"Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado (March 10, 1920 – January 30, 2008) was a Roman Catholic priest who founded the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement. Since 1956 he was engulfed in scandals after accusations of a lifetime of financial and sexual misconduct and drug abuse. In 2006 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, removed Maciel from active ministry, inviting him to spend the rest of his days in prayer and penance. Late in 2009, the year following his death, the Legion announced in an internal memorandum that Maciel had plagiarized a book, El salterio de mis días, which had acquired great importance in the tradition of the Legion." (source)
The Legion of Christ is a Roman Catholic congregation established in 1941 in Mexico by Fr. Marcial Maciel. It enjoyed the favor of Pope John Paul II. It has priests working in 22 countries, and had 763 priests and over 1,300 seminarians as members by 2008. Its lay movement Regnum Christi has approximately 70,000 members. It operates centers of education (minor seminaries, seminaries, schools and/or universities) in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, and the Philippines.
On March 31, 2009 the Legionaries of Christ and the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI has ordered a Vatican investigation of the Legion of Christ. The Legion of Christ has acknowledged that its founder fathered a child and is also responding to claims that the founder molested seminarians. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, said church leaders will visit and evaluate all seminaries, schools and other institutions run by the Legion worldwide." (Ibid)
"In July of 2009, media in Spain published an interview with a woman who had a child with Maciel over 20 years ago and now lives in a luxury apartment in Madrid which Maciel purchased for her. The woman, Norma Hilda Baños, insinuates that she was abused by Maciel as a minor and later was impregnated by him and she bore him a daughter, Norma Hilda Rivas. At least one source claims that Rivas is an alias that Maciel used during his life.
A day later, Mexican media reported that an attorney, José Bonilla, will represent three of a possible total of six of Maciel's children in a civil suit to recover Maciel's estate. The lawyer claims that there are several properties in Mexico and around the world which Maciel owned in his own name. In March 2010, Bonilla announced that he would no longer represent the three reputed children of Maciel, since one of them admitted to asking the Legion of Christ for $26 million USD in exchange for silence." (Source)
The current Pope has never been fond of Degollado and ordered a Papal commission to investigate his activities.
"The controversy over the Legion, which is now barred or severely restricted from operating in six U.S. dioceses, is especially awkward for Benedict because he wants to have John Paul, a staunch defender of the order, canonized." (Source)
The tragedy in all of this is that some in his large group of followers were also aware, to some degree, of his crimes. Yet, because of the fear of criticizing an individual that had such power over their religion, and to some degree their beliefs and salvation, they either denied the victims or completely ignored them. Perhaps, even persecuting them and adding to their misery.
Thus, as we have seen in so many similar cases, the victim becomes the villain while the perpetrator is protected by the "Ring of Power" that he has surrounded himself with.
"In 1997, nine former high-ranking seminarians accused Maciel, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them when they were boys training for the priesthood. Last year, it was discovered Maciel had an illegitimate daughter born in 1986 in Spain. Two Mexican men who say they are Maciel's sons claim he also sexually abused them as children." (Ibid.)
So it is with much of the evil we see and hear about in this tired, old world. It doesn't usually come with a pitchfork and a tail. Usually, it wears the robes of piety and purity during the day, while practicing its abominations at night. For those that judge with the eyes and ears, this is always their downfall. They are doomed to a life of disappointment, degradation and deception.
If we are going to root out the great evils that have taken over our societies, we have to learn to question unholy practices done by so-called "Holy Men". We need to listen to the cries of the victims and not brush them off as improbable or even impossible. We have to stop blindly trusting institutions to raise our families without any oversight, checks or balances.
And we need to have the courage to stand up to people of influence that have violated our trust. Otherwise, the sheep they shear just may be our own. To quote:
"He was obviously a very flawed man," said Fair. "It's hard to reconcile the guy we now know with the man who built hundreds of seminaries. But we will go on. The work of the church is bigger than humans. It's a little as if we found out Abraham Lincoln was a serial pedophile after he signed the Emancipation Proclamation."
Interviews with former members of the Legion and Regnum Christi paint a chilling picture of Maciel as a sociopathic master salesman who knew how to charm the upper echelon at the Vatican as well as enlist the wealthy and elite to his fast-growing order, all while using cult-like techniques.
"He created a structure that allowed sexual abuse, financial fraud and spiritual improprieties to go completely unchecked," said Kineke. "Believe me, the best and the brightest got sucked into this scam. I was one. I was an elite bully for Christ."