Archivo de la categoría: Abuso Sexual

Fr. Maciel Is Disciplined by the Holy See: What Will the Legionaries Do Now?

By Dale Vree

Dale Vree is Editor of New Oxford Review.

Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, is probably the most prominent priest to be disciplined by the Catholic Church for homosexual predation, that is, pederasty. Former Legionary Juan Vaca sent the first petition to the Holy See in 1976. He identified himself and 20 others as victims of Maciel’s homosexual activity. It took 30 years for the case to be resolved. The case was reopened in 2004 by Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Ratzinger sent Msgr. Charles Scicluna to investigate the matter. According to John L. Allen Jr., the ace Vatican correspondent, Msgr. Scicluna gave the number of accusers as “more than 20, but less than 100” (NCRonline.org, May 18, 2006).

The official communiqué for the CDF on May 19, 2006, said in part: “Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Fr. Marcial Maciel…for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation…. After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…decided — bearing in mind Fr. Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health — to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.”

The Legionaries and Regnum Christi (the Legion’s lay affiliate) followed with an official statement on May 19, which said in part: “Facing the accusations made against him [Maciel], he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.”

The Church certainly does allow for self-defense, so it’s obvious that Maciel could not defend himself. And if Maciel was “following the example of Jesus Christ,” who were the villains? The Sanhedrin, the Pharisees? In this melodrama, the villains can only be the Holy See.

Moreover, Jesus was not accused of sexually violating innocent boys. If Maciel really wanted to follow Jesus, he would do as Jesus says: “Whoever causes one of the little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk. 9:42). Oh no, not that!

As for “following the example of Jesus Christ,” and deciding “not to defend himself in any way”: When the Hartford Courant in 1997 accused Maciel of molesting boys, Maciel’s lawyers threatened legal action against the newspaper. Was this following the example of Jesus Christ? It’s so obvious that Maciel could not defend himself against the Holy See.

The Legionaries’ statement also said that this is “a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him [Maciel] to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.” Fr. Owen Kearns, a Legionary priest and Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the National Catholic Register (controlled by the Legionaries), said in an Editorial in the Register (May 28-June 3): “We are not afraid of this cross — on the contrary, we are honored by it.” Oh, really? Kearns has been the point man defending Maciel against charges of pederasty.

Kearns continues: “If you pray for the Legionaries, don’t pray that this cup be taken away, pray that we be worthy of drinking it to the dregs.” This is a play on the words of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane: “O My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mt. 26:39; also Mk. 14:36 and Lk. 22:42).

Does Maciel consider himself to be a messianic figure? Certainly his followers do. Maciel even surpasses Christ when Kearns says, “Don’t pray that this cup be taken away” (Jesus says, “if it is possible let this cup pass from Me”), and Kearns says, “pray that we be worthy of drinking it to the dregs” (whereas Jesus says, “not as I will, but as You will”). Is Maciel greater than Christ?

Neither the Legionaries’ statement nor Kearns’s Editorial contained a hint of mea culpa. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi have been called cults, and their response would certainly indicate that. Only a zombie would believe what the Legionaries’ statement and Kearns’s Editorial say. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi were founded on a lie, a monumental lie. Of course, we would assume that most Legionaries and Regnum Christi members are not zombies. They were duped and betrayed, and we must feel compassion for them.

Because of Maciel’s “advanced age [86] and delicate health” (which is common for elderly clerical sex abusers), he was not subjected to a canonical trial. He was lucky to get off so easily, considering the dastardly crimes he committed. It was a settlement out of court, something like a plea-bargain. If it had gone to a canonical trial, Maciel would likely have been defrocked.

All this talk about Maciel’s “cross” and his “cup” is just hocus-pocus. Jesus was crucified; Maciel was not. Jesus was innocent; Maciel is not.

The communiqué from the CDF also said: “Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association Regnum Christi is gratefully recognized” (italics added). This would indicate that the Holy See wants the Legionaries and Regnum Christi to separate themselves from Maciel. However, the Legionaries’ statement said: “The Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi, following the example of Fr. Maciel and united to him…” (italics added). There will be no “independence” from Maciel. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi are Fr. Maciel; they consider him a “living saint.” Go to the Legion centers and you’ll find a picture of Maciel next to a picture of Christ. Maciel is highly charismatic, and, from several accounts, is thought to be a megalomaniac.

In Kearns’s Editorial he says: “The Legionaries will…accompany their founder [Maciel] in his new stage of his life…. We love and trust Pope Benedict. We do not question his decision or his wisdom.” But Kearns says Maciel will be “vindicated,” and refers to Maciel’s “cross.” So obviously Kearns does question Pope Benedict’s wisdom. The Legionaries’ statement also said that they “accept and will accept always the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith”; but they also say Maciel is “innocent.” The Legionaries cannot make a martyr of Maciel and then give fidelity to the Holy See with “faith.” You can see why the Legionaries are known for their Machiavellian stratagems. But it’s an outright contradiction. No doubt some of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi members will fall for this.

By the way, after Kearns’s Editorial on Maciel — this being the biggest story affecting the Legion-controlled Register — there were no letters to the Editor, pro or con, in the Register. Hush, hush!

It’s clear that the Legionaries are still loyal to Maciel. This is flat-out defiance. The Holy See will quietly have to get rid of the leaders of the Legionaries. This is the Holy See’s test. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine that the culture of cronyism and dishonesty does not extend to other leaders of the Legionaries as well.

The best friends of the Legionaries in the U.S. were the neoconservatives. The usual neocon suspects rallied to Maciel’s defense against the pederasty charges. They included Deal Hudson, William Donohue, Richard John Neuhaus, and Mary Ann Glendon. More oblique were George Weigel and William Bennett. Boy, do these neocons have egg on their faces.

The accusers of Maciel were vilified and scorned. For example, in First Things (March 2002), Neuhaus called the accusations — and therefore the accusers — just about everything in the book: “slanderous attacks,” “malicious gossip,” “vicious gossip,” “repugnant,” “muck,” “false and malicious” (twice), “detraction,” “slander,” “calumny,” and “odious.” Of the neocons (as far as we know) only Neuhaus was still defending Maciel after the Vatican communiqué (on the First Things website, May 19, and on The New York Times website, May 19). Neuhaus went to great lengths to defend Maciel, and he must realize that much of his credibility is on the line. Yes, it’s hard to admit when one is wrong. But, Fr. Neuhaus, you were wrong.

Lo and behold, Fr. Neuhaus did admit he was wrong — for all intents and purposes — in First Things (Aug./Sept.). Well, good for him.

The Church owes the accusers a debt of gratitude and appreciation: Maciel has ruined or distorted the lives of many boys. Maciel has in effect been found guilty, and justice has been done (and so has mercy).

As you know, the NOR has told you what’s wrong with Maciel and the Legionaries for years, and we’ve gotten many cancelations and nonrenewals because of it. (We’ve also printed many letters defending Maciel and the Legionaries — it’s tempting to reveal all their names, but we won’t.) Yes, the truth can sometimes be hard to take. But you can trust us to tell the unpleasant truths and inconvenient facts. We can’t think of any other orthodox Catholic periodical that told you the truth about Maciel — that is, before the Holy See’s communiqué.

We know all about the unreliable, unprincipled, or unscrupulous people on the other side. In addition to that, we tell you about those on our side. As our Lord said, there will be false messiahs and false prophets who will perform deeds so great as to deceive the elect (to paraphrase Mt. 24:24). Surely, you don’t want to be deceived.

We again plead with you for your support. The NOR is not a knee-jerk, ideological magazine, and that’s why we are not funded by knee-jerk, ideological foundations. If you want a Pavlovian magazine, the NOR is not for you. But if you are an intelligent person, you want the uncompromised truth, and that’s what we give you at the NOR.

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Legion’s news traced to Vatican ally

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

Rome

In a potentially significant twist to the case involving the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, NCR has learned that the office that recently released a statement saying there is no case against Fr. Marcial Maciel regarding sex abuse accusations is not the office with responsibility for making that judgment.

On May 20, the Legionaries of Christ issued a news release stating that the “Holy See” had informed them that “at this time there is no canonical process underway regarding our founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, nor will one be initiated.” Subsequently, the Catholic News Service and other press agencies quoted the Vatican Press Office as confirming the statement.

That news startled some observers, since an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged in 2001 by Pope John Paul II with responsibility for reviewing cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, traveled in early April to New York and Mexico City to collect testimony from alleged victims. Those efforts by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the promoter of justice within the congregation, suggested that a preliminary investigation was underway.

Most observers assumed that the new communication to the Legionaries must have come from that congregation, the office once headed by Pope Benedict XVI.

In fact, however, the communication came from the Secretariat of State, the department that handles papal diplomacy and acts as a coordinator for the work of other Vatican agencies. It came in the form of a fax, which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status. Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, is a longtime supporter of Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ.

What this means is that the statement did not come from the Vatican agency that ultimately has responsibility for deciding Maciel’s fate. Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have refused to make any comment on the recent news reports, but a senior Vatican official told NCR May 25 that the congregation has made “no statement” on the Maciel case, even to the Secretariat of State.

The official stressed this does not mean that there eventually will be a canonical case against Maciel, merely that the agency charged with making that decision has not yet communicated its intentions. Given the preeminence of the Secretariat of State within the Vatican, at a minimum these recent developments suggest there are grave doubts within the Holy See about proceeding.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Legionaries of Christ in New York said that he did not believe the distinction of which office issued the statement ultimately made any difference.

“We believe the Holy See is speaking with a unified voice on this issue,” Jay Dunlap, the Legionaries’ communications director for North America, told NCR May 25. “The way in which it was communicated was intended to make that clear.”

In terms of what force the communication enjoys, the precise wording of the communication from the Secretariat of State is important. In Italian, it went as follows: “Non vi è nessun procedimento canonico in corso né è previsto per il futuro nei confronti di P. Maciel.” Literally translated, it reads: “There is no canonical procedure in course nor is one foreseen for the future with regard to Fr. Maciel.”

The communication thus did not say categorically “nor will one be initiated,” but that one “is not foreseen for the future.” The formula “is not foreseen” is sometimes used in Vatican argot for a development that is not officially in the works, but that is not completely outside the range of possibility. When papal trips are first rumored, for example, spokespersons sometimes say they are “not foreseen,” only to have them eventually materialize.

The official who spoke to NCR stressed again that this does not mean there will be a procedure, only that such a procedure cannot be definitively ruled out until a statement is issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2000, Sodano went to the Regina Apostolorum, the Roman university sponsored by the Legionaries, to inaugurate a new facility. In 2003, he made another visit to the university, at which time he praised Maciel.

“Dear Father, I’ve seen the great work that you do,” Sodano said to Maciel while embracing him. “You’re always young, always strong,” Sodano said.

Maciel in turn thanked Sodano for his support, recalling his 2000 visit, which is marked by a plaque at the Regina Apostolorum.

“Three years later, you accepted our invitation with fraternal charity to return, and I’m very grateful,” Maciel said. “You have always encouraged this university in its birth and growth.”

The charges of sexual abuse against Maciel first surfaced in 1997, when eight former members brought a canonical complaint related to incidents that allegedly took place decades before. Maciel and the Legionaries have strenuously denied the charges.

“We hold no grudge against those who accuse us,” the May 20 statement from the Legionaries said with regard to the accusers. “Rather, we keep them in our prayers while expressing our humblest gratitude to the countless people of goodwill who in these circumstances have reiterated to us their support and esteem.”

John L. Allen Jr. is NCR Rome correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@natcath.org.

To Pope Benedict XVI: This Church is all of us.

To Pope Benedict XVI: This Church is all of us.
By Ruth Bertels

Somehow, it seems to me that Pope Benedict XVI is already into the second act of his papacy. The first weeks were simply a flash-back to the days before and during Pope John Paul II’s final illness.

The then Cardinal Ratzinger delivered a Good Friday homily guaranteed to make everyone in the Vatican sit up and take notice of the dire straits in which the Church found herself. Not just anyone is asked to give the Good Friday homily. It is a distinct honor, and, therefore, carries a good deal of weight. Ratzinger was up to the challenge. Or was he?

A Vatican homily is meant, not only for the Curia and the members of the hierarchy present, it circles the globe in minutes, leaving either chaos or the peace of Christ in its wake.

Chances are, Ratzinger’s words did more than astonish his listeners; they may well have caused deep-seated sadness in the hearts and minds of ordinary Catholics on Main Street, Anywhere-in-the-World. Jason Berry reported the harsh judgment in the New York Times:

How much filth there is in the church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to God.

Later, he compared the Church to a boat about to sink, taking in water on every side.

Here, Ratzinger appears distraught over the scandals that have rocked the Church, though one cannot help but wonder why, since they have been in the Vatican files since 1993, but dismissed by him as a planned campaign by the news media to discredit the church.

Somehow, Ratzinger appears to have forgotten that this is a mighty big Church of ours, a holy Church, a Church of sinners, yes, but, also, of millions of everyday saints, whose names will never guarantee them a Mercedes limo if invited to Rome, nor dining in the finest restaurants, nor a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

Yet, it is these people who staff the soup kitchens, keep vigil for the dying, do the volunteer work that keeps parishes going year-round, support the Vatican, and lift the spirits of their fellow pilgrims by their courage and humility, patience and perseverance. They give us joy in the morning and peace at even-tide. They are the Church.

What might be upsetting the new pope, Berry tells us, is the case he recently reopened against Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a powerful Mexican priest who founded his own order and lives in the seminary in Rome.

Berry goes on to say that in 1998, when Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a legal tribunal of the congregation accepted a case by nine seminarians who accused Father Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, of sexual assault, an allegation that first surfaced in the 1960’s. (Please refer to the articles in the Archives: Vows of Silence.)

In 1999, Ratzinger told a Mexican bishop that it was not “prudent” to proceed against a man who had helped the church by attracting young men to the priesthood.

However, since Ratzinger reopened the case, Berry asks, “Why?” Was it because he thought that he might be pope one day, and wouldn’t want the case clouding his standing before the world?

Since the Vatican is an independent country, it may be easy for those living and working there to be lulled into a false sense of security, far from the eyes and questions of the ordinary folks in ordinary little and big towns. How else can one explain the congratulatory, lengthy letter sent by Pope John Paul II to Marcial Maciel on the anniversary of his ordination, November 24, 2004?
Here is a brief quote from it:

Your 69 years of priestly life, Reverend Father, have been characterized by significant spiritual and missionary fecundity with different apostolic works and activities, such as the Regnum Christi Movement …

I cannot, of course, forget the service that you have rendered in these years to the Holy See, which has made use – on several occasions and in different ways – of your generous and competent collaboration, whether on the occasion of some of my apostolic trips, or in the activity of organizations of the Roman Curia.

Personally, it is impossible for me to doubt that Ratzinger cleared this letter, especially considering the poor health of the pope at the time. What was Ratzinger thinking? Didn’t he understand that the message would see the light of day and cause scandal upon scandal? Because he is so brilliant, does he consider the little people so ignorant they would not be repulsed at the sight of a founder of a religious order, accused of molesting nine seminarians, receiving accolades from the Holy Father?

I’m sorry. I just don’t understand this.

A number of times, the pope has said he would favor a smaller Church, implying one where the faithful were unquestioningly faithful. The problem is that this is not his Church; it is Christ’s Church, and the Church is all of us. Jesus told his apostles to feed his lambs and sheep. Not only the ones who stay quietly on the hillside, but those who wander off, especially those who wander off, and must be rescued by an alert, caring shepherd.

Some have said we must be willing to give Pope Benedict XVI a chance. That we are most willing to do. But in turn, we ask him to give us a chance, a chance to find peace and respect and love within the Church that belongs to all of us. Amen.

Sexual Abuse Allegations Against a Top Catholic Re-examined

An investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against a high-ranking priest of the Roman Catholic Church has been reopened, seven years after the formal complaint was first filed with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, according to people familiar with the case.

Ratzinger’s office ordered the case against the Rev. Marcial Maciel reopened in December, around the time there was growing speculation Ratzinger was a leading candidate to be the next pope. In fact, a Vatican investigator began taking sworn statements from the alleged victims just two weeks ago in New York, the day Pope John Paul II died, according to sources close to the case.

The men who brought the allegations against Maciel had thought their case was dead, having heard nothing but silence in the seven years since they brought the allegations to the attention of Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

“They knelt and kissed his ring, filing these charges in his tribunal, and after that it was simply stuffed, it was shelved,” said Jason Berry, co-author with Gerald Renner of a book on the case, “Vows of Silence.”

“This pope is at a crossroads. He has to resolve the Maciel case or it will stalk him like a shadow in the sun.”

The charges against Maciel, the founder of a well-connected and well-financed order called the Legion of Christ, a conservative sect of the Catholic Church, date back to the 1950s. Eight men allege that Maciel sexually abused them as young seminarians in Rome, something Maciel has always strongly denied.

Unspoken Truths?

Juan Vaca, now a college professor in New York, told ABC News in 2002 that he reluctantly brought the charges as a way to get over the trauma he says he suffered.

“I was the one who called them from their bedrooms to go to see Maciel,” he said. “In some instances, two were together with him, myself and another one.”

The men making the allegations have been told they cannot talk about the case now that it has been reopened.

Maciel, now 84, resigned as head of the legion in January. But as recently as late last year, he was praised by Pope John Paul II for his “intense, generous and fruitful priestly ministry” during the 60th anniversary celebration of Maciel’s ordination.

Ratzinger repeatedly refused to discuss what happened to the Maciel case, and when ABC News attempted to ask him about the allegations outside the Vatican three years ago, he became upset and slapped the hand of the ABC News correspondent on scene.

“You come to me when the moment is given,” Ratzinger said. “Not yet.”

‘Temptation Is Natural, Even for the Priest’

As head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger was put in charge of dealing with the church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal. But he was at first slow to act and downplayed the scandal as part of a campaign to discredit the church.

“In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type,” Ratzinger said in a rare interview in 2002. “The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the church.”

Ratzinger was also surprisingly forgiving of priests guilty of sexual abuse.

“Never will it end,” he said. “Temptation is natural, even for the priest. So we have to accept that.”

Berry said that Ratzinger made grave mistakes in his treatment of the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal.

“He made a series of terrible blunders in the 1990s and well into 2002,” Berry said. “He made statements that were inaccurate and terribly misleading.”

But some, including Berry, see the reopened Maciel case as a hopeful sign.

“If he removes Maciel, he makes a statement that he is serious about a crackdown on this world abuse scandal,” Berry said of Ratzinger. “If he doesn’t remove Maciel, then the pope himself is part of the problem.”

Rhonda Schwartz, Avni Patel, and Jessica Wang contributed to this report.

Statement on Maciel not issued by agency responsible for sex abuse cases

New Legionaries intrigue:
Statement on Maciel not issued
by agency responsible for sex abuse cases

By John L. Allen, Jr.
Rome

In a potentially significant twist to the case involving the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, NCR has learned that the office that recently released a statement saying there is no case against Fr. Marcial Maciel regarding sex abuse accusations is not the office with responsibility for making that judgment.

On May 20, the Legionaries of Christ issued a news release stating that the “Holy See” had informed them that “at this time there is no canonical process underway regarding our Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, nor will one be initiated.” Subsequently, the Catholic News Service and other press agencies quoted the Vatican Press Office as confirming the statement.

That news startled some observers, since an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged in 2001 by Pope John Paul II with responsibility for reviewing cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, traveled in early April to New York and Mexico City to collect testimony from alleged victims. Those efforts by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Promoter of Justice within the congregation, suggested that a preliminary investigation was underway.

Most observers assumed that the new communication to the Legionaries must have come from that congregation, the office once headed by Pope Benedict XVI.

In fact, however, the communication came from the Secretariat of State, the department that handles papal diplomacy and acts as a coordinator for the work of other Vatican agencies. It came in the form of a fax, which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status. Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is a longtime supporter of Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ.

What this means is that the statement did not come from the Vatican agency that ultimately has responsibility for deciding Maciel’s fate. Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have refused to make any comment on the recent news reports, but a senior Vatican official told NCR May 25 that the congregation has made “no statement” on the Maciel case, even to the Secretariat of State.

The official stressed this does not mean that there eventually will be a canonical case against Maciel, merely that the agency charged with making that decision has not yet communicated its intentions. Given the preeminence of the Secretariat of State within the Vatican, at a minimum these recent developments suggest there are grave doubts within the Holy See about proceeding.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Legionaries of Christ in New York said that he did not believe the distinction of which office issued the statement ultimately made any difference.

“We believe the Holy See is speaking with a unified voice on this issue,” Jay Dunlap, the Legionaries’ Communications Director for North America, told NCR May 25. “The way in which it was communicated was intended to make that clear.”

In terms of what force the communication enjoys, the precise wording of the communication from the Secretariat of State is important. In Italian, it went as follows: “non vi è nessun procedimento canonico in corso né è previsto per il futuro nei confronti di P. Maciel.” Literally translated, it reads: “There is no canonical procedure in course nor is one foreseen for the future with regard to Fr. Maciel.”

The communication thus did not say categorically “nor will one be initiated,” but that one “is not foreseen for the future.” The formula “is not foreseen” is sometimes used in Vatican argot for a development that is not officially in the works, but that is not completely outside the range of possibility. When papal trips are first rumored, for example, spokespersons sometimes say they are “not foreseen,” only to have them eventually materialize.

The official who spoke to NCR stressed again that this does not mean there will be a procedure, only that such a procedure cannot be definitively ruled out until a statement is issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2000, Sodano went to the Regina Apostolorum, the Roman university sponsored by the Legionaries, to inaugurate a new facility. In 2003, he made another visit to the university, at which time he praised Maciel.

“Dear father, I’ve seen the great work that you do,” Sodano said to Maciel while embracing him. “You’re always young, always strong,” Sodano said.

Maciel in turn thanked Sodano for his support, recalling his 2000 visit, which is marked by a plaque at the Regina Apostolorum.

“Three years later, you accepted our invitation with fraternal charity to return, and I’m very grateful,” Maciel said. “You have always encouraged this university in its birth and growth.”

The charges of sexual abuse against Maciel first surfaced in 1997, when eight former members brought a canonical complaint related to incidents that allegedly took place decades before. Maciel and the Legionaries have strenuously denied the charges.

“We hold no grudge against those who accuse us,” the May 20 statement from the Legionaries said with regard to the accusers. “Rather, we keep them in our prayers while expressing our humblest gratitude to the countless people of good will who in these circumstances have reiterated to us their support and esteem.”
John L. Allen Jr is NCR Rome correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@ncronline.org

Maciel Praise Provokes Two New Testimonies: Victim And His Wife Speak Out

DOS TESTIMONIOS NUEVOS -Bilingue/Bilingual article

 

By Ma Esther Zatarain de González & Francisco González Parga

 

An effort to publicly defend and praise Legion of Christ Founder
Marcial Maciel, discrediting the recent Vatican statement, provokes two new testimonies: the victim’s and his wife’s

Una declaración laudatoria en defensa de Marcial Maciel, y en descrédito del rigor de la sentencia del Vaticano en su contra, provoca la publicación de dos nuevos testimonios de abuso: el de la victima y el de su esposa.

This article contains two letters written in response to an article called DISCOVER THE TRUTH which appeared in the Mexican newspaper “El Mural” towards the end of May, 2006, praising Marcial Maciel as “a good, upright and faithful man.â€� The first letter was written by the spouse of an ex-Legionary sexually abused as a seminarian by Fr. Maciel. The second, written by the victim himself, was published in the daily news paper “EL INFORMADOR” in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. We are including the English version of Legion co-founder Francisco Gonzalez Parga’s letter, already cited in the Wanderer article to include last minute corrections by the author.

Este articulo contiene dos cartas escritas como respuesta a un artículo llamado DESCUBRE LA VERDAD aparecido en EL MURAL a fines de mayo del 2006 donde se alaba a Marcial Maciel como “un hombre bueno, íntegro y fiel�. La primera carta fue escrita por la esposa de un ex-Legionario abusado sexualmente por el Padre Maciel

 

FRANCISCO GONZALEZ-PARGA’S 19 YEAR CAREER WITH THE LEGION OF CHRIST

From July, 1951 [AGED 11] to December, 1970

1. APOSTOLIC:
Tlalpam, MEXICO: July, 1951 to July, 1954
Ontaneda, SPAIN: July, 1954 to July, 1955

2. POSTULANTCY: Summer vacations, 1955

3. NOVITIATE: September, 1955 to September, 1957

4. PREFECT OF POSTULANTS: Summer, 1957; in the same group as Fr. Mariano de Blas, Fr. Blásquez, Bonifacio Padilla and Raúl de Anda.

5. JUNIORATE: September, 1957 to September, 1959

6. SUPERIOR STUDIES, ROME
-PHILOSOPHY: September, 1959 to September, 1962.
-THEOLOGY: Degree, September, 1962 to September, 1965.
Simultaneously Assistant to the Master of Novices in Ireland from 1962 to 1965 while alternating months of work in the novitiate with months of study in Rome.
-DOCTORATE IN THEOLOGY: September, 1965 to September, 1968.
-On July 7, 1966 I was ordained a priest and joined the Vatican as part of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops until June, 1969.
Concurrent with my doctoral studies and work in the Vatican, I served as Prefect of Studies for legionary seminarians: From 1665 to 1966 I was prefect of studies for philosophy and from 1966 to 1969 I was prefect of studies for theology.

7. EXILE IN IRELAND: July, 1969 to December, 1970

8. LEAVING: I escaped from the college in Rome in a taxi on December 29, 1970.


TESTIMONY FROM THE VICTIM’S WIFE

Maria-Esther Zatarain de González, Attorney-at-Law

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, May 28, 2006

To: Fr. Juan Pedro Oriol

Dear Father:

I take the liberty of writing this letter, although I do not know you personally, only because I saw your critique of the film “The Da Vinci Code� in the newspaper. My attention was drawn to the beginning of the article where you dedicate it to “Father Marcial Maciel: a good, upright and faithful man.� This description penetrated to the depths of my heart because you are not portraying this man truthfully. Is he good when he has abused more than 100 adolescent boys, and even children, whom he had recruited to religious life? Upright, when — from what I know of him — he has been living a double life on a permanent basis for decades? Do you believe this after all the aberrant acts of which he is so rightly accused? Faithful? To whom? To the pope who covers for him, to the Legionaries who serve and worship him, or more aptly to himself? But certainly he is neither good, nor upright, nor faithful to God. No! God saw everything he did. God cannot be mocked and God is asking him to account for his crimes. Even Maciel will have to come face to face with Him in a tribunal where neither his age nor his delicate state of health will matter. And probably very soon, precisely because his age.

I say this to you knowing perfectly well what I am talking about, since I am the wife of one of Maciel’s victims. I will briefly tell you what I have experienced as a result of this abuse, of this assassination of a pure soul, who never imagined he would find himself with a sexual pervert, who would brand him for life.

When I met my husband, approximately thirty-three years ago, I began to get to know him, I began to love him. Little by little he told me about his life. He told me in broad terms how, when he was fifteen years old (he is now sixty-five), Fr. Marcial Maciel had abused him in a school the Legionaries ran in Ontaneda, Spain. I understood that he wanted to be sincere and wanted to tell me all about his past so that we could enter into matrimony without any secrets. I already knew that he had been a priest. However, I never imagined the horrible events that drove him to abandon the priesthood, nor the consequences and long term effects they had on his personality. And so, while I certainly was disturbed and it troubled me to find out about this, we continued with our relationship, got married and everything seemed normal. However, he always seemed sad, extremely tired, and became exhausted very easily.

In the first year we were married, he developed a very serious urological condition and was on the verge of death. He spent six months as a patient in a Mexico City hospital with a horrible infection.

When that was over, he remained sad and was sick with other complaints. He suffered from serious insomnia. Entire weeks passed during which he did not sleep. He was in a permanent state of depression. Whenever he heard something regarding Fr. Maciel, he would become very nervous, very angry, lose control. His mouth would go dry, his stomach would hurt and his digestion was affected.

I understood that the illnesses and the depression were a result of the abuse, but he always fought against them and tried to overcome them so he could move on, carrying out his duties at the various jobs he had. For several years he gave courses in human relations. He later opened a consulting firm and taught as a professor at ITESO until — because of his poor health and exhaustion — there came a point were everything came to a halt.

After that I spent several years taking care of all the household expenses, his doctors and his medications. I had to work very hard. In addition to attending to him, caring for him, and cheering him up, I was also studying for my law degree.

On various occasions during this period, when his internal anguish led to anemia as a result of digestive problems, and insomnia, my husband sought treatment from psychologists and alternative medicine. Most of the income we had at that time went to pay the psychologist, who was not in the habit of reducing his fees and was very expensive.

So, Father, you have to realize that for someone who has been through the hell we lived through because of someone else’s fault, it is very hard to remain calm when I hear that this fiend is considered a saint, an irreproachable man, “an example and guide for youth�, or “a good, upright and faithful man.� It is not envy, Father, but rather indignation at seeing Satan’s carefully hatched plan work so well, trapping many innocents in the clutches of the perfectly disguised agent he sent dressed in lamb’s clothing (under the appearance of a saint dressed in a cassock). And it is sad to see that men of good will such as yourself have fallen prey, are unable to see because their eyes are blindfolded, and who nevertheless come to the predator’s defense, thereby becoming his accomplices.

I am an attorney and I know the difference between a witness and a victim. Maciel has simple misled you and all those who defend him into thinking he was a good person. You are, to use a legal term, “hearsay witnesses�. If I were you, Father, I would be careful going about praising this demon cloaked in light who calls truth a lie and lying the truth. If I were you I would investigate, ask, examine, so that when God calls you to render an account, you do not say, “Well, I thought . . . Well, everyone said . . ., They were only sins of youth . . ., Many priests do the same thing and they never did anything for the Church�, etc., etc. All such arguments will be useless before God.

On the other hand I want to tell you that, yes, God is good and, yes, he is faithful, and one day God had mercy on my husband and sent us a holy person who helped us get to know the Word of God, helped us make our peace with God, helped us see Jesus Christ as the only gateway to salvation and liberation. Little by little God himself, like a loving father, began binding my husband’s wounds, began healing his heart. And I can tell you with certainty that my husband has already forgiven Maciel, and even prays for him so that God may have mercy on him and help him seek repentance before it is too late.

Father, I truly wish that God imbues you with a special spirit — a spirit of revelation- that would allow you to know the truth, and that truth might set you free (as Christ said) and make you happy (as you say in your article).

Affectionately yours and with the love that Christ has put in my heart,

María-Esther de González
Attorney-at-Law

(Translation by REGAIN staff)

###

[Carta original]

DE LA ESPOSA DE LA VICTIMA

Lic. Ma. Esther de González.
Guadalajara, Jal., 28 de Mayo del 2006.

Sr. Juan Pedro Oriol
P r e s e n t e

Estimado Padre:

Me permito escribirle esta carta, aunque no lo conozco, solamente porque vi en el periódico una crítica que hace usted a la película “El Código Da Vinci”. Lo que me llamó la atención es al principio del artículo que usted lo dedica al “Padre Marcial Maciel, hombre bueno, íntegro y fiel”. Estos epítetos me calaron en lo más hondo de mi corazón porque no está usted calificando verazmente a ese señor. ¿Es Bueno, cuando abusó de más de 100 muchachos adolescentes y aún niños que él había reclutado para la vida religiosa? ¿Ã�ntegro, cuando, por lo que sé de él, ha estado viviendo una doble vida de forma permanente, por décadas? ¿lo cree usted después de todos esos actos aberrantes de que se le acusa con verdad? ¿Fiel? ¿A quién? ¿al Papa que lo encubre, a los Legionarios que lo sirven y lo idolatran?, o más bien, ¿a sí mismo? Pero ciertamente, ni bueno, ni integro ni fiel para con Dios ¡NO! Dios vio todo lo que él hizo, pero de Dios nadie se burla y Dios ya le está pidiendo cuenta de sus crímenes, pero aún Maciel tendrá que enfrentarse cara a cara con Él en un tribunal donde no se tendrá en cuenta ni su edad, ni su delicado estado de salud. Y, esto, lo más probable es que muy pronto, debido precisamente a su edad.

Le digo todo esto con todo conocimiento de causa, pues yo soy esposa de una de las víctimas de Maciel y brevemente le voy a contar lo que yo viví como fruto de ese abuso, de ese asesinato de un alma limpia que nunca se imaginó encontrarse con un perverso homosexual que lo marcaría para toda su vida.

Cuando yo conocí a mi esposo, hace aproximadamente 33 años, lo empecé a tratar, lo empecé a amar, poco a poco me fue él contando su vida, me dijo a grandes rasgos que cuando él tenía 15 años (ahora tiene 65), el padre Marcial Maciel había abusado de él en un Colegio que tienen los Legionarios en Ontaneda, España.

Entendí que él quería ser sincero conmigo y quería contarme todo su pasado para entrar al matrimonio sin ningún secreto. Yo ya sabía que él había sido sacerdote, sin embargo nunca me imaginé los horribles hechos que lo habían orillado a dejar el sacerdocio, ni las secuelas y consecuencias que habían dejado en su personalidad. Así que, aunque ciertamente me molestó, y me inquietó el conocerlos, seguimos con nuestra relación, nos casamos, y todo parecía normal; sin embargo, lo veía siempre triste, muy cansado, se agotaba con mucha facilidad.

En el primer año de casados, se enfermó gravemente de la uretra y estuvo a punto de morir. Duró 6 meses internado en un hospital de la ciudad de México con una infección tremenda.

Cuando salimos de esa, él seguía triste, enfermo de otras cosas, padecía graves insomnios, semanas enteras no dormía, en una palabra, estaba en depresión permanente, y cuando oía algo sobre el Padre Maciel se ponía muy nervioso, muy alterado, fuera de control, se le sacaba la boca, le dolía el estómago y le afectaba en su proceso de digestión.

Yo entendí que las enfermedades y la depresión venían desde el abuso, pero él siempre luchó y se sobreponía para seguir adelante, cumpliendo con los diversos trabajos que tuvo; durante varios años estuvo dando cursos de relaciones humanas, luego abrió un despacho de consejería y dio clases como profesor en el ITESO, hasta que por su estado de salud y agotamiento, llegó el momento en que no pudo ya trabajar.

Entonces yo tuve que enfrentarme por varios años a todos los gastos de la casa, sus doctores y sus medicinas. Tenía que trabajar muy duro. Pues además de que tenía que atenderlo, cuidarlo y animarlo, estaba estudiando mi licenciatura en derecho.

En varias ocasiones durante ese período, cuando su angustia interior declinaba en anemia, por la falta de digestión y los insomnios, mi marido buscó la ayuda en tratamientos con psicólogos, y en la medicina alternativa. La mayor parte de los ingresos económicos que entonces teníamos, iban para el Psicólogo que habitualmente no hacía reducción en sus tarifas y era muy caro.
Así que, padre, debe darse cuenta de que para quien ha vivido ese infierno que nosotros vivimos, por culpa de otro, es muy difícil mantener la calma al escuchar que a ese otro malvado, lo tienen como un santo, un hombre intachable, “como un ejemplo y guía de la juventud”, o como, “un hombre bueno, integro y fielâ€�. Y no es envidia, padre, es indignación al ver la obra de Satanás tan perfectamente urdida para que muchos inocentes caigan en las garras del agente perfectamente camuflado que él ha enviado, vestido con piel de oveja (con apariencia de santo y con sotana) y es tristeza, al ver como hombres de buena voluntad como Ud. han caído y están incapacitados para ver, pues tienen los ojos vendados, pero aún así se prestan para salir en defensa del depredador, haciéndose sus cómplices.

Yo soy abogada, yo sé lo que es un testigo y una víctima, a usted y a todos los que defienden a Maciel, no les hizo nada mas que engañarlos de que era una buena persona, ustedes son “testigos de oídas”, como se dice en Derecho, pero yo que usted padre, tendría cuidado de andar ponderando a ese demonio que se viste de luz, que llama a la verdad mentira y a la mentira verdad. Yo que usted investigaba, preguntaba, indagaba, no sea que Dios también a usted le pida cuentas y le tenga que responder: “pues yo creía. . . ., pues todo mundo decía. . . . , total, pecados de juventud, a muchos sacerdotes les pasa y ellos no han hecho nada por la Iglesia, etc. etc. Todos esos argumentos no le van a valer ante Dios.

Por otro lado le quiero decir, que Dios sí es bueno y él sí es fiel y un día Dios tuvo misericordia de mi esposo y nos envió una persona santa que nos llevó al conocimiento de la Palabra de Dios, nos llevó a hacer nuestra paz con Dios, nos llevó a ver a Jesucristo como la única puerta para nuestra salvación y nuestra liberación. Poco a poco Dios mismo, como un padre amoroso, fue restaurando las heridas de mi esposo, fue sanando su corazón, y le puedo decir con toda certeza, que ya perdonó a Maciel y hasta ora por él para que Dios tenga misericordia de él y lo ayude a buscar el arrepentimiento antes de que sea demasiado tarde.

Padre, de verdad deseo que Dios ponga en usted un espíritu especial, un espíritu de revelación que le haga conocer la verdad y que esa verdad lo haga libre (como dice Cristo) y feliz (como dice usted en su artículo).

Lo saludo con afecto y con el amor que Cristo ha puesto en mi corazón

Lic. Ma. Esther de González.

Telephone number withheld by REGAIN editor

***

TESTIMONY FROM THE VICTIM

To Fr. Juan Pedro Oriol, LC, &
Jorge Suárez Huizar and Arturo Lucke Gracián, esquires.

I read your review of the film, “The Da Vinci Code,� and I am in complete agreement. However, I was struck by your comment in which, on the one hand, regarding Fr. Marcial Maciel, you refer to him as “a good, upright and loyal man.� On the other hand, you suggest to your readers that they “always seek to discover the truth because only through truth are they made free and happy.�

In the same spirit of love for the truth which you recommend, I wish to inform you that I was a priest of the Legionaries of Christ. In the twenty years devoted to work and study when I belonged to the Legion, I obtained a degree in philosophy and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University and was Prefect of Studies at the Legionaries of Christ College of Higher Studies in Rome.

Now in the spirit of helping you also to find the truth, I want you to know that at a young age I was a victim of outright sexual abuse, perpetrated in a deceitful and premeditated way, by Fr. Maciel. For this reason and in spite of having been ordained a priest in Rome by then Pope Paul VI [From the author’s soon to be published testimony: “I was ordained a priest in July 1966 by Pope Paul VI in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome.”], I felt compelled to abandon the Legion and the priesthood, taking with me all the moral and psychological damage that you might imagine. For many years I have lived with illness, have been in danger of losing my life, and have experienced continual depression as a result of the abuse committed against my person by Fr. Maciel. Even now I am suffering from the consequences.

But this is only my story. What about the 100 or more cases reported under sworn oath to the Holy See? I have since forgiven Fr. Maciel and I hope that God enlightens him and helps him to acknowledge the grave sin he has committed against those who were his victims and their families, against society and against those Legionaries of Christ who remain members in good faith of the congregation.

I am addressing you publicly because I am outraged by such deceit, falsehood and lies, and because it pains me to know that there are so many people who refuse to accept the truth and still others who “impede truth through injustice.� For some reason they have a need not to want to “search for� the truth or to even “see it.� Otherwise, they would realize that, if Pope Benedict XVI felt obliged for reasons of conscience to take such drastic action against Fr. Maciel by retiring him from all public practice of his priestly ministry, it is because there was sufficient evidence for him to do so — in spite of the dishonor such an act could bring to the Catholic Church, to the person of Pope John Paul II and to his own person, and in spite of the damage this could cause not only to the credibility of the Legionaries of Christ and to the Regnum Christi Movement, but also to the economic, political and social advantages these institutions bring to the Vatican and the Holy See.

It is the opinion of many thinking people that the slight punishment imposed on Fr. Maciel by the pope is the result of a conflict of interests arising out of the above-mentioned advantages the Legion provides to the Vatican and to the papacy. Therefore, instead of trying him for atrocious sexual crimes and abuse of power committed against so many young candidates for the priesthood, they have hidden him from public view so that he may live in comfortable opulence, attended by his unconditionally loyal servants from the Legion. He does so in light of the pope’s recommendation that he use his time for prayer and penitence. Fr. Maciel will need prayer and penitence because God cannot be mocked. What he needs is courage, honesty and genuine repentance in order to publicly ask for forgiveness from those he has wronged, since this is the only way to vindicate himself and his congregation, and, by so doing, compensate his victims in some slight way.

Seek the truth yourself, Father Oriol, as you advise others to do, for it is truth that will make you free and happy, as you have said. Stop being part of the Works of Darkness, believing, perhaps in good faith, that you are a bearer of truth and light.

“But if anyone causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. � —Matthew 18, 6.

Please feel free to contact me regarding any clarification.

Francisco González P.

Former priest of the Legionaries of Christ

Zapopan, Jalisco (Mexico)

[Phone number withheld by REGAIN editor]

(Translation by REGAIN staff)

###

ITINERARIO LEGIONARIO DE 19 ANYOS DE FRANCISCO GONZALEZ PARGA:

CARRERA EN LA LEGION: Desde julio del ’51, A LOS ONCE ANYOS, hasta Diciembre del ’70

1-APOSTÓLICA:
Tlalpam, MEXICO: Julio 1951 a Julio 1954
Ontaneda, SPAIN: Julio 1954 a julio 1955:

2-POSTULANTADO: Vacaciones de Verano del 1955:

3-NOVICIADO: Septiembre del ’55, a Septiembre del ’57;

4-PREFECTO DE POSTULANTES: Verano del ’57: Grupo del P. Mariano de Blas; P. Blásquez; Bonifacio Padilla; Raúl de Anda,…

5-JUNIORADO: Septiembre 57 a Septiembre del ’59

6- E S T U D I O S
S U P E R I O R E S: R O M E
-FILOSOFIA: Septiembre del ’59 a Septiembre del 62;
-TEOLOGÃ�A: Licenciatura: Septiembre del ’62 a Septiembre del 65.
Simultáneamente Asistente del Maestro de Novicios en Irlanda del 62 al 65; alternando los meses de trabajo en el Noviciado, con los meses de Estudio en Roma.
-DOCTORADO EN TEOLOGÃ�A: Septiembre del 65 a Septiembre del ’68.
-El 7 de Julio del ’66, me ordené de sacerdote y entre al Vaticano, a formar parte de la Sagrada Congregación para las Obispos como escritor de 3er. nivel, hasta junio de 1969.
Simultáneamente a mis estudios de doctorado y trabajo en el Vaticano, desempeñé el cargo de Prefecto de Estudios de los seminaristas legionarios: en el año 1965-66, fuí prefecto de estudios de Filosofía; y del año 1966 al 69, fui prefecto de estudios de Teología;

7-DESTIERRO [EXILE] EN IRLANDA: Julio ’69 a Diciembre del ’70;

8- SALIDA [ESCAPE]: Me escapé del colegio de Roma en un taxi el 29 de Diciembre de 1970.

###

VERSION ORIGINAL

[The following is the original Spanish version of the letter written by Francisco Gonzalez-Parga to a newspaper in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico]

MACIEL, ¿VERDAD O MENTIRA?

Al Padre Juan Pedro Oriol, LC., y
Sres. Jorge Suárez Huizar y Arturo Lucke Gracián.

Leí su crítica de la película “El Código Da Vinci�. Estoy de acuerdo en todo, sin embargo me llamó mucho la atención su comentario del Padre Marcial Maciel al que Ud. se refiere diciendo que es “Hombre bueno, íntegro y fiel�. Por otro lado Ud. sugiere a sus lectores que “no dejen de descubrir la verdad, porque solo la verdad nos hace libres y felices�.

Con ese espíritu de amor a la verdad que Ud. sugiere, quiero informarle que yo fui Sacerdote de los Legionarios de Cristo. Durante los 20 años de trabajo y estudio en que permanecí en la Legión, obtuve Licenciatura en Filosofía y Doctorado en Teología por la Universidad Gregoriana y fui Prefecto de Estudios en el Colegio Máximo de los Legionarios de Cristo, en Roma.

Ahora bien, con el ánimo de ayudarle a Ud. también a encontrar la verdad, quiero que sepa que fui victima a corta edad de abusos sexuales directos, perpetrados con engaños premeditados por el Padre Maciel. Por esa causa y a pesar que fui ordenado Sacerdote en Roma por el entonces Papa Pablo VI, [Editor: Fui ordenado sacerdote en Julio de 1966 por el Papa Paulo VI, en la Basílica de San Pedro en Roma, del Testimonio del autor], me vi impulsado a abandonar la Legión y el Sacerdocio, llevando conmigo todo el daño moral y psicológico que usted se puede imaginar y que sufrí por muchos años al grado de vivir enfermo, con peligro de perder la vida y con depresiones continuas, como consecuencia del abuso cometido contra mi persona por el Padre Maciel y aún en la actualidad sufro las consecuencias.
Pero ese es sólo mi caso, ¿qué hay de los otros cien (100) o más casos reportados bajo juramento por escrito a la Santa Sede? Yo perdoné ya al P. Maciel, y espero que Dios lo ilumine y lo ayude a reconocer su grave pecado cometido contra quienes han sido sus víctimas y sus familias, contra la sociedad y contra los mismos Legionarios de Cristo que de buena fe permanecen en la Congregación.

Y si me dirijo a Ud. públicamente es porque me da en cara tanto engaño, falsedad y mentira y me duele que haya tantas personas que renuncian a conocer la verdad, y otras aún, que “detienen con injusticia la verdad�. Porque se necesita no querer “buscar� la verdad, o incluso no querer “verla� por algún interés creado, para no darse cuenta que si el Papa Benedicto XVI se vio obligado, por razones de conciencia, a tomar una medida drástica contra el P. Maciel y a retirarlo de toda práctica pública del ministerio sacerdotal, es porque constató suficiente evidencia para hacerlo, a pesar de la deshonra a la que exponía con ese acto a la Iglesia Católica, a la persona del Papa Juan Pablo II y a su misma persona, y a pesar del daño que podía causar, tanto a la credibilidad de la congregación de los Legionarios de Cristo y del Movimiento Regnum Christi, como a las ventajas económicas, políticas y sociales que estas instituciones le aportan al Vaticano y a la Santa Sede.
Es de la opinión de mucha gente pensante que el leve castigo otorgado por el Papa al Padre Maciel, se debe al conflicto de intereses, dadas las ventajas mencionadas que representan los Legionarios de Cristo para el Vaticano y para el Papado. Por eso en vez de juzgarlo por los atroces crímenes de homosexualidad y abuso de poder cometidos contra tantos jóvenes candidatos al sacerdocio, simplemente lo escondieron de la vista pública para que viva cómodamente en la opulencia y atendido por servidores incondicionales dentro de la Legión, aunque con la recomendación por parte del Papa para que aproveche su tiempo para orar y hacer penitencia. Lo va a necesitar, porque Dios no puede ser burlado y se necesita valentía, honestidad y un genuino arrepentimiento para pedir perdón públicamente a las personas que ofendió pues es lo único que podría reivindicar al Padre Maciel y a la congregación y así resarcir de alguna manera a sus víctimas.

Busque Ud. la Verdad, Padre, de acuerdo a lo que aconseja, ya que la Verdad lo hará verdaderamente libre y feliz como usted dice. No siga participando en las obras de las tinieblas, pensando quizá de buena fe que es portador de luz y de verdad.
“Y cualquiera que haga tropezar a alguno de estos pequeños que creen en mí, mejor le fuera, que se le atase una piedra de molino al cuello y que se le arrojase en lo profundo del mar� (Mateo 18, 6).

Estoy a sus órdenes para cualquier aclaración.

Francisco González P.

Ex Sacerdote de los Legionarios de Cristo

Zapopan, Jal.

[Número telefónico no revelado por REGAIN]

Bertone Will Be Named Secretary Of State

http://canali.libero.it/affaritaliani/cronache/bertoneee1006.html

here in translation – The item comes from both an online news service called Affari Italiani and from the newspaper Il Giornale

 

Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa, will be Benedict XVI’s new Secretary of State. Sources at the Vatican said this was “90% sure” and that the announcement could be made on June 29, feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

In the intricate course of deciding the successor to Angelo Sodano, who is 3 years overdue for retirement, this is a triumph for the 70-year-old Bertone, who served for years as second in command to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [and his good friend and next-door neighbor at Piazza della Citta Leonina, 1].

A native of Vercelli (halfway between Milan and Turin), tall and distinguished-looking, Bertone is a canon law expert who is very prepared and equally strict on doctrine, capable of dealing with complex questions in a clear and decisive way.

In short, he is not a diplomat, but will be a good executor of decisions that come from the Papal apartments.

It is well-known that the Pope and Sodano have little love lost between them. Sodano, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Chile in Pinochet’s regime, son of a Christian Democrat who was a member of the Italian Parliament, and who is said to have harbored papal ambitions in the last conclave, was at odds with Ratzinger even during John Paul II’s Papacy.

The German was too strict, the Italian too diplomatic. Among other things, under Papa Wojtyla, Sodano defended Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who has been accused of sexual offenses and was recently sanctioned by the Vatican without holding a canonical trial because of his age and poor health.

And now, Benedict XVI, after starting to reassign certain prominent personalities from the Curia(like Cardinal Dziwisz, now Archbishop of Cracow, or Cardinal Cresencio Sepe, assigned to Naples), is proceeding with his Curial reform. First, with the men in charge, and next with legislative action that will incorporate pontifical councils with similar functions and thus help reduce administrative personnel at the Vatican.

It is interesting to note that the two top nominations to the Curia – assuming Bertone is confirmed – would both be alumni of the CDF under Ratzinger. Cardinal William Levada, whom the Pope named to be his successor at the CDF, worked with him at the CDF for years in the early 1980s.

In this way, the Pope is reaffirming the key principle in his ‘cleaning up’ of the Church: he needs men who are at the service of the Pope, who follow his line without stepping too much out of line as some did under the previous Pope. Above all, they should know not to speak ahead of the Pope.

And Bertone, who does not take part in talk shows although he has commented on some football games with his beloved Juve, appears to be the right man for the Pope at the Secretariat of State. A man who is sober and moderate, in keeping with the discreet style of this German Pope.

Additional bonus: Many sources say that the present Archbishop of Monreale, Sicily, Mons. Cataldo Naro, is in line to take over as Archbishop of Genoa. Which would put him on tap to become Cardinal at age 55, and a possible new Curial aide in Benedict XVI’s government.

 

Fr. Maciel’s Defenders Of The Faith

LC/RC SUPERIORS’ & SUPORTERS’ Response to Vatican communique regarding the Founder

 

By The Authors, texts compiled by ReGAIN Staff

 

Texts of Official Legion Response,
Letters of LC/RC Superiors Corcuera and Sada
COMPASS Message
Introvigne
Neuhaus
Final analysis from ETWN regarding LC/RC Response

 

COMMUNIQUE FROM THE CONGREGATION OF THE LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST
Click here for external link

The Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement in response to the communique of the Holy See renew their commitment to serve the Church

In reference to the news regarding the conclusion of the investigation of the accusations made against Father Marcial Maciel, our beloved father founder, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ offers the following statement:

1. Father Marcial Maciel has received during his life a great number of accusations. In the last few years, some of these were presented to the Holy See so that a canonical process would be opened.

2. Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.

3. Considering his advanced age and his frail health, the Holy See has decided to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite him to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry.

4. Father Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, has accepted this communique with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

5. The Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi, following the example of Father Maciel and united to him, accept and will always accept the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith. We renew our commitment to work with great intensity to live our charism of charity and extend the Kingdom of Christ serving the Church.

———–
LETTER FROM FR. ALVARO CORCUERA, SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE LEGION OF CHRIST

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE REGNUM CHRISTI MOVEMENT

5/25/2006

Click here for external link

Rome, May 25, 2006

To the members of the
Regnum Christi Movement
My Dear Friends in Christ,

I wish to send you a special greeting and congratulations today, which is the 58th anniversary of the Canonical Approval of the Legion, a celebration that recalls one of the most important moments in our history.

I had the great pleasure this morning of being the main concelebrant at a Mass said at the Gregorian Altar in St Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican, at the feet of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Over 500 Legionaries participated in the Mass, and some 100 Legionary priests concelebrated.

I was remembering that precisely there, before this picture of our Heavenly Mother, 58 years ago Nuestro Padre received consolation and strength from her in a time of great suffering. You know from our history the grace that followed from there, the Canonical Approval of the Legion of Christ.

Mary, our loving Mother in Heaven, is with us always. Without a doubt, today more than ever she is with us. At her feet this morning I offered the Holy Mass for the many intentions we all bear in our hearts. First of all I prayed for our beloved Pope, Benedict XVI and for the fruit of the apostolic journey to Poland that he set out on precisely today. I prayed to God our Lord that the Pope will always experience the consolation of the support, adhesion and love of all faithful Catholics. Therefore, before the image of Mary, in the name of all Legionaries and of all of you, members of Regnum Christi, I renewed our commitment to love the Pope personally, as our Founder has always taught us both by word and example.

I also prayed, of course, for our Father Founder, that he will continue to experience Mary’s motherly consolation, and the filial adhesion and closeness of all of us. We are forever his sons and daughters in Christ and in the Church.

And I prayed for all the Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi, that with the love Christ kindles in our hearts we will continue to try to live the charism of charity which unites us in a single heart and a single mind, and that we will bring the fire of this love to every corner of the earth, fulfilling the mission Christ has given us.

This charity is our distinctive characteristic; when all is said and done it is what gives meaning to our life, no matter what happens. For we want to be authentic Christians. Because Christ has made it so that love is the motor and center of our life.

How beautiful and how fruitful is the mystery of love! Not the abstract notion of love, but love become life, love become gift, love become commitment. This is the love that springs from the experience of Love: Deus caritas est! And Christ’s love impels us? to love everyone, as Christ taught us in word and action, up to the very death on a cross. He said,If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that? And St Paul left us the great lesson, without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.? (1 Cor 13,1).

My dear Regnum Christi members, if trials cause us to love more, blessed be the times of trouble, darkness and pain! When the pain is greater, love more. When the difficulties are greater, be more humble and live in greater holiness. I remember some notes that Nuestro Padre sent us when we were starting out in the Movement. In one of them he said, love everyone in Christ, without exception, as Christ loves each one of us.?

The first Christians changed the world, not through their many or few qualities, their greater or lesser intelligence, their greater or lesser knowledge. They changed it because they loved, and they brought love to its ultimate consequences. It is our turn today to make love’s rainbow shine, before the needs of so many people who suffer. What a blessing from God it would be to take advantage of every moment to love and to do good! Christ’s love burning in our hearts will change the world. If you love you give only love. Here is our true apostolate.

In this morning’s Mass I also prayed and asked our Lord to allow us to face our pain and difficulties humbly and even gratefully. They are part of the life of every Christian, and they have always characterized the Legion and the Regnum Christi Movement. Tribulation is a sign of God’s infinite love for us. As St Paul says, “All things work for good for those who love God”? (Rom 8,28). He never allows anything that is not for our benefit.

I believe that God wants us to be firmer now in our apostolic commitment, and to take advantage of this time to make our dedication purer and less self-seeking, and our faith firmer and deeper. This is a magnificent opportunity to imitate Christ who went about doing good? (Acts 10, 38), always, his whole life long, to whomever he met on his way. It is not enough to do good when everything turns out as we would have wished, and people praise and acclaim us. Do good, always, not only sporadically or when circumstances are favorable. In times of pain and loneliness, in times of joy and peace. Never tiring of doing good! This is what God created us for. For this we were born and for this we were redeemed. May God make us spreaders of good, speaking always well of others, building the good name of our neighbor, fighting to always think well of others. May this turn us into true followers of Christ. Our human and Christian calling is to love, and we know that love passes through the cross.

At different times during Mass this morning we sang hymns that filled the naves of St Peter’s. And I thought to myself that this is what we should be in the Church, a resonating symphony, beautiful and harmonious because of each one’s holiness of life, our cordial and affectionate closeness to the Pope, our fidelity to the charism that God has given us to serve the Church. Each according to his role in the body of the Church. With our qualities and also with our defects and limitations, but always seeking sincerely the harmony that will allow us to hear in our hearts the infinite beauty of God’s love.

How different would the world be if instead of dwelling on our differences we spent our lives complementing each other! As one body. One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all and in all? (Eph 4, 5-6).

In a few days time on the Vigil of Pentecost, we will have here in Rome the encounter of all the Movements with the Pope. Many of you are set to be present. I hope many more can join us at this event and thus renew to the Holy Father our adhesion in faith, and our filial love. Let us give him the joy of seeing that now our love for the Church is deeper and more robust, that we burn with the same love for the Church that moves Nuestro Padre’s heart, a love that perceives the heartbeats of our Mother, that meditates on her in faith, embraces her in obedience, spreads her in the apostolate, makes her holy in our lives.?

Let us pray more intensely in the coming days, Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your children and pour into them the fire of your love.? What an understanding this gives us of Christ’s words, <q?i came=”” to=”” bring=”” fire=”” the=”” earth,=”” and=”” how=”” i=”” wish=”” it=”” were=”” already=”” blazing!=””>(Lk 12,49). It is the fire of love, and he wants us to be instruments of his love. Each one as a candle that is consumed so that Christ’s love and light will shine forth and enlighten. This anniversary coincided in the Vatican with the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that Jesus before ascending to Heaven told his apostles, You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth? (Acts 1.8). Christ today sends us too, to preach to the whole world the message of salvation. And he invites us to lift up our pilgrim eyes to see that our goal is heaven, and to hear the ever relevant words of St Paul, Rejoice always in the Lord? (Phil 4,4)

As you know, the Ordination to the Diaconate of 54 Legionaries of Christ is one of the events we have organized for the encounter with the Pope on the vigil of Pentecost. Please pray for them that they will continue to prepare themselves for their future configuration with Christ the Priest, and they will be willing to share in the mystery of the Cross, the only path that Christ chose to obtain the redemption of man.

Let us turn once again our eyes to Mary, our loving Mother who never abandons us. Let us listen to the words she spoke one day to St Juan Diego, Let nothing dismay you or cause you affliction. Am I not here, your mother?? What peace it gives us to know that we are always protected, watched over with care by the Blessed Virgin. We have received countless blessings at the feet of her image at the Tepeyac. And also at the feet of her image over the Gregorian Altar in St Peter’s Basilica. I am sure that now more than ever she continues to be close to us, she covers us with her cloak, and she will gain for us the grace to live this time with deep faith, infinite trust in God, and with the love of children who seek only to please him by accepting his Most Holy Will as she did.

With my sincere affection, and asking you also to remember me in your prayers,

I remain,
Your affectionate servant in Christ,
Alvaro Corcuera

(Translation of the original Spanish letter)

———–
FR. EVARISTO SADA, LC, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE LEGION OF CHRISTI TO ALL REGNUM CHRISTI SECTION LEADERS

[internally distributed to members]

Thy Kingdom Come!

Dearly beloved in Christ,

We have received the messages several of you have sent sharing your thoughts and feelings about all that has happened in recent days. The beauty of the spirit, which we have inherited from Nuestro Padre, can be perceived in these letters. In spite of the pain we are experiencing, what prevails is the feeling of faith, of love for the Pope and the Church, for obedience, and also of course for the greatest unity and charity towards Nuestro Padre, whom we are accompanying with our prayers and with our filial affection.

I had the opportunity to speak with him specifically about this by telephone a short while ago. I sent him your greetings as well as the allegiance and prayers of all of you, and he asked me to send you his deep gratitude. He asked me to assure you that he is including the legionaries and the members of the Movement in his prayers and in the celebration of the Holy Mass, which he now conducts privately — for, as you know, that has been the invitation which the Holy See has extended.

For my part I have reaffirmed the following in my prayers:

* Above all let us accept with humility and supernatural obedience the dispositions of the Holy See;

* Now more than ever let us learn to maintain the most beautiful gift of internal unity: united in prayer, united by charity, united by our exquisite fidelity to the charism of Regnum Christi; may the good spirit which has always characterized our sections continue to reign;

* Let us not be surprised: let us remember that the history of the Church is filled with such vicissitudes — including the most serious — as was the case of Fr. John Bosco, of Blessed Rafael Guizar Valencia, of Nuestro Padre and of other saints in the history of the Church; but just as they
learned to obey only to be rewarded later by God, so we are sure that God will achieve a greater good from this moment of grace.

In summary, since we have always professed and promoted love and cordial allegiance to the Pope, let us do so now more than ever. We have always encouraged respect for the person and for the authority of the Holy Father among our own and among all other people. We cannot now allow criticism of the Pope to take place. That would be the worst thing that could happen.

I invite you to share these considerations with other members of your section.

You can count on my prayers.

Affectionately yours in Christ,

Evaristo Sada, L.C.

—-

COMPASS COMMUNIQUE

From Veronica Wilkins

Dear COMPASS students in Christ,

You may have heard some of the information circulating around the media in the last couple days about the founder of the Legion and the Regnum Christi Movement, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC. Some of this information may have confused you or caused you to ask questions, so I wanted to write and share a little of my experience with Fr. Maciel, the Legion and the Movement, and some reflections that Ive had on the statement from the Holy See.

I met the Movement, Legion and Fr. Maciel on the 2002 COMPASS Fellowship, where during a conference with Fr. Maciel, I was struck by his holiness, zeal and relationship with Christ. As he told us the story of his boyhood friend, Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, who was martyred at fourteen during the Cristero War in Mexico, I could not help but desire to be closer to this Jesus who was worth dying for. Particularly during that summer, as my faith was taking shape, I would again and again return to that conference with the thoughts I can believe because he believes. I know that my faith is real because I have seen it lived radically and joyfully. I have seen what I want to be at the end of my life. I joined Regnum Christi about a year later with a desire to continue growing in my relationship with Christ.

Now after having graduated from university, I am in my second year volunteering with COMPASS through the Regnum Christi Movement. I can assure you that the more that I read about and from Fr. Maciel, and the more that I embrace its spirituality, the closer I grow in my relationship with Christ.
I am constantly in contact with the consecrated women and Legionaries, and have been treated only with charity. The depth of Fr. Maciel’s relationship with Christ can be seen most evidently in his numerous letters. Many of them can be found online at http://www.regnumchristi.org. So why if Fr. Maciel is so holy, does he suffer these accusations? You could also ask: why did Christ choose to redeem the world on the cross?

Gods ways are mysterious, and he chooses suffering for those he loves best; he purifies those who he wants to bring to perfection. The history of the Church is filled with founders and saints who suffered ignominy and persecution during their lives, only to be vindicated after their death (look at the lives of Padre Pio and Jeanne Jugan, for example). You could also ask, why doesn’t he defend himself? Which again leads to the question:

why did Christ not respond to his accusers when they demanded that he defend himself in his trial in front of the Pharisees? The response of Christ is the response that Fr. Maciel has chosen humble submission to the will of God. It may not make sense to our human intellect, but it fulfills Gods plan for Fr. Maciel, the Legion, and the Movement, and gives us all an example of what living heroic charity really means putting others before yourself, even at the risk of defamation.

I am also copying onto the bottom of this email the official communique from the Holy See about their decision and the response of the Legion of Christ and the Movement. Please also check

http://www.regnumchristi.org or http://www.legionofchrist.org for more information.

Sincerely in Christ,

Veronica Wilkins

Event Coordinator
COMPASS Office
401-480-6571

RESPONSE from xRC Regain member

Sometimes people are defamed for the sake of purification, and sometimes because sad truths come to light. Cardinal Law has been accused of negligence, and no one suggested it was purification of the elect. Father Shanley was accused of pedophilia, and he was not beatified as a martyr, he was sent to jail. It is also important to note that no one called him heroic for accepting his sentence and going to jail — that’s not heroic obedience. Father Maciel cannot be called ‘obedient’ for simply accepting the Vatican’s censure — it’s mandatory.

Veronica now has to find Christ without Maciel, and I am sure she will be just as holy, maybe holier.

————–
Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR & National Catholic Register, LC. The Holy See and the Legionaries of Christ: Facts and Fiction
Click here for external link

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, First Things [& Vatican I]
Click here for external link

—————

ETWN ANALYZES LEGION DEFENSE
Click here for external link

Full text below:

VATICAN DISCIPLINES FOUNDER OF LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST

Other news making waves in Rome and around the world, was the announcement on May 19 by the Vatican, in a statement it released on investigations into allegations that the founder of the Legionaries of Christ sexually abused seminarians decades ago, that it has banned Fr. Marcial Maciel from any form of public ministry. The decisions in his regard were approved by the Pope. Accusations against Maciel began to arrive at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998, though some had been publicly made before. The statement said the accusations are for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of this congregation.?

In 2002, said the statement, Fr. Maciel issued a denial of the accusations, expressing his displeasure at the offense done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Fr. Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Legionaries.? Fr. Maciel is 86. After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, it was decided, said the May 19 statement, that bearing in mind Fr. Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health, to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry.

Following is the full Vatican statement, translated from the Italian by the Vatican Information Service (VIS):

Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation. In 2002, Fr. Maciel published a declaration denying the accusations and expressing his displeasure at the offense done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Fr. Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

All these elements have been subject to a mature examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and – in accordance with the Motu Proprio ‘Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,’ promulgated on April 30 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II – the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, Pope John II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the new Pontiff. After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided – bearing in mind Fr. Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health – to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.

Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association ‘Regnum Christi’ is gratefully recognized.

The Legionaries answered the statement in lightning fashion with a press release on what is now called a temporary web site. The speed with which they released their statements indicated it had been prepared well in advance, perhaps expecting this news, even though just days earlier they had issued denials about any such forthcoming statement by the Vatican.

Following is that complete statement which was released in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese:

In reference to the news regarding the conclusion of the investigation of the accusations made against Father Marcial Maciel, our beloved father founder, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ offers the following statement:

1. Father Marcial Maciel has received during his life a great number of accusations. In the last few years, some of these were presented to the Holy See so that a canonical process would be opened.

2. Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.

3. Considering his advanced age and his frail health, the Holy See has decided not to begin a canonical process but to invite him to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing all public ministry.?

4. Father Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, he has accepted this communique with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

5. The Legionaries of Christ and the members of the Regnum Christi, following the example of Father Maciel and united to him, accept and will accept always the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith. We renew our commitment to work with great intensity to live our charism of charity and extend the Kingdom of Christ serving the Church.?

ZENIT, a Rome-based news organization of the Legionaries of Christ, published its own translation of the May 19 Vatican document. One change was noticed immediately in the first paragraph. Where the word Italian delitti? in the Vatican statement was translated by VIS (and others whose translations appeared on the Internet) as crimes,? it was translated by ZENIT as offenses.? Was this a willed change, an inadvertent one and does it even have any significance, were some of the questions asked by those who noticed the difference in translation.

There may never be an answer but to set the record straight: The correct term for delittoin canon law and similar Church documents would be delict.?

For example, from the Vatican Norms Governing Grave Offenses, Including Sexual Abuse of Minors, we have: Article 4 AS 1. Reservation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is also extended to a delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years. AS 2. One who has perpetrated the delict mentioned in AS 1 is to be punished according to the gravity of the offense, not excluding dismissal or deposition.?

Or, from the U.S Bishops Dallas Charter: In accord with Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (SST), article 4 AS1, sexual abuse, for purposes of this Charter, shall include any offense by a cleric against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue with a minor as understood in the Code of Canon Law, c. 1395 AS2 (A cleric who in another way has committed an offense against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the delict was committed by force or threats or publicly or with a minor below the age of sixteen years [raised in SST to eighteen years which has been the age of majority for the USA since 1994], is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants).

More important than the translation of one word, however, is what does this mean for the Legionaries of Christ, whose own lives are wrapped up in and often identified with the very life and person of their founder? Much as it is for members of Opus Dei, founded in Spain, Spanish is the official? language of the LC because it is the language of their founder and they are expected to read all of his writings in the original language.

Reactions to the May 19 statement and the open and public discipline of Fr. Maciel have ranged from joy on the part of those working to stop all sexual abuse by priests to the imaginable devastation of Legionaries and their numerous loyal supporters and benefactors, many of whom insist the charges are trumped up and cannot possibly be true.

One priest, though not a huge fan of the LC, echoed several others when he told me the accusations are absurd. If you look at most of the accusers, they are former seminarians or ex-priests and this type of person can be vicious when it comes to their former ‘family’. The Vatican statement does not even specifically accuse Fr. Maciel of anything.

Most people with whom I spoke feel this is a serious blow to the Legionaries, founded in 1941 by Fr. Maciel and considered a very orthodox, conservative order. The LC, is one of the fastest growing orders in the world: there are currently close to 700 priests worldwide and over 2,500 seminarians, many of whom study in Rome’s Regina Apostolorum seminary and university. An affiliated lay movement is called Regnum Christi.

One priest defined the Vatican action as a definite blow to the Legionaries, but a courageous act on the Pope’s part based entirely, I believe, on his principle of justice.Indeed. The Legionaries do great work, especially in the field of education and, with special programs in Rome, in the area of bioethics. They are seen as young, zealous, dynamic, loyal solders of Christ. And their followers are, shall we shall, legion.

The bottom line is that the coming weeks and months, perhaps even years, will undoubtedly be a period of great self-examination, of introspection and prayer by the Legionaries, that could lead to a re-birth of their charism.
——————-

ORTHODOX CATHOLIC TAKES BREAK FROM THE FRAY

U2U received on 06/16/06

“ReGAIN,

I have concluded that I need to take a break from this topic for a while. I am happy that the Vatican took a small step in the right direction.

I hope they subject the LC to an apostolic visitation and clean it out. I won’t hold my breath for that to happen.

The coverup of well substantiated sexual abuse is endemic to the Catholic Church. It is standard operating procedure. The only thing that is forcing a change is the massive civil suits.

The article I sent on Ratzinger/ Benedict clamping down on mystics, private revelations etc. is important. Some people have made such outragious claims even for Maciel. No wonder St. John of the Cross warned adamantly against chasing after such occurances.

I think the LC is probably filled with victims of MM some of whom may be abusers themselves. I dread the thought of preteens and teenagers studying with them.

I think that ultra orthodox American Catholics want to believe that a group like the Legion is somehow magically above the ordinary human condition due to its supposed adherence to the magisterium. That’s why they can criticize Cardinal Law on one hand then not even consider the possibility that Cardinals could mishandle the MM case.

I need a break. I’m glad that there has been a Church recognition of MM’s guilt ambiguous as it may be. I believe John Allen’s sources who said the evidence is overwhelming.

In writing about the Vatican statement I suggest you often repeat Neuhaus’s statement that it is reasonable to conclude that the Vatican believes he did something wrong. This is important because the other side only listens to arguments from conservative authority.

If you don’t hear from me for awhile, know that I am alive and very well but need a break from the stench and the stupidy.

Spiritual Schizophrenia

The Legion of Christ cannot affirm both a Wise Pope and a Holy Maciel

 

By Giselle Sainte Marie, for ReGAIN

 

Expanded Version

To read more of GSM, see http://www.life-after-rc.com

 

After years of inquiry, allegations, and confusion, Rome has taken visible action with Marciel Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, an action which unfortunately has managed to leave inquiry, allegations, and confusion in its wake. After an investigation of wrongdoing, involving scores of depositions taken by the Promoter at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church has concluded with an invitation by Benedict XVI to Maciel to decline from all public activity. At first glance the action would seem to be extremely limited, and yet it is brilliant in its own precise way.

Following Vatican protocols

First of all, it is important to know that elderly priests are rarely defrocked – if for no other reason than their ministry is no longer in the future but for all intents and purposes behind them. It would have little effect, and therefore the action taken, to curtail Maciel’s public image in this way, is a significant and requisite response from the Church according to her protocols and the particular circumstances.

Secondly, according to Canon Law, such investigations that follow the guidelines of the 2001 Motu Proprio must end in one of two ways – exoneration of the accused because of lack of evidence (eliminating the need to take further action) or a trial due to adequate evidence, which in Maciel’s case was renounced due to his frailty and advanced age. Those familiar with canon law also know that such trials can be scandalous to the faithful and counter-productive, which the Church has to weigh in prudence. Thus no clear guilt or innocence was proclaimed by Rome, other than what can be discerned from the restriction of Maciel’s movement and public ministry. One could make the case that there was insufficient evidence in the extensive investigation, but then Benedict’s obviously negative response would have to be interpreted as a scandal in and of itself, administering an injustice to a founder with years of highly visible apostolic service to his credit.

Thirdly, the nature of the Movement has to be taken into consideration. It must be obvious that untangling details about this extremely closed group, which over the years of its existence employed with its members censorship of all information in and out, used sacraments, spiritual direction, and the congregation’s own statutes to guard against all divisive thoughts or words, and layered their apostolates with a smokescreen of absolute papal approval of all details of everyday life, has proven nearly impossible. The fact that any action has been taken after decades of attempts is the result of heroic, dogged persistence by men who ultimately believed in truth and justice.

So finally from this we infer a very clear challenge. The Vatican has placed enough doubt about the innocence of the founder of this group in the minds of the lay faithful that they can no longer subscribe to the notion that Maciel “has never said No to God,” or that he is “God’s gift to the Church in this generation.” What we can agree on is that he has built an extraordinary empire in the heart of Holy Mother Church ostensibly with a mission to save souls, and on that accomplishment alone we must focus. It is to be hoped that all of us share that mission, that all of us are drawn to orthodoxy, and that each is committed to proclaiming the Kingdom – and yet it is that Kingdom that we need to define in order to make our collaboration successful.

The Legion Response

Now we come to the Legion’s response, and it is phenomenal. They state:

Father Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, has accepted this communiqué with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

That the Legion immediately characterizes him as an ever-faithful martyr is very telling. In an email to be widely distributed to supporters, a Legionary priest wrote, “Nuestro Padre [affectionate nickname members use, meaning “our father,”] had asked God to give him a final cross before his death, so that he may die nailed to it…!!!” He is offering all for the Legion and the RC. Imagine the fruits that we will harvest thanks to his faithfulness…!” Does this analogy mean that the pope himself is Pontius Pilate, however unwitting?

Another missive sent to another section notes: “I am sure you are hearing and reading in the papers about the Vatican position toward Fr. Maciel. Please keep him in your prayers throughout this further persecution. Today’s gospel was certainly fitting, ‘If they hated me, they will hate you.’” Not a doubt about his innocence, simply Maciel as victim.

The National Catholic Register, owned by the Legion, indicated within days of the Vatican statement that there would be no coverage of the story, no inquiry, and no possible acknowledging of the fact that the founder was anything less than completely innocent.

For one, that’s not what the Register does, ever. … [O]ur policy is to focus on the vitality of the Church. … There’s another reason the Register is not covering it in the common journalistic way: the example of Father Maciel. … He has always reacted the same way: seeing the cross as coming from God, refusing to defend himself, bearing malice toward none …

Interestingly, though, the refusal to defend Maciel has been carried out with a well-orchestrated whisper campaign, suggesting that this is actually meant to be an attack – not on Maciel – but on the memory of John Paul II, that this is a calculated attack on orthodoxy by disgruntled liberals, or even that this is caused by the jealous stirrings of Opus dei rivals. It is evident that the Legion will not allow Maciel’s image to be tarnished, nor his cult of personality to be diminished in any way – because it has always been the bread and butter of their ability to recruit and raise funds. Internal documents attest to this fact, although few rank-in-file members see them. Even seminarians don’t see the full constitutions until after ordination.

Many are reminding the faithful about the seemingly similar example of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, who was subject to unjust censure at the hands of the Church hierarchy. The comparison isn’t valid because of the process. Padre Pio was surrounded by detractors and had to step away from ministry during various investigations concerning the authenticity of his message. He returned, exonerated each time. To the contrary, Maciel is surrounded by zealous supporters and feted by many powerful men in the hierarchy, and the restrictions on his ministry came at the close of a completed investigation. Nothing was abridged; although the process was derailed for unknown reasons several times, we can say with certainty that it was finally finished.

A better comparison would be made with the George Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia. At the first hint of impropriety raised by an accuser who came forward in 2002, he temporarily stepped aside from the duties of his office, allowing a full investigation to take place. The evident difference, though, lies in the outcome, as he was exonerated and restored to his position. Maciel’s actions never allowed such a transparent process to take place, protestations not withstanding, which adds to the shadow over his reputation at present.

One defense constantly on the lips of his supporters is the fact that some accusers recanted. This is absolutely true. I would posit, though, that their previous experience concerning nearly air-tight control over the reigns of clerical influence combined with the fact that they entered the seminary before the age of 12 may have caused these men to lose heart. If they indeed were abused and broken from childhood, they may have lacked the courage and tenacity necessary, seeing the mountain of justice simply too steep to climb in this life. Although this would be entirely in keeping with the fragile profile of victims, we’ll never know.

Regnum Christi Members Must Choose

The members of the Movement have now arrived at the Ultimate Dilemma inherent in their very existence. If they are faithful to their charism as it exists at present, it pits the action of the Holy See – to which they offer unswerving loyalty – against the other pillar of faith – the permeation of their charism with the person of Marcial Maciel: the perfect Legionary.

To quote from a Legionary prayer, which I and countless others prayed regularly after Mass (and aloud in Legion chapels):

Since the Legion and the Movement will be vigorous and will flourish as long as the spirit of our founder is present and active in our lives and behavior, we ask you to open our eyes to the urgency of learning, assimilating, and passing on the doctrine, spirit, and apostolic methods, genuine traditions, discipline, and lifestyle of the Legion and Regnum Christi, just as our founder made them known to us, since this is our responsibility. Lord help us to adhere totally to the charism you inspired in our founder.

Now whether that charism can be lived apart from the “spirit of the founder” remains to be seen. To respond with a tongue-in-cheek stance, obeying the pope in this “unjust” and “false” finding is to make a mockery of obedience, filial respect, and martyrdom. The Legion’s continued public support of Macial’s innocence collides calamitously with the finding of the Vatican, and yet the Legion straddles the divide, saying it will embrace both. In any other setting this would be certifiable schizophrenia. It cannot stand.

A recent meeting of the priests of the Congregation bluntly stated the ulterior aims of the Legion to date:

344. Allow me to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity the General Chapter has offered me to once again insist on this: the meaning and goals of our schools – like all apostolic work of the Legion and the Movement – must not be worn down by operating solely as teaching facilities. They will not accomplish their true goal in God’s plan for us if they do not bring a large number of students, parents, family members of students and teachers into Regnum Christi. I have said it many times: for us these schools serve primarily as an open means of recruitment and of the recruitment of leaders.

The Vatican would like the Movement to purify itself and simply serve the Church at large. Perhaps this is also an invitation for the Movement to integrate its ends with the needs of the Universal Church, even at the expense of its own recruitment.

If the Movement is Christ-centered, let Christ prevail. If it is loyal to the person of Benedict, let his judgments carry appropriate weight. If Legionary priests cannot draw souls to Christ without the “spirit of Maciel,” then their followers must search their souls for authentic discernment about the meaning of such a vocation. If God saw each member “from all eternity” as united to Regnum Christi, then did not God also foresee the crisis of loyalty that would accrue? If, as we were taught, that “by following the methodology one can never go wrong,” does that place the charism in an untenable, infallible place? This intense reflection must take place in the hearts of those outside trying to make sense of the Legion as well as in the hearts of Maciel’s supporters whose vocation to follow Jesus seems inseparable with one very finite individual.

Now, in this age of the laity, it’s time for the faithful to act. Every father and mother of a child in a Legion school will consider the atmosphere therein. Every rank and file member of Regnum Christi going forward will have to consider Maciel’s place. Will his pictures remain on the walls? Will the prayers he has written be taught and recited? Will his mother continue to be promoted as a model of Christian piety? Will he still be identified as the perfect Legionary? Will his books remain on the shelves and be the essence of every team meeting and youth group meditation? Will his personality remain ubiquitous (though in whispers as the heroic and maligned saint) or will the Movement purify itself to cling to Christ and Christ alone?

This is not an indictment of the enthusiastic and sincere faith of thousands associated with the Movement, who offered their lives to promote the Gospel, who piled up their “widow’s mites” in good faith, and who joined their energy to what they thought was a group dedicated to serving the Church. How could they begin to understand whether or not the accusations had merit? They accepted the possibility that the Legion was under attack for its orthodoxy, knowing that persecution is inherent in discipleship. To this end, the Vatican statement notes,

Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association ‘Regnum Christi’ is gratefully recognized.

Benedict is truly guided by the Holy Spirit in this response, because now the charism has the opportunity to succeed in a purified form, serving the Church rather than its own ends, or to fall of its own weight. The key word in the statement is “independently.” There is still a chance that all the well-meaning souls attached to this group will prove themselves loyal to the Vicar of Christ, and yet that clearly means that they have to distance themselves from the person of Maciel. The Legion cannot preach both Maciel the Martyr and Benedict the Wise.

The Vatican rightly sees in the Legion’s works many schools – from primary to advanced institutions; it sees apostolates for all members of the people of God; it sees abundant vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, all poised to serve the Church. Either these belong to Holy Mother Church – who has spoken in the case of Maciel – or they don’t. The fruit therein that is authentic will flourish for Christ, or it will rot on the vine. The lay faithful must hold to the fire the feet of every Legion priest, whose guidance they trust, to choose the Pope (and the Holy Spirit) unreservedly, or they must walk. We trust that they will do the right thing. Whether or not Maciel continues to be the wind in the sails of the Legion will soon enough determine its new direction.

Vatican Disciplines Legionaries’ Founder

By NICOLE WINFIELD

 

Associated Press Writer

 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican said Friday it had asked the Mexican founder of the conservative order Legionaries of Christ to renounce celebrating public Masses and live a life of “prayer and repentance” following its investigation into allegations he sexually abused seminarians.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had approved the sanctions against the Rev. Marcial Maciel – making it the first major sexual abuse disciplinary case handled by the pope since he took office last year.

Maciel is one of the most prominent Catholic Church officials the Vatican has disciplined for alleged involvement in child sexual abuse. The case is also significant because Maciel was so warmly regarded by Pope John Paul II.

Benedict’s decision to approve the sanctions showed he was not beholden to John Paul’s legacy when it comes to dealing with what he once called the “filth” in the Catholic Church – a widely understood criticism of clerical sex abuse.

Since 1998, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict headed before he became pope, has been investigating allegations by former seminarians that Maciel sexually abused them decades ago.

Nine former seminarians first accused Maciel in 1996 of having abused them when they were boys or teenagers during the 1940s to 1960s; later, other alleged victims came forward.

The Vatican didn’t say whether it found the abuse allegations against Maciel to be true. And it said that because of Maciel’s age – 86 – it decided against mounting a full-fledged church trial against him.

Instead, the Vatican said the congregation had “invited the priest to a reserved life of prayer and repentance, renouncing every public ministry.”

Maciel and the Legionaries have strongly denied the allegations. “Before God and with total clarity of conscience I can categorically state that the accusations brought against me are false,” Maciel said in a 2002 statement. “I never engaged in the sort of repulsive behavior these men accuse me of.”

The case against Maciel has been closely followed by victims of the clerical sex abuse scandal because Maciel in particular, and the Legionaries in general, curried such favor in the Vatican under John Paul.

In January 2005, John Paul hailed Maciel for his “paternal affection and his experience.” A few months earlier, the late pope praised Maciel on the 60th anniversary of his ordination, citing his “intense, generous and fruitful” priestly ministry.

The Vatican statement said that “independent of the person of its founder,” the Holy See recognized with gratitude the work of the Legionaries, which Maciel founded in Mexico City in 1941.

Victims of clerical sex abuse hailed the decision.

“Maciel is the most powerful Catholic official to ever face Vatican sanctions for child sexual abuse,” said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a U.S. victims’ support group.

While welcoming the move, which was first reported Thursday by the U.S. Catholic newspaper National Catholic Reporter, the group said it hoped the Vatican would go further by removing Maciel from the priesthood altogether.

The Rev. Jim Martin, associate editor of the Jesuit magazine America, said it was hard to overestimate the impact that the sanctions would have on the Legionaries, one of the fastest-growing religious orders in the Catholic Church with some 600 priests and 2,500 seminarians in 20 countries in North and South America, Europe and Australia.

“The distinctive (spirit) of the order comes from the founder,” Martin said. “His life is studied, his words are quoted, his picture and statues are everywhere. Any critique of the founder, especially one that’s so serious, is a huge mark against the order.”

The Vatican investigated Maciel in the 1950s for alleged drug use, trafficking and misuse of funds but not for sexual misconduct. He was suspended from his duties as head of the order, but then reinstated after being cleared of all allegations.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.