The Vicar General of the Legionaries of Christ recently denied media reports claiming that the congregation's general director knew of Legion founder Father Marcial Maciel's double life.
On July 14, Vicar General of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr. Luis Garza Medina, released a statement following an MVS radio program which featured an audio recording of a previous conference the priest gave to a group of consecrated women from Regnum Christi—the lay branch of the Legion. In the recording, Fr. Garza addressed the misconduct of Fr. Maciel and those who had knowledge of his actions.
In his Wednesday statement, Fr. Garza said, “Yesterday, Tuesday, July 13, several Mexican newspapers published stories about a recording of a private meeting I held in the month of September, 2009. This recording was aired yesterday during the MVS news program with numerous edits and comments that, in part, distorted the meaning of my words.”
The priest then remarked that he “would like to clarify” some of the assertions made by some in the media, particularly “from an article published online by the newspaper, Reforma.”
“The article states: ‘Luis Garza Medina, vicar of the Legionaries of Christ, said top officials of the congregation chose to hide the abuses of Marcial Maciel'.”
“This statement does not reflect the facts or what I said,” the vicar explained.
“Neither Father Alvaro Corcuera, LC, the General Director of the congregation, nor I, nor other superiors of the congregation hid or sought to hide the conduct we began to slowly learn about after Father Marcial Maciel resigned his post as General Director,” Father Garza stated.
“Nevertheless,” he continued, “it has taken time to completely grasp and examine, as best possible, the veracity of the accusations against our founder. Beginning in the Summer of 2008 after obtaining sufficient certainty of the facts, we gradually began to personally inform the superiors of the congregation, the religious members of the Legion of Christ, the consecrated men and women and the other members of the Regnum Christi Movement ... and finally the media and society, expressing our profound sorrow for those gravely reproachable actions.”
Fr. Garza also pointed to another assertion made by Reforma which claimed that he “admitted that at least three members of the Legion's leadership knew of Fr. Maciel's conduct and preferred to hide it and not act to prevent it from continuing.” The priest clarified that the “statement is also incorrect.”
“In response to the question of whether there were members of the congregation who knew of the hidden behavior of our founder, I mentioned the case of three older priests who, after the death of our founder, said they had knowledge of some information. I pointed out that one of them explained that he never denounced [Maciel] because he had no way of proving what he had learned and because Father Maciel, because of his authority as founder and general director, had been idealized by many.”
“None of the current superiors had knowledge of the behavior we now know about our founder, much less did they consent to it,” Father Garza stated. “In addition, as our statement from last March 25 indicated: ‘If it turns out there were some guilty of collaboration, we will act according to the principles of Christian justice and charity and hold those persons responsible’.”
Fr. Garza said he was confident “the media that have reported on this recording want to provide their readers with the truth of the facts. For this reason, I would appreciate that they publish the contents of this statement in the place and position it deserves in order to clarify the statements that I have singled out above.”