Maciel, Mom and the Messiah


While ExLC was translating the latest news to come from Spain (click here) and Giselle was surveying Regnum Christi membership decline in local sections (click here), I thought I would take a moment to poke through alleged LC constitutions available on Wikileak. (As an aside, has anyone heard from Cassandra or Fr. Damien Karras concerning recent allegations?)

I won't go into the Legion's structure, or ask why they include regulations on how to properly tip one's soup bowl when dining. Rather, what stood out to me in glancing through the documents was the following hagiography of Mama Maurita, venerated among LC/RC as Fr. Maciel's mother. In fact, the movement is currently pushing her cause for beatification:

Historical material pertaining to Our Founder

472. To gather historical material pertaining the family of Our Founder, especially Mama Maurita [the mother of Marcial Maciel Degollado], the instrument chosen by God to give life to Nuestro Padre and to prepare the earth in which his vocation as a Christian, a priest and the Founder of the Legion of Christ would germinate.[emphasis mine]

473. We consider it appropriate at this time to inform you that the Commission for the Cause of the Beatification of Mama Maurita has now been put in place and will in time be releasing information on the steps which it has been taking. Meanwhile, the Chapter Fathers invite our legionary brothers to intensify their prayers so that God may grant us the grace of seeing in the not too distant future Mama Maurita placed on altars, for the good of the Church, of the Legion and of the Movement.

Okay, anybody else troubled by this?

Not to say Fr. Maciel's mother wasn't a holy woman. She may or may not have been - I don't know and that's not where I'm going here. However, whatever her level of sanctity, does she deserve the same to messianic hagiography as the Blessed Mother, who prepared the way for Christ? Especially given that Fr. Maciel ended his life a disgrace to the Church.

The contemporary Church doesn't even use this type of messianic language for St. Monica, who bore St. Augustine - a great convert, confessor, father and doctor of the Church, not to mention founder of the institute bearing his name. However, in Advent-like narrative, Mama Maurita was uniquely chosen by God to prepare the earth for and give birth to Fr. Maciel!

Suddenly, I understand why Fr. Maciel compared himself to Christ suffering on the cross in silence when the Holy See invited him to retire to a life of prayer and penance.


There's (or at least there was) a similar weird cult of the founder's mother in the Brazilian TFP; they even had a litany for her.

Following that line of argument, I wonder what the "Movement" thinks of her now. As it is being revealed that her son's depravity leads much more to comparisons of him with a spawn of Satan than a Messiah figure, does that mean that poor Mama Maurita should be judged as evil accordingly? If a person's holiness or lack thereof is determined by the type of progeny they spawn, Heaven help us all.

If poor Mama Maurita truly was a holy woman, ignorant of the evil that her son perpetrated, I feel nothing but pity for her. As a mother myself, I can only imagine the pain of discovering your son was a child molester and a fraud. Of course, she apparently went to her deathbed believing she had raised a veritable saint. What a shocker she was in for!

A big part of her beatification push is related to having given birth to MM. Stories were told that she visited lepers, gave food and clothing to the poor, and was a wonderful mother, but they were only the backdrop to her "primary privilege." (Also, they were told by the same LC's who hid MM's deeds, so they may or may not even be true -- there's no way of knowing.)

The greatest obstacle to her beatification would be her son, not simply that he was a scoundrel, but that she did nothing to protect him from being molested on the ranch. Certainly, she may not have known, but the older men who knew the family say that Casa Maciel y Degollado was dysfunctional at best.

She may very well be in heaven, but beatification/canonisation is also a catechetical tool, and in this case, not such a good one. There are no reported miracles thus far, which may be God's way of saying, "Perhaps not a good idea, dear ones."

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on August 17, 2009 7:13 PM.

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