Legacy of Serial Sex Abuser Exposed

News: World News
by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 23, 2019   

Legionaries' members follow in perverted founder's footsteps

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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Revealing decades of immorality, the Legionaries of Christ (Legionaries) have issued a report revealing hundreds of sex abuse victims abused by at least 100 priests and seminarians.

The founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, was so perverted he fathered sons and sodomized two of them.

A report released on Saturday by the Legionaries details the cult he created and which his followers have continued from the 1940s to today.

Thirty-three priests and 71 seminarians sexually abused minors during that period. The priests collectively abused 175 victims, according to the report, which does not provide numbers for the victims of the seminarians.

Six of those priests have died, eight have left the priesthood, one has left the order and 18 remain with the Legionaries.

Fourteen of those priests are forbidden to exercise public ministry, while four have only some restrictions on their ministry.

Eleven of the priestly abusers were themselves victims of the Legionaries' disgraced founder Maciel, while others were abused by some of his other victims.

Those who covered it up were a mafia, they were not the Church.

Maciel sexually abused at least 60 children, some as young as 11, according to the report.

Seminarians accused Maciel of sexually abusing them during the pontificate of John Paul II, but the Vatican did nothing at the time.

In a book titled Ho Vissuto con un Santo (I Lived with a Saint) published in 2013, Cdl. Stanisław Dziwisz, a long-time aide to John Paul II, said, "The Holy Father [John Paul II] should not have received that individual [Maciel]."

But Dziwisz maintained John Paul II was ignorant of accusations against Maciel at the time: "When the Holy Father met him, he knew nothing, absolutely nothing. For him, [Maciel] was still the founder of a great religious order and that's it. No one had told him anything, not even about the rumors going around."

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In January, Cdl. João Bráz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the Vatican has had documents on Maciel's abuse since 1943.

The cardinal said, however, that "those who covered it up were a mafia, they were not the Church."

Maciel in front of John Paul II

Benedict XVI took action in 2006, ordering Maciel to retire based on the results of an investigation he launched when head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Maciel died two years later at the age of 87, after which information surfaced that Maciel had fathered children with at least two women, and sexually abused some of those children.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state under John Paul II, defended the Legionaries during his tenure and was one of their biggest protectors.

On Saturday, the same day the Legionaries' report was released, Pope Francis accepted Sodano's resignation and issued a motu proprio setting term limits for the position:

Now, however, having accepted the resignation from the office of Dean of the College of Cardinals presented by His Eminence Cdl. Angelo Sodano, whom I thank most sincerely for the high service he has rendered to the College of Cardinals during the almost 15 years of his mandate, and also having regard to the fact that with the increase in the number of cardinals, ever greater commitments are being placed on the person of the cardinal dean, it seemed opportune to me that from now on the cardinal dean, who will continue to be elected from among the members of the Order of Bishops in the manner established by can. 352 §2 of the Code of Canon Law, remain in office for a five-year period, renewable if necessary, and at the end of his service, he may assume the title of dean emeritus of the College of Cardinals.

Sixty of the seminarian sex abusers referenced in the report were not ordained, likely accounting for the lower average of Legion clergy abusers (2.44% of the 1,353 Legion priests ordained since 1941) when compared to national averages of clergy abusers in the United States (5.8%) or Australia (7%) over the same period, according to the Legionaries.

According to CeroAbusos.org, the Legionaries' website for preventing clergy sex abuse and holding the order accountable, the report released on Saturday will be "periodically updated."

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