Rorate Caeli

Legion of Christ Founder’s Public Ministry Suspended

By Brian Mershon

From the May 25 issue of The Wanderer
Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, one of the fastest-growing priestly communities in the Church, has been officially restricted by the Holy See in his public ministries, according to officials of the Holy See.
The restrictions, to be released officially by the Holy See perhaps as early as the week of May 21, essentially will conclude that at least some of the sex abuse accusations against Fr. Maciel are well founded. A source to the Vatican said that more than 100 interviews have been conducted by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s promoter of justice and investigator in the Maciel case.
At press time, May 18, after a request for an interview, Legion of Christ spokesman Jay Dunlap said, “We know nothing about this. We do not have anything to say.”

While priestly laicization is an extremely rare canonical step, this action, approved prior to Easter by the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, is very serious, and will limit Fr. Maciel’s public activities such as offering Holy Mass publicly, giving public lectures and presentations, and giving media interviews, among others.

John Allen, of “The Word from Rome,” initially reported this story, with an unnamed Vatican official saying the action against Maciel should not be read as an indictment of the Legionaries of Christ or its lay branch, Regnum Christi.

However, with more than 100 essentially corroborating interviews from the U.S., Mexico and Ireland, the statement issued in a Legion of Christ news release last Fall (not dated on their website), had their newly-elected general director, Father Alvaro Corcuera Martinez del Rio, 47, saying the following: "I wish to express my desire to remain faithful to the charism of the congregation and to the person of the founder, and to continue his work at the service of the Church."

The questions that some former members of the Legion of Christ’s lay apostolate, Regnum Christi, are raising appear to question the prudence and wisdom of the Legion’s new general director in remaining to lead the congregation of priests in the charism of the person of the founder. The Legion news release cited Fr. Maciel’s age as one of the reasons he declined re-election last Fall on the heels of news that the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith was continuing interviews with new alleged sex abuse victims.

The late Pope John Paul II often praised Father Maciel publicly, especially for the tremendous growth of his priestly congregation. It has been speculated that the Pope’s upbringing under Communist rule made him automatically disregard any allegations against priests or others regarding homosexuality or sexual abuse, as this was a common smear tactic employed by Communists to ruin the reputations of their enemies. Indeed, as late as 2004, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to Fr. Maciel thanking Fr. Maciel for 60 years of "intense, generous and fruitful priestly ministry."

The Regain Network, an organization for former Legion of Christ priests, seminarians and members of Regnum Christi, the lay apostolate, was formed to assist those recovering from psychological, spiritual and sexual abuse within the priestly and lay groups.

Author Genevieve Kineke is a former women’s section head of Regnum Christi, and was in the apostolate for 7 years: “Members of Regain are delighted with this first step, understanding that laicisation of elderly priests is extremely rare,” she said. “The Holy See’s acknowledgement of probable misdeeds become magnified considering the stature of Fr. Maciel,” she said.

“It causes all members of the movement to consider the long-term suffering of the accusers who have been rebuffed and dismissed for so long,” Kineke said. “This first step will never ameliorate their pain, but it is a measure of balm for them to be taken seriously after so many years,” she said.

Back in 1997, after an initial group of nine ex-Legionaries reportedly filed canonical lawsuits and made public accusations against the Legion, the Legion’s crisis communications plan time was quickly disseminated throughout the Legion and its lay apostolate. After a hastily-called meeting of nearly all of Legion of Christ priests in North America to categorically deny the charges, they were instructed to relay to their Regnum Christi lay members the message that this was a modernist, liberal, anti-Church plot by those who hated the Church and wanted to destroy Fr. Maciel. The Legion of Christ website with details can be accessed here.

After the past several years of the hundreds of cases of sex abuse among clergy becoming public, perhaps the perspective that many Catholics need to move away from is that this happens only to “liberals” and to “dissenting” dioceses and priestly organizations. Perhaps the time has come for adult Catholics to realize that sin exists everywhere, and this problem is not limited only to liberal, homosexual-infested dioceses and religious priestly organizations, even if it may be more prevalent.

Father Maciel’s apparent unwavering support by the late Pope John Paul II has perhaps confused the faithful, and it is essential to understand how papal support was simply a clever bulwark employed by the Legion against criticisms, Kineke opined. “It allowed the Legion to dismiss all complaints about the Legion's as attacks on ‘orthodoxy.’"

Catholics need to understand in their very being that so-called “orthodoxy,” although necessary and desirable, does not shield anyone from sins of the flesh. Original sin and concupiscence are real and are just as much of the spiritual warfare for “orthodox” Catholics as they are for others. The other lesson may be that Catholics need to learn their Faith in its fullness and understand that infallibility and orthodoxy and even suspected holiness of popes, like Pope John Paul II, does not extend to every public word the pope utters nor necessarily to an endorsement of everything about a particular movement or movement’s founder, nor its charism.

Mike Petrik, 49, is a corporate tax attorney in suburban Atlanta, who cautions against drawing too many initial inferences from this apparent action against Fr. Maciel directly with the rest of the Legion or its lay apostolate, Regnum Christi. “It is important to remember that "St. Augustine said: 'God judged it better to bring good out of evil.’"

Petrik explained that it is quite common for religious orders to extol their founders, and it would be a serious challenge for the Legion of Christ to be able to overcome the practical difficulties associated with attempting to distance itself from its founder.

“It is understandable that there are people who welcome this apparent new development,” Petrik said. “I just hope that such responses are grounded in the desire for justice for any victims and the genuine love for truth rather than some disproportionate animosity for an order that by most accounts has brought many people closer to Christ and His Church,” he said.

Lee Podles is a journalist and author and is currently writing a book entitled, Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. His reaction to the current news against Fr. Maciel was the following:

“The Legion is disliked and even hated by some Catholics, and not only liberal Catholics, because of its secrecy and strict control of its members, tactics which are both foreign to the American and the modern mentality,” he said.

“A successful attack on Maciel would discredit not only him, but also the Legionaries,” he continued.

“The bishops and the Vatican tolerated abuse by obscure priests for decades; the bishops and the Vatican would have an even greater motive to cover up allegations against Maciel,” Podles said. “The Legionaries are a large and rapidly growing organization, extremely important in keeping Hispanics in the Catholic Church; the Vatican to this point has not been eager to discover any evidence its founder might be a pederast and homosexual.”


_________________________________
Update (1200 GMT): Vatican Information Service official communiqué:

VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2006 (VIS) - With reference to recent news concerning the person of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

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

"All these elements have been subject to a mature examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and - in accordance with the Motu Proprio 'Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,' promulgated on April 30 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II - the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, Pope John II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the new Pontiff.

"After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided - bearing in mind Fr. Maciel's advanced age and his delicate health - to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.

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

43 comments:

AmemusAthanasium said...

This is a severe scandal. It is sad for the mostly well-meaning, good, conservative Roman Catholic laymen and seminarians actively working in the Legion of Christ.

Please let us remember, that the Legion of Christ was founded and canonically established in 1941 already, and during the 1940s and 1950s enjoyed the formal support of Pope Pius XII too.

The problem is, that under the pontificate of John Paul II no one dared to touched the Legion of Christ, as it was another "growing community" and supposed (fraudulent) "proof" of the "New Springtime of Vatican II" (no matter that the Legion was founded in 1941, just deny that).

There are huge internal problems with the Legion, going from a tendency to annexate entire families and press people to engage who don't really want, and the pressure on seminarians, and bishops, to ordain a LOT of priests for them. Please consider, that their number of seminarians is extremely great, while they only have 550 priests, the same as e.g. the SSPX has.

There should be less stress on the Legion, and more on the Holy Roman Church itself. Sadly enough, all of the Legion's members have been obliged to compromise not only traditional theology by the New Theology of Urs von Balthasar, Congar, Rahner and Chenu, but also to compromise the liturgy and the solemn way of receiving communion to a neo-protestant direction.

It's all a sad history.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...

I think the title of this post need to be changed in light of the actual statement released by the Vatican today, which reads in part:

"the Congregation for thr Doctrine of the Faith, under the direction of the new Prefect, His Eminence Cardinal William Levada, decided -- taking into consideration the advanced age of Fr. Maciel and his delicate health -- to forego a canonical trial and to invite the Father to a life restricted to prayer and penance, renouncing any public ministry. The Holy Father has approved these decisions."

Fr. Maciel, a life long, vicious sodomite, who raped more than 20 seminarians, has gotten off, with an invitation to penance. The trial was suspended by Leveda (who will deny that he is gay friendly now?)

And gasp! The pope approved it. (who will deny that he is gay friendly now?)

Where has child protection gone? Or rather, under B16, how can any seminarian expect protection from being raped by his bishop (as in McCarrick's case) or by his major superior (Fr. Maciel's case).

It seems to be open season for Sodom in the Church.

I, personally think that this is a great scandal.

The pope should either reverse this suspension of the trial, or himself resign; becasue he has brought eternal disrepute upon the See of Peter. Leveda should do likewise.

Janice said...

Fr. Alexis,

I do not think you have the right to make malicious, false statements against Pope Benedict. He is not "gay friendly." Read his statements as Cardinal Ratzinger and his recent statements as Pope Benedict. You owe the readers of this blog and, more importantly, the Pope, a profound apology.

Simon-Peter said...

Opus Dei and the LOC are top of my list for suppression, after the NeoCats in anycase, this adds nothing new for me.

This (below) is evil:

"taking into consideration the advanced age of Fr. Maciel and his delicate health -- to forego a canonical trial and to invite the Father to a life restricted to prayer and penance, renouncing any public ministry..."

how about:

"taking into the consideration the tender years and delicate pyschological health of those raped -- a canonical trial with stake at the ready will be convened in exactly one month: in the meantime the Father is invited to do prayer and penace in the main square of Khartoum."

It's all about "them". The entire Church is for "them." I am so sick of funding the pervert human element and their enablers.

What was it that went wrong? I suppose his weak love was just too "weak." I wonder what kind of "union" the good Father was interested in and portrayed?

I've said it before: sodomites in the Church, and their enablers, are a judgment from God.

Who will save us from these troublesome priests?

Simon-Peter said...

Hey Janice:

talk is cheap.

Actually, it is if you're a priest / bishop / cardinal / Pope 'cos you can just tap up the poor pew-warmers like me to pay for your crimes whilst thousands and thousands of children and families (and this stuff is generational Jancie) suffer and suffer.

Penance? Not only should the last Pope have crawled on his knees throughout Rome begging forgiveness from God for HIS inaction and enabling, but so should this one.

The ability of catholics to do everything except demand their superiors do the job they are supposed to do is astonishing.

Janice said...

Simon-Peter,

You should do some penance. Pride is a sin, too.

Simon-Peter said...

"In 2002, Fr. Maciel published a declaration denying the accusations and expressing his displeasure at the offence done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ."

So the founder is not only a rapist sodomite but a pertinacious liar? Pride Janice? S'funny you criticise me over some imaginary sin immediately committed but say NOTHING about the hierarchy's inactions nor this priests behavior!

Here are some other founders off the top of my head.

St. Benedict.
St. Dominic.
St. Francis.
St. Teresa de Jesus.
St. Ignatius Loyola.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori
St. Francis de Sales.

The mission etc of the LOC will continue despite it's founder. Right. That says it all.

This is just a question: is there any precedent in the Church for an order or priestly society having a founder objectively in "serious error" and continuing?

So predicatable. I'm surprised you didn't say "judge not lest ye be judged."

How typical. Do you blame the victims for seeking redress?

Pride? Asking the shephards to guard the sheep is pride? what happened to feed my sheep and confirm your brethren? Was it pride that motivated those injunctions? You've got it exactly bass ackwards.

Calling a spade a spade is pride?
Millstones and large bodies of water Janice. This is deadly serious.

Persona Christi mean anything? Sacerdotal priesthood?

You can call me proud, a homophobe, racist, sexist pig or anything else, I've been called them all.

Thanks though.

ClemensMaria said...

I hope that this will put an end to the John Paul the Great nonsense. I see they are calling JPII "Servant of God". Do you think his unmitigated support of an active sodomite will have any impact on his cause? How can a responsible adult much less the pope dismiss so casually the testimony of so many witnesses? Bring back the devil's advocate!!

Janice said...

Simon-Peter,

Maciel's molestations occurred over 50 years ago, during the "Golden Age" of Pius XII. Therefore, there must have been some chinks in the armor of the Church then, too. Why don't you SSPXers face THAT fact? All the problems of the Church did not begin with Vatican II.

ThePublican said...

This may be a futile exercise, but here it goes:

One of the things I admire most of Saint Thomas More (my patron saint on more than one account -- as I am a lawyer by profession, but not a litigator) was his charity towards his enemies. His seeing his enemies as "his best friends, for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred" (from "A Godly Meditation"). He remained silent against those who injured him. Quite the contrary from us, modern media loving, using and abusing Catholics, so quick to enter a fight in self appointed righteousness and take sides come what may. Like Dante we have all placed people in different circles of hell according to our tastes and fallible understanding -- specially us Traditionalists (and if the Modernists do this, so what? two wrongs don't make a right). One thing one learns as a lawyer is that no matter how compelling the story is when told by a client, there is always a surprise waiting on the other side's version of the story.

As damning as the evidence "seems" to be, no formal trial has happened (and in Rome's much debated wisdom will not happen). Until then, there is little useful for us to say on the matter. It belongs to Rome to decide, based on all the evidence at hand (including the fact that these alleged crimes, if committed, are beyond the prescribed statute of limitations, severely curtailing the accussers' cases). As far as I know we have no right to judge as we have not seen the evidence nor are we intimate with the facts. All we have heard are opinions for and against based on sympathies many times formed by hearsay stories of people's reaction to the LOC, good or bad.

Why assume that Fr. Maciel is a "pertinacious liar" as someone states above? Because he denies our prejudged sentence? What is that? How would you like to be treated like that in court? Does Fr. Maciel have the burden of proof here? And, how do you prove a negative? (that is one of my main difficulties with a lot of these types of allegations). To assume that Rome covered the whole thing up, dismissed it due to sympathy or this or that factor that we consider not weighty enough or to attribute bad intentions to Rome (mostsly, I suspect) because we are dissatisfied with the results or with modern liturgy and Rome's general "orientations" is the height of pride for a Catholic, me seems.

I used to mouth off such judgements until a priest, wise man, asked me about my spiritual life. He judged me a lukewarm person playing to the devil's tactic of fighting other people's (bishops) battles instead of mine own in the trenches. It cured me.I feel singularly inadequate to judge my betters in their intentions.

I see a lot of quick judgements and assumptions thrown about carelessly in the comments above. I am reminded of Christ's words "he who has no sin, let him cast the first stone" (my free translation). The one thing I note about modern media, and a very contagious thing it has become with Internet, is that everyone flings stones at everyone regardless of the facts or evidence (at times hard to get). I thought we Catholics had to be different in our charity and convert the world, not imitate it.

Whatever the case, either Fr. Maciel is guilty or not of these charges. If he is, this sentence will allow him to make penance for his past sins (confessed a long time ago, I presume --and who knows what past penances he has already made, assuming the charges are true?), give thanks to God for His Mercy and prepare for death, and if he is not, he will know how to thank God for stripping him of his reputation, arguably the one big obstacle to his final sanctification at this time. Many a founder was accused of horrible things, and used it to thank God for stripping him or her of that last worldly attachment that we all have: our reputations -- read the first chapters of The Imitation of Christ and you will see the importance of humility and the uselessness of great knowledge without humility.

Br. Alexis, you remind me of the Pharisees. Hope that God does not judge you as harshly and quickly as you are wont to do with others. Understanding your frustration, and even were you to be right in all your charges, that does not give you the right to lack charity by publicly mouthing off against those you dislike in such venomous words. Part of the fifth commandment requires us not to kill someone else's reputation. I confess myself a worse sinner than you, so take this fraternal correction from someone lesser than you as an opportunity to grow in humility.

Regards to all.

Jeff said...

Wow! Three cheers and a twenty-one gun salute for The Publican! That's the kind of Catholic I want to be, not the ankle-biting sort.

Brother Bugnolo's Cheap Shots Ministry suffers another devastating blow.

And it deserves it for continuing to make wild and dishonorable accusations--too respectful a word; "smears" is more the mot juste--in public against a reigning Sovereign Pontiff.

Jeff said...

It's worth noting the following canonical analysis:

"Canon 1312 § 3, setting out the basic categories of ecclesiastical sanctions, states "Penal remedies and penances are also used; the former especially to prevent delicts, the latter to substitute for or to increase a penalty." In other words, the same kinds of acts or omissions that could result in a canonical penalty can, for various reasons, result instead in what is called a "penance". The possibility that CDF's call here for penance is its response to canonical crime(s) increases when one notes that 1983 CIC 1339-1340 authorize penances for those "upon whom, after investigation, grave suspicion of having committed a delict has fallen.""

The discussion points out that there are many reasons why a trial on these accusations might result in an acquittal or an inconclusive result, even if the charges be ever so true (as I strongly suspect they are.) Go read all of it as an antidote to the cultivation of the virtue of rash judgment and as a supplement to the fine post here:

http://www.canonlaw.info/2006/05/fr-maciels-penance_19.html

Simon-Peter said...

Janice, it is a curious fact that I am constantly accused of being "in" the SSPX.

I am not.

Neither am I a sedevacantist. Neither do I think the human elements in the church were then, are now, or ever have been without fault including (pointing a big finger at myself) me.

As to this:

"give thanks to God for His Mercy and prepare for death, and if he is not, he will know how to thank God for stripping him of his reputation, arguably the one big obstacle to his final sanctification at this time."

Interesting.

Is this result not the functional equivalent of a plea? Or are we going to spin this into some machivellian nol prosequi?

The penalty is most severe, it would not have been inflicted without good cause and without due consideration for a. the Glory of God, b. this mans soul, c. a warning to others.

As to the rest, I see a some straw men and canards and some good points.

However, this is not a single example of a priest doing wickedly. There is an ongoing pattern of conduct, a continuous transaction, within the priesthood and religious orders, that goes back years and years.

I said he was a p.liar precisely because he denied the allegations themselves, which he knew were true, and shed crocodile tears calumniating the accusers, his words had absolutely nothing to do with any possible sentence.

If these allegations are not true the action taken after exhaustive investigation is without foundation. What is the standard? Clear and convincing? More likely than not? Beyond a reasonable?

As to any limiting statute, I must object. We are not engaged in the antics of the secular law and its worldy, sensual and devlish wisdom. Neither should we invoke the law, canon or civil, to protect us IF we have done wrong and we know it, unless to protect us from abuses in process etc which are themselves unjust, thus, two wrongs would not make a right. Eternity begins now.

In anycase, the first thing I would do is examine the pertinent statutory scheme, examine appelate and (state) supreme court decisions applying said scheme, because, as you well know being a lawyer, there may be tolling provisions because of the nature of the victim, the crime per se (especially if it is malum in se) or the accused behaved in manner designed to pervert the course of justice or some combination of all three.

The rationale behind limiting statutes is similar (only similar) to that behind the original hearsay rule (witnesses memories, observation, i.e. untrustworthy) which, over time, has so many exceptions to it (not really exceptions) it is almost impossible NOT to find some exception to get your evidence in as at least trustworthy (and assuming all other conditions are met, such as not unduly prejudicial, inflammatory &c.) enough for the finder of fact to judge.

In this case haven't the accusers been interviewed no matter how long ago the alleged crimes took place? Someone found the allegations sufficiently grounded in fact to take this action.

"He judged me a lukewarm person playing to the devil's tactic of fighting other people's (bishops) battles instead of mine own in the trenches."

Now this was well said and my own issue too.

AnnaTrad said...

Wow the Puplican has put to word all that I had in my heart that I wonted to say. Well done. I hope Br. Bugnolo that you will take (for the sake of your soul) these words very seriously.

Author said...

Consider that, given Maciel's age and health, it may not have been possible to conclude a trial.

Consider that Maciel can probably never be brought to justice in a criminal court due to statutes of limitations, the age of his victims at the time of his crimes, and some degree of consent on their part.

Maciel's reputation is in tatters and his victims are vindicated.

As for the LC, their founder will never be canonized. Their public reputation is tarnished. What becomes of the LC and it's work ultimately depends on their picking up the pieces, doing a thorough evaluation of how they operate and moving forward in their service to the Church.

Not every crime has a remedy in this life. Maciel is certainly no threat to anyone today. He will face his judge soon enough. Let us hope he follows the pope's advice.

Simon-Peter said...

Well, then, can we all agree on this...

Can we all actually offer some prayer and penance for this man today? I haven't eaten yet, and I have to go out of town tomorrow so I'll stay off the food until tomrrow evening and offer my rosary for him today. Deal?

[now please don''t anyone accuse me of sounding my alms before men! You know what I'm saying]

Because whatever the heat and less light on this blog (including me) is there man or woman who does NOT want this man to be embraced by his Mother and taken into heaven?

New Catholic said...

Your analysis is absolutely correct, Mr. Williams. That is exactly how this matter should be read.

AnnaTrad said...

The one thing that is needed today and is probably the most neglected is to pray for and offer penance and sufferings for Priest, Bishops and the Pope and Religious. It’s easy enough to criticize this Priest or that Bishop, but it takes charity, time out of your busy day for prayer and a true desire for the salvation of the soul of one who is Ordained or consecrated to God who has fallen. I think they of all, are always in the cross hairs of the evil one.

ThePublican said...

Simon-Peter,

You state:

"As to any limiting statute, I must object. We are not engaged in the antics of the secular law and its worldy, sensual and devlish wisdom. Neither should we invoke the law, canon or civil, to protect us IF we have done wrong and we know it, unless to protect us from abuses in process etc which are themselves unjust, thus, two wrongs would not make a right. Eternity begins now."

I answer that I was not referring to secular standards. I understand (without being an expert at Canon Law) that there are statutes of limitation in Canon Law as well -- I was basing my statement on the possibility that this could be a factor in a potential trial against Fr. Maciel, in Sandro Magister's posted article on Levada's actions against "Brother Gino" (Fr. Gino Burresi) originally of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. MAgister posted his analysis in his website on July 25, 2005 or so (see article here: http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=37078&eng=y) --

Note Magister's following analysis, which I saw as applicable here:

"As a decree issued against the founder of a religious order on the basis of accusations going back decades for sexual abuse carried out against his followers, the decree against Fr. Burresi recalls an analogous case, but one of much greater significance. It, too, is being examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

And it is not out of the question that the severity adopted against Fr. Burresi is the prelude to similarly rigorous actions against Fr. Maciel.

[....] The sentence takes into consideration the fact that the accusations were made past the statute of limitations, so it neither condemns nor punishes Fr. Burresi. But the 20-page report accompanying the decree – which is also in the possession of the "National Catholic Reporter" – contains passages worth citing. [...]

The report lists the accusations against the priest: violation of the seal of the confession, the illegitimate use against the penitent of confidential information revealed during confession, defamation, violation of the right to privacy, incitement to disobedience against superiors, false mysticism, and claims of apparitions, visions, and supernatural messages.

It admits that the statute of limitations has passed on the matters contained in the accusations. But it nonetheless asks the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to provide for administrative sanctions against Fr. Burresi. For this reason:

"It should not be forgotten that during this process some [of Fr. Burresi’s followers] said that the accused ‘would come out of it triumphant, more esteemed than ever, and thus without any shadow, indeed more glorious than before’. [They said] ‘that the secretariat of state defends Fr. Gino, thus victory is assured.’ If no new limitation is applied to his ministerial liberty simply due to the fact that the proven offenses have been prescribed [by the statute of limitations], probably the sentence of this court will be used as an instrument of propaganda in favor of the accused. He will be able to continue to do harm to those psychologically weak persons who place themselves under his spiritual direction."" [end of quote]

I found the final analysis interesting, and perhaps it was the same analysis applied in the extant case. I am sure that all tolling and other legal arguments have been taken into account. It seems that Rome, in spite of the statute of limitations being past, consented to continue the investigation and conduct the interviews in order to provide, if needed, a remedy to the case, in spite of the circumstances and to avoid future confusion as to Fr. Maciel (any future request for canonization, etc.). Note Rome's dilemma in Fr. Gino's case and in this one and their charitable solution. (I encourage you to read or re-read Magister's article cited above).

In sum, I concur with Charles Williams' statements in this blog. There may be little more that Rome can do given the circumstances (that, it bears repeating, we the faithful do not know in their entirety so we should abstain in our judgements), so there is no reason to point fingers at Rome on this account. It now remains an internal matter for the LCs to meditate upon. Any further remedies requested (i.e. any other restitution outside of what Rome can give) should be sought in a civil court against the Legion and not from Rome.

I am sure Magister will comment on this case as well. My general point was not to be legalistic but rather to center ourselves in the premise "he who has no sin let him cast the first stone". I, for one, will not cast a stone for I know myself all too well.

Thanks.

Simon-Peter said...

"I think they of all, are always in the cross hairs of the evil one."

I don't recall who, it may have been father Corpai, who said he was convinced that Satan, being imeasurably (by our standards) more intelligent and astute (in certain things) than us, and dealing with human nature which is always the same, could identify at an early age those men who were showing signs of "priestliness." Thus, taking NO chances, he has always, and even more today, decided to wage an early war on these children to damage them just in case they do enter the priesthood.

This thought always haunts me, yet, given my rash and intemperate comments, it clearly does not haunt me enough.

"probably the most neglected is to pray for and offer penance and sufferings for Priest, Bishops and the Pope and Religious."

Yes. I can see myself in the bedroom mirror from here, and I don't like the reflection.

Good grief.

Vergil said...

In her autobiograph, "School of Darkness", former Communist Agent Bella Dodd outlines her rise within the Communist party in America. Her public testimony before the US Congress and her lectures reveal that she placed no less than 1100 young men in Catholic seminaries to corrupt the Roman Catholic clergy from within. These young men went on to be ordained and to work themselves up the hierarchy. They were known as "sleepers", i.e., they concealed their agenda until they reached positions of authority and then went into their subversive mode. Mrs. Dodd publicly stated that she had dealt with no less than four Cardinals within the Vatican. It was the Communist agents in the 1940s & 50s who introduced immoraltiy among the seminarians. What we Catholics are witnessing today is the fall out from this subversive activity and is the key to understanding the situation in which we find ourselves today.

Simon-Peter said...

"My general point was not to be legalistic but rather to center ourselves in the premise "he who has no sin let him cast the first stone". I, for one, will not cast a stone for I know myself all too well."

I think my head is made out of stone.

I like your second post, if you'll permit, it sounds more, er, well...better constructed. Do you practice contract law perchance?

Simon-Peter said...

Yes, the Bella Dodd stuff, and "Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle" and the "Alta Vendita"...but IS it true? The carrying out of the "plans" I mean.

If you can't actually subvert the Church, then next best thing is to make them think you have.

ThePublican said...

Simon-Peter:

(I feel I am addressing the pope himself every time I write "Simon-Peter:"!!) -- yes, yes, I am a contract lawyer -- since this is not a posting relevant to the topic indulge me briefly: the reason the second posting is better structured is because 2/3rd of it are a quotation from Sandro Magister's well written article. His glory, my mistakes. English is my second language, so forgive the convoluted long sentences at times. Be good.

(BTW: I could not find an address for you in your blog profile Simon-Peter -- so, to New Catholic I say: Sorry for the personal posting -- I intended to write this personally to Simon-Peter).

Monk of Emmaus said...

Let us remember how the hierarchy of the Church treated our dear saint Padre Pio. Remember he too was forbidden a public ministry.

Satan tries to destroy good priests, raising up many who will bear false witness against them.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...

To most of everyone who posted.

My comments were not defamatory, nor derogatory, and the forensic evidence is entirely preponderant for their truth. How many of you, on the other hand, have read anything about these charges regarding Fr. Maciel? It seems that you so glibly suppose his innocence, as to have never read anything at all about the case.

And if I err because 100 men have accuused this priest, then I err by a Biblical reference, because I believe Jesus rose to the dead becasue 500 men saw Him after the resurrection. For even Scripture says, believe no charge, unless it is brought by 2 or 3 witnesses.

Am I wrong the, when there are 100? Or are you who disagree with me, correct, for disbelieveing 100?

I humbly submit, that you are failing in your faith, because as Catholics you should accept the critierion Scripture teaches, infallibly and inerrently, of 2 or 3.

Furthermore, I myself have heard testimony from priests who have inside knowledge about the Legionaries; and who are not the first to say that it is ridden throughout with pedophiles and sodomites, whom Maciel recruited.

You may think saying the truth is nasty, malicious, unwarrented, and contrary to charity.

But, I am not defaming anyone, becasue when there is already public scandal, saying that there is public scandal is not a scandal nor a sin. I would humbly suggest you read St. Alphonsus's Moral Theology, before pubblically accusing me of such grave sins, for the moral law works both ways.

If you want to live in a dream world where there are no such sins of sodomy, rape, etc. in the Church today and at high places, then you can call me any sort of names you like for interrupting your day dream. But I am a catholic religious, as as such I am bound to the true Christ and to the true Chruch, and not to the imaginary one. Saying what I said is no sin; and you can bet it is being said by many Churchmen in high places this week.


Finally, I will point out that the Pope has erred here, because his apportionment of mercy violates the public nature of the Church as a public society. It would be ok in a family, but not in a public society, where it is first the duty of the highest authority to uphold the laws and justice, and to give good example of justice before mercy, because, a final decision is one referring to justice; mercy was presupposed in all the considerations given to the accused before the final trial; it got to the Papal Court precisely because mercy failed. To give more mercy is therefore an abuse and a travesty of Justice, as it says in the OT, about perverting justice on high, by not judging justly and not rendering to all equally the same justice, but giving preferential deference to those with status against those with no status.

You have a clear case of grave, very grave, mortal sin, objectively speaking, and the Divine Vengeance will fall upon all those guilty of it, in a most terrible fashion.

Jeff said...

"Oh, Brother!" Bugnolo says;
"Finally, I will point out that the Pope has erred here, because his apportionment of mercy violates the public nature of the Church as a public society."

Aha! So there's no question of prudential judgment here. Brother simply opens the textbook and finds the answer. And the answer is: The Pope is a mortal sinner and under Divine Judgment. Thank you, St. Alphonsus, you can step down now.

After all, Brother's pals have told him there's a problem over there with the Legionnaries. That's enough for him and it ought to be enough for the Pope!

No need for mockery here. The Connect-a-Dot theology does that all by itself.

Anyone who studies the charges, as Brother suggests, will think it highly likely that Fr. Maciel is guilty of at least some of them. The fact that most of the accusers seem to be either lapsed Catholics, modernists and dissenters, or new-movement-hating Traditionalists does mitigate against that judgment somewhat. In any case, highly likely is not the same as guilty and it's certainly not the same as convictable in a canonical trial.

Thank goodness we have a good and just Pope to guide us and not a loose-cannon, uncorrectable, cocksure Brother (who is his superior?), like Bugnolo.

Screwtape said...

What I'm about to say is germane, but touches the issue merely tangentially.

I'll try not to make this personal.

I'll not succeed among those whose vines have tender grapes.

Simon-Peter et alii:

A certain commentator thinks she's Catholic because she's a lawyer. But: she's a lawyer only because she can't think. The inability to think is a prerequisite to entering law school, passing the bar, practicing in a firm, etc.

It's somewhat analogous to academe, where I spent a good deal of time. The longer you stay, the higher you go up the degree/career ladder, the more addlepated you become.

Exceptions sneak through in either instance only to prove the rule.

Screwtape said...

For the edification of all, and it touches almost every issue addressed by this Blog site, may I recommend the article by Dr. Thomas A Droleskey in the May issue of Catholic Family News, titled "Clothing the Emperor." It goes to the MIND of the present occupant of the Throne of Peter and traces his ideas from the past, through the present, and, one might say, into the future.

Those who are allergic to evidence may wish to take the requisite pill, apply the protective cream/gell, or just ride on by.

ThePublican said...

Br. Bugnolo,

You missed the point. The issue is not whether Fr. Maciel is guilty or innocent according to you or me. Some of us have read the evidence available in public (that is, most of the debate) and some of us have many friends within the LOC as well. That is irrelevant. Taking issue with your posting does not mean we think Fr. Maciel something other than you do. It means, at least in my case, that whatever I think is irrelevant and should not be publicized gratuitously. I take issue with the needless presumption shown in your comments. You have determined the matter as a clear one based on incomplete evidence and assume your opinion of the personal intent of all parties should be vented; you call for the pope's resignation because he does not agree with you... what else? You may as well pin your thesis to a cathedral door.

Your argument by numbers is fallacious. More than 100 thought St. Athanasius a heretic. That did not make him one. You equivocate on Scripture's words. The fact remains that you and I have no jurisdiction over this case. Rome does. Our judgements are out of place. Therefore words lacking in charity for the sake of publishing our judgement of Fr. Maciel are needless (a form of vanity), worthless and cause scandal.

As to Rome's "mercy", I think Mr. William's posting as well as later postings address that issue. For all we know, it may have been the just thing to do given the totality of the circumstances. Rome dealt with all the facts, a matter that neither you nor I had the opportunity to do.

I say (and who cares what I say?): leave all other judgements to God and concentrate on being perfect yourself. Was it not St. Therese of Avila who answered a similar complaint about the state of the Church in her time with the words "that you and I be good [holy] and we shall have two crooks less in this world"? (I may be misquoting or changing the words due to bad memory, but the meaning is clear).

starwood said...

ANY responsible and ethical news service prints and provides a disclaimer that they are owned or operated, or have any official connection or business partnership with the organization reported on in a story. The Legion of Christ did not do so on the Zenit website and news service which they own and operate.

But why should we think that the Legion of Christ would suddenly begin to be responsible and ethical???


This is their story:
http://www.zenit.org/english/
"Code: ZE06051908

Date: 2006-05-19

Holy See Halts Investigation of Legionary Founder

Invited to "a Reserved Life," Father Maciel Accepts Ruling "With Faith"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See won't continue with a canonical investigation into accusations against Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, and has invited him to renounce all public ministry.

A communiqué issued today by the Vatican press office said that "since 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has received accusations, which were already made public in part," against Father Maciel, 86, "for offenses reserved to the exclusive competency of the dicastery."

"In 2002, Father Maciel published a statement to deny the accusations and to express his disgust for the offenses against him by former Legionaries of Christ," the statement said. "In 2005, for reasons of advanced age, Reverend Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ."

"After submitting the results of the investigation to careful study," continued the statement, "the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, His Eminence Cardinal William Levada, has decided -- taking into account both the advanced age of Father Maciel as well as his poor health -- to drop the canonical process and invite him to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing all public ministry. The Holy Father has approved these decisions."

The text adds that "irrespective of the person of the founder, the distinguished apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of Regnum Christi is acknowledged with gratitude."

Acceptance

Later, the Legion of Christ issued a statement in which it explained that Father Maciel, "facing the accusations made against him, [...] declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way."

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

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

Father Marcial Maciel was born in Cotija de la Paz, Mexico, in 1920.

The Legion of Christ is a religious congregation of pontifical right, founded in 1941.

It has more than 650 priests and close to 2,500 major and minor seminarians. It has houses in 18 countries.

Regnum Christi, also founded by Father Maciel, has some 65,000 members, including lay men and women, deacons and priests spread throughout the world."

starwood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...

Dear Publican,

If you want to discuss the issues, I am all for it. But I think your post deserves a reply, even though it is mostly ad homimem.

>>You missed the point. The issue is not whether Fr. Maciel is guilty or innocent according to you or me.

I have never talked about whether he is guilty or innocent according to you or me; am no relativist. I am talking about truth, and if you take the position that neither you nor I can know the truth, then I beg to differ with you; or that only a court with the authority to judge a matter can know the truth about it, I beg to differ. Or that only such a court should speak about it in private or semi-pubilc fora, I aslo disagree: because unless you cite the authoriy you have for such patently unfounded assertions, doing so on your part only undermines your accusation that it is I whom am imposing my view on others.


>>Taking issue with your posting does not mean we think Fr. Maciel something other than you do. It means, at least in my case, that whatever I think is irrelevant and should not be publicized gratuitously.

Then you need not post, if you believe, that, and if you do post, then you are being hypocritical, are you not? Again, I do not hold your sui generis view of morality; nothing in any book of Moral Theology I have read supports your view about matters that are publically known.


>> I take issue with the needless presumption shown in your comments. You have determined the matter as a clear one based on incomplete evidence and assume your opinion of the personal intent of all parties should be vented;

If you think holding to the truth is presumptuous, say so. Since it is not, I am innocent of the charge. And it if is likewise presumptuous in your book to give a rational argument for posts, then likewise, I beg to differ with your implicit preference against argument. I you would accuse another man of anything, or disagree with him in a forum, then you certainly cannot reasonably demand that he is at fault merely for responding or commenting; for if you disagre with that, then why do you yourself disagree, for your comments against anyone in this forum, are no less public, nor are they no less public accusations.


>>you call for the pope's resignation because he does not agree with you... what else? You may as well pin your thesis to a cathedral door.

Here it is you who presume: I have not called for the Pope's resignation: that happens when someone says, "I call for the popes resignation". Where did I ever say that? A False Accusation on your part; and a grave one, because such would be a sin of rebellion. I ask you therefore to publically apologize.


>>Your argument by numbers is fallacious. More than 100 thought St. Athanasius a heretic. That did not make him one. You equivocate on Scripture's words.

The argument did not regard numbers as number, if you understood it that way, I can see how you misunderstand scripture: it regards the consistency of testimony of those numbers, and the quality of the witnesses as immediate, knowledgeable persons whou would not have any ill reason to falsely claim otherwise. Therefore, you have grossly misundestood the argument, and change the context to which I applied it. That is both uncharitable and unjust of you; especially since you do it to malign me in public. I have done no such thing, but to fault me for speaking the truth of Scripture, you would twist my argument?


>>The fact remains that you and I have no jurisdiction over this case. Rome does. Our judgements are out of place. Therefore words lacking in charity for the sake of publishing our judgement of Fr. Maciel are needless (a form of vanity), worthless and cause scandal.

If you read the report, Rome made no judgement, other than suspending the trial. If the Holy Father found him guilty, I certanly would accept the judgement, for I accept His authority; likewise if He found him innocent. He did neither, he suspeded the trial, prefering to avoid the decision. It is a simple comment on my part that that is unjust, because His duty is first of all to protect the commong good, especially by defending the weak, of which those 100 victims are only a few.

>>As to Rome's "mercy", I think Mr. William's posting as well as later postings address that issue. For all we know, it may have been the just thing to do given the totality of the circumstances.

I would concede that it may be the expedient thing to do, but not the just one, because Sacred Scripture itself decries expediency in place of justice, and as a Catholic I accept that revealed critique of the exercise of the political/juridical office.

>>Rome dealt with all the facts, a matter that neither you nor I had the opportunity to do.

I agree that Leveda had more information than you or I. I context however that he dealt with it justly. If Maciel is innocent, judge him so, to clear his good name; if he is guilty, for the sake of the purity of the priesthood and the victims, laicize him, like so many American priests who rapes so many fewer boys.


>>I say (and who cares what I say?): leave all other judgements to God and concentrate on being perfect yourself.

O.K. Then no need to critize me, then, if you want to be consistent. However this is not a catholic principle for public debates, by particpating here, you must accept that the other can critize, but you are expected to be reasonable in your justification of what you say. Likewise, there is no fault if I do likewise.

>>Was it not St. Therese of Avila who answered a similar complaint about the state of the Church in her time with the words "that you and I be good [holy] and we shall have two crooks less in this world"? (I may be misquoting or changing the words due to bad memory, but the meaning is clear).

I totally agree: but holiness does not come by denying moral principles, or forcing a non-discussiong of what is already most public.

You complain against me, is therefore, in my estimation, unfounded on every point. You advocate silence, and misrepresent what I say. It is you who do the injustice, not I.

Simon-Peter said...

Sam:

I am NOT a lawyer :-).

The law was very interesting until I realized that the chances of sanctification in a profession (har har) that canonizes sophistry and the most outrgaeous lies was de minimis.

My best friend is a lawyer, and it is killing him precisely because where it clearly diverges from the natural law, his conscience is in uproar.

I keep telling him we should just go and build houses and sheds and the like (he used to be a general contractor, he was happy then) but all he does is go from unhappiness to more unhappiness.

ThePublican said...

Br. Bugnolo,

You request a public apology for my falsely accusing you on calling for the resignation of the pope. I was referring to your words in your first posting, I quote you:

"The pope should either reverse this suspension of the trial, or himself resign; becasue he has brought eternal disrepute upon the See of Peter. Leveda should do likewise. "

This was your conclusion after declaring the pope and Levada gay friendly. If words mean something, what does the above mean, specially within the context of your first posting?

I am happy to apologize (and I do so now preemptively) if these words do not call for the resignation of the pope.

You must know that I did not intend injury or false accusations: I was taking your own words at face value. Make your meaning clearer then in these grave matters; don't assume others have the intent to twist your meaning if you do not make it clear to begin with.

Note that you used as much sophistry against me as you accuse me of using against you, that is not the point of this discussion, so I will leave it at that. I assume I am not able to make myself clear either, so forgive me there.

Screwtape said...

Regarding the confusion about papal resignation: as I recall, there is precedent, but the circumstances were extremely different - the fellow in question, and I forget who, was made pope against his will, or at least his inclinations. He took one look and left.

Benedict VIX is not going to resign, but maybe somebody could get Guido to drop his garrotte and apply a papal gag.

Of course, Levada should resign (What, and quit show biz?) But we'll be telling time by a turnip before that happens.

And look at who gets to stay in place?

Then there was the appointment of Neiderhauser to San Francisco (there were'nt enough bath houses to suit him in Salt Lake).

Then there's . . .

Then there's . . .

Then there's . . .

Jean Paul Sartre wrote a famous novel titled La Nausée. It fits as a description of this papacy.

Beaucoup de mots semblant agréables; mais abominable ou, au mieux, aucune action.

Athanasius said...

I'm all on the side of Br. Bugnolo, and I thank you brother for being a vox rationis here. Essentially the LOC is trying to compare Maciel to Christ (which is both ridiculous and odious based on public facts), and consequently they are saying that Benedict is Pilate!

I think that John Paul II was just excited to have a congregation that was growing that wasn't too traditional. After a while the facts couldn't escape him, only Traditionalist orders are growing, the renewal seemed to be retreating from springtime back into winter. Then all of the sudden there is this Novus Ordo order growing in Mexico and Cheshire, CT. Of course the founder must be a saint!

Now that we have a more clear thinking Pope (on this issue anyway), we have a little action, and a merciful one if anything. If anything he was let off early. Who cares if there is a statue of limitations if its true! You could hardly say you would want child molestors, homosexuals or any other kind of sexual deviant around your children or presumably yourself simply because the statute of limitations has run out? Retiring Maciel from ministry is a generous step if anything. Before the council he was have been entirely defrocked.

Simon-Peter said...

"Essentially the LOC is trying to compare Maciel to Christ..."

Isn't there a statue in St. Peter's of a certain founder of Opus Dei and inscribed between his feet (perhaps it is beneath his feet) are the words "I will draw all people to myself."

Even if this is true, I am sure it is profitably ambiguous. No?

Screwtape said...

S-P

For some reason I overlooked your notice that you do not practice law. I didn't think so, but anyway my arrow was directed toward the distaff party.

My poor brother is a lawyer and his conscience is constantly in turmoil. And he's a Mormon!

He went into medicine at first, but when the first autopsy came along he had the same reaction you had to law school. After the corpse theatre, anything looked good to my brother.

When I became a Catholic (Novus Ordo, RCIA, the whole bit) said sibling ceased all contact.

A terrible price to pay? Not necessarily.

I think he was congenitally de minimus.

I'm as renowned for my charity as I am for my humility.

Simon-Peter said...

Sorry about your bro, bro.

When I first "discovered" the Mormons, I was curious about the nature of the revelation to their founder and the person (for he is many) revealing same:

"Moroni."

Drop the "i".

Screwtape said...

S-P

We're getting a little far from the original Post subject, but I'll address your question.

There are three known versions of "the vision in the grove:" two in Smith's hand and one in that of his amanuensis, to whom a version was dictated. None of the three versions agree as to who was present, when the event took place, what was said (revealed). Today there is one official version, of course.

In 1827 Smith was married and the Angel Moroni appeared in a dream to tell him where to "dig". (There may or may not have been a connection.) After 1838 that version changed, eliminating the dream.

Moroni remains the same "Angel", the "revelers" . . . uh, I mean "revealers", as you mention, are all over the place - take your pick.

Ironically, one of the contradicting versions was discovered by an over-zealous grad student at BYU University.

Actually, there is a sort of perimetric relation to the Post subject: that being, what happens when men become comfortable with contradictions.

I never thought of just dropping the "i" in Moroni. My version is to call them double-M Morons.

It is so sad. Most of them are such nice people.

All you have to do to get rid of a Mormon missionary, and I've had over 50 years of practice, is to say "let's forget the little black book for a minute and start by examining the doctrine on the nature of God, then immediately proceed to the distinction between "trinity" and "triumvirate" and mention that Mormonism teaches that any man can become a God (that's right, capital "G" God).

At that they're off on their bicycles with "that's a good question, we'll find out and get right back to you."

You never see them again.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo said...

Publican

I admire the charity of your response, and I admit that words do not always mean what the reader thinks they mean.

To remove all confusion: by statement refered not to a parlimentarian or political call for a resignation; but a statement about the objective moral duty of those who are not willing to exercise their office. In other words, I said: If B16 or Leveda do not have the moral integrity to exercise their office justly, then they have the moral obligation to resign for the good of the Church. I have no intention, nor have I any intention, to ask them to resign. I prefer they would change their mind; but perhaps the growing scandal in the Legion and his refusal to cooperate will force the Pope to stronger action.

Nor did I say either man was gay friendly. I said, who will deny, now, that they are? I was thus speaking about their personal public reputation, not their internal disposition of heart.

I try to mean what I say,when I say anything, but I beg you to read only what I said, and not to extrapolate.

And if I have done this to you or anyone, I beg your pardon here now and in public.