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The only thing wrong with this apology is that it is very late. But otherwise, it appears to me to hit the right notes. Kearns doesn't simply apologize for Maciel, but for his own actions. Good for him.

A good and appropriate apology which has been long overdue. Missing: a retraction of his appalling words of May 2006. For those he owes all an apology, especially the news profession. He IS sorry that the apology took too long and for that he is to be commended. I only wish that second to last sentence at the end had read: "I'm sorry for not believing you" instead of more of the "not being able" garbage they've been saying. That really strains credibility. They ARE responsible for being willfully ignorant and refusing to connect the dots on what must have been some strange stuff and they need to acknowledge that.

Some of the things he wrote are probably true, but to be honest, I just don't believe anything that comes from anyone who is in the top leadership of the Legion. It is all the same doublespeak, and is one of the main reasons I left RC. I just could not trust anyone in leadership.

Praise God! This brought tears to my eyes and another step toward healing for all of us. This should have happened immediatley in Feb 2009. The LC leadership knew everything that drippled out of the news and on blogs. Thank God for persistence and hunger for truth by many bloggers and news sources. If that did not happen - the LC would have continued the spin and the denial. At least now - some are coming out of the denial phase and being true Christians.

I do have to say though - I feel like this has to be done for the Register to truly and honestly cover Benedicts media coverage on sexual abuse....so he is not doing this out of the blue - he has a motive....but at least he is doing it and I pray it is healing for Fr. Owen Kearns.

God Bless Gerard Renner who was attacked many times by LC and died before the full truth and apologies came out.

For reasons based in my own personal experience, I haven't been a fan of Kearns since I left the legion's Candidacy program way back when.

That said, I want to give credit where credit is due. Kearns' statement is an excellent start. Time will tell whether this apology is genuine, or a PR effort. Perhaps Kearns may be at the beginning of his own Life After LC/RC. Not in the formal sense of leaving the legion, but in the sense that he may have begun to realize the legion, as created by maciel, can no longer work.

To Fr. Kearns, I would say that your apology is welcome. Regardless of our disagreements, I have to believe that this was difficult for you. For today, this has been an excellent start. At some point in the near future, I would invite you to reflect on all of the young men that you recruited into the legion over the years, particularly when you were order's vocation director. I remember well the guilt and "hard-sell" you placed on me to join the legion.

If your repentance and contrition are sincere, then at some point you will also need to repent, apologize, and seek forgiveness for your actions on this front too.

Good for Fr. Kearns. It's a long road to healing and reconciliation, but I'm sincerely glad this Legionary has begun the journey.

Wow. I totally didn't expect that.... and honestly, not only is it a HUGE STEP for Father Kearns himself, but it's a huge step for all those who get their news only from the Register and who have been still living in denial---

(Of course, the BAD Deirdre in my head wonders-- is this genuine, or is the new chief already beginning to work behind the scenes to clean up the mess? Because if we look to Benedict's own example, there will probably be a HUGE emphasis on truthfullness, repentance, penance, and relying on God's mercy...)

Ok. I'm rethinking this. Something is missing. A Jimmy Johns sign I read (that font of wisdom) talked about a proper apology having three things.

1. What I did was wrong.
2. I'm sorry that it hurt you.
3. How can I make this better.

It is this last part that is missing. How is Fr. Kearns proposing any kind of reparation?

Basically, in my opinion, the Legion never had good motives behind owning Catholic media outlets. They wanted to control the news for their own benefit, and did so with a vengeance. Thus the proper ending to this apology would have been

"and therefore I am resigning as the head of the National Catholic Register."

Off topic...I hear that Fr. Alvaro is communicating through Jim Fair--still or again--that several victims have been met with, and a couple more meetings are coming up soon.

It's a good apology as far as it goes. I'm glad there's no blaming the victims. But where is accountability? Where are amends?
I don't understand why people who recognize that they have been that seriously wrong on matters that central to their identity and vocation don't realize that they are disqualified for their positions of leadership.

Definitely wish it was way sooner but I too had tears reading this, especially the part about Gerald Renner. I hope other LC leaders start making similar statements. And honestly, I think many RC leaders owe one as well.

It's a great apology and now he needs to resign as head of the NCR.

I am very pleased with this statement. He is a prominent LC and so this statement is noteworthy. His apology far exceeds the one issued a few weeks ago by the Legion and signed by all the leadership. The highlight of that official LC statement was that it contained an admission *finally* that the abuse had occurred.

I am especially pleased to see the comment regarding Jason Berry and Gerald Renner.

I know some people will say "too little too late" but I believe it is never too late to apologize.

I read contrition in this statement, and I welcome that.


It's true, anonymous, that for the wrong-doer, it's never too late to apologize.

But the judgment "too little too late" is about whether the apology as given comes soon enough, is sincere enough, and serious enough about taking responsibility and making amends to rectify the wrong done.

If we care about setting things right, then timing matters a lot. So do amends.

True contrition expresses itself in action. Saying the right words is essential. But so is following them up with acts that reveal that the wrong-doer truly sees the harm he caused.

The letter should have been titled: A Publisher's Resignation and Deep Apology.
And ended with, "The Legionaries of Christ will reframe from any Catholic News in reference to the sexual abuse, being that history has shown we are incapable of being objective."

I like the apology.

I wonder if AC and the top brass who knew all in 2005 will apologize to Fr. Kearns for having lied to him, for having played him and the rest of the LC/RC world for suckers (and still do in many ways) as one commentator put it.

As a religious Fr. Owen is not free to resign or offer money, etc.. all that is controlled by AC and the circle around him.

After thinking about it further I realize that this apology is NOT enough. I take back a portion of my previous comment.

These guys are supposed to be guiding a certain group of the laity to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And yet when they mess up big time (and really, what commandment has not been broken by the leadership of the LC at this point?) they issue words. What kind of spiritual example is that?

The Legion of Christ is a group of talented business, marketing and financial leaders but they are first and foremost SPIRITUAL LEADERS. This is about more than just violating standards of journalistic integrity - this is about a very public violation of the 4th commandment by a priest. He owes the victims and the Church not only a resignation from the Register but a statement about what he, personally, intends to do about making amends. THAT would be a good example for the members of RC and the Church, and Fr. Kearns would be comforted in knowing that he is following a tried and true path set by many holy men and women who have found themselves in similar circumstances.

While this might be a step in the right direction, I am sick to death of the Feb 2009 references as if these people had NO IDEA that Maciel had a daughter prior to that. Rubbish! She and her mother were supported in their million-dollar apartment for years and years by Legion money. It is beyond disingenuous for these top LC's to act as if they were shocked, just SHOCKED by the "revelations" in Feb 2009!!!!!

Not free to resign? That would seem to me a gross perversion of the vow of obedience. A publisher has duties to his readers and to his profession, not just to his religious superiors.

I agree entirely with Ex RC 2009.

To be fully credible, this apology ought to have been accompanied by his resignation. Absent that, who can take the Register seriously as a news organ? Or Fr. Kearns seriously as a publisher?

Suppose I steal something precious to you and deny for years I did it. Suppose that years later it becomes impossible to maintain that the theft didn't take place. The evidence is compelling and obvious to all. So, I admit I stole it. I apologize. But I keep the item.

"The 1997 allegations of Father Maciel’s sexual abuse came as a complete shock to the Legionaries of Christ."

No, it came as a complete shock to SOME Legionaries of Christ. Surely the leadership knew, and all kinds of top (mostly Mexican) priests and Integer Group laymen have been covering up, transferring money and possibly also involved in pedophilia and fraud against donors, and fraud against all the good-hearted (mostly Americans) who joined the Legion or RC and worked long and hard, only to have their money going to this filth.

All the 'apologies' I've seen thus far make this fundamental mistake, and it sickens me. In short, no one can ever say "no one knew." All they can ever say is "I didn't know" or "no one I've spoken with has admitted knowing about it."

But I've seen it several times now as "no one knew", so I think it's a talking point sent down from high command, and therefore nothing but further spin.

Kearnes' final line should have called for the removal of those Legionaries who DID know, and have known for years, and even decades

As far as the content of the apology, it's the best we have seen so far, in my opinion. I am cautiously optimistic and will continue to pray for the movement's victims and for Fr. Kearns. Hopefully, he can make the next step toward restitution, but for today let's rejoice and thank God that Fr. Kearns made this important and necessary first step.

Only God can judge the Fr. Kearns's heart, and only time will reveal the degree of sincerity with which he apologized. Most likely he was motivated by several factors (of which not even he is aware of or able to articulate, and are understandable to God alone).

However, if part of what motivates him is a sense of justice and restitution toward the victims, and the need to come closer to Christ and do what is right, then regardless of what else motivates him, the Holy Spirit can work with Fr. Kearns just as He works with our good intentions despite our human imperfections.


I think his apology is a way to make amends.

If Kearns had robbed the victims, making amends would include repaying them. I thought the harm done was calling them liars. Hasn't he made amends, insofar as one can make amends, for calling someone a liar? Same with Renner and Berry, I don't know what more can he do but say he is sorry.

I guess I'm more of a glass half full person, so I see this as progress. Fr OK is very visible LC. Imagine the effect this will have on those stubborn RCs and LCs who can't wrap their heads around the truth. As someone said above, this will have an impact on those who get all their news from the NCReg.


I wonder if FROK has the blessing of FRAC to release this.

The big lie in all this is that the problems of the Reign of Legion are all about the "founder". That was the root, but a lot of ugly and ineradicable weeds have sprouted uncontrollably from that root. The accounts we have heard from former members over the past months and years are vivid testimony to that. The whole outfit is deeply and incurably corrupt. I think that deep down, we all know that.

IMHO this is a last-ditch effort -- and perhaps one compelled by the Vatican as the price for not axing the whole organization -- to preserve the Reign of Legion.

If they're really sorry, let them renounce their evil "kingdom" and serve the Lord quietly as individuals.

Fool me once...

This apology is a good start, but several things come to mind. It's very shallow to say "Even when the Vatican invited Father Maciel in 2006 to a retired life of prayer and penance, and it was obvious to many that he was considered guilty, the absence of a public explanation for the move allowed me to hope against hope that he was innocent." The rabid attack mode shown when credible evidence was presented over decades can't be excused with a simple statment to the effect that "Geez, the Vatican didn't come right out and tell us he was guilty." That's just a convenient excuse for perpetuating the fraud and heaping coals on the innocent victims as a way to deflect the questions that were rightfully being asked.

Today Pope Benedict came out in Malta apologizing to victims of clergy abuse and said he would "bring to justice those responsible for abuse."

While Fr. Kearns denies any knowledge of Maciel's despicable crimes, there are many in the LC who knew implicity of the double life led by MM. These men should be "brought to justice" and placed on trial. ONLY THEN will the apologies offered by the Pope and men like Fr. Kearns be truly believable. Maciel was NOT the only one who deliberately harmed seminarians and young people in their charge. Any and all who had a hand in this should be prosecuted. THEN we can begin to believe that there will be "justice" for the victims.

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