Founder of the Legionaires. New Info?

by Steve Ray on February 3, 2009

Latest Update: July 2, 2009
Five prelates to begin probe of Legionaries in July
An apostolic visitation of the Legionaries of Christ will begin August 15, with five bishops conducting inquiries in different geographical areas, Vatican officials have quietly confirmed. Informed sources at the Vatican have verified the accuracy of a reporter by Sandro Magister of <i>L’Espresso</i>, who said that the five bishops charged with the investigation received their detailed assignments at a June 27 meeting with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, and other ranking officials of the Roman Curia. After investigating the affairs of the Legionaries the five prelates will report back to the Holy See.

LATEST NEWS: 2/3/09; 6:30 PM Eastern:
New post on Catholic World News

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters Weights In

and a 2nd Time and again on 2/6/09 here quoting Fr. Thomas Berg, LC

Zenit’s Article

Latest from 2/4/09 6 PM
Legionaries ‘cannot deny’ reports of Father Maciel’s misconduct
With multiple reports alleging that the late Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, kept a mistress and fathered one or more children, a spokesman for the Legionaries in Rome conceded: “We cannot deny the existence of these facts but we can’t go into detail because we have to respect the privacy of people involved.” A former financial officer for the Legionaries told the New York Times that he routinely gave Father Maciel large sums of cash, for which no accounting was given.


As of this morning (2-3-09) the news is sketchy and doesn’t seem to be from primary sources, yet but it has been reported on several blogs that Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries, was living a double life. Here is what was reported on one website:

6a00d834515d1e69e200e5501a876e8834-800wiIt’s Out. Maciel is Out.
Today, Fr. Scott Reilly, LC, Territorial Director in Atlanta, Georgia, announced to all those who work in the Territorial Direction of the Legion of Christ, that Marcial Maciel had a mistress, fathered at least one child, and lived a double life. For this reason, the Legion is renouncing him as their spiritual founder.

But as a poster on my Discussion Forum wrote:
But where is the primary source of information? Upon glancing at the various blogs who mention this, I don’t see any links to proof of these statements by Fr. Reilly. I would expect to see a news conference or formal statement or letter from the current General Director to come out eventually.

The topic is being followed on my Discussion Forum here and here. It can be read at American Papist, Patrick Madrid’s Blog and others.

My Two Cents:
Whether Maciel did or didn’t lead a double life is important, if indeed this is true. However, I know MANY Legionaires priests, many who are dear friends of mine in Jerusalem, Rome, America and other parts of the world — and I will be teaching a semester on apologetics at their Regina Apostolorum University in Rome in April. Even if the founder lived a double life, it does not reflect at all on the great and noble men of the Legion around the world today.

I know there are other controversies concerning the order, but I am speaking of the many LC men I know. They are excellent priests, intelligent theologians and philosophers, and make up a great revival movement helping to restore the Church. I will continue to encourage and love these great priests.

As the American Papist wrote: “There are many good and holy Legionary priests. I have been privileged to know several. The sins of the founder ought never be visited upon their heads, ever. Similarly, the Legionaries of Christ serve the Church in many important ways, these good things they have done must never be ignored.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Karla February 3, 2009 at 6:34 PM


Thank you for your objective and charitable response to this information which has just surfaced today. As an RC member, I am very saddened to hear this information but I, too, will vouch with all my being for the wonderful Legion priests and the consecrated women of Regnum Christi and my sisters and brothers in Christ in the Movement. My life has changed for the good in a tremendous way since I came to know the Movement and my relationship with Christ has deepened in a way I never thought possible. Please keep all of our priests and consecrated in your prayers and Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, our general director, as we continue to try and follow God’s will for our lives. God bless you, Steve!

Susan Schudt February 3, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Thank you, Steve, for your common sense. There is so much spinning out there and little truth being told. As you have shown us in your wonderful productions, God has taken many sinners and done wonders with them and their descendants.

The last two weeks have proven there are many more attacks to come on the Church. Are we up to the battle?

Prayer and Sacrifice.
Prayer and Sacrifice.
Prayer and Sacrifice.

Che February 3, 2009 at 10:31 PM

My family was very involved with RC and the Legion, truly convinced that the Movement’s goal was to bring all to Christ.

One cannot understand fully the betrayal felt from the Legion until they are employed by the Legion and witness up close the pervasive sins of the Father which are endemic to the Legion Machine. The head is rotten and the body suffers. The lies, the deceipts, the emphasis of obedience over rational thought is rampant, One was expected to be obedient even when one had to go against what would be in the best interest of children, Lying to Bishops, lying to parents, and the community were all means justified because of the end. I never would have believed it unless I lived it day in and day out. We hoped against hope that our mission would become pure…… In the end the school’s purpose was not to provide a solid Catholic education that would lead all to Christ, it was to fuel the Legion Machine. Yes good happened, but sin is always sin and God will never allow it to continue, for He is indeed a merciful God.

May our loving God shed His mercy on all of us.


Miguel February 4, 2009 at 12:43 AM

C´mon, don´t believe a word about father Maciel. All of them are only black legend perpetrated by the sons of the father of lies ! And there will be more!

Jackson February 4, 2009 at 3:27 AM

Steve, all LC’s lead a double life. They are all wearing a mask, and you truly DO NOT KNOW THEM. The double life begins in the novitiate when they learn to ‘always appear happy’ always to ‘act normal’ and to use friendship as a tool of recruitment. To do their best to ingratiate themselves with leaders, those with money, influence. It becomes a sort of second nature, a new skin. Done in the name of Christ, for ‘your good’ and that of the Church, but ultimately in a very shallow utilitarian way.

The group needs to be dissolved and everyone sent home for recovery and therapy. Steve, you DO NOT KNOW THEM, despite the amazing appearances, any more than you (or they) “knew” that Maciel was a saint. He formed them, he trained them, he wrote all the norms and rules. The horrible stories at REGAIN only scratch the surface.

David Ulmer February 4, 2009 at 6:53 AM

Hopefully, a full account will be made public and the Vatican will make a definitive statement. The truth will set us free. I think we need to think of other movements that were started by rather impure founders. The first that comes to mind is the Church of England. Surely, one can claim that some good has come out of that movement even though it was corrupt from the start. John and Charles Wesley were products of the Church of England. Calvinism and other protestant movements have had currupt leaders or somewhat less than holy founders. Just because Calvinism is wrong fundamentally, it doesn’t mean that Calvinists are all wrong. I know many more godly Calvinists leading many more individuals to Christ than the many Catholics I know. I say that to explain why we can have a movement with so much good while its founder and even some of an organizations fundamental principles could be so corrupt. We need to look at what they are getting right that helps them overcome such obstacles and then apply them to the Holy Catholic Church. For instance, LC focuses on Catechism, well wake up Church the vast majority of Catholics don’t know 101 about their faith. Calvinists focus on Scripture and on actually living in obedience to it, so once again I say wake up Catholics and start reading, memorizing, and living in obedience to Sacred Scripture.

Reno February 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM


What you have described is the truth! These are wonderful men and women who are working for the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t surprise me to read the negative remarks regarding the Legionaries. What we can learn by all of this is that God is merciful and that we are all human. Sin is sin, but thank God for His endless mercy. I am a RC member and I will continue to be. When ever there is a mistake made, people find it an opportunity to pounce and devour their prey! Maybe their focus should be to pray for those that they believe are wrong. Watch, it will only make the Movement grow all the more. God created this incredible order of priests and used a human to bring His plans to fruition. We aren’t the message, only the messengers.

Diane February 4, 2009 at 2:05 PM

I encountered the Legion years ago, in Charlotte, through an acquaintance who was in Regnum Christi. Went to a Regnum Christi meeting once and found it a bit weird and off-putting. But the priest who presided over the meeting seemed sincerely devout and all. Still, the whole thing was not my cup of tea.

That said, I find this whole thing very tragic. I wish the Legionaries’ leadership had been more candid and cooperative in past years. The enemies of the True Church will have a field day with this. Professional Catholic-basher Rod Dreher must be cackling with glee. Ugh.

Diane February 4, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Jackson, that is very interesting. The way you describe the Legion, it has all the earmarks of a spiritually abusive cult. My goddaughter was a member of a spiritually abusive cult-like “charismatic covenant community” for many years; when she left, she did a lot of research on cults and spiritual abuse and shared her insights with me. It seems all such groups have certain characteristics in common, such as the demand for unquestioning obedience to a self-appointed leader who holds himself accountable to no one.

Very weird and sad!!

Claudio Furgiuele February 5, 2009 at 9:36 PM

But is there a actual Charism to be found in this movement. What are their posulates? What is the overall good fruit that comes from this group?

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