Friday, May 16, 2008
Jason Berry on Australian Radio in 2006
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"The Legionaries of Christ is one of those far right Catholic organisations favoured by the late Pope John Paul. Founded in Mexico in the early 1940s in the wake of a period of terrible violence and persecution, it’s a secret society with many of the characteristics of a cult. It’s especially powerful in Mexico, Spain and the United States.
The 86-year-old founder, Father Marciel Maciel Degollardo, has been treated like a living saint and ceaselessly promoted by Pope John Paul II, who called him ‘an efficacious guide for youth’.
But he turns out to be more like Nosferatu. Marciel has been the subject of rumours and several investigations that went nowhere, into allegations going back to the 1940s, that he raped teenage boys while telling them he had a special dispensation from Pope Pius XII to have sex with them, and then absolve them from sin, because he suffered from acute pains in the stomach. In the 1950s he had his faculties removed briefly while he was investigated for drug addiction.
In 1997, eight men came forward alleging that they had been abused by him while they were children, several of them university professors, one the former head of the Legionaries of Christ in the United States...
Well now the investigation is over. And without detailing what he has been found guilty of, the Vatican has released a statement indicating that because of his advanced age and delicate health, Father Maciel has been banished from public ministry, and invited to end his days in prayer and repentance.
Well I’m joined now to discuss the decision by religion commentator Paul Collins, and American journalist Jason Berry, the co-author of a book about the Maciel case called ‘Vows of Silence’."
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