Perhaps the most stunning understatement ever

"Father Maciel can no longer be considered a model of Christian life, the Legionaries of Christ have said about their founder."

Perhaps the most stunning understatement ever.

Biretta tip to the persistent Anna Arco.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TJerome says:

    Duh! I pray for these priests. This must be a terrible cross to bear. Tom

  2. B.C.M. says:

    Healing comes brick by brick, Father…

    As Sam says let’s forget they showed up a little late to the party and just embrace the fact that they showed up at all.

  3. sejoga says:

    I hope the rumors about the Vatican wanting to replace all of the Legion’s leadership with Vatican appointees are true, because CLEARLY the people still in charge of the Legion have lost their marbles.

  4. irishgirl says:

    I pray for the Legionaries and Regnum Christi members everyday in my Rosary.

    As TJerome says, they indeed have a heavy cross to bear.

    sejoga-that’s my hope, too!

  5. Jason Keener says:

    “Father Maciel can no longer be considered a model of Christian life, the Legionaries of Christ have said about their founder.” Ah, you think?

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    Perhaps the full statement by the Legion of Christ at

    is a bit more forthright than Ms. Arco’s summary may suggest, e.g.:

    “we wish to write to our brothers in the Legion of Christ, to the consecrated and all the members of Regnum Christi, our families and friends who accompany us at this juncture in our history, and also to all those who have been affected, wounded, or scandalized by the reprehensible actions of our founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, LC.”

    “We find reprehensible these and all the actions in the life of Fr Maciel that were contrary to his Christian, religious, and priestly duties. We declare that they are not what we strive to live in the Legion of Christ and in the Regnum Christi Movement.”

    “If it turns out that anyone culpably cooperated in his misdeeds we will act according to the principles of Christian justice and charity, holding these people responsible for their actions.”

    “In addition, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ we feel the need to expiate his sins and the scandal they caused, making reparation with a Christian spirit. We ask all the members of our religious family to intensify their prayer and sacrifice.”

  7. TJerome says:

    Was Christopher Hitchens sober at the time?

  8. bwjb says:

    I’m curious as to how the Legion and Regnum Christi expect to survive… I almost think the Church should just disband them all together, considering how so much was invested in the person of Marcel Maciel. That’s certainly a shaky foundation. I’ve heard too many things from people who have past Regnum Christi connections to trust the movement.

  9. shane says:

    Disbanding the Legion is not only necessary, it might provide some good PR.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    It is a very sad situation. There are many good people in LC&RC. I can’t even offer an opinion.

    “Disbanding the Legion is not only necessary, it might provide some good PR.”

    Sad but true!

  11. MikeM says:

    I’m not really qualified to make much of a judgement on this, but I don’t see how a community build upon the principles of such an evil man can ever really recover from that.

    I hope that the good work the LC does can be continued, and that their good priests will find a good outcome. Still, it’s not just the leadership that has to go… the foundations of the order are pretty rotten.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Disbanding the Legion is not only necessary, it might provide some good PR.
    Comment by shane

    And what do you tell their 700 priests?

  13. Frank H says:

    “And what do you tell their 700 priests?”

    How about, “here are a couple hundred dioceses from which to choose.”

  14. Geoffrey says:

    I always wondered if LC & RC would fit within Opus Dei? There are some (positive) similarities… orthodoxy, etc. Of course Opus Dei has a very specific mission, and its members a very specific vocation… but I wonder…

  15. chironomo says:

    Such organizations have come and gone throughout the history of the church. Perhaps it’s time for this particular group to go. Haven’t seen too many Knights Templar around lately. Know any Penitentes or Ebionites….anyone? Houses built on faulty foundations will eventually crumble.

  16. Mike says:


    I doubt Opus Dei would incardinate these priests. For one reason, the Work draws its priests from its ranks of numeraries (celibate men) who have been tested over a certain period of years. The vocation to the Work is fairly specific in its lay orientation–even the priests have this outlook, though of course their duties and state are clerical. On the flip side, St. Josemaria always was eager to help any priest, and the Work does have a Society of the Holy Cross specifically for priests, and one does not have to be a numerary priest to be a member of that, but one does promise to live devotion to the spirituality of the Work, though those priests are entirely subject to their own bishop.

    That’s wordy but I believe accurate.

  17. Susan says:

    As a member of RC, this has been sad indeed and a cross to bear. I’ve been disheartened by what I felt was a too-tepid response by the Legion on a number of occasions. The charism of charity within the Legion and the RC Movement seems to sometimes almost paralyse people from speaking out about things that should be spoken of for fear of seeming uncharitable. Though some RC members seemed quite personally invested in Fr. Maciel, I have never felt that connection and always knew I was working for Christ. People have a way of letting us down – we even let ourselves down. That is not to excuse Fr. Maciel in any way. I felt horrible upon learning of his duplicitous scandalous life. However, I also felt horrible during the height of the priest scandals, but it did not cause me to leave my beloved Catholic Church. I’ve seen many incredibly good fruits from the Legion and RC. I’ve met many holy priests and lay men and woman working hard for the Kingdom of God. I’ve seen many conversions due to work that members of RC and the Legion priests do. All these people have been let down. It has been a difficult and perhaps not yet completely worked-out decision as to whether I will stay in the Movement. My heart bleeds for the Legion priests I know personally who have been such examples with their lives of self-sacrifice. It is for them that I pray the most, as well as for the victims of Fr. Maciel.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    Oddly, in my diocese I hear that tomorrow (Saturday) there is a “vocation awareness” pizza luncheon at a nearby church whereat the DIOCESAN priest has invited legionaires to recruit, and other priests in the district were encouraged to bring boys from their parishes for pizza and a discussion about holy orders. To me, this is tantamount to child abuse. To expose a child to legionaires – who have yet to repudiate their founder – is irresponsible. Besides that, other than propogate themselves, what kind of real ministerial work to legionaires do anyway? Nothing that I’ve ever seen. Fr. Jim.

  19. frjim4321 says:

    “to” = “do”

  20. robtbrown says:

    “And what do you tell their 700 priests?”
    How about, “here are a couple hundred dioceses from which to choose.”
    Comment by Frank H

    You have committed the theological error that is most often found in liberals, i.e., of equating the diocesan and religious priesthood. IMHO, this error bears great responsibility for the current mess in the Church.

  21. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Jim

    You are absoultely right, I’ve also heard rumours that the Legionaries are extremely aggressive and iresponsable methods in recruiting for the priesthood – using such lines as ‘you’ll never be happy if don’t become a priest, that if your not faithful to this vocation you’ll be punnished with an unfaithful wife ect ect. Sounds like the mindset that lead to the problems in Ireland is being replicated on a global scale

  22. Jack Hughes says:


  23. frjim4321 says:

    Jack Hughes:

    What amazes me even more is that DIOCESAN priests have been coopted by the legionaires for this purpose when we have a perfectly good diocesan vocation office.

    I have heard there are some US dioceses in which they are not permitted to operate.

    Fr. Jim

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. Jim,

    It’s a combination of things. A decade or so ago, faithful men couldn’t get past the wacko-nun-ministry-formation lady to get to the seminary in this diocese (and many others). So they’d attach themselves to one of the newer religious orders with a reputation for strictness, but orthodoxy.

    To be honest, although we may (and I mean only may) have a “perfectly good diocesan vocation office, we haven’t had it for long. And many dioceses don’t have it yet. You may have it in your diocese, but if so, then your diocese wouldn’t be average.

  25. catholicmidwest says:

    I’m not Regnum Christi, although I know of some in this diocese. I don’t defend what their founder did at all. But there was a time in the early 90s when the Legionaries came in here, when they were the only ones running decent bookstores and so on. They were also one of only a few hopes for men who wanted to be priests, but weren’t gay or totally cowed and defective. We were inundated with progressives here and they were very aggressive. Thank God that has backed off somewhat now.

    I think the Legionaires served a very real purpose in that time. We’ll see if God keeps them going–because He’ll be the one who decides like He always does about religious orders. That’s one of the basic premises of religious orders.

  26. Henry Edwards says:

    I have mentioned in a previous thread that several years ago I had some contact with the Legion through family members who are no longer associated with it. At that time, it seemed to me that the LC priests were a cut above the diocesan average where I met them — doctrinally, liturgically, and pastorally. I never saw one who appeared to reflect any of the problems now under discussion. At their heyday, evidently now past, the Church may have much needed their aggressiveness in defense of faith and the papacy.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, we now have another religious group in this same diocese (and I won’t name it) but it also has defects. However, it’s also serving a purpose and we’ll let God decide its ultimate fate as a religious group.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    And if so, Henry, they will have joined the long list of religious orders that served a purpose in their time, but no longer exist. That’s how some of them end up.

  29. Henry Edwards says:

    It looks that way, midwest. I don’t see how they can (or should) recover from their leadership’s incomprehensible and truly cult-like allegiance to their thoroughly tarnished founder. The apparently good and decent LC priests on the ground will have to suffer the consequences.

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    Yes, well, one of the risks of joining new religious groups, I suppose. Joining the older ones nowadays even has its risks, though. Some older orders have also gone berserk on their members, although founders were not involved.

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