed by the priest to name himself, I believe the devil claimed to be the Legion who Christ confronted in the Gospels) along with the condemned soul of the possessed's father. The latter was an immoral scoundrel in life, who had attempted to rape his own daughter. When she rebuffed his incestuous advances, he cursed her to the devil. And upon his death he joined the devil in his daughter's possession. Thus even in death the father continued to impede his daughter's relationship with Christ.

Why do I mention this? Besides the obvious metaphor, another important bit of information was revealed during the actual exorcism. The exorcist began casting out devil and demon, but they entrenched themselves even more strongly in the woman's body. They then made it known that they wouldn't leave without a fight. Thus they attempted to sow discord among the exorcist and his human assistants by blurting out their past sins.

Shocked, one of the assistants asked the devil why he hadn't mentioned a major sin in the assistant's life. Apparently the sin was known in the community.The devil resisted answering the question, if I recall correctly, until the exorcist ordered him to do so in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Because you have confessed it before the priest and received absolution," the devil said. "Those sins are cut off to me."

In other words, we may bear temporal consequences for our sins even after confessing them, but they are cut off to the devil. The evil one can only hold power over us through that evil in our lives that remains unconfessed before God. Thus Christ really is the truth, and truth really will set you free.

Now analogies can only carry so far, and I would be a fool to claim that every member of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi is possessed by the devil. Heck, it would be just as foolish for me to claim the majority (or even a large minority) are possessed. However, although far from an expert in demonology and exorcism, I believe the Legion of Christ as an entity may be haunted by a demon. This demon may be spiritual, or it may be psychological, or perhaps it is both. I'm not an expert, I don't know.

But this demon is Fr. Maciel. As long as the truth of his sins remains hidden, the devil will continue to hold a certain power over the Legion and Regnum Christi, working the evil of Fr. Maciel's sins in the shadows, and impeding the spiritual growth of the Fr. Maciel's spiritual children.

There is but one means to expel this demon: Embrace the truth and make it known. Renounce Fr. Maciel, his sins, and his influence over the movement. (And part of this process must include an apology to Fr. Maciel's victims, along with offers of restitution.) Embrace the truth, embrace Christ who is the truth, and use the truth to bring freedom to countless members of LC/RC seeking sincerely to serve Christ.


Powerful and insightful analogy. It would certainly explain why anyone in LC/RC would be "at peace" with what's going on - these children are inadvertently walking in darkness. While no, not everyone in those organizations is possessed (especially those calling for truth and clarity, those who have written to the apostolic vistators, and those who are leaving, quietly or otherwise); nevertheless, if the institution is under the power of a demon that obviously affects many in the institution, esp. the leaders. This goes for every RC section ass't, spiritual guide, group/team leader, section coordination team member, head of apostolate, and local Mission Network Director, as well as the national directors and, of course, the LC superiors and directors. That's quite a lot of folks.

As RC gears up for the new academic year your section leaders will likely be contacting you for "dialogue". And of course the section dues letter has probably just been issued or is about to end up in your inbox. Keep in mind Mr. Vere's analogy as you answer that phone call or e-mail.

While I appreciate the analogy used in Mr. Vere's entry, I have to mention that he underestimates the power of God in working through sinners. Even those sins forgiven in the sacrament of confession can be brought to light by other human beings who were aware of them during the sinner's lifetime.
I might ask the writer to consider another analogy. Let's say that, perhaps, your father or mother, or someone that you held in the highest regard was accused of having committed grievious sins during his/her lifetime. Are you responsible for the sins of your father/ mother of which you were unaware? Perhaps the ONLY people who were aware of the sins of Fr. Maciel had heard of them in his confession. They are under the sacramental seal and cannot disclose any information. Until the allegations are verified and new evidence is examined, the Legion cannot make an official statement on them. The Legion of Christ HAS apologized for the sins of its founder. Even you said, in the quoted passage below from Zenit, that there are good works within the Legion and Regnum Christi.
"Pete Vere, canon lawyer and author of several books on the Code of Canon Law, told ZENIT that there is no need for the Legion to leave aside its founder.

'Being honest about the founder, and saying that the founder made mistakes and that maybe the founder did things for the wrong reasons, and maybe some of the things he did were wrong ... I think that type of openness and transparency will allow [the Legion] to go on," he said. "Obviously given the size and given the effect they've had on the Church, there is something good there.'"(Zenit 2009-02-02)
Do St. Augustin's sins discredit the good things that he taught?
I have been called by God to the charism of the Regnum Christi Movement. It is my vocation, my way of following Christ and (hopefully) getting to Heaven. I cannot make reparation for his sins. I can only work in the here and now to build the Kingdom of Christ and pray for all those who have been affected positively and negatively by the founder's words and actions.
Thank you for reading. God bless you!
United in Christ,
RC is my vocation

Peter (and other commenters): Jesus also said, "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you." (Matt 7:2) Fr. Maciel made a tragic mistake in his life. But you have no clue to his state of repentance upon his death; and yet you have already condemned him to hell. And it is EXTREMELY judgmental of you to categorize all Legionary of Christ priests and brothers and Regnum Christi members as something of a demonic nature. Every LC priest I have met and every RC member I have come in contact with has been exemplary in their devotion to Christ, to Mary, mother of Jesus, to their calling to the priesthood (or other vowed religious lifestyle) and to the magisterium of the Catholic Church. I've heard it said several times, "you know a person (or group) is holy by the amount of persecution they get in the public arena". I think when an LC priest comes to my door, or an RC member, I very much plan on giving them my utmost respect and attention; and I will treat and respect them as true soldiers of Jesus Christ.

The LC at least in the last 20 years has been a bastion
of hollister cutesy boys. They appeal to the sensual
cassock wearing ring kissers who think a priest is all about a collar
and chalices. Look how contrived and creepy their advertising
and commercials are.

We received deliverance by our bishop, particularly to be freed of the Spirit of Deception. There is real spiritual bondage involved with the LC/RC. My husband, who worked for the Legion at the time, began to doubt and question many things and he was encouraged to advance in his commitment level. We thought that was very weird at the time but now I believe that the priest,(who was an LC higher up) knew that this would further entrench us. After turning him down, our exit began to accelerate.
I thank St. Joseph and the Sacred Heart for this special grace.

Thanks Pete for this article, I think you hit the nail on the head!

Bob: Mr. Vere did not condemn anyone to hell nor did he pass any judgment on anyone.

The facts are clear: Maciel abused minors - that is a crime. Maciel as priest abused minors - that is an even bigger crime. Maciel as priest fathered children and came up with wicked methods and tactics to lie and roped many people in - that is a crime that stinks so bad that it is inconceivable how anyone can stick around.

There is no judgment in calling these things a crime! He did it, he has to pay for it. Period!

And since he committed crimes his desire was to cover them up! And here is where the entire outfit is concerned - the method of control, cover-up, lies is so sophisticated it seeps down to the rank and file priest. They may be good priests, but the methods they employ for pastoral care are not good. The corner stone is rotten, how can the entire building stand?

I am so glad I NEVER had the interest nor inclination to join. My husband is a cult survivor and he can smell them out from very far away. This one STANK!!!!

May Our Lord have Mercy on us all!

RC is My Vocation,

As a member of RC (and are you a co-founder as well?) you have a responsibility to express sorrow and regret at the duplicitous and scandalous life led by the founder of RC. This regret is necessary because your movement (and mine as well) defended MM to the high heavens against the accusations of molestation and drug use. Now - it turns out those accusations are most likely true (as Thomas Williams, LC admitted in the wake of the scandal and as Fr. Alvaro alluded to when announcing the apostolic visitation). To fall back on the old "we don't really know what happened" is simply to duck and weave around your Christian responsibility.

Given the very public nature of MM's defense, the LC and RC owe the victims and Church a very public and specific repudiation of this fraud, a very public and specific apology and a very public and specific desire to reconcile with the Church. This is Catechism 101. Fr. A's broad statement of regret for "anyone hurt by Fr. Maciel" merely sounded childish.

As for St. Augustine, and any other saint who came from a life of great sin, they confessed and sometimes in a very public manner (writings, actions, etc.). That's the only way we know the extent of their sins. Not so with MM, of course - all he left us with is a mess.

I, too, am a member of RC and believe that RC can still be a personal call to holiness for me. But not as things are going now. The LC and RC leadership are acting like little children with no sense of direction and no ability to take responsibility for the hurt caused, even inadvertently, to the Body of Christ. Praise God for Benedict, who IS taking responsibility to help the Legion do what it should have done on it's own beginning in 2006.

Nice spin. Maciel was a criminal priest abuser, nothing more, nothing less. His charismatic personality attracted (and still attracts) the weak minded looking for a Christ substitute. I was hounded for six months in the late 1980s by members of Regnum Christi (my pastor suggested that I visit them -- big mistake) until I threatened to call law enforcement. Christ is in the tabenacle and in our hearts -- no need to look for a cheap substitute. Wake up.

RC is my vocation - I just took a leave from RC and actually over the last six months with alot of prayer, reading, pondering and thinking - I have discerned that RC is not a vocation for a lay. My vocation is wife and mother - RC was a tool for me to live out my baptismal commitment and I received many gifts but when the tool became an opstacle to my faith and conscience I had to leave. Fr M wanted us to believe that we had to be loyal to this institution for all eternity so this word vocation was way over used...think how many times we said we cannot "lose our vocation" like we would be bad and not holy if we did. So, so sad.
Pete is right on in this blog - the Legion hierarchy was willing to continue the lie instead of stop it and now it is spinning out of control. It is the deceit that will kill us all. I have a memo from Fr Alvaro from March 2008 where he tells leaders in RC that Fr M is in "heaven" and an "example" to us all and he knew at the time of his grievous sins. The lie will not die and if it does not - Satan will continue to dance in the streets of LC/RC. Thanks Pete for such an insightful article.

P.S. St. Augustine was a great saint because he repented...Fr M took this to his "deathbed" as Fr. Owen Kearns even admitted in the Register. Also - we have not publicly admitted and apologized to the sexual abuse victims and yes we can make reparation for his sins as I do when I go to a Holy Hour to make reparation to our Lord for the sins of the world. The truth will set us all free!

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on August 12, 2009 11:40 AM.

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