Painful truths

The double life of the order's founder Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died in 2008, is shaking Mexico's church: allegations of abuse against Maciel had already been in the air for years, but for a few days now the reports about the extent of the misconduct have reached new dimensions.

Media reported on an alleged cohabitant of Maciel's. The latter stated that she was a mother of two children. Maciel's alleged sons also accused their father of sexual abuse. The scandal about the religious order "Legionaries of Christ" is haunting the Mexican Catholic Church even into the Sunday service. When Cardinal Norberto Rivera was about to begin his homily in Mexico City Cathedral last weekend, a group of activists disrupted the Mass with loud interjections. Posters read: "The army and the Catholic Church are Mexico's greatest enemies."

Daily new detai Mexican media report new details about Maciel's double life almost daily. The founder of the order had introduced himself to various women as an employee of an oil company, but also as a private detective or a CIA agent. The secretary general of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Evaristo Sada, has recently had to publicly admit: "It is painful to learn these truths". We must now identify the reasons and firmly correct what needs to be corrected so that this never happens again."But there are also inconsistencies among those making accusations: for example, the alleged sons of Maciel had demanded a hush money of $26 million from the Legionnaires, a spokesman for the religious order explained, according to media reports. The demands and the public statements of the "Maciel family" caused disgruntlement among their lawyers. Some of the legal representatives resigned their mandate at the beginning of the week, apparently in protest. Pope Benedict XVI. is to receive an ecclesiastical investigation report on the religious community later this month. Five bishops, whom the Vatican had commissioned to examine the allegations, will then report on their visits to the order's low places.

Media speculate on future of "Legionaries of Christ" Maciel had died in February 2008 at the age of 87 in the USA. A Spanish journalist reported that he renounced the faith on his deathbed and refused the last rites. Church investigation began with allegations that the order's founder abused seminarians. There was no mention of Maciel leading a double life. In addition, Maciel's religious are said to have given absolution for sexual acts committed together. Canon law provides for automatic excommunication for this, which can only be resolved by the pope himself. Maciel himself denied the accusations during his lifetime. The Vatican had already reprimanded the order's founder in 2006 in connection with allegations of sexual abuse. Now the Mexican media are already speculating about the future of the "Legionaries of Christ" and demanding: The public apologies were not enough; the religious community must be dissolved. With tension the Mexican public expects now the statement of the Holy See. It will be decisive for the continued existence of the controversial community.

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