Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the religious community "Legionaries of Christ," has died in the U.S. at age 87. The cleric has been highly controversial: in 2006, he was reprimanded by the Vatican in connection with allegations of sexual abuse.
He was asked to no longer perform public priestly services and to lead a "secluded life" with "prayer and penance". In view of the age and poor health of the Mexican clergyman, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had dispensed with criminal proceedings under canon law.The founder of the "Legionaries of Christ" is accused of having abused young seminarians. In addition, he allegedly gave them absolution for sexual acts committed together. He himself has denied allegations of abuse of minors in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. For reasons of age, Maciel declined re-election as superior of the order in 2005.
Low lines in Bad Munstereifel and Dusseldo The religious congregation founded by Maciel in Mexico in 1941 has been directly subordinate to the Vatican since 1965. According to its own account, the congregation has branch lines in 20 countries with over 600 priests and over 2.500 seminarians. There are 92 educational institutions and facilities of the Legion of Christ apostolate in a total of 12 countries. In addition, 130 schools and over 600 educational centers are under their sponsorship.In Germany, the order has branches in Bad Munstereifel and Dusseldorf. In February 2007, a new religious province was established for Central Europe. It includes Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. Sylvester Heereman, a German, was appointed the first territorial director, based in Dusseldorf.