ROME, FEB. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Some aspects of the life
of Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ,
were incompatible with the priesthood, according to a spokesman for
"We are pained and grieved for any offenses that
Father Maciel´s actions have inflicted on the Church and her
members. We apologize for the scandal this has caused," Jim
Fair said in a statement today to ZENIT.
Jim Fair, the
spokesman for the Legionaries of Christ in the United States,
told reporters: "We have learned some things about our founder´s
life that are surprising and difficult for us to understand."
Tuesday, reports in the media affirmed that the Mexican priest,
who died last year and was buried in his native
Cotija, Mexico, had a relationship with a woman and fathered
The Legion’s Rome spokesman, Father Paolo Scarafoni, said: "We
cannot deny the existence of these facts but we can´t
go into detail because we have to respect the privacy
of people involved."
In response to reporters’ questions whether or not
the Legion will renounce Father Maciel as its founder, Fair
said that there was no intent to rewrite history: "He
is the founder and he always will be the founder
of the order. Whatever Father Maciel’s human failings, we remain
grateful for the charism we received through him. One of
the mysteries that we all see in life is that
God does good works with less than perfect human instruments."
Vere, canon lawyer and author of several books on the
Code of Canon Law, told ZENIT that there is no
need for the Legion to leave aside its founder.
about the founder, and saying that the founder made mistakes
and that maybe the founder did things for the wrong
reasons, and maybe some of the things he did were
wrong ... I think that type of openness and transparency
will allow [the Legion] to go on," he said. "Obviously
given the size and given the effect they´ve had on
the Church, there is something good there."
Father Marcial Macial founded
the Legionaries of Christi in 1941 and declined re-election as
superior-general in 2005. Father Álvaro Corcuera was elected as his
In May 2006, after having investigated accusations against Father Maciel,
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "decided --
bearing in mind Father Maciel´s advanced age and his delicate
health -- to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite
the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer,
relinquishing any form of public ministry."
The Vatican note at
that time recognized "the distinguished apostolate of the Legionaries of
Christ and of Regnum Christi," saying they were "acknowledged with