Photo by: AP / Plinio Lepri / Archive
VATICAN. In this photo taken on Nov. 30, 2004, John Paul II gives his blessing to Marcial Maciel, during a special audience at the Vatican.
On Saturday December 13, Cardinal De Paolis Velasio ordained 35 priests of the Legionaries of Christ, including twelve Mexican, a Spanish, three Colombians, three Brazilians and one Guatemalan.
The ceremony was held at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, and in it held hundreds of people, including relatives of the new priests and members of the Legion participated.
According to a statement from the congregation, the new priests come from 11 different countries: Germany (1) Australia (1), Brazil (3), Colombia (3), Spain (1) United States (9), France (1) Guatemala (1) Hungary (1), Mexico (12) and New Zealand (2).
Error of judgment
Documents from the archives of the Sacred Congregation for Religious then showed how a succession of Popes dismissed credible reports sent to the Vatican stating that Maciel was a scam artist, junkie, pedophile and a religious fraud.
The congregation of the Legionaries of Christ was founded in Mexico in 1941 by Father Marcial Maciel, later condemned by Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013) for his “very serious and immoral” behavior and the life he led “unscrupulous without true religious feeling.”
Even before the death of Pope John Paul II (1978-2005), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and followed in the footsteps of Maciel, but it was not until 2006 when, as Pope, punished him for sexual abuses committed during decades to seminarians.
In March 2009 he ordered five bishops to inspect the Legion, among them one Spanish, Chilean and a Mexican and later the Legionaries acknowledged that Maciel sexually abused minor seminarians and ended up having several children with many different women.
To help minimize the damage to the Church, Benedict XVI appointed Italian Cardinal Velasio De Paolis in 2010, who in recent months has attempted to replace the dome of the Legionaries.
Last November, the general director of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, announced that the Holy See had approved the new constitutions of the congregation.