UPDATE: Changobeer sighting? John Allen sighting!

– Mouse from AmP (Deirdre Mundi) is blogging again this afternoon and she deconstructs two myths of Legion/RC supporters: 1) God writes strait with crooked lines; 2) God brings good out of evil.
A saint yells at a pederast? (and nobody notices?)
Very busy today with other projects. However, there’s a lot going on for readers looking to make sense of the Legion of Christ/ Regnum Christi scandal:
– If found out late last night that the Jason Berry interview with Anderson Cooper had been postponed again due to the health-care debate. As soon as I find out what the new date is, I will let you know.
– Possible Changobeer sighting in the comments section of Eric Sammons’s blog. (Hat tip to Jane for mentioning this in yesterday’s post indexing of Changobeer’s blog).
– John Allen is back! He’s mounted a vigorous defense of Pope Benedict’s handling of the sex abuse crisis involving Europe and the Legion. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the National Catholic Reporter leading Pope Benedict’s defense against his secular critics.
– Aaron whacks a troll over at Erin’s blog, explaining his attempt to report to local police the abuse he [allegedly] suffered as a minor in the Legion.
– Let us join Giselle in praying to St. Joseph, Protector of the Universal Church, as the next stage of the apostolic visitation begins. (Click here).
– Nat has put together an interesting blog attempting to untangle the Holy See’s request to untangle the Legion from Maciel. (Click here).
– Bonum posts a letter from a grateful mother to her bishop, for helping her and her husband rescue their son from a Legion apostolic school. The mother lists several serious allegations against Maciel and the methology her son was subjected to. (Click here).

Veteran LC wrestles with the scandal

To readers just tuning in to the LC/RC scandal surrounding Maciel and the movement he founded, catching up on the blog conversation can seem rather daunting. One of the best sources for “tuning in” to the discussion is Changobeer – the blog of the pseudonymous Fr. Damian Karras (the priest in the movie Exorcist) written by a 30-year veteran of the Legion (commonly believed to be Fr. Frances Snell, LC). Although eight months have passed since Changobeer’s last entry, the blog still offers insight into several facets of the scandal and Legion thinking throughout out.
Fr. Changobeer was close to Maciel. He believed in Maciel’s innocence, and defended the founder up until news became public of Maciel’s daughter. The same with regards to a charism within the Legion. But Fr. Changobeer also believed strongly in obedience and submission to the Holy See – not only in word, but in spirit. He often expresses discomfort with the Legion’s response to words or instructions from the Holy See. He also recognized that some self-critique of the order was necessary for the movement to purify itself. Thus many of his blog entries concern questions that arose in an honest attempt to reconcile his belief in Maciel’s sanctity and the Legion’s charism with obedience to the Holy Father.
Here’s a chronological index of Changobeer’s posts as he wrestles with several issues concerning the scandal. Please let me know if I have missed any:
– May 05 – He points to the Vatican Secretariat of State letter as proof of Maciel’s innocence.
– Jun 05 – He dismisses Maciel’s critics and the allegations, but admits the Legion needs to engage in self-criticism, to stop being so secretive and to stop alleging conspiracy theories.
– Jul 05 – He disagrees with Sandro Magister’s prediction Pope Benedict’s action against Fr. Gino was a foreshadowing of what was in store for Maciel. Says the outcome with Maciel will be different.
– May 06 – He states that something confusing has just hit and he is still struggling to understand it, will post his best explanation but he is not satisfied with it. His next post states that the issue is the Holy See’s communique inviting Maciel to retire to a life of prayer and penance, and the separation the Holy See draws between Maciel and LC/RC. He identifies and struggles with many questions.
– Oct 07 – Although normally quite critical of ReGAIN, he expresses disagreement with the Legion hiring high-powered lawyers to sue the organization. Compares it to Scientology.
– Jan 08 – Discusses Roman-mandated changes within the Legion, including suppression of the extra two vows. Optimistic for the changes, but concerned about the “serene” facade and interpretation of Legion superiors.
– Jan 08 – Tribute to Maciel upon his death.
– Feb 08 to Apr 08 – Writes five-part series attempting to explain and clarify the Legion’s charism. (Part one, part two, part three, part four, part five).
– June 08 – He wrestles with Archbishop O’Brien’s criticism of the Legion, and how closely the Archbishop came to banning the Legion in Baltimore. Renews call for transparency and self-examination in the Legion.
– Sept 08 – Strongly questions the credibility of Jason Berry and Maciel’s other victims. Says he believes Maciel based upon working side-by-side with Maciel for several years.
– Sept 08 – Criticizes Legion, Church officials and the wider Catholic community for ignoring Maciel’s death and funeral, and the cloud of suspicion this left concerning the founder.
– Nov 08 – Attends Cistercian retreat, describes how relaxing and rejuvenating it was compared to the frantic pace of past (presumably Legion) retreats.
– Jan 09 – News of Maciel’s daughter breaks. Fr. Changobeer becomes first LC-affiliated priest in English blogophere to admit the significance of the news vis-a-vis Maciel and LC/RC. He is also the first to publicly call for full disclosure, for LC leadership to resign (if needed), and for an apostolic visitation from Rome.
– Mar 09 – Suggests that Legion leadership lacks credibility, and that the seeds of the Legion’s methodology were rooted in Maciel’s sins.
– June 09 – He argues that the only way forward for the Legion is to tell the truth.
– June 09 – Points out the difference between Maciel being flawed, and Maciel being a liar.
– June 09 – Explains why the Legion must purge itself completely of Maciel.
– Jul 09 – Refutes the “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” analogy being argued by the Legion and its supporters. Explains why any good accomplished by Maciel is irrelevant to this scandal.
– Jul 09 – Criticizes the movement for trying to downplay Maciel’s sins and attempting to move forward, business as usual.
– Aug 09 – (Last post) – He reveals that LC superiors are trying to preserve Maciel’s writings for future generations, while avoiding direct mention of Maciel and his actions.

Sandro Magister: LC trying to preserve positive image of Maciel

Many speculate about the future of the Legion of Christ and what the AV will hold, but few do so with the accuracy and credibility of Vatican correspondent Sandro Magister. Has he published even one prediction concerning the Legion that has not come to fruition? So his observations are always taken seriously by Vatican watchers – both inside and outside the Holy See.
This observation, from a piece Magister published today, scares me:

Priests and seminarians who until very recently were steeped in the writings attributed to Maciel will have difficulty finding new sources of inspiration, not generic but specific to their order. The current leaders of the congregation aren’t helping, either. On the contrary. One of Maciel’s former personal secretaries, Fr. Felipe Castro, together with other priests of the Legion, has worked in recent months to select from among the founder’s many letters a group of letters to be “saved” for the future, to keep a positive image of Maciel alive.
The dependence of the Legionaries on Maciel was – and for many still is – absolute. There wasn’t a shred of daily life that escaped the rules he dictated. Absurdly exacting rules. Which prescribed, for example, how to sit at the table, how to use a napkin, how to swallow, how to eat chicken without using one’s hands, how to debone a fish.
But this was nothing compared to the control exercised over consciences. The handbook for the examination of conscience at the end of the day was 332 pages long, with thousands of questions.

The whole piece is well worth reading. You can do so by clicking here.

UPDATE: Vaca ‘source’ of Legion’s ‘charism’, ex-Legionary ‘suggests’

UPDATE: A reader points out that I missed the obvious: In trying to minimize Maciel’s relationship to the Legion, Monk argues that Maciel accuser Juan Vaca was the true founder of the Legion (at least in Spain).
Red Cardigan vs. Monk’s sacred cowl: It’s pure fashion!
Erin Manning (aka the blogger Red Cardigan at And Sometimes Tea) has a knack for applying common sense to LC/RC sacred cows, which is why I always appreciate the clarity she brings to this debate. Thus I was not surprised when she smothered Monk’s latest cow (or is it ‘cowl’ given that Monk’s wrapping himself in it?), namely, that members of Maciel’s movement were attracted to Christ and not to Maciel.
To which Erin replies:

Monk, did you, or did you not, use a prayerbook composed of Maciel’s prayers?
Did you (collectively) receive his letters and have them read to you?
Did you celebrate his birthday and his mother’s birthday as major feasts?

There are many additional questions Erin asks of Monk, which you can read in the comments’ section of this post. At the same time, Erin is also providing another LC-supportive critic with some common sense answers. The fact she ably defends the truth despite being outnumbered is testament to the grace of the Holy Spirit in her life.

UPDATED: Extortion?

UPDATE: Joe Catholic offers an excellent critique of my position in the comments section.
Initial entry
Legion of Christ/ Regnum Christi contacts have asked me privately, behind the scenes, what I think of the LC/RC attempt to portray Maciel’s son Raul as an extortionist for demanding his inheritance in addition to compensation for having been sexually abused by Maciel? Let us suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the LC/RC are correct about Raul. Let us suppose that Raul engaged in extortion rather than follow proper legal procedure.
So what?
Speaking as a parent to children who are around the same age Raul was when Maciel began to abuse him sexually, including (allegedly) taking photographs, I don’t care if Raul is engaging in extortion. I really don’t.
Extortion just isn’t a big deal to me when I’m thinking about having one’s childhood innocence ripped from you, on camera, by the man (supposedly living a vow of chastity) who conceived you while taking advantage and lying to your mother. And unlike Maciel’s spiritual children, Raul can never renounce Maciel as his biological father.
Thus even though I don’t believe the official LC version of the story, it would change nothing for me as a parent if they were telling the truth this time. My concern is that Raul and his siblings receive just compensation from the LC/RC and/or Maciel’s estate for the horrible abuse they suffered at hands of Maciel.
Moreover, I find it absolutely scandalous as an orthodox Catholic layman that despite reportedly knowing of Raul’s existence since 2008, the family has been unable to receive justice from the Church in Mexico. No wonder there are so many anti-clerical Freemasons in the Mexican government and media. Bl. Miguel Pro – one of my favorite Jesuits – must be shedding tears from Heaven knowing that the Catholic peasants for whom he gave his life have now been forced to turn to their former persecutors for justice and protection from Churchmen who put their checkbook before the welfare of children.
But I suppose we ought not be surprised. After all, as Christ Himself states in Matthew 6:24: “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
In sustaining the Legion’s finances, at least we’re now clear on which master Fr Carlos Skertchly, LC serves. Pray that he discovers his Creator in this lifetime, for the sake of his soul. However, it is now time for other individual LC and RC to decide which master they serve.