The Spanish magazine Vida Nueva (n. 2794, 24.3.2012) published an interesting interview with Card. Velasio De Paolis about his views on the situation with the Legionaries of Christ. The article is in Spanish. Google translate will give those who don't understand Spanish a fair understanding of the content.
The Cardinal, entrusted with the reform of the troubled order by the Vatican, discusses hot topics like the recent appointment of a new vicar general of the Legion (replacing Fr. Luis Garza), whether or not he would advise a young person join the congregation, the exodus of the "Totus Tuus" group of consecrated women, and the controversy at the ZENIT agency which is owned by the Legionaries.
Was Maciel, "demon or a poor sinner"?
According to the Cardinal, theoretically this has already been answered.
"In the history of the church there have been founders who have not followed the right path. Why have we not yet completely buried Marcial Maciel?
We cannot deny that he is the founder, this is a historical fact. He's not called "father" any more and we have asked that his writings not be read in public.
Maciel's role should be analyzed calmly. He is most certainly not a good example - but, is he a demon or a poor sinner? If he were a demon, we could not save anything in the Legion. If he was a poor sinner, something good can be done. If we demonize Maciel, we make it difficult to understand the Legion. If we consider him a sinner, maybe we can understand.
Can we say that Maciel never sought to do any good? That he never tried to do something useful for the Church? The Legionaries have values such as obedience to the Church and respect for the doctrine which were inculcated by him, that cannot be denied.
Maciel made terrible misakes, but they are the result of human weakness rather than malice.
We can never justify the sexual abuse, ... we cannot condemn it enough, but it alone does not make him a demon rather than a sinner. ... Pope Benedict XVI has said that Maciel was an enigmatic figure. We are faced with the mystery of the human person, his responsibility, it is a mystery that we eludes us. It is a bottomless pit of sin and grace."
Most readers will know that Cardinal De Paolis has been much criticized for his slow approach to Legion reform. We don't often get a chance to hear his perspective, in his own words. For anyone interested in the Vatican approach to the Maciel controversy and to the Legionaries, this article is well worth a read.