Periodista Digital, which broke many of the recent allegations against Fr. Maciel, has now posted the Spanish version of the letter to RC faithful recently sent out in America and Germany. It is addressed to the RC in Spain. You can read the letter here.
In reading through the Spanish version, it’s about 90 percent the same of what was published in America and Germany. So no need to rehash that.
What I found interesting is the 10 percent difference. First, the letter appears much more forceful in warning RC against blog commentary. The usual stuff about charity, conjecture, etc. But second – and this really caught my attention – is the absence of any mention of allegations Fr. Maciel sexually abused seminarians in his case. This surprises me because these were the allegations that led to his 2006 invitation to retire to a life of prayer and penance.
In fact, the letter is structured in such a way as to give me the impression the Holy See invited him to retire because he had fathered a daughter, and possibly more children. There’s no mentions of earlier allegations – those made by former LC seminarians.
Now my Spanish is far from perfect. I initially thought I was missing something in translation. So I ran it through babelfish. Still no mention. I was going to call a friend who happens to be a Spanish translator, but then the comments at the bottom of the article caught my eye. Several readers, who I assume are fluent in Spanish if they’re capable of writing in the language, blast the letter for exactly this reason.
They point out three things:
1 – It’s pretty close to the same letter as the one sent off in the U.S.
2 – The major difference is the lack of any reference to the allegations of sexual molestation of seminarians.
3 – The letter gives the impression that Maciel was invited to retire because of his sexual escapades involving women.
Which raises two questions:
1): Is molesting boys not seen as a big deal by the Legion’s Spanish leadership? After all, they don’t mention it in their Spanish apology, which in my opinion also raises questions about the sincerity of the American and German apologies.
2) Does this explain the discrepancy we’ve heard about Fr. Alvaro reaching out to Maciel’s victims? After all, most of us in the English-speaking world think first of the young seminarians who first brought forth allegations against Maciel. However, they are not acknowledged in the Spanish version of this letter.
These questions are not merely conjecture on my part. The sexual abuse of minors is a serious sin. Both the American and Germans found it important enough to mention. But the Spanish version did not. Yet all three versions claim the support of LC Director General Fr. Alvaro. Given all the allegations circulating about the Legion playing games with orthodox Catholics, and all the focus that’s been put on the original victims, how can you expect us not to notice such a discrepancy?
In light of this major discrepancy, combined with the impression that the Spanish letter gives, I must retract my earlier statement that the American letter presents a step forward for the LC/RC. Most of the original victims spoke Spanish. To omit any mention of them in the language in which they were victimized is simply unconscionable, in my opinion.
Nor will I accept the excuse that the difference is cultural or linguistic. Such an argument appeals to the racism of low expectations, implying that Spanish-speaking folk are incapable of accepting the truth. This is not true, as demonstrated by the outrage expressed against the letter in Periodista Digital’s comments section.