US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Sins of the father

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The news that Legionaries of Christ founder Marcial Maciel Degollado, who was forced out of public ministry after revelations of inappopriate contact with students in the order, fathered a child has further eroded his reputation. News that he was given $10,000 in cash every time he left Rome should be a warning to donors and a call to accountability on the part of the order. You can read The New York Times coverage here.

The Legionaries, one of the most reactionary of the new orders promoted under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, was built around a cult of personality based on Maciel, and has been a divisive influence in many dioceses in the U.S., especially its lay movement, Regnum Christi. Aspirants had to read volumes of his letters and lead incredibly strict lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The fact that their founder engaged in such scandalous behavior must be a severe blow to the order.

Even more, the derision with which both the order and its mouthpieces, including the Legionary-funded National Catholic Register in the U.S., treated Maciel's accusers was nothing short of uncharitable. The Register has issued a (late)apology to them.

One wonders what the fallout will be, but at least Maciel's victims finally have some vindication.