REPORT - Maciel's nephew offers his own DNA


[Update: According to readers with a lot more Spanish expertise than me, it appears that Espinosa was using an offer of DNA testing as a rhetorical device to call into question the paternity of recent individuals claiming to be Maciel's children. It also appears that Espinosa is the son of Maciel's cousin. Anyway, this is why I avoided providing a translation or analysis on this article.]

Initial post

Religion Digital has just published an explosive interview with Alejandro Espinosa, Maciel's nephew who claims to have been molested by his uncle as a young seminarian. The allegations are numerous, serious and specific. Given my poor grasp of Spanish, I am not going to attempt translation. However, Espinosa has offered a sample of his own DNA to help establish the credibility of those claiming to be Maciel's children [See update above for clarification on this last point].


What's amazing to me is how well covered up all of this blatant perversion was for so long.

It really makes one wonder about the kinds of horrors that may have been perpetrated by the so-called holy men of our Church (and other religions, for that matter) over the centuries. I'm just astounded at the level of corruption and cover-up. If abuses like this could be covered up so well for so long even long after the invention of telegraph, radio, tv, newspaper, internet, etc, imagine the abuses that must have been gotten away with before we had all these methods of communication.

The thought boggles my mind, actually. And Maciel was being revered as a saint the entire time!

Truly a mind-boggling, devastating interview. Interesting though, that he doesn't believe those who have come forward in the last month are truly Maciel's children. Also, just to clarify, Maciel was to Espinosa "primo hermano de mi padre", first cousin to my father, making him, what is that, first cousin once removed? Second cousin? Sobrino is used for those types of relations as well.

The basic meaning of "hermano" is "brother", IIRC. That would make Maciel the "first brother" of Espinosa's father. Or does it have a different meaning here for some reason?

I haven't read the article in Spanish yet, but I'd like to clarify a translation:

"Primo hermano de mi padre" means "my father's first cousin".

Alejandro Espinosa’s testimony paints a truly horrifying picture of Maciel’s depravity, but Pete’s cursory translation has most of the details wrong.

Bottom line is that Espinosa doesn’t believe the most recent people claiming to be Maciel’s descendants.

Espinosa says he doesn’t doubt that “dozens more” people will claim to be Maciel’s children because of the money involved.

Says he believes those who are now claiming to be Maciel’s children, besides Norma Hilda, “lack credibility and proofs”, saying that for the lawyer who is representing them there is “too much economic interest involved for one to think that he is free of spurious motives.”

He believes that these new people damage the credibility of true victims of Maciel.

He says DNA proof will be determinative, but “doubts these young people have them”. Says even he could try to claim the inheritance, since his DNA would show up similar, since he is a cousin of Maciel.

He says he’ll believe Maciel had other children when they can prove it, not just when they say they are.

Thanks for pointing out "primo hermano" (first cousin). For anyone else who's curious, a list of Spanish genealogical terms is online at .

Espinosa's bottom line is that Maciel really didn't believe in anything but money; that in his life, religion and even sex were just tools for enriching himself.

The latter point may be more shocking: we're used to the idea of a phony minister engaging in religious fraud for money; but a person who engages in sexual manipulation and seduction for money is regarded as even more reprehensible, committing an offense against the body as well as against the soul.

Well, I don't read Spanish and simply used my promt online translator, but I think I was able to grasp the gist of the article.

One thing that struck me was how Maciel's family all got rich off this scam! So Mama Maurita was either dumb as a stick or knew that Maciel was misusing his organization's funds to plump up the bank accounts of his entire family (to ensure their allegiance and silence, no doubt). So much for canonization. Sounds like the entire Cotija operation is all part of the hoax, one that it appears Maciel's entire family was in on. I'd like to see this detail elaborated upon a bit further.

I got the feeling that Espinosa is a bit annoyed with all the paternity suits because they are distracting from Maciel's truest depravity: sexual molestation of little boys. Am I reading that right?

Hopefully this will hit the English press soon so that we can have a translation.

Pete, an ex-LC friend of mine and I are 95% convinced that Fr Karras is a former LC priest whom we both know (and is actually a great friend, a very, very funny man). So I'm not positive it's him, but the style, the wit, everything points it to being him.

Pete, you're going to have to forgive me, but I can't resist. Does your Espinosa "translation" mean that "translatio malus, semper praesumitur malus esse." :)

Fr Karras, if he is still in the Legion, is working at 4 inner city parishes in a place that has a Franklin Avenue, and is needs to rely on other sources to find out what is going on at the major seminaries. All of that matches with what my former LC priest friend is doing. See one of his recent posts.

I believe Pete's knee-jerk reaction to the Espinosa article is a perfect example not of believing what we hear, but hearing what we want to believe. Thank you for exemplifying my points on partisanship so swiftly!

Couple questions, Richard: Let's leave it at one child, some missing money and deception about "never saying no to God."

Is there a charism? Should we carry on with apostolates and recruiting?

Or.......Pete could simply have been telling the truth when he warned us about his poor grasp of Spanish. I know that kind of truthfulness can be hard for the hardcore LC/RC to understand.

By the way, it seems to me that the article's true meaning is much worse for Maciel and his Legion than Pete's more "charitable", albeit faulty, translation.

As Richard Chonak points out:

"Espinosa's bottom line is that Maciel really didn't believe in anything but money; that in his life, religion and even sex were just tools for enriching himself.

The latter point may be more shocking: we're used to the idea of a phony minister engaging in religious fraud for money; but a person who engages in sexual manipulation and seduction for money is regarded as even more reprehensible, committing an offense against the body as well as against the soul."

Pete's poor grasp of Spanish certainly did nothing to make Maciel and the Legion look worse. So I am a bit mystified about your snark about Pete reading only what he wanted to believe. There is no need to read anything at all into this interview. The depravity Espinosa reveals about his blood-relative Maciel speaks for itself.

I agree, Giselle. At this point, the only defense that can be mounted is quibbling over spanish translation of "hermano."


I just read the article through Google translator and it's admittedly garbled badly. But the bottom line is unmistakable: Espinoza's point boils down to this--"Oh, Maciel was a monster, you guys just have the details wrong."

And he makes a good point regarding "proof" from those claiming to be Maciel's children. I'm okay with that--no surprise if unscrupulous people would now attempt to extort a settlement from the Church for crimes that were never committed against them. But Espinoza seems to be concerned not by the fact that Maciel had children, but with the "justice" of including anyone who cannot prove paternity in whatever settlement he seems to think will be coming in the future.

Someone asked about the racism angle. It is true that Espinoza said in the interview that Maciel preferred light-skinned women, and Espinoza considers that one reason to doubt the veracity of some of the alleged children of Maciel. Some of the testimonies of early accusers also said that Maciel preferred light skinned good-looking young boys.

As Richard Chonak points out:

"Espinosa's bottom line is that Maciel really didn't believe in anything but money; that in his life, religion and even sex were just tools for enriching himself.

The latter point may be more shocking: we're used to the idea of a phony minister engaging in religious fraud for money; but a person who engages in sexual manipulation and seduction for money is regarded as even more reprehensible, committing an offense against the body as well as against the soul."

For a terrifying but relevant visual that drives this point home, I'd recommend the movie "Night of the Hunter" starring Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish. Saw it recently and was immediately struck with the similarities betw. the evil preacher and MM, including the sexual manipulation AND the desire to harm children for personal gain.

If you want to "find" Fr. Karras, from his blog it's easy to figure out exactly which parishes he's serving in exactly which city. From there it should be easy to find his name. Just sayin'...

Even if some of the children that have come forward are not legit - we have to remember that all this scandal started with the sin and lie of Fr. Maciel. Now the devil is running rampant because the LC has continued the lie and cover-up of Fr Maciel and everything is up for grabs. I am sure that there will be false stories and bad people trying to get money or spreading false rumors about the LC. Bottom line is that it all started with Maciel and it is the terrible consequence of sin. You can't blame anyone for trusting all these new stories and children because we now know that Fr M and the LC hierarchy lied.

Also - Pete just showed us an example of how we can all intpret something wrongly but he admitted it, was up front and set the record straight. That is normal human and Christian behavoir that I have not seen in the LC/RC.

Re: my response to "Giselle." Should have been to ginger. Sorry about that.

Fr. Francis Snell is apparently no longer LC according to the diocesan directory although other older lists do show him as LC.

I found positive proof that Fr. Karras is actually Fr. Francis Snell. He published a job posting for a secretary at his new assignment in New Haven, giving his Fr Damien Karras email address as his contact information.

Good for him! I'm glad he's out.

The more I think about this aticle, the more bothered I am by the depth of knowledge regarding Maciel's fraud, pederasty, multiple concubines, secret bank accounts, drug trafficking, money laundering, theft, etc. on the part of his nephew. I mean, if he knew this much for this long--how many others knew and why has it only come to light now? Who else is complicit in all this?


That was my first thought upon reading the article. A cover-up of that magnitude over that many years is not some random event; it would require a seriously orchestrated plan that could not possibly have been put into place by one man. And I would think that whatever group is behind the cover-up is wielding some serious power. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist (LOL!), there is something disturbingly suspect at the heart of this.

Has anybody been able to find an English translation of this interview online? I was hoping it might hit some English-speaking media outlets today. The online translators only go so far.

Thanks Pete and ginger--

I had momentarily forgotten the mention of the book by Espinosa--this has to be the same person, no? It would make total sense for the press to seek him out at this point as the writer of a book about Maciel, etc. It was just that I was literally momentarily stunned by what ginger identifies, I'll warrant correctly, as a fraud the magnitude of which is probably several orders greater than we have hitherto imagined.

I'm possitive this is the same Espinosa. According to Google Translate: "Alejandro Espinosa, a nephew of Marcial Maciel and author of El Legionario.."

Thanks, Don. That cinches it. I had been thinking, "what kind of monstrous culture produces so many people willing to allow such a monster to operate." But, that's unfair. Obviously, the original accusers, along with Espinoza, have been attempting to sound the alarm for decades. Much to their credit.

But how is it that so many could so willingly remain blind to what has had to have, at some levels, been obvious.

I don't share Espinoza's diagnosis regarding JP II and Benedict. But I will admit that part of this is because I don't want to believe the Machiavellian version of the Church that interprets every bad act in terms of bad actors who have nothing but their own interests in mind.

I'm steeling myself for more and more bad news.

Will anyone be surprised if a new revelation involves murder?

How low can all this go????


Hopefully we'll hit bottom before too long!

I've been a cynic for a while, but strangely this whole mess has strengthened my belief in the Church. Perhaps because it has forced me to continually ask myself why I am still a member. And every time I answer that question--because I believe in the True Presence--I feel just a bit more strengthened.

It has NOT, however, strengthened my belief in the people who run it. I think I can honestly say I wouldn't be surprised at much---not murder, not complicity in cover-up on the parts of the Popes --at this point. Hopefully those things are not true, but if they are, let's hope the festering rot is outed once and for all. We can no longer sit around hiding our heads in the sand and yelling, "That's impossible!"

The Church has withstood worse scandals.

I am actually feeling hopeful that with information highway booming like it is, secrecy, complicity, cover-up, and corruption on the part of Church hierarchy will become much harder to maintain. Maybe this is the beginning of a new era of transparency.

I've thought the same thing about murder.

And, if they do in fact (or did in the past) have money tied up in drug trafficking, that's already blood money.

Has no one translated the article yet? It's not that long.

For those of you who know me--I'm not a cynic. I never want to believe the worst. And yet, and yet. . .

For those of you who know me--I'm not a cynic. I never want to believe the worst. And yet, and yet. . .


Well, the good thing about being a cynic is that I am rarely surprised by massive failures on the part of humanity. "Figures!" is my typical response. LOL

Luckily, I am married to somebody who is not nearly as cynical, so it keeps me in balance.

Try not to be discouraged or utterly disillusioned. Man sins. Sometimes massively. Sometimes even people who appear to be very holy and for whom we feel much affection fail in a major way. There is nothing new about that. If the Popes were complicit, even I (the cynic) doubt it was out of malicious intent. It would more likely be because of that mistaken notion that "scandal" must be avoided at all costs, and truth must be suppressed so as not to cause scandal. Or it might be because of a Legion-like notion that so much "good" is happening that it outweighs any bad things that might have happened "in the past". Admittedly, I find both of these reasons extremely distasteful, but they are still far preferable to believing there was some malicious intent on the part of our pontiffs.

I am hoping one of the lessons that the Church hierarchy learns from this is that letting the Truth about evil out is not the scandal. We all can accept that people sin. It's when we discover that our hierarchy knew about it and covered it up that the world gets scandalized.

Perhaps people will learn something about being able to tell a tree by its fruits in this mess, too. A mistaken understanding of that notion certainly gave Maciel's movement a massive boost over the years. Maciel took that biblical notion and ran all the way to the end zone with it.

And we don't know that the Popes knew. I personally believe that even if they didn't, they should have, especially if Maciel was as flagrant as this interview with his cousin makes him out to be. I mean, the man was apparently a sex, drugs, and embezzling MACHINE. I hope that moving forward, the hierarchy will be less blinded by all the razzle-dazzle of the pious truisms that Maciel was so very good at and more able to discern good from evil.

Hang in there, Gregorbo. Don't let the Maciel mess turn you into a cynic. I'll be cynic-enough for everybody else. LOL

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on September 23, 2009 7:32 PM.

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