Thursday, February 26, 2009
The men resemble each other in so many ways they appear to be twins
Feb. 25, 2009
By Tom Gallagher
To watch interviews of victims of Bernard Madoff’s gargantuan Ponzi scheme, and then immediately switch to interviews of Legion of Christ priests, is to quickly lose track of which scoundrel is being discussed. The priests had just learned their founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado (1920-2008), had a longtime lover and fathered a daughter now in her 20s.
From the National Catholic Reporter.
(don't shoot the messanger)
Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore is now going on the record discouraging his flock from involvement in the Legion of Christ or Regnum Christi. Here are a few key quotes from the Archbishop.
It seems to me and many others that this was a man [Father Marcial Maciel, L.C.]with entrepreneurial genius who, by systematic deception and duplicity, used our faith to manipulate others for his own selfish ends.
Finally someone has just said it! I have been less than satisfied with those who defend the Legion by saying that Father Maciel was just a troubled soul who lost his way. The evidence does not point to an otherwise holy man who went astray in the last years of his life. He was first investigated and temporarily removed as head of the Legion in 1956, with subsequent allegations coming in the '70s and '90s. As the public record on Father Maciel grows, it is a very sustainable conclusion that he was, from the beginning of public ministry, a charlatan.
For all charter members of Fortress Catholicism, please read the above quote again. It is wrong to use orthodoxy as a cover for totalitarian tendencies. “They love the Pope” should not be a justification for cult of personality. “They love the Blessed Mother” should not be a justification for psychological blackmail. “They hate the Buddy Jesus crowd” should not be a justification for vowed secrecy. We respect the life and dignity of the human person and must defend it from ALL attacks.
While it's difficult to get ahold of official documents, it's clear that from the first moment a person joins the Legion, efforts seem to be made to program each one and to gain full control of his behavior, of all information he receives, of his thinking and emotions. This is not about orthodoxy. It is about respect for human dignity for each of its members.
I hope more bishops will be buttressed by Archbishop O'Brien's words and take the necessary steps to combat these evil influences.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
“It seems to me and many others that this was a man with an entrepreneurial genius who, by systematic deception and duplicity, used our faith to manipulate others for his own selfish ends,” Archbishop O’Brien [of Baltimore] told The Catholic Review in a telephone interview following his Feb. 20 Rome meeting with Father Alvaro Corcuera, director general of the Legion.
Read the whole article here.
"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Matthew 7:17
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Luke 6:45
These two passages (taken from the Douay-Rheims version of the bible) have been rolling over in my head for the last week since learning of the confirmations that many (most?) of the allegations against Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the apostolic order Legion of Christ and the lay apostolic association Regnum Christi. Added to the list of accusations which were previously made is the confirmed fact that Fr. Maciel fathered a daughter who is now 22 years old and her mother is only 37 years old (which mathematics will tell you was 14 or 15 when she conceived).
Often on blogs people posit their positions as provocations or opinions, using the blog primarily as a medium of judgment on the events around them. That is usually my reason, as well. However, today I offer this post primarily to engage you to think with me what these two passages mean and how the current situation that the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi can be understood in light of them.
I want to avoid a moralistic approach and at the same time I want to avoid an interpretation of those passages as deterministic. I also don't want my reflection to remain at the surface of my annoyance with the LC or RC in my particular encounters with them. Instead, I want to try to understand what exactly a "fruit" is and more so, I want to understand how much the "charism" of any religious order or lay movement is tied to the person of the founder, and whether or not this "tie" is necessary to or a consequence of the moral life of the founder.
I also want to understand more about the Legion's formation and structure. Are some of it's tendencies (the focus on appearance, sameness, moral rigidity, secrecy, the apostolate) a result of some work Christ was doing "through" a fragile, broken creature or are they the result of a dualism that emerges as a result of his constant rejection of Christ's grace.
Here are some thoughts:
1. The focus on appearances belies the tendency in someone who lives a double life to convince all those around him that "everything is fine." It's not a coincidence that all the Legionaries are told time and time again that their appearance is fundamental in not interfering with someone hearing the gospel message.
2. The focus on the "sameness" of all Legionaries could also be a symptom of the above mentioned problem. The more everyone is the same, the more the person who is living the double life can rely on those patterns and expectations to cover their own duplicity.
3. The focus on moral rigidity often what we call "reactionary." The reaction is to the person's own sinfulness. Sin, in the Christian life, usually evokes shame. Since serious patterns of sin result from our own choices, we often think that our choices and actions will lead us back to the right path. This is a typical misunderstanding of the Christian life in which instead of a complete reliance on Christ, we rely on the rules as the path to holiness.
4. The focus on secrecy is almost self-evident. When you have something to hide you treat everything as if it is "private" and therefore create patterns of behavior where you "hide from the left hand what the right hand is doing." This isn't always negative. Somethings should be private. But when everything has the potential to be a little damaging or negative is treated with "secrecy" we can really occlude the truth.
5. The focus on the apostolate is troubling because it avoids the personal interior work of self-awareness and self-acknoledgment. This is true in my experience. Often when I focus on my work as the most important thing it is because there is an interior rejection of my dependence on Christ and an inability to be silent in front of him and recognize what I am in front of him. Even prayer can be full of this "business" so even hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament can amount to a "nothingness" if I am not present with all of myself infront of the "You" that makes me.
In addition, I think it also can be used a "measure" of one self, in the way that the protestant tradition has looked at it. "I must be good with God, because look at how successful my apostolate is going." It's the tendency that many had to say "Fr. Maciel must be a saint, because look at all the good that the Legion does, look at all the seminarians, look at how faithful they are to the pope, only a saint could generate all of that." If he's not a saint, are those things that he generated now evil?
It is up to the Legion now to show the world that it will proactively work to abolish all traces of Maciel's sin in its midst. Apologizing for its ad hominem attacks on all Maciel's accusers--for continuing to call them liars even after the communique--would be a start.
Fr. Joseph Tham, LC, MD, PhD
Professor, School of Bioethics,
Regina Apostolorum Pontifical university
"Of course, the news was a bit of a shock when I learnt of it. It is so uncharacteristic of everything that he has been to us in his writings and exhortations. It caused confusion, doubts, anxieties, and even anger, as is natural. The fact that it could be a case of mental problem (possibly a case of multiple personality disorder, inherited or due to his brain injury) could explain it somewhat at first, but not totally. Only God who knows the interior of each person can be the just judge, and we will leave it in his hands whatever was in our founder’s life."
Well, Fr., we have to evaluate that interior life. Maciel shoved it in our faces for years. We have to understand it.
As for the absurdly stupid brain injury/multiple personality excuse: get serious. You call yourself a bio-ethics professor in an university? an MD? For shame!
Multiple personality disorder: was it diagnosed?
If inherited, did it come from his mother whose canonization the LC is pursuing?
How could so many close collaborators not be aware of it?
How do you distinguish a good and a bad personality in the disorder? just by what a person does in one or the other? or are all faulty per se since it is a disorder?
If a result of brain injury: was it diagnosed? How does it explain behavior before the injury? How could so many close collaborators not have been aware of it?
The above is too complicated an explanation. And if there was no diagnosis, then you, Fr., are grasping at straws. It is much easier to explain his behavior as that of a con man and a fraud.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
FIGURED IT OUT!
The reason for the timing of the Legion's press release, what we are all waiting for:
"The comet makes its closest approach to Earth (0.41 AU) on Feb. 24, 2009. Current estimates peg the maximum brightness at 4th or 5th magnitude, which means dark country skies would be required to see it. No one can say for sure, however, because this appears to be Lulin's first visit to the inner solar system and its first exposure to intense sunlight. Surprises are possible. "
Quoted from NASA.
Fr. Maciel, the Legionaries, and patterns of scandal in the Church: part 1
Fr. Maciel, the Legionaries, and patterns of scandal in the Church: part 2
Maciel, etc. 3: People–and Cultures–of the Lie
Maciel, etc, 4: Transparency
Fr. Maciel, etc., part 5: Public Face vs. Private Face
Maciel, etc., part 6: relevant articles
Maciel, etc., part 7: Conscience in Canon Law and the New Movements
Maciel, etc., part 8: “False Conscience” and its Bitter Fruits
Maciel, etc., part 9: more relevant links
Maciel, etc., part 10: Debra’s Q & A with Pete Vere
LC/RC to respond to scandal today
Monday, February 23, 2009
Legion of Christ to respond to scandal on Tuesday
Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 / 03:02 pm (CNA).- Vatican officials confirmed to CNA on Monday that the leadership of the Legion of Christ will release a major statement in response to the controversy surrounding the double life of its founder and the future of the order. The statement will be released on Tuesday “or Wednesday at the latest.”
Highly anticipated by members, sympathizers and critics of the Legionaries, as well as its lay organization, Regnum Christi, the statement was completed a “few days ago,” but has been submitted for review by “several Cardinals” of the Roman Curia, a Vatican source told CNA, without specifying which Cardinals or which dicasteries are reviewing the document.
The Legion of Christ, as a priestly congregation of Pontifical right, is overseen by the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whose head is Cardinal Franc Rodé. Regnum Christi, being a lay apostolic movement, is overseen by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
According to the Vatican source, the forthcoming document will address “the difficult circumstances created by the recent discovery of the double life led by Fr. Maciel and the need to restore peace, trust and apostolic vitality within the spiritual family he founded.”
The document “will also sketch the concrete future steps the leadership of the Legion of Christ will take to achieve these goals.”
Asked if the document will be “final,” the source told CNA that it will be a foundational document that will be decisive in determining future action. “I would say it is a definitive document... it is too soon to tell if it will be, indeed, final,” the source said.
The Vatican contact also added that, despite the fact that he has read the document, “I prefer not to anticipate any of its content, I think it will speak for itself.”
-Decía que todas las mujeres se enamoraban de él y que le lloraban por un hijo. Se jactaba de sus conquistas femeninas; de su piel clara, de sus ojos azules. Ingenuamente, presumía de su parecido con el príncipe de Gales.
-¡Y eso era bueno!
-A él le encantaba repetirlo. Decía que alguna vez en Nueva York lo habían confundido con él. Era un vanidoso egocéntrico, sin formación alguna.
-¿Qué más decía de sus amantes?
-Él decía que las mujeres eran el trasero del diablo, que eran sucias y olían mal. A él realmente nunca le gustaron; sólo galanteaba a las que veía con posibilidades de sacarles dinero. Hizo del sexo un instrumento multifuncional para lograr sus fines, placer y dinero mediante el que obtendría poder. Dijo una vez que si el demonio le ofreciera dinero, se lo arrebataría. Un subconsciente que revela hasta qué punto estaba dispuesto Maciel a buscar dinero, porque en ese tiempo ya recibía dinero del narco. Con los hombres también usó sus encantos.
-¿Qué tipo de hombres?
-Aparte de amantes de poca monta, se habló de un industrial muy rico, dueño de la impresora más grande de México. Pero eso era muy privado.
-Él decía que las relaciones con mujeres le estaban permitidas por el Papa Pío XII porque sufría una rara enfermedad consistente en la retención de semen, lo que le cerraba el conducto urinario y le provocaba muchos dolores de próstata. Necesitaba el sexo como una cura.
-Todos creíamos en él. Para nosotros era nuestro padre y la enfermedad que sufría era un verdadero calvario. [Risas] Después fui sabiendo yo con quién trataba, pero me costó darme cuenta, no crea que no.
-Me impresionó la forma en que se conoció la noticia porque salió de dentro de la secta. Llevan 12 años aferrándose a la mentira de que Maciel nunca tuvo una conducta impropia y ni mucho menos cometió delitos de pederastia. Es sorprendente que aceptaran el aspecto de su doble vida. Creen que poniéndolo de mujeriego van a quitar el estigma de pederasta, de hombre frívolo que no hizo nada en su vida. Tener una hija es lo único que podría redimirlo en algo el monstruo que era, lo poco humano; sin desdeñar la violación de la jovencita de 15 años, apenas una niña. Los legionarios hablan de la "amante" de Maciel para ocultar su pederastia.
Dejad que los niños vengan
El golpe.- El libro "El Legionario", publicado el año 2003 por Alejandro Espinosa, sembró dudas profundas acerca de quién era verdaderamente el sacerdote. En el texto, Espinosa cuenta la vida disipada y llena de excesos del religioso. Alejandro Espinosa conoció a Marcial Maciel en noviembre de 1950 en Ciudad de México, en la Colonia Tlalpan, cuatro años después de haber sido reclutado para pertenecer a su grupo religioso, igual que tantos otros adolescentes, valiéndose de mentiras y exageraciones sobre las canchas de juegos, albercas [piscinas], viajes, etc. Entonces no sabía que era su tío. Se enteró al poco tiempo de abandonar la congregación. Nunca se salvó de la mirada libidinosa del religioso ni de su acoso sexual, lo que finalmente lo obligó a buscar otro camino.
-¿Qué fue lo primero que le llamó la atención de él?
-Era un señor con rasgos muy femeninos, era muy afectado en su forma de ser, muy atildado en la forma en que movía las manos. En ese entonces yo no podía hacer juicios.
-¿Cómo se comportaba con los otros adolescentes que también se preparaban para el sacerdocio?
-Buscaba para su servicio sólo a los bonitos. Era un maniaco sexual. Siendo niño de 12 ó 13 años me llamó a dirección espiritual en Tlalpan, me hizo bajar los pantalones para poder dirigirme espiritualmente, tenía que ver cómo tenía el pene.
-No, pero después se hicieron frecuentes los encuentros obligándome a que lo masturbara. Me sentía terrible por mi tendencia hacia las mujeres. Era muy repulsivo y degradante masturbarlo. Él los llamaba "masajes necesarios para redimir su enfermedad" y decía que el Papa le autorizaba a tener sexo con mujeres, pero amaba a tal grado la virtud de la pureza que prefería morir antes que mancharla. Yo tenía tan sólo 15 años. Fue en Ontaneda, España, donde comenzó con esos abusos. Después pasé al Noviciado en Roma; él sólo venía de visita de vez en cuando.
-¿Y en Roma siguió con sus perversiones?
-Siempre tuvo un harem y en él participaba sólo la gente de su extrema confianza. Cuando estuve en Roma llegué a contabilizar cerca de 30 hombres de su intimidad. Si éramos 90 en toda la comunidad, eso suponía el 30 por ciento de los seminaristas. En el mismo seminario llegó a meter mujeres, dispuso de un cuarto, pese a que está prohibido por el Derecho Canónico introducir mujeres en estos conventos para hombres de votos religiosos.
-¿Cada cuánto llegaba al colegio en Roma?
-Esporádicamente, él nunca estaba en los conventos. Nos visitaba muy de vez en cuando. Él se levantaba cerca de las once de la mañana y a veces nos acompañaba al desayuno y luego en la tarde, cerca de las cinco, nos invitaba una meriendita con galletas y helado de cóctel. Pero él nunca convivía en la casa. Era una persona muy incongruente, nosotros pensábamos que se partía el alma buscando medios de subsistencia. Eso era mentira; él sólo vivía para sus excesos fuera del convento.
-¿Una vida que también implicaba el uso de drogas?
-Usaba dolantina, una forma de morfina, era un hombre hipersexual. Nunca dejaba la droga y las inyecciones se las ponía donde fuera, le daba lo mismo. Era una constante, para camuflarla siempre se hablaba de la enfermedad de "nuestro padre" y el calvario que tenía que sufrir porque el demonio bien sabía que le iba a ganar la batalla, una bola de estupideces que se hace enojoso recordar. Varias veces lo sorprendimos sufriendo la abstinencia de la droga que no se conseguía libremente. Cuando venía la necesidad, comenzaba su desesperación; una vez mandó a un sacerdote en avión desde Roma a España nada más para conseguir la morfina.
En agosto de 1962, Alejandro Espinosa dejó de creer en las seudoenfermedades de Maciel y reparó en su cara menos santa. Para liberarse de las amargas situaciones vividas tomó un nuevo ejercicio: escribir todos los días para no olvidar detalle. Después de estar 13 años en la congregación optó por una vida laica. "La primera vez que había sabido de esta gente tenía 12 años, cuando tuve el primer contacto con Carlos Mora, un estudiante dedicado a captar niños. Había vivido muchos años dentro de este sistema", dice Espinosa.
-Yo había hecho votos renovables de tres años. Alcancé a estar dos períodos y ya no aguanté más el acoso de Maciel. Una vez me llevó al lago de Tequesquitengo a pasear, era todo muy romántico. Otra vez me llevó a Acapulco, donde estuvimos solos en una residencia lujosísima, con alberca profesional, espectacular, iluminada dentro del agua. Él me dijo que nadara, para lo que me puse el bañador; él no se metió al agua. [Risas] ¡Es que era demasiado! Para entonces ya me estaba dando cuenta de su atracción, pero creía que me sacrificaba por amor a Cristo. Me salí en agosto de 1962.
-Sí. A Maciel le abrieron un proceso el año 56 en Roma y fue desterrado por esta vida de drogas y sexo. Se fue a vivir a España. Los superiores siempre supieron todo, es más, fue en Europa cuando su red de protección se hizo más patente.
-¿Pero usted logró salir de esto, incluso se casó?
-Claro, yo nunca fui homosexual. Me casé en septiembre de 1964. Maciel me obligó porque todavía tenía poder sobre mis decisiones, me obligó moralmente a cometer esa burrada. Yo todavía veía a Maciel con ese halo de santidad, de guía. Él pretendía desplumar a la mamá de mi mujer con quien duré seis meses porque siempre le deslumbró el dinero. Ella es la única mujer que usó a Maciel sin que él le haya sacado ni un solo centavo. Maciel toda su vida se dedicó a buscar lo único que le interesó: el placer y el poder del dinero.
by Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune
Sunday February 22, 2009, 10:01 PM
...Jim Fair, a Chicago spokesman for Regnum Christi and an affiliated order of priests, the Legion of Christ...
"You know the Kubler-Ross stages of grief -- anger, denial, depression and so forth? We've got all those bases covered all at once," Fair said.
Fair said the legion and Regnum Christi have no intention of renouncing Maciel. "I see his impact on my own family and my kids, and that's not going away. That's still there," said Fair, a Regnum Christi member for 10 years.
(Exlcblog: let's see if this one holds true.)
Efforts by The Times-Picayune over several days to reach nearly a dozen local Regnum Christi families to discuss the disclosures about Maciel were fruitless.
Fair said it was too soon for many families to talk publicly about the shock.
"I sympathize," he said. "It's like trying to interview folks at the wake."
Saturday, February 21, 2009
In his article "Are there cults in the Catholic Church?", published in the January 2003 issue of This Rock Magazine, Jay Dunlap argues that "Church Approved" groups are not and cannot be called "cults". His argument seems to be essentially a self-defense of the group he is part of. I will not deal with the particular groups mentioned in this article but prove that in principle it is possible for a church-approved group to be a cult.
Peter Vere, J.C.L. M.C.L., canon lawyer, previous writer for Envoy Magazine, as well as Catholic Answers' very own "This Rock" magazine wrote an article entitled "Sifting the Wheat from the Tares: 20 Signs of Trouble in a New Religious Group" for the International Cultic Studies Association's E-Newsletter in June of 2005, which outlines warning signs to look for in a Church-approved group that is or possibly turning into a cult.
Peter Vere's article is written based on the experience of Fr. Francis G. Morrisey, OMI, a professor of Canon Law at Saint Paul University and a former consultant to the Congregation for Religious. Surely if anyone were an expert on new groups in the Church it would be someone who worked directly for the Congregation for Religious, the Vatican office that oversees all of the Catholic religious orders in the world. Surely Fr. Morrissey has had experience with a wide range of new groups in diverse countries of the world, not just ones that are popular in the English-speaking world. Those who are convinced that Church approved groups cannot be cults, would do themselves some good to read Peter Vere's very objective article.
Mr. Dunlap's arguments do not touch upon how complex and subtle a "Church-approved" cult may really be. Hence, aside from the eloquent article written by Peter Vere which already addresses much of the issue, my refutation article is needed to make some necessary distinctions.
Read the rest here.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
"Facts on the brain tumor.
There was no brain tumor.
In 1985, Maciel banged his head on a car door frame, rather severely, and needed surgery to relieve pressure on the brain.
Complications ensued, and he had a subsequent surgery to remove infection, resulting in the placement of a plate on one side of his forehead in a third surgery.
I know, I was in the Legion at the time."
Inventing the brain tumor excuse is pretty sick. And stupid. And stupider yet to believe it. And it goes no where to explain the sexual abuse back in the 40's, 50's, and 60's already admitted by the Legion.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
To any RC/LC members reading this...
I, too, was once a member and served God above my own fears and small world that I came from.
I, too was confused for a long time over balancing the good I received in life (the passionate dream that I followed while in the Legion and the good virtue and focus in my life for following that ideal) from the Legion with the undeniable evil that went on within it. I feel your pain, your confusion. I would like to offer a couple of thoughts that have cleared the air in my own head and heart, so that maybe you can take from it what you want - buffet style.
1. All the good of the world, even what good was brought about in me while in the LC seminary is property of God. It doesn't prove any man or group of men to be saintly, nor a source of sanctity. Only God is that source, and He is everywhere.
All I am saying is that the good in life you have experienced while in the LC/RC is not fruit of Maciel nor Alvaro nor any other person. It is the fruit of God acting in your life, and your searching for Him whole-hearted in response. That can happen within and beyond the 'borders' of the Legion just alike.The good you have experienced is real. The good men and women you have encountered is real. That is separate from the institution where it all happened. Good people met each other in communist Russia as well as in the Vatican. Neither place created or caused the good people.
2. It is now undeniable that the LC/RC foundation block (Maciel) was mentally and spiritually off target.
3. The true 'Spirit of the Legion' is either the gospels or it is not. If it is the same as the Gospel, then of course it is untainted by Maciel's private life.
If it is different, then it is wrong. Either way, the LC/RC is unnecessary for your living a life for God and the souls. If instead you feel it necessary, then that is a bad thing. It means that your 'spiritual life' is founded on very weak ground instead of on Christ the solid rock.
You might want to re-think that position. You might want to consider the possibility that the 'spirituality' you have received is authentically based, yet tainted deeply with the sick soul of the one who established this way of life. Maybe that sick person connected himself, and the power of the movement to the eternal Word of God in a twisted, unhealthy way. And if so, he passed that on to generations of souls like yourself who experience God within the movement, but are not free because by that experience, but instead it is tied to, and indeed rests upon, a foundation that is human, weak, and now openly known as deeply flawed.
3. Comparing the good and evil balance within the LC/RC to that balance within the Church is not accurate.
In the church, we received an untainted gift of salvation from an untainted source, Christ. The individual church leaders may fail, but they carry in their 'earthen vessels' a pure truth that was given, received, and recorded within integrity and purity. It is the message and the very Spirit of God who gives life and eternity to the Christian life throughout the generations. For that reason it cannot be overcome. Even when we, as church members are 'jars of clay' our message is still good and alive.
4. Maciel did taint the movement with at least one aspect of his sickness... the private vows and the spirit of the private vows. These have now been condemned by the Pope. How then was it presented to me, as a member years ago as central part of the 'untainted' spirit of the Legion. It is now known to be wrong. In other words Maciel can be wrong in understanding and passing on the 'spirit of the Legion' to us. There's a whole lot of Maciel mixed into that spirituality. That's not a spirituality I would wish on anyone.
5. Consider this, my last point, which sums up and sews together the previous pieces that I have written: If you have received from anyone a spirit other than the one the apostles gave to us all, then it is wrong. If the spirit you have received is the same as the one the apostles gave to us all, then it is the True and Universal Spirit.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Maciel deserves to be reviled by the Legionaries of Christ. By "deserved" I mean his revilement is a debt of justice owed all Catholics by the Legion. This is not on account of Maciel's sin of sexual weakness, nor even on account of the sin of denying his sexual weakness. The fact of the matter is that Maciel was publicly accused of specific sexual crimes, and that out of personal moral cowardice he enlisted honorable men and women to mortgage their own reputations in defense of his lie. The lie was the lie of Maciel's personal sanctity, which Maciel knew to be a myth, and which the fact of his bastard child (putting aside the more squalid accusations) proves that he knew. To the villainy of sacrificing the reputations of others, Maciel added the grotesque and blasphemous claim that the Holy See's sanctions were an answer to his own prayer to share more deeply in the passion of Christ, as an innocent victim made to bear the burden of false judgment in reparation for the sins of mankind. The Legion cannot share Catholic reverence for the Passion and fail to repudiate Maciel's cynicism in portraying himself as the Suffering Servant.
Read it all here.
Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (born April 27, 1948) is an American security consultant and former check confidence trickster, forger and impostor. He became infamous in the 1960s for passing bad checks worth about $2.5 million in 26 countries over the course of five years. During this time, he used at least eight aliases to cash bad checks.
Abagnale's life story provided the inspiration for the feature film Catch Me if You Can,
Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith II (November 2, 1860 - July 8, 1898) was an American con artist and gangster who had a major hand in the organized criminal operations of Denver, Colorado, Creede, Colorado, and Skagway, Alaska from 1879 to 1898. He is perhaps the most famous "sure-thing" bunko man of the old west.
Marcial Maciel: religious con man, Mexican bunko man, serial sex offender.
Gregor MacGregor (December 24, 1786 – December 3, 1845) was a Scottish soldier, adventurer and colonizer who fought in the South American struggle for independence. Upon his return to England in 1820, he claimed to be cazique of Poyais (also known as Principality of Poyais, Territory of Poyais, Republic of Poyais). Poyais was a fictional Central American country that MacGregor had invented which, with his help, drew investors and eventually colonists
Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949) was one of the greatest swindlers in American history. His aliases include Charles Ponei, Charles P. Bianchi, Carl and Carlo. The term "Ponzi scheme" is a widely known description of any scam that pays early investors returns from the investments of later investors.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
“By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.”
- Mt. 7:16-19
If you’re a Christian of any stripe, it’s likely you’ve heard this passage at some point in your life. It seems sensible enough, to the point where I can only imagine it rarely garners much deeper reflection. Scripture is full of more meaningful passages to contemplate.
The problem is that when taken as a metaphor for human action, it can be used to justify bad behavior and ward off legitimate criticism. In fact, when compared to the real experiences most human beings have had, the most commonly understood meaning of this passage is so obviously false as to render it absurd. Of course bad (human) trees bear good fruit - if they didn’t, no one in their right mind would have anything to do with them.
This is clearly the case with the Legionaries of Christ, who seem most fond of using this scripture passage to deflect negativity about their “movement.”
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Make your own observations.
Guidelines for answering some questions
All our words should be inspired and guided by Christian charity, knowing that “the triumph of truth is charity” (St. Augustine).
This is a time of great pain for Legionaries of Christ, members of Regnum Christi and everyone associated with the Church. There is the great mystery of how the Holy Spirit can play beautiful melodies on a broken instrument. But we must remember that for those who have been hurt, we cannot excuse their suffering by reminding them of the good that God does through the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi.
We must speak and act in light of the Gospel and the principles of Catholic morality that we find summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the truth, charity and upright behavior in regard to other people’s defects.
We must demonstrate faith, hope and charity – particularly to those who have been hurt— and entrust all of us to God’s mercy with great peace and serenity.
There are some people who, out of respect, sensitivity, Christian mercy, profound gratitude, etc., don’t want to go into details about Nuestro Padre’s behavior. Their response is to pray, and to be humanly and spiritually close to those who are confused and hurting. We should respect and encourage this attitude, as much in ourselves as in others. The starting point is the acknowledgment and gratitude for all the good we have received.
All these conversations must he held without getting into an argument, with the greatest possible serenity, with a supernatural view of things, and letting people know that it’s perfectly normal for different people to have different points of view, different tones to their answers, etc. This is also due to the state of suffering, tiredness and pain that we are all experiencing, and it calls for a lot of patience, understanding and the certainty that we all want the same thing. If all this is making us suffer so much, it’s because we all love the same thing.
We love Christ by listening to others, offering our sympathy and accepting our own human failings and imperfections.
We should always ask for support, prayers, understanding and a lot of trust, as members of the one family, one body in the Church and in the Movement. We should make sure to support everybody that needs it.
These are times of prayer, humility, unity and charity.
POINTS TO BE MADE:
1. We apologize to anyone hurt by Father Maciel’s actions.
2. We regret any scandal to the Church
3. We offer our prayers to all who are suffering as the result of this and ask
for the prayers of the faithful for us.
4. In all our considerations, actions and words, our departing point is the
following: We have sought to act, and we are trying to act according to
what Jesus Christ would do. We have tried to illuminate our decisions
with the light of the Gospel, following the Catechism of the Catholic
Church, having heard the advice of many and in unity with the Holy See.
The principles that guide us are those of justice, charity and mercy with
What do you have to say about Father Maciel?
To our surprise and pain, we recognize that some of our founder’s behavior was incompatible with his priestly condition. We are deeply sorry for the offenses he committed and we ask pardon for the scandal this has caused.
It can be helpful to read the letter Father Alvaro Corcuera has written to Regnum Christi members and friends, and the Zenit article about this. These texts provide guidance on the interior attitudes towards this situation (the letter) and concise information (the article).
Even so, we can’t forget that our founder was the instrument that passed on, in all its integrity, the charism God gave him and the Church approved. For that, we are forever grateful to him. At any rate, he has passed on and his judgment is in the hands of God’s infinite mercy.
What did Father Maciel do?
As you know, it is public knowledge that he fathered a daughter. Out of respect for the privacy of the persons involved, it is not our place to spread further information.
Was there financial impropriety?
First, I want to be clear that our financial systems are very thorough and there are procedures of accountability and oversight in place to prevent misuse of funds. In the past, Father Maciel was so trusted that he was able to have funds available for his personal use. We simply do not know the extent of those funds or what portion may have been used inappropriately. And because much of this happened long ago, it is likely we will not be able to determine the amount.
How do you explain Father Maciel’s behavior?
It’s very hard to understand. We are not able to grasp it fully, and we probably never will. It’s part of the mystery of human behavior, and involves: moral and psychological factors, circumstances, etc. It’s especially hard to mesh all the good that we knew about him with the facts that are emerging now. At any rate, he has already passed away.
What about the accusations of previous years?
The subject of the accusations of sexual abuse by Father Maciel has resurfaced. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was in charge of investigating them according to its procedures.
In May 2006, bearing in mind Father Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health, the congregation decided to forgo a canonical trial. It invited him to a reserved life of penitence and prayer. The Legion of Christ accepted the Holy See’s decision. Given the Holy See’s action, it seems likely that some of the accusations were deemed credible. There never was a trial, however, and the competent authority did not issue a verdict. At this time, we do not have conclusive evidence about particular accusations.
The Legion of Christ wants to reach out and help whoever was hurt by our founder. We are undertaking a review of our responsibilities as a congregation in this regard. We are profoundly sorry for anything that could have happened.
Were the superiors aware of these facts?
The superiors had no evidence of these facts, and they suspected nothing.
And how was that possible?
We all trusted our founder; it never occurred to us to be suspicious of his behavior. Frankly, with 20/20 hindsight we see that we should have been more alert to possible signals.
But the superiors acted unsuspectingly; they never knowingly collaborated with his misdeeds or covered up the situation once they found out.
When did they find out about them?
When Father Maciel was no longer general director, in 2005, certain facts started to emerge little by little. After the Holy See’s communiqué in May 2006, during the final months of Father Maciel’s illness and after his death, further clues and first-hand evidence surfaced. The superiors contacted the appropriate authorities of the Holy See and more recently, in accord with the principles of justice and charity, began to personally inform the Legionaries and consecrated members of Regnum Christi, much as happens in a close-knit family faced with a similar situation.
What will you do if you learn that members of the congregation were complicit in Father Maciel’s inappropriate activities?
We certainly do not know that is the case. But if we learn of such a situation it will be dealt with seriously and in accord with the principles of justice and charity.
How are you dealing with the situation?
Well, first of all, it hurts and deeply saddens us. Even more, we feel the real shame that anyone in the congregation – especially our Founder – could bring scandal to the Church and pain to the faithful.
We are turning more intensely to prayer and are strengthening our commitment to Christ, focusing our attention on him. We are also more keenly aware of the mission that the Legion is entrusted with in the Church.
We are deeply sorry for all the hurt and the scandal this has caused, and for those who may have suffered.
We are struggling through these days of mixed emotions and we all need time to pray, to reflect, and to assimilate the consequences of this situation. As we process all this, we are holding onto Christ and to our identity as a part of the Church, the sacrament of salvation.
We look to the future with confidence, with the commitment to continue serving the Church and others.
What will the Legion of Christ do going forward?
Clearly, we are reviewing our procedures to ensure that nothing like this happens again.
We put our trust in God. And we know that our mother, the Church, walks with us and “gratefully recognizes the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and […] Regnum Christi” (Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office May 19, 2006).
Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life reminded us of this in Chile this past December:
“Then I told him (the Holy Father) that I was going to meet the groups of the Regnum Christi Movement and my friends, the Legionaries of Christ, and the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, told me: ‘Tell them that I know them, I esteem them, and I appreciate them. Tell them that my blessing accompanies them; tell them to follow with great conviction the path marked out by the charism given to the Regnum Christi Movement, and to be great witnesses of Christ and of his Church in today’s world.’”
We have always tried to speak and act in light of the Gospel and the principles of Catholic morality that we find summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church about the truth, charity and upright behavior in regard to other people’s defects.
We also know that others both inside and outside the Church have been hurt by these revelations. We understand that we have a responsibility to demonstrate our faithfulness and work hard for the Church.
We count on the closeness and support of the Holy Father and Cardinal Rodé and many other churchmen who appreciate the charism and the works of apostolate of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. They are strongly encouraging us to move onward, faithful to our vocation of service to the Church according to the charism God gave us.
Friday, February 13, 2009
"There. Nobody else was saying it in the blog posts I've seen on the long overdue discussion of one of the larger problems in the Church in America, and it's name is Legion. As Thales' post of American Papist's observations of the Regnum Christi Mass he attended, they still put Maciel in the MASS. We're not talking about private devotion, but the Mass!
Surely they'd jest. But they don't. The image must still be conveyed and that image is that Maciel is boss, we are all perfect, and we must advance our mission by any means. Today those means are trying to mitigate their loss to one man and a flurry of PR designed to make most people think they are dealing with it, and that they can reform themselves (as if Legionnaires disease could cure itself)."
Read the whole article here.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Fortunately, not all Legionary priests are in denial. Yesterday, we learned the following from Spero News:
Following the recognition of the misdeeds of Legionaries of Christ Founder Fr. Marcial Maciel, Fr. Thomas Berg, LC, has written a letter to Regnum Christi members acknowledging their the feelings of confusion and betrayal and lamenting the "disastrous response" to the crisis provided by the Legionaries’ leadership. He also apologized directly to Maciel’s victims, appealed for help in reforming the Legion and demanded an independent third party investigation to discover any Legionaries who may have been "accomplices" to Fr. Maciel’s misconduct.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Contacts in Rome, who sought to protect their sources during this sensitive time and would not go on the record, report that the on-going controversy over Bishop Williamson - one of the four schismatic bishops whose excommunication was lifted by the pope, but who still denies the existence of the Holocaust (he now promises to review the evidence--see his interview with Der Spiegel yesterday) - continues unabated and has made it difficult to work out an intervention by the Vatican. Only the Americans in the Legion have broken ranks in a noticeable way, attracted the public support of prominent Catholics, and appear committed to commencing a thorough house cleaning of the Legion, followed, possibly, by the "re-forming" of the order with new superiors in place.
My contacts assert that the convergence of these two big news events--the outrage prompted by the Bishop Willliamson affair, followed shortly afterwards by the new revelations regarding Father Maciel's "double life" -- was no accident: the order's superiors and their ecclesial allies took advantage of the crisis surrounding Bishop Williamson to minimize the impact of the new disclosures regarding Maciel. The Mexican superiors, I'm told, believe the present tempest will blow over and the Legion will pull itself together and go on as before.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A personal note from Fr. Thomas Berg, LC offering guidance and warmest companionship in the midst of this intense suffering.
Read the whole letter at American Papist.
I write to you this Sunday morning with my heart in my hand. I know personally that so many of our priests, section directors, have been working for hours on end, meeting with groups of RC, first to break the horrible news and then to accompany them, often themselves reduced to the point of tears. Then there have been the endless follow—up phone calls, private conversations. Believe me, we have all been trying to do everything possible to reach out to all of you personally.
But my heart aches because our best efforts have not been enough. I want to reach out to you as a brother and friend this morning and try to assure you, if nothing else, that we are here. I know further efforts are underway to attempt to respond more adequately and formally to the confusion you all feel, not to mention the hurt and betrayal. I beg you, in the midst of such pain and hurt, please bear with your directors.
At the same time, however, I also beg you forgiveness for the disastrous response which this crisis has received from our upper LC leadership. There is no other way to say it: in so many respects, Legionary superiors have failed, and failed miserably to respond adequately to this crisis, and not surprisingly, have engendered in many of you and understandable lack of confidence. Those are the facts and your reaction is natural and reasonable. With all my heart, on their behalf, I apologize. Our superiors are human instruments; I know in their hearts they have trying to do the right thing, under inhuman pressure. Please understand that.
When are people going to understand that he was a serial child rapist, a sex offender of the worst kind that deserved to be in prision after raping one of the de Isla brothers when the pig was only 20 years old? Come on, people! I understand the need for forgiveness and moving on, but let's be honest. We don't condemn the sinners, but we certainly do put them in jail.
Legionaries over the years may have been duped, but every time they excused any weird behavior on Maciel's part, they refused to allow themselves to question. Even his constant self pampering was excused. When a Legionary saw the powdered drugs in a suitcase, he told himself that Maciel suffered so much that he needed constant medication. This was sick and perverse. A pity.
Apologies are owed to the victims of Maciel's sexual abuse and the victims of his obsessive need to control "his legionaries".
2. Fr Angel Espinoza de los Monteros, said in his message that "He remained grateful and that he had never received a bad example from the Founder."
3. Some Legionaries are saying "the media is just out to destroy us."
What do you think?
Monday, February 9, 2009
Some have suggested that Exlcblogger went too far in the very first announcement on line (pats self on back) of the Legion of Christ admission by saying that they were to renouce Maciel as the founder. Well, Exlcblogger asks for patience from everyone, since this blogger has excellent sources. Time will tell. More soon than late.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
A Catholic Exchange on the Long Dropping of the Other Shoe: Foundational Shift for the Legionaries of Christ — Part One
Saturday, February 7, 2009
March 25, 1998, the Feast of the Annunciation, I was hired to be the first communications director for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement in North America. The premise of the job was to help respond to the furor caused by the publication in February, 1997, of a series of articles in the Hartford Courant and later in the National Catholic Reporter detailing allegations of sexual abuse against the organization’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel.
When I came aboard, the Legion had prepared a 32-page executive summary which it had distributed throughout the church hierarchy, especially to bishops, making the case for Father Maciel’s innocence. Suffice it to say that, while there always remained some holes in the argument, there seemed to be adequate evidence to support these claims.
It is now clear that Father Maciel did in fact abuse his power and abuse young people in his charge. I personally apologize to his victims and to anyone who was misinformed by statements I made, in this forum and in others. How awful for victims to be taken from their families as children, suffer such abuse, and then to be disbelieved!
There are thousands of additional victims in this sad tale. The good Legionary priests who honestly strive to serve the Church and many Regnum Christi members who join them have all suffered betrayal. As Christ himself showed us, betrayal leads straight to the cross.
Last month, Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Vatican office that oversees religious congregations like the Legionaries, appeared in several Latin American countries encouraging Legionaries and Regnum Christi members to carry on their service to the Church. He did so fully aware of what Father Maciel had done and what the Legionary leadership was doing in response.
The Holy See has the extremely difficult task of trying to keep numerous Legionary institutions from collapsing: a dozen universities, several seminaries, well over a hundred schools, missionary and humanitarian outreach to the poor in several countries, and many faith formation programs for children and adults. The survival of these institutions and the good work they have done depends now upon the sustenance of the Holy Spirit, if the organization can be purged of any elements of the culture of deception which enabled Father Maciel to get away with so much for so long. That purging appears to be underway.
For my personal failings in this horrid series of events, I ask forgiveness.
I would like to consider a few points about Raymond Arroyo's interview with Legionary priests Fr. Jonathan Morris and Fr. Thomas Williams.
1. They admitted that the allegations of the early victims were probably true;
2. They admitted the surprising emergence of a daughter;
3. They admitted that the founder probably had deep psychological issues;
4. They admitted that they haven't dealt well with departing members because "they grew too fast;"
5. They appealed for prayerful support for direction;
6. They indicated that the future of the Legion depended on a General Chapter;
7. They indicated that there is no inherent need to disavow the founder's writing;
8. They Suggested strongly that they could rebuild if allowed to work.
Most of these are problematic for a variety of reasons:
1. The Legion hasn't officially acknowledged this, so sending them out to say "probably" is a sketchy manoeuvre, perhaps for legal reasons?
2. True, but inside sources say the Legion has known of her existence for years -- why now admit this, unless this was a hail mary pass to morph the Legion into something else.
3. This sounds like a dodge, as though he's almost not responsible. Perhaps it's a way to save the "charism," saying the good MM was holy and only the bad MM did these things when he was asleep.
4. I was really sad that this came up through a question that was not pertinent to the immediate conversation. Absolutely true, but a separate issue. That said, if you cannot live charity with your existing commitments, then one shouldn't extend one's commitments. For example: If a family can barely pay their mortgage, they would elicit little sympathy for buying a boat and making the children suffer by going barefoot.
5. They have abundant prayers already. I was cynical enough to be very suspicious of their emotional appeal, because I sensed they were planted to "play" the audience.
6. This is something that only insiders can address, and the men I know insist that the Legion has never followed the regular forms for General Chapters. There is an elite cadre making essential decisions, and then subsequent layers of superiors that rubber stamp these. This sounded good but there is no precedent to make it credible.
7. Perverse. The daughter's face (or a picture of those young seminarians in their little cassocks) should be imbedded in every page.
8. They are incapable of reforming themselves. This should have been obvious for two reasons:a. they were formed by this man and the "innocent" seem unable to let go.b. there is a vested interest by those who knew this all along to protect themselves.
Finally, I would draw your attention to troubling details about each of these men:
Father Thomas Williams here and here.
Father Jonathan Morris here and here.
Overall concerns about the Legion's approach to publishing here and here.
They are not what they seem. Their hunger for mass media apostolates is clearly a means of controlling the message.
Father Tom Williams, [ ] said he would serve as Macial's spokesman. He called the allegations "patently false."
"I know Father Maciel very well," Williams told ABCNEWS. "I've lived with him for 10 years." Williams has never asked him about the allegations, but when the Courant ran the story in 1997, Legion spokesman released a statement denying the allegations. Williams said the men making the accusations against Macial can't be believed because they didn't raise the sexual abuse charges in the 1950s when Vatican investigators were looking into other matters relating to Maciel. According to Williams, the Vatican investigated Marciel on counts of mismanagement of funds, drug and substance abuse and drug trafficking. The Vatican pronounced Maciel innocent of those charges and reinstated him as superior general to the Legion.
In addition, Williams noted, a ninth accuser retracted similar allegations, claiming he was pressured to lie by the other eight accusers.
Friday, February 6, 2009
“It is also true that he was a man, and these things that have hurt and surprised us -- and I don’t believe we can explain with our reason alone -- have already been judged by God. It is true that we are going through much suffering and a great deal of pain. As in a family, these pains draw us together and lead us to suffer and rejoice as one body. This circumstance we are living invites us to look at everything with much faith, humility and charity. Thus we place it in the hands of God, who teaches us the way of infinite mercy.”
“For my part, I ask forgiveness for all this suffering,” Fr. Corcuera continued. “And I beg God with all my being to help us all to see it from the heart of Christ.”
Now what the heck is that supposed to mean? Forgiveness for the suffering the LC and RC are going through? What about everyone else; the Church, the victims, the "mistress" and daughter, ex-members? What suffering exactly? Does this petition mean he feels complicit in what caused the suffering?
Exlcblogger is honestly perplexed.
Could they bungle this any worse?
Text from CNA.
Vere: Without a founder, no. But being honest about the founder, and saying that the founder made mistakes and that maybe the founder did things for the wrong reasons, and maybe some of the things we did were wrong ... I think that type of openness and transparency will allow them to go on.
Obviously given the size and given the effect they've had on the Church, there is something good there, but that something good has also been clouded by this scandal as well as some of the practices.
Having worked on the tribunal [as a canon lawyer], one thing you learn is that where there is abuse -- especially sexual abuse -- it becomes a family secret and [the family] turns in on itself. It becomes sort of suspicious of the outside world, and you become paranoid that the secret is going to get out and what will people think.
To a certain extent you try to deny this is going on, then when it breaks people say "ha, ha, I told you so." There's also the effect of blaming the victim, [telling them they] didn't do enough. So then one becomes more inward because [of that]. So that's unfortunate.
What's needed here is transparency. And this is a criticism that I have made of the Legion and of Regnum Christi in the past, is that quite often they operate without the local Church's knowledge. There seems to be something secretive. Christ told us not to hide our light under a bushel. Christ told us to preach in the open. So I think what the Legion has to work on is openness, they have to work on transparency. They have to be honest about what has happened. And if they do that, with sincerity, I think, God will give them the grace to move on. And I think the Church has the resources to help the Legion and Regnum Christi to move on with this.
Christ talks about being the good physician. And we refer to the Pope as the Holy Father. And as any good parent or physician, you can't heal the problem if you don't know what it is and it's hard to know what it is if certain symptoms or ailments are being concealed. So that's what I think. I think absolutely the Legion can learn and grow and continue from this. But, they have to show that trust in the Church.
Full text is here.
Click here for the full story.
On his famous blog, Thomas Peters writes:
Almost four days after AmP carried the story that Legionaries founder Marcial Maciel fathered a child with his mistress and led a double life, the Legionaries of Christ and its lay component Regnum Christ have updated their websites with this letter from the new Legion superior, Fr. Alvaro, entitled "In the Wake of Painful News." They have also linked to this Zenit article: "Legion Regrets Founder's Conduct - Congregation Apologizes for Scandal".
The pictures [ ] taken from the Legionaries news page) illustrate the awkward juxtaposition the Legion finds itself in - on the one hand they have barely finished extolling their late founder in days previous, on the other hand they must explain to their members that Maciel was, for lack of a more descriptive term, a scoundrel.
What they have done so far in response, however, is not adequate to the gravity of the situation, regardless of their apparent desire to see it resolved quickly.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Holding childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will harshly criticize a controversial, Connecticut-based, world-wide Catholic religious group, and urge them to
-- launch an independent probe into new accusations that their high profile founder fathered a child as well as molested kids,
-- be more honest about the new sexual misconduct allegations against him,
-- use their 'considerable' resources (websites, newsletters, parish bulletins) to 'aggressively' reach out to others with information about his crimes and beg them to come forward, get help, and
-- publicly apologize to the more than 20 men who say the prominent cleric molested them when they were boys.
Thursday, Feb. 5 at 1:30 pm
In front of the headquarters of the Legion of Christ, 475 Oak Street, in Cheshire, CT
Two-three sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
The group will hold a photo of the accused predator and a book and a DVD about him.
Yesterday, the New York Times and other media reported that the Legion of Christ has determined that its founder and long time head has fathered a child out of wedlock and is guilty of conduct that is "surprising, difficult to understand, and inappropriate for a Catholic priest."
The Legion is a large, growing, controversial, secretive and ultra-conservative religious order based in Cheshire. It has been called 'cult-like' and accused of targeting rich Catholics. Several US bishops have limited the organization's work in their dioceses.
In 2006, Maciel was ordered by the Vatican to suspend his public ministry and live "a life of prayer and reflection." The church hierarchy admits that between 20 and 100 men report having been sexually assaulted by him as kids and young seminarians. He's also been accused of illegal drug use. Maciel, who died in January 2008, is originally from Mexico and was very close to Pope John Paul II.
SNAP wants an independent investigation into all the charges – child sex abuse as well as his alleged parenthood. The group also believes the many current and former Legion members who attacked Maciel's victims should publicly apologize for their callous and misguided actions.
I asked Legion of Christ Father Thomas Williams, an American who has held various leadership positions in Rome for his order, including as dean of theology for its pontifical university, to comment on the future direction of the Legion in the wake of its recent admission of unspecified failings on the part of its founder, Father Marcial Maciel.
Click here for the amazing answers.
His portrait is coming down!