...."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.”
Father Marciel Marcel followed the direction of the Church. He lived the remainder of his life as a penitent. He died on January 30, 2008 at the age of 87. However, the Religious community and lay movement he founded continued their many apostolic endeavors. Both have produced some wonderful work in and for the Church. Certainly its lay members, its priests and all who recognize the good which they have all done - and, hopefully will continue to do - were shocked by these new reports.
Here they are. The influential, deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, Fr. Marcial Maciel, a consecrated celibate priest, is alleged to have had a mistress, fathered at least one child and lived a double life. I will use the summary set forth in the recent article on “American Papist” written by Thomas Peters. It appears to be the most comprehensive, up to date and substantive. It is based upon numerous reports including sources within the community itself:
“1) Maciel fathered a child who is now in her early 20's;
“2) Maciel offered some money illicitly to his own family;
“3) The current head, Alvaro Corcuera, entertaining his own suspicions, demanded that the case be reopened several years ago;
“4) The health of the Legion depends on denouncing him as founder and moving on.
“I have heard more details in addition (a second child, etc), but in this situation, I tend to think we've already learned enough to make an evaluation. Anything further is simply prurient interest.”
One of the fruits of the work of the Legionaries has been the National Catholic Register which is owned by the community. The editor of the paper is Tom Hoopes. He commented on the matter: "All I want to say is, I’m sorry. I want to say it here, because I defended Fr. Maciel here, and I need to be on the record regarding that defense: I’m sorry, to the victims, who were victims twice, the second time by calumny. I’m sorry, to the Church, which has been damaged. I’m sorry, to those I’ve misled. I did it unwittingly, but this isn’t a time for excuses. The Church gave me great, great good in Regnum Christi. The Church did bring justice, and did penalize this man. Thank God for the Church. I seek repentance and forgiveness, and I leave it at that."
We ask all of the readers of Catholic Online throughout the world to pray for those hurt by this behavior. Pray for the members of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. I have known Legionary Priests and lay members of Regnum Christi. They have all been wonderful Catholics and good people, deeply in love with the Lord and His holy Church. My heart breaks for them in this time of struggle and disappointment. We also ask our readers to pray for the Catholic Church which, in the midst of this very difficult time of history, will now also have to bear with what will be a fierce season of reaction to this latest tragedy....
My personal experience with the Legionaries of Christ has been all good. I have faith that they will be able to overcome this devastating news, and continue their important work around the world. God wins always.