Southern Religion

Legionaries of Christ in denial [Addendum]

A recent letter from Legionaries of Christ fathers Julio Martí and Scott Reilly to the lay organization Regnum Christi is in denial that the founder, Marcial Maciel, was disciplined by the Holy See amid charges which included sexually molesting minors.

In a paragraph about measures taken to preclude further abuse, the letter says:

One of the questions that come to mind refers to the “safe environment and child protection” measures in our communities and apostolates. Our Constitutions, other norms and many elements of our discipline have always helped us to be particularly careful in the dealing with minors.

More recently, it has become clear that Maciel fathered several children and Legion of Christ superiors knew about the children at least 15 years ago.

Cassandra has developed an enlightening timeline [scroll down the left-hand column] of events from the beginning.

Instead of dealing with events, however, the letter moves right along to focus on pursuit of new credentials that are intended to be reassuring:

More recently we are in the process of accreditation by Praesidium, a risk management organization now helping a great number of religious institutions in North America. Praesidium is conducting a full review of our internal rules and policies, as well as our training of all those who deal with minors. They will shortly be conducting on-site visitation of several of our institutions to verify that what is on paper is being applied. There are twenty-five accreditation standards to meet, covering the areas of prevention, response and supervision.

What are the standards?

They don’t say, so we turned to the recently published Congregation of St. Basil Praesidium Accreditation Final Report, which documents their meeting the same standards.

That’s so nice that it seems reasonable to wonder if the good fathers are trying to damp action by the apostolic visitation currently under way by appearing to have already done part of its work for it. This is, remember, a visitation with which it is rumored they are not being altogether cooperative.

Indeed, the good fathers report they have set up a review board whose membership and governance are not disclosed:

Here in the U.S. we have also set up an external review board so that in the event of allegations of sexual abuse, we have the advantage of “outside eyes” to weigh the evidence, issues and provide us with recommendations. Praesidium accreditation is being promoted by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, which links all the male religious orders in this country.

It is also true that the letter extended “a special apology on behalf of the Legion” to victims of their founder’s sexual misconduct.”

While, as you see, tending to deny the scope of the order’s problems.


Members of Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi wishing to contact the apostolic visitor for the United States and Canada — Archbishop Charles Chaput — can do so via email. American Papist recommends:

To contact Abp. Chaput, send an email with the subject line “PRIVATE” to “shepherd [at]” (without the brackets and spaces). Emails ought to be VERY SHORT and to the point. Every email will be read eventually.


September 11, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Churches | , , ,

1 Comment

  1. […] Current leadership is in apparent denial about the full scope of Marcial Maciel’s offenses, is aware “ware that no order has ever survived the repudiation of its founder” and with actions like a recent letter to the Legionaries lay organization Regnum Christi is fighting to stay in power. […]

    Pingback by Legionaries to be dissolved or refounded « BaptistPlanet | September 19, 2009

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