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It Pays to Be Friends With the Legionaries of Christ & Commonweal

The Legionaries of Christ have rallied several prominent neoconservative Catholics to their cause, particularly in defending its Founder and Superior General, Fr. Marcial Maciel, against well-substantiated charges by eight former Legionaries (when they were boys) that Maciel pressured them into having sex with him. Given the credibility of the accusers and the seriousness of the allegations, if Maciel were a priest in the U.S. today (he resides outside the U.S.), he would, under the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, be relieved of his ministerial duties.

Both the Legionaries and the neoconservative Catholics have reputations for being preoccupied with money and power. (The Legionaries, still a small order, are one of the richest organizations in the Church.) So it’s a match made in Heaven — well, maybe not Heaven. Anyhow, it’s quite certain that the neocon Catholics who defend Maciel have never met with the eight accusers of Maciel (who are not seeking any money), so the testimonies of the neocons hinge only on their status and fame. (In early January it became known that the Holy See was reopening its investigation into the multiple sexual charges against Maciel. A few weeks later, Maciel resigned as head of the Legionaries — citing his age, if you can believe that. The Legionaries’ paper, the National Catholic Register, reported that Maciel was stepping down because of “age,” but, as of this writing, has never said anything about the Holy See’s new investigation of Maciel.)

Among the neocons defending Maciel is — wouldn’t you just know it! — Deal Hudson, a sho ’nuff sexual predator.

Later, when the story broke about Hudson’s sexual predation on a vulnerable young girl, Cara Poppas (for an overview, see the New Oxford Note, “ The Crisis at Crisis Magazine [Part II],” Nov. 2004), the Register (Sept. 5-11, 2004), was quick to defend Hudson with a slanted news story titled “A Bad Deal for Deal Hudson.” The story claimed that the sexual misconduct charges against Hudson were merely “allegations” — when they were absolutely true — and goes on to suggest that Joe Feuerherd, the author of the story on Hudson, was guilty of committing “the sin of detraction.” The Register quotes from the Catechism (#2477): “Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.” But the Register omits what No. 2477 says specifically about detraction: He is guilty “of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them.” Aha!

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