Sophia Press Drops Maciel’s Book

“Christ is My Life” is a book that purports to be an interview with Marciel Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi lay apostolic Movement. The “interview” was conducted by Jesus Colina, the director of the Zenit news agency, and the disclosure that Colina was previously a Legionary, currently a member of Regnum Christi, and affiliated with an RC apostolate is missing; this is certainly troubling from a professional and ethical point of view. Regardless, as such it was published by Sophia Press in 2003 and claimed to be the fastest selling book of its kind in decades. (Another missing detail in that regard is the fact that the Legion itself was the largest purchaser of the tome for the sake of gifts to members and benefactors.)

Sophia Press is known to be a sophisticated and highly-regarded publisher, the source for much loved titles from Dietrich von Hildebrand, Romano Guardini, and Mary Reed Newland; so it was distressing for many ex-members of the Movement to see its promotion of this particular book, the details of which were highly contested by those who knew Marciel Maciel decades ago.

Finally, more than a year after the communiqué from the Vatican concerning the founder, John Barger was asked about this title and his plans for it in the future. He kindly responded:

“So long as the Vatican failed to condemn Fr. Maciel and even, under John Paul II, continued to honor him, we deemed it licit to publish and sell Fr. Maciel’s book, Christ is My Life, which, in our judgment, contained much wisdom.

Then, on May 19, 2006, the Vatican invited Fr. Maciel to relinquish any form of public ministry.

Because, as I said, we have no desire to second-guess the Pope in this matter or in any other, or to substitute our judgment for that of the Vatican, the instant I learned of this decision, we ceased to sell Christ is My Life, and have not printed or sold any copies of it since that day.”

The staff of Regain was quite gratified to read those words, knowing the fidelity of Mr. Barger to the Holy See and understanding that it may have cost him dearly if indeed the book was the best seller that the Legion always claimed it to be. In this sense, Sophia Press is to be greatly commended for not splitting hairs when it came to the meaning of the communiqué. Despite financial hardship, the decision by the Vatican was to be honored in spirit and letter – something the Legion itself has not itself done.*

For those who wish to show their gratitude for the decision of Sophia Press to forgo selling this book, donations can be made here:

It should be noted that portions of the text of this book are still widely available on-line, and the book is being sold through Circle Media.

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