In an effort to distance itself from the wrongdoings of its founder, the Legion of Christ has recently circulated an internal memo detailing how a long venerated work of spirituality attributed to Fr. Marcial Maciel was actually a slight re-writing of a book from a little-known Spanish author.
“El Salterio de mis días” (The Psalter of my Days), according to the Legionary tradition, was regarded as written by Fr. Maciel during the period of the "great blessing," (1956-59), when the Mexican founder was submitted to a canonical process by the Vatican that was finally called off.
The memo now reveals that the text, very popular among the Legion in its original in Spanish and partially translated into English for internal use, was “based” on the little known work of a Spanish Catholic politician, Luis Lucía.
In a book titled “El Salterio de mis horas” (The Psalter of my Hours), Lucía, a Christian Democrat, reflected on his experience of being persecuted both by the Communist government during Spain's civil war (1936-1939), and the Nationalist government of Francisco Franco, who condemned him to death, but later changed the sentence to life in prison.
Lucía, the author of several political and spiritual books, probably wrote “The Psalter of my Hours” in the 30's. He was released from prison in 1941, and died in Valencia, Spain in 1943.
Despite being long forgotten, a small edition of “The Psalter of my Hours” was published in Valencia in 1956. It seems this was the edition Fr. Maciel read in Spain.
Although the memo does not describe Fr. Maciel's copying as plagiarism, a Spanish member of the Legion familiar with the text told CNA that Fr. Maciel's version reproduces "80% of the original book in content and style."