Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The corruption in the Catholic church runs deep

with 4 comments

And it goes way back. Check out this story in the LA Times by Tracy Wilkinson, which begins:

He hobnobbed with Mexico’s rich and famous, cut lucrative real estate deals and was rumored to travel on occasion with a briefcase full of cash. He fathered at least one child, molested seminarians and boys and is said to have boasted that he had the pope’s permission to get massages from young nuns.

And all the while the conservative priest was building one of the most influential organizations in the Roman Catholic Church.

Two years after the death of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexico native, scandals continue to unfold: Just the other day in Mexico City, two brothers came forward, claiming tearfully that not only was Maciel their father, he had also sexually abused them.

Buffeted by the string of revelations, Maciel’s powerful Legion of Christ is fighting for its survival in Rome, the headquarters of the church. But here in Mexico, where the Legion has long-standing ties with the ruling class and an expansive network of elite schools, the organization remains strong.
Rather than the desertions that some branches of the Legion have experienced in the United States and elsewhere, student enrollment in Legionary schools in Mexico grew by 6% to 8% last year, spokesman Javier Bravo said.

The order’s assets are estimated by some to be worth $20 billion.

"Obviously there has been a lot of suffering and surprise from what we have learned about the founder," Bravo said. "Obviously Father Maciel was a great part of our founding period. But he will have to be reconsidered as an instrument rather than a model."

A few days after Bravo spoke to The Times, the Legionaries issued their most comprehensive apology to date for Maciel’s "reprehensible" behavior. "Though it causes us consternation," the statement says, "we have to say that these acts did take place."

As the Catholic Church is rocked by scandals about abusive priests and the failure of its hierarchy to confront them, Maciel in many ways embodies the insidiousness of the problem.

Maciel was dogged for years by allegations that he sexually molested young men studying to be priests, had affairs with women and was a drug addict. He evaded sanction thanks in large part to the privileged status granted him by the late Pope John Paul II. Only in 2006 did John Paul’s successor, Benedict XVI, discipline Maciel by ordering him to stop functioning as a priest; by then, Maciel was 85 [and, presumably, was no longer bringing in so much money and so many recruits — the church’s main priority, from all evidence – LG].

Maciel was popular at the Vatican because the Legion was one of the fastest growing orders in the Catholic Church, able to produce wealth and recruit priests at a time of declining memberships and severe shortages in the clergy — and because it espoused the conservative brand of Catholicism that recent popes have favored.

Today the Legionaries, as they are known, operate in nearly 40 countries with 800 priests, 2,600 seminarians and a lay branch called Regnum Christi ("Christ’s Kingdom") that has more than 75,000 members.

Though blessed by John Paul, the Legion had detractors the world over who, quite apart from the abuse allegations, criticized the secretive group’s cult-like practices. Seminarians were cut off from their families, their mail routinely intercepted; barred from criticizing Maciel and instructed to report anyone who did; and made to adhere to a military-style discipline. A cult of personality developed around Maciel, revered as a hero destined for sainthood.

In Mexico, the key to Maciel’s success was his ability to …

Continue reading. I fear the overriding priorities of the Catholic church are mainly to protect its reputation and its officials and to gather money and influence.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 March 2010 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Law, Religion

4 Responses

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  1. Why does anyone find corruption in a giant worldwide Institution to come as a surprise?

    The Pope is only infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals. He is a man in all other regards and especially subject to bad advice from bad men as any other man is.

    While we expect the Pope to be an upstanding man in his personal life, which Benedict is, even Our Lord had a bad time with the twelve He selected. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him three times, only John did not run off and hide and was with His Lord at the Cross.

    This is the first day of Holy Week for all Christians, the 450 million or so Orthodox have the same Holy Week in 2010. There is much more to consider and reflect on this week, other than personal attacks on His Holiness, at least for Christians of good will.

    Deo gratias!


    28 March 2010 at 2:40 pm

  2. From the web site of a priest:

    Let the prophets speak.

    Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18:2-7; John 10:31-42

    They fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, “I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?”
    [John 10:31-32]

    It’s curious to me that our Church hierarchy that has taken such a prophetic stand for life is so reluctant to listen to the prophets that have been addressing another life issue – the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by priests and even bishops. I am referring not only to sexual abuse but to physical and psychological abuse. As clear and explicit as the Holy Father has been on the rights of the unborn, why does he allow himself to be protected behind a wall of silence or prevarication and equivocation by those who surround him. Knowing what I know about how the Vatican system works, there is an inconsistency between the moral edicts of every kind it issues and its inability to hold itself accountable to the same moral standards and principles as they pertain to the inner workings of the Church. It is very disheartening indeed. The Pope’s credibility has not been enhanced and it will continue to decline until the full truth is exposed.

    Jeremiah was a prophet who spoke to the religious and political leaders of his age without equivocation. He didn’t mince his words and he paid the price.

    Jesus was the prophet of prophets who spoke to the religious leaders of his time. He too paid the price.

    To listen to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League this morning on the John Gambling show as he went on his usual tirade about the New York Times and its attempt to depose the Pope (his opinion) as it exposed the truth of what has been taking place in our Church was another example of how easy it is to shoot the messenger. He suggested that the problem of abuse is worse in the public school system and just as bad among orthodox Jews. His words were sickening.

    Hmmm, I remember my mom’s response when I used to defend my wrongdoings to my mom by saying “everyone else is doing it… “ etc. “Well, you are not everyone else!” Do we not hold ourselves to a higher standard? Is there not a real story there when a Church that claims to be the ‘true church’ of Jesus Christ is unable to handle full disclosure of the truth?

    Once again, the mantra shouts from the heavens: “There will be no healing until there is justice; no justice without the full truth; no truth without full accountability.”

    The Pope’s apology during his visit to the United States rang hallow and his latest apology is no better.

    None of the five communications that I have addressed to Rome: Two to the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, One to Pope John Paul’s personal priest secretary, one to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one (hand delivered) to Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (successor to Benedict XVI), and numerous communications to Archbishop Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, were ever acknowledged.

    I have been involved as an advocate in a case involving substantial allegations against a prominent priest of the Archdiocese of New York. The case has been pending for over six years without a response from Rome.

    There is a serious cancer in the system and it is not going to disappear. I have known from the outset that this scandal would eventually reach the doors of the Pope.

    Integrity within the Catholic hierarchy has sunk to a new low.

    Kill Jeremiah, execute Jesus and kill the prophets who speak truth to power. The more things change, the more they remain the same.


    28 March 2010 at 5:03 pm

  3. Lol, it really is mostly the Catholics that this is happening too. I am a protestant (don’t say there isn’t a difference because there is) and that doesn’t happen at all. It is really easy to say “I am a Christian” which is what makes Christianity look so bad. People who say this and don’t mean it obviously make our religion look bad. In fact, that is probably the point of why some people claim to be Christian

    Mark Robear

    13 February 2011 at 3:23 pm

  4. @Mark: Unlike you, I do not consider this a laughing matter. I suspect it is the strict hierarchy and bureaucracy of the Catholic church that made it easier to cover up what was happening, but we’ve also had a more or less constant parade of homophobic Protestant ministers who turn out to be gay—and of course the violent persecutions of gays in Uganda, thanks to the efforts of Protestants. “It doesn’t happen at all” sounds like a statement from someone in denial.


    13 February 2011 at 4:23 pm

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