Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Dana Kennedy

Dana Kennedy Contributor

(March 30) -- To many, the charismatic Pope John Paul II represented much that is lacking in the dour, scholarly Pope Benedict XVI, who was once nicknamed "the Rottweiler" and is under worldwide siege for the child sex abuse scandals sweeping the Roman Catholic Church.

But even as more questions swirl around Benedict and his alleged role in the cover-ups of pedophile priests, John Paul's stellar reputation is suddenly taking a subtle beating.

A miracle ascribed to John Paul that is a prerequisite for his canonization has been questioned, and one of church's highest-ranking officials has said that John Paul ignored Benedict's pleas to mount a full investigation into sex abuse accusations against the archbishop of Vienna.
Pope John Paul II
Franco Origlia, Getty Images
Questions about a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II that is needed for his sainthood may prevent the former pope's canonization.

A Polish newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, reported that the former head of the Vatican's saint-making office, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, has said that doctors may have doubts about a nun who said she had been cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to John Paul. They are investigating whether she might have had a similar condition that can go into remission. (Martins, who remains one of Benedict's top aides, also told reporters there was "a conspiracy" against the church, without specifying who was responsible.)

And in another blow to John Paul's legacy, the controversial order the Legion of Christ formally apologized last week for the behavior of its founder, the late Marcial Maciel Degollado, whom John Paul staunchly defended despite allegations of abuse dating back to the 1950s. Maciel is believed to have sexually abused young seminarians and fathered at least three children.

As doubts were being raised about the spotlessness of John Paul's 26-year reign, a Vatican spokesman on Tuesday responded forcefully to those calling for Benedict to resign, saying that they clearly did not understand how the church operates.

"This is not some multinational company where the chief executive is expected to take responsibility," Federico Lombardi told The Washington Post. "The pope is not personally directing the actions of priests around the world. He is their spiritual leader, and he is one who has acted very clearly to confront this problem."

Lombardi's statement meshed with remarks made by Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna. On Sunday, Schoenborn told Austrian TV that Benedict, then Joseph Ratzinger and head of the Vatican office in charge of clerical sex abuse, pressed John Paul in vain to fully investigate then-Archbishop of Vienna Hans Hermann Groer, who stepped down in 1995 after being accused of sexually molesting a schoolboy.

After Groer resigned, allegations that he had also sexually abused monks surfaced.

Reuters reported that Schoenborn said other curia officials persuaded John Paul not to investigate Groer because of the bad publicity it could bring.

"The other side won," Schoenborn said. He added that Benedict is not "someone who covers things up. Having known the pope for many years, I can say that is certainly not true."

Recent reports involving the current scandals also note that John Paul seemingly rewarded Cardinal Bernard Law after he was implicated in some of the cover-ups of clerical sexual abuse in Boston when cases there exploded in 2002.

After Law's resignation, John Paul appointed him in charge of the grand Basilica St. Mary Major's in Rome, where he remains part of the Roman curia and lives in a nearby palazzo.

A troubling order for the Catholic Church

Opinion LA Times

March 31, 2010

The resolution of the Legionaries of Christ case also will be a test for its conservative American supporters.
By Tim Rutten

One of the decisions confronting Pope Benedict XVI as he struggles to contain an abuse scandal whose tendrils now appear to extend into the Vatican may have a particular resonance in the United States.

That decision involves what to do about a wealthy and influential order, the Legionaries of Christ, and the worldwide lay movement it operates, Regnum Christi. The former includes 800 priests and the latter as many as 75,000 members. Around the globe, the Legionaries operate 120 seminaries, universities, schools and Catholic newspapers. Their ability to recruit future priests in an era of declining vocations has impressed the Vatican; today 2,600 are preparing for ordination in their seminaries.

The Legionaries were founded in Mexico in 1941 by a seminarian, Marcial Maciel, who went on to lead what quickly became the church's fastest-growing religious order and one of its most powerful. That power came from the socially well-connected Maciel's ability to raise astonishing sums of money, and from his insistence on unquestioning loyalty to papal authority.

All of this made Maciel and the Legionaries great favorites of Pope John Paul II, who believed new, traditionalist orders -- like the Legionaries and Opus Dei -- would provide a bulwark against secularism. The pontiff publicly called Maciel "an efficacious example to youth" and took him along as a key adviser on his trips to Latin America.

This papal approval tended to obscure the Legionaries' creepy internal organization, which involved a cult of personality built around Maciel, internal spying and demands for absolute obedience. At ordination, Legionaries swore a vow -- since abolished by Benedict -- never to speak ill of a superior and to report anyone who did.

In retrospect, it all seems perfectly designed to shield Maciel from scrutiny -- something he desperately required because he was a lifelong sexual predator who molested numerous seminarians and fathered at least one child.

Allegations of molestations circulated for years but broke into the open in 1997, when two reporters from the Hartford Courant produced a series that exposed Maciel's misconduct. The Legionaries denied everything and hired top-drawer law and public relations firms to discredit the Courant and its reporters. An investigation was opened by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, but went nowhere, reportedly because John Paul didn't believe the charges.

By the time Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, further revelations had occurred, including the exposure of Maciel's mistress and daughter in Spain. The investigation was reopened, and Maciel was ordered to retire from public life and spend the rest of his days in prayer and penance. He died in 2008 at 87, still a priest.

The new pontiff also ordered five bishops to look further into the Legionaries. Earlier this month, they reported back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, now headed by Los Angeles-born Cardinal William Levada. Levada is expected to recommend that Benedict either dissolve the order or, more likely, completely reorganize it under new leadership.

What's interesting about all of this is that a list of Maciel's most vociferous defenders reads like a who's who of the conservative Catholic intellectuals who, in recent years, have insisted that Catholicism and membership in the Democratic Party are all but incompatible. Among Maciel's defenders have been the late Father Richard John Neuhaus, whose journal, First Things, is a bible for conservative Catholics; William Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, who refused to accept an award from Notre Dame because it invited President Obama to speak at its commencement; former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, now a talk-show host and commentator; and Deal Hudson, President George W. Bush's Catholic liaison.

In fact, when the Vatican ordered Maciel into retirement, Neuhaus -- who earlier had written that he knew the man's innocence as "a moral certainty" -- told the New York Times: "It wouldn't be the first time that an innocent and indeed holy person was unfairly treated by church authority."

Do Bennett, Glendon, Donohue and Hudson still agree with Neuhaus? The resolution of the Legionaries of Christ case will be a test not only for Benedict but also for those conservative American intellectuals who have yet to explain how they came to give such unstinting support to a malevolent sexual predator.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jason Berry

Arguably, Jason is one of the foremost experts on the crisis in the US, having published "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" in 1992. From Amazon Books--

"In a shocking, graphic expose, New Orleans journalist Berry documents scores of cases of sexual abuse of boys by Roman Catholic priests across the U.S. Tracking this tragic story from Louisiana to Washington, D.C., and then to New York, Berry reports that most child-molesting priests are simply reassigned to a different parish. He accuses the Catholic bishops of evasion and cover-up, compounded by moral myopia and an appalling indifference to the victims of pedophilia. He also cites cases of women seduced and discarded by their pastors. Further, Berry probes the homophobia within a clerical culture which, he maintains, allows ample freedom to gay clergy provided they keep their sexual orientation a secret. He describes the organized movements of women and men within the Church who are challenging the bishops' silence. Berry ends with a plea to abolish mandatory celibacy for priests. Greeley, in his foreword, notes that sexual abuse "may be the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America."
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc."

What Pope Benedict Must Do

03/30/10 on Politics Daily
Pope Benedict faces an epic scandal as victims of clerical sex abuse in Ireland, Western Europe and America raise the issue of justice denied by secret tribunals that allowed predators to remain priests. Yet an editorial in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, scored the media for "an ignoble attempt to strike at Pope Benedict and his closest aides at any cost."

Benedict is grappling with an unfinished crisis that drew media coverage in America in 1992; victims' lawsuits revealed bishops who had sheltered predators from prosecution. By 1994 the coverage had ebbed. Then, in 2002, The Boston Globe gained access to voluminous documents, exposing a vast clergy sexual underground. Pope John Paul II called the American cardinals to Rome for an emergency conference. In June, the U.S. bishops enacted a youth protection charter. Lay review boards would comb clergy files and investigate new accusations. Bishops began weeding out sex offenders.

The Vatican drew the line, however, at giving these review boards the authority to investigate bishops. That decision has come back to haunt the church.

Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in disgrace as archbishop of Boston in late 2002, remains today part of the Roman Curia and pastor of a great basilica, St. Mary Major. In recent years, at least 16 bishops who sexually abused children quietly "stepped down." One was a cardinal, Hans Hermann Groer of Austria, who has since died. A Vatican double-standard -- priests subject to defrocking, bishops quietly moving on -- has made the pope vulnerable to even greater criticism amid a new round of investigative reports.

Benedict's most immediate task is to change the Vatican's archaic system of closed tribunals, which prize secrecy. The pope is final arbiter on canon law, a sovereign who has the power of a one-man Supreme Court to intervene, halt or change a canonical decision. But changing that system is a much tougher reform than meets the eye.

Ironically, for all the bad press he is getting, Benedict has done more to confront the abuse crisis than anyone else in the Vatican. But he must choose between governing and upholding his theological vision as a moral absolutist. As many a president and prime minister has learned, the shift from an ideological stance to a pragmatic one can be laden with risk.

The root crisis lies in the church's view of apostolic succession. The pope and bishops consider themselves descendants in a spiritual lineage from Jesus's apostles. Apostolic succession is as much a part of Catholicism as icons and stained glass windows. But Judas was also an apostle -- a reminder that all humans, regardless of proximity to the Word, are capable of betraying the faith. Apostolic succession has fallen victim to hubris, the pride and entitlement of a religious elite who consider apology or penance a substitute for human justice.

Bishops answer directly to the pope, also known as Supreme Pontiff. But this monarchical system of governance is colliding with two pillars of democracy, a court system and a free press. As abuse victims clamor for the punishment of bishops, information from America holds a stirring of hope. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released data that show a 32 percent decline in reported cases of clergy abuse from last year. Most involved priests were deceased or out of ministry. The USCCB reported six victims in 2009 who were younger than 18. Six too many, yes; but after an estimated $1.8 billion in losses from payouts to victims, legal fees and therapy for sex offenders, the youth protection charter is taking hold. Moreover, 96 percent of Catholic school students have "safe environment" training to warn against improper adult behavior.

The Vatican has no youth protection charter, nor binding procedures for the world's bishops. Some church leaders, however, now see a crisis in that aloofness. Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany bravely distanced himself from the Roman Curia in telling Italy's La Repubblica, "We have to seriously clean up the church."

Benedict faces a stark dilemma. To "clean up," he must challenge apostolic succession, start a process of sacking bishops who abused children, and demote prelates who grossly betray the trust. Such as:

- Frank Rodimer, who as bishop of Patterson, N.J., used church money to pay $250,000 after he was personally sued in a case with a priest who for several summers had sex with a boy in a beach house they shared with Rodimer. The priest went to prison. Rodimer stepped down, on reaching the retirement age at 75, and simply moved into a house the diocese bought.

- Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, who used church money to pay $450,000 in 1998 to silence a former male lover. When ABC News broke the hush money story in 2002, Weakland resigned his office -- but not his title. As archbishop, he was high-handed toward victims while playing musical chairs with pedophiles.

- Anthony O'Connell, who resigned as bishop of Palm Beach, Fla., in 2002, admitting that he abused a seminarian years before. He moved into a South Carolina monastery.

To defrock bishops who abused children would send a vital signal to all Catholics that Benedict is serious about reform. His recent letter to Irish Catholics, which followed lengthy government investigations of the church, was strongly worded. Citing "grave errors and failures of leadership," he said: "I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way church authorities in Ireland dealt with them." His words evince a deeper struggle: "I openly express the shame and remorse we all feel."

Still, his delay on the offer of four Irish bishops to resign spurred more outrage, as did his role as archbishop of Munich, decades ago, in approving treatment for a pederast. Will Benedict demote bishops for "grave errors"? That would mean a new juridical standard.

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was decisive in running the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is housed in a 17th-century palazzo where Galileo the astronomer was convicted of heresy. On issues ranging from the Vatican prohibition of birth control devices to Liberation Theology of Latin America, the C.D.F. used anonymous investigators to critique the works of suspect scholars. In closed tribunals, Ratzinger and his assistants interrogated those out of step with doctrine, punishing some by excommunication or orders to keep silent for periods of time. Catholic liberals were aghast as Ratzinger clashed with some of the church's leading thinkers. The Swiss theologian, Father Hans Küng, famously called him "The Grand Inquisitor," after Dostoevsky's religious persecutor in "The Brothers Karamazov."

Ratzinger's belief in absolute moral truth drove him to confront the pedophilia scandals when just about every other Vatican leader recoiled from it.

John Paul, so brilliant a geopolitical figure, stood passive as scandals jolted America, Ireland, Canada and Australia in the 1990s. In 2001, Ratzinger persuaded the pope to take the authority for such cases from scattered Vatican offices and consolidate them in his tribunal. Insisting on secrecy from bishops sending the files, the C.D.F. began defrocking scores of priests.

Küng wrote in a March 18 essay for National Catholic Reporter: "Honesty demands that Joseph Ratzinger himself, the man who for decades has been principally responsible for the worldwide cover-up, at least pronounce his own 'mea culpa' " -- Latin for "my fault."

Küng is an esteemed scholar, but this opinion is off base. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest organization in the world, and as split as Congress in its warring tribal camps. Who could orchestrate a global cover-up of anything? The crisis arose in countries that share a base in English common law with surgical discovery procedures for secret documents. Italian law is more restrictive; Italy has reported far fewer cases. Most cardinals in the Curia look to Italy as a base line, which has created a huge myopia, to put it charitably.

In a 2005 Good Friday sermon, Ratzinger decried the "filth" that had crept into the priesthood. Several days later, in a sermon opening the conclave that would elect him pope, he gave a cri de coeur on Europe: "We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive."

The crisis of moral relativism he faces now is internal. Consider the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, 82. As secretary of state under John Paul II, Sodano defended to the hilt the notorious Father Marcial Maciel. Maciel, who died in 2008, was a Mexican who founded the Legion of Christ, a small religious order known for militant spirituality, papal loyalty and a $650 million budget. The Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who lent The New York Times $240 million, was a major benefactor.

In 1997, nine ex-Legionaries opened their lives for the Hartford Courant, telling me and Gerald Renner how Maciel had sexually abused them in seminary. Asserting his innocence, Maciel refused to be interviewed. The Vatican was utterly silent on our questions about victim accusations against Maciel that went through church channels to Paul VI in 1976, John Paul II in 1978 and 1989. In 1998, the men filed a prosecution request in Ratzinger's tribunal. Sodano pressured Ratzinger to halt the case. Maciel and Sodano were close friends for years. As secretary of state, Sodano was effectively John Paul's prime minister. Finally, with the pope dying in 2004, Ratzinger broke ranks with Sodano and ordered an investigation. In 2005, Sodano's office stated, falsely, that the investigation was over. In 2006, Benedict banished Maciel to "a life of prayer and penitence."

The Legion then compared Maciel to Jesus for refusing to defend himself. When he died in 2008, the Legion Web site said Maciel had gone to heaven. In 2009, the Legion revealed with "surprise" that Maciel had a grown daughter. On March 4, in Mexico City, Maciel's three grown sons (by a second woman) publicly accused the Legion of denying them financial compensation. Two of the sons said Maciel had sexually abused them as boys.

A new investigation of the Legion, ordered by Benedict, is under way. If he follows his theological bearings, Benedict has the capacity to engineer radical reforms (from the Greek, meaning roots or primary things). He should disband the Legion of Christ. If he holds listening sessions with a representative group of victims, he will dramatize reconciliation to a scandal-wearied church that aches for moral leadership.

He should also convene a group of legal scholars to create a Vatican criminal court system. By forcing bishops and cardinals who have done the most damage out of the hierarchy, he can restore integrity to the concept of apostolic succession. It is probably beyond him to make the celibacy law optional; but if he takes these other hard steps to reverse the scandal, he will put himself on the right side of history. To stall or continue making merely symbolic gestures will produce an even worse spectacle.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In the context of scrutinizing the required "miracle", the Legion of Christ gets in the way

But recently, new questions have been raised about John Paul's record in combating pedophile priests. John Paul presided over the church when the sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States in 2002 and the Vatican was swamped with complaints and lawsuits under his leadership. Yet during most of his 26-year papacy, individual dioceses and not the Vatican took sole responsibility for investigating misbehavior.

But John Paul himself had long championed the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, the conservative order that fell into scandal after it revealed that its founder had fathered a child and had molested seminarians.

The Vatican began investigating allegations against the Rev. Marcial Maciel of Mexico in the 1950s, but it wasn't until 2006, a year into Benedict's pontificate, that the Vatican instructed Maciel to lead a "reserved life of prayer and penance" in response to the abuse allegations — effectively removing him from power.

"Subsequently, Benedict ordered a full-on investigation of the order since its entire existence was so closely intertwined with that of its discredited founder.

Saraiva Martins said historians who studied the pope's life as part of the sainthood process didn't find anything problematic in John Paul's handling of abuse scandals.

"According to them there was nothing that was a true obstacle to his cause of beatification," he said.

The OK from historians led to Benedict's decree last December that John Paul had led a virtuous life. As a result, all that's needed for him to be beatified is for the miracle to be confirmed."

From AP on Yahoo news. Read the whole article here.

No wonder she tore up the pope's photo

Sinead about the Pope's pastoral letter to Irish people regarding sexual abuse issue

A little known fact is that until 2001 there were explicit rules in place, issued by The Vatican, to every bishop in the world, on how to deal with allegations of abuse.

These rules included a vow of the utmost secrecy under threat of excommunication, to be sworn by clergy receiving complaints AND sworn by victims.

In 2001 then Cardinal Ratzinger, sent another set of instructions to every bishop in the world, stating that allegations were to be dealt with "exclusively" by the church

and were subject to "The Pontifical secret", which means one risks excommunication by discussing matters of abuse outside of the church.

If you are interested in copies of these documents they can be found here:

1922 an 62 instructions from rome to all bishops in the world which remained rules until 2001
Letter from Ratzinger regarding abuse and "pontifical secret"
Text of the oath sworn by clergy and victims: "I will never for any reason directly or indirectly, by gesture, word,writing or in any other way and under any other pretext, even that of a greater good, or of a highly urgent and serious reason, do anything against this fidelity to secrecy, unless special permission or dispensation or dispensation is granted to me by the supreme pontiff".

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ouch. Sandro Tells it Like it Is

Legionaries. The "Nomenklatura" That Must Disappear

Name by name, all the top leaders of the congregation. Their extremely close connection with the founder and with his scandal. The impossibility of any real renewal, as long as they remain in power

by Sandro Magister

Click here to read it and weep.

CNN Calls it a Sect [sic?]

Mexican Catholic order's founder abused boys, sect admits

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 26, 2010 5:16 p.m. EDT
The Rev. Marcial Maciel celebrates Mass in Rome, Italy, in August 2005.
The Rev. Marcial Maciel celebrates Mass in Rome, Italy, in August 2005.
  • NEW: "We have to recognize the facts as they are," spokesman says
  • Legionnaires of Christ ask forgiveness for "reprehensible actions of our founder"
  • Vatican concluded in 2006 that Rev. Marcial Maciel was guilty of sexual abuse
  • Priest allowed to retire; he died in 2008

Rome, Italy (CNN) -- The founder of a Mexican Catholic order sexually abused minor-age seminarians and fathered three children with two women, the religious sect has revealed.

The Legion of Christ order and its lay Regnum Christi Movement asked for forgiveness Thursday for "the reprehensible actions of our founder," the Rev. Marcial Maciel.

"We express our sorrow and grief to each and every person damaged by our founder's actions," said a communique signed by the Rev. Alvaro Corcuera and 15 other Legion of Christ leaders.

The abuse allegations surfaced in 1997. The Vatican started an investigation into Maciel's actions in 2004 and concluded in May 2006 that he was guilty of sexual abuse, the group said.

"We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work," the order's statement said.

As a result of the Vatican investigation, however, officials at the Legion of Christ "reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place," the group said Thursday.

Law enforcement officials apparently were not informed.

The Vatican, "mindful of Father Maciel's advanced age and his delicate health, decided to forgo a canonical hearing and ask him to retire to a private life of penance and prayer, giving up any form of public ministry," the communique says.

Pope Benedict XVI approved the decision.

Although leaders at the Legion of Christ knew of the abuse since May 2006, they kept it quiet until this week. As of Friday, Maciel's biography on the order's Web page merely said, "In May 2006, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith invited Father Maciel to 'a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing all public ministry.' "

Maciel died January 30, 2008.

Javier Bravo, spokesman for the sect in Mexico and Central America, said Legion leaders did not reveal the accusations sooner because "it has been a very difficult process. We weren't ready to assimilate it before."

Now, he told CNN en Español, "we have to recognize the facts as they are."

Legion leaders acknowledged the delay, saying in Thursday's communique, "It's taken us some time to assimilate these events of his life. For many -- above all the victims -- this time has been too long and painful."

In addition to sexually assaulting young seminarians, Maciel fathered at least three children, Thursday's statement said.

The priest had a daughter from a stable relationship with a woman, and two men said they are his children from a relationship with another woman.

Maciel, born in March 1920, founded the Legion of Christ in January 1941.

According to the order, the Legion of Christ has a presence in 24 countries.

The first Legionaries arrived in Spain in 1946, and the order established a center in Rome in 1950. In the 1960s, the Legion established itself in Ireland and the United States. In the 1980s, the order expanded into more countries in South America and Central Europe. The Legion says it recently began pastoral projects in Eastern Europe and Philippines.

The announcement about Maciel comes against a deepening crisis in the Catholic church, which is investigating complaints of abuse in Ireland, Germany, Britain and several other countries.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stay Tuned for Jason Berry

A note from NCR's editors

The late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado personified some of the ugliest realities of the Catholic church’s clergy sex abuse crisis. Maciel, a long-time favorite of Pope John Paul II, who once declared him “an efficacious guide to youth,” was actually a sexual predator who abused young seminarians and who also had a secret life as a father of several children by at least two women.

The acknowledgment and apology by current Legion officials puts an end to the long denial of the order that Maciel had done anything wrong.

On Monday NCR will post the first of two parts of a story by Jason Berry on how Maciel insinuated himself into influence in Vatican circles with lavish cash gifts and how he retained control over the order during more than half a century. Berry, who wrote the first national story on the sex abuse scandal in the United States in 1985, also broke the earliest stories on the Legion and accusations against its founder, Maciel.

Now that some dust has settled

This blogger waited for some dust to settle and decided to sleep on things- "consultar la almuada" as they say in Spanish- before commenting on the recent statements by the Legion. A line by line analysis could be done, and has been done on other blogs, but I have some points to make on a the big picture.

Readers of this blog will know how I feel about apologies, that I find them somewhat naive if they area simply apologies for what others have done. An apology is intimate and personal. If sincere, then the very person, each person, says that they are sorry for what that person has done. The comments on the posts below show that many readers are waiting to hear words of sorry from those who particularly harmed them.

We are ignoring the facts, folks. The fatal flaw in all of this is that the Legion wants to hold on to the hopeless idea that God used a flaw instrument like Maciel. There is no comparison in the history of salvation for the evil of Maciel, the trickery and the deceit of this man knew no bounds. Why the carve out for the Legion? If he lied all along and "founded" families and situations of continued abuse, what saves the Legion from being one of those? You can't just assume that the Legion is good. That needs to be proven. And all the good works? Well, we have a whole blog here and many others, and much testimony, which show that there are an inordinate number of bad works, too. Just take a look at the knowledge that high Legionary officials - superiors, from which flow the methodology, the will of God and all that crap- had of Maciel's life and sins, and have still not admitted to, preferring to lie about when and what they knew.

Bottom line: you can't just assume that the foundation is from God. You have to prove that. We have already seen that Church officials blew it big time in their support and praise of Maciel and his life and times.

There is no comparison to Christ and to Mary. That is blasphemy (and coming from me, that is a hefty charge indeed).

Until someone takes this bull by the horns, the suffering will not end.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gnats speak

The worst possible response would be to assume a charism can be cobbled together by retaining parts of Maciel's mission, vision, teaching, and methodology. Rather than focusing on what can be saved, the Legion must be willing to lose all of the limbs Maciel provided them with.
If any group in the Church in 50 years time traces its history back to this sorry mess, it must be contemplative not conquering, humble not ambitious, and must serve the laity not enroll them into it's mission.

From May Contain Gnats

Thanks, Mommy

From MommyWrites
In his communique, Corcuera says: "For his own mysterious reasons, God chose Fr Maciel as an instrument to found the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, and we thank God for the good he did."
Ok. Yes, it is VERY hard to understand how God would choose Maciel as an instrument to found LC/RC. Even if you look at it from the perspective of taking care of Maciel, knowing that he had a particular vice (pedaphilia), why on earth would an all-knowing, loving God call him to a life where he would be constantly surrounded by young boys? It truly is mysterious....
Just like it's mysterious that God would call Madoff to start a financial company, or a flawed character like Margaret Sanger to start a charity organization.....

Of course, there is another possibility. Perhaps God DIDN'T choose Maciel to start LC/RC. Perhaps Maciel just started it on his own, as a convenient way to get victims and money.....

hmm.... why do I have the sudden urge to shave my legs?


Thy Kingdom Come!
regarding the current circumstances of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement
March 25, 2010Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

As we are gathered for the annual meeting of the territorial directors with our general director, we wish to write to our brothers in the Legion of Christ, to the consecrated and all the members of Regnum Christi, our families and friends who accompany us at this juncture in our history, and also to all those who have been affected, wounded, or scandalized by the reprehensible actions of our founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, LC.
It has taken us time to come to terms with these facts regarding his life. For many, especially the victims, this time has been too long and very painful.

We have not always been able, or found the way to reach out to everyone in the way we should have, and in fact wanted to. Hence the need we feel to make this communiqué.

1. Regarding some facts in the life of our founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, LC (1920-2008)
We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work. However, on May 19, 2006, the Holy See’s Press Office issued a communiqué as the conclusion of a canonical investigation that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) had begun in 2004. At that time, the CDF reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Fr Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place.

Indeed, “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, […], mindful of Father Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health, decided to forgo a canonical hearing and ask him to retire to a private life of penance and prayer, giving up any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions” (Communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy See, May 19, 2006).

We later came to know that Fr Maciel had fathered a daughter in the context of a prolonged and stable relationship with a woman, and committed other grave acts. After that, two other people surfaced, blood brothers who say they are his children from his relationship with another woman.

We find reprehensible these and all the actions in the life of Fr Maciel that were contrary to his Christian, religious, and priestly duties. We declare that they are not what we strive to live in the Legion of Christ and in the Regnum Christi Movement.

2. The Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement in the face of these facts Once again, we express our sorrow and grief to each and every person damaged by our founder’s actions.

We share in the suffering this scandal has caused the Church, and it grieves and hurts us deeply.

We ask all those who accused him in the past to forgive us, those whom we did not believe or were incapable of giving a hearing to, since at the time we could not imagine that such behavior took place. If it turns out that anyone culpably cooperated in his misdeeds we will act according to the principles of Christian justice and charity, holding these people responsible for their actions.

We also ask our families, friends and benefactors to forgive us, and all other people of good will who have felt that their trust has been wounded.
In addition, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ we feel the need to expiate his sins and the scandal they caused, making reparation with a Christian spirit. We ask all the members of our religious family to intensify their prayer and sacrifice.

It is also our Christian and priestly duty to continue reaching out to those who have been affected in any way. Our greatest concern is for them, and we continue to offer them whatever spiritual and pastoral help they need, hoping thus to contribute to the necessary Christian reconciliation. At the same time, we know that only Christ is able to bring definitive healing and “make all things new” (cf. Rev. 21:5).

For his own mysterious reasons, God chose Fr Maciel as an instrument to found the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, and we thank God for the good he did. At the same time, we accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life.

Christ condemns the sin but seeks to save the sinner. We take him as our model, convinced of the meaning and beauty of forgiveness, and we entrust our founder to God’s merciful love.

3. The apostolic visitation
We wish to express our gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, not only for renewing “his solidarity and prayers in these delicate moments” (cf. Letter of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, to Fr Alvaro Corcuera, March 10, 2009), but also for offering us the Apostolic Visitation as a means to help us “overcome the present difficulties” (ibid.). Thus we hope to take the necessary steps to reinforce our foundations, formation and daily life as Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi members.

We thank the five apostolic visitators, Bishop Guiseppe Versaldi, Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez, Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, SDB, and Bishop Ricardo Watty, MSSP, for all the work they have done with such dedication and fatherly concern.
We will embrace with filial obedience whatever indications and recommendations the Holy Father gives us as a result of the apostolic visitation, and we are committed to putting them into practice.

4. Looking toward the future
In the time since January 2005 when we held our last General Chapter and Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC, was elected as our general director, we have striven to guide the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi in fidelity to all we have received from God and has been approved by the Church. Humbly and gratefully we acknowledge the blessings and fruits that the Lord has granted us up to now, and we accept our responsibility to deepen our understanding of our history, charism, and spirituality.
We face the future with hope, knowing that our one support is God. We trust totally in him and in his all-powerful love which, as St Paul says, “makes all things work for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28). We know that as we follow this path we will be aided by the Holy Spirit and the Church’s motherly guidance.

Our purpose as individuals and as an institution is to love Christ, live his Gospel, and extend throughout the world his Kingdom of peace and love. We know that if we are to do this we must constantly renew ourselves as individuals and as a community, in fidelity to the tradition of consecrated life, the better to serve the Church and society. The past months have helped us to reflect on our identity and mission, and they have also moved us to review various aspects of our institutional life, humbly and in all simplicity.

We are resolved, among other things, to:- Continue seeking reconciliation and reaching out to those who have suffered,- Honor the truth about our history- Continue offering safety, especially for minors, in our institutions and activities, both in environments and in procedures- Grow in a spirit of unselfish service to the Church and people- Cooperate better with all the bishops and with other institutions in the Church.- Improve our communication- Continue our oversight to insure that our administrative controls and procedures are implemented on all levels, and to continue demanding proper accountability- Redouble our dedication to the mission of offering Christ’s Gospel to as many people as possible- And above all, seek holiness with renewed effort, guided by the Church.


We cannot end this communiqué without thanking the thousands of Legionaries, consecrated men and women and all Regnum Christi members who have given and continue to give their lives to God in the service of the Church and society with absolute generosity, and all those who work in our centers and works of apostolate. Thanks to you and your work, we can say that today Christ is more known and loved in the world. We also express our gratitude toward every person that has always been there to support us with their faith, prayers and suffering united to Christ’s.

Signed today, March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord. Through the intercession of his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, may the Lord grant us the grace to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of the Love of God made man, and to live and share it with renewed fervor.
Fr Álvaro Corcuera, LC, general director
Fr Luis Garza, LC, vicar general
Fr Francisco Mateos, LC, general counselor
Fr Michael Ryan, LC, general counselor
Fr Joseph Burtka, LC, general counselor
Fr Evaristo Sada, LC, general secretary
Fr José Cárdenas, LC, territorial director for Chile and Argentina
Fr José Manuel Otaolaurruchi, LC, territorial director for Venezuela and Colombia
Fr Manuel Aromir, LC, territorial director for Brazil
Fr Rodolfo Mayagoitia, LC, territorial director for Mexico and Central America
Fr Leonardo Nuñez, LC, territorial director for Monterrey
Fr Scott Reilly, LC, territorial director for Atlanta
Fr Julio Martí, LC, territorial director for New York
Fr Jesús María Delgado, LC, territorial director for Spain
Fr Jacobo Muñoz, LC, territorial director for France and Ireland
Fr Sylvester Heereman, territorial director for Germany and Central Europe

UPDATE: From Associated Press
VATICAN CITY – A conservative religious order favored by Pope John Paul II is apologizing to the victims of sexual abuse by its founder.
Leaders of the Legionaries of Christ said in a statement on its Web site Friday that at first they couldn't believe the accusations against the late Mexican prelate Marcial Maciel, including molestation of seminarians and that he had a long relationship with a woman and fathered a daughter with her.
The order is expressing pain and regret to all who were hurt by Marciel's actions.
Vatican investigators have completed their probe into the order, including inspections by five bishops. The Legionaries also thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his solidarity. Unrelated sex scandals in the United States and Germany are threatening to tarnish his papacy.

Take a Read, and see what is says.

Thy Kingdom Come!
Rome, March 25, 2010
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
To the members and friends
of the Regnum Christi Movement

Very dear friends in Christ:

Today, the solemnity of the Annunciation, offers me the occasion to send you my warm greetings. We are celebrating the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, who wished to take for himself our human nature to expiate our sins and open for us the way back to the Father. Mystery of God’s infinite love. He could have redeemed us by simpler paths, but he chose to have his Son laid low and humiliated to show us that if the mystery of iniquity is great, that of his merciful love is greater still. We are practically on the threshold of Holy Week. Within a week we will enter the Sacred Triduum to accompany Christ in his so scandalously incomprehensible “hour.” The “hour of the powers of darkness” (cf. Lk. 22:53). The hour of his exaltation on the cross. The hour also, of his triumph and glorious resurrection.

As we contemplate these ineffable mysteries we discover a hushed, motherly presence: Mary most holy. In Nazareth, Bethlehem and on Calvary, Mary is present not as a spectator but fully immersed, playing an active role in the mystery. Mary invites us to enter in, like her, accepting the part Christ wants to assign to us, because we too are co-protagonists.
This is the context in which I want to present to you the communiqué that is being released along with this letter.

1. As you will see, the communiqué is devoted almost in its entirety to topics that in one way or another we have been talking back and forward on for over a year now. We have done so with some of you individually, and with others in larger meetings and gatherings. On several occasions I have also made sure to write to all of you together. We have prayed together many times. I also know that the Legionaries and consecrated members who serve you have done their best to be available to you, and to answer your questions and concerns as we got a better understanding of what was happening.

It has been a very painful time for everyone, even traumatic. The sudden uncovering of some facets of our founder’s life that were so removed from what we lived by his side, was a totally unexpected surprise for us all. We were not prepared for it. We all had to go through a process of gradual assimilation, in many cases a necessarily slow one, requiring an uncommon store of human and spiritual resources, which each one has been finding in prayer, in conversation with Christ in the Eucharist, by staying close to the Blessed Mother, and in conversations with your directors, spiritual guide or your section members, family members and friends.

As is natural, in this process of facing the historical reality and its consequences, each one has followed his own path depending on his sensitivity, cultural background and spiritual foundation. And it is just as natural that everyone is not at the same point. Some, having received a special help from grace, can say that this is now behind them, while another will still need time and prayer to finish processing and give closure to this chapter in their conscience. We have to be very considerate in respecting and understanding each one’s individual pace.

2. In recent days, I have been thinking through all of this with the general counselors and the territorial directors. Together, we have seen that once we have all read and assimilated this page in the life of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, our task is to take a step forward, individually and as an institution, to close this chapter of our history and open a new one.

It is true that we are still awaiting the results of the apostolic visitation, whose operative phase has ended. Undoubtedly, our attitude is one of complete openness, and we will embrace supernaturally and with docility whatever the Holy Father sees fit to ask of us. But until that moment comes, which is presumably still some months away, we want to get moving, so to speak, to set out again on our way with faith and humility, and throw ourselves back into working with all our ardor in the mission the Lord has given to us at the service of the Church. The attached communiqué, besides what it means in itself, is also in function of this goal of institutional re-launching.

3. I think that if we contemplate the Blessed Mother’s example we will find in her the attitudes that ought to be ours in this historic time in which it is our lot to live. From the Annunciation in Nazareth to the mortal scene on Calvary, we see that Mary’s soul is filled with theological faith, hope, and love. These are the three virtues that God asks us to cultivate intensely. Faith that sheds light on the past. Hope that arms us with courage for the future. Love that commits us in the present.

4. Faith that sheds light on the past
So many things happened that turned Mary’s life upside down, without her being able to understand them. Beginning with the angel’s message itself, passing through countless surprises, setbacks, mishaps and adversities, and ending in the tragic denouement – foretold certainly, but nevertheless defying all understanding, so contrary to what you could reasonably expect would be the destiny of one who was nothing less than the Son of God. What did she do? How did she react?

“His mother carefully kept all these things in her heart” (Lk. 2:51). She meditated on them. From the angle of faith. She meditated without understanding. She talked them over with God, not asking for reasons or explanations. She simply knew that everything was part of his plan, that he knew what he was doing and why. That was enough for her, even if she understood nothing. She meditated on it all, not to lock herself in fruitless moaning or to give herself to self-pity. It was to understand God’s plan better. To ask him for the strength to accept it. And to give herself docilely, humbly, and joyfully to fulfill it.

On Calvary, at the foot of the cross: silence and trustful prayer. Once again, she understood nothing. It was so cruel, so degrading, so impossibly evil. But though her eyes were fogged with tears and her mind stunned with confusion, her soul radiated faith. She knew that God was carrying out his plan. And once again, she answered, “Yes.” And she went on meditating. She meditated, believing. She believed, trusting.
I think this is the kind of faith God is asking of us. Perhaps we will never come to understand the reason for so many things that have come to light. Nor why God chose such an instrument to establish the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. Why will the Legion and Regnum Christi not be able to present the figure of its founder like other congregations and movements? God knows. We have to accept it with faith. And with faith and humility recognize that, in spite of such a great mystery, God is wiser than we are. Once again, his warning is proven true: “My ways are not your ways” (Is. 55:8).

God asks us for faith to believe firmly that “all things work for the good of those who love God” (Rom. 8:28), and therefore, that he is preparing us for a special outpouring of grace. We have to trust that he, who has allowed things to happen this way, is sufficiently good and powerful to draw greater benefits from them. In part, we already see them. I am sure we will see many more. The Catechism teaches us that “In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures” and that “from the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God´s only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that ‘abounded all the more’ (cf. Rom. 5:20), brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption.” At the same time, it warns us that “but for all that, evil never becomes a good” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 312).

With faith, we must discover and accept that above all the vicissitudes that shape our past history, it is divine Providence that is really guiding our destiny. Faith helps us to truly believe it, though at times it might seem we are moving in the wrong direction, though at times our eyes might see no more than the often clumsy action of human freedom. In this past year, many factors have determined the course that the Legion and the Regnum Christi Movement have followed. One of these factors has been the actions of their directors. From a human perspective, you might think that they were more or less appropriate, or inappropriate. As I examine my own actions, given the responsibility I have, I can assure you that at all times I have tried to proceed with greatest purity of intention and maximum prudence. I have asked the Holy Spirit daily for the gift of counsel which, as you know, enlightens and perfects the virtue of prudence. I have used the help of my general counselors, of many men of the Church, and yours. We have tried to make every decision and take every step in the presence of God, trying to discern how Jesus Christ would act. But I am not infallible. I don’t know if I got it right. For certain, not in everything. The other directors also may very well have committed some mistakes among countless wise actions. But what is without doubt is that God can write straight with crooked lines. In spite of the great limitations and defects of his instruments, God has guided our trajectory in the past, and he will continue to guide us in the future. Mary’s faith assures us it is so.

5. Hope that arms us with courage for the future.
Mary also gives us an example of hope. She never gave in to the temptation not to trust. There were terrible moments in which the future seemed to offer no way out. The angel told her she would be a mother and virgin, and she was well aware of the suspicions that this could stir up. She was told that they had to leave in haste for Egypt, fleeing from Herod’s hatred; and it is easy to guess the uncertainty and anxiety that flooded her spirit. She was told that a sword would pierce her soul and she must have endured many years under the anxiety of the prophecy that would be fulfilled. Below her Son’s cross, she was told of a new, universal motherhood…. But she learned to place herself time and again in God’s hands, with limitless hope. And God did not disappoint her hope.
Like the Virgin Mary, we too must look to the future with great hope in God, letting no storm rob us of the optimism which is proper to the one who knows, like St Paul, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and that all is loss compared to the experience of Christ’s love, which is the only reason for our existence. Trust follows faith. If we truly believe in God, his Providence, his infinite wisdom and goodness, we cannot but grasp his hand and place all our trust in him, only in him. Nothing in the future can make us fear.

Looking to the future with theological hope means facing it with a deep sense of responsibility. It is God who willed to bring forth the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, so as to give the Church a group of apostles to humbly and passionately cooperate in the great mission of evangelization. He is not going to abandon us. He will not let us down. All he asks of us is to be holy, consistent, and responsible, so as not to let down him, the Church, society and souls.

6. Love that commits us in the present.
Mary did not only believe and hope. Above all, she loved God. Out of love, she accepted his will at all times and she gave herself to fulfill it diligently, never thinking of herself, her comfort, her reputation, or her welfare. She cared only about loving God and doing his will.

This is the commitment God is asking of us too, at this time. If faith shows us that all things work for the good of those who love God we have to love more, we must love without limits. And we will see how much good God will put into this world. This is what he asks of us, that we not limit or dilute our love, that we nourish it more and more every day in prayer. Let this be one of our main resolutions: to be prayerful men and women, people with a deep interior life.

Love moves us to continue serving the Church. Unselfishly, not for the benefits it brings us.

Love moves us to continue making a reality of the beautiful and fruitful charism that God gave us. Out of love, we seek to make it bear fruit. Out of love, we want to share it so that many others will be spiritually enriched with the gifts that we have received from him, and we will thus reach the final goal of our lives: heaven.

Love moves us to continue walking together, supporting each other, giving our mutual understanding. Out of love, we seek to strengthen even more our unity and family spirit, the priceless treasure that gives such peace and serenity to our communities and teams.

Love moves us to remain beside all our companions in Regnum Christi, our friends, families, benefactors, and all those whom God places on our path, so that we will be for them a Simon of Cyrene to help them carry their cross as they follow Christ.

7. Dear friends and Regnum Christi members, these thoughts are the fruit of long and deep reflection done together with the general counselors and the territorial directors, and I invite you to take them to Christ who is present in the Eucharist. There, with our hand in Mary’s, let us meditate on these things, renew our “yes” – one that is clearer, more consistent, more long-suffering and also more joyful. And let us pray that he will grant every one of us, like Mary, the grace to accept his plans with luminous faith, to look toward the future with unbreakable hope, and to commit ourselves to living in charity in every present moment.

Very united in prayer and in the mission entrusted to all of us, I remain your affectionate servant in Christ,
Fr Álvaro Corcuera, LC

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Plot Thickens: Two Normas, Maciel, Consecrated and Quirce and de Andres

En Familia

EN FAMILIA. El padre Marcial Maciel con su supuesta hija Norma Hilda Rivas Baños (blanco) y la mamá de ésta, Norma Baños (azul).
Fr. Marcial Maciel with his supposed daughter, Norma Hilda Rivas Baaos (in white) and her mother, Norma Baños (in blue) [with consecrated women]
Note the date on the photo - 3/5/2005.

La cosecha de imágenes, nunca se acaba. Ahora mi Cisen se aplicó como nunca y me mandó un par de fotitos que, estoy seguro, van a hacer fruncir el seño de muchos.

The harvest of photos never ends. Now my "spy" worked like never before and sent me a pair of pics which, I am sure, are going to make lots of people cringe.

En la primera imagen –que mi contacto me autorizó reproducir ya que tiene los derechos– supuestamente aparece el padre Marcial Maciel, en el 2005, con su presunta hija Norma Hilda Rivas Baños, la cual está junto a él vestida completamente de blanco. No olvidemos que Normita salió físicamente a la luz pública por primera vez, con otras fotos, en la portada de la revista Quién del pasado 19 de marzo. En esta nueva entrega se distingue mucho mejor su cara que, vale la pena mencionar, no es na-da fe-a.

In the first picture -which my contact has authorized me to publish and has all of the rights to do so- supposedly Marcial Maciel appears, in 2005, with his presumed daughter, Norma Hilda Rivas Baños, who is next to him dressed totally in white. Let's not forget that Norma Hilda first appeared on the scene, in other photos, on the cover of Quién magazine on March 19. In this new photo, her face is seen much better, and, it is worth noting that she is certainly not ugly.

Aunque nunca los habíamos visto juntos, ya conocíamos a Maciel y a su tentativa hija. Así que la verdadera nota es la mujer morena, de pelo negro largo, vestida de traje azul que se localiza en la extrema derecha. Según mi fuente es nada más y nada menos que Norma Baños, la mujer que se dice que el padre Marcial Maciel conoció en la década de los 70 en Acapulco –donde ella vivía y trabajaba como mesera–, y con la que presuntamente el fundador de los Legionarios de Cristo procreó a Norma Hilda. Ufffff.

Even though we have never seen them together before, we now meet Maciel and his supposed daughter. Also there is the darker woman, with black hair, dressed in blue and at the extreme right of the photo. According to my source, this is none other than Norma Banos, the woman who Maciel is said to have met in the 70s in Acapulco - where she lived and worked as a waitress 0, and with whom the founder of the Legion of Chirst conceived Norma Hilda. Uffff.

A decir del integrante de mi Cisen, el resto de las mujeres que aparecen en la foto son Consagradas. Todos estaban en Cotija, Michoacán, en una de las casas de retiro que tienen los Legionarios.

My "spy" tells me that the rest of the women in the photo are consecrated in the Regnum Christi. All are in Cotija, Michoacán, in one of the Legionaries' retreat houses.

En la segunda imagen aparecen los personajes antes mencionados con el adicional de los padres Legionarios de Cristo: Jesús Quirce Andrés, rector de la Universidad Anáhuac (junto al padre Maciel) y Marcelino de Andrés (al fondo del lado derecho), hoy asistente del apostolado en España.

In the second photo, we find the same people with the addition of the following priests of the Legion of Christ: Jesús Quirce Andrés, rector of the Anahuác University (next to Fr. Maciel) and Marcelino de Andrés (in the back on the right), currently the assistant for the apostolate in Spain.

Después de ver estas imágenes hay una parte que no me cuadra. El 13 de septiembre de 2009 la periodista española Idoia Sota publicó en El Mundo una entrevista con Norma Baños en la que la supuesta mujer de Maciel dijo: “Yo nunca habría elegido este camino para mi vida…Ni mi hija ni yo supimos quién era realmente (el padre Maciel) hasta el final”. ¿Entonces qué hacía Norma con Maciel en una de las casas de retiro de los Legionarios, donde todo mundo sabía que él era el fundador de la Legión de Cristo?

After seeing these images there is something that does not make sense. On September 13, 2009, the Spanish journalist Idoia Sota published an interview with Norma Baños in El Mundo in which the supposed wife of Maciel said: "I never would have chosen this path for my life... neither my daughter nor I knew who he really was (Fr. Maciel) until the end." So, what is Norma doing with Maciel in a Legion retreat house, where everybody knows that he was the founder of the Legion of Christ?

EN COTIJA. El padre Jesús Quirce, el padre Maciel, varias Consagradas y atrás a la derecha el padre Marcelino de Andrés.

Fr. Jesús Quirce, Fr. Maciel, various Consecrated, and in the back at right, Fr. Marcelino de Andrés.

Note the date on the photo - 3/5/2005.

Above: Cover of Quién Magazin from Mexico, March 19th, 2010.


The lady in yellow, Paulina Garza, is Luis Garza Medina's sister.

Maciel seems not to mind that his daughter's dress does not meet the standards of Pure Fashion.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If only they had known. (I just threw up a little in my mouth)

Magee, Legion friend, resigns

BIG TIME Legion ally and Maciel friend, Bishop John Magee of the diocese of Cloyne said he tendered his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI on March 9 and that the resignation was accepted.

Private secretary for Paul VI and John Paul I, he remained for a time in the same capacity with Pope John Paul II, elected on 16 October 1978, but was in 1982 made papal Master of Ceremonies and continued in this post until on 17 February 1987 when he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Cloyne, in Ireland. He was consecrated bishop on 17 March 1987, St. Patrick's Day, by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basillica in the Vatican.

His resignation comes amid calls for him to resign due to the sex abuse scandal, rumors of continued poor health, and 1 1/2 years before it is required due to age.

Friday, March 19, 2010

From a Mexican Blogger

18 Marzo 2010

Los cómplices de Marcial Maciel

Archivado en: Columnas — hituco @ 11:57 pm


… Imposible resulta ahora para mí, y luego de escuchar la entrevista que Carmen Aristegui hiciera a la mujer y los hijos de Marcial Maciel, no ocuparme en este espacio de los muchos crímenes —que no pecados— cometidos por ese hombre indigno y también por aquellos que sabiendo callaban y los otros muchos que, pese a la evidencia, no querían oír ni ver ni dejar que esos crímenes salieran a la luz.

El manto de impunidad tejido por sus “hijos” y “hermanos” de la Legión de Cristo, que hoy se dicen sorprendidos y contritos, por la alta jerarquía eclesiástica, cuya voz ni siquiera se ha alzado, permitió a ese hombre seguir destruyendo vidas.

Otro tanto hizo la influencia desplegada por sus muchos y muy poderosos amigos que le permitió sortear o callar las muchas acusaciones que, desde muy temprano en su carrera religiosa, le fueron hechas.

No se trata sin embargo, como dicen hoy los Legionarios, de esperar mansamente a que sobre Marcial —“que ya está frente al Señor”— caiga la justicia divina por su “conducta impropia de un sacerdote católico”, sino de exigir que el peso de la ley de los hombres, que ya no puede castigar sus delitos, caiga sobre sus cómplices.

He tenido la fortuna, el privilegio, de conocer sacerdotes como los jesuitas Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes y Martín Baró que tuvieron la valentía de ser consecuentes, hasta el martirio, con su fe cristiana, que es —diría Serrat— también la fe de mis mayores. En ella crecí, de ella abrevé los principios de equidad y justicia.

Vivos en mi corazón están todavía monseñor Sergio Méndez Arceo y el arzobispo mártir Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Es en su nombre, en el de su memoria mancillada por Maciel y sus cómplices, que escribo y también en el de mi anciana y luchadora Madre para quien la fe, esa fe en nombre de la cual Marcial se hizo de tanto poder e influencia, es motor, aliento, esperanza y a quien hoy indigna, duele y avergüenza saber de los crímenes de Maciel.

Muchos sacerdotes se han comprometido, a lo largo de la historia de nuestro continente, con la causa de los más pobres, los más humildes. Han sabido ser —como lo fue Romero en El Salvador— la “voz de los sin voz” y han sido y son por ese motivo reos de inquisición, carne de presidio.

Marcial Maciel jugó siempre del lado contrario. Esclavo del dinero hizo todo, dando la espalda a los principios elementales de su fe, para servirlo y para servirse de él. Fue lo suyo, como lo es de la alta curia, el fasto y la opulencia.

Imposible resulta creer, oyendo de las andanzas de Maciel, que sus más cercanos en la Legión no supieran —siendo que se desaparecía continuamente— de su doble y hasta triple vida. Imposible pensar que la información de sus crímenes, los lamentos de sus víctimas no hayan corrido por los vasos comunicantes de la orden.

El voto de obediencia que ahora esgrimen como coartada no los exime en absoluto de responsabilidad. Le han fallado a Dios y le han fallado al César.

Al primero, a Dios, han de responder por sus pecados; allá ellos y su conciencia. Que hagan pues penitencia y que las puertas del paraíso se cierren ante ellos.

Al segundo, al César, han de responder por delitos que, a cualquier otro, debería poner a las puertas de la cárcel.

Otro tanto tendría que suceder con cardenales y obispos que en Roma, México y tantas capitales, y siendo tan duchos en el arte de la intriga y poseedores de tan vastos y eficientes aparatos de inteligencia, hoy se dicen ignorantes de “los pecados” de su hermano Maciel.

Con el dinero, poder e influencia que, a manos llenas hacía llegar Marcial a la alta jerarquía, compraba no sólo su silencio, sino también su absolución incondicional y las prebendas y privilegios que le volvieron figura prominente de la corte vaticana y la curia mexicana y tanto que, a punto estuvo, de ser beatificado.

Se hizo el papado de enormes riquezas vendiendo a los pobres e incautos indulgencia. Traficantes del reino de Dios los altos prelados han medrado siempre con la esperanza de obtener accesos directos al paraíso. Otras veces, en nombre de la extensión de ese reino en la Tierra, es decir de “su propio reino”, han organizado guerras y masacres.

Marcial no buscó a los pobres; dejó a otros, toda la iglesia para él era una orden mendicante, medrar con los centavos. Persiguió el oro puro, buscó a los ricos y les ofreció hacerlos pasar, con rumbo al cielo, por el ojo de una aguja asegurando a la Legión mientras tanto una buena tajada del botín en la Tierra.

Murió Marcial Maciel; sus crímenes, sin embargo, me temo, seguirán vivos mientras su red de complicidades se mantenga. Esos que antes negaron sus delitos hoy, para sobrevivir a la debacle, intentan negarlo a él.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mommy's words. MM=Lots of noise

Words are great, but they don’t guarantee Wisdom. According to his followers, Marcial Maciel wrote (or plagiarized) many beautiful things. He must have been a wise man, worthy of emulation, because of the way he talked. He said that he never said no to the Holy Spirit! What wisdom, what holiness!

But while words can lie, deeds don’t. Maciel lied. He stole. He raped and sodomized. He was not a wise man. He was not worthy of emulation. He cannot teach you how to follow Christ. His writing is a resounding gong, because he did not have love.

Read it here.

Postponed by Health Care Debate, New Date to Come

Jason Berry will be on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight, Thursday, March 18th on CNN, 10 pm EST to talk about the Legion of Christ case.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fr. Amorth on Pedophiles and Don Satanás

"But cases of pedophilia exorcised, no. ... Pedophiles are not possessed by the devil, they are tempted by the devil," he said.

"They don't need exorcism, they need to be converted, to be converted to God, that's what they need. They need to confess, they need true penitence, true repentance, that's what they need. They're not possessed."

There is no sign at all that Maciel was repentant. We cannot judge, but we need to look at the signs. If there were signs that he was repentant, we could hang our hat on them. Bottom line: no demonic possession, just plain horrid sin.

Vatican completes probe of Legionaries scandal

VATICAN CITY — Vatican investigators have completed their probe into the Legionaries of Christ, the conservative order that was once hailed by Rome but fell into scandal after it revealed that its founder had fathered a child and had molested seminarians.

The Vatican said Tuesday its five investigators are to report back to Rome this week about their examination of the Legionaries' 120 seminaries, schools and communities around the globe. In a statement, the Legionaries said the first phase of the inquiry was over and that a final report would still take several months for Rome to complete.

While the Vatican's recommendations are unknown, Vatican analysts have speculated that the Holy See would at the very least appoint new leadership for the order and outline a series of reforms. Its recommendations will be closely watched, given the current focus on the Vatican's handling the growing sex abuse crisis convulsing the church in Europe.

Pope Benedict XVI ordered the probe last year after prominent Legionaries members acknowledged its late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel of Mexico, had fathered a daughter and had sexually abused seminarians. Since then, a Mexican woman has come forward saying she had a lengthy relationship with Maciel, that he fathered her two sons, adopted a third and sexually abused two of them.

The disclosure of Maciel's double life has caused enormous turmoil inside the Legionaries and its lay affiliate, Regnum Christi, particularly because the leadership has been less than forthcoming with information. The order had essentially created a personality cult around Maciel, teaching that he was a hero whose life should be studied and emulated.

In the wake of the revelations, the order has taken down pictures of Maciel that used to adorn its institutes, edited its Web sites and reviewed editions of books that heavily quoted from Maciel's writings, the Legionaries' New York and Atlanta directors wrote in a letter to Regnum Christi members in September.

Still, several U.S. dioceses have either restricted the Legionaries' work or set limits on its recruitment practices. The archdiocese of Miami has barred Legionaries priests from exercising any ministry whatsoever.

The Vatican investigation was extraordinary since it only launches a so-called "apostolic visitation" when it considers a group unable to correct a major problem on its own.

In 2002, at the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the United States, the Vatican ordered an evaluation of all U.S. seminaries. More recently, it has ordered one for U.S. women's religions orders.

Five bishops appointed by Rome spent eight months visiting Legionaries communities to get firsthand knowledge of the order and its work. In a statement Tuesday, the Legionaries said over the next several months there may be further communications between the investigators and Rome before the pope "gives the instructions that he considers suitable and necessary."

Even after the revelations came out, questions remained about whether any current leaders covered up Maciel's misdeeds and whether any donations were used to facilitate the misconduct or pay off victims.

One of the Mexican sons allegedly fathered and abused by Maciel, Jose Raul Gonzalez, has said he asked the Legionaries of Christ for $26 million because Maciel had promised him a trust fund when he died and as financial compensation for the alleged sexual abuse.

The Legionaries was formed in 1941 and became one of the most influential and fastest-growing orders in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II championed the group, which became known for its orthodox theology, military-style discipline, fundraising prowess and success recruiting priests at a time when seminary enrollment was generally dismal.

The group says it now has some 800 priests and 2,600 seminarians worldwide, along with 75,000 Regnum Christi members.

Yet the order and Regnum Christi had detractors throughout its rise. Critics condemned the group's secrecy vows, revoked in 2007, that barred public criticism of a superior, and its practice of limiting contact between seminarians or Regnum Christi members and their families.

The Vatican began investigating allegations against Maciel in the 1950s, and again in 1998 after nine former seminarians said Maciel had abused them when they were boys or teenagers in Catholic seminaries in Spain and Italy from the 1940s through the 1960s. Later, others came forward.

But it wasn't until 2006, a year into Benedict's pontificate, when the Vatican instructed Maciel to lead a "reserved life of prayer and penance" in response to the abuse allegations.

Maciel died in 2008 at age 87.

In the wake of the revelations, many people — both critics and Legionaries supporters alike — have questioned how an order built so firmly around the calling of its founder can survive now that he has been so discredited.

So far, at least two prominent Legionaries priests have quit the order and begun the process of joining the New York archdiocese. In a letter announcing his departure, the Rev. Richard Gill, who headed the Regnum Christi movement in New York, said he was leaving in part because of the way the scandal had been handled by the order's current leadership.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And from the Legion

New Stage of Apostolic Visitation Begins
The Holy See will study the reports and suggestions of the visitators. The final results will be communicated in the upcoming months.

Rome, Italy. March 15, 2010. A little over a year ago, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State for Pope Benedict XVI, announced in a letter to the general director of the Legionaries of Christ that the Holy Father had decided to carry out an apostolic visitation to gain firsthand knowledge of the congregation’s life and work.

The five visitors who began their work on July 15 were Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput (of Denver); Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi (of Tepic, Mexico); Archbishop Ricardo Ezzatti (of Concepción, Chile); Bishop Guiseppe Versaldi (of Alessandria, Italy); and Bishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez (of Bilbao, Spain), who this past Saturday was named Archbishop of Valladolid, Spain.

Throughout the past eight months, the bishops visited the 120+ Legionary communities throughout the world. During their interviews, the priests and religious had the chance to speak individually with the bishops to answer their questions and freely express their observations and suggestions about community life and the work they carry out in the apostolates that the congregation directs and guides.

After this first phase of the apostolic visitation, the bishops must finalize their written reports and send them to the Holy See, where they will be studied and evaluated. Since the visitators’ work was extensive, and since the five individual reports were written in different languages, this new phase of the apostolic visitation may possibly take several months. It may also require some final exchanges between the Holy See and the visitators before Pope Benedict XVI gives the instructions that he considers suitable and necessary.

In an interview with the Notimex agency this past March 4, the Holy See’s spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi explained: “It is one thing for the visitators’ work to finish, and it is another thing to publish the results. It requires time. It will need to be determined whether the information is sufficient, or if it is necessary to request a supplement to the investigation. I would not expect a short time frame for the definitive decision.”

We ask all of our readers and friends to continue accompanying the visitators, the Holy See authorities, and all the Legionaries of Christ with your prayers.


Rome, Italy. March 15, 2010. A little over a year ago, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State for Pope Benedict XVI, announced in a letter to the general director of the Legionaries of Christ that the Holy Father had decided to carry out an apostolic visitation to gain firsthand knowledge of the congregation’s life and work.

The five visitors who began their work on July 15 were Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput (of Denver); Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi (of Tepic, Mexico); Archbishop Ricardo Ezzatti (of Concepción, Chile); Bishop Guiseppe Versaldi (of Alessandria, Italy); and Bishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez (of Bilbao, Spain), who this past Saturday was named Archbishop of Valladolid, Spain.

Throughout the past eight months, the bishops visited the 120+ Legionary communities throughout the world. During their interviews, the priests and religious had the chance to speak individually with the bishops to answer their questions and freely express their observations and suggestions about community life and the work they carry out in the apostolates that the congregation directs and guides.

After this first phase of the apostolic visitation, the bishops must finalize their written reports and send them to the Holy See, where they will be studied and evaluated. Since the visitators’ work was extensive, and since the five individual reports were written in different languages, this new phase of the apostolic visitation may possibly take several months. It may also require some final exchanges between the Holy See and the visitators before Pope Benedict XVI gives the instructions that he considers suitable and necessary.

In an interview with the Notimex agency this past March 4, the Holy See’s spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi explained: “It is one thing for the visitators’ work to finish, and it is another thing to publish the results. It requires time. It will need to be determined whether the information is sufficient, or if it is necessary to request a supplement to the investigation. I would not expect a short time frame for the definitive decision.”

We ask all of our readers and friends to continue accompanying the visitators, the Holy See authorities, and all the Legionaries of Christ with your prayers.

Sandro Magister's Latest: The Legion Trembles

The Legion Awaits a New General. And Trembles

A commissioner appointed by the Vatican will take command of the Legionaries of Christ, orphans of their founder Marcial Maciel, disgraced by scandals. This is the likely outcome of eight months of investigation. Many things should be changed, including the current leaders

by Sandro Magister

ROME, March 16, 2010 – In the thick of the storm rocking the Catholic Church on account of the sexual abuse committed against minors by priests, an end has come to the apostolic visit ordered by the Holy See among the Legionaries of Christ, the congregation founded by Marcial Maciel.

The Maciel case is extreme in every way. It pushes the contrast between image and reality to exaggerated limits. Between the beatified image of the priest founder of an ultra-orthodox, ascetical, devout religious congregation, flourishing with vocations, some of them exemplary, and the reality of a dissolute second life, made up of incessant violations not only of the vows but of the commandments, of continual sinful affairs with women, men, and minors of every age and condition, with children and lovers all over the world, their number still unknown.

A second life that even at the moment of death appeared to sink deeper into the sulfurous fumes. Morbid stories have leaked out about Maciel's last days in Houston, at the end of January 2008, before his burial in Cotija, his birthplace, in Mexico.

The apostolic visit began on July 15, 2009. And the five bishop visitors fulfilled their mandate halfway through this month of March, with the delivery of their report to the Vatican authorities. They were Ricardo Watti Urquidi, bishop of Tepic in Mexico; Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Denver; Giuseppe Versaldi, bishop of Alessandria; Ricardo Ezzato Andrello, archbishop of Concepción in Chile; and Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, archbishop of Valladolid.

It will be the Vatican authorities who decide what to do. The three cardinals charged with the case are Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, William J. Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, and Franc Rodé, prefect of the congregation for institutes of consecrated life.

But the last word will belong to Benedict XVI, the most prescient of all. Even before he was elected pope and when Maciel still had very powerful protectors in the Vatican, Joseph Ratzinger ordered an extensive investigation of the accusations against the founder of the Legionaries. And as pope, on May 19, 2006, he sentenced him to "a retired life of prayer and penance."

After this sentence, the congregation of the Legionaries bowed to the papal command. But it continued to show veneration to its founding "father," as an "innocent victim" of false accusations.

It was only after his death and the revelation of other scandals that the directors of the congregation acknowledged some of their founder's sins, but without denying the goodness of his work.

Still today, after the eight-month apostolic visit, Maciel's successor as director general of the congregation, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, and vicar general Luis Garza Medina – who were also for decades, especially the latter of them, very close collaborators of the founder – show no intention of leaving their command. And neither do any of the other high and mid-level directors, central or peripheral.

Their defense is that they were always unaware of Maciel's second life, and that their fidelity to the Church and to the pope, in addition to their leadership experience, are the best guarantees for the congregation's continuity.

Last February 5, in "L'Osservatore Romano," Fr. Luis Garza Medina, unruffled, published an article describing the "virtuous life" of the ideal priest. He who more than anyone else lived side by side with Maciel, knowing all his secrets and managing his money, and who always held him up as a model.

But that the current leaders of the Legionaries should be left at the head of the congregation is entirely unlikely. The more probable decision is that the Holy See will appoint a fully empowered commissioner of its own, and will set the guidelines for a thorough reform, including the replacement of the current leaders.

But rebuilding from the ground up a congregation still deeply influenced by its disgraced founder will be an arduous enterprise.

Priests and seminarians who until very recently were steeped in the writings attributed to Maciel will have difficulty finding new sources of inspiration, not generic but specific to their order. The current leaders of the congregation aren't helping, either. On the contrary. One of Maciel's former personal secretaries, Fr. Felipe Castro, together with other priests of the Legion, has worked in recent months to select from among the founder's many letters a group of letters to be "saved" for the future, to keep a positive image of Maciel alive.

The dependence of the Legionaries on Maciel was – and for many still is – absolute. There wasn't a shred of daily life that escaped the rules he dictated. Absurdly exacting rules. Which prescribed, for example, how to sit at the table, how to use a napkin, how to swallow, how to eat chicken without using one's hands, how to debone a fish.

But this was nothing compared to the control exercised over consciences. The handbook for the examination of conscience at the end of the day was 332 pages long, with thousands of questions.

And then there were – and are – the statutes properly speaking. Much more extensive and detailed than those provided to the bishops of the dioceses in which the Legionaries have their houses. The five visitors went through a lot of trouble to obtain the statutes in their entirety.

From the statutes one gathers that in addition to the three classical vows of religious orders, of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Legionaries were bound by two other vows – plus a third called "of fidelity and charity" for the select members of the congregation – which prohibited any kind of criticism and at the same time required telling the superiors about confreres seen violating the ban.

These extra vows were supposed to have been removed by order of the Holy See, in 2007. But the rank and file of the Legionaries do not seem to have been notified of this revocation.

The boundary between the spirit of obedience and the spirit of subjection is not always clear in the congregation founded by Maciel.

Among the Legionaries, the competition encouraged by the rules is to see who can make the most proselytes. And the novice immediately enters a collective machine that completely absorbs his individuality. Everything is meticulously overseen and regulated, in a thicket of limitations. From personal mail to reading material, from visits to travel.

Over the eight months of the apostolic visit, this control was relaxed only in part. Some priests told the visitors about the things they believed were wrong. Others have left the congregation and been incardinated into the diocesan clergy. Others have continued to defend Maciel's legacy. Others feel lost. Still others, finally, have faith in the rebuilding on new foundations of a religious congregation that is part of their lives and that they continue to love.