It’s been a year since the Legion of Christ admitted that the order’s founder, Marcial Maciel, fathered a daughter (and this came on top of lots of other charges of sexual abuse over the years). Canonist Pete Vere notes that apologies and restitution to victims have not been forthcoming from the order. And he’s not surprised.
Because like any other religious movement, good or bad, the Legion of Christ appears to derive its spirit from its founder. When the spirit of the founder is good, when the founder seeks sincerely to follow Christ and is inspired by the Holy Spirit, then we recognize the spirit of the movement as a charism. But when the spirit of the founder is evil, then it curses the entire movement.
He links to a disturbing report of Maciel’s deathbed attitude:
It seems that for the previous two years, the founder had lost the faith. He did not go to mass, did not pray… The Legionaries who took care of him came to know that he felt “repulsed by religion”. […]
But the few elect who were with him at the end of his life had a hard time seeing him as an old man. For them, the last hours of the founder were a real calvary. Marcial Maciel refused to confess his sins. He did not want to and did not believe in God’s pardon. Maybe he had spent too many years accostomed to fooling the divine representative in the confessional. How to suddenly declare him a pederast, he has relations with both men and women, he had at least six children who he never took care of like a real father, the abused drugs, he coveted and obtained great quantities of money, he plagiarized the spiritual guidelines of his congregation, he lied and damaged hundreds of people without it bothering him in the least way, and God knows what more. This, God does know. So, why confess his sins? “I said no!” he blurted out to Alvaro Corcuera, who was trying to anoint the dying man with holy oils.
And then Pete comments,
Of all the sins that man can commit during his time on earth, only one is unpardonable by God. It is known as the sin against the Holy Spirit, or the sin of final impenitance. It is the sin of so hardening one’s heart against God that one chooses to die unrepentant of one’s sins.
In another post, Pete quotes from a letter commenting about the formation process within the Legion, and its emphasis on externals.