Skip to comments.Vatican sanctions founder of Legionaries
Posted on 05/19/2006 2:47:33 AM PDT by catholicfreeper
Vatican sanctions founder of Legionaries
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican said Friday it had asked the Mexican founder of the conservative order Legionaries of Christ to renounce celebrating public Masses and live a life of "prayer and repentance" following its investigation into allegations he sexually abused seminarians.
In an official statement, the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had approved the sanctions against the Rev. Marcial Maciel - making it the first major sexual abuse disciplinary case handled by the pope since he took office last year.
In the statement, the Vatican didn't say whether it found the allegations against Maciel to be true. And it said that because of Maciel's age - he is 86 - it decided against mounting a full-fledged church law trial against him.
Instead, it said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had "invited the priest to a reserved life of prayer and repentance, renouncing every public ministry."
The question becomes what happens to the Order. Thats the biggie , which I guess really is the hardest action that the Pope might have to do. That is what is really depressing me. Is the order desolved? I am not sure how a order is going to function long term when the founder has been accused of this. Shall it be renamed?
A note here. The article does mention that the Vatican has not commented on the validity of the charges. However, this doesnt strike me as a something that is for the"good of the order" so that he can just withdrawl for PR purposes and that the order can move on. That is " to renounce celebrating public Masses and live a life of "prayer and repentance" seems like a punishiment to me.
"seems like a punishiment to me."
You're right. It is. Which means they're sure he's a a sick freak who did exactly what he's accused of doing. Otherwise, they wouldn't punish him.
It's just they're trying to punish him without being alltogher explicit on the "Yes boys and girls, he's a sick freak and we waited until he was 86 to do anything at all about it."
If I recall these charges occured decades ago and thank God didnt involve kids. However there is a matter of a trust relationship. This was coming to a head in the last years of John Paul II POntificate, the investigation that is.
"If I recall these charges occured decades ago"
Yeah. I hear you. What a moral abomination it is that the victims had to wait that long for the Catholic Church to do anything about it.
"and thank God didnt involve kids"
What are you saying? It could have been worse? How's that relevant?
"However there is a matter of a trust relationship."
What in God's name are you talking about? A relationship between whom? And trust based on what?
Ok first off yes. I suppose if it had involved pedophila yep that would have been worse. When I am saying that there is a relationship based on trust involved here, I am not trying to excuse the allegations. The point is that whats makes the allegations worse because of Elder/seminarian relationship. These allegations were investigated at certain points in the past. When new evidence was brought up the Church reopened the case. They have had exhaustive interviews in this case. Its not a simple case of a Church Cover up. This new investigative process has been ongoing.
"May. 17 (CWNews.com) - The Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum will host a seminar on consecrated life on May 20, marking the 10th anniversary of Vita Consecrata, the apostolic exhortation by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) concluding the bishops' Synod on the same topic.
Co-sponsored by the Congregation for Religious and the Legionaries of Christ, the conference will include addresses by Cardinal Franc Rod? and Paolo Scarafoni, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation for Religious
Well this should be interesting. Its getting mid day in Rome and so far my Catholic Blogs in Rome I look at have not reported much on this yet. I wonder if any statement will be tomorrow or alluded to at this event.
This is the offical declaration right now. I can't get a English version yet.
"In riferimento a notizie diffuse circa la persona del Fondatore dei Legionari di Cristo, il Rev.do P. Marcial Maciel Degollado, la Sala Stampa della Santa Sede comunica quanto segue:
A partire dal 1998, la Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede ricevette accuse, già in parte rese pubbliche, contro il Rev.do Marcial Maciel Degollado, fondatore della Congregazione dei Legionari di Cristo, per delitti riservati allesclusiva competenza del Dicastero. Nel 2002, il Rev.do Maciel pubblicò una dichiarazione per negare le accuse e per esprimere il suo dispiacere per loffesa recatagli da alcuni ex Legionari di Cristo. Nel 2005, per motivi di età avanzata, il Rev.do Maciel si ritirò dallufficio di Superiore Generale della Congregazione dei Legionari di Cristo.
Tutti questi elementi sono stati oggetto di maturo esame da parte della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, e, a norma del Motu Proprio "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela" promulgato il 30 aprile 2001 dal Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II, lallora Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, Sua Eminenza il Cardinale Joseph Ratzinger, ha autorizzato una investigazione delle accuse. Nel frattempo avvenne la morte di Papa Giovanni Paolo II e lelezione del Cardinale Ratzinger a nuovo Pontefice.
Dopo aver sottomesso le risultanze dellinvestigazione ad attento studio, la Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, sotto la guida del nuovo Prefetto, Sua Eminenza il Cardinale William Levada, ha deciso - tenendo conto sia delletà avanzata del Rev.do Maciel che della sua salute cagionevole - di rinunciare ad un processo canonico e di invitare il Padre ad una vita riservata di preghiera e di penitenza, rinunciando ad ogni ministero pubblico. Il Santo Padre ha approvato queste decisioni.
Indipendentemente dalla persona del Fondatore si riconosce con gratitudine il benemerito apostolato dei Legionari di Cristo e dellAssociazione Regnum Christi."
So he's finally getting a small part of the punishment he truly deserves and even that's coming decades after the fact?
The bastard. If only they had made a very public example of him years ago -- excommunicate the creep, disolve the order, excommunicate any member of the order who refuses to renounce the founder publically whenever his name is mentioned ...
Well, excommunication is really not an option here. Also one does have a order of Priests and lay folks world wide here. So it will be interesting to see how that is handled. To be clear its my understanding that he has no involvement in running the order since the Investigation started.
He's not Catholic?
If he's Catholic, then by God they damn well should excommunicate him.
Excommunication is the harshest punishiment. However most excommunication can be done away with by going to confession to a Priest. often. FOr instance in the case of abortion to which one time and still might have that penalty. IN other words like any other man if this allegations are true he would confess his sin to a priest.
Zadok the Roman blog has these observations
"On Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado
The Vatican Press office has issued a statement about the founder of the Legionaries of Christ.
It says that since 1998 the CDF has received complains about 'crimes reserved exclusively to the competency of the dicastery.' Fr Maciel published a denial of these accusations in 2002. In 2005 he resigned as superior of the Legionaries due to reasons of 'advanced age'.
The above items were object of 'mature examination' by the CDF under the norms of JPII's 2001 motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitati tutela.
Having received the results of the investigation, Cardinal Leveda has decided not to pursue a Canonical Process due to reasons of advanced age. He has invited Fr Maciel to a discreet life of prayer and penance renouncing all public ministry. The Holy Father has approved this decision.
I must say that this is a most extraordinary press release. I'm sure that some commentators will see the decision not to pursue a canonical process against Fr Maciel as being a cover-up. However, the question must be asked what one can do in any legal system when the one accused of any crime is of advanced age.
The fact that the Vatican has made public Cardinal Leveda's request to Fr Maciel that he live a discreet life of prayer and penance renouncing all public ministry is significant. It would be very easy to draw the conclusion from that statement that substance was found to the allegations. Indeed, such a statement certainly does not benefit Fr Maciel's reputation. It will be interesting to see what the response of the Legionaries will be.
# Posted by Zadok the Roman @ 12:29
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Why doesn't he deserve the harshest punishment? You can get excommunicated by bumping the Pope like a Manager might bump an Umpire. Here's a guy who was bump'n and grind'n with young seminarians. Hardly seems right to do anything 'sides excommunicate the creep.
First, more facts will come down on this as the weeks go on. I am under the impression that even the order wasn't fully aware of whats was going to happen. Especially from comments that a spokesman said to the Catholic News Agency yesterday. From the limited news I have seen, it appears that he doesn't exactly have all his mental faculties together. Thus there is no trial going to happen. It appears the that the Vatican however felt there was some substance to these charges. However its hard to excommunicate a guy if he is not all there mentally. Again pretty much all we have is this statement and the off the record comments made by a Cardinal to a reporter yesterday. That being said we don't excommunicate rapist etc. So I really don't see how a Priest would be excommunicated and cut off from the sacraments in a similar sexual crime or misconduct situation. Plus in the end if he doesn't confess it and seek reconciliation from God he is in effect excommunicated for eternity so whats the point. Of course we are assuming this all happened, which I guess in the end only God , Marcial, and the alleged victims know. But it doesn't look good.
Just for clarification, I keep calling this a religious order. In reality its a reigious congregation
Oh well, I am sure there will be updates. I off to catch a few hours of sleep. Sad case. At one point in my life when I was considering the priesthood the Legionaries was one I look at for a time. However after one weekend retreat with them I knew their regime would probally not be for me. I suppose I might be deluding myself to think of the troubles of Padre Pio in a moment like this and hope against hope this is a similar situation. However if this is true, I pray for Father Marcial, the order, the lay movement and the victims. The Priests of this order are fine ones too so if any freepers know any be gentle with the questions this week.
Prayers for Fr. Maciel and the Order.
Thanks for the ping. More prayers for Father Maciel, the Order and the Church.
Did your mother get scared by the sight of a priest while pushing your baby carriage?
Has the Church failed you in some way?
Is there objective reason to believe that you would handle situations like this better than Benedict XVI or that you are better informed than he?????
If you are not Catholic, what business is it of yours how the Church handles matters of internal discipline involving only its priests and its seminarians?
BTW, lest you imagine otherwise, if the facts indicate guilt, I would probably be a lot harder on the miscreants in my Church than you would be. Of course, that would be justice rather than rage.
COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING FOUNDER OF LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST
VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2006 (VIS) - With reference to recent news concerning the person of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:
"Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation. In 2002, Fr. Maciel published a declaration denying the accusations and expressing his displeasure at the offence done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Fr. Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.
"All these elements have been subject to a mature examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and - in accordance with the Motu Proprio 'Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,' promulgated on April 30 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II - the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, Pope John II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the new Pontiff.
"After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided - bearing in mind Fr. Maciel's advanced age and his delicate health - to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.
"Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association 'Regnum Christi' is gratefully recognized."
OP/LEGIONARIES CHRIST/MACIEL VIS 060519 (320)
"He who hears you hears me"
The Church has spoken. Let the Freeptrial begin.
This turn of events makes me very sad. I will not read this thread but pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary instead to prevent my sadness from turning into anger.
Ecuse me, but it did involve kids. They were as young as 10 year old. He had them perform sex acts on him "with the approval of the pope to help ease his stomach ailment."
He is sick.
But there is good that comes out of the Legion of Christ.
YEah I did see later today that was one of alleged victims in the case. I did that recall someone being that young.
Your ignorance is showing
I used to date girls from an all-girls Catholic HS. Does that count?
I don't know Joe Ratzinger, so I can't be sure whether he'd do a better job. I figure he's got lots of management experience. That can't hurt. But odds are he'd be at a serious watts-in-the-bulb disadvantage. On the other hand, he'd probably be come out way ahead in the number of languages spoken, and beat me by a mile on Church History. But translators are cheap, the Vatican probably has lots of good ones, and I'm a quick study and would probably dominate on analytical ability so if I had a good research staff I'd be comfortable finding out what I need to know about Church history when I need to know it, and most importantly, knowing what questions to ask to calibrate the quality and relevance of the information I'm being fed.
So I guess it depends on which skill set would be more important -- management experience running an organization the size of the Vatican, foreign languages, being up to snuff on Church history, sheer number of watts in the bulb, ability to do uptake -- knowing what questions to ask and how to organize massive amounts of information and distill it down to its essence, analytical ability, legal experience, etc etc.
Then there are differences in temperment. I'm probably much more reflective, intellectually honest, etc. He's probably more of a stickler for details. And I'd have no sympathy for priests making ten year old boys perform sex acts whereas he might worry, at least a bit, about the "scandal to the leity" if the guy's exposed in black and white.
I'm not planning on submitting a resume. I don't want the job. But since you asked for an objective assessment, there you go.
Yes, it could have been worse. It is relevant. It's a small blessing, at least, that it didn't involve children. Absolutely - no Priest should molest, proposition, steal, etc. In my own rural area where no molestation allegations are known (per released data), over the last 30+ years, sadly, a few priests were moved quietly, amidst allegations with proof over such things as affairs with married women, alcoholism or other substance abuse, or of somehow cheating or stealing from their parishioners.
All heinous, to be sure, but these actions become all the more heinous whenever they involve children. In the former, many times the others involved, if any, were willing, if misguided, individuals. But the children can never be that. And in my area, these kinds of non-molestation actions were routinely hushed up and glossed over and the priests involved moved to an often unsuspecting parish.
I am, too. The actions of a few have tainted their whole community, at least for now. They surely need our prayers.
Is the order desolved? I am not sure how a order is going to function long term when the founder has been accused of this. Shall it be renamed?
I know how you feel. It's hard to hear. I recently learned of a Priest very dear to me, who had apparently, many years before I met him, been involved in some discretion that has recently come to light and even though he had 'repented' and truly changed (no subsequent allegations, a renewed faith and fervor), he is now, rightly I'm sure, being called to task for those actions. I was absolutely stunned. And saddened. I'm glad at least that Pope Benedict is making sure that some reprimand is given, after the decades of things being swept under the rug. He seems up to the grim task.
If a Dentist raped a 21 year old woman while she was under anethesia (eg under his control) and the judge stripped him of his license to practice Dentistry, wouldn't you be appalled?
Would your sense of moral indignation be placated if his attorney said "Well, it could have been worse. At least she wasn't 12"
Whether the putative dentist's victim was a 12 year-old or a 21-year old, would you thereafter refuse to have your cavities filled by ANY dentist????
I used to be a state officer of the Libertarian Party but then I grew up. Perhaps, you will have an analogous experience.
From what I can see, the Holy Father leaves you prostrate in the dust in terms of watts-in-the-bulb, analytical ability, knowing what questions to ask, reflective temperament, and, perhaps most importantly, the genuine humility that that keeps the wise from being driven down false trails by arrogance.
Your note 31 demonstrates quite well that your claims to brilliance and analytical ability are grounded only in delusions of adequacy.
You wrote, If a Dentist raped a 21 year old woman while she was under anethesia (eg under his control) and the judge stripped him of his license to practice Dentistry, wouldn't you be appalled? Would your sense of moral indignation be placated if his attorney said Well, it could have been worse. At least she wasn't 12
Thats so bad, its not even wrong. It reminds me of leftist droolers staggering about awestruck by the Clintons 105-110 IQs.
A person who enjoyed true adequacy in terms of watts-in-the-bulb, analytical ability, knowing what questions to ask, and reflective temperament would have seen immediately that the comment to which you responded (#4, If I recall these charges occurred decades ago and thank God didnt involve kids.) in no way indicates that a person isnt appalled by a crime because it is a lesser crime than another, or that a persons sense of moral indignation is placated by a statement that one crime is less heinous than another.
Those two concepts to repeat, that a person isnt appalled by a crime because it is a lesser crime than other, or that a persons sense of moral indignation is placated by a statement that one crime is less heinous than another are in no way implied by the statement to which you replied. One cant even call it a stretch, because no amount of stretching gets you from what was said to what you inferred. Your reply is a complete non sequitur, and betrays a severe deficiency not merely in analytical ability, but even in the ability to understand simple English.
Given that starting point, it is hardly surprising that you had no idea what questions to ask, and your willingness to charge into the mouths of the guns with the wrong questions cannot be said to speak well of any reflective temperament you may wish to claim.
Further, if the Holy Father might be concerned with scandalizing the laity (Hint: if youre going to swan about claiming to be more brilliant than the worlds great leaders, learning to spell would enhance your credibility.) where you would not, that merely shows that he surpasses you in wisdom and holiness as far as he does in watts-in-the-bulb, analytical ability, knowing what questions to ask, and reflective temperament.
I don't want the job.
How fortunate. Thats one disappointment life wont deal you.
I think your ridiculously high opinion of yourself was explained by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he wrote, "Mediocrity knows nothing better than itself."
They involved kids and lots of them.
How about a few prayers for his many victims?
Seminarians are kids?
At the Legion of Christ seminary in Rome, Fr. Maciel is reported to have molested about 30 of the boys in his charge during the 1950s, often telling them that he had a special dispensation from Pope Pius XII to do so. Eight of his former students a retired priest, three professors, a lawyer, a rancher, an engineer, and a teacher, now all in their 60s have submitted to the Vatican sworn affidavits documenting their abuse at the hands of Fr. Maciel. But when the victims filed suit under Canon Law to have Fr. Maciel excommunicated, Cardinal Ratzinger intervened to halt the proceedings, without any investigation of the allegations whatsoever. According to Brian Ross of ABC News, when he tried to question Ratzinger about this episode a few years ago, he refused to discuss the matter, became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporters hand!
The charges against Fr. Maciel involve nine men (one now dead), all former Legionaries. For some, the alleged abuse began when they were barely 12 years of age, and continued until the men were in their mid-20s. Much of the abuse took place in Mexico, Spain, and Italy. Two of the men, Mexican Fr. Juan Vaca and Spanish Fr. Félix Alarcón, served the Legion in America. Fr. Alarcón opened the Legion of Christ center in Connecticut in 1965 and Fr. Vaca served for five years as the U.S. Legion Director before leaving the order. Three of the nine filed a canonical suit against Maciel and have been waiting years for it to be heard.
So you were on the right track, though that excerpt you posted inflated things, not surprisingly.
Those are the ones that brought the charges though the courts to Ratzinger. He of course ignored them
So you were on the right track, though that excerpt you posted inflated things, not surprisingly.
It was not purposely inflated.It is the truth, and there are probably more out there. He specialized in getting young boys into his "seminary" even though he flunked out of two and was only made a priest by his uncle.
But why would you not be outraged that even ONE child was molested by this man?
At the same time, I have to say I'm outraged by many of your posts. Not on this specific subject, since you're right about this guy (though I can't find the 30 number, save for your link), but with others. I know you're trying to prove Catholicism is a false religion, blah, blah, blah.
Why is it ok that the current Pope knew all of this information and never acted to stop the man?
And you are more worried about my posts, which you can't disprove, than you are things of this nature occurring in the RCC?
Again, you assume. It's in your nature it seems. It's way past my bedtime, and I have to go to Mass in the morning, so guten nacht.
"Why is it ok that the current Pope knew all of this information and never acted to stop the man?"
Why do you assume that the abuse was still continuing at the time then-Cardinal Ratzinger learned of it?
Eight Men's Allegations Went Unanswered
Vaca is not alone. He is one of eight former students, now all in their 60s, who have signed sworn affidavits submitted to the Vatican that they were abused by Maciel.
When they were members of the Legion, the accusers were devout followers of Marciel. But for the last eight years, they have been trying to get the Vatican to listen or even acknowledge their detailed allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of Father Maciel. They say they have not heard a response from the Vatican.
In 1997, they went public, telling their story to The Hartford Courant, a newspaper in Connecticut.
Courant reporters Jerry Renner and Jason Berry, who wrote the story, repeated the allegations to the Vatican, yet received no response from the Vatican. However, later that year, the pope took a step that surprised them.
Maciel was appointed to represent the pope at a meeting of Latin American bishops, which Renner and Berry took as a clear signal the Vatican had ignored the allegations.
"I would say he has the pope eating out of his hand. Who is going to touch him no matter what he does?" said J. Paul Lennon, a member of the Legion of Christ for 23 years, who has since left and has been helping those claiming to be victims. "He's untouchable."
Lennon said Macial is a master of Vatican politics: "He's worked with several popes, knows the inner workings, knows monsignors, knows cardinals, knows maybe the men who are really in power, knows that so well, so well."
Then, four years ago, some of the men tried a last ditch effort, taking the unusual step of filing a lawsuit in the Vatican's secretive court, seeking Macial's excommunication.
Once again they laid out their evidence, but it was another futile effort an effort the men say was blocked by one of the most powerful cardinals in the Vatican.
The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the church, quietly made the lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation and the accusers weren't asked a single question or asked for a statement.
He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporter's hand.
"Come to me when the moment is given," Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, "not yet."
"Cardinal Ratzinger is sheltering Maciel, protecting him," said Berry, who expressed concerns that no response was being given to the allegations against the man charged with sex abuse. "These men knelt and kissed the ring of Cardinal Ratzinger when they filed the case in Rome. And a year-and-a-half later, he takes those accusations and aborts them, just stuffs them."
None of that even implies that the abuse was still continuing when then-Cardinal Ratzinger learned of it.
It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.
Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'. . .
Ratzinger's letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been 'perpetrated with a minor by a cleric.' The letter states that the church's jurisdiction 'begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age' and lasts for 10 years.
It orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.
'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.
The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas and Ratzinger on behalf of two alleged abuse victims. By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice. Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, said: 'It speaks for itself. You have to ask: why do you not start the clock ticking until the kid turns 18? It's an obstruction of justice.'
Father John Beal, professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America, gave an oral deposition under oath on 8 April last year in which he admitted to Shea that the letter extended the church's jurisdiction and control over sexual assault crimes.
PETER POPHAM, INDEPENDENT - Pope Benedict XVI has been accused of ignoring for seven years charges that Fr Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, had sexually abused nine teenagers in his organization - because Fr Maciel was a close friend of Pope John Paul II. In 1997 the then Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body which has the power to excommunicate priests guilty of sexual abuse, when Bishop John R McCann of New York forwarded him detailed charges of sexual abuse made by Fr Juan Vaca, a priest in Bishop McCann's diocese. The charges were in the form of a 12-page letter to Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, who founded the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic evangelical order, in Mexico in 1941.
"Everything you did contradicts the beliefs of the Church and the order," Fr Vaca wrote in his open letter. "How many innumerable times did you wake me in the middle of the night and had me with you, abusing my innocence. Nights of fear, so many nights of absolute fear: so many nights of lost sleep, that on more than one occasion placed my own psychological health in jeopardy."
Fr Vaca was one of nine former members of Legionaries of Christ who charged Fr Maciel with having sexually abused them when they were teenage seminarians in the order in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. . . Another priest and former member of the Legionaries, Juan Manuel Fernandez Armenabar, made a deathbed declaration denouncing Fr Maciel's sexual abuse. But despite the gravity of the charges, Cardinal Ratzinger took no action. The Vatican confirmed that it had received Fr Vaca's letter, but nothing more was said.