Today, I updated that post to remove the question mark. Here's why:
Jesus Colina, the founder and director of the news agency Zenit, has announced his resignation after a decision by the Legionaries of Christ to enhance the Legion identity of the agency. [...]
In an exclusive interview from Rome with Catholic News Agency, Colina explained the details behind his departure. [...]
How do you explain this decision?
Well, in reality I think this decision is the culmination of a gradual mutual loss of trust which began several years ago. The manner in which the Legion of Christ hid the information about Fr. Marcial Maciel, which was discovered bit by bit by the press, caused a breakdown of trust in this institution on the part of the director of the news agency.
I understand the difficult situation in which the superiors of the Legionaries of Christ found themselves. Now in public statements they have said they already had proof of Fr. Maciel’s different lives for years before his death. Nevertheless, despite the statement issued by the Holy See in 2006, they continued to present him as a role model, even at his death and after his death.
The superiors invited me to a Mass celebrated at the chapel of the Legionaries’ Center for Higher Studies 30 days after his death. During the homily, before hundreds of religious, Fr. Maciel was presented as a role model. This is particularly grave, because it is one thing to avoid a scandal in revealing the crimes or the double (although you would have to say the triple or quadruple) life of Fr. Maciel, and quite another to continuing maintaining this myth of sanctity that the congregation had promoted during his life.
Moreover, since a number of years had passed since the Vatican statement was issued calling on Fr. Maciel to retire and to publicly acknowledge his lies and crimes, the impression was spread among the religious and those close to the Legionaries that the Pope had unjustly punished him. This to me is very grave, especially considering everything that this Pope has done for the congregation.
Among those who still support the Legion or one of its many branches, affiliates, apostolates, missions, schools, etc. ad infinitum there have been some that have written or left comments from time to time asking me if I don't think it's possible for the Legion truly and sincerely to reform. Some have even asked, with that peculiarly passive-aggressive and self-serving form of "charity" for which the Legion is known worldwide, whether I don't think it's sort of mean to maintain such a list with its obvious negativity. Um, no, and no.
Let me clarify that first "no." Of course it is theoretically possible for the Legion to reform. But the Legion would have to internalize the idea that there was something that needed to be reformed. And this latest word from inside a Legion-affiliated apostolate is not exactly encouraging. Zenit was criticized, and rightly, for pulling its punches on the matter of Maciel until after the whole ugly story was already circulating.
But that was several years ago, some might argue. Sure--but as of last December, there was still concern about the idea that the Legion was not forbidding private study of Maciel's writings and even what might be called private "veneration"--because why else would people wish to keep photos? Have there been any changes to that policy? Are those within the Legion of Christ still permitted (or even subtly encouraged) to study the life of the Founder absent some ugly details, to focus on his written works (at least, the ones that don't appear to have been plagiarized) or to keep small pictures as if they were "holy cards" tucked into their prayer books?
It is my honest (and Constitutionally protected free-speech) opinion that the Legion's refusal to internalize a denunciation of Maciel is like a slow poison that will eventually destroy the Legion altogether. The interview with Mr. Colina seems to bolster that opinion.