Legionaries of Christ founder said to father child


A spokesperson for the Legionaries of Christ said Feb. 3 the order has recently reached the conclusion that its founder, a Mexican priest named Marcial Maciel Degollado who was close to the late Pope John Paul II, was guilty of conduct that is "surprising, difficult to understand, and inappropriate for a Catholic priest."

The spokesperson, Jim Fair, who works out of the Legionaries' U.S. headquarters in Connecticut, declined to offer any specifics in response to an NCR inquiry.

Speaking on background, however, a Legionary priest in Rome confirmed the order has learned that Maciel, who died in January 2008, apparently fathered a child out of wedlock.

NCR stories about Fr. Marcial Maciel


The National Catholic Reporter printed its first story about Fr. Marcial Maciel in 1997, Legionaries founder accused of sex abuse, and followed the story for 11 years. Here is a list of the most recent stories. The last link in in this list takes you to an even more extensive list of NCR coverage, more than three dozen stories dated 1997-2006.

Fr. Marcial Maciel leaves behind a flawed legacy
February 22, 2008
Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the once powerful founder of the Legionaries of Christ and favorite of the late Pope John Paul II, was buried in Mexico recently in what was described as an “understated and solemn” ceremony, a disgraced figure who was plagued in his latter years by persistent charges that he had abused young seminarians in his earlier years.
Maciel died in Houston Jan. 30, several weeks after suffering a stroke.

A proposal: Look to Civil law to reform parishes


The parish is the primary institution where the church lives out its life. “The parish is a beacon that radiates the light of faith,” Pope Benedict XVI said in December. “Thus it meets the most profound and authentic desires of the human heart, giving meaning and hope to the lives of individuals and families.”

The pope speaks of an ideal. The reality in the United States’ 19,000 parishes is, unfortunately, quite different. Far too often, the local institution designed to radiate the light of faith is dulled by structures that impede the church’s mission.

The evidence is abundant: In the past 50 years weekly Mass attendance has plummeted to the low 30 percent range, vocations to the priesthood and religious life have been decimated, a priest culture has emerged that has enabled illicit and criminal behavior to exist, and the moral authority of bishops is near record lows. The sexual abuse scandal alone has cost the church over $1 billion. Four dioceses have raced to civil courts seeking bankruptcy protection. The actual opportunity costs -- the money that could have, should have, been spent to further the mission of the church -- are beyond calculation.



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May 19-June 1, 2017