I have just been watching the film by Jason Berry of Marciel Maciel, a Mexican Catholic priest, who formed the religious orders of Legion Of Christ for men and Regnum Christie for women. Both orders have massive support in the Americas and since the 1940s Maciel had been fund raising and building seminaries there for fledgling priests. Numbering among his many benefactors is Carlos Slim, reputed to be the world’s richest man with a net worth of $53.5 billion. Maciel was nearly canonized before he died, so highly did the Vatican think of him.
However from the late 1990s allegations of abuse and sexual malpractice against this man started to arise, so much so that Pope John Paul II ordered an investigation into Maciel’s organization and personal habits. Before this investigation could bear fruit, Maciel became ill and the Vatican decided to close down the proceedings so that he could die with dignity, and this he did in 2002.
Suspicions and allegations still hung around however and eventually it came out that the man was not only a serial abuser of his own priests and seminarians, he also had women in Spain, Mexico and America who bore him children on a regular basis that were also abused by him. Not only that but he had been putting money aside for his own use out of benefactors donations to build and develop property in various countries. Certainly in Spain where he has at least three children.
This fact came to life when three of these Spanish children came forward with legal documents proving that they were his children and had beneficial ownership of properties that the Church was trying to claw back from his estate. Last year Ratzinger set up another investigation into the man and his empire. It is a television programme not to miss. It is called Vows Of Silence. There is another by director Mary Healey called Holy Watergate. Both these films show how it was in America, we have yet got it to come.
You just wonder about Maciel, with all his shagging how he had time for mass and prayer. The only good thing in his favour is that he followed up John Paul II’s teaching on birth control. He never used a johnnie.
Funnily enough when I get thinking about clerical abusers my mind always turns to Thomas Duggan, the bane of many a young boy’s life in Manchester in the 1950s and 60s. For any of you who missed them, my blogs The Aftermath of a St. Bede’s Education on 5th April 2010, Monsignor Thomas Duggan on 31st March 2010 andThe Staff of St. Bede’s College on 18th March 2010 explain in some detail what this unholy man was about. From correspondence I am receiving you all say that in the light of this recent clerical abuse scandal, as a man you reached for your keyboards to see if at long last Tommy Duggan had been outed. There was nothing at all about him only my blog but it strikes me that their first reaction says a lot. Within the letters and e-mails received are the following bare bones of his life:-
Born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire in about 1906
Educated at St. Bede’s College 1917-1923
Member of Staff at St. Bede’s 1933-1936 & 1940-1950
Rector of St. Bede’s 1950-1966
Priest at St. Mary’s, Langho 1966-1968
Died in Langho, which is to the north of Blackburn in 1968.
From these bones a few questions need to be asked:-
1 ) Where was he between the years 1923-1928? Presumably at a seminary.
2 ) Where was he between the years 1928-1933?
3 ) Where was he between the years 1936-1940? I did hear he had some Vatican training but when and in what form.
4 ) With no offence to the people of Langho, why was he moved at short notice to this isolated place? He was a powerful man in the diocesan hierarchy, why would his obvious talents be helpful to Langho? Geoff Burke, the incoming Monsignor and Rector said in Baeda’s winter edition 1968 that he was sent on “new work which the Lord Bishop has asked him to do in the parish”. In my experience any priest who is sent up north at a minute’s notice has sinned most greviously.
If anyone out there can confirm or deny the above presumed facts please get in touch or if they can add anything to the pot or speak of their experiences contact me on e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. My main area of concern with this man is his abuse of power by physically, mentally and sexually assaulting the pupils under his control in the 16 years he was Rector of St. Bede’s College. There is a hell of a lot of hurt out there even after 50 or 60 years.
Please continue to write into me about Duggan with any little morsel so that my report can be finished and sent off to all those past pupils who contribute and also to the Salford Diocesan Authorities. All we can really hope for is an apology, but from correspondence received it is obvious this man blighted many young Catholic boys’ lives