Interview with Fernando Gonzalez / A Call Not to Close the Marcial Maciel Case

Reforma (Feb. 12, 2008)
Translation by ReGAIN Staff.


According to writer Fernando Gonzalez, a review of the Marcial Maciel case should go beyond the man himself to also look into the inner workings of the Legion of Christ because of its possible complicity and coverup of crimes involving pedophilia and absolution of accomplices.

In an interview with Reforma, the sociologist and psychoanalyst a member of the Institute for Social Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico explains that Maciel’s accusers do not consider this case closed as a result his death on January 30, 2008

Maciel did not die unpunished in the sense that the Vatican asked him to retire. He died without facing justice and without his victims being able to prove anything. The Legionaries will be labeled as an organization whose founder was a pedophile.

What must now be made clear is that the congregation was complicit and that many of those still alive were his victims as well as his silent accomplices.

What will happen to the Legion?

Maciel’s death does not solve the problem. It will go on because the Legion is implicated and its internal pedophile networks continue to operate. The problem is no longer Maciel; it is the network and its social relationship.

For example, in 1992 there was an accusation against Fr. Fernando Martinez of having abused four girls at the Cumbres Institute in Cancun. At one time he himself had been abused by Maciel, who himself had been accused by a family from Michoca?n of having abused their son at the Cumbres Institute in Mexico City.

Will they go forward with legal proceedings?

There is a viable accusation in Geneva against the Vatican hierarchy and by extension against the Legion for coverup and complicity with Marcial Maciel.

There is proof in the Vatican archives of enormous complicity by three of its offices: the Secretariat of State, the Sacred Congregation of the Faith and the Sacred Congregation of Religious. All of them had information about Maciel when he was young, and they let him go.

From the canonical point of view it’s impossible because Ratzinger mandated in 2001 that the crime of absolutionis complicis be prescribed after ten years.

What does the Legion hope for?

For people to forget and for the possible canonization of its pedophile at some point in the future. The Legion started a dual beatification operation. On the one hand there is Maciel’s mother, Maura Degollado Guizar, who right now is considered a servant of God. On the other there is the canonization of Rafael Guizar y Valencia, his great uncle. They are waiting for Mexicans to forget, and to later transfer him to Rome, where they have built a mausoleum for him.

Is internal reform possible in the order?

In October 2007 they eliminated two vows, one of which was charity, which implied no criticism of the superior and no coveting of positions [within the congregation]. With this action, which occurred four months before Maciel’s death, it seems plausible that a minority within the Legion is taking a risk and beginning to talk about reforming the institution. The past of the Legion of Christ is now open and uncertain.

What does the Maciel case represent?

As a case it is a paradigm that has allowed for a number of things. On the one hand, it has exposed the sexuality and pedophilia of certain priests. Looking at it over a ten-year period, it has allowed for the creation of a fledgling plaintiff culture.

At the same time, if we look at the case of Joaqui?n Aguilar [a Mexican priest accused of pedophilia], it allows us to analyze the institutional conduct of the Catholic Church in covering up these cases. There is the relocation of the accused by moving them out of parishes, the use of confession to convert what is a crime into a sin, the lack of statistical evidence, which allows the problem to be ignored, and the discrediting of plaintiffs by claiming they are doing it for money.


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