Marcial Maciel & Walter White: Breaking Bad in Meth and Sex

Father Maciel and Walter White: Breaking Bad in Meth and Sex

Breaking Bad is an American crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, 2013. It tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, who, together with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), turns to a life of crime, producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future before he dies, while navigating the dangers of the criminal world. The title is from a Southern colloquialism meaning to “raise hell”. Breaking Bad is set and was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Continue reading “Marcial Maciel & Walter White: Breaking Bad in Meth and Sex”

Pope Benedict’s Legacy Marred by Sex Abuse Scandal

When Pope Benedict XVI resigned, he leaves behind a Church grappling with a global fallout from sex abuse and a personal legacy marred by allegations that he was instrumental in covering up that abuse.

As the sex abuse scandal spread from North America to Europe, Benedict became the first pope to meet personally with victims, and offered repeated public apologies for the Vatican’s decades of inaction against priests who abused their congregants.

“No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,” the pope said in a 2008 homily in Washington, D.C., before meeting with victims of abuse for the first time. “It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.” During the same trip to the U.S., he met with victims for the first time.

For some of the victims, however, Benedict’s actions were “lip service and a public relations campaign,” said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer who represents victims of sex abuse. For 25 years, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican office responsible for investigating claims of sex abuse, but he did not act until he received an explicit order from Pope John Paul II.

In 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved plans for a priest to move to a different German parish and return to pastoral work only days after the priest began therapy for pedophilia. The priest was later convicted of sexually abusing boys.

In 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger became head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office once known as the Inquisition — making him responsible for upholding church doctrine, and for investigating claims of sexual abuse against clergy. Thousands of letters detailing allegations of abuse were forwarded to Ratzinger’s office.

A lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victims’ rights group, charges that as head of the church body Ratzinger participated in a cover-up of abuse. In an 84-page complaint, the suit alleges that investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries found “intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm.”

“Ratzinger, then Pope Benedict XVI, either knew and/or some cases consciously disregarded information that showed subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes,” the complaint says.

Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican’s lawyer in the U.S., told the AP the complaint was a “ludicrous publicity stunt and a misuse of international judicial processes.”

In the 1990s, former members of the Legion of Christ sent a letter to Ratzinger alleging that the founder and head of the Catholic order, Father Marcial Maciel, had molested them while they were teen seminarians. Maciel was allowed to continue as head of the order.

In 1996, Ratzinger didn’t respond to letters from Milwaukee’s archbishop about a priest accused of abusing students at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. An assistant to Ratzinger began a secret trial of the priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, but halted the process after Murphy wrote a personal appeal to Ratzinger complaining of ill health.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II issued a letter urging the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to pursue allegations of child abuse in response to calls from bishops around the world.

Ratzinger wrote a letter asserting the church’s authority to investigate claims of abuse and emphasizing that church investigators had the right to keep evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the alleged victims reached adulthood.

Ratzinger became upset — and slapped Ross’s hand — when ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross asked him a question in 2002 about the delay in pursuing sex abuse charges against Maciel.

But by 2004, Ratzinger had ordered an investigation of Maciel, and after becoming pope, he ordered Maciel to do penance and removed him from the active priesthood. After becoming pope Benedict spoke openly about the crisis, but he was repeatedly accused of having participated in a coverup.

In April 2010, Benedict and other officials were accused by members of BishopAccountability.org of covering up alleged child abuse by 19 bishops.

At the time, the Pope told reporters he was “deeply ashamed” of the allegations of sex abuse by his subordinates and reportedly said, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

Several other accusations followed from alleged victims around the world, prompting Benedict to make a public statement later that month from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. In his speech, he said the Catholic Church would take action against alleged sexual abusers. The Pope described a tearful meeting in Malta with eight men who claimed to have been abused by clergy there.

“I shared with them their suffering, and with emotion, I prayed with them,” said Benedict, “assuring them of church action.”

In 2010, he personally apologized to Irish victims of abuse.

“You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry,” the pope wrote in an eight-page letter to Irish Catholics. “Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”

But for those who advocate on behalf of the victims, the pope’s words did not go far enough.

“Tragically, he gets credit for talking about the crisis,” said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP. “He only ever addressed the crimes and never the cover-ups. And only in the past tense, which is self-serving. Sex crimes and cover-ups are still happening.”

Clohessy called the meetings the pope had with victims “symbolic gestures.”

“This controversy that has reached even the highest office of the Vatican won’t go away until the pope himself tells us what he knew, when he knew it, and what he’s going to do about it,” said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a Catholic priest and professor of theology at Notre Dame University.

Lena, the Vatican’s U.S. lawyer, declined to comment on charges that Benedict had participated in a cover up, but said the fact that two major cases against the Church in U.S. courts, including the Murphy case, had “been dismissed by the plaintiffs themselves, speaks volumes for the strength and integrity of those cases.”

The Incest of Our Father – Part I

This multi-part exposé is a journey into the mind ofJuan J. Vaca, a child and victim of abuse, deception, evil and lies. These excerpts are from an original letter to Maciel begging him to stop the lies. Translated from the original Castillian.


To: Marcial Maciel, L.C.
Superior General of the Legionnaires of Christ
Via Aurelia Nuova, 677
Rome, Italy

Dear Father Maciel:

I will begin this letter by giving you my most sincere thank you for sending me a photocopy of my Rescript of Laicization and for the included letter. However, I must inform you that I did not receive it until last week, on October 12 to be exact. Continue reading “The Incest of Our Father – Part I”

Fr. Maciel Is Disciplined by the Holy See: What Will the Legionaries Do Now?

By Dale Vree
Dale Vree is Editor of New Oxford Review.

Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, is probably the most prominent priest to be disciplined by the Catholic Church for homosexual predation, that is, pederasty. Former Legionary Juan Vaca sent the first petition to the Holy See in 1976. He identified himself and 20 others as victims of Maciel’s homosexual activity. It took 30 years for the case to be resolved. The case was reopened in 2004 by Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Ratzinger sent Msgr. Charles Scicluna to investigate the matter. According to John L. Allen Jr., the ace Vatican correspondent, Msgr. Scicluna gave the number of accusers as “more than 20, but less than 100” (NCRonline.org, May 18, 2006).

The official communiqué for the CDF on May 19, 2006, said in part: “Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Fr. Marcial Maciel…for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation…. After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…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.”

The Legionaries and Regnum Christi (the Legion’s lay affiliate) followed with an official statement on May 19, which said in part: “Facing the accusations made against him [Maciel], he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.”

The Church certainly does allow for self-defense, so it’s obvious that Maciel could not defend himself. And if Maciel was “following the example of Jesus Christ,” who were the villains? The Sanhedrin, the Pharisees? In this melodrama, the villains can only be the Holy See.

Moreover, Jesus was not accused of sexually violating innocent boys. If Maciel really wanted to follow Jesus, he would do as Jesus says: “Whoever causes one of the little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk. 9:42). Oh no, not that!

As for “following the example of Jesus Christ,” and deciding “not to defend himself in any way”: When the Hartford Courant in 1997 accused Maciel of molesting boys, Maciel’s lawyers threatened legal action against the newspaper. Was this following the example of Jesus Christ? It’s so obvious that Maciel could not defend himself against the Holy See.

The Legionaries’ statement also said that this is “a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him [Maciel] to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.” Fr. Owen Kearns, a Legionary priest and Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the National Catholic Register (controlled by the Legionaries), said in an Editorial in the Register (May 28-June 3): “We are not afraid of this cross — on the contrary, we are honored by it.” Oh, really? Kearns has been the point man defending Maciel against charges of pederasty.

Kearns continues: “If you pray for the Legionaries, don’t pray that this cup be taken away, pray that we be worthy of drinking it to the dregs.” This is a play on the words of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane: “O My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mt. 26:39; also Mk. 14:36 and Lk. 22:42).

Does Maciel consider himself to be a messianic figure? Certainly his followers do. Maciel even surpasses Christ when Kearns says, “Don’t pray that this cup be taken away” (Jesus says, “if it is possible let this cup pass from Me”), and Kearns says, “pray that we be worthy of drinking it to the dregs” (whereas Jesus says, “not as I will, but as You will”). Is Maciel greater than Christ?

Neither the Legionaries’ statement nor Kearns’s Editorial contained a hint of mea culpa. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi have been called cults, and their response would certainly indicate that. Only a zombie would believe what the Legionaries’ statement and Kearns’s Editorial say. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi were founded on a lie, a monumental lie. Of course, we would assume that most Legionaries and Regnum Christi members are not zombies. They were duped and betrayed, and we must feel compassion for them.

Because of Maciel’s “advanced age [86] and delicate health” (which is common for elderly clerical sex abusers), he was not subjected to a canonical trial. He was lucky to get off so easily, considering the dastardly crimes he committed. It was a settlement out of court, something like a plea-bargain. If it had gone to a canonical trial, Maciel would likely have been defrocked.

All this talk about Maciel’s “cross” and his “cup” is just hocus-pocus. Jesus was crucified; Maciel was not. Jesus was innocent; Maciel is not.

The communiqué from the CDF also said: “Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association Regnum Christi is gratefully recognized” (italics added). This would indicate that the Holy See wants the Legionaries and Regnum Christi to separate themselves from Maciel. However, the Legionaries’ statement said: “The Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi, following the example of Fr. Maciel and united to him…” (italics added). There will be no “independence” from Maciel. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi are Fr. Maciel; they consider him a “living saint.” Go to the Legion centers and you’ll find a picture of Maciel next to a picture of Christ. Maciel is highly charismatic, and, from several accounts, is thought to be a megalomaniac.

In Kearns’s Editorial he says: “The Legionaries will…accompany their founder [Maciel] in his new stage of his life…. We love and trust Pope Benedict. We do not question his decision or his wisdom.” But Kearns says Maciel will be “vindicated,” and refers to Maciel’s “cross.” So obviously Kearns does question Pope Benedict’s wisdom. The Legionaries’ statement also said that they “accept and will accept always the directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith”; but they also say Maciel is “innocent.” The Legionaries cannot make a martyr of Maciel and then give fidelity to the Holy See with “faith.” You can see why the Legionaries are known for their Machiavellian stratagems. But it’s an outright contradiction. No doubt some of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi members will fall for this.

By the way, after Kearns’s Editorial on Maciel — this being the biggest story affecting the Legion-controlled Register — there were no letters to the Editor, pro or con, in the Register. Hush, hush!

It’s clear that the Legionaries are still loyal to Maciel. This is flat-out defiance. The Holy See will quietly have to get rid of the leaders of the Legionaries. This is the Holy See’s test. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine that the culture of cronyism and dishonesty does not extend to other leaders of the Legionaries as well.

The best friends of the Legionaries in the U.S. were the neoconservatives. The usual neocon suspects rallied to Maciel’s defense against the pederasty charges. They included Deal Hudson, William Donohue, Richard John Neuhaus, and Mary Ann Glendon. More oblique were George Weigel and William Bennett. Boy, do these neocons have egg on their faces.

The accusers of Maciel were vilified and scorned. For example, in First Things (March 2002), Neuhaus called the accusations — and therefore the accusers — just about everything in the book: “slanderous attacks,” “malicious gossip,” “vicious gossip,” “repugnant,” “muck,” “false and malicious” (twice), “detraction,” “slander,” “calumny,” and “odious.” Of the neocons (as far as we know) only Neuhaus was still defending Maciel after the Vatican communiqué (on the First Things website, May 19, and on The New York Times website, May 19). Neuhaus went to great lengths to defend Maciel, and he must realize that much of his credibility is on the line. Yes, it’s hard to admit when one is wrong. But, Fr. Neuhaus, you were wrong.

Lo and behold, Fr. Neuhaus did admit he was wrong — for all intents and purposes — in First Things (Aug./Sept.). Well, good for him.

The Church owes the accusers a debt of gratitude and appreciation: Maciel has ruined or distorted the lives of many boys. Maciel has in effect been found guilty, and justice has been done (and so has mercy).

As you know, the NOR has told you what’s wrong with Maciel and the Legionaries for years, and we’ve gotten many cancelations and nonrenewals because of it. (We’ve also printed many letters defending Maciel and the Legionaries — it’s tempting to reveal all their names, but we won’t.) Yes, the truth can sometimes be hard to take. But you can trust us to tell the unpleasant truths and inconvenient facts. We can’t think of any other orthodox Catholic periodical that told you the truth about Maciel — that is, before the Holy See’s communiqué.

We know all about the unreliable, unprincipled, or unscrupulous people on the other side. In addition to that, we tell you about those on our side. As our Lord said, there will be false messiahs and false prophets who will perform deeds so great as to deceive the elect (to paraphrase Mt. 24:24). Surely, you don’t want to be deceived.

We again plead with you for your support. The NOR is not a knee-jerk, ideological magazine, and that’s why we are not funded by knee-jerk, ideological foundations. If you want a Pavlovian magazine, the NOR is not for you. But if you are an intelligent person, you want the uncompromised truth, and that’s what we give you at the NOR.

We are funded by our subscribers. As you know, as of last September, we’ve been trying to raise $176,000 (so far we have reached $111,145). Much of what we’re asking for is for our reconstructed website (where you can subscribe or renew — or make a donation — by credit card). At present our website is a huge financial drain. We hope that in time it will pay for itself. At our website, you will find our Archives, our Ad Gallery, NOR Dossiers, our En Español section, the NOR Gear Shoppe, our New Oxford News Link, and the current issue. Some are free and some you have to pay for. For an additional $10 annual fee above the print subscription price, you get everything. (That access, however, may only be ordered online with a credit card; we do not accept online-access orders at the office.) Our Forum is up and running, so online subscribers can post their comments relating to what they’ve read in the magazine and at our website.

Why is the website so important? Because young people spend enormous amounts of time on the Internet, and it goes without saying that young people are the future of orthodox Catholicism and the NOR. Do something for our young people! Do something for yourself.

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Legion’s news traced to Vatican ally

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

Rome

In a potentially significant twist to the case involving the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, NCR has learned that the office that recently released a statement saying there is no case against Fr. Marcial Maciel regarding sex abuse accusations is not the office with responsibility for making that judgment.

On May 20, the Legionaries of Christ issued a news release stating that the “Holy See” had informed them that “at this time there is no canonical process underway regarding our founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, nor will one be initiated.” Subsequently, the Catholic News Service and other press agencies quoted the Vatican Press Office as confirming the statement.

That news startled some observers, since an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged in 2001 by Pope John Paul II with responsibility for reviewing cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, traveled in early April to New York and Mexico City to collect testimony from alleged victims. Those efforts by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the promoter of justice within the congregation, suggested that a preliminary investigation was underway.

Most observers assumed that the new communication to the Legionaries must have come from that congregation, the office once headed by Pope Benedict XVI.

In fact, however, the communication came from the Secretariat of State, the department that handles papal diplomacy and acts as a coordinator for the work of other Vatican agencies. It came in the form of a fax, which was unsigned but bore a seal from the Secretariat of State indicating official status. Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, is a longtime supporter of Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ.

What this means is that the statement did not come from the Vatican agency that ultimately has responsibility for deciding Maciel’s fate. Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have refused to make any comment on the recent news reports, but a senior Vatican official told NCR May 25 that the congregation has made “no statement” on the Maciel case, even to the Secretariat of State.

The official stressed this does not mean that there eventually will be a canonical case against Maciel, merely that the agency charged with making that decision has not yet communicated its intentions. Given the preeminence of the Secretariat of State within the Vatican, at a minimum these recent developments suggest there are grave doubts within the Holy See about proceeding.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Legionaries of Christ in New York said that he did not believe the distinction of which office issued the statement ultimately made any difference.

“We believe the Holy See is speaking with a unified voice on this issue,” Jay Dunlap, the Legionaries’ communications director for North America, told NCR May 25. “The way in which it was communicated was intended to make that clear.”

In terms of what force the communication enjoys, the precise wording of the communication from the Secretariat of State is important. In Italian, it went as follows: “Non vi è nessun procedimento canonico in corso né è previsto per il futuro nei confronti di P. Maciel.” Literally translated, it reads: “There is no canonical procedure in course nor is one foreseen for the future with regard to Fr. Maciel.”

The communication thus did not say categorically “nor will one be initiated,” but that one “is not foreseen for the future.” The formula “is not foreseen” is sometimes used in Vatican argot for a development that is not officially in the works, but that is not completely outside the range of possibility. When papal trips are first rumored, for example, spokespersons sometimes say they are “not foreseen,” only to have them eventually materialize.

The official who spoke to NCR stressed again that this does not mean there will be a procedure, only that such a procedure cannot be definitively ruled out until a statement is issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2000, Sodano went to the Regina Apostolorum, the Roman university sponsored by the Legionaries, to inaugurate a new facility. In 2003, he made another visit to the university, at which time he praised Maciel.

“Dear Father, I’ve seen the great work that you do,” Sodano said to Maciel while embracing him. “You’re always young, always strong,” Sodano said.

Maciel in turn thanked Sodano for his support, recalling his 2000 visit, which is marked by a plaque at the Regina Apostolorum.

“Three years later, you accepted our invitation with fraternal charity to return, and I’m very grateful,” Maciel said. “You have always encouraged this university in its birth and growth.”

The charges of sexual abuse against Maciel first surfaced in 1997, when eight former members brought a canonical complaint related to incidents that allegedly took place decades before. Maciel and the Legionaries have strenuously denied the charges.

“We hold no grudge against those who accuse us,” the May 20 statement from the Legionaries said with regard to the accusers. “Rather, we keep them in our prayers while expressing our humblest gratitude to the countless people of goodwill who in these circumstances have reiterated to us their support and esteem.”

John L. Allen Jr. is NCR Rome correspondent. His e-mail address is jallen@natcath.org.