Vatican Knew About Legionary Founder Maciel’s Abuse From 1943
The head of the Vatican’s dicastery for religious life blames ‘a mafia’ for the cover-up, adding those responsible ‘were not the Church.’
Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, has disclosed that the Vatican had documents on the abusive conduct of the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, from as long ago as 1943.
The Brazilian cardinal told the Spanish Catholic online magazine Vida Nueva that “those who covered it up were a mafia, they were not the Church.”
Cardinal Bráz de Aviz did not give any more details about the documents in the interview, given while he was in Madrid for a conference late last year, but said his congregation currently has “nothing to do” with such a coverup and now follows “a very good process.”
According to a 2006 article in the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Rome investigated Father Maciel for suspected pedophilia between 1956 and 1959 on the instructions of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani — 13 years after the first reports referred to by Cardinal Braz de Aviz.
During those four years, Father Maciel was suspended as superior general of the Legion and expelled from Rome, but the investigation yielded no results and he soon returned to his old ways but with more power.
Father Maciel, who died in 2008, founded the Legionaries of Christ in 1941 but an apostolic visitation of the order was undertaken in 2009 after it emerged he had led a double life of having fathered three children with two mistresses, sexually abused minors, seminarians and even his own children, and embezzled funds. Some of the allegations dated back to the 1940s.
The Mexican-born priest had managed to continue his abuse unchecked in large part because of an institutional and cultish reverence for the Legion’s superiors that he himself had fostered.
Father Maciel was often feted by the Vatican, including meetings with Pope St. John Paul II (who knew “absolutely nothing” of Maciel’s abuse, according to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz), until Benedict XVI removed him from active ministry in 2006.
The Legionaries of Christ, and its lay movement Regnum Christi, have since been restructured with revised constitutions, most notably dispensing with a vow that forbade criticism of superiors. In November, the Vatican approved a new constitution for Regnum Christi, allowing it to be established as a society of apostolic life of pontifical right.
In his recent interview, Cardinal Bráz de Aviz insisted the Church must immediately respond to abuse allegations. “We must be attentive to the victims and not the perpetrators, this is what the Pope asks of us,” the Brazilian cardinal said. “The pain of those who suffer from these abuses is enormous and we cannot let it go. We cannot cover it up.”
Speaking generally about the abuse crisis, the cardinal said: “I have the impression that allegations of abuse will grow, because we are only at the beginning. We’ve been covering up for 70 years, and this has been a huge mistake.”
He predicted “a small Church,” but also a “more correct” one, might be the consequence of this “difficult time” for the Church. He also said the current crisis “shows that many things in the past were wrong.” He spoke against the lies of the past, and said that “to my generation, no one spoke to us about sexuality.” This issue, he said, needs to be re-examined in formation.
Cardinal Bráz de Aviz’s comments come as the Vatican prepares a major summit of bishops on the “protection of minors and vulnerable adults” against clergy sexual abuse, to be held at the Vatican, Feb. 21-24.
So many cardinals and bishops have said that they did not know child abuse was a crime until recently!
This is proven by today’s piece that the Vatican was investigating Maciel in 1943 – 76 years ago!
The truth is that they kept it hidden because they wanted to protect “their own”.
And in Maciel’s case, he was allowed to continuing raping children by the Vatican because of the multi millions of dollars he regularly gave to the Vatican.
Maciel also have JOHN POLE millions of dollars to send to his friends in Poland.
Making John Pole a saint was an infinite slap in the face to the victims of Maciel and others.
John Pole was and is no saint.
He was an RC mafia don and an enabler of child rape.
How can he even be in heaven?