From Rod Dreher:
A bombshell from the Roman Catholic Legion of Christ: the ultraconservative movement is reported to admit that its hallowed founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel, was a moral cretin — just as critics had long said.
James Martin, SJ, at America:
The news is doubly surprising.
For one thing, Father Maciel’s abuse was against young men, and so most probably assumed, when the abuse revelations were made public, that he was homosexual. Most psychiatrists and psychologists, however, say that sexual abuse against minors is not so much an indication of sexual orientation–whether homosexual or heterosexual–as much as it indicates a stunted or malformed sexuality overall. This is not to deny that most of the clergy sexual abuse was against adolescent boys and even men, and perpetrated by gay men, but rather to point out how the question of abuse is more complex than is usually thought, and whose solution is more complex than simply barring gay men from holy orders.
But the bigger surprise, if the reports are correct about the “renouncement” is this: For a religious order to “renounce” its founder is nearly unprecedented. …
It would be as if the Dominicans said, “We’re through with St. Dominic.”
See also exlcblog.
From Edward Peters:
Watching, all day, for any official comment from the Legion, and refraining from comment until the Legion said something for the record, I was astounded when American spokesman Jim Fair finally said only that the Legion has “learned some things about our founder’s life that are surprising and difficult to understand,” adding that some of Maciel’s behaviors “weren’t appropriate for a Catholic priest.” I am aghast at the vacuity of such a response.
Is this how the Legion of Christ, even today, is going to act when confronted with grave questions of Maciel’s whole life? Is Legion leadership really going to continue talking to the Catholic world as if it were inhabited by idiot children? If so, and notwithstanding my deep sadness for the fine Legionaries I know, there really is no hope for the institute.