Public and Private

I do not want to dwell on Fr. Maciel. I believe that many of my readers are not directly affected by the Legion of Christ or Regnum Christi. Many of you may never even have heard of Fr. Maciel.

I would much rather write about Christ, Shakespeare, and basketball. Nonetheless, I feel obliged to say the following.

To my knowledge, at this point the only scandalous fact on the record is that Fr. Maciel has a daughter.

On EWTN, Raymond Arroyo and two Legionaries referred to the idea that Fr. Maciel was guilty of sexual abuse. There are no publicly acknowledged facts to this effect. My heart breaks for the Legionaries interviewed. But some of the things they said about Fr. Maciel do not make sense.

Catholic priests should not have daughters. Children, however, can be conceived out of wedlock without sexual abuse taking place. Priests should never do this. Nonetheless, it can be done with the consent of both parties.

I do not claim to know anything about Fr. Maciel’s sins. There are numerous books and documentaries which propose to document Fr. Maciel’s crimes. I am not saying that these books and documentaries are true; I am not saying they are false. I do not know. I simply object to the following reasoning:

1) There are a large number of accusations to the effect that Fr. Maciel abused minors.

2) We know that he was not perfectly chaste, because he has a daughter.

THEREFORE: At least some of the accusations that he abused minors must be true.

This is not solid reasoning. I am not saying that Fr. Maciel did NOT abuse anyone. I am simply pointing out that just because a priest has a daughter does not necessarily mean that he sexually abused anyone. Did wrong, yes. But abuse? That still remains unknown–at least to me.

George Weigel has declared that there is no way forward for the disciples of Fr. Maciel other than a full public accounting of all his sins. Others correctly point out that such an accounting may be impossible, given the fact Fr. Maciel himself is dead and many of his worst sins may have happened over fifty years ago.

I pray that God will help and console any and all persons who suffered abuse at the hands of Fr. Maciel, and anyone who has ever been abused by a priest.

Perhaps it would be easier for us if a full accounting were given. If the leaders of the Legion possess conclusive evidence that Fr. Maciel committed sexual abuse, then that should be made known—although the victims certainly have a right to their privacy. Perhaps the Holy Father will order further public disclosures.

At the same time, we know that Fr. Maciel has already faced the only truly full account of his actions. He has already been judged for everything he ever did or failed to do. The Lord is perfectly just.

In my opinion, the best thing is for everyone down here on earth to stick with known facts only.

4 thoughts on “Public and Private

  1. I just woke up some of my children because I was laughing so loud at the “Digital TV Transition” clip. Thanks for finding this stuff!

  2. I’m with Grace, the “Digital TV” clip is priceless. It made me LOL so much that I woke the sleeping prince off his couch!! Where do you find this stuff!!

    On another note, I am very sorry about Fr. Maciel and the Legionnaries, and the pain that you feel about this whole thing. May God’s HOPE and PEACE be felt by all.

  3. Given the many testimonies of abuse and impropriety, even toward those who became priests, I was thankful that Pope Benedict XVI compelled Fr. Maciel to retreat to a life of prayer and penance. The latest news about his out-of-wedlock offspring (hija ilegítima) just compounds the scandal. Previously, there was a resistence among the Legionnaries to accept or even to investigate the charges against their founder. A number of purported victims claimed that this victimized them anew as liars or deviants. Yes, I believe there has to be a reckoning and probably a change from the manner in which the Legion of Christ usually operates. The criticisms of certain bishops and others may now be treated seriously. Among these concerns are the following: a general air of secrecy, a lack of cooperation with local parishes, the clandestine targeting of certain diocesan priests (usually young) for affiliation with them, and an overly rigid formation of seminarians and later priests that causes a dissolution of ties to family and former friends in favor of loyalty to the Legion. It is being argued that this systemic secrecy and control found in the Legionnaries may have found its initial source in the need to protect and enable the secret life of its founder. If that is true, the apple will have to be peeled to its core with the rottrn pieces stripped away.

    Pray for the Legion and the members of Regnum Christi.

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