AP discerns what Vatican knew in Maciel scandal

While it’s certainly the function of a reporter to puzzle out the essence of a story based on the available evidence, there are occasions when journalists choose to act as if they have nearly paranormal abilities to discern things not immediate visible to the naked eye. This is called analysis or even editorializing.

Consider the Associated Press report– actually this appears to be a news analysis — concerning the challenges facing Pope Francis concerning the Legionnaires of Christ, a Catholic order beset by numerous problems, most of which centered around the group’s late founder:

VATICAN CITY – First, one of the Legion of Christ’s top officials abruptly quit the troubled religious order in frustration over the slow pace of change. Then priests in the cult-like movement empowered proteges and associates of the order’s disgraced founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, to vote for their next leader.

The past month has seen some setbacks in the Legion’s efforts to rehabilitate itself as it moves toward electing a new leadership next month, the culmination of a three-year Vatican experiment aimed at overhauling a damaged order. Yet even as the Legion prepares to present a new face, high-ranking members continue to speak nostalgically and even reverently of Maciel — a sexual predator who molested his seminarians, fathered three children and was, in the words of Vatican-appointed investigators, “devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.”

It’s the next paragraph that gave me, well, agita:

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, took over the Legion in 2010 and appointed a Vatican cardinal to govern it after investigators determined that the congregation itself needed to be “purified” of Maciel’s influence. In reality, the Vatican knew well of Maciel’s crimes for decades but turned a blind eye, impressed instead by his ability to bring millions of dollars and thousands of seminarians into the church.

The entire Vatican? Really?

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