Will Fr. Garza to be thrown under the bus?


I'm on a short break right now, and I want to be very clear about the following post: I am NOT speaking as a canon lawyer. I'm simply speculating a future possibility based upon the following:

1 - Current observable trends in LC/RC;

2 - Past emails I have received from well-placed sources in the movement describing the parties to this reported controversy;

3 - Observations of other movements within the Church that collapsed or went through a period of internal blood-letting;

4 - A new report in Proceso (click here for a copy mirrored on a blog) alleging that Fr. Alvaro and Fr. Garza are clashing in Rome, and that these disputes are growing louder. According to the report, Fr. Alvaro wants to usher in a series of reforms to the Legion, while Fr. Garza wishes to retain strict control of Integer, which reportedly controls much of the LC/RC's assets.

To be clear, I don't know how credible Proceso is as Mexican news outlet. Certainly the blog that cribbed it appears to have some political tendencies. And the report is quoting anonymous sources within the Legion, so I would be cautious going on information in the article alone, unless of Mexican readers can vouch for its credibility as a news source.

However, the allegations are consistent with the Legion's media focus and spin since the crisis first hit last February. Fr. Alvaro has been all over the place, saying he is reaching out to victims, sharing his regrets, etc. Many Legion superiors have sung his praises, like the territorial directors for the U.S., Germany and Spain. People on the inside report being told that Fr. Alvaro had initiated the investigation in Maciel after he became suspicious about a strange woman hanging around Maciel's death-bed. So yes, the Legion has moved to defend and build up Fr. Alvaro during this crisis. I suppose this isn't surprising, given the Legion's penchant for "rock star" priests and the fact Fr. Alvaro is Director General.

Except...how many of us have heard from Fr. Garza? He is, as Vicar General, the number 2 man in the organization. Moreover, he held this position under Fr. Maciel, and several sources report that he was widely expected to take over from Maciel when the Legion electoral process passed Garza over for the much more affable Alvaro. That we have heard little from him during this scandal is surprising given his position.

Moreover, LC/RC insiders often describe Fr. Garza to me as a financial genius who lacks Fr. Alvaro's ease and skills with people. Which is interesting because the LC has tried to disassociate itself from Maciel's 'double life', though not the founder himself, but they really haven't commented much on allegations of a financial nature, other than to say they're audited annually and are working with Integer. However, the LC hasn't trotted him out to answer financial allegations as they have Fr. Alvaro to answer allegations of a sexual nature.

Speaking as a political analyst, and not as a canon lawyer, Fr. Garza has all the qualities of a good fall guy should LC leadership decide to throw him under the bus. It's tempting to predict, but whether it happens is another question. If the Legion leadership has shown itself adept at anything during this crisis, it's closing ranks.


Have you ever considered that Corcuera and Garza are playing good cop/bad cop? I hear it's done on occasion.

Also, while the public expects information on sex abuse, they don't expect accounting details. They have the canonical right that their donations are used for the stated purpose, but I would think Garza would be called on the carpet behind closed door to show the books, not step up to a microphone to give platitudes.

Finally, is Corcuera that smooth? He has a sweet smile and yet I've not heard that he is quick on his feet or persuasive in one-to-ones (but then I haven't heard much in that regard either way).

I think I've made it abundantly clear that "strategery" is not my strong suit!

It's been clear to me for months that the Legion is setting Alvaro up to be the next holy man. Read the letters--both the ones Alvaro has written and the ones written about him (like last week's letter from the territorial directors). He is "full of prudence", ready to lead the Legion with wisdom. Heck, he's probably in front of the Eucharist right now!

I knew it the moment I informed my teenage son of Maciel's fraud, and he told me in a hushed voice, "But Father Alvaro will know what to do! He'll lead the Legion through this. He is such a holy man!" I wanted to gag. If we have learned one thing through this, it's that outward signs and words of piety and holiness mean absolutely nothing.

But they still mean a LOT to RC/LC, and they desperately need to fill the personality void left by Maciel. So now Alvaro is spoken of with reverence, and they look to him to lead with "prudence" and "wisdom".

I don't know if Garza will be tossed under the speeding Greyhound bearing down on the Legion or not, but I do know that Alvaro's not budging unless the Pope himself takes a pitchfork to his pious arse.


I really doubt Garza will be put out to dry. He's the brains behind the whole operation. While Maciel was out galavanting, Garza was building a Catholic empire.

Ginger, you may be on to something. I too have thought the Legion is attempting to set Father Alvaro up as the "next holy man", or to state it another way, the "Back-up Founder". The letters Father Alvaro has written mirror the tedious, flowery, meandering writing style of Maciel. It almost seems he is attempting to start a new "body of work" to refill the bookshelves where Maciel's works once rested.

Unfortunately, I simply do not see Father Alvaro ever inspiring the sort of confidence it will take for the LCs and RCs to latch onto him in the same manner with which they clung to Maciel. Sadly, I believe that is the only sort of replacement founder that will fit the role for these people.

I also wonder about Father Garza. I am not privy to the rumors Pete has picked up on, so I may be off base, but I think it is too early to write off Father Luis Garza just yet.

This is the thesis-antithesis style beloved of Mexican journalism. During the 2005 general chapter they wrote pieces that were more novels than news about a power struggle between Irish Legionaries and Mexican Legionaries, with the Mexican's winning out in Fr Alvaro Corcuera and Fr Bannon being cast into the outer darkness. I suspect the same thing is happening here: conjecture leading to creativity.

Richard, do you have any conjecture of your own you would like to share?

As I understand it, Fr. Garza is from one of Monterrey's wealthiest families (my Mexican-American colleague in our law firm says that there is even a suburb of Monterrey called "Garza Garcia," where some of the big companies have their offices), so I wonder if he really is that vulnerable?

One theory is Garza is the George Soros of the LC. He wants to be behind the scenes. Check out the World Fund board members.

Fr. Alvaro and Fr. Luis are in opposite ends of the spectrum in more ways than one. Alvaro is friendly, attentive to the people around him, eager to please, and deeply if sentimentally spiritual to the point of being naive. Luis, on the other hand is smart, practical, arrogant, won't waste his time with small talk or "little people," highly focused on efficiency, and an entrepreneur at heart who sees regnum legion as his great transnational entrepreneurial project.

From his youth, Alvaro has been revered and set up in regnum legion as a living saint. Back when Alvaro was in his late teens, a story spread like wildfire in Mexico City's young men's section that, according to Fr. Jesús Blázquez, the Section Director and Spiritual Director, Alvaro had never in his life committed a mortal sin. Yes, Alvaro was, since then, being groomed, set up as a role model, and on his way to the top of regnum's rock star charts.

Both Alvaro and Luis are highly regarded and respected in regnum legion; Alvaro is "the holy one", Luis is "the super smart one," but also, like all LC superiors, "holy." No wonder he's called by many Spanish-speaking ex-LCs "the Stanford Saint."

Now, for those who think Fr. Luis will be thrown under the bus, think again. While Alvaro is better liked and respected by his kool-aid addicts (er...integrated members), Luis is the one in control of the assets. and, trust me on this one: he ain't gonna let go, my friends -- of neither his "hard-earned" money nor his and his sister's inherited fortune which, along with the Oriol family fortune and other Garza family venture capital provided the crucial funding that allowed the growth of regnum legion during the last couple of decades.

That old saying about the banks of England applies here: “While stand Luisito Garza, legion/regnum stands. When falls Luisito Garza, England falls!”

I meant to say: "When falls Luisito Garza, legion/regnum falls." (Although England may take a hit, too).

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on September 10, 2009 2:44 PM.

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