Misplaced Papal Praise
Like a president, potentate or prime minister, how a pope spends his time, and with whom he chooses to spend it, is significant. At a minimum it sends a signal --who is in or out of favor, whose ideas have proved triumphant, who, bottom line, has the man's ear.
Style over substance? Perhaps. But still important.
Which brings us to with whom Pope John Paul II chose to spend time Nov. 30: Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. As readers of this publication are aware, Maciel is a papal favorite. The Legionaries, with 500 priests and 2,000 seminarians, shares John Paul II's theological outlook. At the closing celebration of events marking the 60th anniversary of Maciel's ordination, the pope heaped praise on the Mexican priest and honored the work of the Legionaries and their lay affiliate, Regnum Christi.
Maciel, however, is also an accused child molester. Eight former Legionary seminarians say he abused them. As this paper previously reported: "The men say Maciel first abused them when they were young boys or teenagers between the ages of l0 and 16, sometimes telling them he had permission from Pope Pius XII to engage in sexual acts with them in order to gain relief from pain related to an unspecified stomach ailment."
Maciel vigorously denies the allegations. The Vatican, by all indications, has whitewashed its investigation into the charges.
But, and here's a key point, his accusers exude credibility. They include an engineer, a schoolteacher, a lawyer, a rancher, a Harvard-educated scholar, a professor at the U.S. Defense Languages School, a psychology professor and a retired priest. …