By ZENIT Staff
The “Report 1941-2019 on the Phenomenon of Sexual Abuse of Minors in the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ from its Founding to the Present Day” is the result of an extensive study carried out over the past six months by an internal commission which, within the limits of a study of this nature, verified the various accusations of sexual abuse of minors throughout the history of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. It collects the global statistics of cases of abuse by its priests between 1941 and 2019 and includes an Appendix with the steps taken to prevent future abuse and guarantee safe environments. The Congregation has systematically implemented these measures internationally since 2015.
The Legionaries of Christ are taking an additional step in confronting their history in order to know and recognize the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and to promote reconciliation with victims. Throughout the study, 13 victims were contacted and about 40 members of the Congregation were interviewed in detail.
” Experience tells that any step in approaching a victim is an essential step towards justice in truth,” the report states, ” and that shedding light on the past, however painful it may be, is liberating and an indispensable foundation for building the future. The report ” We deplore and condemn” the abuses committed, as well as ” those institutional or personal practices that may have favored or encouraged any form of abuse or re-victimization.” It is hoped that this report will also be for the victims “a sign of a desire to continue taking steps on the path of reconciliation with each of them.”
The study was carried out in the context of the preparation of the General Chapter of the Congregation which will take place in Rome this January. There the Commission in charge of the study will present conclusions and recommendations.
The Congregation wants to make known the results of this study in order to bring together all its members and collaborators in the effort to eradicate the child sexual abuse and to ensure a culture of protection and care for minors.
According to the information available in the study, from 1941 to the present, 175 minors were victims of sexual abuse committed by a total of 33 priests of the Congregation. This number of victims includes at least 60 minors abused by Fr Marcial Maciel. The 33 priests represent 2.44% of the 1,353 legionaries ordained throughout the history of the Congregation. Among these 33 priests, 6 have passed away, 8 have left the priesthood, 1 has left the Congregation and 18 remain in the Congregation. Of the 18 who remain: 4 of them have ministerial restrictions which include a safety plan and no pastoral contact with minors and 14 have no public priestly ministry.
The report and statistics are published on the website 0abuse.org, which included a channel for submitting allegations. In 0abuse.org, the Legionaries of Christ seek to continue to shed light on the abuses by some members throughout their history, to contribute to the healing of the victims and to promote safe environments that offer all possible guarantees for a future of zero abuse.
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