Report: Powerful Catholic Priest Fathered and Abused Children

Jason Berry has an amazing account of how a powerful Catholic priest, Father Marcial Maciel, was allowed to not just sexually abuse young seminarians but both father and abuse his own children. These allegations surfaced in a Connecticut lawsuit. Maciel died in 2008.


The priest’s son, Raul Gonzalez, 30, stated to ABC that he thought his father was a CIA agent until he saw him dressed as a priest in a 1997 magazine story. His mother confronted Maciel, who allegedly denied that it was him in the picture.

ABC and Berry report that the Legion of Christ has now acknowledged that Father Maciel fathered at least one child as a priest.

He was the founder of the Legion and its most powerful member until he was forced out by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

Jason Berry reported that Maciel refused last rites on this death bed:

After the priests got Maciel to a Legion house in Jacksonville, Fla., he reportedly grew belligerent when Corcuero tried to anoint him, yelling, “I said no!” The article says Maciel refused to make a final confession, and states flatly that he “did not believe in God’s pardon.”

This may have been the only time were God and Maciel agreed.

For the full story, click here.

26 thoughts on “Report: Powerful Catholic Priest Fathered and Abused Children”

  1. Byron,

    Although I would love to be a mystic and thus able to confirm or deny the divinity of Jesus … sadly, I am not.

    The words attributed to Leo X can no more be definitively proven or denied than the words attributed to Jesus.

    I suspect, if true, the myth to which Leo referred was the one upon which the RCC is constructed, for Leo in the 1500’s would have had no greater knowledge of the times in which Jesus lived than we do today. What Leo would have knowledge of is the history of the church he then headed. The man was a strange duck, loving luxury, pomp and circumstance but also study, learning, and knowledge. Remember that he was never ordained as a priest till after his election as Pope … he hadn’t been properly schooled in the silence of the priesthood.

    Thanks to the invention of the printing press, his priests could print up thousands of “indulgences” as opposed to writing out a few hundred by hand. He flooded the market with paper and in so doing was able to take huge advantage of the peasants as they were able to now buy all their dead loved ones out of purgatory … over and over again (different levels, don’t ya know) … increasing the number of “religious fairs” in order to do so.

    It was this flood of paper that set Martin Luther off (and the money from said papers that the Pope was spending on frivolities). Funny enough … the thesis Luther nailed to the door was never meant to start a reformation but, thanks to the printing press, many copies were made and sent all over … one kingdom after another.

    Viola … the reformation was born and the myth upon which the RCC was built took its first real hit.

  2. Bryon,

    If that was not the most self serving apologist macabre treaties ever written I don’t know what was..

  3. Blouise:

    ““It has served us well, this myth of Christ.” Pope Leo X”

    probably not, more likely John Bale’s “Pagent of the Popes”

    A helpful reader there has provided photocopies of the relevant pages from that book. In this work Bale “professes it to be his intention to give [the Catholic Church] double according to her works” and places this quote in Leo’s mouth as a reply, yes, to Mr. Bembo after the latter read a passage from the Gospels. (Ironically, even in Roscoe’s time, he says with perhaps some exasperation, this story “has been repeated by three or four hundred different writers, without any authority whatsoever, except that of the author above referred to.”) Let’s have a look at that quote as it appears in the Pageant (material found on pages ranging from 179-180):

    Leo the tenth was a Florentine borne, of the noble house of Medicea, and called ere he were Pope John Medices. He being Deacon and Cardinal of Saint Maries, contrarie to all hope was chosen to succede Julius. He beinge diligetly from his youth trained up in learning under learned schoolmaisters, and especially one Angelus Politianus, did afterward greatly favour learned men. When he was but. xiv. yeres olde he was made cardinall by Innocentius the. viii. and at the yeres of xxxviii. he obtained the papacie. This Leo was of his owne nature a gentil and quiet person:but often times ruled by those that were cruell and contencious men, whom he suffered to do in many matters according to their insolent wil. He addicting himselfe to nicenesse, and takinge ease did pamper his fleshe in diverse vanities and carnal pleasures: At banqueting he delighted greatly in wine and musike: but had no care of preaching the Gospell, nay was rather a cruell persecutour of those that began then, as Luther and other to reveale the light thereof: for on a time when a cardinall Bembus did move a question out of the Gospell, the Pope gave him a very contemptuouse aunswere saiying: All ages can testifie enough howe profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us and our companie: Sleidan faith he sente letters and bulles of pardons into all nations for suche as woulde give money for them, the effectes of his pardons were diverse, some especially to sell licence to eate butter, chese, egges, milke, and fleshe upon forbidden dates, and for this purpose he sent divers treasurers into al coutreis, and namelye one Samson a monke of Millaine into Germany, who by these pardons gathered out of sundrie places such hewge sommes of money that the worlde wondered at it, for he offered in one day to geve for the Papacie above an hundred and twentie thousand duckates.
    You might think, “Well, this sounds pretty historical overall.” But check the next section:

    Martin Luther being singularly wel studied in the scriptures, and cotinuing at Wittemberge in Germanye (where these pardons polled maynely) began to enforme and teache the people howe muche they were abbused, to give such greate sommes of money for suche trifles as were nothing profitable, and wished the to be better advised in bestowing theyr money, whereupon he purchased the Popes bitter curse against him and his adherents, to the no littell disturbance of the whole estate of Germanye: for because by the preaching of Luther, and his bookes painting out the treacherie of the court of Rome, the princes of Germanye, as the Duke of Saxony, the Lantgraue and other wold not yelde so much as in time past the Pope had commanded by usurpation. The Emperour and they in the ende fell together by the eares, by the Popes procurement, as at large is set forth in Sleidan, and can not so aptly in this place be reported. Other enormities which in the Popes pardons moved Luther were these: The people were perswaded that if they bought these pardons they nede not to seke any further for salvation, and that no sinne coulde be so horryble, but that by these indulgences it shuld be forgeven, and that the sowles that lye tormented in Purgatorie shoulde flie into heaven forthwith, as sone as the money receyved for these pardons at the charge of their friendes shoulde be put into the Popes cofers. But to returne to Pope Leo: he made xxxi. cardinals in one day, wherby he got greate bribes and muche treasure, but the same day appeared manye horrible fightes and great tempestes arose, with vehement windes, thonders and lightninges, vehementlye runshinge upon the Churche where the Pope and his Cardinals were with such force, y it shooke downe an idol made for the picture of Christ like a childe in the lappe of the virgine Marye: also it broke S. Peters keyes out of his hand. These things were enterpreted to prognosticate the decay of the Popes kingdome, and thereupon many wrote bitter verses.

  4. I was recently talking to a diocese official and he made an amazing claim. He claimed that the diocese had instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in 1985 when it came to priest’s abuses of children. I was shocked and told him that I didn’t believe him and even if I did, it was like saying that they haven’t killed anyone since 1985! I asked him how many of the priests who had broken the law before his claimed date of 1985 and he was silent. I asked him how many of the bishops and his assistants who did not report known law breaking priests to the police were in jail and once again, he was silent. I told him his silence was deafening!

  5. I grew up in the 50’s near a neighborhood of Polish immigrants & a very large Polish church. One of the priests there was able to convince a number of young girls that, in his role as Christ’s ambassador on Earth, he should deflower them.

    Apparently the Bishop & others ignored complaints from various parishioners for some time. Then it seems one of these girls had bothers who objected strenuously to the practice. The priest went from being a rooster to a capon. That made the papers & was a huge scandal but nobody was every arrested & the priest was relocated to a new parish.

  6. As to the subject of this thread:

    Here’s an interesting quote that, for me, explains a great deal when it comes to sinning priests and the Church that so willingly provides them sanctuary under the guise of “forgiveness”:

    “It has served us well, this myth of Christ.” Pope Leo X

    (served 1513-1521 as Pope … last non-priest to be elected Pope, 2nd son of Lorenzo de’ Medici, indulgence seller extraordinaire, defender against Martin Luther’s 95 theses, and probably the last Pope to slip up by telling the truth. He was quite the intellectual and rumored to be homosexual)

  7. Observer,

    Sounds very interesting … first I’ll check B&N for my Nook … if not there, then I will go the Amazon route

    Not available for the Nook … so Amazon it is and you are right, some very good reviews.

  8. Came across a book on Amazon called “Driving Straight on Crooked Lines – How an Irishman found his heart and nearly lost his mind” It is a new book about Maciel and the Legion by someone who was a Legionary with Maciel in Mexico. It gets good reviews. One is attributed to Jason Berry the author of the report. It says: “I was pulled along by the story of a young Irishman drawn into the world of the Legionaries of Christ, unable to see the raw truth of Father Maciel, coming to the painful realization of Maciel’s psychological tyranny as time passed, and having the fortune to leave early enough to make a new life. This is a sad yet, in the final measure, uplifting memoir.” – Jason Berry, co-author, “Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II”

  9. To whom it may concern:

    I’m not on the right thread for book discussions but … the poster who recommended the novel, “On This Rock”, by Dave Leonard … thank you … it’s a great read.

  10. Swarthmore mom
    1, July 30, 2010 at 9:48 am
    http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigations/rightsliberties/1277/how_father_maciel_built_his_empire/ This was no ordinary priest. He was a very successful con artist. I actually heard firsthand from a woman from Monterrey, Mexico about this priest and what he was up to about 15 years ago.

    ===============================================================
    In my opinion, almost all “successful” clergy are excellent con artists … it’s how they achieve “success”

  11. He was a known drug abuser. The Legionaires have always been controversial and they are based in Mexico. They have a school in Dallas which was founded by wealthy Mexicans.

  12. This makes me angry, the asswipe and not in even a pleasant tone was removed and not put on trial in the Vatican because of his age, but was yet order to a life of penitence and prayer? Oh yeah and with a full pension to boot I am sure.

    I have a friend, colleague that was a bright seminarian. He was connected in all of the right places. He was targeted to move rapidly as he was placed at a rather large cathedral. It was no surprise that he like liquor, most priest do. What was the surprise was he liked women, he counseled a number of different ones, in private and in his office. It was not the first one that he got pregnant and the diocese supported, nor was it the second set of children, which produced twins. Money was paid for support and the children were provided for well. It was the third woman that he impregnated, who was also married to a rather influential member of the congregation, that they finally set down and had a heart to heart that maybe being catholic was ok and he should continue in some role (they still liked his family’s money)but that maybe the priesthood (thats a good term) was not for him and paid him a handsome settlement to go forward and sin no more…..So he opened a bar, ah something he knew well….

  13. Well, at least her only dressed as a woman. If he’d been a woman demanding to be priest, well that would have been very bad. I’m sorry they kicked him out because this is the kind of priest the church usually keeps around. It must have been the dress up that offended.

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