Thursday, July 2, 2009

First Aposotlic Visitation, Part II

For those who may be new to all of this, the Legion was under an Apostolic Visitation in the 1950's. The story is convoluted and requires careful study, which our friend Cassandra has done for us. Here is part II. You can read Part I here. Or, if you are brave enough, you can tackle the entire story here.

By summer 1956, four Mexican bishops knew at least something about the Maciel problem, the archbishops of Mexico City, Morelia, and Yucatan, and the bishop of Cuernavaca. Cuernavaca Bishop Sergio Méndez Arceo wrote cautiously on August 14 to Arcadio Larraona, Secretary of the Vatican Congregation of the Affairs of Religious, recommending Maciel’s removal and an investigation of three charges: “devious and lying behavior, use of narcotic drugs, acts of sodomy with boys of the congregation.” On August 31 Mexico City Archbishop Miguel Darío Miranda also wrote to Larraona agreeing that “immediate intervention is necessary” in the Maciel case and reiterating those three charges: “sins against the sixth commandment committed with members of the congregation,” drug addiction, and mendacity to achieve his ends.

Photo above right: Archbishop Miguel Darío Miranda y Gómez

Ferreira had on August 23 written at length to the Mexico City vicar general about a number of cases of Maciel’s “impurely touching” apostolic school boys and subsequent explanation, when the boys had told Ferreira of this, that he had been in pain and must have been unconscious. He told the story of Maciel’s drug crisis in Rome in early January and wrote of Maciel’s lies and evasions and his theory of having a urological problem that required emission of semen.

Photo left: Spanish Cardinal Arcadio Larraona

The three letters from August 1956 – those of Méndez Arceo, Darío Miranda, and Ferreira Correa – document an important point: the charge of sexual abuse was part of what triggered the original investigation of Maciel. Maciel never admitted that, claiming, as in his book-length autobiographical interview with Jesús Colina, Christ is My Life (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press 2003 (English version)), that what he called the “slanders” against him involved only drugs and lies. The standard understanding of this is conveyed, for example, in the Wikipedia article, “Sexual abuse scandal in the Legion of Christ”: “In 1956 the Vatican had him removed as superior and investigated allegations of drug abuse… There are no records of any members reporting sexual abuse at that time.”

Things moved quickly. On September 20 Larraona had the documentation sent to Domenico Tardini, Secretary of the Roman Curia, suggesting the Pope be informed and that Maciel step down and find help. Maciel’s suspension, signed by Valeri and dated the next day, was relayed through the Apostolic Delegation in Mexico, as Larraona had asked, sidestepping Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo, Secretary of the Holy Office, a Maciel friend.

Photo right: Italian Cardinal Valerio Valeri

Maciel arrived in Rome by October 1 and on October 3 wrote to Valeri, accepting his suspension by the Congregation respectfully, “with absolute submission and unconditional compliance,” and agreeing “to go to a clinic, suspended for that time from the exercise of my responsibility of superior general of the Institute.” All the same he claimed good health, enclosing as evidence a certificate from papal physician Ricardo Galeazzi Lisi (who as it turned out would be dismissed from papal service later in 1956 amid talk of gambling debts and caused distaste in 1958 by selling photos and stories of Pius XII’s dying days) and declared himself the victim of calumny. Maciel was exiled to Spain, restricted from Rome. Legionary administration for the time being was taken up by Lagoa, as College rector; Arumí, as novice master; and Ferreira, as vicar general, assisted by Domínguez.

Photo left: Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone else feel this sense of shame at having been part of a cult for so very long?

I've gone from anger to sadness to fury to shame to revulsion within minutes.

We learned all this crap in Spirit of the Legion as some mystical trial sent by a loving God who wanted to purify his Bhurch. Instead, MM was just a perverted druggie and his minions were fools- either naive or deliberately deceitful and cowardly.

What a disgusting organization with a wretched history and vile existence. The Legion makes me sick.

Every day since I left has been my independence day. Shame on all of you LC superiors. May bancrupcy be painful and costly. May your buildings crumble and your green books burn. And may God have mercy on you for 60 years of lies, deceit and fraud.

- 9 years of lies

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could agree with you more.

- 8 years of lies

Anonymous said...

It only cost me a marriage, to someone who became an RC robot. But I'm out and healthy now, thank heaven.