Has Bill Donahue of the Catholic League ever met a sexually deviant Catholic priest whom he did not support and defend against the tyranny and oppression of sexually abused young boys and their own daughters?
ROME — Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed five bishops from as many countries to investigate the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order founded in 1941 by the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest who is accused of sexually abusing young seminarians, and who left a grown daughter who was born out-of-wedlock.
Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican under the last President Bush, scoffed at the abuse allegations Maciel faced before his punishment. So did William Donahue of the Catholic League.
Bill Bennett, the conservative Reagan-era official and CNN contributor, has been a featured speaker at Legion fundraisers. Jeb Bush spoke at a 2007 gathering in Atlanta.
The Legion typically pays its speaker and draws support from commercial sponsors, explained insiders in Rome.
Benedict ordered the new investigation after Legion superiors, hand-picked by Maciel, disclosed to followers in February that he had a daughter. In the Spanish press and on websites she has been identified as 23 and living with her mother in Madrid. The question of financial support for his daughter and her mother and how long Legion officials have known about it is a question of the inquiry.
Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, not one of the visitators, banned the Legion and Regnum Christi from his archdiocese, all but calling them a cult.
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput is the American visitator in the case. Earlier this summer Chaput and four other bishops were given a dossier of findings on Maciel at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Ratzinger as cardinal directed for years.
Starting in 2004, at least 30 witnesses testified to Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the C.D.F. investigator, that Maciel abused them as youths. But the 2006 Vatican order punishing Maciel failed to specify what exactly he had done, nor did it acknowledge the victims.