The Legionaries of Christ, in the dock
Posted on July 22, 2009, 1:01 AM | Irene Lagan
A friend sent me Jason Berry's new article on Father Marcial Maciel and the Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ. It's sobering stuff. I found myself in an awkward internal struggle between wanting and not wanting to read it. The subject is heavy and unpleasant, and the Legionaries of Christ do not concern me directly. Nevertheless, it's a major order, and this scandal does impact the Church as the Body of Christ.
According to Berry -- one of the journalists who broke the scandal years ago for the Hartford Courant -- much of the order is still in a state of denial.
"The atmosphere in House of Studies is bizarre," a Legion priest said glumly, sitting on a bench near the Tiber River, fearful of repurcussions should his name be used. "Even now, the brothers [seminarians] have not been told about Maciel’s pedophilia. Their mail is screened and web access restricted."
He considers the 320 seminarians "brainwashed. They read the letters of Nuestro Padre" -- Our Father, as Maciel, touted internally as a future saint, was called. "Three years after the Holy Father punished him, they study his writings. Priests can spend time freely outside. The brothers are in a concentration camp."
One of the most striking things in this entire situation is how easy denial is... especially in the case of someone who seems outwardly good and worthy and appealing. Unfortunately, I also know many people involved with the Legion and Regnum Christi, and don't like to see them hurt. I hope now that the visitation is officially underway, that the Legion can come to terms with what has happened. I hope, too, that those who've been affected by the scandal can find what they need to move forward.
And from a reader's comment on the posting above:
July 22nd, 2009 | 8:02am
I understand that Archbishop Chaput is on the LC visitation team. I hope he asks the tough questions and does not go easy on the leadership of LC. He is a good Bishop and I am confident that he will do his job. He has his work cut out for him.