Catholic World News

Legionaries' #2 official says he knew little about Maciel's activities

July 20, 2011

The former vicar general of the Legion of Christ, who resigned last week to become head of the order’s operations in America, has told the National Catholic Register that he had little knowledge of the activities of Father Marcial Maciel, despite his role as the chief aide to the founder of the Legionaries.

What you cannot understand is that I never really dealt in a personal manner with Father Maciel. I just went in every two weeks to do my job--to present issues to him. Then I would leave. I never knew where he went. He never allowed anyone to enter his life. I didn’t even have his cell phone number.

Father Luis Garza told Register interviewer Joan Desmond that his reverence for Father Maciel—who was much older, and the object of veneration among the Legionaries—prevented him from asking questions about the founder’s affairs.

Father Garza discloses that reports about Maciel’s misconduct had become widespread in the 1990s, and in 2006 “the Holy See communicated to us that the founder was found guilty of the charges against him.” He admits: “I didn’t believe that, I am sorry to say.”

The former #2 man in the Legion of Christ concedes that he now must work to regain trust—for himself and for his religious order—in America.

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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jul. 21, 2011 12:21 PM ET USA

    It is amazing how this Order persists. How can a priest be part of such an organization? The same blindness to the sins of the founder must sift down to the people who entrust their children to this tainted order.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2011 7:09 PM ET USA

    It is simply not acceptable that such should be allowed to occur. Any order whose procedures would permit the head of the order to live a life apparently devoid of holiness should be disbanded. People who would tolerate such a thing--even as subordinates--should have no authority.

  • Posted by: MatthewG - Jul. 20, 2011 6:23 PM ET USA

    As a Legionary, I had a fair number of opportunities to converse with Fr Garza. He is a man of great intelligence, common sense, and a good sense of humor. Since this crisis began, I have heard many different things (both good and bad) about his methods of governing as a superior and administrator, and about his involvement in the scandal and the way it has been handled. I hope and pray that, whatever the past may be, he will be a wise, capable, and charitable leader for the Legion in America.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2011 6:16 PM ET USA

    This priest either has a credibility problem or is a mental lightweight. And he's to become the head of the Legionaries for America? This makes no sense. Dragging this out to their next major meeting in the distant future is pointless - the order should be shut down NOW and the many good men encouraged to undertake some retraining and then join a diocese or an order.