The American Papist reports that the timing of the disclosures on the Legionaries of Christ’s founder was not a coincidence:
My contacts assert that the convergence of these two big news events–the outrage prompted by the Bishop Willliamson affair, followed shortly afterwards by the new revelations regarding Father Maciel’s “double life” — was no accident: the order’s superiors and their ecclesial allies took advantage of the crisis surrounding Bishop Williamson to minimize the impact of the new disclosures regarding Maciel. The Mexican superiors, I’m told, believe the present tempest will blow over and the Legion will pull itself together and go on as before. (The Cathoholic – updated 3:30pm)
It certainly seems that amidst the hubbub surrounding the SSPX story, coverage of the Maciel scandal has been slim-to-none, except for the notable exceptions chronicled on these pages.
In terms of PR that is a normal move when trying to dilute damage. However if your goal is truth and pastoral healing dodging the issue is a bad idea.
Update: Damion Thomspon says this isn’t going away:
I wrote yesterday about Fr Maciel, a Mexican whom the Legionaries and their lay wing, Regnum Christi, had virtually canonised before he died. Big mistake: not only did he sexually abuse male seminarians, but we’ve just learned that he fathered a baby girl in his 80s.
Several Legionary priests are disgusted by the way their leaders defended Maciel – it seems like they must have known that he was living a double life. Meanwhile, many Regnum Christi members are behaving like shocked members of a cult, still saying prayers based around the mission and charism of their founder.
He points out why this isn’t pushed in the media:
This scandal is potentially bigger than the SSPX fiasco. The media have given it little attention – perhaps because it offers little opportunity for Pope-bashing: it was Benedict who sent the Legion’s sexually predatory founder, the late Fr Marcial Maciel, into exile in 2006.
He links to George Weigel who goes the whole hog:
None of these questions can be thoughtfully or prayerfully answered until there is a full audit.
And, as the flailings and failures of the past ten days have made clear, that audit cannot be conducted by the Legion leadership, which is likely beset by a maelstrom of internal and external pressures. It must be mandated by the pope, and it must be conducted by someone responsible to the pope alone—not responsible to the relevant parts of the Vatican bureaucracy, not responsible to the cardinal secretary of state, but responsible to the pope alone. There is simply no other way open to an accounting that will be both scrupulously honest and publicly credible.
To take an image from corporate law, the Legion of Christ must be immediately put into receivership: A personal delegate, appointed by the pope, must be empowered to take over the governance of the Legion of Christ and to conduct the moral and institutional audit required. The papal delegate would be instructed to report his findings, both interim and final, to the pope alone, and he would be instructed to make recommendations (again, to the pope alone) addressing the possible futures, including dissolution or dissolution-and-reconstitution, of the Legion.
I’m still getting fundraisers from them. My recycle bins will remain full until this stuff gets fixed, and honestly I instinctively don’t trust any religious group that promotes itself via sweepstakes.