A booklet intended to promote the new center, Magdala: God Really Loves Women, contains material demonstrating Maciel's posthumous hold on certain top-rank Legionaries. The booklet compares Maciel to Mary Magdalene and portrays the Legion founder as harshly judged. In the quotation from the text that follows, the speaker is Fr. Juan María Solana, who heads the Magdala project:
The priest speaks his heart: "Marcial Maciel's initials are also MM, just like Mary Magdalene. She had a problematic past before her deliverance, so there's a parallel. Our world has double standards when it comes to morals. Some people have a formal, public display and then the real life they live behind the scenes"
But when we accuse someone else and we are quick to stone him, we must remember that we all have problems and defects. With modern communications so out of control, it is easy to kill someone's reputation without even investigating about the truth. We should be quieter and less condemning."
The Legion's expansion in the Holy Land stands out in stark contrast to the "fire sale" of assets in the Americas, as one priest calls it, sparked by the fallout from the line of scandals involving the Legion. The Legion's economic boom in Israel also occurs against the backdrop of ongoing legal problems in the United States.
In Connecticut, the Legion has been sued by Maciel's son and the son's half-brother, alleging that Maciel sexually abused them as teenagers in America.This is why I cringe when certain people say things like “The bishops only go after the good people,” or “The Church seems to punish those of us who just want to do things the right way.” The Legion said that too, for a long, long time, and convinced a whole lot of people. Father Corapi said the same kinds of things. There are plenty of other examples.
Even outside the Catholic Church there are examples. I shared a piece critical of the Duggar family the other day and got one or two comments of the “But shouldn’t we just accept how good they are and not criticize them?” Even though the family follows a parenting path mapped out by an abuser? Really? We shouldn’t raise any questions, just because they look so good?
The idea that any group or organization made up of humans is above criticism leads to very dark places. Within the Church, it led to the Scandal, and it leads to Church leaders one would otherwise admire saying incredibly stupid and harmful things. As a Divine creation the Church is holy; as a Church made up of sinful human beings she’s no more above criticism than anybody else, so long as we’re clear that we’re criticizing the sinful humans that abide in her.
And it leads to the Legion, in 2014, still angling for a posthumous canonization of a man who fathered children in violation of his vows and who is credibly accused of sexually abusing them and many others. Because, as Mark Shea puts it, sin makes you stupid--but also because people who become too enamored of the appearance of goodness are sometimes incapable of accepting the reality of evil.