When the Fr. Maciel story first broke, I went on record publicly stating that the Legion of Christ (LC) and Regnum Christi (RC) could continue without renouncing its founder. I assumed at the time, based upon the American reaction of Fr. Thomas Berg, Tom Hoopes, Jay Dunlap and others of like mind, that the LC/RC would renounce the founder’s example (which is different than renouncing the founder), apologize to his victims and offer them restitution. And to their credit many of the movement’s American membership followed Fr. Berg’s example in doing so.
What I did not expect (at least after the first month) is for the movement’s upper echelons to try and carry on “business as usual”. After all, their modus operandi is what landed the LC/RC in so much scalding tequila to begin with. Which is why I puzzle at this recent Spanish-language interview with Lucrecia Rego, the founder of Catholic.net and a high-profile Regnum Christi member from Mexico. She remains one of Fr. Maciel’s most ardent apologists, having declared herself “Maciel’s other [spiritual] daughter” when the scandal first broke.
Life After RC has posted an unofficial translation here, of which I found the following excerpt troubling for two reasons: 1) It offers us a glimpse into the mindset of some of the movement’s higher echelons; 2) In attempting to defend Fr. Maciel, the interview confirmed my gut feeling that the LC/RC can only survive as a Catholic institution by completely renouncing their founder.
Anyway, read the following and draw your own conclusions:
What’s your opinion on the performance of the current leaders: Alvaro Corcuera, Luis Garza, Evaristo Sada? Do you agree with their having treacherously hidden these truths, deceiving the legionaries, and becoming accomplices themselves of the sins of the founder?
Lucrecia – To accuse the Fathers of such things is nonsense. No one is obliged to reveal another person’s sins. On the contrary, they would’ve been traitors had they revealed them. The fact that they kept it secret is a sign not of complicity, but of their faithfulness, fondness and respect. There’s nothing to complain to them about.
Jesus Christ gravely condemned the sin of scandal. Don’t you consider it scandalous that Fr. Maciel, being a priest, had a daughter, and that he then diverted vast sums of money from the Legion to provide for her?
Lucrecia – First of all, I must say that I find the whole story of the alleged daughter of Nuestro Padre to be quite implausible. An elderly many of 68… it’s very difficult at that age to even be capable of having a sexual relationship.
But let’s suppose it’s true… that, yes, the woman seduced him and was able to achieve (who knows by what means) said relationship and conception. Following this supposition, we cannot know the degree of culpability of neither the woman nor the priest because we don’t know the circumstances. Thus, there’s no scandal, because we don’t even know if the act meets the conditions to be a sin (full knowledge and full consent).
About the “large sums of money” that is said Fr. Maciel gave the mother of the girl… the press has mentioned the amounts of $5,000 to $10,000, which Fr. Maciel carried with him now and then. Are 10,000 dollars given now and then a scandalous amount to provide for a family? Absolutely not. It’s barely enough to ensure that the child (who has no guilt in the story) gets clothing, a home, food, and an education in a place that is dignified and decent. What we do know is that Nuestro Padre worked much for the Legion and that, humanly speaking, he had every right (as laborer and director of an enterprise) to dispose of some money for his personal expenses (in this case, providing for this implausible family).
Fr. Maciel’s apologists will tell us not to judge Fr. Maciel, citing Our Lord’s injunction in the Gospel of St. Matthew, but Lucrecia appears to have judged the mother of Fr. Maciel’s daughter either a liar or a seductress. This is as far from Fr. Berg’s reaction (even before leaving) as one can get. And while we’re on the topic of Fr. Berg, Lucrecia also sends some charity his way:
Fr. Thomas Berg has declared that the Legion must renounce its founder in order to survive. What do you think of these statements?
Lucrecia – What can I tell you? Fr. Thomas is free to express his opinion, and I am no one to judge him. It saddens me, yes, that he’d express himself in such manner about Our Father Founder and of our current directors, because he, having been 23 years in the Legion, is who he is only thanks to the Legion, which wouldn’t exist had Fr. Maciel not founded it. I think he should show some gratitude, regardless of how disappointed he might feel.
What we see here in my opinion is the movement’s institutionalization of Fr. Maciel’s narcissism. It’s not the Holy Spirit, the Church or the intercession of St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother that made Fr. Berg who he is. Neither the saints nor the Church’s teaching. It’s Fr. Maciel and the Legion, this high-profile RC member asserts. Was it in Fr. Maciel’s name that the bishop laid hands on Fr. Berg and raised him to holy orders? You get the point. Everything still centers around Fr. Maciel and the LC/RC, and the LC/RC only insofar as they center around Fr. Maciel. Outside of Maciel’s reach no salvation. Lost vocation, sure damnation.
This is why the LC/RC must sever themselves completely from Fr. Maciel. Since the Legion likes to invoke catchy Latin phrases, Roman military imagery, and thoughts of subjection to Rome, give serious consideration to the ancient Roman practice of damnatio memoriae.