divendres, 21 de maig del 2010

Bigamist, pederast, dope friend, and plagiarist

"A great achiever and close associate of John Paul II, Marcial Maciel was also a bigamist, pederast, dope friend, and plagiarist. Maciel came from the fervently religious state of Michoacán in the southwest of Mexico, and grew up during the years of the Cristero war (1926–1929), a savage conflict that pitched traditional Catholics (Cristeros) in provincial Mexico against the anti-clerical government in the capital. One of his uncles was the commanding general of the Cristeros. Another four uncles were bishops. One of them, Rafael Guízar y Valencia, brought him into a clandestine seminary in Mexico City, where as a 21 year old who had not even taken his vows, Maciel created a new religious order that was intended to be both cosmopolitan and strict.

In 1997, a Mexican woman who was living in Cuernavaca looked at the cover of the magazine Contenido—a Reader’s Digest-y sort of publication—and saw on it the face of her common-law husband. She had been his partner for 21 years and borne him two children, and she knew him as a private detective or “CIA agent” who, for understandable work-related reasons, put in only occasional appearances at home. Now she learned that he was a priest and and that his real name was Marcial Maciel. He was, the magazine said, the head of an order whose strictness and extreme conservatism appeared to hide some vile secrets: the article, picking up information first brought to light in an article by Jason Berry in the Hartford Courant, revealed that nine men, one a founder of the Legionaries, another still an active member, and the rest all former members of the order, had informed their superiors in Rome that Maciel had abused them sexually when they were pubescent seminarians under his care.

The accusations were not new, nor would they be the last. In 1938 Maciel was expelled from his uncle Guízar’s seminary, and shortly afterward from a seminary in the United States. According to witnesses, Maciel and his uncle had a gigantic row behind closed doors, and one witness, a Legionary who had known Maciel since childhood, told the psychoanalyst González that the bishop’s rage had to do with the fact that Maciel was locking himself up in the boarding house where he was staying with some of the younger boys at his uncle’s seminary. Bishop Guízar died of a massive heart attack the following day.

Later, it would become known that Maciel had his students and seminarians procure Dolantin (morphine) for him. This led to Maciel’s suspension as head of the order in 1956. Inexplicably, he was reinstated after two years. Much later still, someone realized that his book, The Psalter of My Days, which was more or less required reading in Legionary institutions, and was a sort of Book of Hours, or prayer guide, was lifted virtually in its entirety from The Psalter of My Hours, an account written by a Spaniard who was sentenced to life in prison after the Spanish Civil War.

As it turns out, Maciel’s common-law marriage to Blanca Estela Lara Gutiérrez was not exclusive. Some ten years after he met her, he began a long-lasting relationship with a 19-year old waitress from Acapulco, to whom he introduced himself as an “oil broker.” He had a daughter with her, and, according to a recent article in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, several more children with other partners.

After she found out that her husband was not a CIA agent but a child-molesting priest, Blanca Estela Lara did not come forth with the news that she was married to him. Perhaps she was terrified unawares of the man she believed “was her God,” as she would say a decade later. Perhaps she was simply ashamed. At any rate, she kept silent while some of Maciel’s victims and a few journalists—notably the late Gerald Renner and Jason Berry, now of the National Catholic Reporter—kept producing more evidence. And then, last March, two years after Maciel’s death, Lara appeared with her three sons on one of Mexico’s most well-regarded talk shows and listened quietly while her children testified that their biological father, Marcial Maciel, had made them masturbate him, and had first attempted to rape them, the older one said, when he was a boy seven years old. (This testimony has been tarnished somewhat by the revelation that the sons had earlier demanded millions of dollars from the Legionaries of Christ in exchange for their silence. The order has not attempted to deny the accusation, however.)

Quite apart from the damage to Maciel’s victims, there is the pressing question of why the Catholic Church, as an institution, did not condemn him ..."

Alma Guillermoprieto, The New York Review of Books. Father Maciel, John Paul II, and the Vatican sex crisis.