Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vatican Could Botch Legion Reform Again 50 years Later!

Reviewing an old article on REGAIN focusing on Maciel's multiple vices we find testimony from Original Vatican Investigators from the 1950s. This evidence flies in the face of the Placatory Remarks by Apostolic Delegate, De Paolis, in his 2nd letter to the Legion.


In the mid-1950s the Vatican suspended Maciel as superior general while it sent visitators to investigate charges against him. One of the visitators, a Carmelite friar named Anastasio Ballestrero of the Most Holy Rosary, sent a report recommending serious restructuring of the Legion as well as the removal of Maciel. Fr. Anastasio writes:

"[Pg. 15] Fr. Maciel, with whom I had hardly met, began to defend himself in an animated manner, without my even mentioning the accusations, indicating that he was well informed about everything while at the same time accusing Fr. Ferreira and especially [Brother] Domínguez of falsehoods and ambition. . . (Translators’ Note: Ferreira and Domínguez had submitted scathing written affidavits to ecclesiastical authorities which were highly critical of Maciel.)

"[Pg. 16] In response to the specific accusations regarding violations of the sixth [commandment], I have not received confirmation of anything. But it is worth mentioning the fact that, as has been already noted, the founder has complete control over [spiritual] direction in matters of purity and that he made a declaration, unsolicited, assuring me that none of his religious had ever committed a single sin of this nature [against purity].

"[Pg. 18] Conclusions:
"1. The Institute in question, in spite of the appearance of splendor and grandiosity, is in reality very fragile in its legal and spiritual structure. Additionally, it lacks mature and experienced personnel who can guarantee the level of development expected.
"2. The group of young novices and students, who make up nine tenths of the institute, have become fanaticized by the founder and his enterprise. However, this group is substantially healthy and shows good will. There is some hope of its being able to free itself of this fanaticism, although this appears doubtful."
His suggestions and remedies were as follows:

"1. In order to reduce appearances to the limits of reality:
"a) [Install] the seat of administration in Mexico

"b) The Apostolic School and the Novitiate exclusively limited to Mexico

"c) A prohibition ad nutum S. Sedis [under the direction of the Holy See] from admitting new students into the Apostolic School and the Novitiate

"d) A prohibition . . . against new foundations

"2. In order to guarantee more effective control over the Institute:

"a) Appointing someone from the Mexican episcopate with a special mandate to conduct oversight and provide assistance

"b) Naming a Superior General from outside the institution, but who belongs to a modern institution with an affinity for structure and spirituality. . .

"3. Fr. Maciel should be removed from his office on the basis of his exclusive and sole responsibility for the multiple serious legal irregularities and for the abuses committed in his administrative capacity. Keeping silence on the other matters seems prudent for reasons both internal and external, at least for the time being. The irregularities and abuses by themselves provide sufficient legal reasons for proceeding. [page 19]

"4. After a penance of a month of [spiritual] exercises, the priest in question should be obliged to live in a house in Mexico under the supervision of a bishop appointed by the Holy See. The Superior General should prohibit him from making trips of any sort and from interfering in the affairs of the Institute.

"5. The current constitutions should be radically modified with particular attention to the goals of the Institute and to the abolition of three vows.

"6. Finally, it would be desirable to discreetly notify, at the appropriate time, the Mexican episcopate and the Spanish ordinaries [bishops], as well as other interested prelates. Even more delicate is decision regarding how best to inform the Spanish Government.

"7. In the matter of granting secularization [Ed., i.e. return to diocesan priesthood out of religious life in the Legion] to the current vicar, Fr. Ferreira, I believe it would be opportune to do so, especially considering that there is absolutely no possibility of his being able to govern or to be of further use to the Institute.

"Rome, February 11, 1957