From La Jornada, Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Perhaps the spirit of Marcial Maciel Degollado can now be found seated at the table of the Lord, forgiving those who slandered him. Or maybe he is roasting in hell, condemned to eternal damnation for his crimes. The only thing certain is that his body is decaying under a headstone in a cemetery in Cotija, MichoacÃ¡n [Mexico] and that his final status does not matter to anyone, not even to himself, since he has ceased to exist. Some lament his death because they think he was a good person. Others deplore the fact that he has left this world without him or anyone else having had the opportunity to clear up his victimsâ€
The protection offered to Maciel by officials in high political, judicial, business and clerical positions reinforced rather than dissipated suspicions. If the man was as innocent as his protectors knew him to be, it was hard to understand their enthusiastic determination to save him from a either a civil or ecclesiastical trial. This not only denied the opportunity for his alleged victims to see justice done, but it also condemned Maciel to live a life marked by permanent doubt. His sentence was to be that of a man perpetually linked to the term pedophile. The image of the Legionaries of Christ â€” the organization he founded and which, according to the recently deceased priestâ€
What is certain is that between 2002 and 2005 church officials in the diocese of St. Paul, Minnesota, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Columbus, Ohio, Richmond, Virginia and Los Angeles, California restricted the orderâ€
In 1996 six former members of the organization founded by Maciel testified to the abuses he committed against them, and became the objects of a moral lynching campaign in which [Mexico City archbishop] Norberto Rivera Carrera, of course, participated. Twelve years passed from that time until the death of the priest from Cotija â€” a period in which no civil authority deigned to take note of the matter. John Paul IIâ€
After becoming pontiff, the now Pope Benedict XVI â€” with exemplary hypocrisy and ambiguity â€” ostracized the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, and ordered him to retire from public life, though without imposing any formal sanction on him. In other words, Mexican government officials and church leaders in both Mexico and Rome had more than a decade to establish the veracity or falsehood of the charges, and threw it all away. From the Vatican to Los Pinos [the Mexican White House] two popes and three presidents, along with their respective subordinates, gave Maciel protection. They granted him de facto immunity as a consequence of this position, which in itself is an insult to decency, and condemned him to die under a cloud of impunity.