Case re-opened for Legionaries founder

Case re-opened for Legionaries founder

The Vatican is re-opening the investigation into allegations against Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. He was accused of abusing several young men in Mexico decades ago. The cases were originally dismissed by the Vatican after what some have said was a perfunctory investigation.

I wonder why the case is being re-opened now and I wonder if it has anything to do with Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis ordering the LCs to keep off diocesan property a few weeks ago just after returning from his ad limina visit.

  • Whenever the new ecclesial communities are around, conflict with the local parish seems to be the result.

    My own experience with belonging to a parish where many parishioners were associated with such a movement was very negative.  We ended up with what amounted to two parishes in one church.  The infighting in the school was horrendous.

  • A LC spokesman who contacted me indicated that Archbishop Flynn’s decision was/is seemingly unrelated to the accusations against Maciel.  We’ll have to see what develops.

  • As the founder of the LC, Maciel may be a candidate for sainthood at some point.  It’s best to resolve any concerns about these charges now.

  • As a Traditionalist, I am ambivalent twards the LC and Opus Dei.  Quite frankley, I just don’t know enough about these organizations. I hear good and bad and accusations about both of them being “cults”.

    Quite honestly, I would be more interested in investigations of such figures and Joseph Cardinal Bernardine, Roger Cardinal Mahoney et al.  But I guess that these will never come to pass.

  • Correct, Charles, especially considering that the Vatican is steadily lessening investigation requirements before declarations of sainthood.

    Brian, the news media with be on Cdl Mahoney like flies on manure when they see some money in it.  Their loyalty to the LA machine is shallow compared to their need to make money as a business.  When/if it gets sensational enough, they’ll be there.

    I’m pretty sure it will be hard to know *all* about Cardinal Bernardin, but enough is known that no one with any brains wants to talk about him very much in public.  People have been threatened personally for pursuing that very far.  He was a very strange man with a very strange history.

  • Thank you for your post;

    For those interested in this matter I suggest:


    The author of the above cited article is no dummy.

    God bless


  • Fr. Neuhaus’s comments do not apply because this is not detraction. It is the Vatican that has decided to re-open the investigation and if the charges were so patently false, then there would be nothing to investigate.

    Also, I think Fr. Neuhaus’ conclusion in 2002 that the Scandal is much of a media put-up has been generally laid to rest.

  • Dom:

    Thank you for your post.

    Of course it is significant that the Vatican is reopening its investigation of Father Marcel – just as it investgated and reinvestagted, formally and informally accusations of purported misconduct made againt Ignatius, Dominic, Francis, Josemaria and Theresa – among others, in the past.

    What I found interesting in the Father Neuhaus article was that the Vatican removed Fr. Marcel from leadership of LC in the 1950’s due to allegations of misconduct. During that time period it investigated allegations of purported misconduct against Father Marcel for two years. The investigation included interviews under oath of all members of LC. The LC members interviewed under oath included those individuals who are now making the the allegations of purported misconduct against Father Marcel.

    Now, the accusations of purported sexual misconduct, according to the accusers, occurred before the Vatican investigation in the 1950’s.

    However the accusers in the 1950’s, under oath, swore that Father Marcel was not guilty of misconduct. Now 50-years later the same accusers swear under oath that Father Marcel is guilty of misconduct.

    Curious, is it not?

    God bless


  • Actually Richard2, it is not curious at all if you understand how the minds of boys and young men were formed by Maciel in the 40s and 50s and – truth be told – by other Religious Orders as well.

    Obedience to superiors was absolute, unquestioned and unquestionable. If a superior told you black was white, you were bound to accept it. An exaggeration? Yes – but not by much. So if a superior abused you and told you that it was okay or it was Denny Crane]]>
    2005-01-05 21:38:59
    2005-01-06 01:38:59
    Excellent question, sully. Perhaps it’s because Maciel is far closer to Diogenes’ theological beliefs and agenda than Bernardin was? After all, far too many people (whether religious or secular) view their loyalty to ideology as more important than truth. It’s not just the Michael Moores of the world who get bitten by that particular mosquito.

  • Dom:

    Thank you for your post. Forgive me; but I think Father Neuhaus in his 2002 article responds to your very valid points far better than I can:

    “It counts as evidence that opponents of Fr. Maciel and his work succeeded in having him removed from the governance of the Legion for more than two years in the 1950s. At that time he was charged with drug addiction and misrule of the order. The Vatican appointed four impartial “visitators” who lived with the Legionaries and interviewed every one of them privately and under oath. They were asked to state anything they knew to the detriment of Fr. Maciel’s leadership. Not once, not even once, was there any mention of sex abuse or anything related to it. Fr. Maciel was completely exonerated and, with high praise, restored to the leadership of the order by the Holy See. The accusers say they did not mention sex abuse at the time because it was a “taboo” subject and they were afraid of Fr. Maciel. The ringleaders who organized the 1990s campaign against Fr. Maciel, however, were not afraid to make other grave charges. Some had longstanding grievances arising from being removed from positions of trust in the order; all left the order under unhappy circumstances. The question of sex only came up later, when sexual abuse by priests was a topic of frenzied interest in the media and such a charge was viewed as lethal to a priestly reputation.”

    If I understand Father Neuhaus correctly the accusers in the 1950’s did discuss Legion matters with outsiders – to include allegations of purported drug abuse by Father Maciel; but they apparently forgot to mention the sex abuse in their sworn testimony with the Vatican visitors.

    Even more curiosu do you think?

    God bless.


  • Sully, Denny: If you’ve followed Diogenes’ or CWN/CWR’s writing at all, you’ll see that he and we have not spared any one because of their purported orthodoxy. In fact, some bishops and priests regarded with fawning admiration here among the St. Blog’s people have received harsh treatment at Diogenes’ hands.

    Just wait for him to gather his thoughts and write something, especially when there’s not a whole lot to say just yet other than that the investigation’s been re-opened.

  • Fine, Richard, but then why is the investigation re-opened. That’s my only point here. I don’t know much about the specifics of the allegations. I just find it curious that an investigation of allegations that were supposedly based on such flimsy testimony and that was supposedly concluded in Maciel’s favor several years ago is suddenly re-opened. Doesn’t anyone else find that to be strange?

  • ABC reporter Brian Ross said in 2002 that CDF laid aside the charges without asking the accusers for a statement. 

    He tells of trying to ambush the Cardinal on the street:

    The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the church, quietly made the lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation and the accusers weren’t asked a single question or asked for a statement.

    He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporter’s hand.

    “Come to me when the moment is given,” Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, “not yet.”

    Perhaps the Cardinal’s “not yet” applied not only to the attempted interview but also to the case against Maciel.

  • Dom:

    Thank you for your post. You are correct in asking “but then is why the investigation re-opened”?

    My best reply is that investiations are not always opened and conducted in good faith.

    For example in 1431, at the instigation of the local ordinary, an ecclesiatical invesigation was opened into the case of a French peasant girl popularly known as Joan of Arc (a.k.a. The Maid of Orleans) who was accused of, among other things, sexual impropriety. The investigation led to a Church trail. The Church court turned to the learned theologians of University of Paris for advice. The wise theologians “denounced the Maid in violent terms” and the Church Court condemned her as a heretic. She was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431.

    She was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

    (See Catholic Encyclopedia on line)

    You also ask about the investigation being reopened” Doesn’t anyone else find that to be strange?” I reply –

    In our own time we have seen baseless investigations launched and relaunched to destroy the reputations and careers of politicians. I think this reopened investigation is strange for the following reasons and based on facts as I understand them:

    There are two Church investigations that are approximately 50 years apart. Both investiations are based on purported events that purportedly took place approximately 60-years ago. The investigative body, the accused, the accusers, the witnesses and the time and place are the same but the crimes are different. In the 1950’s the Church investigated Father Marciel for purported drug abuse in the 1940’s based on the sworn testimony of witnesses X,Y and Z and found him innocent. In 2005 the Church is investigating Father Marciel for purported sex abuse in the 1940’s based on the sworn testimony of the same witnesses X,Y and Z. However witneses X,Y and Z failed to mention the purported sex abuse in their 1950’s sworn testimony in response to an inquiry concerning all of Father Marciel’s actions and his complete character. It appears, based on the facts, as I know them, that the witneses either lied under oath now or approximately 50-years ago – not sufficient probable cause to reopne an investigation.

    Forgive my long post.

    God bless and St. Joan of Arc pray for us.


  • From my understanding the sexual abuse charges were brought up by a Vatican investigation within the last decade and dealt with and dismissed. But here they are again.

    Plus, I’m not too keen on just dismissing these things as the products of evil false witnesses. Over the past two years, plenty of victims have come forward who were abused decades ago and could only now be heard in the current climate.

    I think if they’re investigating, then it should be done thoroughly and completely without any preconceptions of the outcome. I’m not ready to canonize Maciel and put him in the company of St. Joan of Arc just yet.

  • Dom:

    Thank you for your post. An investigation is of itself not a good thing. Let me give you an example.

    At about the height of the Scandal I was asked by his confessor to look into the case of Father “A”. Father A was one of two priests who had been accused of sexual abuse by the same purported victim. Purportedly the incident had occurred about 25-years ago. Father A.‘s Ordinary had immediately suspended him – apparently without due process. Among other things the Ordinary failed to advise Father A. of the accusation in writing – this was important becasue the acusation kept changing in terms of time, place, victim and act. The Ordinary also failed to provide Father A. with a copy of the proofs, or give him an opportunity to defend before suspension; or assign him an advocate. By his actions and inactions the Ordinary appeared to have violated canons 1720 thru 1723.

    Upon meeting Father A. it was immediately apparent that for obvious well documented physical and medical reasons he could not have committed the crimes purported to him.  Father A. was a paralyzed invalid in need of constant care and had been for approximately the last 25 years to include the date of the purported incident.

    After Father A. was interviewed., without counsel, by the Ordinary’s agents, he collapsed and was hospitalized. He died some months thereafter. In my opinion the investigation literally killed him. To the best of my knowledge the Ordinary never notified either in writing or verbally Father A. or his attorney of the accusations against him other than thay they were of purported sexual abuse.

    Father A.‘s good name was destroyed. His family was devastated. No effort to my knowledge has ever been made by the Ordinary to restore Father’s A.‘s reputation. In many people’s minds he may be thought of as just another priest sex abuser who escaped justice because of a timely death.

    God bless.


  • You’re missing my point again. There is an investigation whether you or I think it is a good thing or not. There must be a reason for it. In my post I wondered why something that everyone claimed was settled both long ago and recently is being re-opened. You have given me nothing more than the PR spin put out by the Legionaries themselves without answering my questions. I have begun to suspect that you are not simply a disinterested observer, but someone connected with LC who, either officially or unofficially, has been tasked or tasked himself with responding to such things.

    Am I right?

  • Dom:

    Thank you for your post.

    p>I am not now and never have been a member of LC. I have not been in commication with LC, or any of its members, advisors or friends on this matter. To the best of my knowledge I have never spoken with, written to or communicated with in any way a LC member on this or any other matter. The only person I have communicated with concerning this matter is my wife. Would you like me to mail you a signed and sworn affidavit on this matter?

    God bless


  • Are we sure that “sexual abuse” is being defined in the same way by all parties?  Is it possible that all are telling the truth based upon their own definition of the actions in question?

  • Carrie:

    Thank you for your post. Good point. As I understand it, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the facts of the case, Father Marciel has been accused by former LC memebrs of purportedly engaging in impure actions with adolecent LC members under his care and then granting his purported partners in sin against the 6th commandant absolution – a very grave violation of Canon 977 of the Code of Canon Law. I believe that if the facts of the case against Father Marciel are proven and he is found guilty of violating Can. 977 then not only will he loose his priestly faculties but he will again be removed from the leadership of the Legion and the Legion may well be suppressed, as the Jesuits once were from 1750-1773.

    In my opinion the present campaign against the Legion bears a strking resemblacne to the campaign against the Jesuits in the 18th Century. It is perhaps not a conincidence that it is rumored on the web that the formation of young LC memebrs is modelled on the formation methods of the early Jesuits particualrly the use of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. If true then the LC Prients are probably by and large good eggs; and we certainly need Holy priests now more than ever. The Enemy, knowing that the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass is the center of our faith and for that Sacrafice we need a sacred priesthood, will do anything to destroy a good source of virile, chaste, young priests. Hence the 60-year long campaign against Father Marciel and the Legion.

    On the other hand if Father Maciel is a pervert, which I very much doubt, then the formation of every LC priest would be suspect and no responsible parent would entrust his children to their care.

    I do not see how the Vatican can emerge unscathed from this matter. If it has good reason to conduct the new investigation then it will be accused of a 60-year cover up and it will be subjected to immense pressure to suppress the Legion. If it does not have good reason for the new investigation then it runs the risk of further tranishing Father Marciel’s good name, in violation of the 8th Commandment, and being seen as pliable to manipulation by the enemies of the faith.

    I believe the business people would descrive this as a loose-loose situation for the Vatican.

    For the record I have been accused by the web master, Dom, of being a secret agent of LC. I hereby solemnly assure you that I am not an agent of LC, or of Opus Dei, the Jesuits, the Knights Templar or the Free Masons; but I am this day my wife’s agent to vacumn the house and to that task I must go.

    God bless all


  • Dom:

    Earlier in this thread you made what I took as an unpleasant accusation:

    “I have begun to suspect that you are not simply a disinterested observer, but someone connected with LC who, either officially or unofficially, has been tasked or tasked himself with responding to such things.”

    Having thus injured my enormous ego I replied:

    “I am not now and never have been a member of LC. I have not been in commication with LC, or any of its members, advisors or friends on this matter. To the best of my knowledge I have never spoken with, written to or communicated with in any way a LC member on this or any other matter. The only person I have communicated with concerning this matter is my wife. Would you like me to mail you a signed and sworn affidavit on this matter?”

    I have not received a reply from you.

    I repeat my offer of sending you a properly executed affidavit on this matter.

    If I do not hear from you then I will assume that you simply do not care and do not deign to reply to my offer.

    God bless now.

    Richard (Secret Agent of the Knights Templar)

  • Dom:

    Thank you for your post. Further ramblings on a gray Sunday afternoon:

    Earlier in the thread you wrote: “You have given me nothing more than the PR spin put out by the Legionaries.” themselves.”

    I have since visited the LC web site and glanced at their arguments. Based on my quick review of the contents of the LC web site I must disageee with you.

    It appears that the LC is basing its defense on the record. LC essentially cites facts from the record and proves the existance of said facts by presenting evidence, such testimony and documents., that substantiates the LC fact based defense. LC also attacks the alleged facts presented by its enemies by presenting evidence that calls into question the existance of the facts put forth in its enemies’ arguments.

    I do not have an adequate command of the facts to base my arguement entirely on the record. I am more inspired by the above cited Father Neuhaus article which in my opinion is based on the 8th Commandmant’s order not to defame our neightbor and also Father Neuhaus’ close reading of human nature.

    Some persoanl observations on human nature that may have bearing on this case.

    Sexual perverts who sin against the young in violation of the 6th Commandment do not stop that particular sin unless they are forcibly separated from the young by the authorities or they experience a conversion and separate themselves from the young in order to avoid a near occassion of sin.

    Father Marciel’s enemies purport that he violated the 6th commandment with them in the 1940’s and 1950’s and then gave them absolution for said purported violations in violation of Canon 977.

    According to the Hartford Courant Father Marciel’s enemies had been filing accusations against him with hte Church at least since teh 1970’s but they did not fiel an accusation against him purporting the above mentioend sexual absue until 1997 – at the beginning of the current sexual scandal.

    If Father Marciel’s enemies are telling the truth then why would successful while colar professional’s in their 60’s wait to accsue him of purported sexual abuse some 20-years after they filed their initial complaints?

    Also whtyare they not suing Fatehr Marciel and the LC in Court for money? Are there not lawyers in hartford?

    Also why are not others suing Father Marciel and the LC for purported sexual absue in the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s? Sexual perverts I say again do not stop unless there is an intervention of worildly authorities or grace.

    Father Marciel has been surrouend by the young for 60-years now. Where are his accusers?

    God bless all.

    Richard (Secret Agent of the Knights Templar)

  • Well Richard3, Dom may have done with you – but I havenbe an abuser of boys. Of course I did not want to believe that priests, bishops and even a Cardinal could also be active homosexuals and abusers either.

    But I am coming more and more to believe the accusers and to be suspicious of the defensiveness of the Legion and the Vatican.   


  • GOR:

    Thank you for your post.

    In your post of 2:56 pm you also wrote in part:

    “Despite the support of bishops and a Papal Nuncio, the accusers could not get a hearing. Does that not sound strange? I mean, if it were all a tissue of lies wouldnon), I think he has been duped into his conclusions. If the accusations against Maciel are correct, he has duped better people than Fr. Neuhaus of course _date_gmt>2005-01-11 16:15:11
    Chris K.

    Thank you for your post. Perhaps you could help me. I am interested in primary sources or news reports on line concerning the following issues in this matter:

    1. Was Father Marciel accused of sexual misconduct either before or during the course of the 1958 inevstigation?

    2. Has a complaint been filed with either church or civil authorities accusing any other LC priest of alleged sexual misconduct?

    3. Did the 9-accusers who filed a complaint with the church in 1997 alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Father Marciel in the 1950’s; also file a prior complaint with the Church against Father Marciel in the 1970’s alleging misconduct; but omitting mention of purported sexual misconduct By Father Marciel?

    Thank you for your attention to my questions.

    God bless.

    Richard (Secret Agent of the Knights Templar)

  • Is it true that one is known by the company one keeps?  Or was this some “last resort”?

    Therefore, Catholics for a Free Choice released The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a report that illustrates the international scope of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church. CFFC called for a meeting with Vatican officials to discuss the report and its implications as well as recommendations to solve the crisis.

    “This report shows that sexual abuse in the Catholic church is not an American crisis. It is a global crisis with victims around the world,” said Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice. “Because of the scope of the crisis, the church needs to respond now and develop a plan of action. We have a number of recommendations to present to them on how they should do that,” she said.

    Kissling was joined by:

    Dr. Jose Barba-Martin, a professor of the history of ideas and humanities at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM), is one of several men to come forward to report to the Vatican that the Rev. Marciel Maciel, founder and leader of the conservative order the Legionaires of Christ, had sexually abused them when they were students in schools run by the order.

    Roberto J. Blancarte, a professor-researcher and academic coordinator at the Center of Sociological Studies of El Colegio de Mexico and Foreign Associate Professor of the Groupe des Sociologies des Religions et de la Laicite (Paris, France).

    Simon W. Kennedy, an attorney from Ireland who has tried cases of Catholic clergy sexual abuse in Ireland.

    Sara Morello, a Senior Associate at Catholics for a Free Choice, who is a canon lawyer with experience addressing church law and clergy sex abuse in the U.S.

    Mark Furnish, an attorney in New York who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest as a teenager who is now an outspoken advocate for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) was also in Rome as a member of the delegation that will meet with the UNCRC.

  • 1. Was Father Marciel accused of sexual misconduct either before or during the course of the 1958 inevstigation?

    2. Has a complaint been filed with either church or civil authorities accusing any other LC priest of alleged sexual misconduct?

    3. Did the 9-accusers who filed a complaint with the church in 1997 alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Father Marciel in the 1950nal. You specialize in matters pertaining to Catholicism. You should have primary sources other than the Hartford Courant. Do you have them?

    Earlier in the thread you posted the following accusation: “I have begun to suspect that you are not simply a disinterested observer, but someone connected with LC who, either officially or unofficially, has been tasked or tasked himself with responding to such things.

    Am I right?”

    In resposne I offered my affidaivit to you stating under the pain of perjury that I was not representing LC and that I have never knowingly communicated an LC member on this or any other matter.

    You replied that you did not care.

    That is fine; but the 8th Commandment requires you to care about the good name of your neighbor. The Holy Father has wriiten in a moving manner that journalists must serve the truth.

    It appears to me that you have the facts wrong and the real story here is that the news is being manipulated in order to defame a priest. It also appears to me you do not care.

    So now I put the same question to you that you asked me earlier:

    Am I right?

    I hope not. I hope that you care very much. I hope that you will get to the bottom of this matter.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    God bless

    Richard (Secret Agent of the Knights Templar)