Vatican - Legion of Christ Looking for a new head
For immediate release: Friday, December 16, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Any real hope of reform in the scandal-ridden Legion of Christ seems very unlikely now. High ranking officials in this Catholic order reportedly still hold their criminal founder in high regard and are resisting substantial change, the Associated Press reports.
We are saddened but not surprised by this. For years, Legion officials hid and denied the misdeeds of Fr. Maciel and attacked the integrity of his victims. Then, Legion officials tried very hard to minimize the wrongdoing of Fr. Maciel. They’ve tried hard to pretend he’s basically the only wrongdoer in their cult-like institution. Now, they’re making token gestures towards progress only because of external pressure and they’re pretending they’re doing a major turn-around.
In our view, the Legion is an unhealthy outfit with a long and sordid history and many clerics with misguided, self-serving goals and priorities.
Fr. Sylvester Heereman is particularly disappointing. He implies that he’s more sophisticated and mature than wounded victims and betrayed Catholics because he can maintain a mixture” of feelings about his criminal supervisor while many others "cannot share those feelings."
We hope donors to the Legion will give elsewhere. We hope Pope Francis continues to push for real reform in this troubled and troubling religious group.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.