He says he didn’t know about Maciel’s double life and I have no particular reason to doubt him, so (for what it’s worth from somebody who has no dog in this fight) I accept the apology. Fr. Kearns seems to me to cover the bases that need to be covered in acknowledging Maciel’s sins, as well as the crappy treatment that the machine Maciel built to cover his ass–namely, the Legionaries and Regnum Christi–have dealt out to the victims of Maciel’s evil and the reporters who labored to expose it. Change has to start somewhere and Fr. Kearns seems to me to make a good faith effort at being the change. So bully for him.
What is fascinating is, of course, the wild variety of reactions in the combox. Everything from acceptance of the apology to accusations (based on no evidence that I can see) that Kearns is lying and that he knew everything explode off the screen. People work through issues like this at all sorts of varying pace–assuming they work through them at all. And, of course, all this is complexified by the fact that the Legionaries still own the Register.
Personally, I think the best contribution to the combox fracas is Pete Vere’s because it puts legs on what the Legionaries need to do next if they are really serious and not still doing the spin, minimization, and damage control that has hitherto characterized their leadership’s approach. In short, the Legion needs to renounce the settlements imposed upon victims and make some serious restitution to the people they screwed, the reputations they trashed, and so forth. Apologies are fine and are a good start. Now let’s see some Zaccheus action. The Legion had lots of money for graft and influence peddling. How’s about that get funnelled toward all those victims and their defenders who got royally shafted by the Legionary Smear Machine?
Not that it’s the task of Fr. Kearns to do this personally. His apology is, so far as I can see, a personal one, not an institutional one. And I accept it. But the Legionaries–the giant machine Maciel built–has to stop careening on like a headless giant continuing to do the stuff Maciel built it to do. Or, it needs to be taken apart piece by piece. At least, that’s my opinion. Rome may have some other plan to deal with it in mind. Thank God it’s not my responsibility.