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New paternity claims against Legionary founder

Catholic World News - August 12, 2009

New accusations of immorality have been lodged against the late Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Mexican media outlets report.

Three unnamed Mexican litigants have filed suit claiming that they are the children of Father Maciel and seeking financial support. According to La Jornada, a Mexican newspaper with strong leftist leanings, an attorney for the new claimants expressed confidence that the new claimants could prove not only that Father Maciel was their biological father, but also that the parental link was known to Church leaders including Pope John Paul II. (Patrick Madrid has furnished a translation of the Jornada report.)

The Legionaries of Christ have been severely shaken by reports, made public earlier this year, that Father Maciel was the father of at least one child. That child and her mother have apparently been living with financial support from the Legionaries.

The evident corruption of the founder has raised serious questions about the viability of the Legion of Christ and the affiliated lay movement, Regnum Christi. After first rejecting complaints that Father Maciel had been implicated in sexual abuse, spokesmen for the Legionaries acknowledged early this year that they could not deny that he had been guilty of some misconduct. The order has never specified which charges are accurate.

The latest accusations will give added urgency to questions about which other members of the Legionaries' leadership team were aware of the founder's personal misconduct and his misappropriation of funds. In July the Vatican opened an investigation of the Legionaries, with five prelates probing the order's affairs in different locations around the world.

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