Sunday, March 28, 2010

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.


Anonymous said...

Can I just say that it bugs me to no end to hear this relationship with his mistress called "stable" in the first part of a sentence (as if this somehow makes the relationship SO much better than a fling), while the sentence goes on to describe two other children fathered with another woman. I don't know what the Legion's idea of a stable relationship is, but if my husband fathered a couple of children with another woman while he was also fathering children with me, I'd hardly call this stable.

Guess the Legion thinks common-law polygamy is "stable". It's laughable, really.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned: I have been having sex and fathering children with several women, but I just want to say these relationships have all been stable" How utterly ridiculous.

If my teenager said to me, "Yes, I've been having sex with my girlfriend---and a couple other girls, too---but Mom, at least its a STABLE relationship!!", I'd laugh in his face (after I cried over his offenses). Please!

I'd like to hear Maciel's children describe just how stable it was to have a father who was very seldom around. Who they later discovered was juggling several other families at the same time. Stable, my *ass!! Double, triple, quadruple lives are anything BUT stable, and it's the children who end up suffering the most because of it.

Anonymous said...

This is the tip of the iceberg as far as a news report. The article barely touches on the offenses of Maciel. The story will come out. The offenses of many Legionary priests will come out. It's a pussy pimple in the midst of exploding!

Anonymous said...

This 'stable relationship' business just pisses me off.

Anonymous said...

On one hand the secular press seems to me to be 'good' press for the LCs in as much as their 'apology' and admission is now the lede in the news story. It makes them look good. As those in the know have done here- parsing the statement reveals more of the same obnoxious desire to protect themselves only, and preserve their RC Kingdom.

It would be great if we could get more coverage now on who knew what when. My questions of the evidence thus far as presented on the blogs:

1) There are clearly a whole group of LCs in the know by March of 2005 and they have accepted no accountability for deceiving others- they continued to accept candidates, receive vows and promises, and ordain under the pretext of a lie. They put more at risk of harm and deepened the wounds of previous victims by non-admission of the truth.
2)1997 We now know that some of the self-defense evidence of the LCs against the accusers was fabricated- who did it, and will offer a retraction and apology for all their misbehavior in the press?
3)1941-2005: A detailed examination of all LCs who worked in and around MM to see what they knew when, and why they did nothing...

Frs. Quirce and Marcelino are dubious characters is the shadows of all this and require a thorough investigation.

Anonymous said...

So what does Mary Ann Glendon the former ambassdor to the Vatican have to say about all of this? She was a very strong and vocal suporter and defender of Maciel's as well, just like the late Fr. Nehause. Does she still support the legion and Maciel, I've never seen an official nor unofficial statement from her on all of this. Yet, the lady in question had plenty of time to "protest too much" with regard to the whole Obama/ Notre Dame debacle a while back. Earth calling Mary Ann Glendon, come in Mary Ann!

Anonymous said...

Sandro Magister, today:

Anonymous said...

Red Cardigan's list of L/R organisations:
Alpha and Omega Clinic

Altius Foundation

Anahuac Network of Universities

Cancun-Chetumal Prelature

Canyon Heights Academy (San Jose, CA)

Catholic World Mission

Catholic Youth World Network


Christian Life

Circle Media

Clear Water Academy (Calgary, Canada)



Dublin Oak Academy (Dublin, Ireland)


Everest Academy (IL)

Everest Academy (Manila)

Everest Academy (MI)

Faith and Family


Gateway Academy (St. Louis, MO)

Guadalupe Radio

Helping Hands Medical Mission

Hombre Nuevo Multimedia Center

Institute for the Psychological Sciences

International Center for Integral Formation (a term, by the way, the LC is trying to trademark)

Kids4Jesus (K4J)

Leadership Training Program

Magdala Center

Mission Hope

Mission Network

Mission Youth

National Catholic Register

National Consultants for Education, Inc.

Northwoods Catholic School (Houston, TX)

Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center

Oaklawn Academy (Edgerton, WI)

Overbrook Academy (Warwick, Rhode Island)

Pilgrim Queen of the Family

Pinecrest Academy (Atlanta, GA)

Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College

Pure Fashion

Rolling Hills Academy (San Antonio, TX)

Royal Palm Academy (Naples, FL)


School of the Faith Pontifical Catechetical Institute

Southern Catholic College


St. Rafael Guízar y Valencia Missionary Center

The Highlands School (Dallas, TX)

University of Sacramento

Vocation Action Network

Why Not Priest? (

Woodlands Academy (Dublin, Ireland)

Woodmont Academy (Washington, DC)

Zenit (?)* has been alleged, and the Regnum Christi website lists it as an apostolate

Total: 58 (and counting...)
If you know of more, please send them along!