Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Great Pretender: Marcie Maciel

And the subject of recalcitrant priests.
I just read a fascinating review in The New York Review of Books on the life of Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.  The Maciel scandal seems to have been extensively covered in Mexico, and amazing revelations have come out about the man.  The holy founder priest leading a double, maybe a triple life - in the public eye no less: "Maciel was also a bigamist, pederast, dope fiend, and plagiarist."  If the information in the article is true, Maciel showed signs of trouble even as a young seminarian.  (Be forewarned, the review is also considered anti-Catholic/anti-Church - the author makes some rather derogatory remarks.)
In 1938 Maciel was expelled from his uncle Guízar’s seminary, and shortly afterward from a seminary in the United States. According to witnesses, Maciel and his uncle had a gigantic row behind closed doors, and one witness, a Legionary who had known Maciel since childhood, told the psychoanalyst González that the bishop’s rage had to do with the fact that Maciel was locking himself up in the boarding house where he was staying with some of the younger boys at his uncle’s seminary. - NYR

How could that be?  How did Maciel manage to become so 'great' in the eyes of the Church, even in the eyes of John Paul II?  It is such an unsettling mystery how this man got away with so much.  His story would make a great film however, given the right script and director.  Jim Cavezial could play the more mature Maciel, with Raymond Arroyo playing the youthful seminarian.
How to keep your job:  “obedezco, pero no cumplo" - obey but don't comply. 
Exchanging emails with a friend concerning a few local priests who, unlike Maciel, openly support causes in opposition to Church teaching, and publicly participate in protests, parades, and unauthorized synods and the like, I asked him;  "Why aren't these guys disciplined and removed as pastors from their parishes?"  My friend, who has connections to the chancery explained to me; "It's like tenure with an university professor - you just can't fire them." 
Really?  So you can't transfer them someplace else?  You can't give them early retirement?  But you can let them live and minister in open opposition to Church teaching?  I know many older priests have long owned their own homes, they have their own lives as it were, and perhaps ministry has become more a career, a position they paid their dues for.  Is that why a local ordinary can't just transfer a guy who has settled down someplace?  Because you can't expect him to leave a nice home and a dog, even if he lives a kinda/sorta irregular life, or who teaches error...  I'm not saying throw them out on the street - let them keep their homes, just remove them from active ministry.
Why not? 
The other question I always ask - "Why do dissidents and hypocrites stay in a Church they disagree with?"  The author of the Maciel piece offers one answer to that question at the end of his review.
"In 1979, at the time of John Paul’s first visit to Mexico, I had a conversation with a progressive Spanish priest who lived with his partner, a middle-aged woman, about the split life he lived. Why, I asked, didn’t he leave the Church if so many of its norms violated his own convictions and desire for honesty? I remember his saying, in effect, that the possibility of doing good within an institution as enormous and influential as the Church was greater than the chances for doing good outside of it."

And perhaps more lucrative if you have tenure.  Will scandals never cease?
Photo: Source   Creepy.  Caption:  "Who's your daddy?"

H/T Spirit Daily for the Maciel story.


  1. It's the Pro-abort priests who slay me the most!

    Traitor Catholics who use our church to destroy it from within!

    when I meet up with these men in the confessional I can feel my temper rise. They always "out" themselves unknownly by the crap they say inside of the confessional.

    I think these men are stupid. I would never be in a group I didn't believe in or desire to become a part of- even though I'm not the smartest Catholic around.

    The last priest I got into an argument with was over abortion. He died a few months ago (I didn't do it-honest)
    I sincerely pray for him- Stupid old fool.

  2. +JMJ+

    Father Andrew Greeley was once asked a similar question: "Why don't you leave the Catholic Church and join another church whose members believe in divorce, fornication, contraception, women's ordination, etc.?" And he answered that he already belongs to a church whose members believe all that. =P Well, given the way a lot of Catholics conduct their lives, it's hard to argue with that!

  3. Absolutely disgusting!
    Human weakness and diabolic temptation/obsession are one thing...there are priests who for whatever reason struggle mightily against the demon rum/fornication/sexual impurity of all kinds...but they go to confession and try to make amendment.

    This, however, pardon me, here is another sorta "cat" altogether.

    It's a mockery of the Catholic Faith, the priesthood, the goodness of the laity (God bless you, every one for putting up with this crap!), and just good Christian decency.

    Get a life, jokers!
    If you don't agree with the teachings of the Church or are living a double life, a life that is a mockery of the priesthood, as opposed to good men that struggle with "bad habits" and want so very much to be holy, GET OUT!

    Pope Benedict has indicated that he wants to see that the Church be "purged" of "such filth" who are bishops and priest that are obstinately and gleefully at odds with Christ, with His Teachings, and with all that is good and holy.

    We might have to go through a lot of suffering if these priests were "sidelined"; but it would be better in the long run. Of that, I am certain.
    Signed, a repentant and sorrowful monastic priest...Jesus, have mercy!

    And at NCReporter they want the Pope to face a "world court" the USA, according to OUR commentator wants to bring up the hundreds of years of "abuse of young men and women"...sheesh. This is absolutely as insane. Idiots.

    Terry, you hit anotha' home run! Bless you!!

  4. The other question I always ask - "Why do dissidents and hypocrites stay in a Church they disagree with?"

    Is there not an important distinction between those who dissent and those who practise hypocrisy ?

    BTW I do not think that clergy with wives/girlfriends/boyfriends are dissenters.

    Maciel and his ilk were and are not dissenters. They are dissimulators and worse. Probably after a time they believed their own lies. Truth became a stranger. Their lives are lies.

    Perhaps St Thomas Aquinas is of some help in understanding what is a very old problem in the Church: dissimulation and hypocrisy. As it is in the whole of human society and throughout its history.

    See Summa Theologica: Question 111. Dissimulation and hypocrisy at

  5. "the possibility of doing good within an institution as enormous and influential as the Church was greater than the chances for doing good outside of it."

    I would substitute the word "evil" for the word "good" where Maciel is concerned.

  6. Truthisstrangerthanfiction3:41 PM

    Maciel's proclivities were made known to Vatican investigators back in the 50s. This letter by his 2nd in command to one of the investigators during the first AV clearly shows just how depraved Maciel was at that point:

    He was kicked out of several seminaries, and there are stories told that his sainted uncle (St. Raphael Guizar) died of a "heart attack" the very night that he had been heard yelling at the young Maciel because mothers of young children had come to him complaining Maciel was locking himself up in a room with them when "catechizing" them, and there were strange noises emanating from the room. That saint went way up in my esteem when I read that story. Too bad he died before he could do anything about Maciel.

    A philosopher has written a piece describing how much more damaging Maciel's Legion is to the Church than leftist/modernist dissenters. It makes for a fascinating read:

  7. This whole "Maciel" thing is just "diabolical confusion" in its purest form.

    To put forward a "faithful/orthodox" face while acting like the anti-Christ is the exact formula for "diabolical confusion".

    I think Pope Benedict XVI has known and does know the deepest recesses of this absolute s*** (please pardon me, here). I get so angry and absolutely want to have a "melt-down" when I see the perversion of all that is good, true, holy and beautiful made a mockery of by "Nuestro Padre"...what a joke! He was either insane or possessed...nobody, nobody who was just in mortal sin (and that's bad enough, thank you very much!) could do what he did...there has to be a great power here and I think it's Satan and I pray for all the LC's and RC's and all of them...may the power of our Lord Jesus Christ free them from the power of the Evil One!

    This is a complete scandal and travesty upon the Church, the Body of Christ.

    This hideous impostor posed as a "holy founder" for how many years while molesting seminarians, priests and fathering babies with women as his "common law" wives...with maybe billions of $$...WTH??

    And don't blame it on JP II...
    his (Maciel's)"officers" gots lots of 'spalinin' to do!

  8. Okay, this is an "irritable" comment here...but for all the love in the Heart of Jesus...why are they fighting about Archbishop Chaput's comment on Fr. Z's blog when the real issue is "holiness"; "fidelity"; "love of our Lord"; "reverent celebration of Holy Mass, in either Form"?
    I mean, really?
    I told one of them to knock it off;'the Mass is the Mass'...sheesh!

  9. My mind does not turn-off, unfortunately...
    In the hours since my last posts, I have been pondering, to my horror, I'm afraid, the real effects of this "charade"...oh, yeah, we're called to give all...but Nuestro Padre can commit sex acts with minors, seminarians, priests, have "common law" wives, raise money to provide for his "progeny"...literally, unfortunately...and live the "life of Reilly" as well in comfort, splendor, no questions asked...lots of perks, lots of "first class" whatevers...
    I hope the Holy Father will bear down on this cult and spawn of the demons...I mean it...there may be all kinds of good men and women involved...God help and bless them...but they all need to find an authentic charism to which to commit themselves...Maciel Marcial, God help you wherever you are! Prayers!
    Prayers for all those caught in this horrible "cult"...Jesus, Mary, Joseph, give them every grace and blessing!

  10. Dear Father N.P.
    We loyal and faithfull Catholics understand clearly that there are numerous holy men and women like yourself going about the Lords work- unthanked, unrecognized and requesting no praise in return while each and every day working their _ss off and expecting only some sort of an eternal reward.

    (Same with some moms;)

  11. Truthisstrangerthanfiction8:30 PM


    I feel your outrage, believe me. I've read so much about this travesty in the past year that has made me want to scream, I can't even begin to tell you about it. Let's just say I allowed my children to get involved in various LC/RC programs over the years. When the news that Maciel was a complete fraud came out last February, I was really excited for the LC---I truly believed this was their chance to shine forth and rid themselves of their deviant founder and show themselves to be the wonderful order of priests I always hoped they were.

    Imagine my dawning horror as the weeks went by, and instead of seeing this order of priests come forward and express their sincere sorrow for calling Maciel's accusers liars all those years, all they could talk about was how much pain they themselves were in. Local LCs could only admit that NP had "fallen", and a daughter had resulted. Nobody would admit that if he lied about that part of his life, chances are he lied about the sexual molestation he'd denied all those years.

    To this day (and I'm not joking), local LCs reverently refer to "Nuestro Padre" and talk about how they feel he is "interceding" for the LC in heaven.

    There are rumors (unable to substantiate for myself right now because it's such a closed and protected system, but nothing would surprise me at this point) that the seminarians in Cheshire are still reading All Maciel for their spiritual growth. It's okay because these young guys never knew Maciel so won't be outraged or scandalized by his behavior like some of the older priests who knew him in real life might be (not making this up).

    I'm with you---I think his power came from a place I don't want any of my prayers going to. Evil. But what's even worse is how many people knew he was depraved and covered up for him (read the letter from his 2nd in command from back in the 50s I posted above, and you will see what I mean). Latest numbers are 200 sexual molestation victims. Given how few people actually report such abuse, no telling how many he actually abused. There were a lot of people who knew what he really was, and some brave ones tried for decades to get through to the Vatican. (Heck, the Vatican investigators knew what he really was back in the 50s and recommended he never, ever, run the order again. See

    Do you really think the Vatican will out the men (Sodano, Dswicz, Rode, et al) who kept this knowledge from JPII so that his name can be cleared? I hate to be so cynical, but I think the Curia will let JPII go down in flames before they will out the true story of the corruption happening at the top. Note those three men are still all cardinals in good standing.

    I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for any official Vatican clearing of JPII's name on this one. Berry is the only one who has really done anything to touch that aspect of the story at all.

    God knows all. The Church has survived men of great evil before, and it will survive Maciel and Legion, and corrupt Curia, too. But that is about all we are guaranteed! I do think Benedict is on to Legion, and I think he is going to do his best to try to save all the good people caught up in this cult. Because I do think Legion/Regnum sucked up an incredible number of very well-meaning Catholics who can do great things for our Church once freed from the bonds of this cult.

  12. Jesus and Mary love you, Truthisstrangerthanfiction. I really mean it.
    How absolutely awful.
    I can be so nasty sometimes...really...but this Maciel thing just makes me wild!
    Prayers and penance from this Little dovecot of Our Lady (we are "marginalized"...who cares?)...God is ever greater.
    Thank you for your most moving testimony. I wish I could give you a big hug (this is NOT like me, at all)...I do in the "spirit" at peace.

  13. The Legionnaires are a disgrace, and this was allowed to go on too long, and this is one reason against the canonization of that Pope: he did not take timely necessary disciplinary measures. He knew. How could he not? The tendency to overlook the sins of clergy by Bishops is now an established pattern, from Santa Fe to Boston to Los Angeles, the Leggionaires and now Bruxelle, read the <a href='>damning papers,/a> about Cardinal Danneels and his friend Bishop Van Gheleuwe, the admitted pedophile who molested his own 11 year old nephew, can you believe it? HOW could the Cardinal NOT have known about the activities of his friend the Bishop of Bruges? There was even an ECUMENICAL PEDOPHILE WORKGROUP in 1984 Belgium , these issues were known back then and the advisement was:

    "If the bond between your little son or little daughter with a pedophile feels good do not break that bond. The environment of your reaction would be more harmful than the relationship itself. Many devout Christians can still learn from pedophiles. It is better that a trusting relationship between the pedophile and the parents can be built".

    THIS is what was the recommendation of the Belgian Ecumenical Pedophila Workgroup recommended in 1984. This is not new but has been working openly for a quarter of a Century.

  14. Leorufus8:35 AM

    read the damning papers, about Cardinal Danneels and his friend Bishop Van Gheleuwe


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