Marcial Maciel Refused Confession and Last Rites Before His Death

Marcial Maciel in street clothes

By now we know that the founder of the Legionaries of Christ Marcial Maciel had abused drugs, abused children, abused millions in Church donations, and worked under four to five alias in order live as husband or lover to a number of women. He was “Raul Rivas” (Norma Hilda’s spouse and father of little Norma). He was also “Jaime Alberto Gonzalez Ramirez” (the lover of a Mexican woman and father of three children in Switzerland whom he raped). He also went by the name “Juan Rivas.”

It has been recently revealed that Marcial Maciel refused to confess his sins on his death bed and that he refused Last Rites by saying to the priests at hand “I said no!” and that he “did not believe in God’s pardon.” The reaction led to the summoning of an exorcist.

Here are the details from Jason Berry, author of the article “How Fr. Maciel built his empire“:

Maciel died in a surreal drama where his life pieces converged with shuddering fall. In late January 2008, he was in a hospital in Miami, according to a Jan. 31, 2010 report by reporters Sota and Vidal of El Mundo. Although the article (available in English on is layered in opinion about Maciel’s character, it provides a detailed look at the crisis he created for his followers. In the hospital gathered Alvaro Corcuera, Maciel’s successor as director general; the Legion’s general secretary, Evarista Sada; and numerous other associates. Maciel reportedly refused to make a confession, stirring such concerns that someone summoned an exorcist, though the article does not describe a ritual. The men around Maciel were jarred when two women appeared: Norma the mother, and Normita, 23. At that point, Maciel reportedly said of the Normas: “I want to stay with them.”

The Legionary priests, alarmed by Maciel’s attitude, called Rome. [Fr.] Luis Garza knew right away that this was a grave problem. He consulted with the highest authority, Alvaro Corcuera, and then hopped on the first plane to Miami and went directly to the hospital.

[Garza’s] indignation could be read on his face. He faced the once-powerful founder and threatened him: “I will give you two hours to come with us or I will call all the press and the whole world will find out who you really are.” And Maciel let his arm be twisted.

After the priests got Maciel to a Legion house in Jacksonville, Fla., he reportedly grew belligerent when Corcuero tried to anoint him, yelling, “I said no!” The article says Maciel refused to make a final confession, and states flatly that he “did not believe in God’s pardon.”

That is an opinion that Maciel’s sordid life might well support, but for which, in fact, we have no proof.

Maciel’s life seems thoroughly diabolical–plagued with lies, sacrilege, adultery, false witnesses, rape, theft, incest, and child molestation. The stories and legends that will arise about him through the ages will be stupendously haunting–a true Faustus. He is perhaps the greatest ecclesiastical villain since Judas Iscariot.


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