The story of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, continues to get weirder.
Over a decade ago, he was accused of molesting several former seminarians. The accusations got little official traction, as Maciel and his conservative order were favorites of Pope John Paul II.
He died in January 2008.
Now the Legion — an order with a strong presence in Westchester — is apparently acknowledging to supporters that Maciel fathered a child.
A spokesman for the order told the NYT : “We have learned some things about our founder’s life that are surprising and difficult for us to understand. We can confirm that there are some aspects of his life that were not appropriate for a Catholic priest.”
The National Catholic Reporter is saying:
Rumors that the Legionaries had reached new damning conclusions about Maciel have built in recent days in the wake of confidential meetings the new superior of the order, Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, has been holding with members to inform them of an internal probe of Maciel’s conduct.
Legionary sources told NCR that Corcuera has stressed that Maciel’s misconduct was not a “one-time slipup,” but rather “a pattern that stretched over years.”
These sources said Corcuera and other Legionary officials began their review after Maciel stepped down as the order’s superior in January 2006, and after the Vatican’s conclusions were issued four months later.
NCR also notes that Tom Hoopes, editor of the National Catholic Register, a Catholic weekly published by the Legion, wrote the following comment on the blog of the popular Catholic blogger Amy Welborn:
All I want to say is, I’m sorry.
I want to say it here, because I defended Fr. Maciel here, and I need to be on the record regarding that defense:
I’m sorry, to the victims, who were victims twice, the second time by calumny. I’m sorry, to the Church, which has been damaged. I’m sorry, to those I’ve misled.
I did it unwittingly, but this isn’t a time for excuses.
The Church gave me great, great good in Regnum Christi.
The Church did bring justice, and did penalize this man.
Thank God for the Church.
I seek repentance and forgiveness, and I leave it at that.
The Legion owns large estates in Mount Pleasant and New Castle, but has run into all sorts of development obstacles.