Monday, August 17, 2009

More On Maciel--Shining Light In Very Dark Corners

I've taken the following excerpt from the blog American Papist. The ongoing coverage of the Maciel/Legion scandal has been fairly and accurately reported by this blog. Although I had heard of the information coming out of Mexico I hesitated to report on it until credible American sources reported the same information. Today the NCR has come forward with this same information. The fact that most Catholics would not put the NCR and the American Papist in the same wing of the Church lends credibility to the veracity of these accusations.

Claim: Legion founder Maciel had multiple children; other details emerging

For some time, I have refrained from reporting on the ongoing saga of the Legionaries of Christ out of deference for the canonical visitation which is taking place.
AmP was the first major blog to report the scandal of Maciel having a biological child, and became a hub for accurate reporting on the story in the tumultuous weeks that followed.
However, because the most recent round of news changes the situation dramatically, I will report on it as well. The conclusions of the apostolic visit cannot be expected for some time, but individuals who are still in the Legion or Regnum Christi deserve to know what is happening now.

Multiple stories from Mexico report that three additional individuals claiming to be children of Fr. Maciel are suing the Legion of Christ for inheritance rights. It appears the original daughter of Maciel, and her mother, were supported by Legion money (i.e. money contributed by Catholic faithful for supporting Fr. Maciel's work). (They have also reached a settlement with the Legion since the allegations surfaced, for reception of a substantial permanent pension in exchange for their silence.)

The mother claims she was a minor when her relationship with Fr. Maciel began. And it appears that "highly placed officials" in the Legion knew of this situation and were complicit in it. Details beyond this are sketchy, but it appears probable now that there are even more children than the ones mentioned (the most frequent number I hear is six total).
If you are interested in the details, two ex-LC blogs provide them: Life-after-RC and Ex LC Blog.


There are also claims that the daughter was a victim of Maciel's abuse, but these claims don't specify the type of abuse. However, it is not unheard of for pedophiles to create future victims by having their own children. This is one reason the Vatican should shut down every minor seminary and high school run by the Legion. There is ample evidence that Maciel had ulterior motives when creating these schools.

The articles at Life-after-RC and Ex LC are worth reading, especially the article at Ex LC which gives the history of the first investigation of Maciel and the Legion in great detail. This investigation took place in the mid to late fifties and involved exactly the same accusations which have prompted the latest visitation.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that Maciel and the Legion were exonerated during the interegnum between the pontificates of Pius XII and John XXIII. The exoneration was written by a Cardinal who received 'favors' from Maciel and probably didn't have the authority to issue such a report. It should also come as no surprise that the actual members of the visitation team recommended exactly the opposite, but their recommendations seemingly became null and void with the death of Pius XII.

The subsequent treatment of Maciel seems to prove that money is the real voice of the Holy Spirit in the upper echelons of Catholicism. It is inconceivable to me that the protection of Maciel by Pope John Paul II will not figure in the current effort to canonize him. The Legion has mercilessly used the relationship between John Paul and Maciel as their prime recruiting tool and the biggest validation of their charism. I don't believe for one second that John Paul II was innocent of the goings on with Maciel or the inner circle of the Legion.

The Mexican attorney, Jose Bonilla, who is representing the three children attempting to gain access to Maciel's personal fortune, states he has photographs of Maciel with his children, as well as one purportedly of Maciel introducing his children to John Paul II. I'm sure they were introduced as his 'spiritual' children. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Archbishop Chaput, and his fellow archbishops on the visitation team, are dealing with a potential nuclear bomb for the Church. If they take their job seriously, they can't stop their investigation with the Legion. They must take it all the way to the highest corridors of the Vatican because it is here that the real enabling of Maciel occurred when decades of credible allegations were suppressed and/or ignored.

It was the Vatican, and John Paul specifically, whose glowing endorsements of Maciel and the Legion allowed the Legion to amass it's wealth, abuse and brain wash it's members, bilk it's supporters, and see itself as some sort of 'special charism' for the renewal of TRUE Catholicism. Undoubtedly, Legion millions given to the right people, paid for this compliance and duplicity. Some of these alleged paid for protectors are still in very high places and will have a great deal to say about the results of this visitation. (See Cardinal's Rode, Levada, and Sodano.)

I really hope and pray Archbishop Chaput has the guts to investigate the Legion where ever that investigation takes him. Especially because of the Legion influence in the North American Church and it's politics. Archbishop Chaput has a history of taking in ex Legionaries for his diocese and has requested personal input from disaffected LC and RC members. He also needs to listen to the millions of Catholics who are not members of the LC or RC because our anger, while not necessarily as personal, is never the less as important. We are sick of seeing just how co opted the leadership of this Church is when it comes to protecting it's own clerical caste.

If there is ever a time when transparency and accountability is needed by this Church for the maintenance of any kind of credibility, that time is now, with this Legion investigation. Rode and Levada can try to divert attention with the LCWR investigation, but it won't wash. I really hope and pray that Archbishop Chaput will show himself to be a true priest of honor and integrity and expose the whole truth of this long standing and really sordid episode.

Real evil cares not whether it enters the Church through traditionalists or progressives, through laity or religious. It only cares that it's in the shadows and covered up. The People of God have had enough of the shadows and cover ups. It's past time to shine some real light into some very dark corners.


  1. I've read a lot about this over the years, but I've never encountered a substantiated charge about Cardinal Levada. Have I missed something?

  2. giselle, try this link:

    Cardinal Levada is up to his ears in covering up for abusive priests. Many knowledgeable people feel his transfer to Rome was to keep him out of American court rooms and/or American jails.

  3. Colleen, thank you so much for pursuing this story. I like--and shudder at--your observation that money is the voice of the Holy Spirit at the top of the church.

    The Leadership Conference of Women's Religious is asking who is funding the Vatican "probe" of their religious life. They are right to ask that question.

    There is a pattern of highly placed wealthy elites calling the shots in the church, through the financial pressures they apply to the Vatican and to bishops.

    As the LCWR point out, the first announcements of the Vatican probe came in right-wing secular media outlets--indicating inside knowledge and collusion of those folks with this "probe." American religious women had to learn they were under investigation from the secular media--quite a slap in the face to them.

    I agree with you, too, that JPII's relationship with Maciel (one of knowing complicity) ought to figure in his canonization process. Unless big bucks can buy that process off, of course.

  4. Bill, I kind of wonder if the right wing buck bunch is beginning to think Benedict isn't the man they thought he was going to be--as in totally their man.

    As to Maciel, where I'be been getting a chuckle is from all the neo con supporters of his, like George Weigel, Mary Ann Glendon, Deal Hudson, Bill Donahue et al, who visciously attacked the Hartford Courant when this story first broke. Must be hard to see through all that egg on their faces.

  5. colkoch, it would be a mistake to claim that the entire Catholic right was uncritical of the Legion. The truth is that a small group of people from across the Catholic spectrum banded together to expose Fr. Maciel, seeking justice for Maciel's victims.

  6. Anonymous, I can see where you got the impression you did, and I apologize for that because it's not my position.

    The rightwing part of the Church I take exception to is the part that has all the money and more or less runs over all the rest of us. People like Tom Monaghan who seem to get away with creating their own personal version of Catholicism. (See treatment of Fr. Fessio.)

    I am well aware of traditionalists and conservative who are as furious with the Maciel debacle as I am. It's why I used American Papist as the source for this post.

    I pray for the day that progressives and conservatives can drop the debates long enough to see the common enemy. That enemy is very wealthy people who use the Church and it's structures for their own interests.

  7. Colleen, you turn out to be exactly right when you say that the right wing is now beginning to question whether JPII should be canonized.

    Have you see Damian Thompson's blog posting about this at the Tablet in England? And Clerical Whispers picks up that posting today.

    Interesting development--and one I hadn't anticipated.

  8. Thanks for the clarification, colkoch. You wrote: "I pray for the day that progressives and conservatives can drop the debates long enough to see the common enemy. That enemy is very wealthy people who use the Church and it's structures for their own interests."

    Ironically (given the context of the discussion) this is how Fr. Maciel came to be exposed. A handful of Catholics from across the spectrum banded together in the late 90's to bring the abuse to light. Regain was a loose coalition of progressives, conservatives, moderates and even lapsed Catholics.