The Legion manipulates everything to protect its own image. It is a self-serving organization that cares little about the damage it does to its members or those who contribute to it. This malignant narcissism was imbued into the Legion by its founder as a protective mechanism so he would not be exposed as the drug-addictive, child-abusing impostor that he was. Unfortunately the system continues to work its wonders.
Here is Fr Deomar's letter to the acting General Director, Fr Sylvester Heereman. I have omitted his personal history, not because it is of no interest, but to give
Rome, November 8, 2013
Dear Fr. Sylvester in Christ:
Now that I have decided to leave the Legion, I would like to leave in writing, by way of hindsight, the reasons for my departure. I do this after much prayer, without rancor or hatred, and yes, with a sincere desire to work with this institution where I fought for last 21 years of my life. I hope my leaving, and that of so many other of our brothers, helps you reflect on the reason for this phenomenon.
[Personal history omitted]
Now I will like to explain the reasons for my separation, first the personal, then the institutional motives.
1. After the truth of allegations against the founder and the system he created to hide behind exploded into the news media, a system I was part of and partook in, believing that it was all part of religious life; total obedience where everything was the will of God, I began to see how much my conscience had been manipulated by these principles.
I began to see that I had been used and, unfortunately, I had participated in this system where the institution is more important that the person. here an individual is a piece in a machine as long as it is useful, then thrown away. Men who gave 20 or 30 years of their lives are dismissed almost like they were bad persons or invited to leave the congregation by the superiors.
2. From the moment I started to present my ideas and my way of thinking, little by little, I was separated from any kind of preaching. Where I once preached two or three spiritual exercises a year, from 2009 to the present, I've only preached two exercises to consecrated women in Brazil, but none for the legionaries. Then I noticed that I was seen as "bad" by the system. There was no room for my way of thinking in the Legion. Even after being appointed to the General Council, I have always in the minority and my opinions rejected.
3. My discernment, within this system of "total obedience," was always done "from the outside" by my superiors. When it came to my perpetual profession, my superior sent me to do a three-day retreat because I was to profess the perpetual vows and then be ordained a priest the following year. It was not a personal choice; it was an act of obedience. I might have professed the vows all the same, but I want to make it clear that there was no personal discernment made in freedom.
4. Gradually my frustration grew. I felt that my vision of the Legion was increasingly in the minority (fewer and fewer people) and that my struggle was futile. Today, before God, I see that I did everything in my power but largely was fighting a losing battle out of pride, not because God asked me to. A sign of this was the lack of inner peace and the growing frustration I was experiencing.
5. I've made my decision, as I have said, through personal discernment done with my spiritual director and in God’s presence. I can no longer continue without placing my priestly vocation and my psychological health in danger. I cannot continue, and to do so would be reckless.
1. I do not believe in a renewal that does not revise the black past of the Institution and the repeated and systematic abuses by the founder of children who were seeking the priesthood in the seminary. Without purifying this past, recognizing it, asking for forgiveness from the victims and making this recognition public, I believe you are building on mud.
2. I could never understand the administrative system of the Legion and I think that few could. The management of properties using civil entities is a mockery to ecclesiastical law. I do not agree with the different lifestyles, some living in abundance while others are very poor from one Territory to another, despite the centralized economy, and the use of donations not according to the intention of the donor.
3. Formation that does not believe in the one being formed and is based on distrust and surveillance, monitoring, revising rooms and monitoring emails using “Zscaler” which allows the administrator to view whatever computer he wants.
4. The non-renewal of superiors who remain in office for decades or are changed from place to place, but always as superiors. There are legionaries have never been subjects in their lives. A true renewal without renewing superiors is not possible.
5. I believe a change of mentality is needed by removing all remaining methods and systems that are "marcialist", especially those who remain in the same position for years and who heavily influence decision making and the elaboration of documents even though they do not occupying official positions.
6. What is the charism of the Congregation? Is there a charism? Church documents invite us to look to the charism of the founder. What is the charism of the Legion? I think this question needs to be answered.
7. The apostolic centrality of the Legion. I see the Legion seeking to serve itself more than a disinterested service of the Church. The lack of participation in diocesan pastoral works and the refusal to dedicate personnel to diocesan works is a sign of this self-serving culture.
8. The Legion is undergoing a serious crisis of confidence. Maybe this is its most serious problem. There is no confidence because there is no appreciation and care for its people. Trust is not earned by decree or the superior asking subjects to trust him. Trust is earned, based on principles, giving credit to people, showing appreciation for them. I think there is much to do in this field.
I believe that is all, Father. I hope it has been helpful. I will be praying for you in the renewal process. I sincerely entrust the Legion in its renewal process in the General Chapter.
Fr. Deomar de Guedes, LC