Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maciel Restricted

In recent weeks, the speculation on this has been spreading, literally, the world over. John Allen breaks it:
Capping a decade-long on-again, off-again investigation of accusations of sexual abuse, the Vatican has asked Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, to observe a series of restrictions on his ministry.

In effect, Vatican sources told NCR this week, the action amounts to a finding that at least some of the accusations against the charismatic 86-year-old Mexican priest are well-founded.

Maciel has not been laicized, but the restrictions issued shortly before Easter by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith limit Maciel's public activity, such as his capacity to celebrate public Masses, to give lectures or other public presentations, and to give interviews for print or broadcast.

The restrictions have been approved by Pope Benedict XVI, and the Vatican is expected to issue a brief statement shortly.

Vatican sources stressed that the action against Maciel should not be read as an indictment of the Legionaries of Christ or its lay branch, Regnum Christi.

A spokesman for the Legionaries, asked to comment on the development, replied in an e-mail, "We have nothing to say. We don't know anything about this."

According to sources who spoke to NCR, the congregation's investigation was closed sometime toward the end of 2005. In the early months of 2006, the cardinal members of the congregation in Rome were invited to review the documentation. The decision to impose restrictions was then reached sometime before Easter.