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MEXICO: The Catholic Church - Marcial Maciel



Names are an editor's curse. Alejo Orvaņos settled one dispute by giving us the correct name of the founder and Superior General of the Legion of Christ: Marcial Maciel, not Marcel (which led me to wonder if he was French). Saint Marcellinus, fifth century bishop of Rome and supposedly a martyr, gave rise to the Spanish name Marcelino. He is often confused with his successor Pope Marcellus, who was not a saint, despite which his name gave rise to the less common Spanish name Marcelo. In French it is more common as Marcel (cf. Marcel Proust). Saint Marcial was a third century Bishop of Limoges, France, and it is apparently after him that Father Marcial Maciel was named.

That is not the end of my name troubles. He was born in the small Mexican town of Cotija de la Paz in the state of Michoacan. It is roughly half way between Morelia and Guadalajara. Some peace! Was it so named after the Cristero (Christ people) rebels who were massacred by the anti-clerical Mexican government when Marcial Maciel was a child? The impact of that horror, many of whose priestly victims were recently canonized by the Pope, led Marcial Maciel to name the order he founded after them. He founded it soon after, at age sixteen, he was ordained in the Basilica of Guadalupe. Its headquarters are in Rome and it has a network of schools around the world. He is still alive and active.

Ronald Hilton - 7/20/01


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