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.