Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi of Tepic, Mexico, one of the five bishops who carried out the Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ, discussed his experiences during the process and explained to reporters yesterday that the results of the Vatican investigation would soon be released.
Bishop Watty noted that he could not give full details of the visit, because, “I have to be very careful because the Holy Father is the one responsible for speaking and acting regarding the Visitation.”
The bishop continued his remarks by lamenting the double life of Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Commenting on the 43 communities he visited in Mexico and Central America during the investigation, Bishop Watty said that most of them “said they needed help.”
“Faced with this reality,” he added, “they felt discouraged, affected and hurt.” He said that the members “have slowly learned that the way in which Fr. Maciel lived and acted affected what he began, which is the work of the Legionaries and its associated movement, Regnum Christi.”
After interviewing 360 Legionaries, reading and reviewing numerous testimonies, and after meeting with Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, William Levada and Franc Rode, the prelate said that now “the Pope has five extensive reports to read, listen to and manage,” along with the team “he deems fit to put together.”
The Mexican prelate added that the five bishop visitors focused heavily on the person of Fr. Maciel during the investigation. Noting that the founder was a very troubled individual who caused “much” harm, Bishop Watty said that the apostolic visitors discovered in their findings “a very immoral person, who was not in accord with the Gospel, not even human dignity.”
“There’s nothing else we can say,” the bishop said. “The rest must be left to those who can study his personality, but that is how it looks – that he affected the work he had begun. The positive aspects of his personality had an impact but so did the negative ones, and that is what the Church is concerned about right now.”
Bishop Watty said it was necessary to reach out to the victims of Maciel’s abuse, both inside and outside of the Legion.“This was how we felt, and the Pope was in agreement, as he has been courageously doing. In the name of the Church we must reach out to them.”
Regarding the leadership of the congregation, Bishop Watty asserted that the “entire structure of authority within the Congregation of the Legionaries needs to be rebuilt and made to be more in accord with way authority works in the Church, that is to say, more evangelical.” He also said in his comments that the Legion’s formation program also needs to be reviewed and revised.
Bishop Watty’s complete comments can be heard in Spanish here: http://www.lasenda.info/wp-content/watty_legionarios_20100518asenda_a1.mp3