“Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation. In 2002, Father Maciel published a declaration denying the accusations and expressing his displeasure at the offence done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Father Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.
“All these elements have been subject to a mature examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and — in accordance with the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (The Safeguarding of the Sanctity of the Sacraments), promulgated on April 30, 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II — the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, Pope John Paul II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the new Pontiff.
“After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided — bearing in mind Father Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health — to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.
“Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association ‘Regnum Christi’ is gratefully recognized.”
The Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement issued the following statement May 19 in response to the communiqué of the Holy See regarding the investigation of the charges made against Father Maciel.
“In reference to the news regarding the conclusion of the investigation of the accusations made against Father Marcial Maciel, our beloved father founder, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ offers the following statement:
“1. Father Marcial Maciel has received during his life a great number of accusations. In the last few years, some of these were presented to the Holy See so that a canonical process would be opened.
“2. Facing the accusations made against him, he declared his innocence and, following the example of Jesus Christ, decided not to defend himself in any way.
“3. Considering his advanced age and his frail health, the Holy See has decided to forgo a canonical hearing and to “invite him to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry.”
“4. Father Maciel, with the spirit of obedience to the Church that has always characterized him, has accepted this communiqué with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience, knowing that it is a new cross that God, the Father of Mercy, has allowed him to suffer and that will obtain many graces for the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.
“5. The Legionaries of Christ and
the members of Regnum Christi, following the example of Father Maciel and united to him, accept and will always accept the
directives of the Holy See with profound spirit of obedience and faith. We
renew our commitment to work with great intensity to live our charism of charity and extend the
(Translation of the Holy See press statement courtesy of