Saturday, April 12, 2008

What do you think of this answer?

Father Maciel: Legion of Christ
Question from Frank Dybas on 2/18/2008:

Dear Sir Iv'e been recently reading about the death of the former leader of the Legion of Christ leader Father Maciel. What i have read is deeply disturbing. Apparently he was accused of abusing ( sexually ) anywhere from 20 to 100 young semenarian young boys. These are the ones who came forward. There are probably at least twice that many that didn't come forward. Many leading American Church leaders ( Father Neuhaus, George Weigel, including others ) came forward to defend him. However, the present Pope ( while Father Maciel was alive ) had asked him to to live the rest of his life in " Prayer and Forgivness:. Translation, he was guilty. Do you have any opinion of this leading Catholic orginasation? [sic]

Answer by David Gregson on 3/6/2008:

Considering his advanced age and poor health, the Holy See didn't subject Father Maciel to an ecclesiastical investigation. Neither the number of accusations against him, nor the invitation to spend the rest his days in "prayer and penance" necessarily imply his guilt. But even if he was guilty in some instances of what he was accused of, he did a good work in founding both the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, both highly approved by Pope John Paul II. See his Address to the Legionaries of Christ.


For link, click here


Anonymous said...

While Fr Maciel was not convicted in a trial, the invitation to a life a prayer of the penance would have been the same penalty he would have been given had he been convicted. The end result was the same. I suspect the vatican did not want to give scandal to all the members of LC/RC since so many closely identify their faith with the movement.

As far as good works, I have personally experienced and have seen many casualties of very good individuals and families. These unfortunate situations are hushed up and are not given the same news coverage and headline since the people affected by them do not have the same resources as the Legion in getting the word out.

Anonymous said...

Very weak answer:
1) The 'invitation' DOES mean B16 thinks he is guilty.
2) The implication that JPII did not know the 'dark side' means his praise was based on misperceptions, not reality and thus meaningless.
3) The ends NEVER justifies the means, so any 'good' from the Legion is tainted, and is purely a gift of God drawn out despite the evil. Hitler made the trains run on time.

Jeannette said...

As to Maciel's guilt:
The "invitation" to a private life of prayer and penance is exactly the punishment given to several other elderly pedophile priests who were deemed unable to stand trial, including my childhood pastor, who was also sent to a group home and forbidden to celebrate Mass publicly or wear a Roman collar. I think this is a better result than laicizing or imprisoning them. They're in these homes for the rest of their lives, unable to commit any more of their terrible sins/crimes.

So Maciel's defenders are aligning themselves with one of the most notorious child molesters the Catholic Church has ever ordained. All I can tell you is that the case against Maciel is much stronger than the one against Msgr. Sego, who only had one woman (not me) with a recovered memory to come forward publicly against him.

Anonymous #1, I suspect the Vatican feared Maciel would lead his followers into schism.

Anonymous said...

For a Regnum Christi member it is painful to read this kind of discussions. To make things clear I don't want to take part in it but I wanted to clarify just one thing. One of the most important aspect of RC charism is total obedience to the Holy Father. A schism is just unthinkable - it would be the denial of RC identity. No one could lead RC to schism because than it would not be RC.

God bless


Anonymous said...

I certainly have my reservations about the Legion but I am curious to know why anyone would think they would go into schism. I did not see their problems relating to theology.

Anonymous said...

I agree also with the schism - not a possibility for RC, and not a worry of the Vatican.

But the article says that there were good works even if the founder is a child molester - that comment shows a lack of understanding of the spirit and life of the congregation and the attedant organization, RC. They are firmly bound up with the founder, and if somehow undeniable proof were to come out, the Legion would be finished. The Legion can only be a congregation as long as they maintain their founder's innocence.

So if you believe the founder is guilty, you must hold that the congregation is based on a lie.

john said...

To the anonymous RC member who has been greatly grieved, my experience has been that it takes about 10-15 years to really get to know LC/RC. I see most people who are the heads of apostolates dropping out after about 3-5 years. The people that stay in the movement are usually individuals that are using the movement for their "Spiritual Spa". They are the individuals that are taking advantage of the movement with out investing their much of their time.

Anonymous said...

To John:

This is an interesting insight. This means that you experienced that people who treat seriously their service for God, for the Church and for other people, that people who invest much of their time in the movement, leave RC after 3-5 yrs. And only those who treat it like "Spa", kind of periodical "spiritual renewal" stay with RC for a longer time.

In Poland we have such saying that no one loses faith because of reading the works of Karl Marx, but there's a lot of people who left the Church after one discussion with the parish priest. This has obviously two meanings: one is that on many occasions organizations within the Church (and the Church as the organization) disappoints us, but on the other hand it tells us much about our faith - how weak it is.

My question is: do we seek God, or our glory and satisfaction?



John said...

Greg, I am not sure of the point you are making. Could you exlpain a little better.

RCish said...

Anyone who suggests that the Vatican's "invitation" to Fr. Maciel is meaningless must deal with Pope Benedict's earlier actions taken against Fr. Burresi, another well-known founder of a religious order accused of sexual abuse. (see, e.g.,

The parallels between these two men and the accusations were so striking that many commentators in 2005 stated that this might be a forecast of how the Vatican would handle the Fr. Maciel matter.

Fast forward to 2006. Pope Benedict approved the exact same restrictions on Fr. Maciel.

It is an insult to Pope Benedict's intelligence to think that he did not intend a parallel to be drawn between these two men. I cannot understand how RC/LC keep up this story that the Vatican's communique is meaningless.