Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not that mime - the other one, Marcial Maciel.

The Mexican pretender.
An amazing story this one - it makes every conspiracy theory you've ever heard about the Church seem believable as the story of the once revered Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ unfolds.  This powerful, manipulative priest had been a favorite of John Paul II.  This past week the superiors of the order he founded are apologizing to victims for the harm he caused by his double life and immorality.
"The apology was offered by the Legion’s secretary-general, Evaristo Sada, in a speech last weekend at a church event that was posted later on the order’s Web site.
'With all my heart I wish to beg pardon of everyone that our founder harmed with the immoral acts of his private life, and of the people who have been injured by the consequences,' Sada said about Maciel, who died amid accusations of sexual abuse.
Shortly after Maciel’s death, it became known that he had children, six according to the attorney of three of them who are seeking legal recognition.

“It grieves us deeply what the church and these people have suffered,” Sada said.
Maciel was accused for decades of abusing seminarians, eight of whom filed complaints that went as far as the Vatican.  In May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI formally urged Maciel to give up “all public ministry” and ordered him to live a quiet life of prayer and penitence." - Source 
More people other than the victims have been hurt by this and an apology doesn't do a heck of a lot to change that.  Not at all.  The betrayal of a such a high-profile, highly-esteemed-for-his-orthodoxy-and-fidelity-to-the-Magisterium-saintly priest has the power to destroy faith in little souls.    Sexual abuse sucks the life out of souls.  In Maciel's case, it may have destroyed both faith and vocations as well as sucked the life out of his congregation.


  1. We had a small Regnum Christi group at our parish. Once a month the women led a ladies retreat. They've since stopped that. In fact, the group may have quit altogether.

  2. Maria2:08 AM

    As I read story after story after story--the Jesuits in Oregon, Germany ad nauseam, I have begun to ask myself the question: is it possible that this abuse, this murder of souls, has, perhaps always existed throughout history? Is it possible that this level of corruption is a phenomenon peculiar to our time, alone?

  3. Maria - that's a good question. Perhaps the level of corruption seems high now because of the quick and easy access to information. I don't particularly believe our generation is any more or less sinful than any other generation in history - except for the possibility that our generation has done a pretty good job in excusing sin.

    Also, the world is always quick to condemn the Church for committing the sins She herself condemns. The world, and Satan, loves to see Catholics fail to live up to Her standards, and rarely misses the opportunity to publicize it. That gets translated into "If it's good enough for the Church/Catholics, then why not me?" Which is why it is so important for Catholics to be faithful to Church teaching so as not to cause scandal.

    Comes down to the fact we are all sinners.

  4. Maria, these things have always happened, but a couple of generations ago, people didn't air their dirty laundry in public.

    These days people line up to be on talk shows and share everything with everyone.

    Angela M, Regnum Christi was banned in my diocese several years ago.

  5. Actually, the incidents in Maciel's case have not 'always happened' nor have they 'always been around' - at least to such a scandalous degree.

    The sinfulness/lawlessness of our generation is much more public and general than in previous generations. Yet where sin abounds grace superabounds, as St. Paul teaches.

    "There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed, nothing concealed that will not be known and brought to light." - Luke 8:17

  6. If a person is sexually abused and tells others what happened I don't think that is "dirty laundry."

  7. Austringer11:38 AM

    Terry, I agree with you, and would also add that our generation has mainstreamed sexual immorality and deviancy.

    It is also true that people are far more likely now to go public with these matters. I don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing: "dirty laundry"??! Since we all know by now how the Church hierarchy has hidden these abuses, I can't blame the victims and their families for exposing these acts. I know that the press is no friend to the Church, but if priests and bishops had actually cared for their sheep instead of just protecting their own, this would not have reached the degree it has. The reports from Ireland make me sick. Un-aired dirty laundry is toxic.

  8. @ Larry-It might be that the identification of sexual abuse and prosecution of the same in the secular world gave way for the exposure of crimes in the clergy. Now it is in our face. Human nature cannot have undergone a fundamental change only in the last 60 years. So, then I wonder if I have to face this fact: original sin impels people, always, everywhere and in generation to this evil darkness. The saints have always noted the ways in which priests are targeted by Satan.

    @ Terry—The sin and lawlessness of our generation does seem unparalleled, with the exception, perhaps, of the paganism that preceded early Christianity. They legislated contraception, abortion and infanticide. They endorsed polygamy. Christianity developed the honor of monogamy. Priests and the fathering of children—is this new? Homosexual priests, sexual abuse of children. I do not know. I am now interested in reading more about the history of these abuses. One thing is certain: secular and clerical life seems corrupted on an unprecedented level.

    @ Anglea: I agree. It is good that these abuses have been brought to light. And Terry, you are so right, where sin abounded grace abounded more…This trial could lead to a purification and Springtime like no other in the history of the Church.

    @ Austringer: If I am honest, I cannot refrain from asking why the Church has, and continues to, close their eyes. I try to remind myself that everything happens in God’s world with his providence. I try to remember that the Holy Father is our Shepherd and knows his flock. Faith dictates that I pray, do penance and attempt reparation for the injury done to the Sacred Heart of Jesus via these abuses.

  9. "... makes every conspiracy theory you've ever heard about the Church seem believable ..."

    That's about right.

    And the next time somebody implies that you should believe or trust the church, remember this story.

  10. Austringer3:14 PM

    Greg, some distinctions need to be made: I believe and trust the Church when she proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ and proposes articles of doctrine and discipline to which I assent. She is the Bride of Christ. I believe and trust everything, without reserve, that she offers of the deposit of Faith.

    It's her human members who are prone to sin (just as I am)that sometimes need scrutiny....

  11. Maria3:19 PM

    Austringer: well said.

  12. Austringer3:46 PM

    Maria, I agree with you that fundamental human nature has not changed. However, it's reasonable to think that the surrounding culture (in whatever period) might give more leeway or license to particular sins or arenas of sins, resulting in their greater acceptance and thus frequency. In our culture, the understanding of sexuality has undergone huge distortions, thanks in no small part to oral contraception. The acceptance of sterile sex leads to an acceptance of casual sex, homosexual sex -- you name it. It would be amazing if the sins of the clergy didn't reflect the sins of the culture.

  13. GregK - Not to worry - stories such as these will not prevail against the Catholic Church.

  14. I'm far from being a Church historian, but I know of no founder of a religious congregation who was as sinful as Marcial Maciel. St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Ignatius (to mention just a few) were men who had reputations above reproach.

    So in that sense, this situation is completely anomalous.

  15. Maria6:35 PM

    St. Ignatius fathered a child out of wedlock, prior to his conversion. But as Hardon says: leading sinners, once converted, become leading converters of souls. St. Augustine? With these great men their fleshly sin preceded their priesthood--not after they became priests.

  16. LeoRufus8:58 AM

    I say the hierarchical Church needs to rev up the engine of the good old Inquisition and purge these errant prelates and laity from the ranks of the faithful. Bishops, priests, religious and indeed entire parishes, lay associations and orders (Jesuits)need to be expunged in order to save the Body of the Church. "If thy right eye offend thee..."

    In fact wolves clothed as sheep offering invalid sacraments and infiltrating the ranks of the Church was the cause of Isabella the Catholic to purge the Church in Spain. Despite the Black legend that surrounds this - propagated by English protestants- it was necessary. A similarly painful purgation will be necessary to eliminate the sexual predators from our religious houses and parishes. How long before the next Boston or Ireland happens? In fact nobody remembers the Santa Fe scandal and the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Spings NM, a scandal which heralded this long lent for the Church.

    I think the time for trying to talk sense to these folks is done. They are a boil that needs to be lanced.

  17. Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado was the grand-nephew of a Mexican saint canonized in 2007, Saint Rafael Guízar Valencia.

    Another of Saint Rafael Guízar Valencia’s grand nephews is a newly ordained Priest at the Silver City, New Mexico, Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He is a Traditional Priest, well formed at the SSPX Seminary of Winona, Minnesota.

    Father Maciel is said to have sinned greatly.

    When sin is abundant, God’s graces and mercies are in greater abundance. Let us pray that Father Maciel accepted God’s final grace; Extreme Unction.

    Saint John Chrysostom said the road to Hell is paved with the skulls of Priests, with the skulls of Bishops as sign posts. I hope this Padre did not add to the Highway.

    Meanwhile, lets not stand at the grave of a Priest and spit on it.

    I entrust this whole matter in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Mother of the Priest par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, of all priests in whom she forms her Son”.

    Santa María de Guadalupe Esperanza nuestra, salva nuestra patria y conserva nuestra Fe.


  18. Austringer1:29 PM

    LeoRufus, although I understand your sentiment, no purging is going to take place. That does not seem to be the way the Church hierarchy deals with its own.

  19. Maria8:26 PM

    Austringer and Leo Rufus--

    The CDF used to be called something like the Office of the Inquisition. I think. Terry will know. Please do not get me started on the Jesuits. I have had a bad day...The rampant disloyalty no wevident i the Church does raise questions about what we will not even name for what it is anymore: Heresy. What to do with Heresy. Prayer, never ending, agonizing, painstaking, painful prayer and reparation. I am often in tears because of the same...


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