Matt C. Abbott
Vatican statement on Legion of Christ leaves unanswered questions, says ex-Legionary priest
By Matt C. Abbott
May 5, 2010

Father James Farfaglia, a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi for nine years, was formerly with the Legion of Christ for 21 years.

His response to the Vatican's recent statement on the scandal-plagued order?

"When I read it, my first response was that of hurt and anger. I don't see how the Legion of Christ can reform itself by leaving in place the present leadership," Father Farfaglia said in an e-mail.

Citing an article by Italian journalist Sandro Magister, who speculates that Mexican Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, will be the special envoy appointed by Pope Benedict, Father Farfaglia said:

"With all due respect to Cardinal Sandoval, if Magister's speculation turns out to be true, it would be a fatal mistake. Authentic reform will take place only if the Legion separates itself from its Mexican roots. I don't see how the cardinal can be objective.

"A member of the clergy who has no connection to the ecclesiastical, political and social structures of Mexico should be the one to direct the reform of the Legion. It has to be someone untouched by favors. And this is why, for the good of the order, Fathers Alvaro, Luis and Evaristo should resign immediately and a new, untarnished set of superiors should take over."

If the present leadership does remain, Father Farfaglia believes the Legionaries in the United States would do well to split off and start a new order. He also was struck by the following portion of the Vatican's statement:

    'The Church is firmly resolved to accompany [members of the Legion] and help them on the path of purification that awaits them. It will also mean dealing sincerely with all of those who, within and outside the Legion, were victims of sexual abuse and of the power system devised by the founder: They are in the Holy Father's thoughts and prayers at this time, along with his gratitude to those of them who, even in the midst of great difficulties, had the courage and constancy to demand the truth.'

Father Farfaglia wonders:

"Does this mean that those seminarians who were sexually abused by Maciel will be compensated monetarily? That Maciel's 'wives' and children will be compensated monetarily? That those Legionaries who were screwed over when they left the order, with little or no money and without their papers and degrees, will be compensated monetarily? That members of the clergy who knew about Maciel's double life will be sanctioned in some way? That the church culture which allowed Maciel to flourish will be reformed?

"I'd feel a lot better if someone in the hierarchy would answer these questions. Or are we in for more smoke and mirrors?"

Related links:

Father Farfaglia's website

Father Farfaglia's blog



© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


Receive future articles by Matt C. Abbott: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cliff Kincaid
The new face of the GOP is trans

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Raising children: Our designs, God’s designs, and what parents learn about themselves

Judie Brown
Family is not just a word

Michael Bresciani
Bruce Jenner talks about arriving at the Pearly Gates – America’s confusion

Cliff Kincaid
The big business buffoons who run Berkshire Hathaway

Pete Riehm
People just wanna have freedom!

Neil Brian Goldberg
The quiet purge

Judie Brown
Judie Brown responds to Bishop McElroy

Rev. Austin Miles
Mothers: a gift or not a gift?

Judie Brown
Planned Parenthood upset with Biden

Steve A. Stone
A few words about a few topics

Jerry Newcombe
Teaching kids that America was always racist
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds



Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites