ABC News
  • Legions of Christ

    Father Maciel and a group of Legion seminarians surround Pope Pius XII during a visit to Rome in 1950. Macie, wearing glasses,l is behind the Pope's right shoulder. Father Maciel started the Legion of Christ in Mexico in 1941 when he was not yet 21 years old. The Legion currently has more than 750 priests, as well as 70,000 followers in its affiliated lay organization, Regnum Christi. Maciel was legendary for his fund-raising skills.
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  • Legions of Christ

    At least 20 ex-Legionaries, according to author Jason Berry, have claimed that Maciel sexually abused them as teenage seminarians in the 1950s and 1960s.
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  • Legions of Christ

    Maciel, who died in 2008, was investigated more than once during his lifetime. In 1956, he was investigated for drug abuse. The order he founded is now being investigated for its former leader's use of funds and allegations that he fathered children. The Catholic officials assigned to the latest investigation delivered their report to the Vatican in mid-March, but their findings have not yet become public.
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  • Legions of Christ

    Jason Berry and the late Gerald Renner published an investigation in The Hartford Courant in 1997 profiling nine men who accused Maciel of sexually abusing them as seminarians. Berry is the author of the book "Lead Us Not Into Temptation," about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, and the producer of the 2008 documentary "Vows of Silence," about the Legion of Christ.
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  • Legions of Christ

    In a 2002 interview with ABC News, former seminarian Juan Vaca said that he received no response from the Vatican – "not a word" – when he alleged in a sworn affidavit that Father Maciel had molested him.
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  • Legions of Christ

    Jose Barba and seven other former seminarians sent the Vatican sworn affidavits in 1998 alleging that Father Maciel had molested them and requesting an investigation.
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  • Legions of Christ

    Arturo Jurado is among the former seminarians who allege that Father Maciel molested them.
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  • Legions of Christ

    Before he became Pope in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and a top aide to Pope John Paul II. Some of those who accused Father Maciel of molesting them also alleged that Cardinal Ratzinger, who had responsibility for investigating all charges of sexual abuse with the church, attempted to cover up the charges against Maciel when they were brought to his attention in 1998. In April 2002, when ABC News reporter Brian Ross asked Ratzinger about Father Maciel, Ratzinger said, "You do not come to me," and then slapped Ross's hand aside.
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  • Legions of Christ

    Pope John Paul II championed the Legion for its unswerving orthodoxy (and Maciel's fundraising prowess), and in 1994 called Maciel "an efficacious guide to youth." The Legion sold videocasettes with stirring images of Maciel with John Paul at a papal audience, the Pope nodding approvingly and smiling at Maciel as Legion followers cheered.
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    Before John Paul II died, Cardinal Ratzinger initiated an investigation into Maciel and the Legion. Soon after Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he ordered Maciel to a "life of prayer and repentance." The Legion of Christ continued to stand by Maciel, issuing a statement that said Maciel was innocent but had emulated Christ by "decid[ing] not to defend himself in any way." When Maciel died in 2008 at age 87, the Legion proclaimed that its founder had "gone to heaven." Since his death, however, the Legion has acknowledged Maciel's failings. It has admitted that he fathered a daughter in Spain. On March 25, 2010, the Legion's web site published an acknowledgement that the order's founder had committed "reprehensible actions," including "the sexual abuse of minor seminarians."
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  • Legions of Christ

    In this still from Jason Berry's 2008 documentary "Vows of Silence," Father Maciel strokes the lapel of Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim, the world's wealthiest man and a financial supporter of the Legion.
    Vows of Silence
  • Legions of Christ

    Blanca Estela Lara Gutierrez told Mexican radio host Carmen Aristegui in this March 3, 2010 interview that she had lived with Father Maciel as his wife and given birth to two children by him, sons Jose Raul and Cristian, while her other son Omar had known Maciel as his adoptive father. The Legion has previously acknowledged that Maciel fathered a daughter in Spain.
    MVS
  • The Pedophile Priest and the Popes

    In 2009, the Legion of Christ admitted in a statement posted on-line that Father Maciel had fathered a child. The Spanish media identified a women in her early 20s named Norma Hilda Rivas Banos as Maciel's daughter. In this 2005 photo, Norma Hilda is seen in the white dress to Maciel's left. The woman in the blue pantsuit is Norma Hilda's mother.
    Courtesy Quién magazine
  • Legions of Christ

    Jose Raul Gonzalez Lara claimed during an interview on Mexican radio that Father Maciel was his father, though Maciel had used the false last name Rivas while living with the family. Jose Raul alleged during the interview that Maciel had sexually molested him.
    MVS
  • Legions of Christ

    Cristian Gonzalez Lara, supposedly the younger of two sons born to Blanca Estela Lara Gutierrez and Father Maciel, is seen here during an interview with Mexican radio host Carmen Aristegui in March 2010. In the communiqué published on its web site on March 25, the Legion makes reference to the allegation that Maciel fathered Cristian and Jose Raul without contesting it: "We find reprehensible these and all the actions in the life of Fr. Maciel that were contrary to his Christian, religious and priestly duties." Cristian has not alleged that Maciel molested him.
    MVS
  • The Pedophile Priest and the Popes

    Omar Gonzalez Lara, son of Blanca Estela Lara Gutierrez, said that he considered Maciel his adoptive father, and alleged that Maciel had sexually molested him.
    MVS
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