Thursday, April 18, 2013

Forced Limbo

I recently received an email from a Legionary Priest I had been close to before leaving the Legion, and for a time, after. I hadn't had any contact with him for many months. He sent me an Easter greeting, and I replied. From there I was able to find out a bit what is going on in his life. I was disturbed by this interchange of emails. I will keep his name and personal data private, out of respect.

It seems he is no longer living in a Legionary community, but has not sought a diocese. He is living in his home town in a private residence with a family member. This is source of great suffering for him. He is in a real state of limbo, neither here nor there. Imagine what that means for his priestly ministry.

My heart went out to him when I heard this. I know that in the past he was called to Rome, normally a period in time they give to dissident religious or priests to get them back on track though spiritual direction and studies. I doubt he was very happy in that setting.

I don't know how his present situation came about, but for him to have to seek refuge, either willingly or by force, is not a sign that all is well behind the curtain of Legionary charity. All I know is that, when you are in limbo, as I had lived more that a couple of time in the Legion, what do you say to others, how do you explain to them what you are going through. You live in constant humiliation. From there comes a life of lies to protect the honor of the Congregation, who couldn't possibly be doing anything wrong. You lie, swallow your pride and keep on plugging along, hoping things will get better.

Obviously things are not getting better. This similar situation with this priest has lead him to live outside his religious community but not accepted into a diocese. That is tragic. So much for "We'll help you with whatever you need."

All this calls to mind the Legionary practices outlined in the Communiqué of the Holy See dated May 1, 2013:
a deplorable discrediting and distancing of those who entertained doubts as to the probity of his [Fr Maciel's] conduct;
the need to review the exercise of authority, which must be joined to truth, so as to respect consciences and to develop in the light of the Gospel as authentic ecclesial service.
Obviously, this issue of Legionary procedure has not been addressed.

I have given up hope that a true renewal will take place in the Legion long ago. This exchange with this priest has only helped to cement this conviction. We can only pray that our Lord will intercede and rectify this situation. The Legion must not be allowed to continue using people and abusing individual's generosity.


  1. With all due respect Fr. John, it sounds like this priest has done nothing deserving such I'll treatment. Doesn't withholding his name play right into the culture of secrecy?

    1. There are a number of reasons I didn't mention him by name:
      1. I am in no way obliged even to mention this to the public, but thought it would be interesting for the sake of the global picture, not the personal story.
      2. I am not an AP or CNN reporter who could care less about victims privacy but only seeks ratings.
      3. Knowing or not knowing his identity does not take away from the sad fact of what he is going through. Some may think not publishing the persons name means the facts are not true. I can deal with that. Other commenters have doubted my motives or veracity in the past. So be it.

      I mentioned the fact because it reflects much of what happened to me in the Legion and how I was regularly exiled within the ranks, and how it seems that practice is still going on. That was my overall point.

  2. Dear Fr. John,
    thanks for publishing this info. I believe this priest is still officially a member and may still be trying to reform the Legion from the inside. A Google search will probably reveal his name but I agree it is better not to give a name until/unless the individual expressly says so.
    May God Bless your ministry and help all those who have to leave for conscience sake or for other noble reasons.

  3. With you, Fr. John. "The Truth will out"....though it sometimes takes a long time


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