Thursday, June 25, 2009

Promoting my book in Dublin, Ireland

[Gene Kerrigan, Dublin reporter and author]

Mr. K.,
this is Paul Lennon; you kindly called my sister, C., today by mobile after I had gone to the Irish Independent office on Talbot St, a somewhat unorthodox approach to getting in touch with you.
For some years over in the Wash DC area I put a memoir together about my life with the Legion of Christ [1961-84]; I discovered your book, Another Country but did not read it then because I wanted to draw on my own memories and to avoid plagiarism. Anyway I self published with

Our Father [Maciel] who art in heaven, A Naive and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ by J. Paul Lennon

I added the priest's name "Maciel" to make the title a bit more palatable to those Catholics scandalized by the first title. They probably are still scandalized. My book does not focus on clergy abuse as such but on my dealings with Fr. Marcial Maciel, the 'charismatic' founder of that religious order and lay movement, Regnum Christi, the Mexican version of the Opus Dei, alive and well in the USA and other countries including the Emerald Isle.
You suggested I leave a copy with your friend at the Irish Ind and I hope to do so tomorrow. I appreciate you calling my sister and for your kind interest,
Paul Lennon,
formerly of 98 Faussagh Ave, Cabra West [circa 1945-61]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why I wrote this memoir?


I wanted the story to be readable, straightforward to some degreee, but to have different themes and facets: me, vocation, Legion, its training system and methodology, the superiors' inadequacy, Maciel, Ireland, Mexico, conflict, suffering, recovery... Although the story is my story and written for myself and my own wellbeing/catharsis , some of its importance comes from Paul being one of the very first Irish-born cofounding legionaries, of being a contemporary of the founder, of interacting with him and finding him to be an absolute scoundrel. I believe that the critique of Maciel must go way beyond his pedophilia to his total sickness as a human being and his lack of moral, ethical, spiritual and religious values; and, of course, to his being the creator of one very sick and destructive 'formation' system and an order equivalent to a cult within the confines of the official Catholic Church.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why this Title for my memoir? "Our Father, who art in bed,"

The book was published originally with the title "Our Father, who art in bed, a Naive and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ" [$15]

I wanted to soften what could be an offensive title and changed it to "Our Father" Maciel, who art in bed,.... [$18]

The same text is available under both titles on books.

In the Memoir I explain how I learned to call Fr. Maciel "Nuestro Padre", i.e., "Our Father"

Fr Maciel had himself called "Our Father"* by the members and followers -although in Spanish it does not have the same blasphemous connotation it has for English speaking Christians; in Spanish the title is NOT exactly the same as the first two words of the Our Father; it is, nevertheless, a special name to give oneself.

Besides being a pedophile, Maciel was was a hypochondriac and did spend a lot of time "ill" and in bed where he had to be tended to hand and foot -mixing my metaphors? So he was not a father in heaven, or a loving father as fathers should be -and as my own father was!- The memoir explains the kind of father I found him to be.

*During the very early stages of the foundation in Mexico and Spain Fr. Maciel had the seminarians call him "Mon Pere" which is simply the respectful way French speakers address their priest. However, this was in a Spanish-speaking context and it sounded special, and precious. One might say that wanting a special name reflected "un je ne sais quoi", possibly a hint of Narcissism.