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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    Legionaries founder Maciel fathered children, internal investigation reveals

    Welcome, Daily Dish readers - my latest coverage of Legionary founder Marcial Maciel is available here on one page - or scroll down this page for the original story.

    {update 3: Canon Lawyer Edward Peters on what won't, should and could happen to the LCs}

    {update 2: the New York Times has picked-up this story, adding confirmation to this report}

    {update 1: see also my follow-up post: "Legionary reaction to Maciel revelations adequate?"}

    {original story, 9AM EST:}
    Reports of this story have been circulating for several days now, and some figures have even made a veiled mention of its imminent publication.
    They involve new revelations of misconduct by the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel.
    I'm now receiving multiple confirmations that members of the Legionaries of Christ and its lay branch Regnum Christi are being informed of the findings in their private meetings this week.


    Like it or not, the news is quickly becoming public.

    The Ex LC Blog is claiming that Marcial Maciel is being renounced as the spiritual founder of the Legionaries of Christ, at least in some chapters, due to recent details that have emerged as the result of an internal investigation by the Legionaries {update - this claim is now disputed, of Maciel being "renounced as the spiritual founder, the allegations of misconduct have been confirmed}:

    Today, Fr. Scott Reilly, LC, Territorial Director in Atlanta, Georgia, announced to all those who work in the Territorial Direction of the Legion of Christ, that Marcial Maciel had a mistress, fathered at least one child, and lived a double life. For this reason, the Legion is renouncing him as their spiritual founder.

    Life after LC provides a more comprehensive picture:

    Rumblings began last week about how the Legionaries were gathered in bits and bobs to inform them that the founder was indeed guilty of "certain accusations." The rank and file were told in various places -- some on retreat, others in special meetings. There are some consistent details about the Official Explanation that are trickling in:

    1) Maciel fathered a child who is now in her early 20's;
    2) Maciel offered some money illicitly to his own family;
    3) The current head, Alvaro Corcuera, entertaining his own suspicions, demanded that the case be reopened several years ago;
    4) The health of the Legion depends on denouncing him as founder and moving on.

    I have heard more details in addition (a second child, etc), but in this situation, I tend to think we've already learned enough to make an evaluation. Anything further is simply prurient interest.
    Suffice it to say that Pope Benedict's disciplinary actions against Maciel and interventions in Legionary practice were fully justified, and that the Legionaries of Christ have some hard decisions to make with regards to how they respond to this crisis concerning the founder. The eyes of the world are on them, and the prayers of the universal Church are with them. It is somewhat encouraging to see that the current head of the LC's personally saw to it that a thorough investigation took place. Now let's hope they follow through on their discoveries.

    Other points to consider:
    • There are many good and holy Legionary priests. I have been privileged to know several. The sins of the founder ought never be visited upon their heads, ever. Similarly, the Legionaries of Christ serve the Church in many important ways, these good things they have done must never be ignored.
    • People who entered the Church through contact with the Legionaries of Christ or Regnum Christi, or whose faith life is closely identifiable with the movement, ought not to have their faith in the one true Church of Christ be shaken by the personal faults and failings of Marcial Maciel.
    • However .... there remains a serious charge to be made about how the Legion has handled the allegations of misconduct against Maciel up to this point. Something along the lines of renouncing Maciel as their spiritual founder or perhaps spiritually "re-founding" the order might well be the appropriate response. For a start.
    Related AmP posts from the archives (if you are unaware, I've been covering this for a long time):

    The mainstream media is sure to have a field day on this one. In this storm of coverage, we must not lose sight of our duty as brothers and sisters in Christ to support one another in prayer, and especially to reach out to those hurt and surprised by this news who are part of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi. In these situations we can often become confused and angered, but let us not miss this opportunity to perform spiritual and personal acts of mercy. In all this, a frank admission of the facts at hand are key to moving forward.

    I will be providing continuing coverage of this story as it develops, and will especially await the official response from the Legion.

    {Digg this story, if you want.}

    updates (most recent updates at top):

    • 4:00pm - a full work day after I broke this story, it's starting to get serious attention from other blogs. Rod Dreher weighs in, and notes the strong denial of these allegations that has come from some circles for a long time. Fr. James Martin, SJ, meanwhile speculates over on the America blog what it could mean for the Legionaries to renounce their founder: "It would be as if the Dominicans said, "We're through with St. Dominic."" (Well, Maciel ain't no St. Dominic...)
    • 3:45pm - CNA has managed to track down the Legionary spokesman, Mr. Jim Fair:

    “We’ve learned some things about our founder’s life that are surprising and difficult to understand,” Fair told CNA on Tuesday. "We can confirm that there are aspects of his life that weren’t appropriate for a Catholic priest." Jim Fair goes on to deny that the Legion will denounce Maciel. We'll wait and see about that one. And I agree with Life after RC that this is an inadequate, deeply troubling initial response which I blog about here.

    • 2:30pm - Tom Hoopes, editor of LC-owned National Catholic Register, in Amy's combox:

    "All I want to say is, I’m sorry. I want to say it here, because I defended Fr. Maciel here, and I need to be on the record regarding that defense: I’m sorry, to the victims, who were victims twice, the second time by calumny. I’m sorry, to the Church, which has been damaged. I’m sorry, to those I’ve misled. I did it unwittingly, but this isn’t a time for excuses.

    The Church gave me great, great good in Regnum Christi. The Church did bring justice, and did penalize this man. Thank God for the Church. I seek repentance and forgiveness, and I leave it at that."

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