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Marching boldly into the past

23 November 2010

Álvaro Corcuera, the Director-General of the Legionaries of Christ, has received Papal assurances that he can stay on as head of the Roman Catholic order, which — following revelations of the rampant sexual abuse and large scale financial frauds perpetrated by the order’s founder, Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Delgollado — has been in what amounts to a religious version of receivership and restructuring.

Corcuera, like Maciel, is a Mexican from vaguely aristocratic lineage (Maciel’s uncle was Rafael Guizar y Valencia, the “Scarlet Pimpernel Bishop” of Xalapa now considered a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church).  Conuera’s “Wikipedia” entry makes note that his grandmother is the 13th Marquise of Cilleruelo, and his aunt is the Duchess of Medinaceli (which, in the dwindling word of European aristocracy, actually is a somebody). Of course, this implies that the Legionaries — having been formed out of the more reactionary strains of Hispanic culture — are not undergoing much of a change. That the Church, especially the more conservative members of the clergy (like Cardinal Sandoval of Guadalajara) are actively seeking to “engage” the State and push back against social changes, confirming Corcuera in his position may signal an attempt to restore the Legionaries influence within the inner circle of the country’s business and political leadership.

One indication that the Legionaries are looking to return to an active role in Mexico is Concuera’s willingness to “study” the possibility of providing financial compensation for Maciel’s victims. While this would probably run into a sizable chunk of change, the order is not hurting for assets it can dispose of, and by compensating at least Mexican victims, could tamp down media assaults and continuing questions about the group’s motives.

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