Saturday, March 27, 2010

Turns Out All Those Seminarians Were Right About Maciel

CNA - 3/26/2010

In a communique released on Thursday, the top leaders of the Legionaries of Christ acknowledged and asked forgiveness for the “reprehensible actions” of their founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel. Jim Fair, communications director for the Legion, told CNA on Friday that the communique was issued during the territorial directors annual meeting in Rome after a discussion on the current state and future of the order.
The March 25 statement's recognition of the allegations against the order's founder comes nearly four years after the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith completed a canonical investigation in 2006.

Though the scandals surrounding Fr. Maciel have been alluded to by leaders within the movement in previous documents, homilies and conferences, the recent statement is the first one to be jointly written and signed by the all the territorial directors of the movement.

“We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work,” reads Thursday's statement. “However, on May 19, 2006, the Holy See’s Press Office issued a communique as the conclusion of a canonical investigation that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) had begun in 2004.”

“At that time, the CDF reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Fr Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place.”

“We later came to know that Fr Maciel had fathered a daughter in the context of a prolonged and stable relationship with a woman, and committed other grave acts,” the communique added.
“After that, two other people surfaced, blood brothers who say they are his children from his relationship with another woman.”

“It has taken us time to come to terms with these facts regarding his life,” the leaders said. “For many, especially the victims, this time has been too long and very painful. We have not always been able, or found the way to reach out to everyone in the way we should have, and in fact wanted to. Hence the need we feel to make this communique.”

“We ask all those who accused him in the past to forgive us, those whom we did not believe or were incapable of giving a hearing to, since at the time we could not imagine that such behavior took place. If it turns out that anyone culpably cooperated in his misdeeds we will act according to the principles of Christian justice and charity, holding these people responsible for their actions.” (Maciel didn't accomplish his predations in a vacuum. People knew and colluded. This will not just be a matter for Christian justice. It will also be a matter of criminal accountability.)

The Legion of Christ became the subject of an Apostolic Visitation after the double life of its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, came to light.

The five bishops who were appointed to carry out the Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ, which began on July 15 of last year, will present their final report to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on April 30, after eight months of work.

Looking ahead to the end of the visitation, the Legion leaders wrote, “We will embrace with filial obedience whatever indications and recommendations the Holy Father gives us as a result of the apostolic visitation, and we are committed to putting them into practice.”

“The past months have helped us to reflect on our identity and mission, and they have also moved us to review various aspects of our institutional life, humbly and in all simplicity,” they added.

The communique concluded by listing multiple “resolutions” that the group will now adhere to, including honoring the “truth” about their history, continuing “to offer safety” for minors, improving cooperating with bishops and other institutions in the Church and redoubling their “dedication to their mission of offering Christ's Gospel to as many people as possible.”


The Legion and Maciel will be where the rubber meets the road for Benedict on his recent statments concerning accountability for clerical abuse and the culture of ecclesiastical cover up.

Benedict's previous action of forcing Maciel into retirement after fifty years of predation hardly constitutes serious canonical sanctions. It was precisely because Maciel wasn't defrocked, that the Legion was able to stonewall and delude it's membership about the truly egregious nature and longevity of Maciel's so called 'double life'. Benedict sort of had his cake and ate it too, with this decision. Apologists like John Allen can cite it as an example of Benedict's tough attitude towards clerical abusers, but the reality is it left the Legion enough to wriggle room to keep deceiving it's members and bilking it's supporters for another four years.

It took DNA paternity tests, which can't be wiggled around, that finally forced the Legion to admit to Maciel's duplicity, but then it took another whole year and the revelation Maciel abused his own sons before it would issue this admission that all those seminarians who had been 'alleging' abuse for four decades were actually telling the truth.

I find it utterly fascinating that the Legion issued this statement at this time. Perhaps Benedict called in some favors in order to get the heat off of himself. In any event, this very belated admission on the part of the Legion isn't even remotely a start on cleansing this particular organization.

The real start will occur when someone confesses that there was indeed a full blown cover up, that it had the approval and complicity of very high Vatican sources, and there were very specific reasons for engaging in it. I still feel that uncovering the truth behind Maciel and the Legion will lead to some really ugly truth about the 'smoke of Satan' with in the Vatican. This investigation should have been turned over to Interpol, not Chaput and company.
Here's the official Legion commentary after Benedict 'invited' Maciel to a life of penance.
"In reference to the news regarding the conclusion of the investigation of the accusations made against Fr. Marcial Maciel, our beloved father founder, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ offer the following statement:

"1. Fr. Marcial Maciel has received during his life a great number of accusations. In the last few years, some of these were presented to the Holy See so that a canonical process would be opened.

"2. Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.

"3. Considering his advanced age and his frail health, the Holy See has decided not to begin a canonical process but to 'invite him to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing to any public ministry'.

"4. Fr. Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, he has accepted this communique with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

"5. The Legionaries of Christ and the members of the Regnum Christi, following the example of Fr. Maciel and united to him, accept and will accept always the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith. We renew our commitment to work with great intensity to live our charism of charity and extend the Kingdom of Christ serving the Church."
Essentially Benedict gave Legion leadership four more years to delude it's followers and reap their donations. This is tough leadership in the face of evil. God must be ever so pleased.


  1. I thought this part was interesting:

    "We later came to know that Fr Maciel had fathered a daughter in the context of a prolonged and stable relationship with a woman..."

    Yes, he abused a lot of people, but at least his relationship with one of his victims was stable!

    I wondered when I first read this story if the pope might come down hard on the Legion to show that he's taking the abuse scandals seriously.

    Then I came to my senses and remembered the pope is Benedict. I'm sure he'll write a stern letter or something.

  2. I caught that line too and wondered what their definition of a stable relationship entailed. The constant spin these guys use is too funny--it wreaks of the typical jargon used by narcissists.

  3. Hmm...are we somehow to infer that the "prolonged & stable relationship" resulting in a daughter (both out of wedlock & in obvious violation of Maciel's vow to God of Celibacy....) in some way 'better' then a quick hook-up resulting in the same daughter?

    It is noted with great interest: the disturbing parallels between Maciel & Escriva of Opus Dei. We also know factually, from the many writings of those who knew Escriva, of his vile temper, rage against women, etc.

    ...yet his 'sainthood cause' was ramrodded through, ignoring all & sundry legitimate arguments against him.

    So, when will the WHOLE truth come out about Escriva? Oh...wait...I forgot. Nothing will come out, as he is a 'saint'; thus we are not permitted to question anything about him or his life.

  4. Verily, the Legion's plight doth sound so like Uriah Heep!

    Heep it on these guys!

  5. It would take only a few cardinals or bishops to break ranks with the clerical club to bring the whole corrupt edifice down. Is it too much to hope that so few good men exist in the hierarchy?

  6. Nice of the Legionaries to admit they were wrong, but it's rather like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. I don't suppose we'll ever hear George Weigel admit he was wrong for defending the indefensible Marcial Maciel. Rather big of them to admit the obvious after Jason Berry and the late Gerald Renner revealed Maciel's sexual abuses. Now that they've gotten this out of the way, the Vatican can get back to the important business of whitewashing the Legionaries so that they can do the most important thing to them and keep the big bucks rolling in.