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Warum die Päpste nicht handelten – Oxford Review

Warum die Päpste nicht handelten – New Oxford Review

Why the Popes Failed to Act

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In a Church composed entirely of sinners, Maciel successfully manipulated enough of us to insulate himself for decades against the truth of his crimes. He had an eye for ecclesiastical “rising stars,” charming his way into friendships with many people in important positions and solidifying those relationships by virtue of his total control of Legion finances. Regardless of donors’ intent, Maciel turned his fundraising prowess into lavish gifts for those bishops and Vatican insiders who were most receptive. He knew he did not need to persuade all of them, just enough to keep himself safe. And the impressive growth of a congregation that attracts faithful young men and women to the religious life and launches countless schools and missions was certainly enough to convince even popes to give him the benefit of the doubt — which they did. And so did I, and many others.

It is one of the profound mysteries of the modern Church that a man could found such a vibrant religious congregation as a cover for his double life as a megalomaniacal thief, philanderer, and pederast. While the Holy See has sought the reform of the Legion, it has not shut the order down. Benedict himself stated that even though Maciel “remains a mysterious figure,” and a “false prophet, so to speak,” the “dynamism and the strength with which he built up the congregation” is evident. “Naturally corrections must be made,” the Holy Father said, “but by and large the congregation is sound. In it are many young men who enthusiastically want to serve the faith. This enthusiasm must not be destroyed. Many of them have been called by a false figure to what is, in the end, right after all.”

The Church, it seems, is still discerning to what extent the Holy Spirit has been at work in this deeply flawed but sincerely Catholic institution. Many have left and continue to leave, but many others remain. This past December, the congregation ordained thirty-one new priests — half as many as it did three years earlier, but still not a negligible number. And so the mystery of Maciel and his Legion lives on. If nothing else, it is powerful evidence against the Donatist heresy that a sinful priest affects the efficacy of the sacraments; even Maciel could dispense graces. Could a criminal give the Church a lasting movement of renewal? God will answer in His time. Saints John XXIII and John Paul II likely already know.

via New Oxford Review.

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