PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Documents detailing the dubious fundraising practices of a disgraced Roman Catholic religious order called the Legion of Christ were released to the public Friday, showing how the organization took control of an elderly woman's finances and persuaded her to bequeath it $60 million.
All fundraising is dubious when based on a myth that is sold by what amounts to a priestly Ponzi scheme.
The records include the first-ever depositions of high-ranking Legion officials. They shed light on the inner workings of a secretive congregation placed under Vatican receivership after the Holy See determined that its founder was a spiritual fraud who sexually abused his seminarians and fathered three children with two women.
The Pope worked for the New Inquisition within the Priesthood, inheritors to mass murder of untold thousands, including Serbs, gypsies, the Wise Women (with their abortifaciants), homosexuals ("fagots" with which to start the burning of heretics), and, yes, a scientist or two, not to mention the Cathari, the Jews of the Middle Ages and later, the Arianists, and all manner of rival religious movements and especially the Christian gnostics.
A Rhode Island Superior Court judge said last year that the documents raised a red flag because a steadfastly spiritual elderly woman transferred millions to "clandestinely dubious religious leaders." But they had been kept under seal until The Associated Press, The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter and The Providence Journal intervened, arguing that they were in the public interest.
In effect, this scheme amounts to Indulgences on a grand scale: millions given to rascally priests so that one may be bought out of Hell or Purgatory, the priests empowered with special prayers to intervene in one's afterlife existence, changing God's mind, as it were.
Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined that its founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, had lived a double life. The pope ordered a wholesale reform of the order and named a papal delegate to oversee it.
Why did he not intervene when he was second in command? The next to top guy does the dirty work; it is his last challenge before payday: white smoke. And all this time Benedict oversaw dealings with pedophile priest in the U.S., aiding and abetting the obstruction of justice and the enabling of recidivist priests in finding new parishes and new boys to molest, or girls as the case might be.
The Legion scandal is significant because it shows how the Holy See willfully ignored credible allegations of abuse against Maciel for decades, all while holding him up as a model of sainthood for the faithful because he brought in money and vocations to the priesthood. The scandal, which has tarnished the legacy of Pope John Paul II, is the most egregious example of how the Vatican ignored decades of reports about sexually abusive priests because church leaders put the interests of the institution above those of the victims.
"Willful ignorance" has a technical legal meaning: it suggests acts just short of malice; it means turning one's gaze away from activities that should have been reported in each instance to child protective services, failure to do so being a crime. It suggests deprivation of the civil rights of the victims of the abuse, a violation of their most fundamental being.
The will of Gabrielle Mee, who died at age 96 in 2008, is the focus of the lawsuit. Mee's niece, Mary Lou Dauray, had alleged that Mee was defrauded by the Legion and unduly influenced by its priests into giving away her fortune. Her late husband was a onetime director of Fleet National Bank, which has since been absorbed by Bank of America.
There we have it: a dying widow is easy pray (pun intended): at 96, one has little will and can be subjected to undue influence. One imagines a Marcial Maciel whispering sweet nothings into the old gal's ears as she lay dying, telling her God has forgiven her for his sins, though he might put her in Purgatory a little while just to make sure he hasn't come across any entries that were overlooked in his big Omniscience computer system. A generous gift would buy her advance up the Heavenly Ladder.
Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein ruled in September that Dauray could not sue, but he noted there was evidence that Mee had been unduly persuaded to change her trusts and will and give the Legion her money. Dauray's lawyer, Bernard Jackvony, said Friday that the documents being released show an orchestrated effort by higher-ups at the Legion to get Mee's money and cover up Maciel's misdeeds.
And just who do you suppose was overseeing the doings of the Legion and taking the God Father's share of the filthy lucre?
The Legion says its actions surrounding Mee and her estate were appropriate and honorable. It says it did not exert undue influence over her decision-making, and that the gifts she gave to the order were made of her own free will.
What "free will"? Very clever but ridiculous.
Among the documents being released are depositions given by top-ranking leadership of the Legion, including the Rev. Anthony Bannon, who was once Maciel's deputy, and the Rev. Luis Garza, current head of the Legion's North American operations. In one deposition, Garza acknowledged that he was on a committee of Legion officials that was created to distribute funds from one of Mee's trusts exclusively for Legion activities.
It's terrible and it's outrageous and it's a blot on the Vatican and catholicism and all of that ... but so long as people continue to venerate and fear that organization and place it above the law, nothing ... Absolutely NOTHING Will Come Of This. The catholic church will continue to operate as though it is immune from prosecution so long as civil authority grants it that de-facto status.
Now, can someone tell me PLEASE when that day is coming and how soon it can be?
There appears to be an uptick in media attention focused on the RCC. With that, many more people may see the light. Much of the focus is on RCC scandals. At some point some congregants will want to distance themselves from the Church. And perhaps from religion of all kinds.
One can hope, James. Maybe it's time to provide our news media with a bit of feedback as it comes to this, let them know that these stories deserve exposure, attention, and more consideration of detail and back-story than they've gotten to date.
I can't say that they absolutely will listen. I CAN say that they won't listen if we don't talk.
I swear I can't even look at him, I see vile, depraved, disgusting, base creature of ill intent. Their silly vestments and gilded finery, it's maddening knowing what treachery they use against the masses to line their coffers and the legal establishment turns a blind eye!
Well, if you mean a blind eye to answers from the Vatican, guess again: they enjoy by treaty with the U.S. diplomatic immunity from prosecution. It also allows them to refuse to divulge information, including what Ratzinger knew and when did he know it. Just goes to show you, when the U.S. got to a point that it would extend diplomatic immunity to a church, Catholicism already had a strangle-hold on the U.S. people. The guy who got all of those documents on California molesters had to go to hell and back to get them. He said the struggle was Herculean.
Here this "sinful" group of privileged men has for centuries been shaming virtual innocents as "sinful" no doubt causing all kinds of psychological, physical and financial hardships. They have denied women needed health services and permission to manage the size of their families according to their available resources and ability to care for them. Women have even been sentenced to die in difficult pregnancies and childbirth and to remain in abusive marriages. Catholics in third world countries live in deplorable situations while these frauds live in luxury. It is disgusting, criminal and unforgivable.
I actually think they should turn their cathedrals and the buildings that often surround them into homes to shelter the homeless. That would be a much better use of monies from the collection plates, not therapy for sick priests and hiring lawyers to defend against the molestation suits. The sheep who eat the cracker and drink the wine Sundays only go to be seen, to talk business on the church steps, and to assure one's place in a hereafter that does not, cannot exist.
And you know for years I've tried to respect their right to believe whatever tripe they choose, but I can no longer extend that respect when the whole of the church body knows the truth. They KNOW that these men were protecting pedophiles, not only protecting them, but enabling them to offend again and again, it is as much their fault as it is the fault of Ratzinger. They should all be held to account, they can't claim they had no power, they had all the power, if they leave the church in protest, the money leaves the church, take the money and well....
No respect, no rhythm, no consideration, zip-zilch, nada, NUTHIN'. What little positive they do is so badly outweighed by the infallibility crap, all the pomp and circumstance to no purpose, the condemnation of people who were born a certain way and are who they are regardless of their stupid dogma, and most of all the CHILD ABUSE ...
I mean, why should I grant them ANY consideration at all?
I hurt my neck nodding at that Loren, quick call the chiropractor!
You said it. But while dabbling in the occult I learned one of their maxims and then added a bit from theoretical physics and came up with the notion that when the ancients said "As above, so below," they might have meant both vertically and horizontally. Then you get the relativity bit: who should we dislike more, the RCC or Congress? In the first, you get protection from exposure of your pedophilic peccadillos, while in the second you get insider trading brought over by K Street toads handsomely rewarded by the 1%, the Plutocracy, including the Street. As there, as here.
Great point James, I found myself thinking of the Baphomet drawing... it was one of those odd moments in life, you have a way with words sir...