Blog Post

Vatican Takes Over Legionaries of Christ

By  Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The Vatican announced on Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI will appoint a special delegate to govern the Legionaries of Christ after its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, was found guilty of molesting seminarians and fathering at least one child. According to the Catholic News Agency, the decision came after the Apostolic Visitors assigned to investigate Fr. Maciel found that he had indeed committed "very serious and objectively immoral acts.” However, after visiting almost all of the order’s houses during the course of the investigation, the Visitors found them to be filled with “a great number of exemplary, honest religious people, (who are) full of talent, many of whom are young, seek Christ with authentic zeal and offer their entire existence for the diffusion of the Kingdom of God.” They found that "the great part of the Legionaries" had no knowledge of the facts about Fr. Maciel because of the founder’s communications system and his ability to "create alibis, obtain trust, confidence and silence from those around him and reinforce his own role as charismatic founder.” In a statement released after the meetings, the Vatican excoriated the late Father Marciel Maciel for creating a ''system of power'' built on silence, deceit and obedience that enabled him to lead a double life ''devoid of any scruples and authentic sense of religion'' and allowed him to abuse young boys unchecked. ''By pushing away and casting doubt upon all those who questioned his behaviour, and the false belief that he wasn't doing harm to the good of the Legion, he created around him a defence mechanism that made him unassailable for a long period, making it difficult to know his true life,'' the Vatican said. After two days of meetings in Rome that took place April 30 and May 1, it was decided that a “profound revision of the life and structure of the congregation was in order.” The Pope appointed a special delegation to govern the Legionaries directly from Rome, and charged them with the task of examining the Legionaries constitution and investigating the order’s lay affiliate, Regnum Christi. “The question is whether everything is still on the table in terms of the future, or is the underlying assumption that the present Legion of Christ can be repaired?”  George Weigel, biographer of John Paul II, told the New York Times.  “I don’t see how the good work that the Legion and Regnum Christi do can continue without a definitive and unambiguous break with the past.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®