Saturday, April 9, 2011
Vatican Pardons Legion of Christ Leaders [Corcuera, Sada & Garza]
The Vatican Forgives Them
[Good Translation courtesy of REGAIN member]
Alejandro Gutierrez, Madrid
“I think it is more likely that the demise of the Legion of Christ will come about due to its own decadence rather than from a serious an in-depth investigation by the Holy See, which would prefer to see them bleed to death on their own as a result of some new scandal,” says Jesús Rodríguez.”
A journalist for (the Spanish daily) El País, and author of a book recently published in Spain, The Confession; The Strange Adventures of Marcial Maciel and Other Mysteries of the Legion of Christ, Rodríguez is convinced that “there will not be an in-depth investigation by the Holy See. It will never be concluded. No way.”
Rodríguez speaks of the uncertainty caused by certain decisions made by Velasio de Paolis, the pontifical delegate in charge of the Legion of Christ, that left the current leadership of the congregation, founded by Marcial Maciel, untouched.
“In a sense all his decisions amount to one step forward, one step backward. Changes are announced so that everything may remain the same. It is the doctrine of intentional ambiguity,” he said in an interview with this weekly.
As an example he notes that on Friday, March 18 the Maciel-installed leadership suffered a setback when it was announced that the Legion’s secretary general, Evaristo Sada Derby, would not be re-elected, and that his successor would be appointed by autumn.
Sada, whom Rodríguez describes in his book as “an attractive sort, personal, unctuous,” carries out “the orders of the director general with an iron hand. . . For the last decade he has been the Legion’s official pastry chef, the one in charge of cooking up the congregation’s public image, the leadership’s man of action.”
According to a priest who spoke to the author, Sada has, since the 1990s, been in charge of preparing annual reports for the Vatican in which “he systematically lies about figures – inflating the number of vocations and the rate of retention, while understating the total amount of financial expenditures.”
Seemingly aware of what was awaiting him, Sada told Rodríguez in an interview for the book, “They would do me a favor by kicking me out of the General Secretariat. My vocation is to go to the missions. I am not in this position because I want to be. This in not a political party. I only took it on out of (a sense of) obedience.
De Paolis’ backtracking came to light on Monday, March 21 when the news agency Notimex announced that the papal delegate was ruling out the establishment of a “truth commission” to investigate involvement by the legionary leadership in a cover-up with Maciel because, he claimed, it would be impossible to identify his “hypothetical accomplices.”
“In regards to the Legionaries of Christ, the investigation will never be concluded. No way,” claims Rodríguez. “They would prefer to see them bleed to death on their own.”
The censure by Benedict XVI on May 1, 2010 was, in his opinion, “a crucial moment” in the investigation of the congregation. Thereafter “there was a reversal of position.” He adds that backtracking by the pope’s representative “put an end to (a period of) humility by the legionaries that did not even last six months.”
As reported in his book, this show of humility came to an end on November 19, 2010 when the apostolic delegate sent a letter to the legionaries “that seemed to indicate he was taking a step backwards - as though he had been co-opted by Macielists - causing dismay among the reformists. He all but ruled out the possibility of a speedy reorganization, and punishment of those legionaries involved in covering up Maciel’s criminal activities.”
“The obdurate breathed a sigh of relief,” Rodríguez says, adding that they now headed “a Legion free of guilt, as was being affirmed by the pope’s own man.”
In an interview with Proceso the journalist points out that the only aspect that could result in a satisfactory outcome would be an eventual agreement with Maciel’s sons, members of the González family, who are pursuing a lawsuit against the Legion in American courts. The suit alleges sexual abuse by Maciel against his own sons. “I believe that, faced with the possibility of a guilty verdict in a court of law, they might agree to a settlement before some new scandal erupts.”
The Legion’s Own “Madoff”
In 2010 Jesús Rodríguez began a journalistic investigation of the congregation that was published in El País Semanal. It was the first time he had dealt with the subject.
“I did not approach it from one of the established positions (that of Maciel’s supporters versus those who condemned his wrongdoings). I approached it only with the intention of reporting what I found out. The anti-Macielists actually became angry with me for not attacking the leadership,” though he points out that the book “certainly does contain reporting which exposes the scaffolding.”
When asked why he the Legionaries agreed to grant him access to their organization and their facilities, allowing him to talk with their directors, he says, “I believe I surprised them at their weakest moment, in May, when they really believed the pope might disband them because of Maciel’s criminal misconduct.”.
He is referring to a statement issued by the Vatican on May 1, 2010 which acknowledged, in the sternest of tones, Maciel’s “double life,” as well as his “very serious. . . immoral conduct” which, it added, “at times constitutes true crimes, and is evidence of a life devoid of scruples and genuine religious sentiment.”
The author was allowed to visit their headquarters in Rome as well as their schools, to learn firsthand how they live, about their monastic life, and their rigorous discipline. The only person who refused an interview with Rodríguez was Luis Garza Medina, the congregation’s vicar general, whom he describes as the central element in the whole scheme, the congregation’s Bernard Madoff, and the chief executive of a “religious holding company.”
“Maciel was their public relations representative with the Vatican,” he says, “but Luis Garza Medina was the key to the success of the Legionaries of Christ,” from a time thirty years ago, “when they were nothing, to what they are now.”
He adds, “To be successful, the Vatican’s investigation of the Legion will have to address the role of Luis Garza Medina,” who forms part of the trio of Mexicans who head the legionary leadership. They are the director general, Álvaro Corcuera, whom he describes as “a mask,” Evaristo Sada, who “controls much of the apparatus,” and Garza Medina.
“He is the Legion’s CEO, the man who makes the decisions, he says. “That is why he is keeping his mouth shut. And he will keep it shut unless he sees this approach becoming a disadvantage.”
Originally from Monterrey, Garza is the brother of Dionisio Garza Medina, who until March, 2010 headed Grupo Alfa. Luis Garza is, he says, “the key to the hidden operations and financial machinery of (the 20 thousand employee) Grupo Integer, a racket of legionary foundations, schools and money.”
Citing published reports by Vatican analyst, Sandro Magister, Rodríguez’ book puts the Legion’s fortune at some 25 billion euros, with an annual budget of 650 million euros. Much of this money is, according to the author, “invested in financial havens in non-transparent corporations, specifically in financial products.” As an example he cites the Integer Ethical Fund, which is registered in Luxembourg, and whose profits help subsidize the Legion’s growth.
“Although (Garza) was the logical successor to Maciel, it makes sense that he was not chosen,” Rodríguez says. “He (Maciel) needed someone like Corcuera, a man who could be manipulated. Garza is a man with an important professional function. He studied at Stanford, and speaks several languages. Maciel, though quite a charmer, always remained more of a common man.”
When asked about the book’s description of a “civil war” between Luis Garza and the papal delegate over decisions by the latter, as well as between Garza and Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez, the apostolic visitor for consecrated life for Regnum Christi, Rodríguez replies, “Luis Garza is not co-operating with the Vatican’s representatives. And the apostolic delegate is not going after him because that would mean losing access to the wealth of information he controls. Luis Garza is a very strong character with a many sharp edges. I have information indicating that he got into an argument with de Paolis when de Paolis removed him as territorial director for Italy, and as general prefect of studies. Nevertheless, these positions went to his staunch supporters.” He adds that, in spite of this, Corcuera appointed him as the congregation’s territorial advisor “without De Paolis’ knowledge.”
His confrontation with Blázquez occurred when the archbishop, after being appointed apostolic visitor for consecrated life, “blocked Garza and Everisto Sada from participating, without intermediaries, in a meeting he had called with the consecrated women. . . in Valladolid, Spain on November 2 of last year.”
“De Paolis has also demanded that Garza provide him with audits, and that he not move a single euro without letting him know,” Rodríguez adds. “Obviously, the economic and educational future of the Legion remains unclear.”