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.