AYUDAR CON UNA ENCUESTA AMBICIOSA E IMPORTANTE SOBRE EL IMPACTO DE ESTOS GRUPOS
A todos los ex miembros de grupos coercitivos/manipulativos, os pido encarecidamente que colaboréis en este ambicioso estudio. Con vuestra participación estáis colaborando en avanzar en la elaboración de nuevas herramientas de evaluación para avanzar en este campo. Este estudio ha sido elaborado por investigadores de tres universidades españolas. Os pido que por favor, colaboréis con vuestra participación. La participación es confidencial y todo se hace “online”. Sólo es para ex miembros, no para familiares. Muchas gracias de antemano por colaborar. Os dejo a continuación la descripción y el enlace:
Estamos estudiando los grupos abusivos, sus prácticas y los efectos que producen en sus miembros. Para ello resulta imprescindible conocer a fondo las experiencias de las personas que habéis sido miembros. Por eso te pedimos que reserves un rato en los próximos días para contestar el cuestionario online que encontrarás en el siguiente enlace web:
Por favor, distribúyelo también entre todos los exmiembros que conozcas para poder conseguir resultados significativos que muestren la relevancia social del fenómeno. Se trata de uno de los estudios más ambiciosos sobre esta temática. ¡Necesitamos tu ayuda!
Omar Saldaña, Álvaro Rodríguez, Carmen Almendros y José Miguel Cuevas
Universidad de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid y Universidad de Málaga
Estudio AP exmiembros | Web Survey Tools
INFORMACIÓN SOBRE EL CUESTIONARIO ONLINE
9 minutes ago
Just for the record, Sean Hannity really is a dissenting Catholic and a public scandal to the Faith. He should be rebuked by his pastor or bishop, not by me, but since that has not been forthcoming in his decade or so of public dissent on radio and TV, somebody in authority had to say something. Hannity, as we know, is shameless on birth control, and judging from the interview, he hasn’t even the vocabulary to rationally defend his position in the face of his Church’s clear teaching (2).
Now it should be noted that Fr Euteneuer is the head of a widely honoured (or vilified) organization, Human Life International (3), which works tirelessly to fight against abortion, the sex slave trade, and promiscuity around the world. Its track record is highly visible and consistent, supporting Church teaching as well as the dignity of women and children, and constantly on guard against government programs which undermine the family.
While conservative Catholics were peeved at the rough handling of this clergyman – by one who was himself a former seminarian and member of the Church, they were stunned when Fox analyst Fr Jonathan Morris, LC piled on, defending Mr Hannity from what he called the – shockingly poor judgmentof his guest. He continued, noting:
The unfortunate event reminded me of the bigger question of the fast-eroding credibility among religious leaders in our nation and its causes (4).
That comment alone beggars belief, coming as it does from an ardent follower of Marcial Maciel, LC, founder of his religious congregation who on that very day was under subpoena in Mexico. Maciel and the present head of the Legion, Alvaro Corcuera were both solicited to answer 38 questions about troubling trends of sexual conduct still associated with the Legionaries of Christ, culminating specifically with the recent alleged abuse of a four year old boy. This is the same founder, previously hailed as a model for youth,who is now stripped of the ability to act as priest in public for credible accusations of child molestation himself. This is the same order that led to roughly one hundred testimonies to be given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning sexual improprieties, spiritual manipulation, and possible illegal drug use.
And yet, in Fr Morris’ sunny world, it is not the publicly censured Maciel who has contributed to the erosion of credibility of religious leaders – rather it is the inappropriate and ill-considered words of priests such as Fr Euteneuer who are the problem. This was truly a baffling display of hypocrisy.
A particular dimension of this heated exchange involves the important element of fraternal correction and how it is properly administered. Specifically, Fr Morris attacked Fr Euteneuer for not admonishing Hannity in private, resulting in an explanation from Fr Euteneuer that he indeed had made an effort to do so (5). But that allowed Fr Euteneuer to bring up an important point:
May I also point out that you did not employ with me the same standard of fraternal correctionthat you expected me to employ with Mr. Hannity. I at least made the attempt to speak to him about this issue in private without success; you, in contrast, went immediately to the internet to take me to task. I do not intend to understand your motives; I can only evaluate what I see in your actions (6).
Fr Morris responded quickly that he had indeed made such a private attempt, which Fr Euteneuer firmly denied. Thus we have one priest saying, Yes I did,while the other maintains, No you didn’t – and we must fall back on the question of the established credibility of both men.
There is no reason for Fr Euteneuer to lie – and he has been known for his integrity for years. On the other hand, Fr Morris has a checkered past in this area, most notably with a public censure from angry Muslims.
Representatives of an east London mosque used by several of the terror suspects reacted angrily yesterday to what they called a sick stunt by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel. Mohammed Shoyaib, the imam of the Musjid-e-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, complained that he and other elders were tricked by a representative from the cable channel, a priest who said he was working for the Vatican and wanted to talk peace.
He introduced himself as priest working in Rome, said Mr Shoyaib. – Then he said he was working for peace in the world, that all faiths should work together for peace, that he needs a united message of peace for the American people. Only later he said he was from ‘a sister network of Sky News’, but never mentioned Fox.
The man spent several minutes conversing on camera with the imam and elders, but they reacted furiously when they learned he was Father Jonathan Morris, a religious pundit for Fox News! Mr Morris denied he had misled the local community but, in the face of criticism, he hastily left the scene (7).
First of all, being the vice-rector of a Catholic seminary (which Fr Morris is) can in no way be confused with working for the Vatican.We could allow for the fact that non-Christians could assume that the city of Rome and Vatican City are interchangeable, but the misrepresentation was more than his Church credentials it involved his employer’s identity as well. Fr Morris disputes the details, maintaining that he was more forthright, but eventually agrees that he hadn’t mentioned his Fox affiliation at the outset. (Additionally, it is interesting that his vocation is to work for peace in the world,(8) rather than to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It may have been a mental reservation for the sake of ecumenism, but perhaps his mission is different than that of most Catholic priests.)
A subsequent response of Fr Morris included the following admonition to Fr Euteneuer, reminding him of how difficult it is for all religious leaders to be taken seriously.
When we hear television evangelists wonder out loud whether Ariel Sharon’s stroke might be God’s judgment on him for making territorial concessions to the Palestinians, we lose trust. When, year after year, we listen to self-proclaimed prophets predict the day and the hour of the end-times,we lose trust. When we turn on the television and hear preachers promise heaven on earth if we give, give, give to the Church their church we lose trust. When we hear mainline Protestant pastors and their associations throw Biblical tradition to the wind and make wishy-washy statements about faith and morality, we lose trust.
The non-Christian religions are in even worse shape regarding leadership credibility. Is there a single Muslim imam who stands out today for his national leadership toward peace?What Muslim scholar can we trust to speak with scholarly proficiency and universal authority about the alleged peaceful nature of Islam?
The Jewish community in America is so splintered and disjointed on themes of dogma and religious tradition, it is difficult to find anyone who speaks for the majority, or even for the masses (9).
And yet, after such statements attacking the religious leaders outside the Catholic Church, Fr Morris claims to be swamped with support from the very people he criticized:
Particularly interesting were the hundreds of messages I have received yesterday from non’-Catholics, including many pastors, and non’Christians. In these notes you expressed your commitment to collaborate with both of us as we strive together to build a civilization of truth and love (10)
The civilization of truth and loveis a nearly trademarked statement of John Paul II, whom Fr Euteneuer loyally follows on every topic. Why would non’Catholics and even non-Christians side with Fr Morris to pursue John Paul II’s dream – against one of the most orthodox of priests who promotes solely the Catholic view of human sexuality – . It is a complete non sequitur and makes no logical sense. I don’t believe that Fr Morris got those emails not ten, and certainly not hundreds. Not for the sake of the civilization of truth and love.
The sordid drama continues with a public back-and-forth on the internet, between the two priests and among the lay faithful who are bewildered by the surprisingly unorthodox position of a priest from such an orthodoxcongregation. Men and women are having difficulty explaining the compromised action of such a loyal member of the clergy, and thus this is where it is important to remind them of some important unorthodoxdecisions by the Legionaries of Christ.
Shrewdly Advancing the Kingdom
Politically, the Legion has always been very astute discerning who the power brokers are in a given time and place and ingratiating themselves with them. In Chile, Augusto Pinochet was a highly controversial figure tied to repression not only of the poor in his country, but also of the Church. He was clearly tied to the assassination of at least six Catholic priests and the torture of many more priest, nuns, and lay faithful.
While the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, rebuffed efforts of the persecuted Church to give testimony to John Paul II, the Legion of Christ also turned a blind eye to the military dictator, choosing rather to seek vocations among Chile’s wealthy Catholic families who may have been loyal to Pinochet. The Legion’s access was dependent on Cardinal Sodano, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Chile during Pinochet’s regime, and with whom Maciel had a close relationship.
The people know of (Sodano’s) reports to Rome and of his excessive attachment to the military regime. Also well known are his biased criteria in recommending the appointment of new bishops. In the offices of the nuncio black lists operate, there are rewards for services rendered, people seeking promotion, people falling in and out of favour (11).
I personally heard testimony of the tremendous success of recruiters in Chile years ago – a success that would have been impossible without the favour necessary from the compromised Apostolic Nuncio. While one might say that the Legion was simply being wise as serpentsto use such access to build the Kingdomunder the nose of repression, the overall result was intense scandal by those Catholics who were sorely persecuted by their lack of favour within the halls of power.
Moving to Mexico, the Legion had the ear of Marta Sahagun, the wife of Vicente Fox, who is a member of the Regnum Christi Movement. This was impressive to many ardent RC members, who saw such a highly visible citizen in their ranks and committed to the same apostolic works on which they worked so diligently. Unfortunately, although her first marriage has subsequently been annulled (in 2005), Fox’s first marriage was not, and neither Vicente nor Marta were free to marry when they wed privately in 2001. Her irregular situation didn’t seem a problem to the Legion in view of her tremendous visiblity – which must have added its own scandal to the loyal Catholics struggling to emphasise the importance of Church teaching on marriage to their own children and grandchildren (12).
Another highly visible ally of the Legion will be visiting Atlanta this summer for the Youth and Family Encounter, Eduardo Verastegui (born Jose Eduardo Verastegui Cordoba).
Say his name in Mexico, and everyone will know who you are talking about. Now he’s making his breakthrough in the States. His name is Eduardo Verastegui. He has tons of fan clubs and thank goodness Google translates pages since the majority are in Spanish (13).
Besides his steamy soap operas and modeling career (which even included posing nude), he has recently had the chance to work with Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) which delighted him. He is a man of contrasts – wearing a rosary and insisting the he prays regularly, dancing with seductive women in sensual videos, and hoping for marriage in which he will fulfill his dream of having exactly three children (not exactly a Catholic view of collaborating with God to unfold His plan) (14).
But the Legion now has access to a hot and rising star who can combine devotion to the Blessed Mother with participating in the very troublesome industry that causes Our Lady so many tears. Of course, the Legion cannot be held accountable for all the private decisions of its members, but in the case of Marta Sahagan de Fox and Eduardo Verastegui there is no explanation of limited support, of separating the virtuous actions from the questionable actions, or even acknowledgment of moral challenges to their elevated vocations.
They are exploited in sum for their visibility and used as fodder for Legionary recruiting. Another troublesome ally of the Legion is Mel Gibson, an ardent Catholic although out of communion with the Holy See. Legionary priests hovered about the set of The Passion of the Christ, running errands and ingratiating themselves to the cast. This familiarity never led to offering Mass, because of course Gibson never participates in the Novus Ordo liturgy to which the Legion must dedicate itself. Nevertheless, the Legion used this proximity to offer insideinformation on the meaning of the crucifixion of Christ (for those who may not know about the basic tenets of the faith), to be included in the closing credits, and ultimately to set up an office at Icon Productions back in Los Angeles. Again, while Mel Gibson offers an extraordinary example of using faith in the arts and standing up for unwelcome message in Hollywood, the Legion never offered an explanation of why they would collaborate with a schismatic Catholic, or when such collaboration is allowable. They allowed the celebrity of the vehicle to bring them into contact with other power brokers despite confusion and scandal over the method.
Orthodoxy Presumes Basic Integrity The Methodology of the Movement is its greatest strength, according to its members, and it emphasises the growth of its own ranks at any cost because, to the Legion, the end justifies the means. There are consistent, well-documented cases of the following methods used regularly by members: Misleading guests about the sponsorship of various events (LC/RC is so misunderstood, we couldn’t let it get in the way!) Lying to others in order to get journalistic access to their true motives (hey, everyone in the business does it!) Bait and switch tactics in order to recruit potential members (once they’re in the door, we’ll reveal why we really invited them!) Using in-house school directories for promoting RC apostolic activities (when these girls encounter Jesus, they won’t care how we got their phone numbers!) Using fabricated stories to solicit funds from benefactors (God will reward them for their generosity, despite how we use the money!)
All of these have been cited numerous times by those who have had associations with the Movement. Rather than saying that small lies are justified for the sake of the greater good, one should rather ponder the words of Jesus, Who said, – For if you are not faithful in that which is little, how shall any one give you that which is great? (Luke 16:11). Additionally, the Movement is dedicated to targeting particular souls for the good of the Kingdom, and thus the ulterior motives of the recruiters allow for a utilitarian view of friendships, which undermines authentic charity. From the Constitutions of the Legion, we find their modus operandi: (quotes removed by Court Order) This five segment approach – called captation – was part of every section, and members are accountable monthly to show a list of recruits, indicating the stage where each person was. Recruits were carefully selected for their wealth, status, or other gifts that would benefit the Legion, and then won over – ostensibly to Christ, but always through the Movement. It is hard to imagine complete sincerity when an ulterior plan governs relationships in such a discreet, utilitarian way. Of course a friendship is not normal when one side has an end-game and the other is in the dark. To assume to know what the vocation of another person is requires more than self-assurance – >it requires holy omniscience, smacking of pride.
The Legion also exercises pride when it pays lip- service to an action of the Holy Father, while knowing betterthan he about what is true. This has been the response of the Movement from the top down after the May 2006 communique suggesting that, due to outstanding and credible charges of molestation, the founder would be best served by a life of penance rather than undergoing a trial. All members have been instructed in how this is a misunderstanding of a holy man, is redolent of the Church’s persecution of Padre Pio, and which places them – if not materially, then spiritually
Thus, this orthodox congregation has consistently exemplified dishonesty, pride, manipulation, and rampant duplicity – for the sake of building the Kingdom. It has chosen fidelity to the founder over sincere loyalty to Rome, high-pressure apostolates at the expense of family unity, and relationships with celebrities and power brokers over defending Church teaching. What is baffling is how outside observers consistently assume – because their outward acts of piety conform to traditional practices – that everything about them must be straight arrow. It has been the effort of many over the years to try to explain that the window dressing lacks substance.
Ultimately, the only thing surprising about the words of Fr Jonathan Morris, LC is that he displayed his hand so forthrightly. There is no doubt that the Legion approved all his columns and positions beforehand (it’s standard procedure for all public statements or papers) and now they must be reeling at the negative response. So be it. Despite their next move, kindly ponder this one, and consider whether it reveals a pattern of shallowness and intrigue rather than the action of a true friend of the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has named Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Florence to become the Vatican Secretary of State, replacing Cardinal Angelo Sodano. (Change will happen in September)
The Holy Father has also promoted Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, who now serves as Secretary for Relations with States, to replace Cardinal Edmund Szoka as president of the Vatican city-state government.
As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to visit the U.K. a report by BBC Newsnight raises questions regarding the way the Vatican handled sexual abuse cases, particularly those of Fr Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ and Hans Hermann Groer, former Austrian Cardinal.
The BBC report refers to the difficult position that former Cardinal Ratzinger was in when he attempted to investigate Fr Maciel in the late 90’s and met with obstruction from Cardinal Sodano, who exerted pressure to protect Fr Macial.
Although the BBC report does not contain much in the way of new information, the focus on the secrecy, obstruction, cover-ups, manipulation of power, payoffs, disharmony among the highest ranking Vatican hierarchy and the shock, outrage, loss of confidence and giving up of the Catholic faith by a significant number of former church goers illustrates how the tentacles of the founder’s evil life continue to plague the reputation of the Vatican and to detract from the true mission of the Church.
To see the Youtube version of the BBC Report
ReGAIN Editorial Comment:
Some people have been adversely affected / disillusioned by their experience with the Legion / Regnum Christi and have lost their faith in the Catholic Hierarchy, in the Church, in Jesus, and even in God Himself! Many have abandoned the practice of their Catholic Faith as a result.
Fr. Gill points out how Maciel’s legacy continues to weigh negatively on the Legion through the superiors who were connected to him and who still lead the congregation. The Chiesa article including Father Gill’s analysis may be seen <a href=http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1346646?eng=y>Click Here</a>
Richard Gill shares his main reasons for leaving the Legion, following the sordid double life of the founder and his personal conclusion that such a person who he describes as <q>the most despicable character in the Twentieth Century</q> could transmit any valid charism.
But he says that the way the current Legion superiors (all of whom remain in place) failed to act or acted in ways to deliberately mislead the membership bothered him more than the actual scandals related to the founder. He observed a systematic effort to deny and minimize the facts.
He states that last year, the Legionary superiors attempted to rush through a revised version of the constitution but this was quickly turned down by Cardinal DePaolis.
He then lists 10 questions of the stumbling blocks that make the reform exercise a monumental and perhaps impossible task.
Some of the key issues identified in the questions provided include:
<ol>How can the Church accept the Legion as a “work of God, considering the many defects?
There has always been great ambiguity and confusion regarding the charism and this has not yet been generally admitted by the Legion.
The Church and Legion superiors enabled Father Maciel in many ways over decades and allowed him to continue his abuse and immoral lifestyle. There is a need to delve into the history of the founder and to bring the true history into the light.
The version of Regnum Christi statutes approved in 2004 by Cardinal Rode was considerably different from that which promulgated among the members.
So far, individuals who took part in deceit relating to the founder’s secret life have not been held accountable. Further investigation and justice is required to avoid similar things happening in future.
There has been no change in leadership and this has led to questions relating to trust within and outside the Legion.
The long standing problems that limit real dialogue remain. Voices of dissenters were dealt with effectively over the years and this still happens. Modern technology has been recently implemented (including very aggressive industrial spyware?) to improve monitoring of email correspondence.
Ex members with valuable insights have so far been left out of the reform process.
Richard Gill mentions the Latino mentality (which he says if more tolerant of misconduct and corruption and dishonesty) that pervades the Legion, continues to create stress particularly in Spain and America.</ol>
In his conclusion Father Richard Gill questions how a religious order can be reformed when the founder has been recently labeled as <q>a false prophet</q> by Pope Benedict XVI. Other Catholic religious orders that have reformed have based their reform on returning to the charism and example of the original founder. In this case that is not an option.
The excellent questions posed by Father Gill demonstrate the importance of having ex members involved in the reform process. Could he have written such an analysis at any time when he was a Legionary priest? Would he have been able to have access to information to allow him to formulate such opinions? Living in an atmosphere of blind obedience where nobody was allowed to criticize a superior in an open manner what would have happened to him if he had issued these statements? It is necessary to be outside to be able to see the Legion as a hall of mirrors.
The points he makes about the futility of any attempt to return to the founding charism and principles (and saintly example) of their founder, the cultural tensions and the problems of the collective attitude of the current superiors (who wanted to rush through a quickie update of statutes to get this little diversion over and done with) are going to be huge obstacles for the Apostolic Delegate to deal with.
For ReGAIN and friends who have been analyzing these sorts of issues for many years, we know that the excellent points and issues raised are only the tip of the iceberg. There has been overwhelming spiritual, emotional, sexual, physical, financial and mental damage done to many, many victims, inside and outside, including volunteers, benefactors and unfortunately to the Roman Catholic Church itself. Richard Gill touches on the Legion’s contribution to disharmony within the Church hierarchy at the highest levels, with two cardinals simultaneously expressing completely opposite views about the founder. He asked: what does it say about the internal culture of the Vatican that while Maciel was being praised at his 60th anniversary in 2004 by Cardinal Sodano, he was being investigated by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?? Insights into this disharmony may be found at <a href=http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/george-weigel-whitewashing-history>Click Here</a> ReGAIN reported on Jason Berry’s article in December about how the founder was able to buy influence in the Vatican at senior levels.
ReGAIN applauds Richard Gill for speaking out some things that need to be said and for asking that the facts be brought out into the light and dealt with in a way to avoid future false prophets from being welcomed and encouraged within the Catholic Church.
Tom Roberts in his blog on the National Catholic Reporter <a href=http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/cardinal-sodanos-peripheral-issues>(Click Here for National Catholic Reporter Article)</a> reports that Cardinal Angelo Sodano was recently asked to comment regarding accusations that he had been Father Macrial Maciel’s most ardent protector and supporter in Rome, at one point shutting down the canonical process against him. The question came following an Associated Press article that had been written by Nicole Winfield.
Cardinal Sodano replied that it wasn’t the time to speak about it and then questioned how in such a great moment the reporter could get into such peripheral issues when the world was applauding the pope.
Tom Roberts commented that it was stunning to him that Cardinal Sodano has not been banished because of the way he benefited from the Maciel largesse that was lavishly dropped around the Vatican.
Tom Roberts commented that:
<i> <q>This is hardly a peripheral matter. Maciel and his protector, Sodano, provide a window into the deepest flaws of a culture where abused children were cast aside while their molesters found sanctuary and in the case of Maciel, even adulation</q>?.</i>
Cardinal Sodano was Pope John Paul II’s secretary of state and although he has retired from that position, he remains a powerful influence in the Vatican (as do other Legion and Father Maciel supporters). His response to a valid question from a reporter seems callous considering the suffering of Father Maciel’s victims who had sought and expected justice from the Holy Catholic Church.
Other powerful Vatican figures also supported and covered for Father Maciel and the Legion and according to an article written by Jason Berry last year, they benefited financially from their support.
ReGAIN has no interest in criticizing the Catholic Church, which is the Body of Christ, or John Paul II, who was an exceptional pope, beloved around the world. But when it is obvious that there are attitudes shared by specific members of the hierarchy that are not in keeping with truth and justice and integrity then it is important that Catholics be aware.
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.