The leaders of the Legionary of Christ, gathered for their annual meeting, wrote a communiqué to the members of the Legion of Christ and of Regnum Christi, their friends, and to all those affected or hurt by the reprehensible actions of their founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, apologizing for the harm done and for the failure to take seriously those who had brought the issues to their attention.
There follow some excerpts from this communiqué: read the entire document (link is to PDF format).
regarding the current circumstances
of the Legion of Christ
and the Regnum Christi Movement
It has taken us time to come to terms with these facts regarding his life. For many, especially the victims, this time has been too long and very painful….
1. Regarding some facts in the life of our founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, LC (1920-2008)
We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work. However… [through the canonical investigation] the CDF reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Fr Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place.
2. The Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement in the face of these facts
We express our sorrow and grief to each and every person damaged by our founder’s actions….
We ask all those who accused him in the past to forgive us, those whom we did not believe or were incapable of giving a hearing to, since at the time we could not imagine that such behavior took place.
We also ask our families, friends and benefactors to forgive us, and all other people of good will who have felt that their trust has been wounded.
In addition, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ we feel the need to expiate his sins and the scandal they caused, making reparation with a Christian spirit. We ask all the members of our religious family to intensify their prayer and sacrifice.
For his own mysterious reasons, God chose Fr Maciel as an instrument to found the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, and we thank God for the good he did. At the same time, we accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life.
…We will embrace with filial obedience whatever indications and recommendations the Holy Father gives us as a result of the apostolic visitation, and we are committed to putting them into practice.
Looking toward the future
… Humbly and gratefully we acknowledge the blessings and fruits that the Lord has granted us up to now, and we accept our responsibility to deepen our understanding of our history, charism, and spirituality.
We face the future with hope, knowing that our one support is God. We trust totally in him and in his all-powerful love which, as St Paul says, “makes all things work for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28). We know that as we follow this path we will be aided by the Holy Spirit and the Church’s motherly guidance.