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My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children

Hosea 4:6
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By Paul Wachter | PD | Jun. 23, 2010

On Monday, Raul Gonzalez filed suit in Connecticut against the estate of his father, Roman Catholic priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Gonzalez claims that his father sexually abused him -- along with many other boys -- and while the Vatican was not named a defendant, the lawsuit said that "from at least the 1950s until 2002, the Legionaries, Fr. Maciel, the presiding Pope, the Vatican, and its officials engaged in a conspiracy to conceal their knowledge of Maciel's abuse of children."

It's only the latest charge against Maciel, who founded the Legionaries in 1941 and died in 2008. In 1997, an investigation by the Hartford Courant found that Maciel had molested more than 30 boys and young men. Internal church documents show that church officials knew of the abuse years earlier. All the while, Pope John Paul II protected Maciel, publicly praising him as a "an efficacious leader of youth." It wasn't until 2006, at the order of Pope Benedict XVI, that Maciel was "banned from exercising his ministry in public and told to retire to a life of prayer and penitence," reported the BBC. But in other instances of sex abuse by priests, Benedict has also shielded the perpetrators.

Gonzalez's charges are a "new chapter in a saga of deception and depravity," reports the National Catholic Reporter. "By Gonzalez's account, he was 10 when Maciel sexually abused him and [his brother] Omar on a trip to Madrid, in 1989, and photographed them in the process. 'My dad told me his uncle, this guy, used to masturbate him, and I have to masturbate him. ... Why do you say that to a kid?'"

The National Catholic Reporter continues:

The grooming rituals he described -- of Maciel claiming his leg was in pain, asking the boys for a comforting touch, then a massage, then more -- hauntingly echo the accounts of ... the early seminary victims, decades before Raul's birth, teenage boys standing in Legion infirmaries as Maciel rubbed his abdomen in pain, asking them to massage him, guiding them into genital contact, telling many of the boys he had permission from Pope Pius XII for sexual relief because of his pain.

Gonzalez is seeking financial damages. But he also wonders why Pope Benedict, after censuring Maciel, has not reached out to the sex abuser's victims.

Theology, Ethics, & Religion | Article Views: 1682