Friday, February 01, 2008

Founder of the Legionaries of Christ Remembered

Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi passed away in the United States on January 30th at the age of 87. Unconfirmed reports say that he was in Naples, Florida at the time, but the location of his death has not been released.

Born in Mexico, Fr. Maciel was ordered by Pope Benedict to retire to a life of "prayer and penitence" in 2006 after allegations surfaced that he had sexually abused nine boys and young men. Fr. Maciel denied the allegations and asserted his innocence. The allegations against him never went to trial because they were long past the statute of limitations.

The Legionaries of Christ were founded in 1941 when the Catholic Church was being persecuted in Mexico by an anti-clerical government.
the formerly underground movement now has 600 priests and 2,500 seminarians worldwide. There are also thousands of laity who are members of Regnum Christi.

Below is posted an official message regarding the death of Fr. Maciel.

To the members of the Regnum Christi Movement

My dear friends in Christ:

"And the Word was made flesh!" These were the last words that Nuestro Padre left written. He knew that the Incarnation gave meaning to all our lives. As we know, ever since his childhood and adolescence, our Lord granted him the grace of clearly perceiving the relative value of time in the face of eternity. He always taught us that Christ is the center, the only reason of our existence: "…in the great Mystery of his Presence in the Eucharist… we can touch him and almost feel him as our Brother and Father, Friend and Redeemer. Thus… he has willed to draw us to Himself until the joyful day when, breaking all bonds, free in his total plenitude, we will be able to contemplate him in the life to come" (LNP, March 11, 1975).

Within the deep sadness and sorrow that this news gives us, I also have the joy of telling you that Nuestro Padre has reached the end of his earthly pilgrimage. With the peace that always filled his soul, he departed for his eternal destiny on January 30 in the United States.

Certainly, although we all knew this moment had to come, on a human level it still causes us deep sadness. His departure hurts us in the deepest part of our soul. On the other hand, Nuestro Padre always spoke to us of hope, and when he talked about death, he always talked about the Resurrection. And so, we are not going to stay only in the sadness of the moment or in the tears of the heart. Today we must listen to St. Paul's exhortation: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice" (Phil 4:4). We must rejoice with the supernatural joy of the one who lives by faith and hope, carrying in our hearts the joy of being united to Christ the Good Shepherd, and walking at his side like the pilgrims on the way to Emmaus, with a firm stride toward eternity.

As he often told us, he didn't want us to focus on him: "If only you could see not me, but God's plan"; he wanted us to go to Christ. It is around the tabernacle and in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament that we will be most deeply united, with the strength and singular significance of charity. This will be the best way of remembering him and of keeping him always in our hearts.

There is so much that we would like to say. But I believe that what we all want now is the silence to contemplate and thank, to suffer and trust with the joy of one who believes and hopes in the midst of a sorrow that can't be expressed in words. Let us unite ourselves to the Blessed Virgin; she will guide our minds toward the depths of the mystery that surrounds us, and will always fill us with her peace. Nuestro Padre had explicitly asked me to be accompanied at the hour of his death by an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who has always been his faithful and loving Mother. May she help us to continue our mission of total service to the Catholic Church we love so much, in full and filial loyalty to the Holy Father.

The funeral will be celebrated in an atmosphere of prayer, in a simple and private way. We will accompany him with the prayers that we will all be offering for his eternal repose.

Profoundly united to all of you in prayer and in the mission we share, I remain your affectionate servant in Christ,

Alvaro Corcuera, LC

Update: Fr. Maciel died in Houston, Texas.


Anonymous said...

Maybe so many who were victims will have peace.

Anonymous said...

Question: How can the victims have peace?? How do we know that the type of abuse alleged, ended there?? From the stories I have heard from young adults (early 20's) who grew up in the "schools", the practices initiated by Fr. Maciel continue into the present age. He was only a beginning. Please pray for the truth to be further revealed, so that the abuses may stop.