April 21, 2005

Ex-seminarian, authors clash over priest

Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
April 20, 2005

I received the following e-mail from Joe Stong, a former seminarian with the Legionaries of Christ and current member of Regnum Christi, regarding the assertions of authors Jason Berry and Gerald Renner in their 2004 book Vows of Silence:

I met [Jason Berry and Gerald Renner] in Dallas in June, 2002 at a reunion of former Legionary seminarians. They claimed they'd been invited, whereas the anti-LC, former LC priest who ran the show claimed they 'just showed up.'

So someone wasn't telling the truth.

I discussed the Legion and Fr. Maciel with them at length as an eyewitness during which they repeated many charges which even on face value they had no proof for, other than the accuser's word for it. No circumstantial, physical, or character logical proof of Fr. Maciel being bad. No reference was ever made to his actual words, works, or achievements. It became evident that they had no independent understanding of what a religious congregation of Pontifical rite is supposed to be, much less what the Legion is per se, but were basing everything on what the accusers claimed was so. ...

Jason Berry responded to Stong's e-mail as follows:

Three Legionaries of Christ people arrived uninvited at the first Regain conference and were thrown out because the hosts considered them spies. Renner and I interviewed the three about 45 minutes before they left; they were transparent apologists for Maciel and his movement. That they tried to sneak in says something, does it not?

The Legionaries specialize in disinformation about Maciel, the internal dynamics of the order, and the enemies they must create in order to continue raising money when honest people question or expose things about the man and his movement. I stand by what I have written on these matters and speak for my colleague Gerald Renner in saying so. 'Vows of Silence' is the product of many years' careful research. No one of repute in history or journalism has disproved what we have written. The Legionaries' attack on us is one prong in their disinformation campaign which informs us on what kind of people they are.


Posted by kshaw at April 21, 2005 04:36 AM