Denver archbishop to investigate controversial Legion of Christ

The Legion of Christ made the wrong kind of headlines when it was revealed that the Catholic organization's founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died in 2008, had fathered children -- which means he broke his vow of celibacy unless immaculate conception was involved. This, combined with accusations that Degollado had sexually abused seminarians, led the Vatican to order the Legion to undergo what's called "an apostolic visitation" -- essentially an investigation of the organization. And according to a new article from the Catholic News Agency, the man charged by Pope Benedict XVI to look into the Legion's operations in the United States and Canada is Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput. According to a September 1 letter signed by Father Scott Reilly and Father Julio Marti, territorial directors of Legion offices in Atlanta and New York, respectively, "Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput of Denver has been appointed as Visitor for the Legion in the United States and Canada. Archbishop Chaput will visit our seminaries and religious houses, see our life up close and interview whomever he wants... His mandate will be to question, probe and assess with depth and objectivity. Legionaries are free to speak and write to him with all their comments and questions. He sets his own timetable and the points he wishes to probe, and he will present his findings and recommendations directly to the Holy See."

Sounds like a real-life version of an Andrew Greeley novel.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts