Yesterday, Wednesday March 4, Carmen Aristegui a Mexican journalist with CNN, interviewed a Mexican woman and her three children. Aristegui is one of the first reporters to break the Maciel scandal on national TV in Mexico.
The woman, Blanca Lara Gutierrez said she met the Rev. Marcial Maciel in the border city of Tijuana in 1976. She claims she did not know he was a priest. According to her, he passed himself off as an employee of Shell the international oil company, as a private investigator and as a CIA agent. Two of the interviewed children claim Maciel as their father. The third child is from a previous relationship the woman had. All three children claim they were abused by Maciel.
AP picked up the story: you can read their version here.
It seems there is no independent verification of the claims.
I did not post this yesterday because I wanted to listen to the online versions of the interview in Spanish. In any other situation I think I would doubt the veracity of the allegations - somewhat delayed revelation of her story, no independent verification, no documents, no DNA. Above all the "tone" of the narration doesn't seem immediately believable. The woman never suspected Maciel's real identity during the twenty years she claims to have lived with him despite his celebrity in Mexico and in other parts of the world. She and the children sound so "matter of fact," so "relaxed" in their description of their alleged father's abuse. So relaxed they could actually be telling the truth. The new revelations are stunning, shocking, upsetting.
But this is Marcial Maciel! At this stage, knowing what we know about him, anything seems possible As far as I can tell (from my usually reliable sources) the Legionaries are as shell-shocked by these latest accusations as the general public. I'm told they are scrambling to get to the bottom of this latest bombshell - from the historical, legal and communications perspectives.
The veracity of his daughter Norma's claims was proven by DNA. It should be a simple matter to validate these latest claims using the same method. As far as I can tell, the original victims who claimed to be abused by MM have never asked for financial restitution. I don't think that is necessarily the case of some of those who claim MM is their father. There is a lot of money at stake. DNA proof is convincing and available. That would seem to be the next logical step.
Except that this whole Maciel debacle is beyond logic! Most of what I now know about Maciel is not compatible with the man I knew from 1962 - 1982. There was a lot about him that I did not like - but no indication of what would later be revealed about him. That is why he continues to be a complex mystery to me. I have no desire to deny any of the allegations nor to justify his repugnant behavior in any shape or form. He has gone to meet his Maker. It is not my place to judge his conscience, his motives or the circumstances of his life. It's good that these revelations have come out before the conclusion of the Apostolic Visitation. My former "family," the Legionaries of Christ, have more in common this week with Humpty Dumpty: "all the Kings horses and all the King's men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again." There are good people in the LC and RC. This may be the time when they most need prayer and support - even though they never seem to want it.