Jason Berry publishes the second part of his latest expose of the cult of Marcial Maciel, John Paul II's favorite, who used money to set up a church within a church, where his morphine abuse, multiple marriages and countless sex abuse victims could be protected and financed. The money was the key to everything from the beginning - money, combined with Francoite politics and reactionary theology. He began his lucrative career by targeting very wealthy Mexican widows. This was a movement fueled by the wealthy, not the poor. Money quote:
After the patriarch's death, Maciel courted one widow for support. "My mother gave him jewels and a lot of money," said Roberta Garza. Her mother, now quite aged, "never learned about his kids. He targeted women in Mexico of a certain class who were not allowed to work. I had to fight to go to college. For cultured women who were bored, Maciel offered a sense of purpose."
Roberta Garza studied as a boarder at Catholic schools in France and Germany, reading voraciously, "developing a critical mind that got me into trouble back in Monterrey." She returned in 1980 for a Legion high school but found it "rigid, highly traditional, and not analytical. One of my in-laws had a daughter who was not learning English. She complained to the Legionary priest. He actually told her: 'The final judgment will not be in English.'
"They were grooming us for Regnum Christi the Movement. If your family had money, power, influence, they wanted you. They kept telling me, 'God gave you everything, you must give back by fighting the forces of evil.' … Their whole discourse was this paradise of moral rectitude. After France, where I could think freely, I was crying every night, thinking this is my family, my home, I don't want to be here. I almost cracked up."
Maciel, we now know, also abused his own sons when they were children. He wooed their 19 year-old mother, Blanca Bonilla, by posing as "'Raúl Rivas,' 57, a self-described widower and international detective for oil companies."
Though they didn't marry, he became adoptive father of her 3-year-old son, Omar, from a previous relationship. Bonilla said that the adoption paper and the birth certificates for their natural sons, Raúl, and Christian, now 17, are "legally a mess. Maciel made up his name and gave it to the younger boys." He was away long stretches as the boys grew. But Blanca Gutiérrez, who grew up poor, had a house and income. "I loved him very much," she told Aristegui. "I never suspected."
On the program, Raúl bristled: "When I was 7 years old, I was lying down with him like any boy, any son with his father. He pulled down my pants and tried to rape me."
Self-effacing in Cuernavaca, careful to not be photographed, "Rivas" began taking Omar and Raúl on trips to Europe, molesting them between the ages of 8 and 14. "As teenagers they began pushing him off," said Bonilla.
What did the church do when confronted by the first accusations?
This was John Paul II's favored darling of the church, the man feted by Bill Bennett and Mary Ann Glendon and the entire theocon machine. When a church has become so corrupt it not only allows but celebrates the rise of a pederastic cult within it, it needs not just reform but reformation.
(Photos: Pope Benedict XVI greets seminarians and priests of the Legion of Christ during his weekly general audience on January 7, 2009 at the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. By Christophe Simon/Getty.
Jose Barba(L) and Saul Barrales, former seminarians of Legionaries of Christ and victims of Mexican priest Marcial Maciel (85), founder of the order, give an interview to AFP, 19 May 2006. Barba considers that the punishment for sexual abuse the Vatican imposed to the clergyman, does not repair the damage caused during decades to 200 minor seminarians. The Vatican sanctioned Maciel demanding him to stop conducting his ministry in public and live a life of 'prayer and repentance'. By OmarTorres/AFP/Getty Images)