May 20, 2006

Finally, vindication


Newsday Staff Writer

May 20, 2006

Juan Vaca of Holbrook thought he might go to his grave without ever getting justice from the Roman Catholic Church.

But Friday, the former Roman Catholic priest was vindicated in his 30-year campaign against the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the powerful founder of the international order, the Legionaries of Christ. Vaca had accused Maciel of repeatedly raping him and 20 other seminarians as adolescents and young men-an accusation he first made as a Rockville Centre priest in 1976 at the urging of the late Rockville Centre Bishop John McGann.

After investigations that spanned three decades, the Vatican announced Friday that Maciel had been asked to live a life of "prayer and repentance, renouncing every public ministry" - meaning he cannot publicly celebrate Mass or any other sacrament.

Although the statement was silent on whether the Vatican had found merit to the accusations, canon law experts say that it would not have imposed such a severe penalty unless it believed they were substantive. The penalty, one step short of defrocking, means that Maciel will be a priest in name only.

Posted by kshaw at May 20, 2006 07:15 AM