As the General Chapter looms before us, we turn to this brilliant description of the status quo to remind us of the prevailing winds in Rome:
The game of musical chairs with the superiors began when the LC could no longer pretend not to hear the clamor for leadership different from the hand-picked minions of Fr. Maciel. Lists were drawn up and the more notorious remnants of the old guard were shuffled around to make room for reliable, sometimes younger substitutes. Yet the supreme criterion for assuming any real role in the government of the Legion continues to be ‘loyalty.’ Non-dissenting, unquestioning fealty to the myth, the established story-line, the core convictions imparted over the years by Maciel to his followers. Any changes made up to now in the roster of superiors have been, at best, cosmetic.
So who are these Council Fathers who are helping to script a shiny new Legion that nevertheless still harbours in its bosom the methodology of the founder? One is Salvador Maciel, about whom a former member reminds us:
There are testimonies referring to events in the 1960s and the 1970s regarding Fr. Salvador Maciel (no relation to Marcial Maciel) who will participate in the General Chapter of the Legion of Christ. While the accusations concerning grave faults against chastity and actual sexual abuse are the most troubling, it is important to note that S. Maciel considered himself a faithful spy for Marcial Maciel in the 1950s during the Vatican Investigation of the Legion of the private life of Marcial Maciel.
Even current members of the Legion have wondered how he could be allowed in the General Chapter. They also have pointed out that the silence on the part of the Legion regarding the accusations against him point to his guilt. The testimonies of allegations against him are very particular and quite detailed.
From the sworn testimony of Patrick Keane:
[…] I told Salvador Maciel about what had happened with Guillermo Izquierdo [inappropriate questions in spiritual direction, inappropriate contact behind closed doors, etc.] and and he advised me to say nothing [...]
Novices played football on a Thursday most weeks and all novices would shower after the game. Salvador Maciel started to visit my room when I was showering. On occasions, he would open the shower door and asked me if everything was ok? I damaged my ankle in football and Salvador Maciel would come to my room after night prayers and massage my ankle. He would not let the medic visit me.
Halfway through the final year of my Novitiate in 1971, Salvador Maciel was ill with varicose veins. He was not with the community during the day. I got a message from to visit him after last prayers and not to tell anyone [wherein more vulgar details follow] ...
And from a letter by an Ex Legionary who was a founder of the Legion in the United States:
Dear A: Fr. Salvador Maciel was my novice master my first year in the Novitiate. I and another brother, J.F., wrote to Fr. Marcial Maciel not knowing that the other had also written telling MM how we were scandalized by Salvador. Salvador used to play "favorites". His personal favorite was Fr. E.G. I never liked Salvador and he knew it; but I considered it a way of growing holy by putting up with him "aguantándole" and doing what he said as the Lord's Will.
MM moved him from the novitiate in USA to the novitiate in Ireland under Fr. Izquierdo after he received our letters. I was kind of shocked as I figured my days were numbered after writing MM. Personally, he's not a bad fellow; not very bright. They used to call him "The Cat” in Rome where he was goalie for his quickness. He used to invite E.G. to take a hot shower in his room in Salamanca when he was our Superior during Humanities Studies. I always thought his relationship with E.G. and some of the Irish brothers was a little strange.
During our Humanities Studies in Salamanca, Fr. Salvador once told us about a young Spanish couple he was counseling. They didn't know anything about sex and had asked him for advice! He laughed about how he had to help this couple learn about sex.
[…] He was also very proud of the fact that he had been so faithful to MM during Vatican investigation in the 1950s and used to spy on others listening to their conversations while he pretended to be sweeping. [...]
According to the testimony, Fr Owen Kearn promised that Fr S Maciel would no longer be working with children or young adults -- which indicates the seriousness with which the charges were met (even if the promise was not followed by action). The fact that a man like this will participate in a reform Chapter belies the attempt of the Legion to protect children (or others) from the sexual predatory tendencies of its members, or to take seriously the damage that has been done in the name of this Congregation.