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May 18, 2006


Will Barrett

How will the NCR(egister) spin this one?

Will Barrett

I should have also added that this is profoundly sad news.


Good riddance. This guy used the full weight of his organization to silence his critics and his victims. I wonder what they'll do at this website now?


Before the mud really starts flying, does anyone have insight into the meaning of these lines from the article, "One cardinal who serves on the congregation told NCR that, in his view, the material left little doubt as to the validity of the charges, though he said he was less clear how Maciel understood what he had done. Under canon law, intent and state of mind are sometimes taken into consideration in meting out punishment." It seems to suggest a diminished mental state (illness/drug use) for Maciel.

Patrick Rothwell

That's what it sounds like to me, Ken. Also, if Maciel had scores of known subjects of his amorous designs, he could have had compulsions that he could not effectively control. Such compulsions would definitely play into a diminished state of mind. Of course, this is all speculation since we don't know what happened or why.

Barb N

This is ultimately a harmful course of action. By not treating Maciel the way any other abusive cleric would be treated, the authorities are leaving room for speculation about the certainty of their conclusions.

If a cleric abused children, he needs to be stripped of any authority, laicized, and then turned over to civil authorities for prosecution.

There can be no healing in the community while there is equivocation in this matter.

James Kabala

If the accusations are true, I think the Legionaries ought to be suppressed. Not every religious order was founded by a saint, but I don't know of any other that was founded by a monster. Useful things they have founded, like the National Catholic Register, can be continued, even under the same management, but the L of C name ought to be dropped.
Unless we're trying to argue that Maciel was insane in the Anglo-American legal sense of no longer knowing the difference between right and wrong, I don't believe there's such a thing as "compulsions he could not legally control." There can never be an excuse for sin, especially a "sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance."

Sean Gallagher

If the accusations are true, I think the Legionaries ought to be suppressed.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but this sounds a bit like guilt by association...

Mike Petrik

"St. Augustine said: 'God judged it better to bring good out of evil.'"

Even assuming the worst inferences being drawn regarding Fr. Maciel are true, I don't see how it logically follows that the L of C should be supressed.


Suppress the LofC? Isn't that a bit of an overreaction? Look, the LC has long been a bit of a mystery to me. I've known some LC priests, and despite liking them, I've seen aspects of their life that concerned me (mostly, things that I would chalk up to youthful exuberance leading to excessive pressure recruiting). But I don't know if this about Fr. Maciel is justification to suppress the order. Aside from their passionate defense of him (which I have nothing to suggest it was driven by anything other than love of their founder -- however blinded it might turn out to have been), has there been any suggestion that the problems are more widespread or systematic within the order? I haven't seen that -- the focuse was always on Fr. Maciel.

I mean, I wouldn't suppress the episcopacy just because at one point in time 80% of the world's bishops adhered to a heresy. I wouldn't suppress the papacy, because there have been bad popes. If there are reasons to suppress the order, ok, but is this really it?

Matt C. Abbott

Interestingly, I got wind several days ago that something was going on in regard to this case. Looks like the "wind" was at least somewhat correct...

James Kabala

I just think it's a practical matter. Every other religious order lionizes its founder. Either they're going to have to take an attitude of "We were founded in the 1950s; we can't admit by whom" or they're going to keep lionizing him unjustly. I think either one of those positions is unsustainable in the long run and ripe for mocking by enemies of the Church.

Tom Hoopes

If this is the beginning of definitive word from Rome, then it is the answer to prayers.


This is just a very sad thing...I've always thought there was something a little amiss about the group, but they certainly have many young people who love the Church...hopefully this event will usher in a springtime of renewal for the Legion and Regnum Christi, where they look at some of the problems in recruitment, formation and their statutes and clean them up a bit...they can certainly do a lot of good for the Church with the infrstracture they have put in place.


While I am saddened to read this, I think that we should not forget the VICTIMS in this. Diminished capacity or not, these individuals suffered at the hands of an abusive cleric. As to whether the L of C should be suppressed, I do not know. I do know that we should pray for the healing of the victims in this case, and, even pray for Maciel that he might know the depravity of his crimes and never abuse again.


Mike Petrik

I second Stephen's post.

And I agree with James that such a development would present a great practical challenge for the L of C.

International Harvester

Tom Hoopes: Which prayers are those?

Tony A

This is very good news indeed, and it would never have happened under John Paul. Note also that the United States bishops elevated by Benedict to the most important pope all have one thing in common-- an exemplary record on dealing with sexual abuse (Laveda, Wuerl). We are lucky to have this pope at this point in history. As for suppression, I don't think this is necessary, but I do think the LCs are finished.

Lee Podles

Benedict knows how much this will hurt the Legion and the thousands of faithful Catholics associated with it. He therefore must have had incontrovertible proof to move him to act against Maciel. If there were any doubt, Benedict would have refrained from causing such pain.

Benedict also acted against the fraudulent Gino Lastiri, who also founded a religious order. Benedict did not laicize him, because the church’s statute of limitations (prescription) had expired, but Benedict did not want anyone to think that Lastiri was innocent. I presume that is the same rationale for the action against Maciel; it falls short of laicization, but is a public indication that the Pope thinks Maciel is guilty.

No one should rejoice in this; it is a necessity that justice be done, and the victims are vindicated, but it is sad nonetheless.

Father Richard Neuhaus at First Things said he was morally certain of Maciel’s innocence. Does he now think that the Pope has made a grievous mistake? Such a papal action is of course not infallible, but it is hard to imagine Benedict’s acting unless the evidence forced him to act.


This makes no sense at all. If he's been found to be guilty, he should be laicized at the very least. If he's been found to be innocent, his name should be cleared. Either way, the "restrictions" are a scandal: either they poison his name and that of the Legionaries, or they add one more case to the big scandal. So I hope that either way, this is not the last Rome has to say in the matter.

Lee Podles

Canon law has both a statute of limitations and a provision that penalties must be reduced if the guilty party has diminished capacity (such as could be brought about by drug usage or mental illness).

While the Pope could act autocratically and violate canon law, and there would be no one to appeal to from his decision, popes do not really like to act autocratically, because it diminishes respect for canon law, and Benedict does not have an autocratic personality.


It doesn't seem accurate to me to say that the Vatican has "ruled" on the Maciel case. They have restricted his ministry. This has happened to him before where control of the LC was taken away from him for 3 years and he was proven innocent.

The NCR is presuming he is guilty.


I do hope there is more information forthcoming. As a Regnum Christi member, to me it is very serious. Personally, I would take this as I see it now, as a clear indicator that something is wrong. I do hope there is more clarity, but it doesn't look good and it is very, very sad as there are a lot of wonderful apostolates, schools, clubs, ministries, that may suffer because of this. But, those who want to serve Christ and His Church will be OK, because it is Christ we serve in the end, not Fr. Maciel. If I cannot build the kingdom as a member of Regnum Christi, that doesn't mean I will stop working.

God Bless,


The LCs I know appear to be good and reverent. They do a lot of good work. But they do extend a lot of ... hyperdulia ... to their Founder, whom they call Nestro Padre. I've long been concerned about that, and their focus on recruitment. Again, they do good work and I have no problem with many of the disciplines they practice, similar to Opus Dei or some of the more traditional religious orders.

Suppression, no; reform, perhaps.

If we're going to suppress someone, let's suppress the Jesuits, whom the LCs appear to be emulating and improving upon.

scotch meg

God bless you, Nicole. The key is what you stated: "it is Christ we serve in the end, not Fr. Maciel". I hope all the good work continues, whether under the names of L of C and Regnum Christi or otherwise, and all the workers share your attitude.

Mike Petrik

"[I]t is Christ we serve in the end, not Fr. Maciel."

I know quite a few RC members, and I would say that each and every one of them would agree with Nicole's statement.

joe strummer

How long till Andy the Albigensian goes hissy about this? I give it 10 more minutes.

(I mean Sullivan..duh)

Mary Alexander

Unfortunately when a founder of a religious order has problems such as these, he often recruits similar men, tolerates their nefarious activities and the cycle of abuse is perpetuated. I know of at least one young man who left their minor seminary and never seems to have recovered from that experience. He is currently living an immoral lifestyle in NYC with a much older man. Very, very sad indeed.

Anyone remember the Society of St. John in Scranton, PA? When the roots are rotten the tree has to be cut down and I'm extremely sorry for the good Catholics who will be hurt by this but if the LC priests are good and as obedient as they say, they should be able to be incardinated in dioceses that need them. Maybe then they can spend more time and energy in pastoral ministry and less in fundraising. I can only think they would be excellent in diocesan vocations offices.


I only want to add my voice. God bless you, Nicole, and all who think as you do.

As for this response to the accusations against Fr. Maciel, it seems obvious that where there was smoke there was certainly some fire.

I'm hoping that the victims were adequately assisted both financially and spiritually. The clerical mindset, unfortunately, tends to focus on - surprise! - clerics, and the just (or, merciful) treatment of clerics, and sometimes the victims get lost in the shuffle. Hope that didn't happen here.



God bless you and all fellow RC members. This must be very difficult for all of you, and I commend your clarity of vision.

On the face of things, it certainly seems like suppressing the LC would be akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Tim F.

Did you folks fail to see this in the article?

"Vatican sources stressed that the action against Maciel should not be read as an indictment of the Legionaries of Christ or its lay branch, Regnum Christi."

I'm not LC or RC by the way.

Patrick Rothwell

"As for this response to the accusations against Fr. Maciel, it seems obvious that where there was smoke there was certainly some fire."

No way, Jose. There was lots of smoke in the Little Rascals case. No fire. Reportedly, there are occasionally multiple accusations of abuse against priests, none of which are substantiated. An accusation of sexual abuse is not self-authenticating.

I do, however, agree with Lee Podles that Benedict would not have acted unless he were morally certain that at least some of the charges against Maciel were true.

joe strummer

I'm sorry, but barring a dramatic turn of events, the LC are caput as an institution. Sad but true.

thomas tucker

I don't think that's true at all. They have a new leader, and are a vibrant community.


I think we should wait to read what the Holy See has to say, if anything. I'm always wary of "anonymous" Prelates who won't put a name behind their whispers. This Cardinal's interpretation is his own. Padre Pio's ministry was also restricted, and he was certainly no child abuser.


I do, however, agree with Lee Podles that Benedict would not have acted unless he were morally certain that at least some of the charges against Maciel were true.

That's all I was trying to say, Patrick. Accusations are just that, but I don't believe this action would have been taken if there was absolutely nothing to them.

thomas tucker

ALthough, having said that and despite having some very good friends who are in RC, I don't much see the point of it. As a diocesan priest frined of min says- all you really need to do is say your daily prayers, receive the sacraments, and do good deeds. Some people seem to need to belong to a group or community to inspire them to do those things. I don't, and to each his own. But, for those who do, they seem to get a lot out of being involved with RC; they will continue and will thrive despite the misdeeds of their founder. I also have reservations about LC- I agree that they seem to spend a lot of time fundraising and to what end I'm not sure. It almost seems like a vicious circle- raising funds to train more priests to raise more funds etc. But again, that's my viewpoint, and I have friends who find it spiritually gratifying.

Patrick Rothwell

I got ya, Adam. Nevermind then.


Margaret Anna Cusack, the Nun of Kenmare, founded a religious order then left it to become an anti-Catholic lecturer. The order survived just fine (though they did write her out of their history and treat her successor as the foundress). Since the early 70s they "rediscovered" her as a role model, & I suspect they are now busily suppressing themselves in the usual liberal-suicide manner.


You people are jumping to conclusions. I don't care what John Allen's "sources" at the Vatican say. Are these the same sources that told Allen that the Vatican was going to change its teaching on condoms or that the Vatican was going to allow gays to be ordained if they were celibate for 3 years?



Where are you getting this from?

"I do, however, agree with Lee Podles that Benedict would not have acted unless he were morally certain that at least some of the charges against Maciel were true"

I haven't been able to find any comment from Lee Podles.


BK...Sandro Magister has been writing about this for some time also, and his sources are quite good as well. I suspect he will be writing about it tomorrow. Certainly if it is not true than the Legionaries will say so very quickly on their website.

There certainly was a cult of personality within the Legion and RC...that isn't healthy regardless if it is Maciel or Mother Teresa. Although this is terrible news for the Church and the Legion, I think we will see some very good things happen as a result.

Patrick Rothwell


He's up there. Just look around.


I think the best thing perhaps would be for the Pope to dissolve the LC and reinstitute it under a new founder, a new name, and perhaps new rules. Then the new order would not have the albatross of a guilty founder hanging around its neck.

As to punishment for Maciel, it should be remembered that handing him over to the secular authorities for punishment is a moot point, probably, since the civil statutes of limitations have presumably expired. He has basically been stripped of his ministry. Laicizing him doesn't really add anything to the punishment. There is really not much more they can really do to him.

An order cannot flourish in the long run if its founder was such a notorious person. Every order looks to its founder as a spiritual guide. To leave the LC with its present name and constitution would surely doom it. Better to refound it. Then there is no reason it could not flourish even more than it has.



Ah... thanks. Assumed it was external.

Gerald Augustinus

Fr. Marcial wasn't accused of child abuse but rather of homosexual relations with seminarians, no?


BK, Maybe it was the sources that said a major liturgy document was coming down during Holy Week.

And if I remember correctly he was almost spot on with his predictions of the homosexuals in the priesthood document.

Mike Petrik

"Fr. Marcial wasn't accused of child abuse but rather of homosexual relations with seminarians, no?"

That is my understanding.


err . . . make that "BK, Maybe it was the sources that said a major liturgy document *WASN'T* coming down during Holy Week."


Why do some people seriously think that denying reality (by pretending that Fr. Maciel wasn't the founder of the LC) would solve anything? Some of the people on here may be right in their conclusion that an order can't survive with a tainted founder. I don't get that, but ok. But that it will survive by telling lies to itself about its own history? Come on.

To Thomas Tucker: all I would say is that I suspect you have the same needs as anyone who joins a lay movement with regard to help in living the Christian life. Your needs are just met through a different element of the Church's life. Fabulous! But I don't see what's so confusing or perplexing about what motivates Christians to come together and share their lives with one another.


The rank and file of LC and RC are wonderful, well-meaning, sincere Catholics. No one means to infer that they are complicit in anything untoward. But these charges have been circulating for decades. The very fact that over 100 people were deposed and that the Vatican has acted indicates that there is something to the charges. Older priests are rarely laicised, so the protocols are being followed. I know the CDF doesn't want to scandalise the faithful, but they cannot let the injustice to the many victims remain. This is a tragedy, and will confuse many. But if the members of the Movement will trust the Magisterium, even when it conflicts with their zealous support of their founder, then all will be well. If the Register will also report this fairly and fully, it will indicate that the Movement can outlast this event. If it cannot, that will indicate that transparency is not possible, and that will not bode will for the Legion.

Lee Podles

For how Benedict handled the case of Brother Gino (last name Buressi,my mistake), see

Woody Jones

As Her Honor and I go to the Holy Land with the Legion next week, and from there to Rome for the meeting of the ecclesial movements with the Pope, it will be a greater honor than ever for me, as a member of Regnum Christi (Her Honor is still a Prot, but you never know) to assist at the RC gathering with our General Director on Friday night and the ordination of new young Legionary deacons on Saturday; then First Vespers of Pentecost with the Holy Father and the Movement (and the other movements) in St Peter's Square, and the same for Mass the next day.

At this special time, please be assured that I will be praying for you all, and I ask your prayers for us as well.

All the best,

thomas tucker

Jack- when you put it the way you did, it's perfectly understandable that some people would enjoy RC. I'm not much of a joiner.

chris K

That case against Padre Pio:

the saintly monk was condemned by five different decrees coming from the Holy Office, in Rome:

A first campaign against Padre Pio was launched in 1919, not even a year after he had received the visible stigmata of the passion of Our Lord in his flesh. It came from a group of canons from the area of San Giovanni Rotondo. The most insinuating accusations against the Padre were spread all over the region. For example, it was said that Padre Pio was pouring nitric acid on his wounds, in order to produce fake stigmata, and that he was using perfume to fool the people with so-called heavenly odours, while really he was possessed by the devil. Such calumnies were willingly forwarded to Rome by Archbishop Gagliardi, the bishop of the diocese to whom belongs San Giovanni Rotondo. Archbishop Gagliardi actually became Padre Pio's worst enemy. From 1923 through 1931, the saintly monk was condemned by five different decrees coming from the Holy Office, in Rome. From the very start, the faithful were warned to stay away from Padre Pio. Then, to make sure people would stay away from Padre Pio, he was forbidden to say Mass in public. Faithful were not allowed to see or to write to the Padre. Now, who were the people who were persecuting Padre Pio? Let me remind you that the leader of that campaign against Padre Pio was Archbishop Gagliardi, a man whose personal life was unworthy of such a high office. It has now been proved that Archbishop Gagliardi had a few affairs with some women, while he was bishop of his diocese, and that he managed to get Rome to condemn two priests of his diocese who had reported him to the Holy See.

An accomplice of Bishop Gagliardi was found in Mgr. Prencipe, parish priest of San Giovanni Rotondo, who was living common law. He was helped by a few other canons from the area whose main worry was to indulge themselves with the pleasures of life. As a result of these persecutions, Padre Pio was jailed for ten years in his convent's cell, from 1923 to 1933. One can report that, while Pope Benedict XV was always an advocate of Padre Pio, it was under Pope Pius XI that the Blessed Pio was condemned by the Holy Office. The affairs of the government of the Church, along with the worries coming from the international situation (growth of Communism in Russia, persecution of the Christeros in Mexico, civil war in Spain, and the emergence of Hitler in Germany); all these worries did not allow Pope Pius XI to look personally after the case of Padre Pio.

The Pope relied on the reports that were sent to him by the bishop of the diocese to whom belonged San Giovanni Rotondo, and that bishop was Archbishop Gagliardi. How did such a persecution end in 1933? Here, we can thank the friends of Padre Pio, in particular Emmanuele Brunatto, his first convert for the good work done in defense of the virtues of Padre Pio. Brunetto made a thorough inquiry, and published it in 1926: precise names, places and dates were brought up to denounce the slanderers. But the Holy Office was compromised. It was left with a dilemma: to strike a humble monk who was spending his life in prayer, or fight against an Archbishop leading a gang of canons. That is why, in spite of the hard work of Brunatto, it took so long for the Holy Office to rehabilitate Padre Pio. Finally justice was made, and the slanderers got punished. In the summer of 1933, the Holy Office canceled its previous decrees, and Padre Pio was Office canceled its previous decrees, and Padre Pio was able to say Mass in public.


Looks like the details will be forthcoming tomorrow:



Chris K: what is the point here? Why does anyone pursue sex abuse complaints or adhere to Vatican decrees? If the response to these accusations is to cite Padre Pio, then there's no point in any of this. Why don't all priests accused in the priest scandal just cite Padre Pio and we can call it a day.

The Legion prides itself on total support of the Pope. Now the pope has chastised their founder -- are they going to submit, or say that the Vatican has been wrong in the past?

For a quick answer, the Legion is denying that the limitations have been placed on MM. Zenit is ignoring it.


As we all know there has been a book out from former legionnaire seminarians detailing this. The evidence has always been quite strong and compelling. Which makes one wonder what these so-called leaders are thinking. http://www.legionaryfacts.org/WmBennett.html

Henry Kelly

Mike Petrik

I've read Maciel told the boys he had a papal

chris K

Chris K: what is the point here?

Well, Giselle, because, as yourself, others are free to comment on or to further explain something that has already been mentioned in comments. So you may check above to the reference of the persecution of P. Pio upon which I simply clarified. Got a problem? If so, you'd run a very constrictred and narrow blog. I wasn't aware that you had all the facts on referenced Church history...or for that fact, all of the facts that simply pertain to this post. Congratulations! Perhaps others than yourself just might be interested.



How do you know that the Legion is denying this?


Quoting Catholic News Agency:

Jim Fair, spokesperson of the Legionaries of Christ, told CNA today, that this was “just more speculation.” on an a long list of attacks against the Legionaries and its founder.


Chris: If I came across as catty and know-it-all which would justify your rebuke, I am terribly sorry.

Tony A

What I want to know is how the usual suspects who defended Maciel over the years are reacting to this? Neuhaus? Donohue? Weigel? Bennett?


One, faceless, nameless "official" whispers in John Allen's ear (sometimes correct, sometimes not) and JA publishes it as Gospel. Great. Freedom of the Press and not to mention salacious entertainment. I read his column for entertainment. It is hardly "hard" news, just Roman gossip mostly.

Then several well read blogs link to this article based on a whispered, nameless, faceless comment and apparently 60+ posters here and lesser blogs there have the whole story with a Giselle inspired conspiracy subplot involving another news agency that has yet to publish a link to a whispered, nameless, faceless source twice removed. CNS and the Boston Globe pick up the same story from the same source and repeat using about 100 words.

The Vatican has said nothing. Responsible news organizations should do the same. Right now there is nothing to say except to repeat second hand, nameless, faceless commentary.

Findings and official acts such as this are published for the good of the faithful. At least that was the case with Fr. Gino. When and if it is published, we can all chime in on suppression of the LCs, banning of the RCs, compare and contrast the experiences P.Pio and Fr. Maciel, re-writing history, how the penalty was too light, harsh and the grand LC-RC conspiracy that is a cottage industry for some.

Right now, all we really know is that the same guy who GOT IT WRONG on condoms and the Vatican and GOT IT WRONG on some Easter Liturgy document (going back just one month) somehow has it perfectly right here. And we wonder how DVC is so successful and believable to many. Even Dan Brown has more references than this article.

A meditation on CCC 2477 should be done before further posting on this issue.

It matters nothing to me if Allen and NCR are right or wrong or if Fr. Maciel is guilty or not, these things I do not know and I do not have access to the evidence. I trust that those responsible to judge (here speaking of the Pope) will do their jobs well and under the protection of the Holy Spirit. But the mob mentality and the rumor and innuendo fueled links all with the same genesis is uncharitable at best and sinful at worst.

Just imagine defending your participation in this fiasco in front of Christ.



You know what, I'm stressed but I'm a little peeved. It's the year 2006, why can't the Vatican announce whatever it is? Why the article about a coming announcement? Surely they can't blame it on just being the slow Vatican. Clearly in a case like this, when it involved a person's reputation and other people's hearts and life's work, they could be more proactive.

I know, hahahahaha,


According to Allen, restrictions have already been imposed upon Maciel. This is news and fair game for reporting. The universal indult and condom report stories were speculation about future events, which speculation turned out to be apparently untrue (in the condom case) or either untrue or wrong as to timing (in the universal indult case). This story is different. Allen is reporting something that has happened and comments about what has happened. This is not a rumor about future possibilities. It's reporting by John Allen. We'll see how good his sources are, whether they are lying or not, but the moral principles involved here are those that deal with lying (which either did or did not happen), not detraction.

If the Vatican can issue a statement about it, why can't Allen report on it? Is no negative news allowed? Why does Allen have to wait for the Vatican to release a story? He's a grown-up. He can make his own prudential judgments about his sources. And we can make our own prudential judgments about his stories. And, we can act on those prudential judgments by discussing the ramifications of stories that we accept.

I'm so sick of people yelling "Detraction!" to mao-mao the rest of us out of interesting and at times fruitful conversations about the state of our Church.


"Just imagine defending your participation in this fiasco in front of Christ."

Like any mother with righteous anger, I would defend my work to the hilt. I cannot tell you how many broken families and scandalised children have accrued because of the slow response of the Vatican. I love Holy Mother Church dearly, but I also love those severely harmed by this group and want it to end.

I cannot ask you to share my anger if all you see is fruit. But perhaps there's more to it than what reaches the pages of the Register...


Charles said:
If the Vatican can issue a statement about it, why can't Allen report on it? Is no negative news allowed?

Did the Vatican issue a statement? Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with Allen reporting it but I do think it is ridiculous that the Vatican can't 'scoop' John Allen and release their statement first. Maybe that happened. If so, can someone direct me to the Vatican's statement?



"But perhaps there's more to it than what reaches the pages of the Register..."

"The Legion prides itself on total support of the Pope. Now the pope has chastised their founder -- are they going to submit, or say that the Vatican has been wrong in the past?"

Well said, Giselle.

Mike Petrik

Henry Kelly:

Mike Petrik
I've read Maciel told the boys he had a papal

Henry, I'm honestly puzzled by the point of your post directed toward me.


Right now, all we really know is that the same guy who . . . GOT IT WRONG on some Easter Liturgy document

What are you talking about? Wasn't it every other Catholic news agency that was reporting a likely Universal Tridentine Mass indult while Allen said it wasn't likely?


Why kill the messenger? Sandro Magister appears to be getting ready for an announcement on Maciel, which news sources believe may come on Friday. Go to his site http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=31208&eng=y and see the long post dated May 19, 2006 but reproducing something he wrote in May of 2005.

Apparently, the most serious charge is the absolution of his accomplices, something for which there is no statue of limitations in canon law.

The seminarians abused were as young as 10 years old. He told them that he had permission from the Pope to have sexual relations in oder to relieve a stomach aliment. Pretty sick.

His own background is suspect. Thrown out of two seminaries and then ordained at an age younger than most priests by his uncle who was a bishop. The offical LC line is that he was thrown out of the seminary because he wanted to found the LC and his superiors opposed him. The pattern of defense is the same as with the charges of sexual abuse: conspiracy theory.

In my opinion this is good news because the victims will be able to begin healing and the LC will have a lower profile in Rome. Benedict isn't so starry-eyed over them as John Paul was. The fact that he is acting on this indicates that the LC will not have the favor of the Pope as they had previously.

One interesting this will be to watch Mary Ann Glendon, George Weigel, John Neuhaus, and William Bennett eat their words of exoneration and praise on the propaganda site set up by the LC to vindicate Maciel.


Charlie, I don't see any evidence that Magister is planning any new story. I think that date of "May 19, 2006" is just automatically generated because we're calling up the page today. Try this link to a totally different story and you'll see what I mean:

And if you go to the main page, there's nothing there about Maciel, LC, etc. (That's as of 10:25 p.m. Eastern time.)


If an announcement does come tomorrow, it will be a nice coincidence, or maybe a media-savvy touch: drop the bad-news announcement on a day when the press, including religion reporters, are busy with something completely unrelated.


I guess we can all agree that this is huge. Before this the word was that Rome agreed with the accusations but thought it should be suppressed for the greater good, as wrong as that may seem. The ensuing weeks will be quite the thing.


If this *does* make the MSM reporting over the weekend, Ron Howard can watch the money roll in. "Okay, so maybe the Catholics didn't do *exactly* what it says in the movie, but, look! What they do is far, far worse!"


Interestingly, I got wind several days ago that something was going on in regard to this case. Looks like the "wind" was at least somewhat correct...

Matt C Abbott,

Wow, an unsubstantiated rumor of someone's failures actually got by you without being published for the world to see? What an improvement on your part! You'll learn that Christian charity thing yet.

David Cheney

The official declaration has been posted in this morning's Vatican Bollettino, in Italian, of course:

In riferimento a notizie diffuse circa la persona del Fondatore dei Legionari di Cristo, il Rev.do P. Marcial Maciel Degollado, la Sala Stampa della Santa Sede comunica quanto segue:

A partire dal 1998, la Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede ricevette accuse, già in parte rese pubbliche, contro il Rev.do Marcial Maciel Degollado, fondatore della Congregazione dei Legionari di Cristo, per delitti riservati all’esclusiva competenza del Dicastero. Nel 2002, il Rev.do Maciel pubblicò una dichiarazione per negare le accuse e per esprimere il suo dispiacere per l’offesa recatagli da alcuni ex Legionari di Cristo. Nel 2005, per motivi di età avanzata, il Rev.do Maciel si ritirò dall’ufficio di Superiore Generale della Congregazione dei Legionari di Cristo.

Tutti questi elementi sono stati oggetto di maturo esame da parte della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, e, a norma del Motu Proprio "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela" promulgato il 30 aprile 2001 dal Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II, l’allora Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, Sua Eminenza il Cardinale Joseph Ratzinger, ha autorizzato una investigazione delle accuse. Nel frattempo avvenne la morte di Papa Giovanni Paolo II e l’elezione del Cardinale Ratzinger a nuovo Pontefice.

Dopo aver sottomesso le risultanze dell’investigazione ad attento studio, la Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, sotto la guida del nuovo Prefetto, Sua Eminenza il Cardinale William Levada, ha deciso - tenendo conto sia dell’età avanzata del Rev.do Maciel che della sua salute cagionevole - di rinunciare ad un processo canonico e di invitare il Padre ad una vita riservata di preghiera e di penitenza, rinunciando ad ogni ministero pubblico. Il Santo Padre ha approvato queste decisioni.

Indipendentemente dalla persona del Fondatore si riconosce con gratitudine il benemerito apostolato dei Legionari di Cristo e dell’Associazione Regnum Christi.

Tim Ferguson

That's going to leave those wanting secular-style justice mightily unsatisfied. No trial means ultimately no judicial vindication for the accusers. It means a certain limbo - did he or didn't he? - for both sides. The imposition of these penal sanctions will be seen by some as a mere slap on the wrist and by the defenders of Maciel as proof that sufficient evidence couldn't be found to substantiate the allegations, neither of which is true. The Church's penal system is in place no so much to provide vindication for the accusers or the accused, but to move both parties closer to redemption. The restrictions placed on Fr. Maciel's ministry and the invitation to a life of prayer and penance are an attempt to let the accusers know that the Church considers their grievances very seriously and sufficiently probable to require the accused to repent. At the same time, they are imposed to inspire true repentance on the part of Fr. Maciel, in the hopes of his salvation. A harsher penalty - dismissal from the clerical state? excommunication? - would likely not have the same salubrious effect, and should not be imposed because of Fr. Maciel's diminished capacity at this point. If indeed he is innocent, the humiliation will still serve to assist his redemption by making him walk in the steps of his falsely-accused Master.

Bl. Henry Suso, falsely accused of sexual impropriety, pray for us all.

chris K

Wow! Looks like once Levada got in there Rome has adopted the swift American protocol. Suppose that's what former C. Ratzinger had in mind...


Folks, after a little head-scratching and a lot of prayer, I see that this statement is brilliant. Benedict is a genius (or perhaps the Holy Spirit who guides... :-) The Legionaries have lost the wind in their sails, and every person, every apostolate is purified. Now, all action can ONLY be for the benefit of Holy Mother Church, not the glory of the Legion. All "cult of personality" is stripped, and yet the authentic fruit remains. Now all will see over the coming five years or so what fruit was authentic. The schools are built, the seminaries are full, and the channels of evangelisation exist (no matter what the inital incentive). Now they will flourish for Christ, or they will lose their driving force: and all will know. Bully for Benedict.

Richard W. Comerford

John Allen is perhaps the best reporter of the Vatican scene in the world today. His writing is superb. His sources are excellent. As evidenced by his latest book on Opus Dei he does not have ideological axes to grind.

However...Rome has not yet spoken on this matter.

God bless all

Richard W. Comerford

Richard W. Comerford

Coomunication from the Vatican on this matter

In reference to the news in circulation about the person of the Founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Rev. Fr. Marciel Maciel Degollado, the Holy See Press Office communicates the following:

From 1998 onward, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, some of which are already public, against the Rev. Marciel Maciel Degollado, founder of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, for delicts reserved to the exclusive competence of the Dicastery. In 2002, Rev. Maciel published a declaration to deny the accusations and to express his displeasure for the offense offered him from some former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, for reasons of advanced age, the Rev. Maciel retired from the office of Superior General of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

All these elements were the object of mature examination on the part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and, according to the norm of the Motu Proprio "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela" promulgated on 30 April 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II, the one-time Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, His Eminence Joseph Card. Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, there occurred the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the new Pontiff.

After having submitted the results of the investigation to close study, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the direction of the new Prefect, His Eminence William Card. Levada, has decided, taking into consideration the advanced age of the Rev. Maciel as well as his compromised health - to renounced a canonical process and to invite Father to live a life reserved to prayer and penance, renouncing any kind of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.

Independent of the person of the Founder, the well-deserved apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association Regnum Christi is recognized with gratitude.

God bless

Richard W. Comerford

Richard W. Comerford

The above is taken from Father "Z"'s site.

In my opinion it does not end the controversey. It will only intensify it.

God bless

Richard W. Comerford


After reading the response from the Legion website, I am just appaled. The Legion and his present leaders are just similar to the Neo-Catechumen movement that were told by the Vatican, not long ago to change their way of doing. They haven't. The Legion portrays Fr. Maciel as a martyr. He is not. Our beloved Pope said it: he is a pedophile.He should repent.

I was a RC member for 9 years, a true follower of Fr. Maciel, until 2 years ago, until I met the victims of Fr. Maciel. There was no doubt in my mind then that they were telling the truth. While I was in Regnum Christi, the victims were protrayed by the Legion as idiots, and as having recanted their stories, etc. The truth was always hidden from us. Even the Legionaries, after some accusations became public, were always told "not to talk about it" among themselves. I am afraid the present leaders are no better than the one that was just removed by the Holy See.

A lot of good people are in Regnum Christi, but many have been duped into believing that their work, their "vocation as RC people" to use the Regnum Christi's jargon, was for the Kingdom. It is/was only for the Glory of Fr. Maciel and the Legion.
I hope Giselle is right when she says that now Regnum Christi will blossom for the sake of the true Kingdom of God. However, I am afraid many people will be hurt by the fact that Fr. Maciel duped them.


I think we should cut this guy a break. Lil boys are pretty cute and I want to take them all to go see the Da Vinci Code.

Henry Kelly

Mike Petrik:

Sorry for the incoherence of my remark...

Your having used the word "seminarian" for Maciel' alleged victims bears the impression, for me, that you thought of them as young men as they are in the U.S. But a number of them were boys of about 12 years of age...who claim that he gave them this justification for his queer proposals.

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