Phase Two of the Post-Maciel Legion of Christ Saga Begins

July 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog



It was announced today that an Italian archbishop, Msgr. Velasio De Paolis, a member of the congregation of the Missionaries of St Charles Borromeo, is the prelate whom Pope Benedict XVI has appointed to take charge of the reform of the Legionaries of Christ. He was briefly in the cross-hairs of the international mainstream press two years ago for being the Vatican official who denied permission to Ron Howard and company to use any Catholic churches in Rome for filming the blasphemous, “Angels and Demons,” the sequel to “The Da Vinci Code.”


Archbishop De Paolis was quoted as saying: That the movies “turned the gospels upside down to poison the faith. . . .”[and] “It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into films in the name of business.”

Regarding his current appointment as the new head of the Legionaries of Christ . . .
The Vatican said the visitation highlighted three primary requirements: The need to “redefine the charism” of the Legionaries of Christ, the need to revise the exercise of authority in the order and the need to preserve the enthusiasm and missionary zeal of younger members through adequate formation.
What this will mean for the current leadership of Legionary priests isn’t clear yet, but it seems likely that, in order for this reform to be carried out smoothly and expeditiously, some of them will need to relinquish their positions.

Behold the destruction that Marcial Maciel hath wrought

June 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

By now, a year and a half after the well casing of Marcial Maciel’s double life finally blew apart, wrecking the Legion-of-Christ rig he had constructed to house and conceal it, and gushing a torrent of nauseating revelations into the public consciousness, we all have a bad case of Maciel-fatigue. I know I do. I’m sick of it. (And if you aren’t sick of it, watch the video at the bottom of this post and I predict you will be sick of it too — sick at heart.)

And yet, we should shake off the fatigue, brace ourselves, and take stock of just how widespread the damage could become that this man (and whoever knowingly abetted him in his depredations) has inflicted on the Church.

How bizarrely ironic that the order Maciel established to be a vanguard of joyful, militant, conquering supporters and defenders of the pope should now be one of the present pope’s biggest headaches. This thought undoubtedly torments many Legionary priests and affiliated laypeople who’ve been wondering whether to abandon the burning rig or stay put and, hoping against hope, wait for the fire that threatens to consume everything to be extinguished.

In my estimation, amidst all the uncertainty, at least one thing is certain: The Legion of Christ as we have known it is over, and it’s not coming back.

Most people’s guess is that the house that Marcial Maciel built will either be completely rehabbed from its foundation to its gables — everyone knows that a fresh coat of paint won’t do the job — or it will be razed and rebuilt from the ground up with fresh materials. Some are clamoring for it simply to be razed, plowed over, and sown with salt. I doubt that will happen. Pope Benedict is benevolent and sagacious, and he knows that while the organization’s founder had a rather Molochian appetite for children, the Legion is not Carthage.

Three scenarios seem possible, either of the first two being far more likely, it seems to me:

1) The Legion may be radically reformed and reoriented and thus salvaged;
2) It may be drastically reduced in size (i.e., personnel), scope of activities, and influence, due to continuing defections of its priests, a drying up of new vocations, and the vigorous pruning by the pope and his collaborators;
3) It may go away altogether.

If the last scenario plays out, the Legion’s far-flung empire of schools, seminaries, apostolic enterprises and, most importantly of all, priestly vocations, would all have to be somehow absorbed en masse into the infrastructure of the Church.

Just a few years ago, heck, one year ago, such a notion would have been unthinkable. Like BP, the Legion of Christ was just too big to fail.

ss="Apple-style-span" style="font-size:medium;">Well, stranger things have happened. Stranger things might yet happen.

What’s really strange, and I mean “strange” in the baleful and sinister sense, is how Fr. Maciel’s cerement-swathed hand reaches out from the grave to besmirch the memory of Pope John Paul II — the pope he feigned such adoring dedication to for all those years. While he surely harmed many men, women, and children by exploiting and devouring their trusting innocence and generosity in order to sate his own appetites, it seems that what distinguishes him as a truly implacable sociopath whose life was “devoid of scruples” is that he preyed upon even his own children.

The more it goes, the more it seems as if the trail of destruction lying in the wake of this man’s astonishing 87 years of bustling activity on this earth doesn’t just diminish, but dwarfs, whatever good he may have done along the way in the greedy, grubby pursuit of his goals.

As the pope and those who are helping him weigh the options and pray for divine guidance, I have no doubt that they are doing some pretty intense cost/benefit analyses.

St. Paul reminds us that where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds all the more (Rom. 5:20). I believe this with all my heart. Which is why I also believe the Church will need an immense amount of grace if it is to repair and restore what has been lost here.

If you have trouble viewing the above video link (apparently some of my foreign readers have), here’s another one which should work:

Medjugorje and "The Maciel Effect"

April 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog



 
Many adherents of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje to whom I have spoken personally have invoked the (also alleged) fondness and support of Blessed Pope John Paul II for it. “The Pope was in favor of Medjugorje,” they reason, “and given what a good and holy pontiff he was, it’s highly unlikely that Medjugorje could be anything other than an authentic Marian apparition. And, conversely, it’s an even stronger reason for believing in Medjugorje.”
 
This is a form of what’s known as an a fortiori argument. For example, one might say, “If I think that Medjugorje is true, that’s all well and good. But if even the pope thinks it’s true, then the possibility that it is true is much stronger, much more likely.”
 
Variations of this type of argument can be seen on sundry pro-Medjugorje websites, in which such-and-such a bishop or cardinal is touted as believing that the alleged apparitions are authentic, or such-and-such a theologian is extolled because he has declared that Medjugorje “has the ring of truth,” etc., etc.
 
Strictly speaking, there is nothing wrong at all with arguing for something along these lines. We make use of valid arguments like this all the time (“Grandma always said that eating apples would keep you healthy, but if even expert scientists confirm that belief, how much more so should we take Grandma’s advice seriously,” etc.). The problem, though, at least for those who follow Medjugorje, is that their commonly employed argument, based on the widely held belief that Pope John Paul II strongly favored Medjugorje, skates dangerously close to the edge of the logical fallacy of weak induction. I’ll explain what I mean.
 
As those who follow this blog know, I am an open-minded skeptic when it comes to Medjugorje. I see too many problematic aspects of the alleged apparitions — some, seriously problematic, such as the incitements to disobedience from whoever or whatever is dispensing the messages (for more on that, readmy comments beneath this post) — to be convinced that it is an authentic Marian apparition. I realize, of course, and freely admit, that I may in fact be wrong in my skepticism. I simply may not have properly understood or interpreted the data.
 
As I have said before, if I am wrong about this, and if the Medjugorje phenomena are truly the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then I will rejoice to have my error corrected. I mean that sincerely. But that’s beside the point for the purpose of this post.
 
What I am driving at, as the title of this article suggests, is that those who attempt to bolster their own faith in Medjugorje, and that of others, by using the argument about Pope John Paul II accepting its authenticity (take note that many now seek to press Pope Benedict XVI into service using this same tactic, as well) are setting themselves up for a serious difficulty.
 
It is a well known fact that Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, was a stalwart supporter of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced, recently deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order and its lay arm, Regnum Christi. I can only assume that John Paul was truly ignorant of the many frauds Fr. Maciel had perpetrated for decades. How it is that the pope did not know the truth about that dastardly man is beyond me, but I’m not focusing on that question here. It’s sufficient to remind ourselves that the charism of papal infallibility does not extend to the pope’s private, personal opinions about people and things.
 
As we now know, Pope John Paul II was utterly wrong about Fr. Maciel. He had completely misjudged him. Like a whole lot of other people, including a few popes who came before him, John Paul was conned by a consummate con-man. His approval of the vaunted Mexican priest was in complete error. The gestures of honor and confidence with which he generously betokened Fr. Maciel over many years were completely undeserved. His famous comment that Maciel was “an efficacious guide to youth” could not have been more hideously incorrect.
 
We know that now. We know now the sordid details of many bad things which Fr. Maciel perpetrated over his lifetime. Since his demise, they have continued to belch forth from the grave like a sulfurous semi-dormant volcano that will emit its noxious fumes for a long time to come.
Please note: I am not equating Medjugorje with Fr. Maciel. I am not suggesting any kind of similarity whatsoever between the two. Nor am I in any way impugning or disrespecting or trying to besmirch the memory of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I believe he was a good and holy man who was deceived by a duplicitous, wicked man.
 
And that’s what I hope all Medjugorje supporters who tout the alleged approval of Pope John Paul II will see and understand.
 
All the stories I have heard from Medjugorje supporters about how Pope John Paul II favored or even personally believed in its authenticity have all been apocryphal. I am not aware of the Holy Father ever publicly commenting, one way or the other, whether verbally or in writing, on Medjugorje.
 
Sure, there are numerous instances of private comments alleged to have been made by JPII about Medjugorje, but none that I am aware of which have been verified with documentation, such as video or audio recordings. Peruse these comments, and you’ll see they are all third-hand. He said he said he said, etc.
 
But even that is not the main point here. Let’s say for the sake of discussion that every single last one of those alleged remarks made by John Paul II really did come from his lips. Let’s assume that not only did he say those things, but that he was also convinced that Medjugorje is authentic. And, a fortiori, if even Pope John Paul II himself was a fervent believer in Medjugorje, how much more should we regard it to be true. Right?
 
Wrong. That’s a bad argument to be using in this case. Why? Because even saintly popes can be seriously wrong in their personal opinions.

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We might think of this as the “Maciel Effect,” which applies to Medjugorje and can be expressed in the form of the following argument:
 

“If even a good and holy pope can be deceived and be utterly wrong in his sincere personal opinion about the character of Fr. Maciel, then how much more so is it possible that you could be sincerely wrong in your personal opinions about Medjugorje?”

 
Remember: Pope John Paul II was convinced that Fr. Maciel was a holy priest, an exemplary and faithful Catholic, and “an efficacious guide to youth.”
 
He could not have been more wrong about that.
 

Father Maciel: Conman and Rip-off Artist Extraordinaire

December 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog



The dreadful gauntlet of disclosure of the many frauds perpetrated by recently deceased Father Marcial Maciel, the founder and dictator of the Legionaries of Christ religious order and all its various sub-manifestations, such as its lay affiliate, Regnum Christi, just goes on and on, with no end in sight.


I’ve commented on this debacle before, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for example, and I’ve noticed that, like a throbbing toothache, the sordid details of this man’s double life and the depredations he committed with impunity against so many people keep emerging in a cascade of filth, the noisome puss of a long-abscessed tooth. Will the dentist perchance decide to simply yank it out by the roots so that healing can really begin? There is a precedent for that kind of thing, you know.

St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:26 that “when one member [of the Body of Christ] suffers, all the members suffer together.” It would not be an exaggeration to say that this particular abscessed tooth has been causing extraordinary pain for a quite a few members in the Body of Christ, and the Novocain wore off a long time ago.

The Catholic press is now starting to report on the latest unsavory detail in this tangled mess:

In an effort to distance itself from the wrongdoings of its founder, the Legion of Christ has recently circulated an internal memo detailing how a long venerated work of spirituality attributed to Fr. Marcial Maciel was actually a slight re-writing of a book from a little-known Spanish author.

“El Salterio de mis días” (The Psalter of my Days), according to the Legionary tradition, was regarded as written by Fr. Maciel during the period of the “great blessing,” (1956-59), when the Mexican founder was submitted to a canonical process by the Vatican that was finally called off.

The memo now reveals that the text, very popular among the Legion in its original in Spanish and partially translated into English for internal use, was “based” on the little known work of a Spanish Catholic politician, Luis Lucía.

In a book titled “El Salterio de mis horas” (The Psalter of my Hours), Lucía, a Christian Democrat, reflected on his experience of being persecuted both by the Communist government during Spain’s civil war (1936-1939), and the Nationalist government of Francisco Franco, who condemned him to death, but later changed the sentence to life in prison. . . . (continue reading)


Analysis: Who Was Father Maciel's Moderator?

August 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

As the scandal-drama surrounding the late Fr. Marcial Maciel unfolds, more and more pointed questions are rising to the surface. Former Legionary priest James Farfaglia, for example, raises a series of such pertinent questions on his blog.

New questions arose in my mind recently as I studied an online dossier of “censored” documents, which purports to include lengthy excerpts of the constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Maciel, who served as the Legion’s director general uninterruptedly for decades, mandated that the constitutions not be disclosed to the public and, therefore, few people outside the Legion have any clue what they contain (c.f., 254.2 and 417. §2 & 3).

A careful analysis of the rules which Fr. Maciel put in force yields many remarkable details, such as the fact that he exempted himself from the, now-abrogated, “private vow” in which every temporally or perpetually professed member of the order solemnly promises never to criticize other Legionaries, especially superiors.

What really caught my eye, though, was the section which mandates that a “monitor of the general director” must be appointed who will closely observe and “concern himself with the external aspects of the life of the director general, such as his dress, his diet, and his expenditures.”

(I’m pretty sure, by the way, that the whole “expenditure” thing would fall squarely into the category of Father Maciel’s now-verified, long-term habit of squandering Legionary money [i.e., benefactor donations] on frivolities such as trans-Atlantic flights on the Concorde, posh hotels, luxury cruises, succulent gourmet meals and, at least in his later years, of supplying an affluent upkeep for at least one child he fathered [it seems as though there may be others]).

According to the official description of the “moderator of the general director,” it seems clear that the duties envisioned by the Legion of Christ constitutions was not something akin to those of a confessor or spiritual director, which would concern the internal forum of the conscience and, therefore, would entail a confidential relationship with the subject (Maciel) which could not be revealed to another under pain of serious sin. Rather, the moderator called for by the Legionary constitutions could be likened to a kind of “ombudsman,” whose job it would be to help identify and correct problems with Maciel’s externally discernible lifestyle (i.e., not in the internal forum).

I hadn’t known that the Legionary constitutions required that someone be officially appointed to monitor Father Maciel’s activities. But after checking with a few former Legionary priests and religious about this, and after their review of these documents and verification that they are indeed accurate, several intriguing new questions arise, such as:

1) Who exactly was Father Maciel’s moderator? The constitutions require that this role be fulfilled by a Legionary priest, appointed by the general chapter, who is ” a very spiritual man, with at least ten years of profession in the Congregation, who is at least forty years old, of balanced temperament, gentle and understanding of spirit, faithful and loving of the superiors, with a practical sense, and whose capacity of reserve, discretion, prudence and sensitivity are well-proven and recognized.” If this requirement was fulfilled (the term is for 12 years), there will be records of it, which the apostolic visitators to the Legion of Christ will surely want to study.

2) Did the Legion’s general chapters ever actually appoint a priest to fulfill this constitutionally mandated role as moderator of Father Maciel’s activities? If so, who was he (they), when was he appointed, and what were his findings? Presumably, the Church’s apostolic visitation process will, in due course, obtain and evaluate any documents that pertain to the issue of the monitor of the general director.

3) If the Legion did in fact observe this requirement, then how did the moderator fulfill his mandate to moderate, as the order’s regulations stipulate, “all things related to the spiritual perfection and personal obligations of the director general, dialoguing with him about these things . . . [and to] concern himself with external aspects of the life of the director general, such as his dress, his diet, and his expenditures”? What, if anything, did he report about this?

style="font-size:medium;">Clearly, the frauds perpetrated by Fr. Maciel against the members of his own religious order, as well as the Church, his victims, etc., involved activities that would have, should have, could have been observed — and, one would assume, reported — by a genuinely dedicated, sagacious, honest, man of probity who had been formally entrusted with the task of “moderating” the general director.

So, again, it must be asked: Was there ever such a moderator? And if so, who was he? And if no one was ever appointed to this position, why wasn’t it done?

If there was such a moderator, and if he performed his duties to observe Father Maciel’s personal life and give advice or admonishment based on what he observed, did he report what must have been an endless series of strange anomalies in the director’s travels, activities, and personal habits? If he reported them to the general chapter, why was no action ever taken?

After all, the general impression given is that everyone in the Legion — everyone — was caught completely by surprise when the scandal revelations began tumbling out. No one seems to have had even the slightest inkling of what this man was doing in his free time.

One section of the dossier I mention above, goes to the very heart of the sickness of secrecy at work here. It reads:

576. If the person chosen for this post [of moderator] exposes or criticizes aspects of the life of the director general, he should be removed from his post. In such a case, the council general, at the request of the director general, shall proceed to appoint, by deliberative vote, another to take his place, from a group of three proposed by the director general.

In other words, the Legion’s internal laws required that a moderator be appointed to watch closely over Father Maciel’s personal life — something that, if it had been carried out according to the LC constitutions, could have spared the Legion, Regnum Christi, and the Church as a whole all the Maciel-induced misery this scandal has engendered.

But those same laws stipulate that if the moderator were to “expose or criticize” any problems he might find, he would be summarily canned.

Huh? Given the Sword-of-Damocles position into which the constitutio
ns encumber the moderator, what good could he be to the order? What beneficial purpose could he serve?

This disjunction in the LC constitutons would seem to explain why the official Legionary requirement of putting such a moderator in place may simply have been ignored. But if it was not ignored, and the order’s general chapter did, in fact, appoint a priest to do what the constitutions call for, then let’s hope that the appropriate apostolic visitator will have ample opportunity to discuss this issue in detail with that man.

(Read more of my previous commentary on this issue.)


Analysis: Who Was Father Maciel’s Moderator?

August 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Fr. Maciel, Legionaries of Christ

As the scandal-drama surrounding the late Fr. Marcial Maciel unfolds, more and more pointed questions are rising to the surface. Former Legionary priest James Farfaglia, for example, raises a series of such pertinent questions on his blog.

New questions arose in my mind recently as I studied an online dossier of “censored” documents, which purports to include lengthy excerpts of the constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Maciel, who served as the Legion’s director general uninterruptedly for decades, mandated that the constitutions not be disclosed to the public and, therefore, few people outside the Legion have any clue what they contain (c.f., 254.2 and 417. §2 & 3).

A careful analysis of the rules which Fr. Maciel put in force yields many remarkable details, such as the fact that he exempted himself from the, now-abrogated, “private vow” in which every temporally or perpetually professed member of the order solemnly promises never to criticize other Legionaries, especially superiors.

What really caught my eye, though, was the section which mandates that a “monitor of the general director” must be appointed who will closely observe and “concern himself with the external aspects of the life of the director general, such as his dress, his diet, and his expenditures.”

(I’m pretty sure, by the way, that the whole “expenditure” thing would fall squarely into the category of Father Maciel’s now-verified, long-term habit of squandering Legionary money [i.e., benefactor donations] on frivolities such as trans-Atlantic flights on the Concorde, posh hotels, luxury cruises, succulent gourmet meals and, at least in his later years, of supplying an affluent upkeep for at least one child he fathered [it seems as though there may be others]).

According to the official description of the “moderator of the general director,” it seems clear that the duties envisioned by the Legion of Christ constitutions was not something akin to those of a confessor or spiritual director, which would concern the internal forum of the conscience and, therefore, would entail a confidential relationship with the subject (Maciel) which could not be revealed to another under pain of serious sin. Rather, the moderator called for by the Legionary constitutions could be likened to a kind of “ombudsman,” whose job it would be to help identify and correct problems with Maciel’s externally discernible lifestyle (i.e., not in the internal forum).

I hadn’t known that the Legionary constitutions required that someone be officially appointed to monitor Father Maciel’s activities. But after checking with a few former Legionary priests and religious about this, and after their review of these documents and verification that they are indeed accurate, several intriguing new questions arise, such as:

1) Who exactly was Father Maciel’s moderator? The constitutions require that this role be fulfilled by a Legionary priest, appointed by the general chapter, who is ” a very spiritual man, with at least ten years of profession in the Congregation, who is at least forty years old, of balanced temperament, gentle and understanding of spirit, faithful and loving of the superiors, with a practical sense, and whose capacity of reserve, discretion, prudence and sensitivity are well-proven and recognized.” If this requirement was fulfilled (the term is for 12 years), there will be records of it, which the apostolic visitators to the Legion of Christ will surely want to study.

2) Did the Legion’s general chapters ever actually appoint a priest to fulfill this constitutionally mandated role as moderator of Father Maciel’s activities? If so, who was he (they), when was he appointed, and what were his findings? Presumably, the Church’s apostolic visitation process will, in due course, obtain and evaluate any documents that pertain to the issue of the monitor of the general director.

3) If the Legion did in fact observe this requirement, then how did the moderator fulfill his mandate to moderate, as the order’s regulations stipulate, “all things related to the spiritual perfection and personal obligations of the director general, dialoguing with him about these things . . . [and to] concern himself with external aspects of the life of the director general, such as his dress, his diet, and his expenditures”? What, if anything, did he report about this?

Clearly, the frauds perpetrated by Fr. Maciel against the members of his own religious order, as well as the Church, his victims, etc., involved activities that would have, should have, could have been observed — and, one would assume, reported — by a genuinely dedicated, sagacious, honest, man of probity who had been formally entrusted with the task of “moderating” the general director.

So, again, it must be asked: Was there ever such a moderator? And if so, who was he? And if no one was ever appointed to this position, why wasn’t it done?

If there was such a moderator, and if he performed his duties to observe Father Maciel’s personal life and give advice or admonishment based on what he observed, did he report what must have been an endless series of strange anomalies in the director’s travels, activities, and personal habits? If he reported them to the general chapter, why was no action ever taken?

After all, the general impression given is that everyone in the Legion — everyone — was caught completely by surprise when the scandal revelations began tumbling out. No one seems to have had even the slightest inkling of what this man was doing in his free time.

One section of the dossier I mention above, goes to the very heart of the sickness of secrecy at work here. It reads:

576. If the person chosen for this post [of moderator] exposes or criticizes aspects of the life of the director general, he should be removed from his post. In such a case, the council general, at the request of the director general, shall proceed to appoint, by deliberative vote, another to take his place, from a group of three proposed by the director general.

In other words, the Legion’s internal laws required that a moderator be appointed to watch closely over Father Maciel’s personal life — something that, if it had been carried out according to the LC constitutions, could have spared the Legion, Regnum Christi, and the Church as a whole all the Maciel-induced misery this scandal has engendered.

But those same laws stipulate that if the moderator were to “expose or criticize” any problems he might find, he would be summarily canned.

Huh? Given the Sword-of-Damocles position into which the constitutions encumber the moderator, what good could he be to the order? What beneficial purpose could he serve?

This disjunction in the LC constitutons would seem to explain why the official Legionary requirement of putting such a moderator in place may simply have been ignored. But if it was not ignored, and the order’s general chapter did, in fact, appoint a priest to do what the constitutions call for, then let’s hope that the appropriate apostolic visitator will have ample opportunity to discuss this issue in detail with that man.

(Read more of my previous commentary on this issue.)


New Allegations Against Fr. Marcial Maciel Surface in Mexican Press

August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog



The left-leaning Mexican daily newspaper,
La Jornada, is reporting an explosive new set of paternity allegations against the late Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

Earlier this year, the religious order was rocked to its foundations by revelations of its founder’s fraudulent double life (see my February 3, 2009 commentary on this). New allegations surfaced today in a La Jornada article, which I have translated from the original Spanish and excerpted below:

Three More Children of Marcial Maciel Claim Inheritance Rights

Mexican lawyer José Bonilla Sada has made it known that three [additional] children, born in Mexico, will contest the Legionaries of Christ [claiming] that they should recognize their existence and their rights as heirs to the goods of the religious order’s founder.

The litigant, who has as his assistant one Joaquín Aguilar — a victim of sexual abuse committed by ex-priest Nicholas Aguilar — said that he is confident that there is sufficient proof to demonstrate that even the late Pope John Paul II, along with the Legion, knew of the existence of Maciel’s three other children, now adults, who were legally recognized by their father but whose names will be kept confidential.

Some months ago, the order founded by the late priest, [who was] accused of sexual abuse against minors, admitted the existence of one of his daughters. Her name, according to Bonilla’s account on his blog http://conlajusticia.wordpress.com, is Norma Hilda. She lives in Madrid, Spain, where, along with her mother of the same name, she obtained a non-work related residence visa.

Originally from Guerrero [Mexico], she is approximately 23 years old and maintains a comfortable lifestyle level, such that she does not have to work; she lives in a luxury apartment building and also has other income [rents] from the same building in which she lives. They were acquired by Marcial Maciel with money from benefactors of the congregation.

It was precisely because of this blog that the late priest’s three children contacted José Bonilla to represent them; after which they furnished him with a series of documents that verify their relationship to Maciel: photographs showing that they had met with John Paul II, all kinds of letters, and recordings of high-level leaders in the Legion of Christ discussing this issue.

The litigant maintains that the calligraphic [i.e., handwriting] evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that the letters were written by Maciel’s own hand, and that his children can be subjected to DNA testing to demonstrate their blood relationship [with him].

At present, the lawyer is studying [the evidence] and composing a civil law suit, in which it would be determined that his clients have inheritance rights, although he admits that before coming to that point he hopes to reach a settlement with the Legion of Christ.

“I suppose,” said Bonilla, “that he [Maciel] did leave them money. Our team is working on this, and some informants have have told us that it is a significant amount. One must remember that the Legion surrounded and was for [i.e. at the disposal of] the founder; practically speaking, everything was his.

He indicated that the deceased [priest's] children seek their existence be acknowledged and, eventually, they are contemplating making known [publicly] the life they had at their father’s side, in the sense of how it developed, which is to say, what he counseled them, what he taught them, and that they have rights of inheritance. (link to original La Jornada article in Spanish)

Developing . . .

New Allegations Against Fr. Marcial Maciel Surface in Mexican Press

August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Fr. Maciel, Legionaries of Christ



The left-leaning Mexican daily newspaper,
La Jornada, is reporting an explosive new set of paternity allegations against the late Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

Earlier this year, the religious order was rocked to its foundations by revelations of its founder’s fraudulent double life (see my February 3, 2009 commentary on this). New allegations surfaced today in a La Jornada article, which I have translated from the original Spanish and excerpted below:

Three More Children of Marcial Maciel Claim Inheritance Rights

Mexican lawyer José Bonilla Sada has made it known that three [additional] children, born in Mexico, will contest the Legionaries of Christ [claiming] that they should recognize their existence and their rights as heirs to the goods of the religious order’s founder.

The litigant, who has as his assistant one Joaquín Aguilar — a victim of sexual abuse committed by ex-priest Nicholas Aguilar — said that he is confident that there is sufficient proof to demonstrate that even the late Pope John Paul II, along with the Legion, knew of the existence of Maciel’s three other children, now adults, who were legally recognized by their father but whose names will be kept confidential.

Some months ago, the order founded by the late priest, [who was] accused of sexual abuse against minors, admitted the existence of one of his daughters. Her name, according to Bonilla’s account on his blog http://conlajusticia.wordpress.com, is Norma Hilda. She lives in Madrid, Spain, where, along with her mother of the same name, she obtained a non-work related residence visa.

Originally from Guerrero [Mexico], she is approximately 23 years old and maintains a comfortable lifestyle level, such that she does not have to work; she lives in a luxury apartment building and also has other income [rents] from the same building in which she lives. They were acquired by Marcial Maciel with money from benefactors of the congregation.

It was precisely because of this blog that the late priest’s three children contacted José Bonilla to represent them; after which they furnished him with a series of documents that verify their relationship to Maciel: photographs showing that they had met with John Paul II, all kinds of letters, and recordings of high-level leaders in the Legion of Christ discussing this issue.

The litigant maintains that the calligraphic [i.e., handwriting] evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that the letters were written by Maciel’s own hand, and that his children can be subjected to DNA testing to demonstrate their blood relationship [with him].

At present, the lawyer is studying [the evidence] and composing a civil law suit, in which it would be determined that his clients have inheritance rights, although he admits that before coming to that point he hopes to reach a settlement with the Legion of Christ.

“I suppose,” said Bonilla, “that he [Maciel] did leave them money. Our team is working on this, and some informants have have told us that it is a significant amount. One must remember that the Legion surrounded and was for [i.e. at the disposal of] the founder; practically speaking, everything was his.

He indicated that the deceased [priest's] children seek their existence be acknowledged and, eventually, they are contemplating making known [publicly] the life they had at their father’s side, in the sense of how it developed, which is to say, what he counseled them, what he taught them, and that they have rights of inheritance. (link to original La Jornada article in Spanish)

Developing . . .

Father Maciel and His Thousand-Dollar Hams

July 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog


Journalist Jason Berry, a long-time nemesis of the disgraced, recently deceased Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, levels more unsavory accusations about the priest’s bizarre double life:


ROME — Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed five bishops from as many countries to investigate the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order founded in 1941 by the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest who is accused of sexually abusing young seminarians, and who left a grown daughter who was born out-of-wedlock.

Even after death, Maciel wields power through the influence he secured. While the American Catholic Church has been publicly battered by two decades of priest sexual abuse scandals that erupted in the press and devastated church finances with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on compensating victims and legal fees, the Maciel scandal has gone largely unnoticed by most of the American press.

There’s a reason: For decades, the Legion shunned the media while Maciel cultivated relationships with some of the most powerful, conservative Catholics in the world. He also forced his priests and seminarians to take vows never to criticize him, or any superior. The legion built a network of prep schools and an astonishing database of donors. In Maciel’s militant spirituality, Legionaries — and their wing of lay supporters, Regnum Christi — see themselves as saving the church from a corrupted world. Behind the silence he imposed, Maciel was corrupt — abusing seminarians and using money in ways that several past and present seminarians liken to bribery, in forging ties with church officials.

The silence Maciel imposed on his followers allowed Maciel to pursue a double life.

Maciel, who was born into a wealthy ranching family in Mexico, wooed cardinals and bishops with money, fine wines, $1,000 hams and even a new car — and in so doing secured support for his religious order inside the Roman Curia.

Now, as the investigating bishops, called “visitators” — from America, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Chile — begin travels for interviews in the order’s far-flung religious houses, two Vatican officials are in the Legion’s corner.

Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals and the former Secretary of State, and Franc Rode, the cardinal who oversees religious congregations, were both longtime al
lies of Maciel and strong supporters of the order today.

The issue facing Benedict has no precedent in modern church history: whether to dismantle a movement with a $650 million budget yet only about 700 priests and 2,500 seminarians, or to keep the brand name and try to reform an organization still run as a cult of personality to its founder. Excessive materialism and psychological coercion tactics continue Maciel’s legacy.

Two years ago Benedict abolished the “secret vows” by which each Legionary swore never to criticize Maciel or any superior, and to report any criticism to the leadership. The vows helped facilitate Maciel’s secret life of sexual plunder. . . . (continue reading)

Father Maciel and His Thousand-Dollar Hams

July 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel


Journalist Jason Berry, a long-time nemesis of the disgraced, recently deceased Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, levels more unsavory accusations about the priest’s bizarre double life:


ROME — Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed five bishops from as many countries to investigate the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order founded in 1941 by the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest who is accused of sexually abusing young seminarians, and who left a grown daughter who was born out-of-wedlock.

Even after death, Maciel wields power through the influence he secured. While the American Catholic Church has been publicly battered by two decades of priest sexual abuse scandals that erupted in the press and devastated church finances with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on compensating victims and legal fees, the Maciel scandal has gone largely unnoticed by most of the American press.

There’s a reason: For decades, the Legion shunned the media while Maciel cultivated relationships with some of the most powerful, conservative Catholics in the world. He also forced his priests and seminarians to take vows never to criticize him, or any superior. The legion built a network of prep schools and an astonishing database of donors. In Maciel’s militant spirituality, Legionaries — and their wing of lay supporters, Regnum Christi — see themselves as saving the church from a corrupted world. Behind the silence he imposed, Maciel was corrupt — abusing seminarians and using money in ways that several past and present seminarians liken to bribery, in forging ties with church officials.

The silence Maciel imposed on his followers allowed Maciel to pursue a double life.

Maciel, who was born into a wealthy ranching family in Mexico, wooed cardinals and bishops with money, fine wines, $1,000 hams and even a new car — and in so doing secured support for his religious order inside the Roman Curia.

Now, as the investigating bishops, called “visitators” — from America, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Chile — begin travels for interviews in the order’s far-flung religious houses, two Vatican officials are in the Legion’s corner.

Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals and the former Secretary of State, and Franc Rode, the cardinal who oversees religious congregations, were both longtime allies of Maciel and strong supporters of the order today.

The issue facing Benedict has no precedent in modern church history: whether to dismantle a movement with a $650 million budget yet only about 700 priests and 2,500 seminarians, or to keep the brand name and try to reform an organization still run as a cult of personality to its founder. Excessive materialism and psychological coercion tactics continue Maciel’s legacy.

Two years ago Benedict abolished the “secret vows” by which each Legionary swore never to criticize Maciel or any superior, and to report any criticism to the leadership. The vows helped facilitate Maciel’s secret life of sexual plunder. . . . (continue reading)

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