May 20, 2005

The Legionaries of Christ: Fr. Maciel's Trial Draws Nearer


by Sandro Magister

ROMA, May 20, 2005 Last April 2, just as John Paul II was dying in Rome, in New York the promoter of justice for the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Charles J. Scicluna, from Malta, was interviewing Paul Lennon, the former headmaster of a "School of Faith" run by the Legionaries of Christ. Mr. Lennon, who is Irish, is now a psychotherapist in Alexandria, Virginia, and a witness against one of the most revered and powerful men of the Catholic Church worldwide: Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, 85, from Mexico, the founder of the Legionaries and the apple of pope Karol Wojtyla's eye.

With 650 priests, 2,500 students of theology, 1,000 consecrated laypeople, 30,000 active members in twenty nations, and dozens of high-level schools and universities two of which are in Rome; one of pontifical right, inaugurated in 2002, the Regina Apostolorum; and another which has just been recognized by the Italian government, the European University of Rome the Legionaries of Christ are a staggering success story.

Last November 30 (see photo), John Paul II publicly embraced their founder, Maciel, and congratulated him on his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination, in the jubilant atmosphere of a Vatican audience hall filled to bursting with thousands of Legionaries and militants of Regnum Christi, the order's parallel lay association.

Four days earlier, on the 26th, pope Wojtyla had given over to the "care and management" of the Legionaries nothing less than the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem, a substantial meeting place and center of hospitality owned by the Holy See and located just a few steps away from the Holy Sepulchre.

But meanwhile, in another Vatican building, that of the former Holy Office, the then cardinal prefect Joseph Ratzinger had just told Scicluna, his promoter of justice, to pull from the congregation's shelves all of the trials still on the waiting list and in danger of never being processed. The order was: "Every case must take its proper course."

Posted by kshaw at May 20, 2005 05:47 AM