Fr. Maciel’s Defenders Of The Faith

LC/RC SUPERIORS’ & SUPORTERS’ Response to Vatican communique regarding the Founder

 

By The Authors, texts compiled by ReGAIN Staff

 

Texts of Official Legion Response,
Letters of LC/RC Superiors Corcuera and Sada
COMPASS Message
Introvigne
Neuhaus
Final analysis from ETWN regarding LC/RC Response

 

COMMUNIQUE FROM THE CONGREGATION OF THE LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST
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The Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement in response to the communique of the Holy See renew their commitment to serve the Church

In reference to the news regarding the conclusion of the investigation of the accusations made against Father Marcial Maciel, our beloved father founder, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ offers the following statement:

1. Father Marcial Maciel has received during his life a great number of accusations. In the last few years, some of these were presented to the Holy See so that a canonical process would be opened.

2. Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.

3. Considering his advanced age and his frail health, the Holy See has decided to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite him to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry.

4. Father Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, has accepted this communique with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

5. The Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi, following the example of Father Maciel and united to him, accept and will always accept the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith. We renew our commitment to work with great intensity to live our charism of charity and extend the Kingdom of Christ serving the Church.

———–
LETTER FROM FR. ALVARO CORCUERA, SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE LEGION OF CHRIST

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE REGNUM CHRISTI MOVEMENT

5/25/2006

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Rome, May 25, 2006

To the members of the
Regnum Christi Movement
My Dear Friends in Christ,

I wish to send you a special greeting and congratulations today, which is the 58th anniversary of the Canonical Approval of the Legion, a celebration that recalls one of the most important moments in our history.

I had the great pleasure this morning of being the main concelebrant at a Mass said at the Gregorian Altar in St Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican, at the feet of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Over 500 Legionaries participated in the Mass, and some 100 Legionary priests concelebrated.

I was remembering that precisely there, before this picture of our Heavenly Mother, 58 years ago Nuestro Padre received consolation and strength from her in a time of great suffering. You know from our history the grace that followed from there, the Canonical Approval of the Legion of Christ.

Mary, our loving Mother in Heaven, is with us always. Without a doubt, today more than ever she is with us. At her feet this morning I offered the Holy Mass for the many intentions we all bear in our hearts. First of all I prayed for our beloved Pope, Benedict XVI and for the fruit of the apostolic journey to Poland that he set out on precisely today. I prayed to God our Lord that the Pope will always experience the consolation of the support, adhesion and love of all faithful Catholics. Therefore, before the image of Mary, in the name of all Legionaries and of all of you, members of Regnum Christi, I renewed our commitment to love the Pope personally, as our Founder has always taught us both by word and example.

I also prayed, of course, for our Father Founder, that he will continue to experience Mary’s motherly consolation, and the filial adhesion and closeness of all of us. We are forever his sons and daughters in Christ and in the Church.

And I prayed for all the Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi, that with the love Christ kindles in our hearts we will continue to try to live the charism of charity which unites us in a single heart and a single mind, and that we will bring the fire of this love to every corner of the earth, fulfilling the mission Christ has given us.

This charity is our distinctive characteristic; when all is said and done it is what gives meaning to our life, no matter what happens. For we want to be authentic Christians. Because Christ has made it so that love is the motor and center of our life.

How beautiful and how fruitful is the mystery of love! Not the abstract notion of love, but love become life, love become gift, love become commitment. This is the love that springs from the experience of Love: Deus caritas est! And Christ’s love impels us? to love everyone, as Christ taught us in word and action, up to the very death on a cross. He said,If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that? And St Paul left us the great lesson, without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.? (1 Cor 13,1).

My dear Regnum Christi members, if trials cause us to love more, blessed be the times of trouble, darkness and pain! When the pain is greater, love more. When the difficulties are greater, be more humble and live in greater holiness. I remember some notes that Nuestro Padre sent us when we were starting out in the Movement. In one of them he said, love everyone in Christ, without exception, as Christ loves each one of us.?

The first Christians changed the world, not through their many or few qualities, their greater or lesser intelligence, their greater or lesser knowledge. They changed it because they loved, and they brought love to its ultimate consequences. It is our turn today to make love’s rainbow shine, before the needs of so many people who suffer. What a blessing from God it would be to take advantage of every moment to love and to do good! Christ’s love burning in our hearts will change the world. If you love you give only love. Here is our true apostolate.

In this morning’s Mass I also prayed and asked our Lord to allow us to face our pain and difficulties humbly and even gratefully. They are part of the life of every Christian, and they have always characterized the Legion and the Regnum Christi Movement. Tribulation is a sign of God’s infinite love for us. As St Paul says, “All things work for good for those who love God”? (Rom 8,28). He never allows anything that is not for our benefit.

I believe that God wants us to be firmer now in our apostolic commitment, and to take advantage of this time to make our dedication purer and less self-seeking, and our faith firmer and deeper. This is a magnificent opportunity to imitate Christ who went about doing good? (Acts 10, 38), always, his whole life long, to whomever he met on his way. It is not enough to do good when everything turns out as we would have wished, and people praise and acclaim us. Do good, always, not only sporadically or when circumstances are favorable. In times of pain and loneliness, in times of joy and peace. Never tiring of doing good! This is what God created us for. For this we were born and for this we were redeemed. May God make us spreaders of good, speaking always well of others, building the good name of our neighbor, fighting to always think well of others. May this turn us into true followers of Christ. Our human and Christian calling is to love, and we know that love passes through the cross.

At different times during Mass this morning we sang hymns that filled the naves of St Peter’s. And I thought to myself that this is what we should be in the Church, a resonating symphony, beautiful and harmonious because of each one’s holiness of life, our cordial and affectionate closeness to the Pope, our fidelity to the charism that God has given us to serve the Church. Each according to his role in the body of the Church. With our qualities and also with our defects and limitations, but always seeking sincerely the harmony that will allow us to hear in our hearts the infinite beauty of God’s love.

How different would the world be if instead of dwelling on our differences we spent our lives complementing each other! As one body. One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all and in all? (Eph 4, 5-6).

In a few days time on the Vigil of Pentecost, we will have here in Rome the encounter of all the Movements with the Pope. Many of you are set to be present. I hope many more can join us at this event and thus renew to the Holy Father our adhesion in faith, and our filial love. Let us give him the joy of seeing that now our love for the Church is deeper and more robust, that we burn with the same love for the Church that moves Nuestro Padre’s heart, a love that perceives the heartbeats of our Mother, that meditates on her in faith, embraces her in obedience, spreads her in the apostolate, makes her holy in our lives.?

Let us pray more intensely in the coming days, Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your children and pour into them the fire of your love.? What an understanding this gives us of Christ’s words, <q?i came=”” to=”” bring=”” fire=”” the=”” earth,=”” and=”” how=”” i=”” wish=”” it=”” were=”” already=”” blazing!=””>(Lk 12,49). It is the fire of love, and he wants us to be instruments of his love. Each one as a candle that is consumed so that Christ’s love and light will shine forth and enlighten. This anniversary coincided in the Vatican with the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that Jesus before ascending to Heaven told his apostles, You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth? (Acts 1.8). Christ today sends us too, to preach to the whole world the message of salvation. And he invites us to lift up our pilgrim eyes to see that our goal is heaven, and to hear the ever relevant words of St Paul, Rejoice always in the Lord? (Phil 4,4)

As you know, the Ordination to the Diaconate of 54 Legionaries of Christ is one of the events we have organized for the encounter with the Pope on the vigil of Pentecost. Please pray for them that they will continue to prepare themselves for their future configuration with Christ the Priest, and they will be willing to share in the mystery of the Cross, the only path that Christ chose to obtain the redemption of man.

Let us turn once again our eyes to Mary, our loving Mother who never abandons us. Let us listen to the words she spoke one day to St Juan Diego, Let nothing dismay you or cause you affliction. Am I not here, your mother?? What peace it gives us to know that we are always protected, watched over with care by the Blessed Virgin. We have received countless blessings at the feet of her image at the Tepeyac. And also at the feet of her image over the Gregorian Altar in St Peter’s Basilica. I am sure that now more than ever she continues to be close to us, she covers us with her cloak, and she will gain for us the grace to live this time with deep faith, infinite trust in God, and with the love of children who seek only to please him by accepting his Most Holy Will as she did.

With my sincere affection, and asking you also to remember me in your prayers,

I remain,
Your affectionate servant in Christ,
Alvaro Corcuera

(Translation of the original Spanish letter)

———–
FR. EVARISTO SADA, LC, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE LEGION OF CHRISTI TO ALL REGNUM CHRISTI SECTION LEADERS

[internally distributed to members]

Thy Kingdom Come!

Dearly beloved in Christ,

We have received the messages several of you have sent sharing your thoughts and feelings about all that has happened in recent days. The beauty of the spirit, which we have inherited from Nuestro Padre, can be perceived in these letters. In spite of the pain we are experiencing, what prevails is the feeling of faith, of love for the Pope and the Church, for obedience, and also of course for the greatest unity and charity towards Nuestro Padre, whom we are accompanying with our prayers and with our filial affection.

I had the opportunity to speak with him specifically about this by telephone a short while ago. I sent him your greetings as well as the allegiance and prayers of all of you, and he asked me to send you his deep gratitude. He asked me to assure you that he is including the legionaries and the members of the Movement in his prayers and in the celebration of the Holy Mass, which he now conducts privately — for, as you know, that has been the invitation which the Holy See has extended.

For my part I have reaffirmed the following in my prayers:

* Above all let us accept with humility and supernatural obedience the dispositions of the Holy See;

* Now more than ever let us learn to maintain the most beautiful gift of internal unity: united in prayer, united by charity, united by our exquisite fidelity to the charism of Regnum Christi; may the good spirit which has always characterized our sections continue to reign;

* Let us not be surprised: let us remember that the history of the Church is filled with such vicissitudes — including the most serious — as was the case of Fr. John Bosco, of Blessed Rafael Guizar Valencia, of Nuestro Padre and of other saints in the history of the Church; but just as they
learned to obey only to be rewarded later by God, so we are sure that God will achieve a greater good from this moment of grace.

In summary, since we have always professed and promoted love and cordial allegiance to the Pope, let us do so now more than ever. We have always encouraged respect for the person and for the authority of the Holy Father among our own and among all other people. We cannot now allow criticism of the Pope to take place. That would be the worst thing that could happen.

I invite you to share these considerations with other members of your section.

You can count on my prayers.

Affectionately yours in Christ,

Evaristo Sada, L.C.

—-

COMPASS COMMUNIQUE

From Veronica Wilkins

Dear COMPASS students in Christ,

You may have heard some of the information circulating around the media in the last couple days about the founder of the Legion and the Regnum Christi Movement, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC. Some of this information may have confused you or caused you to ask questions, so I wanted to write and share a little of my experience with Fr. Maciel, the Legion and the Movement, and some reflections that Ive had on the statement from the Holy See.

I met the Movement, Legion and Fr. Maciel on the 2002 COMPASS Fellowship, where during a conference with Fr. Maciel, I was struck by his holiness, zeal and relationship with Christ. As he told us the story of his boyhood friend, Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, who was martyred at fourteen during the Cristero War in Mexico, I could not help but desire to be closer to this Jesus who was worth dying for. Particularly during that summer, as my faith was taking shape, I would again and again return to that conference with the thoughts I can believe because he believes. I know that my faith is real because I have seen it lived radically and joyfully. I have seen what I want to be at the end of my life. I joined Regnum Christi about a year later with a desire to continue growing in my relationship with Christ.

Now after having graduated from university, I am in my second year volunteering with COMPASS through the Regnum Christi Movement. I can assure you that the more that I read about and from Fr. Maciel, and the more that I embrace its spirituality, the closer I grow in my relationship with Christ.
I am constantly in contact with the consecrated women and Legionaries, and have been treated only with charity. The depth of Fr. Maciel’s relationship with Christ can be seen most evidently in his numerous letters. Many of them can be found online at http://www.regnumchristi.org. So why if Fr. Maciel is so holy, does he suffer these accusations? You could also ask: why did Christ choose to redeem the world on the cross?

Gods ways are mysterious, and he chooses suffering for those he loves best; he purifies those who he wants to bring to perfection. The history of the Church is filled with founders and saints who suffered ignominy and persecution during their lives, only to be vindicated after their death (look at the lives of Padre Pio and Jeanne Jugan, for example). You could also ask, why doesn’t he defend himself? Which again leads to the question:

why did Christ not respond to his accusers when they demanded that he defend himself in his trial in front of the Pharisees? The response of Christ is the response that Fr. Maciel has chosen humble submission to the will of God. It may not make sense to our human intellect, but it fulfills Gods plan for Fr. Maciel, the Legion, and the Movement, and gives us all an example of what living heroic charity really means putting others before yourself, even at the risk of defamation.

I am also copying onto the bottom of this email the official communique from the Holy See about their decision and the response of the Legion of Christ and the Movement. Please also check

http://www.regnumchristi.org or http://www.legionofchrist.org for more information.

Sincerely in Christ,

Veronica Wilkins

Event Coordinator
COMPASS Office
401-480-6571

RESPONSE from xRC Regain member

Sometimes people are defamed for the sake of purification, and sometimes because sad truths come to light. Cardinal Law has been accused of negligence, and no one suggested it was purification of the elect. Father Shanley was accused of pedophilia, and he was not beatified as a martyr, he was sent to jail. It is also important to note that no one called him heroic for accepting his sentence and going to jail — that’s not heroic obedience. Father Maciel cannot be called ‘obedient’ for simply accepting the Vatican’s censure — it’s mandatory.

Veronica now has to find Christ without Maciel, and I am sure she will be just as holy, maybe holier.

————–
Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR & National Catholic Register, LC. The Holy See and the Legionaries of Christ: Facts and Fiction
Click here for external link

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, First Things [& Vatican I]
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—————

ETWN ANALYZES LEGION DEFENSE
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Full text below:

VATICAN DISCIPLINES FOUNDER OF LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST

Other news making waves in Rome and around the world, was the announcement on May 19 by the Vatican, in a statement it released on investigations into allegations that the founder of the Legionaries of Christ sexually abused seminarians decades ago, that it has banned Fr. Marcial Maciel from any form of public ministry. The decisions in his regard were approved by the Pope. Accusations against Maciel began to arrive at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998, though some had been publicly made before. The statement said the accusations are for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of this congregation.?

In 2002, said the statement, Fr. Maciel issued a denial of the accusations, expressing his displeasure at the offense done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Fr. Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Legionaries.? Fr. Maciel is 86. After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, it was decided, said the May 19 statement, that bearing in mind Fr. Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health, to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry.

Following is the full Vatican statement, translated from the Italian by the Vatican Information Service (VIS):

Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation. In 2002, Fr. Maciel published a declaration denying the accusations and expressing his displeasure at the offense done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Fr. Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

All these elements have been subject to a mature examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and – in accordance with the Motu Proprio ‘Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,’ promulgated on April 30 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II – the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, Pope John II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the new Pontiff. After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided – bearing in mind Fr. Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health – to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.

Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association ‘Regnum Christi’ is gratefully recognized.

The Legionaries answered the statement in lightning fashion with a press release on what is now called a temporary web site. The speed with which they released their statements indicated it had been prepared well in advance, perhaps expecting this news, even though just days earlier they had issued denials about any such forthcoming statement by the Vatican.

Following is that complete statement which was released in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese:

In reference to the news regarding the conclusion of the investigation of the accusations made against Father Marcial Maciel, our beloved father founder, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ offers the following statement:

1. Father Marcial Maciel has received during his life a great number of accusations. In the last few years, some of these were presented to the Holy See so that a canonical process would be opened.

2. Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.

3. Considering his advanced age and his frail health, the Holy See has decided not to begin a canonical process but to invite him to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing all public ministry.?

4. Father Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, he has accepted this communique with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.

5. The Legionaries of Christ and the members of the Regnum Christi, following the example of Father Maciel and united to him, accept and will accept always the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith. We renew our commitment to work with great intensity to live our charism of charity and extend the Kingdom of Christ serving the Church.?

ZENIT, a Rome-based news organization of the Legionaries of Christ, published its own translation of the May 19 Vatican document. One change was noticed immediately in the first paragraph. Where the word Italian delitti? in the Vatican statement was translated by VIS (and others whose translations appeared on the Internet) as crimes,? it was translated by ZENIT as offenses.? Was this a willed change, an inadvertent one and does it even have any significance, were some of the questions asked by those who noticed the difference in translation.

There may never be an answer but to set the record straight: The correct term for delittoin canon law and similar Church documents would be delict.?

For example, from the Vatican Norms Governing Grave Offenses, Including Sexual Abuse of Minors, we have: Article 4 AS 1. Reservation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is also extended to a delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years. AS 2. One who has perpetrated the delict mentioned in AS 1 is to be punished according to the gravity of the offense, not excluding dismissal or deposition.?

Or, from the U.S Bishops Dallas Charter: In accord with Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (SST), article 4 AS1, sexual abuse, for purposes of this Charter, shall include any offense by a cleric against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue with a minor as understood in the Code of Canon Law, c. 1395 AS2 (A cleric who in another way has committed an offense against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the delict was committed by force or threats or publicly or with a minor below the age of sixteen years [raised in SST to eighteen years which has been the age of majority for the USA since 1994], is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants).

More important than the translation of one word, however, is what does this mean for the Legionaries of Christ, whose own lives are wrapped up in and often identified with the very life and person of their founder? Much as it is for members of Opus Dei, founded in Spain, Spanish is the official? language of the LC because it is the language of their founder and they are expected to read all of his writings in the original language.

Reactions to the May 19 statement and the open and public discipline of Fr. Maciel have ranged from joy on the part of those working to stop all sexual abuse by priests to the imaginable devastation of Legionaries and their numerous loyal supporters and benefactors, many of whom insist the charges are trumped up and cannot possibly be true.

One priest, though not a huge fan of the LC, echoed several others when he told me the accusations are absurd. If you look at most of the accusers, they are former seminarians or ex-priests and this type of person can be vicious when it comes to their former ‘family’. The Vatican statement does not even specifically accuse Fr. Maciel of anything.

Most people with whom I spoke feel this is a serious blow to the Legionaries, founded in 1941 by Fr. Maciel and considered a very orthodox, conservative order. The LC, is one of the fastest growing orders in the world: there are currently close to 700 priests worldwide and over 2,500 seminarians, many of whom study in Rome’s Regina Apostolorum seminary and university. An affiliated lay movement is called Regnum Christi.

One priest defined the Vatican action as a definite blow to the Legionaries, but a courageous act on the Pope’s part based entirely, I believe, on his principle of justice.Indeed. The Legionaries do great work, especially in the field of education and, with special programs in Rome, in the area of bioethics. They are seen as young, zealous, dynamic, loyal solders of Christ. And their followers are, shall we shall, legion.

The bottom line is that the coming weeks and months, perhaps even years, will undoubtedly be a period of great self-examination, of introspection and prayer by the Legionaries, that could lead to a re-birth of their charism.
——————-

ORTHODOX CATHOLIC TAKES BREAK FROM THE FRAY

U2U received on 06/16/06

“ReGAIN,

I have concluded that I need to take a break from this topic for a while. I am happy that the Vatican took a small step in the right direction.

I hope they subject the LC to an apostolic visitation and clean it out. I won’t hold my breath for that to happen.

The coverup of well substantiated sexual abuse is endemic to the Catholic Church. It is standard operating procedure. The only thing that is forcing a change is the massive civil suits.

The article I sent on Ratzinger/ Benedict clamping down on mystics, private revelations etc. is important. Some people have made such outragious claims even for Maciel. No wonder St. John of the Cross warned adamantly against chasing after such occurances.

I think the LC is probably filled with victims of MM some of whom may be abusers themselves. I dread the thought of preteens and teenagers studying with them.

I think that ultra orthodox American Catholics want to believe that a group like the Legion is somehow magically above the ordinary human condition due to its supposed adherence to the magisterium. That’s why they can criticize Cardinal Law on one hand then not even consider the possibility that Cardinals could mishandle the MM case.

I need a break. I’m glad that there has been a Church recognition of MM’s guilt ambiguous as it may be. I believe John Allen’s sources who said the evidence is overwhelming.

In writing about the Vatican statement I suggest you often repeat Neuhaus’s statement that it is reasonable to conclude that the Vatican believes he did something wrong. This is important because the other side only listens to arguments from conservative authority.

If you don’t hear from me for awhile, know that I am alive and very well but need a break from the stench and the stupidy.

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