Friday, 19 May 2006

The Case of Fr Maciel

It's unfortunate timing that, just as the world's attention is associating Opus Dei with Silas (Dan Brown's hitman in DVC), another 'new movement' much favoured by John Paul II and normally labelled as 'conservative' is in the news for the wrong reason. This time the subject of the story is real.

Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, the 86 year-old founder of the Legionaries of Christ, has been suspended from public ministry and invited to lead 'a life reserved to prayer and penance.' This follows allegations of the sexual abuse of seminarians. According to the Legion, Fr Maciel has restated his declaration of innocence and sees the suspension as 'a new cross that God, the father of mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement.'

The movement numbers 650 priests, 2,500 students of theology, 1,000 consecrated laypeople, 30,000 active members in twenty nations, schools and even two Roman Universities (the Regina Apostolorum and the European University of Rome). The Vatican was careful to say today that 'independently of the person of the founder, the well-deserving apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the association Regnum Christi is recognized with gratitude.'


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