"Surprise, dismay and deep sorrow"

The Vatican Press Office has today released a communiqué concerning the recent Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ. The Rorate Caeli blog has helpfully posted an English translation.

Although the whole thing makes sorry reading, it does steer a careful, just, and prudent path through this appalling mess. The goodness and sincerity of the members of the Legionaries of Christ and of Regnum Christi is recognised, together with the smokescreen which Maciel managed to erect around his nefarious activities.

These grave offences, hidden for too long, are recognised for what they were:
The serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling.
There is pastoral compassion in the communiqué for the innocent members of the Legionaries who have devoted their lives to the service of God and are now confused and devastated by the activities of their founder. It is right and just to tell them that "they will not be left alone" and to assist them to redefine their charism.

In my post Innocens manibus et mundo corde I referred to the story broken by Jason Berry in the National Catholic Reporter concerning the bribes that were given by Maciel for various purposes, especially to cover up his wrongdoing, and those who accepted them. Why have they not either repudiated the charges or resigned in disgrace? Why has this story not been taken up by the media?

In that whole disgraceful train of events, Cardinal Ratzinger - Pope Benedict, emerges with honour, refusing to take bribes, and setting in motion the process in which the truth has been told and acted upon. His hand is clearly stamped upon the uncompromising condemnation of Maciel's crimes together with compassion for those who were deceived by him.

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